Category Archives: Gluten free shock

Tips and tricks and misconceptions

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.

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Hey restaurants, know your food!

Normally I plan my ‘outdoor’ meals ahead of time by checking online restaurant menus and nutrition charts. At the very least, I’ll try and see if there is a gluten free menu and then I’ll just make a wild on-the-fly decision right there in the booth. But you can’t always plan for everything. Sometimes you’ve forgotten to pack run out of your on-the-go snacks, and sometimes you just want more than a bite. I don’t have the best phone (contract’s up in May!); sometimes it likes to shut off on its own, and other times I’ll have to do the dreaded ‘battery pull’ because opening a web page freezes up the *expletive* device. As a result I try to avoid surfing the net with my phone, which means I can’t access online restaurant menus when I’m out unless I’m with somebody. This means, restaurant employees, I rely on you.

(Flickr / mattfour)

(Flickr / mattfour)

So, when I ask, ‘what on your menu does not have gluten?’ I really would appreciate the correct response. (Side note: This is not a post about being ‘glutened’ or, as I like to call it, ‘snipered.’) I have been witness to incredibly rushed answers to this question, with each one being a resounding and abrupt, ‘no-we-don’t-have-anything-gluten-free.’

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Why I love the Bulk Barn

Even though I’ve never really spent too much time in the kitchen, I suppose I’ve always been a fan of the Bulk Barn. However my main reason for visiting throughout the years has always been so I could pick up snacks for the movies. I mean, hey, why spend $5-$10 on a snack when you can spend $2 and have a larger selection of chocolate to choose from?

Last week I showed my recipe for gluten free key lime cupcakes and I said I used a mix because I essentially couldn’t be bothered to mix my own flours. Well, I decided to suck it up and finally do it. I’ve been spending months reading about gluten free recipes, and so many have said, ‘mix your own flour’ because the end result is just that much better. So, I took some time researching different gluten free flour mixtures and headed to the Bulk Barn. I was surprised to see the store had an entire gluten free section. Very impressed. The flours were even on sale; consider me doubly impressed.

A gluten free section at the Bulk Barn -- and they're all on sale? What a happy surprise.

A gluten free section at the Bulk Barn — and they’re all on sale? What a happy surprise.

I purchased brown rice flour, sorghum flour, coconut flour, cornstarch, and tapioca starch, and the final tally was $5.47.

Now what to bake with all these flours...

Now what to bake with all these flours…

$5.47 for all of that! If I had bought a pre-packed mix of gluten free flour to equal the amount I purchased, I would have easily spent between $15 and $20.

So there you have it. I may be late in the game, but better than late than never. Oh, and if you’re wondering what exactly I’m going to do with all this flour, well,  stay tuned…

 

 

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A not-so-exaggerated reaction to going G-free

John Pinette is my favourite comedian. He is the master of self-depreciation; it’s just enough to not make me roll my eyes. And he perfectly combines exaggeration with dry non-reactions. Really, he is everything a standup comic should strive to be.

My family and I first discovered Pinette a few years ago on the Comedy Network. From his bit on eating in Italy to his confession on juicing a ham, we lost our minds wheezing with laughter. One skit that always stuck out in my mind was the one about gluten. Truth be told, I didn’t quite know what it was at the time, but I knew it had something to do with wheat, and, like Pinette, my diet led me to agree with him: I was fairly certain I was ‘mostly gluten.’

Omitting this omnipresent elastic protein from my diet was not as simple as nixing bread and bread alone. Oh no. I had to start examining the labels of everything I picked up in a grocery store. Hot dogs can have gluten. So, too, do many BBQ sauces. Bouillon cubes and pickles were a couple other surprises. And now for my favourite: soy sauce. Sushi has just never tasted the same without it.

Pinette was right. What is gluten? Check out the video below and find out.

Of course, my mindset has come a long way since adapting to my new lifestyle, but as a newbie gluten free gal and a long-time fan of Pinette, how could I not devote a post to his take on the subject?

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No more bread…ever?

After years of believing the best part about being Italian is the food, I came to a brutal realization in recent months. I cannot eat gluten. This discovery was bitter-sweet. On the one hand, I felt relief because I was finally able to pinpoint what was giving me excruciating, ongoing stomach pains. But on the other, well, no gluten means no pasta, no lasagna, no fettini (breaded cutlets), and no extra bread to sop up the leftover tomato sauce on my plate. Or so I thought.

As I continue to grapple with my new permanent diet, I see there are plenty of substitutions for the foods I once loved. And sometimes these substitutions are even tastier and more satisfying than the original dish I grew up with. Sometimes. There are still times when I just want to chomp down into a fresh baguette.

Changing my diet has ultimately changed my lifestyle. I have become a healthier person overall, but I still stumble over little annoyances.

‘Oh, we’re going on an impromptu weekend getaway? Time to load my bag with an arsenal of gluten free snacks.’

‘You want to eat at your favourite pub tonight? Let me check out the pub’s website to see if they have anything for me.’ *time passes* ‘No such luck. How about THIS place instead?’

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