Have you tried gluten-free bread? It needs gluten. I don’t know what gluten is, but apparently it’s delicious. –John Pinette

I don’t know what gluten is either, but someone recently suggested that trying to go gluten-free might just eliminate some of my on-going issues inflammation and chronic pain. I know it will be an overwhelming challenge, but with the possibility of improvement or long-term results, how can I not try it?

Gluten is the elastic protein found in such grains as wheat, barley, rye, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), spelt, farro, and kamut…as well as semolina, durum, and freekeh. Freaky?

Like any new diet, I’m aware that it’s going to take some time to get used to. In fact, another someone (same group of gals) suggested that I take a week to prepare before switching to a gluten-free diet to eliminate the panic that will likely overwhelm when I really start to feel deprived by the diet’s restrictions. Since breakfast and snacks will the bigger meal challenges, I’ve already picked up some rice cakes, gluten-free cereal, and gluten-free pancake mix! I already can’t eat corn or corn flour, fish, shellfish, or dairy, so that limits some of my options too. I’m already a label-reader so the extra time in the grocery store is no big deal!

Allowed foods:
Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
Fresh eggs, meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
Fruits and vegetables
Most dairy products

It’s important to make sure that they are not processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives. The “allowed list” is growing:

Amaranth, Arrowroot, Buckwheat, Corn and cornmeal, Flax, Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean), Hominy (corn), Millet, Quinoa, Rice, Sorghum, Soy, Tapioca, and Teff. Too bad I don’t recognize some of these!

And, of course, there’s an “Always Avoid” list:
Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley), Rye, Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), Wheat, as well as Bulgur, Durum flour, Farina, Graham flour, Kamut, Semolina, and Spelt.

And there’s more – Beer, Bread, Cakes and pies, Candies, Cereals, Cookies and crackers, Croutons, French fries, Gravies, Pastas, Processed luncheon meat, Salad dressings, Sauces (including soy sauce),, Seasoned rice mixes, Seasoned snack foods (potato and tortilla chips), Soups and soup bases, and Vegetables in sauce! The “Allowed List” just got smaller.

Certain grains, such as oats, can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing stages of production, so avoiding oats unless they are specifically labeled gluten-free is recommended. There go my Cheerios!

And other products that may contain gluten include:

Food additives, such as malt flavoring, modified food starch and others
Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent
Play dough

Hubby told me to tell you that he’s not too concerned that I’ll be eating play dough…but if I get hungry enough, all bets are off!

I like shopping at health food stores. If you want to know where the gluten-free stuff is, look for the gentleman with a gun in his mouth — ’cause bullets are gluten-free.  John Pinette

References: Mayo Clinic – Gluten Free Diet
John Pinette Quote #1
John Pinette Quote #2