Over three years ago, we made the decision as a family to give up gluten. The journey was very difficult and I had many flops, but as a result I have a passion for helping others on their journey into the gluten-free world. Welcome to (GF)²: Gluten-Free Good Food.
My goal is to help you enJOY living a gluten-free lifestyle. I hope you will find some helpful information, inspiration and encouragement here. Making a change for the betterment of your health can be challenging at first, but be encouraged. It gets easier!
Here are a few tips to help you through the first steps of transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle:
- Change your perspective. I often remind myself and my family to focus on what you CAN have instead of what you CANNOT have. You will realize that there is a lot out there that you can eat and often healthier options than the gluten items.
- Get healthy. My family often hears me say that eating gluten-free food isn’t necessarily healthy. We have to make the healthy choices within the gluten-free parameters. So if we didn’t eat Oreos before we went gluten-free, then the gluten-free version doesn’t make it a healthy choice. Focus on eating more vegetables, fruits and proteins and less packaged foods, flours, processed sugars and carbohydrates. It is one step closer to better health and wellness!
- Get educated. I felt like a fish out of water when we went gluten-free. I felt so overwhelmed and frustrated. But once I started learning more about gluten-free and experimenting with recipes, I found inspiration (one of the reasons I started this blog!). Here are some of my favorite websites that helped me out when I first started. If you look hard enough, there is pretty much a gluten-free version of all things gluten. You just have to be willing to make it.
- Define your gluten-free preferences. Not all gluten-free flours are created equal. There are whole grain flours, bean flours, grain-free flours (e.g., coconut flour, almond flour) and starch flours. Learn more about the different types of gluten-free flours. When you are choosing your gluten-free flour(s), consider the following:
- Cost – some flours cost more than others. Choose options that are healthy and affordable.
- Glycemic level – grain-free and bean flours are low glycemic while potato and white rice flours are higher on the glycemic index.
- Availability – choose options that are readily available and affordable. For example, I buy some stuff from Amazon and other stuff from local stores.
- Taste – every palate is different. What tastes great to one person may not taste so good to someone else. Choose flours/blends that appeal to your taste.
- Budget. Gluten-free is not cheap, but it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Save that for eating out at restaurants (gluten-free pizza can cost a whopping $20 at some places!) When you first transition it will be a noticeable adjustment on your wallet. But once you settle in to what you like, you’ll notice your food budget will level out. Start simple with a few key items and flours and go from there. See how I feed a gluten-free diet to my family of eight on a budget!
- Make it a lifestyle, not a diet. Diet often comes with a negative connotation. It gives the impression that you are limited. When you are on a gluten-free lifestyle, the sky is the limit. Embrace this new idea of eating “against the grain.” You will feel better and enJOY life more when you take care of your body. Think outside the box. This may be the perfect time to take on a new
hobby, like baking or cooking. I have found that homemade gluten-free beats any prepackaged item on the market.
- Be patient and experiment. I wish I had someone tell me this when I started the journey on the gluten-free lifestyle. I wanted everything to be perfect right away, but there is a big learning curve with gluten-free baking and cooking. Not only that, but it takes time for your palate to adjust to the flavors and textures of gluten-free foods. Don’t give up. Have fun experimenting with flour blends and recipes and be patient (It took me 2 years of fun experimenting before we hit our favorite All-Purpose Flour Blend!).
- Make your own bread. I put this here for all the bread lovers out there. Before going gluten-free, I baked up to eight loaves of bread a week. Making gluten-free bread is a whole different ballgame. Throw out everything you ever learned about making gluten bread, and start over. Gluten-free bread is easier in some ways and tricky in others ways. You just have to get the hang of it. So don’t be discouraged thinking your bread-eating days are over. There are many great recipes out there for tasty gluten-free bread. You just have to be willing to make it. There are also bread machines with a gluten-free setting! Don’t waste another minute eating dry, hard, tasteless store-bought gluten-free bread.
Homemade gluten-free bread
Store bought gluten-free bread