Gluten Free Guide for Newbies

So I knew I wanted to make a Gluten Free Guide for Newbies but I wasn’t sure what to include in it since I’ll be doing other posts solely based on certain topics.

I thought of the following 5 topics: What is Gluten, Getting Diagnosed, Finding Community, Grocery Shopping, and Is Gluten in Cosmetics/skin care products?

What is Gluten?

I’m not going to address this here since I already did an entire post dedicated to this topic (see post here: The Basics of Gluten: What, Who, Why?) but thought it is vital to mention since it’s the basis of this post 🙂

Getting Diagnosed:

So you think you’re gluten intolerant or have Celiac Disease and you’re wondering how to get tested. First, find a good GI doctor. I mean a GOOD doctor. One who is knowledgeable about Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance and will take your symptoms seriously (If you’re located in southern Indiana, I know a good GI doctor). Second, do not rely on the results from a blood test. The most accurate way to get diagnosed is by getting a endoscopy done. A scope will show (if you have Celiac) how much damage gluten has done to the villi in your small intestine. What better way to find out what’s going on with your GI tract then to actually see your GI tract and the damage (pretty cool, huh?). Secondly, getting gene tested is a GREAT idea to do as well.

When going gluten free, it affects everyone differently. Personally, I felt better RIGHT away! For my mom, it took her a few weeks to feel better, but she had been sick since she was 8 years old. Sometimes the longer you’ve been sick, the harder it will affect you. I’ve heard that it takes 1 month for every year you’ve been sick.

Finding Community:

You’ve been diagnosed Celiac or Gluten Intolerant but you don’t know where to start. I highly suggest finding a support group in your local area that holds meetings and/or you can contact for information. People in your area are more likely to know what grocery stores near by carry gluten free products, what restaurants have a gluten free menu or are knowledgeable about gluten free and cross contamination, and it’s always nice to have someone who understands.

Not long after I figured out I was gluten intolerant (see my story here: My Gluten Free Story) my mom and I started our own support group. We held monthly meetings, had samples, demonstrations, and got to meet many people in our area who are gluten free. Now, we only have our facebook page but are always available if anyone needs to meet locally to shop, go through your pantry, recipes, advice, etc. If you’d like to join our facebook page support group, please message me. I would be more than happy to add you!

Grocery Shopping:

Here are some of the grocery stores we shop at regularly or have shopped at in the past for gluten free items.

  1. Aldi: If you have an Aldi in your area or near by, this grocery store will become your best friend. Aldi is GREAT for gluten free! If a product is gf, it will be clearly labeled on the package. They also label lactose free products as well. And it gets better, Aldi has their own line of gluten free products called, “Live GFree”, not all of this brand is lactose/dairy free though. Some of their gluten free foods include: chicken nuggets, pancakes, cookies, flour and baking mixes, cheesecake, pretzels, granola, pizza, pasta, wraps, bread, and SO much more! Personally, I like Aldi’s gluten free bread better than some of the more popular gluten free brands. Also, Aldi is more affordable. It’s a win-win situation.
  2. Kroger: Carries specialty gluten free brands, normally in the aisle with the organic/natural foods. Usually has a wide variety of products. I have found “So Delicious” products, “Enjoy Life”, “Udi’s”, “Glutino”, “Pamela’s”, and more. Also has sales every once in a while, not all Krogers/Jay C has the same items. Will vary for locations.
  3. Meijer: Has their own gluten free section of the isle. Carry items similar to Kroger. Also has sales and coupons that will print out on your receipt once you have purchased items. Also has a good selection of frozen products like, pot-pies, pizzas, muffins, chicken nuggets, and more.
  4. Whole Foods: I have only been maybe twice because there is not one close to our area (Bloomington is getting one soon! Yay!). Seemed to have a good selection. When I was there you had to go to the service desk to ask for the items because there weren’t “specifically gluten free brand names.” Seemed more expensive.
  5. Fresh Thyme: Similar to Whole Foods but smaller. Items were fresh and had good variety for the size of the store.
  6. Trader Joe’s: Similar to Whole Foods, I have only been twice. Had good selection and had to ask for a list. Seemed cheaper than Whole Foods.
  7. Bloomingfoods (located in Bloomington, IN): I love Bloomingfoods! Some of their items are pricey but if you’re a member you get discounts. Has many organic items and fresh produce that are locally grown. It is a locally owned Co-op. Have many specialty gluten free items with good variety. Also, have a deli where you can order gluten free sandwiches and a side!
  8. Sunspot: Similar to Bloomingfoods but smaller. I have been to the one in Lafayette and there is one in Kokomo. Not sure of other locations.
  9. Walmart: Has “Udi’s” products, variety of brand of pizzas, Perdue chicken nuggets, pot-pies, ice cream, etc. Varies by location.
  10. Sam’s Club: Packaged deli meats, rotisserie chicken, “Crunchmaster” crackers (Aldi has a version very similar), cereals, organic chicken and ground beef, pre-cooked barbecue beef ribs (labeled gf), pre-cooked brisket (labeled gf), and more.
  11. Target: Has many “Udi” products, “Enjoy Life” chocolate chips, ice cream, crackers, etc.

Is Gluten in Cosmetics/skin care products?

Yes. Gluten can be in cosmetics/skin care products. Whether or not you need to purchase gluten free products depends on your sensitivity. If you have skin rashes, sensitive skin, acne, headaches, “brain fog”, etc, it might be a good idea to watch those products and determine if you see a difference. (See my product reviews of many gluten free products I use under this tab!)

TIPS:

Something that helped us a lot was that our cousin, who is also gf, made us a binder full of recipes and information. I would highly suggest doing this for yourself! When you find a specific item you like, write it down or save the label and place it in the binder, when you call a company to make sure their item is gf, write it in the binder. It is a HUGE resource for us! *Remember, products do change so call the companies often to update!

Also, when you’re cleaning out your pantry and call companies to see if their products are gf, write “GF” on the top of the product. You’ll know that you’ve already called the company about this item and you’ll know it’s safe for you to eat! This is especially useful if you’re cooking in a shared kitchen.

I hope this guide has been helpful for you all!

Have a topic you want me to cover? Feel free to let me know!

Sincerely,

Ciara

 

 

 

 

 

 

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