You’ve Got (Gluten-Free) Skills

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No longer newly gluten-free? Whether you’ve shifted to a gluten-free diet for medical reasons or by choice, adapting to a new way of eating can be challenging. Avoiding gluten can be tricky. You’ve been through a lot in order to make the change – and you’ve accomplished a lot as well.

Give yourself credit for how far you’ve come. Here are some of the skills you’ve acquired:

 

Navigating your grocery store

The frustrating days of wandering your grocery store in search of gluten-free food are over. These days, you’re able to make a beeline directly to the different places where you’ll find gluten-free alternatives. Sure, that can mean perusing the exclusively gluten-free section of an aisle for a few items, but you probably already know if there is gluten-free pasta in the pasta aisle and gluten-free baking goods in the baking aisle. Maybe you’ve even discovered new ways to eat beans, vegetables, and fruits, all easy to find at the store and all of which are naturally gluten-free.

If you’re still struggling to find gluten-free fare, check in with the store manager and ask them to tell you where they display their gluten-free foods and how they might designate it. Some grocery stores have maps of their stores. It wouldn’t hurt to ask and then you can simply mark where you find the gluten-free food you’d like to buy again. You can even sketch your own map or simply write down the aisles where you have found what you needed.

 

Reading labels

You are probably now a master at deciphering the confusing information on food labels. You know that “May Contain Wheat” statements do not mean that there is wheat present. Instead, it is a voluntary statement used by food manufacturers for people who are allergic to wheat and not people who are sensitive to gluten. You also know that if a product with a “Contains wheat” statement also has a GFCO certification mark, the ingredients that are wheat-derived have been processed to the point of being safely gluten-free at 10 ppm or less.

By now, you also know that the various ways of stating that a product is gluten-free on a food label are not created equal. You can be confident that GFCO puts manufacturers through 80 steps to ensure their products are safely gluten-free before they hit the store shelves.

Read 3 Tips for Gluten-Free Label Reading and Do All Wheat Mentions on Food Labels Mean Not Gluten-Free? for additional information.

 

Being savvy about “hidden” gluten

Gluten is used in so many foods that it can show up in unexpected places – like imitation seafood and meats or some cooking sprays. By now, you’ve not only learned to read food labels, but you also know to check even when it seems unlikely you would find gluten. You are no longer surprised by the places where gluten turns up, and you are never hesitant to check and double-check before you consume something.

Read 38 Foods Where Gluten May Be “Hidden.”

Knowing what questions to ask when eating out

“Does this dish contain gluten?” Sound familiar? You’ve probably asked this question every single time you’ve eaten at a new place. You most likely also have a well-rehearsed series of explanations that you use as well. You’ve gotten over any uncomfortable feelings you may have had early on when questioning wait staff. You might even bring a GIG Restaurant card to eating establishments to help staff understand what you can and cannot eat.

If you’ve eaten at the place before, you now know which items on the menu are safe for you – or you are not shy about asking for their gluten-free menu. With your label reading skills, no doubt you’ve been able to quickly scan food labels on any packaged ingredients used to make the dishes you’re being served. Well done!

Going to a dinner party? You’ve gotten comfortable contacting the host ahead of time to inquire about gluten-free offerings. You are always ready for any new situation where food may be served, even carrying a few things you can eat with you just in case. Always good to be prepared!

 

Mastering baking and cooking without gluten-containing flour

If you love baking and cooking, by now you’ve discovered the wide array of gluten-free flour substitutes that you can use. From almond to teff to rice flour as well as 1-to-1 flour blends, you no longer feel hampered in the kitchen. You are comfortable experimenting and adapting recipes with tasty results!

Check out 35+ Alternative Gluten-Free Grains and Flour Substitutes, Replacing Gluten When Cooking and Baking and Gluten-Free Flours and Thickening Agents for additional resources. Search the GFCO Products Directory for gluten-free ingredients.

 

 

As you can see, you have mastered so many skills that help make living gluten-free more manageable. Take a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come. If you’d like to share your knowledge and confidence with others, join a GIG Support Group and help others, like you, who may be new to navigating a gluten-free life.

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. Consult your healthcare team when considering this information.

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