Gluten free starter help needed

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by HaoZi, May 11, 2013.

  1. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    A friend of mine has a son that needs to go gluten free for GI reasons. I know there's a lot of hidden gluten in things and wheat isn't the only grain with gluten in it, but since you ladies seem to know a lot about girlfriend diets, I figured I'd come to you.

    *What are some good resources and advice for her?
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I am not experienced with gluten free but I do know that the local health food store (where I buy my organic stuff) has MEGA gluten free products. It is, of course, a little bit pricey but in recent years regular grocery store chains and WM have vastly increased their gluten free choices and they are less costly. I would guess that she will have to explore and adapt slowly so her child won't "buck" or feel deprived. At my library there are loads of books written about the subject that might make the task less daunting. Fingers crossed it goes well and brings results. DDD
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    Her son has been having GI problems for 6 years and she's going girlfriend on Monday. I found her an article on WebMD about hidden gluten sources, but she's got a wait to see a GI doctor for kids, then an allergist, auto-immune doctor, etc. They want her to get started on this and keep a food diary to see if it helps him any while she's waiting to get him in to the kid's GI doctor. Yes, I know how messed up the order of things is *sigh*.
  4. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    It's an overwhelming prospect, at least it would be for me. My sister in law, who struggles with many health issues, has been told that until and unless she addresses her issues with gluten and soy, that she will have no basis for wellness. Gluten and/or soy is in SO many things... the problem is, sister in law is NOT a cook in any sense of the word, and to truly go gluten and soy free, much of your food must be homemade (or else you need to win the lottery). There is a Gluten Free for Dummies book which looks helpful, and I'd venture to guess there's a support board somewhere for girlfriend diets. I'm trying to learn more about it too so I can help sister in law, but it's definitely unknown territory for me.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    One of the biggest traps to watch out for is the commercial gluten-free substitutes for "normal" foods - like girlfriend bread. They are extremely pricy, and generally NOT all that healthy.

    Yes, most food has to be home-made. I wasn't a cook either. We're not gluten free... but I can't tolerate modern wheat, which might be another avenue for her to explore. Even just getting rid of modern wheat is a huge challenge!

    However... many things are EASY to cook. Bake some chicken, steam up some rice, add some veggies to the meal and fruit for desert. Tired of rice? Quinoa cooks up the same way (more pricy, but worth having around for a change). Both are gluten free. So are potatoes - baked, boiled, micro-waved... main meals shouldn't be that hard.

    Lunches... ended up being "chef salad"... e.g. tossed salad with meat or cheese for protein.

    Breakfast... is harder. I'm CF - so, no smoothies, for example (a great gluten-free breakfast idea if you can and you like it).
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've been gluten free for just over a year now and it hasn't been all that difficult. I never thought I would say that. Just the summer before I was diagnosed I told husband it was a good thing I didn't have to go gluten free because I didn't think I could. Then about 7 months later I was diagnosed and eating my words! Seriously, there is very little I miss from the world of gluten. Not to mention the fact that I no longer have any joint pain makes it so totally worth it.

    If there is a Trader Joe's near your friend tell her to look there. They have some amazing gluten free granola there along with many other products. The Kind bars are even better than granola bars. You can find them at most grocery stores. Most grocery stores have gluten free aisles. I like the fact that at Trader Joe's there gluten free items are all marked with a yellow sticker by the product and are infused with all of the products.

    Insane is right about not substituting a lot of the gluten free substitutes for "normal". They aren't that healthy and do not taste that good. However, the gluten free chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe's are amazing if you are looking for a snack.

    I make most meals but always did. Now I try to eat much more whole foods and not processed. I've actually lost 20 pounds since going gluten free.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    One of my current stressors is that easy child/difficult child has GI issues and his SO is a "Southern cook from scratch" woman who has never met a fried food that she doesn't love. Ugh! Without exaggeration that is one of my biggest issues as I try to detach from him and let him prepare to live his life with-o his Mama. Lordy I am TRYING but I can't help but toss in the suggestions that he eat healthily when she is at work. Sigh. DDD
  8. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My kids and I have been girlfriend for 7 years. My kids were 10 and 8 when we started. With my children, I focused on all of the "good" things they could still have that were girlfriend. I told them if there were cupcakes at school, I would get them a treat after school. A lot of ice cream and candy are gluten free and readily available.

    I try to eat and serve unprocessed foods. Kids are going to want their junk food though. My rules are read every label and don't eat anything with wheat, natural flavor, rye, oats, barley, or malt. There are certain brands like Kraft, Unilever, and Sara Lee that will not hide gluten in natural flavor, so those would be ok with just that. Now, you can also google products on your phone while you are in the store and usually find out if they are girlfriend and lots of things are marked gluten free.

    It used to be that gluten was hidden in ingredients but there was a law passed that any wheat has to be clearly listed on the label. I think barley is really the only one that is likely to be hidden in malt or natural flavor.

    I agree that gluten free substitutes that try to be normal can be awful. I have had good luck substituting a girlfriend flour blend in regular recipes for cakes and cookies. I use King Arthur girlfriend flour and add some xanthan gum to the recipe, somewhere around 1 t per cup of flour.

    7 years ago, I used the website and their forum for my information.

    I was never much of a cook before and now do cook most nights. I must admit that is the worst part! Still, I feel so much better that it is worth it and we are eating healthier.
  9. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    By following a paleo eating outline, I don't have to even look for gluten. No processed foods which are the worst source of hidden glutens, and watch closely, if he gets fast food as a treat now and then, many of them have wheat or other kinds of starch coating their frozen fries, or used pressed-formed potato mush product. McDonalds and In-N-Out were the only chains we would trust for Kiddo's fries. (She doesn't get 'em now, too carby which turns into sugars and sends her into weirdness.)

