I remember the moment that I received word that gluten and I needed to break up. It had been a wonderful love affair of pasta, pastries and bread for most of my life growing up in an Italian family. This news was pretty devastating for me. At the time, it honestly felt like a curse. I even joked that somebody turned the ‘evil eye’ on me… a lover of all things glutenous. Though I felt like sulking, the first step to actually addressing my situation was to educate myself on gluten and what I’d need to generally avoid.
What’s gluten anyway?
Gluten is a spongy protein that naturally occurs in certain grains. You could probably think of it as “nature’s glue.” It literally helps things stick together. The best example- gluten gives bread and other baked goods their beloved squooshiness. It binds together ingredients and can also act as a thickener. So, can you see why it is used in so much processed food? “Nature’s glue” certainly gets around!
From here, you’ve got to learn the language of gluten in order to know where its found. Gluten is a common ingredient in many products on the market to make them ‘better’ in a certain way that’s more appealing to customers. Though I could point you to long lists that are, frankly, overwhelming with glutenous ingredient names, its best to go one step at a time.
Keep it Simple
First comes first. Understand the basics and keep the process simple. It will help you to remember what you need to avoid and you can slowly grow the list upon this foundation. To help you, I’ve got a great acronym for you…
B R O W S
B – barley
R – rye
O – oats which are contaminated and NOT marked gluten-free (read more about Oats & why they could be a problem HERE)
W – wheat (all varieties are included)
S – spelt
Though this list is a general rule of thumb, it can be tremendously helpful if you’ve no clue where gluten comes from. Plus, the list makes it easy to explain to others who don’t understand where to find gluten. Remember, the simplest explanation can sometimes be the best one.
I found this very helpful, especially since I didn’t know anything about gluten. This will help give me guidelines for starting a gluten-free diet which I plan on doing in the next week or so. My stomach is telling me that it’s time, I think.
I’m glad that you did Danielle! There’ll be more helpful info coming as well as the Free class Wednesday night. Just remember- baby steps!
My dr told me to not eat gluten free oats. Why am i that senitive to all oats?
Beverly, some people are sensitive to the protein avenin in oats. Though it is not similar to gluten, it can cause people issues. And depending on how severe your symptoms are as well as the philosophy of your doctor, he may want you to eliminate most grains to aid in the healing process of the gut.
Still hard after a year. But I’m going back to the basics of going gluten free. I’ve gained weight and don’t like that. The GF breads and Pastas are good and all but it has so much sugar and Carbs. I think it’s not a better thing to use them in abundance, Maybe for a once in a while treat. I grew up in an Italian town and everything was pasta and bread. I had GF Pie shop for a while but that was overwhelming me so I make them once in a while for my Celiac and Wheat Gluten sensitive friends now. Time to go back to the Doc for a check up to make sure everything is going the way it should. I do love reading your Pieces on line. 🙂 you gave me a real up lifting today. Thank you 🙂 Betsy
Thanks Betsy! I really appreciate your note and letting me know that you like what content is available. If there’s anything else that you’d love to read about, please don’t hesitate to let me know. And I appreciate you sharing your experience with everyone… people don’t get how bad the GF bread and pastas are for them. Just because it’s GF don’t make it healthy!
I have gain so much weight also! Ihave ulcerative colitis and all symptoms have stopped since i went gluten free ! but i have gained So much weight! UGGG!
I am so glad I found your website and Facebook page. I thought I was the only one that had some of the feelings about the big break-up with some my fave foods containing gluten. It’s good to know I am “normal”…ha! I have been gluten free since September of 2010 when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s and told by my Doctor that he thought I would do much better and it would help to heal my intestines to go gluten free…permanently. I do feel much better. I look forward to learning more from you and information shared by others here. I really need to and want to shake up my menu around here. Thanks!
Thank you so much! This really helps since I am trying to avoid gluten! Last February, I started getting sick and going gluten free since has truly helped me.
Jennifer, I missed the class and am not even sure how to access the live classes. Where can I get a recording of today’s class (May 8)?
Does anyone have recipes that do NOT contain the following ingredients to which I am allergic (I would like to find some quick bread or cracker recipes):
rye, barley, spelt, polish wheat, cow’s milk, casein, casomorphin, milk butrophilin, whey protein, chocolate, oats, yeast, sesame, millet, hemp, amaranth, tapioca, teff, soy, corn or rice?????? I’m pretty desperate!
I do not… however I’d check out Elana Amsterdam’s site (Elana’s Pantry) for some paleo recipes. I’m sure you could probably find something on her site or just look for a paleo version which likely will not contain those ingredients. You may also want to look on the Whole9 site… probably a Whole30-approved recipe might exist.
Back in the late 1940’s as a young farm girl, I used to chew a mouthful of wheat until it got all sticky and was like gum. Now I know that was the glutin in it. You learn something new every day.
Why are oats part of the list? They are in a category separate from Wheat. I would like to try going gluten free for a month to see the difference in how I feel, but I love eating oatmeal in the winter and I never find it gives me indigestion. Is giving up oats truly part of the program? I think I’m going to get tested for celiac disease before I give up oats.
Gabrielle, you can learn more about oats here: https://www.jenniferfugo.com/2011/08/08/oats-gluten/.
Oats may or may not be gluten free and if you’re going to go gluten free, you’ve got to either eliminate oats or buy some that are certified gluten free.
I’d also recommend that you get tested for celiac before fully giving up gluten. If you take out gluten, you may not get a proper diagnosis.