Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gluten Free, Or Not?

I have been reading a great deal about the food my family eats for several years now, although my preoccupation with foods increased tremendously with my IC diagnosis, and even more so since we have removed gluten from our diet. What I am finding is that is can truly be so difficult to decipher the labels on the packages unless you know what you are reading.

Welcome to Label Reading 101! While I am not an expert in nutrition, I have learned from those who are in my opinion wonderful resources for label reading and understanding. Nothing is more frustrating than purchasing something only to find out there is poison lurking within the packaging. For me, gluten is a poison. I have to be careful or I become quite ill.

What is Gluten Free? How can I tell what I can eat and what I cannot? It seems that the food manufacturers hide so many things within that label. I have come to believe that learning to read an ingredients label is much like learning a foreign language. I have come across the following resources that have been very helpful:

My very first resource was located after a search around the internet yielded many different web sites with a lot of information, but the more I read, the more confused I became. Finally, I found Karina's site, The Gluten Free Goddess. On her website, she has something she refers to as a "cheat sheet" for those new to the gluten free lifestyle. This cheat sheet helped me to begin developing a good foundation for where to find gluten. The Gluten Free Goddess is packed with recipes both gluten free and vegan, as well as many tips on how to bake using gluten free ingredients.

Dr Vikki Petersen has become my new hero. She and her husband co-authored a book called "The Gluten Effect". I have been reading her blog, The Gluten Doctors and have found her to be a very compassionate woman who lives a gluten free life with her husband and children. Her posts are insightful and tend to challenge the main stream way of thought. She has a very thorough list of gluten foods and ingredients to avoid on her clinic site.

Lisa Lundy is a mother of children with multiple allergies including the need to avoid gluten. I was drawn to her website through a You Tube video which shared her story. She is quite a inspirational and talented lady! Lisa has a very informative website, The Super Allergy Girl (although it can be overwhelming at first because it does have SO MUCH information) and a cook book, The Super Allergy Girl Cookbook; Gluten-free Casein-free Nut-free..

Of course, I have adopted several gluten free websites through my research, however, these are my top picks for easy to read information that provided a clear cut guide to what I could and could not eat. It is nice to have resources to help navigate the mysterious food labels out there. For that I am thankful.

Tonight for super my family and I enjoyed a delicious, quick, and easy to prepare dish I found on The Gluten Free Goddess website, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas! We absolutely loved them! No meat either. My husband and daughter were a bit cautious about trying this dish, but decided after trying my Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes the other night that it would be okay to try. I am so glad they did. This recipe makes you feel SPOILED!

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