Food Strategies For Newbies: A Day in the Gluten-Intolerant Life

-

gluten-free-claire-harrison

When I became a gluten-sensitive newbie a year ago, I couldn’t figure out what I’d eat on a day-by-day basis.

This hadn’t been a problem when I became lactose-intolerant because so many alternatives to cow’s milk products were in the grocery stores. Nor had it been a diet problem because my program (Weight Watchers) was not restrictive in choice, just in portion size.

But gluten-sensitivity (and also a problem with oats, alas) threw me into a complete tizzy. So many of my favorite foods were out the window. What was I going to eat at breakfast? For lunch? What about when I just wanted to grab a snack?

Oh yes, I could eat potatoes, rice cakes, rice crackers, and rice/corn cereals until I was blue in the face, but eventually I overdosed. Basically, my food choices shrank to the point that they fit in a very small box. To say I was unhappy would have been a major understatement.

Fast forward a year later: I’m no longer down in the no-gluten dumps. In fact, I have a more varied and interesting diet than I’ve ever had. Why? It’s not because stores are carrying a lot more gluten-free products. I can’t eat most of them because they contain milk and/or are too high in calories.

Rather I decided to change my mind-set and develop healthy, non-gluten food strategies. This required

  • Working with alternative flours and baking methods.
  • Researching gluten-free blogs to see what other folks are doing.
  • Spending more time in the kitchen preparing what I wanted to eat.
  • Experimenting with food and food possibilities.

 

Originally, my greatest food problem wasn’t with dinner because that meal usually has potatoes or rice. Rather, I had problems with breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Here are the food strategies I developed. (I’ve created links to my version of these foods for your convenience, but you can also search the Internet and find many others.)

Breakfast Strategies:

Eggs + Sweet Quick Breads: Quick (no-yeast) gluten-free breads, e.g., orange-apricot bread, cornbread, can easily replace bread.

Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Farina: If you’re like me and can’t eat oatmeal, this is a filling substitute. Add fruit, milk, or a sweetener. (Note: I have no connection to the company in any way.)

Lunch Strategies:

Sandwiches: Use corn tortillas instead of bread.

Salads: To make a salad more filling, add

  • Cold, cooked quinoa grain
  • Chickpeas or other beans
  • Nuts and/or seeds
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Canned tuna or salmon
  • Cold cuts
  • Baked tofu
  • Apple

 

Vegetable Soups: A big pot of soup provides a number of lunches. To make a soup more filling, you can add

  • Potatoes or tofu while cooking
  • Cooked rice or rinsed beans at the end of cooking
  • Some plain yogurt to your bowl
  • Grated cheese to your bowl

 

Roasted Vegetable Medleys: A large pan provides several lunches. Think cauliflower and broccoli, onions and leeks, carrots, and parsnips, and any root vegetable.

  • For carbohydrate, add potatoes to the mix.
  • For protein, sprinkle a bowl of roasted vegetables with grated cheese and nuke for a few minutes.

 

Broccoli Slaw with Turkey, and Apple: This qualifies under “salads,” but I make this so often that it deserves its own space. It’s fast to make, filling, healthful, and delicious.

  • 2 cups broccoli slaw
  • 2 pieces sliced turkey/chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 2 pickle sandwich slices, cut into small pieces
  • 1 apple, unpeeled, cut into small chunks
  • 1 tbsp. mayonnaise (in my case, fat-reduced)
  • Mix and add salt, to taste.

 

Snack Strategies (sweet and savoury):

“Grab quickly” snacks include:

  • Nuts and/or seeds
  • Cheese
  • Fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Raw vegetables

 

“Kitchen-time” snacks: A little preparation will widen your choices.

 

Bean Bakes: I found a recipe for “Lemon Bean Cake” in a booklet put out by the Ontario Bean Producers and haven’t looked back since. No flour, no dairy: just white navy beans, eggs, baking powder, salt, and whatever ingredient(s) I experiment with. These cinch-to-make, low-cal, nutritious bean bakes have turned out to be my favourite snack food. In fact, I’ve created The Bean Bake Blog to make a home for them.  Some examples include:

  • Banana-Coconut Bean Bake
  • Chocolate-Orange Bean Bake
  • Cauliflower-Salsa Bean Bake
  • Chocolate-Cauliflower Bean Bake (imagine that!)

 

Clearly, creating your good non-gluten day will depend on your own preferences, diet, time constraints, and so on. But think of your research and learning curve as a free education, and your time and experimentation in the kitchen, not as a chore, but as self-indulgence. The payoff is worth it!

 

———————-
Author Information: Claire Harrison, Ottawa, Canada

By Claire Harrison: Claire writes The Food Refashionista blog about food and recipes for people who are gluten-sensitive, lactose-intolerant, and watching the weight for health reasons. (www.foodrefashionista.wordpress.com)

 


About Claire Harrison

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

two × five =

x

Check Also

glutenfreeandmore-spring-2016

Deal Alert! Gluten Free and More Magazine 70% Off Sale Today Only!

Hey Friend! I have to share a super opportunity to get a fantastic gluten-free magazine at an ...

Surviving Game Day Gluten Free

Sunday is the big game day, Superbowl XLIX.  Many will be gathering with friends and ...

Heal Your Gut

Celiac Disease (CD) is not curable, but it is manageable by eating a strict gluten ...

terigruss_fish-sticks

Gluten-Free Fish Stick Recipe

Cold water, wild fish is a healthy, safe option when you’re shopping for fish. If ...

glutenfreerooseveltlodgebeans[1]

Are You Eating A Low Fiber Gluten-Free Diet?

Did you know that eating a low fiber diet puts you at an increased risk ...