When Mark was recently diagnosed as Celiac and told that, without exception, he had to stop eating any food that contained gluten, I had to look at what we ate so I could actively remove it. The gauntlet was well and truly thrown down, and I was going to pick it up and run!
The kitchen cupboards were cleared of flour, all ingredient labels were scrutinized and everything that was no longer on the menu was given away. My first thought when I looked at what remained in my cupboards was, “Well, there’s more here than I expected. We can work with this.” So the quest began.
Huge swathes of the supermarket are now completely off limits! Think of all those lovely things that contain wheat, rye and barley. But believe it or not, the most healthy bits are still very much available. Meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, pulses and nuts: who can't make a meal with all of that?
Even if you are vegetarian there is so much you can do without needing to go back to certain grains.
The “free-from” aisle has become a lingering point. I bought gluten-free flour blends, Xanthum gum and any number of GF goodies. My first foray into GF bread-making had to be seen to be believed, but Mark dutifully ate the disaster! Was I really going to become a slave to baking my own? It's busy round here, we both work and have a teenage son — I don't have a lot of time to play alchemist. Also after more than 25 years together (21 married) was I really going to have to change a lifetime of recipes? Eek!
In the short time since his diagnosis, I have also learned that there are lots of naturally gluten-free products out there, so you don't have to opt for the more expensive GF labeled versions. But you do have to do your homework! For me, joining Coeliac UK was well worth doing as they supply a little book bursting with GF labeled products and naturally GF foods — a real eye opener.
The fog lifts and we can look at what we can eat instead of what we can't — it's a frame of mind thing.
What I have found, however, is that you can use some mass-produced gluten-free products and give them a twist of your own without putting your family at risk during the process. All you need to do is take a sideways view.
Here's my first “twist,” which can be flung together with little thought and in no time at all, with great results.
Den (Denise) Forster works for a construction company in York, U.K. Has a son, Adam. Married since 1993 to Mark. Has a cat called Lily. Enjoys music of all types and was a Leeds Goth in the 1980s, as well as an accomplished knitter. Always up for a challenge!