    Figure out which treats *must* be part of the child's life, then figure out what to replace them with. Gluten free breads are either badly refined and highly processed, or expensive, or both.

    I make a knock-out pan of scones, but it uses our home-made coconut flour (defatted dehydrated shredded coconut, what's left after we make coconut milk, after it's all dried out I run it through the food processor to grind it further.)

    1/2 cup lard (you could probably use butter.)
    2 cups coconut flour
    2 or 3 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    water, stock, juice, or any other liquid of your choice depending on the other ingredients

    Salt to taste
    Savory seasonings if this is a savory treat, sweet spices if you're using fruit, all to taste

    Seperate the eggs. Beat the whites to soft peaks, set aside. Rub the fat into the coconut flour (lumpy is ok) then add the rest of your dry ingredients. Add the egg yolks, and enough of your liquid (1/2 cup or more) to make it a slightly-less-than-stiff paste.

    Get a 9 inch skillet, grease it up good, get it hot and sizzling. Fold the whites into the yolky flour mixture, fold in whatever other ingredients (cooked sausage crumbles, diced bacon, chopped fruit, shredded cheese, whatever you want) and scrape into the hot skillet, spread as evenly as you can (it'll probably be lumpy) and allow to cook on the stove only until the edges start to brown.

    Pop into a toaster oven, convection oven, or regular oven at 375*F. Bake about 20 to 30 minutes until browned on top and firm in the center. If you greased the pan enough, it should flip out onto your cutting board. Let it cool a couple minutes, or as long as you can bear to wait, then cut into quarters and serve.

    Oh the kids love it. :) You might be able to do this with almond flour too, or a mix of the two - but I wouldn't go with any grain or bean flours on this, it's specifically for an ingredient that isn't starchy or absorptive. I couldn't guarantee it wouldn't be anything but a heavy, doughy frisbee in that case.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    p.s. - if the issue is WHEAT and not GLUTEN... life is easier. And if it is WHEAT... then it may "just" be modern wheat - in which case it's easier yet. I can have gluten and not modern wheat... you'd be amazed at the REALLY good cookies and breads that can be made with barley flour or ancient wheat (like Red Fife). Speaking of which, I'd better go bake up a couple more batches of cookies tonight because... they don't last long in our house (barley flour base with raisins and coconut - chewy, sweet but not too sweet... <drool>)
  11. nerfherder

    nerfherder Active Member

    Oh that reminds me! I used to make a raw granola bar cookie - sprouted buckwheat (only BARELY sprouted, you want to see the white root tip peeking out but nothing else - once it gets green it's mildly toxic) chopped in the food processor with dried fruits and whatever honey or other wet sweetener you like. Dehydrate until crisp. There are recipes out there for it, but it's not something in our meal plans anymore. But it's a good treat and most of the time in making is waiting for things to finish happening - sprouting, dehydrating.
  12. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    At present we don't know what her son's GI issues are, her son's regular doctor suggested they go girlfriend until he can get to a GI that sees kids to see if it helps his symptoms in the meantime. On her behalf, I would like to thank everyone for all the help, she says she's learned a lot. :)
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If they aren't sure what the issue is... then I'd be tempted to start removing suspected problem foods one at a time, starting with the highest-probability items. For example... modern wheat would go first, then all wheat, then rye, then oats, then barley... Also try CF.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    BEFORE she goes girlfriend she should at least consider an elimination diet. You eliminate one food and then introduce it after a couple of weeks to see if the body reacts. They are hugely helpful, in my opinion. Googling elimination diet should give her a lot of good information. The allergy doctor we see is adamant about doing the elim diet before going girlfriend or CF diets because simply going girlfriend or CF or both does not give you specific info. You can be allergic or intolerant of wheat but fine with other foods with gluten but you won't have a clue unless you do the elim diet first.

    There are some amazing websites with girlfriend recipes. We are not girlfriend but I love recipes and cookbooks. Here is a recipe that I found that is really really great and my family was shocked that it was girlfriend.

    Where's the Crust Pizza

    Combine thoroughly and press into bottom of greased 9X13 pan

    8 oz REG cream cheese (Do NOT use low fat or fat free)
    2 eggs
    1/4 c grated parmesan
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp garlic powder

    Bake 12-15 min at 350 degrees until golden brown.
    Let cool 10 min.

    Spread 1/2 c pizza sauce on crust.
    Sprinkle 1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella on top of sauce.
    Add whatever other toppings you like.
    Sprinkle a bit of garlic powder over everything to taste.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 min until cheese is melted.

    This is amazing even when you use the cheap sawdust parmesan. husband loves it on popcorn and so do the kids so we had a big thing of it from Sam's. I bought a block of parmesan to grate but when the kids made the recipe they used the cheap stuff. I was surprised that it was so good. Esp as I am a bread lover.

    Cream cheese is crazy expensive right now. We go through quite a bit, so I buy it at Sam's. It is $2.25 for 8 oz at the grocery and $6.48 at our Sams. They also have very inexpensive other cheeses. Esp the grated bags of cheddar, mozzarella, and colby jack that I buy because husband hides the grater if I use it.

    The website is and while it is not girlfriend, it does have some girlfriend recipes that seem as good as this one. Plus non girlfriend recipes that we have loved. There are other boards that are totally girlfriend and/or cf free recipes and those can be super helpful also. Most seem like they are 'real people food' and not something some health nut dreamed up that seems more like horse feed than human food. NOT knocking horse feed, but it is for horses, Know what I mean??