So, I’ve been going through the trials and tribulations of learning to go gluten-free. I’ve made some mistakes along the way (who knew wheat was the number two ingredient in soy sauce?) but I’ve also made some very wonderful discoveries that will definitely help me in the future. Without mistakes, there is no learning. Right? Right!
One thing I have learned is what my initial symptom, or my tell, is when I’ve been glutened. And I think this is extremely important as it lets me know right away when gluten has been surreptitiously slipped into my food without my knowledge. And I can easily pinpoint the culprit so as not to make the same mistake twice. Finding your initial reaction (for me, it’s the onset of acid reflux) is critical in finding your way in a gluten-free world. So, the next time you go to a restaurant and ask for gluten-free pasta, you’ll know if your request was honored or if you had some self-righteous chef in the back who thinks he knows better than you. (Yes, it happens!) So, learn your tell!
I also discovered that being gluten-free doesn’t mean I can’t eat wonderful foods that I grew up loving – comfort foods! Just this week I decided it was high time to pull out my crock pot and get it stoked for the fall season.
First I made beef stew, chock full of wonderful veggies, potatoes and beef chunks. I used some gluten-free beef stock (Progresso stocks are actually labeled gluten-free) to add that little extra flavor. YUM! Next, I wanted to get more work done so I thought the crock pot could be my savior again. So, chilli was on the menu – ground turkey, pinto beans, fresh tomatoes and some green chilies, along with fresh-cut onions and garlic. Delish! Worcestershire sauce and the previously mentioned beef stock added plenty of extra flavor along with some tomato sauce – gluten-free, of course.
I discovered that you have to pay special attention to your seasonings. My spice rack, as it turns out, is full of monosodium glutamate – MSG. It took me a few bouts of acid reflux to figure this one out when I should have picked up on it right away.
A lot of blends (season salts, Everglades – my husband’s favorite, etc.) contain MSG, so you need to make sure to check their labels. Also, be aware of the seasonings that are manufactured in plants that also process products containing wheat. Tastefully Simple, for example, puts it right on their label that they use facilities that process wheat products. So, check your seasonings – some of the best, most popular blends contain MSG and this stuff, if you react the way I do, will cause serious pain. Ouch!
But I’ve discovered how lovely the Mrs. Dash seasoning blends really are. So many varieties, no gluten and no salt – what’s not to love about them? I use them quite liberally on practically everything from eggs to salads to the chilli I made for dinner last night. You just can’t go wrong with them.
It seems for every mistake I make, I learn something new and exciting to make up for the acid reflux pain. And that’s quite alright with me. The great news overall is I’m learning to live this gluten-free life and have been able to control my acid reflux, which has plagued me for several years, without medication. I’ve officially gone off of the Nexium I’ve been taking forever. And that makes me quite happy.
So, get out there and make some mistakes! You never learn anything without them.
To a healthier, happier and longer life.