Before you begin
It only takes one single molecule of gluten to contaminate a gluten intolerant person. This means a crumb smaller than the eye can see can harm the intestines of someone who is gluten free. So before you get started, there are a few things to clean and a few tips on avoiding gluten. If you are doing the 2 week gluten challenge, then you will not want to toss everything just yet. If you live with others who are still eating gluten, you will have to be more vigilant and be careful.
1. Explain what is happening to your family. A knife which has smeared peanut butter on toast and then put back into the peanut butter has contaminated the whole container. So be sure to talk about the dangers of this to your family. We suggest a separate jar of peanut butter that is labeled Gluten Free. I know a few people who have a separate cabinet that is entirely dedicated to gluten free items and lots of goodies.
2. Cooking utensils and pots. These can be a major source of contamination. Teflon pans cannot go from being used with gluten to being gluten free. cast iron cannot either. If you are doing a challenge and do not have any stainless steel cookware, I suggest picking up some inexpensive cooking pots for the next few weeks. You can invest in new ones if this is going to be a permanent lifestyle change. If you do decide to invest in new cookware, spend the extra money to purchase really nice ones. You will be cooking more and you will thank yourself. cast iron can often be found inexpensively and it lasts forever. Wooden utensils should be discarded or put away. Find or buy some metal ones or some new plastic ones without rough surfaces in which gluten can hide.
3.Get a box! Unless you have people in your house who will not be doing a gluten challenge and they refuse to go without, I highly suggest boxing up the toaster and other contaminated cookware (yes, even the Foreman grill which has been used for sandwiches). Get another box and put away those cereals, flours and pastas. Your bread will not last 2 weeks so I suggest donating these items to a family member. If you decide at the end of two weeks that you do not need to be gluten free, then you can unpack these boxes. However, if you decide to make this permanent, you can just haul the boxes off entirely!
4. Get some paper towels and cleaner! Now wipe down those areas where you stored your gluten foods and utensils. The toaster is the biggest contaminant so be extra careful in that area.
5. Into the bathroom we go! Yup! There might be gluten here too! Wheat protein, colloidial oatmeal, oat extract, avena sativa, barley powder are often in lip products and hair products. So start reading labels and box up the things that have these contaminants in them. What you put on the skin can easily find its way into your mouth.
About the Menu
Before I went gluten free, we were already dairy and soy free. My daughter had “colic” which was cured by a dairy and soy free diet. It is my personal belief that people who have a gluten sensitivity also benefit from a dairy free diet even if only for a short period of time. Many gluten free sites and recipes contain other allergens. Our menu is dairy free, corn free and can easily be adapted to soy free as well. We do rely on eggs and nuts however. If you have an egg or nut allergy, I suggest that you substitute the egg/nut recipe for another meal which does not include eggs/nuts.
Breakfast can be one of the more challenging meals of the day for a gluten intolerant person. I have tried to put together a menu which has some variation. It was my goal to make a menu that did not require stocking your pantry with specialty flours and expensive substitutes. For those just trying this out, it would be far too expensive. Once you decide to become permanently gluten free, then there are many more options available once you stock your kitchen with the proper gluten free baking substitutes.
We primarily eat leftovers for lunch. However, we do have a few quick and easy meals that we throw together for lunch. In addition to having some food intolerances, we are also concerned with nutrition, so I have tried to include many nutrient dense foods as well. Remember, you are what you eat!
1. I am a vegetarian, can I use this menu?
There is a significant amount of meat in this menu. Because this menu is also dairy free, to exclude meat from this menu would make it vegan. A vegan diet is extremely hard to manage while not eating gluten, soy or corn. If you are adamant about not including animal products in your diet, this menu is probably not for you and I encourage you to consult a nutritionist who understands the needs of vegetarians with food intolerances.
2. Can all of this meat be healthy?
Mass produced factory farmed meat is not as nutritious as pastured meats. For more,
I encourage you to find a local farmer and purchased pastured meats from them. You can find your local farmers listed on www.localharvest.org or www.eatwild.com . If you do not have access to pastured meats, then it is important to read your labels on the raw meat. If it is injected with a solution, chances are, it has wheat in the broth with which it is injected. We purchase our non-locally farmed meat from a local small grocer who still cuts their own meat. It is not pre-seasoned or injected with a flavoring solution. It is just plain meat.
3. What happens if I am out and need to eat immediately?
I usually keep a bag of trail mix in my purse, this will stave off hunger until I can get home but just in case you find yourself in need of eating out...
Restaurants are the death nail to many gluten free diets. Contamination happens so easily. Luckily many big chains are catching on to the needs of the ever growing gluten free community. The Outback Steakhouse offers a gluten free menu. If you need to stop for a bite to eat, be sure to go at a slower time of day, not during the busiest times for these restaurants. I usually call the manager before we go. I talk to him and explain our needs. At the Outback, order your meats and steamed vegetables unseasoned and just steamed. The Chocolate Thunder from Down Under is gluten free but not dairy free. If you are not on a dairy free diet, this makes a great birthday treat and you can purchase an entire pie to take home for parties!
We are not doctors, nor can we give you medical advice. We are mothers who were able, through a long process of trial and error, to find a way to heal our children through dietary intervention. We advise you to talk to your health care practitioner before making dietary changes. It is wise to consult with your health care professional on your diet as you go to ensure you are not unintentionally doing something that may be damaging to your health. Eat well and be healthy!