Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tips For Beginning a GFCF Diet

I'm amazed by the number of folks who have contacted me in the past two weeks who are looking for advice for themselves or for a friend about how to start a GF or GFCF diet.

Gluten (the "G" in GF, or gluten free) is the protein found in the grains wheat, barley and rye. Most oats are on the list of grains to avoid, due to cross-contamination issues; however, gluten free oats are available.

Casein is the protein found in milk. (Soy is similar enough to milk that you may choose to remove soy with milk/dairy. It is easier to add soy later than remove it later.)

One friend of a friend was diagnosed with celiac sprue and needs to make changes immediately. Others have begun the GFCF diet for a child with autism and are feeling overwhelmed and unsure about food options. And yet another plans to make dietary changes in about a month and are taking some time to research options and prepare.

IF YOU ARE THE PARENT OF A CHILD ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM AND WANT TO DOCUMENT CHANGES IN THE CHILD (OR LACK OF CHANGES), BEFORE YOU IMPLEMENT THE DIET, COMPLETE A CHECKLIST THAT YOU WILL COMPLETE AGAIN AFTER YOU BEGIN THE DIET. One checklist, that is for Dr Neubrander's patients and B-12 injections, is good for documention before and during the diet as well, is here. It is called the Methyl-B12 Parent Designed Report Form and Documentation Letter.

Every time I give advice from my own experience (I am NOT a doctor-I am a mom) to someone, I think of something else I'd like to add to what I told them. So, I decided to start a blog post that I may add to when I think of something else.

I chose not to implement both parts of the diet at the same time. I chose to go GF first. Going gluten free was intimidating to me. Now, I think being simply GF would be easy, a "piece of cake!" (pun intended). We are GFCFSF plus a few more frees.

This post is meant to give you a starting point -- it's not a comprehensive "how to". I'll point you to some solid resources that have been helpful to me the past (almost) nine years toward the bottom of this post.

Find enough foods and meal combinations for *at least* four or five days -- you need some solid choices to fall back on when you're too busy or too tired to look for recipes and read labels. Here are some ideas to get you started (I have recipes in my "quick reference" section in the upper right sidebar of my blog):

1. hamburger pattie, 100% ground beef (no bun, call it a "hamburger steak) , baked potato, or baked beans, green salad w/ "safe" dressing, pickle spears on the side. We like Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce.

2. pot roast w/ potatoes, carrots etc, salad or green beans (use coffee as your broth -- seriously, it's tasty, and GF! It's an easy crock pot meal, too.)

3. roast chicken, baked or fried apples, corn (as per Paula Deen's cookbooks, roast the chicken at 425 for the first 45 min, lower to 350 the rest of the cooking time -- it's great with a lemon squeezed over it, then stuff the lemon into the cavity, lightly salt the chicken and roast that bird!)

4. salmon patties & rice (easy to convert your recipe using crushed GF rice cereal in place of bread crumbs. Caution: make sure your mayo is GF if you use mayo in your recipe - sometimes, I use cornmeal as breading)

5. deli-meat roll-ups (turkey breast, roast beef, ham, rolled up, toothpicks optional:

6. For those who tolerate eggs: scrambled eggs (no milk, use water), bacon, hash browns

7. Ribs (spread 'em w/ French's mustard and top w/ brown sugar, bake 'til fork tender) w/ Bushes baked beans or baked potato on the side

8. Chicken salad served w/ fruit - I have several recipes, with one in the "recipe box" on the blog
9. Homemade turkey sausage - gluten free, casein free, egg free, soy free, MSG free

10. Turn a sandwich into a salad. Here's one example: BLT SALAD (make a BLT, minus bread/croutons, into a salad)

11. Apple turkey burgers (see my blog for recipe in recipe box in the quick reference section); serve the bunless w/ the sauce on the side for dipping

12. If you tolerate soy, buy a wheat free soy or tamari sauce and make teriaki chicken, serve steamed brocolli and carrots on the side, and rice (recipe in recipe box on my blog)

13. A simple mixture of apricot jam/jelly and honey mustard (I use Boar's Head) spread on chicken breasts or a whole chicken cut-up is a nice entree for dinner with leftovers diced on a salad for lunch tomorrow.

There are lots of GFCF waffles and pancakes on the market today (more than when we began in April of 2001). Find them in the freezer section at your supermarket. If you have a waffle or pancake and cereal in the house, you've always got a quick snack idea.

Finding a bread substitute is a booger, because GF bread generally stinks. Kroger sells a tortilla/wrap made from TEFF -- it's across from the deli w/ the wraps at the store near my house. Whole Foods sells a wrap from Food for Life made from rice. At Whole Foods, the wraps are located in the refrigerator section by the cheese substitute and other refrigerated wraps.

Here's a bread recipe I intend to try.

Costco's rotisserie chicken is GF and $4.99. Boston Market has a GF menu. Red Robin and UNO Chicago Grill, do, too. Many restaurants offer nutritional information online - which includes allergen information and gluten free options. Do some homework before you go out for a meal.

I keep Ian's gluten free products and S'Better Farms products in my freezer.

I'm experimenting with Sue Gregg's blender batters.

Check out my posts under the labels GFCF Diet and GFCF Recipes

TACANOW has a big GFCF info section HERE

Check out - here's "deciding to start the diet"

Join the yahoo groups GFCFKids and GFCFRecipes

Cookbooks by (alphabetically listed)
Peter & Kelli Bronski - recipes on their blog
Chloe Chrysler
Stephanie Hemenway
- recipes on her blog
Lisa Lewis
Lisa Lundy - recipes and video "how to" on her blog
Cybele Pascal - recipes on her blog
Barrie Silberberg - e-mail her for a free "how to start the diet" paper

Bloggers are a wonderful resource. I have quite a few in the sidebar of my blog. Scroll down to the section of blogs that I follow and check out some heavy-duty GF and GFCF bloggers who share some great recipes.

Here's a helpful post from a blogger who compiled a list of blogs:

A lot of companies offer newsletters with tips and coupons along with sales. Here are a few:

Beth Hillson's
Living Without magazine
Jules Gluten Free

Add your tips in the comments section for other newbies. I look forward to hearing from you!

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