I’ve been gluten free for well over a year now, and while I’ve found my groove in what to eat and where to shop, I don’t dare call myself an expert. Yet I have learned a thing or two along the way, and I thought I’d share them here. I do want to remind readers again, though, that this is all coming from someone with a gluten intolerance, not Celiac disease. Cross contamination is an absolute no-no for people with Celiac, but people with an intolerance, such as myself, can take the chance. So what follows is my own little slice of how I go about living a gluten free life day-by-day.
‘Eating gluten free food is so expensive’
When dining out…
Yes and no. Eating out or indulging in gluten free take-out might run your bill up a bit. For instance, a gluten free pizza crust can easily be $5-$7 more than a ‘normal’ pizza, and it generally comes in one standard small size. Subbing ‘normal’ pasta with gluten free pasta in a restaurant will also add to your bill. If you eat out often (and I can’t believe I’m writing this considering I suffer from ongoing bouts of salad rage) opt for the big salad instead. Salads are almost always lower priced than everything else on the menu. A word of caution though: watch out for croutons and dressing. Balsamic is usually a safe gluten free bet.
When dining in…
Sometimes you can’t get around the extra cost. Gluten free cereal and pastas just cost more — no ifs, ands, or buts. I do, though, try to get around the designated ‘gluten free’ label in some cases. For instance, instead of slapping down $5 or $7 for a box of crackers, I’ll opt to spend $2 on a box of rice crackers. And in the colder Canadian months, I’ll buy oatmeal for warm breakfasts. Both the crackers and oatmeal I buy almost always say ‘may have come into contact with gluten’ on the package, and from my research into these specific brands, this means the product may have been processed on machinery that has produced food containing gluten — but the oats and rice crackers themselves do not have gluten as an ingredient. In these cases, I save money by not buying the designated ‘gluten free’ products but, again, those with Celiac disease should probably dish out the extra cash to be safe.
I cannot stress this enough: make your own gluten free flour mixtures. As raved about in this post, I was floored after seeing how much all purpose gluten free flour was created for under $5. In fact, I still have some left over sitting in a tightly sealed container in my kitchen cabinet.
‘Not eating gluten means you’ll be super skinny’
No. Just no. You still need to watch what you eat and work out. Here’s a little story for you. When I gave up gluten I did, in fact, drop 15 lbs in a mere two weeks. And I’m 5”1, so everyone noticed this dramatic change. There’s no doubt about it: I most certainly shocked my body by cutting out all that bread, pasta, and cereal. But here’s another thing: I was exercising quite a bit and I didn’t really experiment with gluten free alternatives. It actually wasn’t till months later that I started trying gluten free cookies, cakes, donuts, and breads. And what do you think happened when I did? My small frame picked up the weight again! I never really gained the full 15 back because I continued exercising, but I did get a bit heavier.
The thing is, gluten free goodies, such as the ones I mentioned above and have blogged about from time to time, are packed with starches, sugars, and refined carbs. Of course it’s ok to indulge in these treats from time to time (moderation is key after all), but don’t think you’re on a path to weight loss by gorging on a fudgy, gooey piece of gluten free chocolate cake every night!
There you have it: some tips and non-cranky (I swear!) gluten free myth-busting. If you have any tips you’d like to share, please do. I’m still learning and always looking to have a few extra tricks up my sleeve. Till next time! 🙂