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Are You in a Celiac Menu Food Rut?

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Good day to you.  Many of us live fast-paced lives which causes us to put an important part of our lives, eating, on the back burner of priorities.  This causes a lot of us to purchase the same food items week-to-week and not exploit the many nutritional food choices out there.  For celiac disease survivors this can be especially problematic as nutrition is more important due to eating gluten prior to diagnosis causing malabsorption issues

So how do you raise the priority of creating nutritional meals with variety without compromising any other aspect of your life?  In my experience, I think you can accomplish this in many ways.  Initially, however, I feel you should outline a plan for yourself on paper by answering these questions:

  • How often do I want or need to go to the various food markets I shop at?
  • Do I shop for food items based upon sales advertisements?
  • Do I shop for food items based upon coupons I’ve collected?
  • How many specialized diets (i.e. gluten-free, non-dairy, vegetarian, etc.) am I shopping for?
  • Do I have specific food item cravings often?
  • How much time can I dedicate to cooking each meal?

There may be additional questions you may need to ask yourself depending on your personal and family  lifestyle.  Feel free to write those down with corresponding responses as well.

Now, what do you do with this information?  The information you gathered may be used in several ways.  I would start by setting up your grocery shopping to be the same day every week or however often you need to go to the markets.  Pick the day when your grocer has published new sales advertisements, for example.  By going the same day you are establishing a routine.  This routine will ultimately allow you to “schedule” yourself time to create the grocery lists of food items you need the day before.

Why do I mention scheduling time for yourself to create your grocery lists on the day before you do your food shopping?  So you can make a food plan, or create a menu, for the coming week or other time duration until the next grocery shopping day.  Remember the questions you answered above?  Based upon those responses, you can make outlines of what you’ll need to purchase on grocery shopping day.

Now here’s the bonus, positive part of creating a menu for yourself and your family.  This is the part where you can pull yourself out of your “menu food rut!”  Remember I recommended you “schedule” the day before grocery shopping to create your grocery lists?  Well, if you are creating a menu, then you can find new and interesting foods and recipes to try so you are not purchasing the same foods over and over!  If you are a celiac survivor, you can also take this time to confirm “new to you” food items needed are gluten-free.  When you have planned your menu, guess what?  You now have a stress-free grocery list with no forgotten items!

By creating menu plans and then grocery lists, you are guaranteeing yourself and your family variety, nutrition, and health. 

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free.

Peace be with you.

How do I envision living in a better gluten-free world?

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Good day to you.  My vision of living in a better gluten-free world is rather simple:  Having gluten-free food choices and being able to enjoy all of those choices in all settings.  That’s a simple enough statement isn’t it?  But where would or should those same gluten-free food choices and settings be?  That, my friend, is the more difficult question isn’t it?

Currently, food choices have greatly expanded in the main-stream Grocery store and the Health Food store for gluten-free food items.  Choices have also expanded with gluten-free menu items with National restaurant chains and with some Independent restaurants as well.  We celiacs, and gluten-free, are also making progress in regard to being able to purchase gluten-free food items more conveniently and at a cheaper cost than in the past.

However, I’m going to turn the silver-lining of the cloud of optimism upside-down.  There is a stigma of celiac, gluten-free which exists with family, friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. I only state ‘stigma’ as there is no knowledge easily accessible out there, without specifically researching “celiac, or gluten-free diet” in regard to celiac, gluten-free on the Internet.  Eating gluten-free in settings such as your family, friends, acquaintances, and co-workers without risk of cross-contamination is no small undertaking.  Education in regard to how your personal involvement with family, friends and acquaintances, and co-workers react to your gluten-free world is paramount in regard to your survival and health.  Most do not know the consequence of you even eating a crumb of gluten and how it will affect you.  It is your job to educate others.

A better gluten-free world?  People close to you will have to educate for themselves on what a gluten-free, celiac world means to you.  But others will not.  It’s up to you to figure out who is your advocate, and who is not.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free.

Peace be with you.

Celiac and Nutritional Diet – The Natural Way

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Good day to you.  If you follow me on Twitter (@GFDougie via https://twitter.com/#!/GFDougie), you know me to be very Nutrition-conscious and Health-minded in regard to what a celiac diet should be.

While noting the celiac diet is not a very easy diet to follow for all the ingredient reading, ingredient interpreting, and internet research; there are easier methods in following the diet which are more stress free.  What are those methods?  I’m glad you asked.  There are many ways you can enjoy, yes I said enjoy, a celiac diet and maintain nutrition relatively stress free.  Let’s start at the local Grocer, and the Produce department.  Many vegetables and fruits await you there – and they have no ingredient list to read!  There are different squash varieties you can sauté in olive oil together with onion, herb and spice; you can cook together tomato, okra, herb and spice in a saucepan; or you can make a soup of potato, onion, herb and spice, and cream.  You can also find “stir-fry vegetables” in a bag, add chicken or tofu, gluten-free soy or tamari sauce, and call it dinner!  What about making a fruit salad, grilling pineapples, or sautéing apples with sugar and cinnamon?  Can you say “peaches & cream?”

If you are into more wholesome, organic produce choices for your celiac diet, a cheaper alternative to the grocer is the farmer’s market.  Buying from locally grown vegetable/ fruit markets supports your local economy.  The benefit to you is “natural.”  Buy in-season vegetables and fruits at these markets at “rock-bottom” prices and save yourself some money.  Corn on the cob and lima beans can be transformed into fried corn or succotash.  You can use gluten-free bread and make breaded tomatoes.  Heck, you can even use an All Purpose Gluten-free Flour blend and make … fried green tomatoes!  How about fresh-snapped green beans and mashed potatoes?  What about stuffed bell peppers with rice, beef, and gluten-free seasonings!  The choices for menu options are endless.

Let’s go back to the Grocer, and Frozen Foods, and see how easy this can be for the celiac diet.  Again, the ingredient list is not hard to comprehend:  peas, corn, onions, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.  Not much to read there, right?  How many  meals can you make with so many combinations?  Almost endless, I think.  You can make stews, soups, casseroles and many more things I’m not thinking of at a fraction of the cost of fresh produce.  Side dishes made with these items are even more unlimited!

If you are not vegan, other stress free celiac-friendly departments at the Grocer are the Meat and Seafood departments.  Obviously chicken, turkey, pork, and seafood are more healthful than beef.  But, with moderation, all can be included in a celiac diet at no risk of ingesting gluten.

The bottom line – instant, boxed, or microwaved entrées and other food items are not as nutritional.  Cook from scratch and know what you are eating.  The burden is upon you on how nutritious you are.

Research, educate, and advocate all celiac and gluten-free – and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness in April.

Peace be with you.