We’re beginning a new series today on the gluten-free and dairy-optional diet. Check back every Wednesday for articles and recipes.
I get a lot of e-mails and questions about the gluten-free diet. Many letters are from people who are thinking about trying the diet. They have not been diagnosed but instead are considering a trial run of the GF diet to see if it improves their health. They aren’t committed to a long-term, dedicated diet to start because they don’t know if it will help them. Inevitably bring up the subject of how complicated the GF diet can be and they’re looking for a push over the hump.
I went gluten-free in 2006 and at the time, real food resources for the GF diet were scarce and help for the GFCF diet was just about non-existent. Those who helped me didn’t point me to a book or a website, they e-mailed me their own recipes and told me what to do. I launched CTF in 2007 to help those who needed it. Now, there are many more resources available, even within the traditional foods community.
When it comes down to it, I don’t consider the gluten-free diet to be complicated. The issue is more that it is foreign. It’s a bit like learning a new skill. There’s a learning curve, even if it isn’t complicated. Yes, you do have to re-learn some things, such as baked goods. Yes, it takes a little time (and some new ingredients) to get on your feet.
Many main dishes you know and are familiar with are completely doable with just some minor substitutions. Look for dishes that only call for a small amount of flour and you can easily substitute it with any grain flour you can get at a health food store- sorghum, rice or buckwheat flours as easy to find.
My advice to those new to the gluten-free diet is to skip the bread. Go back to the basics and stick to the meals that are gluten-free or easily made so that are already loved by your family. Go for meals that are rice, potato or cornbread based instead of bread-based. Look for meals that are basic, quick and use easily-obtained, budget-friendly ingredients.
- Roast chicken
- Roast beef
- Meatloaf (use coconut flour instead of breadcrumbs)
- Meatballs in spaghetti sauce (using a good quality GF pasta like Tinkyada)
- Eggroll in a Bowl
- Cornbread and beans
- Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs
- ‘Bourbon’ Chicken
- Tacos or enchiladas made with corn shells
- Chicken cacciatore
- Asian and ethnic dishes
As you get on your feet and begin to experiment, you can add more dishes and begin to work on baked goods. Eggs make a good breakfast, as does a leftover soup. Don’t be afraid to eat a small dinner for breakfast or a big breakfast for dinner.
Just about every recipe on our site is gluten and dairy-free. Check out our Recipe Index for many recipes that are safe for you. Find some good recipes that you like and rotate through them while you get on your feet.
If you’d like the Menu Planning done for you, check out our Budget Menu Mailer or our Classic Menu Mailer. If you need a tutorial to get you started on how to go GFCF, consider our Gluten and Dairy-Free Traditional Foods eCourse. It goes over all of the basics of going GFCF, in detail, with over 85 videos and hundreds of recipes to get you on your feet.
The thing with all the GF processed foods is that they are often made with GMOs. Corn and soy are the largest GMO crops in this country. There are also GMO oats and rice. Potatoes are grown with heavy pesticide use. The only way to avoid these is to use 100% organic foods (USDA organic can contain 5% non-organic product which is often GMO soy). I’ve found that GF and 100% organic are often mutually exclusive. You can have one or the other but not both. There are a few European GF products that are GMO free but most US products are probably riddled with GMO goodies.
So, after seven years of GF substitute foods, I’ve actually gone Primal (Paleo plus dairy and rice) and now only occasionally eat rice and sprouted spelt. I feel much better and many of my digestive issues have cleared up.
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