Gluten Free Guide for Beginners

 

Welcome to gluten free living! This journey might feel overwhelming (and a host of other emotions?) right now, but I PROMISE it will get easier as you go. And, you’re in the right place! My husband was diagnosed with multiple food allergies (wheat, barley, soy, and oats) over 7 years ago, and I’ve spent that long learning how to navigate this lifestyle and developing recipes that actually taste good.

***disclaimer: none of this information is intended to replace advice from a qualified medical professional. Always do your own research to find what is best for you and your own health.

I remember exactly how overwhelmed I felt when my husband got his diagnosis, and that’s what led me to start this website – I want to help make your journey a little easier. Below, you’ll find other helpful websites, information to keep you (or your loved one) safe, and a host of recipes. 

I hope this gluten free guide is helpful for you, and that you find some recipes here that you will truly enjoy. If you ever have a gluten free baking question, shoot me an e-mail, comment on any post here on Life After Wheat, or send me a DM on social media via @LifeAfterWheat. 

What is Cross Contamination, and do I need to worry about it?

Cross contamination (or CC), happens when gluten-containing food touches the gluten-free food you’re going to eat. If you have celiac disease, even the tiniest amount of gluten can be damaging and make you sick, so you definitely need to be conscious of cross contamination. 

Cross contamination can happen at home, at restaurants, or just about anywhere. 

Cross Contamination at Home

If you are sensitive to cross contamination, it is ideal to remove all gluten-containing products from your home. If you are sharing the home with others, this might be difficult or even impossible, so you’ll need to make a plan to keep yourself safe.

I chose to eliminate wheat flour from our home because it is so easy for it to get everywhere. I do all my baking gluten free, and honestly, we don’t miss the wheat at all! We are lucky enough to have two kitchens, so I use the downstairs kitchen to keep the kids’ wheat products because feeding four kids gluten 24/7 is expeeeennnnsive.  This method works for us, and my husband has been able to stay safe and well with the methods we’ve put in place. Find what works for you in your situation.

If you have to share a kitchen with others who are eating gluten, check out this helpful guide on how to share a kitchen when you’re gluten free by my friend Leah at Grain Changer (ps: she also has the BEST granola recipes!) 

Cross Contamination at Restaurants

Yes, you can still eat out when you’re gluten free! Use the Find Me Gluten Free app to find suggestions, and always call the restaurant ahead of time to ask if they have a gluten free menu and what measures they take to avoid cross contamination. Look for restaurants that:

1. Have a gluten free menu (bonus if it’s online!)

2. Have trained and knowledgeable staff – are they able to answer general questions about their procedures to avoid cross contamination?

3. Have protocols in place to avoid cross contamination:

  • Separate food preparation area
  • Dedicated fryer for gluten free items like french fries
  • Employees wash hands and change gloves (and possibly aprons) before preparing gluten free foods

Are Oats Gluten Free?

Maybe. While oats are naturally gluten free, they are often grown, harvested, and packaged alongside wheat. This leads to huge cross contamination risks so you’ll want to do a little research to figure out if oats can fit into your dietary needs, and which types will be best for you.

There are a few general categories of oats:

  1. Regular oats with no gluten free labelling
  2. Oats labeled “gluten free”
  3. Oats with a “certified gluten free” seal
  4. Purity Protocol oats

Regular oats are not acceptable for those with a wheat allergy or celiac disease.

The FDA mandates that products containing the wording “gluten free” must have less than 20 ppm of gluten. There is no testing associated with this claim however, so some of these products might be considered safe and others may not, depending on the processes put into place by a particular brand. Oats with only the label of “gluten free” are generally not considered a safe option.

Certified gluten free oats are tested to be under 10 PPM, in accordance with practices set forth by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG). 

All of the above varieties of oats could have been grown alongside wheat, or processed with the same equipment. Purity protocol oats have been grown, harvested, and packaged in facilities where wheat is not present. Many of these oats are certified gluten free and routinely tested using stringent measures, making purity protocol the safest oats you can find if you’re gluten free. You can find a list of oats produced under a gluten-free purity protocol via Gluten Free Watchdog.

Give Me the Gluten Free Recipes!

I know you’re anxious to find some fail-proof recipes that actually taste good! I’ve got you covered. Here is a list of The Best Gluten Free Recipes – a list I compiled of all our favs. These recipes are all easy to make, and perfect for beginners! Definitely try the Easy, 4 Ingredient Gluten Free Biscuits, it is our most popular recipe and so easy to make.

Also, be sure to check out our Gluten Free Holidays recipes when the holidays roll around!

Help! What Gluten Free Products Should I Buy? Do Any of Them Taste Good??

I get asked this question a LOT, so I made a list of our favorite bread products and flour blends:

Other Great Gluten Free Websites

While I hope you’ll find lots of helpful info and recipes here at Life After Wheat, I also want to share some of my favorite gluten free bloggers with you. These gals work hard to create recipes and share helpful info, and I know you’ll love them, too!

Allergy Awesomeness – Caring for children with food allergies and EOE, lots of recipes and helpful info (I am loving her new IP cookbook!)

Allergy Free Alaska – most recipes are also corn-free and dairy-free (or have options for such) 

Allergylicious – vegan and allergy-friendly recipes

Flippin’ Delicious – lots of dairy free recipes, and her cupcakes are just the best!

Four Score Living – low carb and keto recipes

Gluten Free Palate – simple, easy-to-follow recipes with minimal ingredients. Try the Banana Everything Bars!

Grain Changerlots of beautiful recipes of all kinds

My Gluten-Free Kitchen – if you have a sweet tooth, Michelle is your gal!

Sarah Bakes Gluten Free – dairy free baked goods and fun treats that are free from gluten, dairy, and eggs

This Vivacious Life – fun party ideas and the best mocktail recipes you’ll find on the web (plus lots of other gf recipes)

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Welcome to Life After Wheat! | ThereIsLifeAfterWheat
    May 16, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    […] Gluten Free Resources […]

  • Reply
    Irene
    December 4, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    I made your sandwich bread it was great.
    Can this bread be adjusted because I can’t have yeast
    I need a bread that rises

  • Reply
    LifeAfterWheat
    December 7, 2015 at 7:23 am

    I haven’t tried any substitutions for yeast Irene, I’m sorry. Hope you find something that works!

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