Monday, January 4, 2010

Cooking More to be Gluten-Free

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the few real problems we have encountered with our new gluten-free lifestyle is eating away from home. It’s no longer a spur of the moment decision and so far at least, seems to involve about four restaurants where we can go and get one or two different menu items.

Steakhouses are generally the safest, though any place that does not insist on breading everything in sight might be ok. The problem lies in the might be.

Asking a server if something contains gluten is often like asking them to define astrophysics and is met with the same blank stare. So, we resort to eating at home most of the time.

This results in two major problems: 1) I spend a lot more time cooking than I did before and 2) I can rarely catch a break from my own cooking.

Now, to be fair, I have an advantage that most people do not. I work exactly five feet, well, maybe less, from my kitchen. My husband and I run a self-storage facility and I’m a freelance writer. I’m more flexible to be able to make my own meals than someone who has to go to an office e very day. But…I lose precious time to doing it.

Since we switched our diet, I probably spend an extra forty minutes a day cooking, because I can no longer do soup and sandwiches for lunch. Pancakes, waffles and biscuits and gravy ( a major tragedy!) are no longer on the breakfast menu and cooking from scratch takes way longer than opening a can of Campbell’s soup.

To be fair, there is a decent line of gluten-free convenience food put out by Amy’s Kitchen, but the problem is that they are horribly expensive. I just can’t make myself pay more than $3 for a box of macaroni and cheese. So, I cook from scratch a lot more often.

I read on site about celiac disease the idea that the longer the ingredient list, the more likely something will contain gluten. I agree. So I try to cook from scratch, without benefit of boxes or mixes as much as I can. The result is that I’m getting a lot fewer other additives in my food as well, but I spend more time doing it.

So what about you? Any tricks for gluten-free eating that you can share?


  1. Have you thought about making a big batch of food then freezing into indivudal meals? Makes lunch time much easier.

  2. In relation to the previous comment, if you can find gluten-free pasta that you guys like, I would suspect that my spaghetti sauce recipe might be gluten-free, and it makes a big pot. I also would suspect that someone out there has made a site for gluten-free Crock Pot recipes, and that would be a big time saver! :)

  3. Eating out has become a "fish with olive oil, steamed vegetable" meal practically everywhere I go. As for breads/pastas, etc, the all purpose gluten free flour isn't that much more than normal flour. Unfortunately, you do have to spend time making it.

    The roughest thing for me isn't the eating, but the cosmetic products such as shampoo, makeup, deorderant, and toothpaste I had to give up because it contained gluten.

  4. I've run into the same problem. For me it isn't gluten, but food allergies are all a bit problematic when it comes to convenient freezer foods or eating out. I don't have a magic answer to this one, I wish I did! Just wanted to comment because I understand and am going through the same thing.

    Hopefully more and more convenient foods will be allergy friendly (like Enjoy Life Brands - which are top 8 free) and maybe when that happens they'll become cheaper.

  5. As a side note for eating out, I've been told by managers of the restaurants that the seasoning put on the fries at TGIFridays and the seasoning on the Broccoli at Red lobster contains gluten! It's very, very tough to eat out. :( My savior with home cooking has been spices. Penzeys offers a lot of good spice mixtures that are gluten free that you can put on many things...I've eaten chicken all week one week when my freezer went out and I had bought bulk, and just used different spices every day. =)