Being Gluten Free

What Is Gluten?

Eleven years ago we first found out that we had a wheat sensitivity, and heard the term "gluten free". Gluten is the protein in wheat. Its the gooey part of your bread dough that holds it together and makes it fluffy and light when it is cooked. Some people do not realize that white flour is made from wheat, and still contains the gluten. A wheat sensitivity is most commonly a sensitivity to the protein of the wheat, or the gluten.

Why We Went Wheat Free

Our lives centered on bread at that point in time. I prided myself on my baking ability. I took prizes in baking contests in grade school. I was the high schooler that always had freshly baked cookies in my locker to share with my friends. Potlucks brought people finding me to tell me how wonderful my cookies or breads were, and clamoring to get the recipe. My house was always filled with the smell of something in the oven. My daughter and I loved to make desert and quick breads for dinner that night, or to have ready for breakfast the next day. Our diet fit into the conventional food pyramid quite well, except that we always ate more fruits and vegetables than were required.

And then we learned that gluten was causing the depression and mood swings that my daughter and I both suffered from....

The End.. or A Beginning?

Does it mean the end of sandwiches?


But I love spaghetti!


Is it the end of cheese and crackers?



I believe the first reaction most people have when they realize that they need to remove gluten from their diet is to start listing off all the things that they can no longer have. We get used to our lives being a certain way, become accustomed to certain foods... even look forward to favorite treats. When you realize that those normal things are changing, we all feel a loss. It is almost like losing a close friend.

But you don't have to get stuck in that emotion. Embrace the change! Start looking for all the benefits you will receive! Start looking for all the familiar foods that you CAN still have. This will make your transition easier.

A New Perspective

When you start looking from this new perspective, you start to realize that life goes on, and you can still have most of your favorite food things. It might be a little bit harder to find them without gluten, but they are out there. And if they are not, you can probably find a gluten-free recipe for them!

There is rice bread out there, or you can learn to use alternatives like lettuce leaves as wraps. Spaghetti noodles are common in rice pasta brands, and easy to find online if not in your local store. Crackers are available made with rice flour, and even nut flour. We prefer the nut flour... we love Nut Thins!

I have put together a store of all of the things I have found on Amazon for all those who are new and overwhelmed by looking for gluten free foods. You can find it at Being Gluten Free.


Benefits of Being Gluten-Free

Everyone reacts slightly differently to gluten, just like anything else. Gluten is best known to cause depression. It also causes those spots some of you get on your teeth, and in extreme cases can cause teeth to simply decay and fall apart. Lesser known reactions are to the waistline... Somehow it doesn't put on any weight, but it can make the waistline expand almost instantaneously!

In Our House Being Gluten Free Means:

  • No more depression.
  • No more tooth pain, or crumbling teeth. It means spots on teeth stop spreading or developing.
  • Fitting into the same size jeans I wore 17 years and 3 children ago.
  • No more mood swings.
  • Being able to play and laugh with my children.
  • Clear and creative thinking.


What Do Milk And Wheat Have in Common?

Milk and wheat have nothing in common, right? One is a plant, and one comes from a cow. How could they have anything in common?

Dairy protein is almost identical in chemical structure to wheat gluten (the protein). It often causes similar responses in people with a gluten sensitivity. Dairy protein can often be the missing piece in trying ot eliminate gluten from your diet.

Use a good quality of any dairy products to avoid gluten reactions to it.

Our suggestions? We like to use Challenge butter when it is on sale. Although I avoid shopping at Wal-Mart, some of their house brand products are really pretty good. The Wal-Mart Unsalted Butter, in the blue box, is one of these! The Wal-Mart heavy whipping cream is among the best brands we have found too! If you live in Arizona, look for Shamrock Farms first...they have committed to no growth hormones, and take care of their cows. I talked at length with them to find out, and have visited their farms.

Cheese can often cause gluten like reactions. The chemical coloring seems to cause this, although I don't have facts to back that up. The various starch used to keep the shredded cheese separate also seems to be problematic. Look for a brand of cheese that uses annatto for coloring. For shredded cheese, potato starch seems to be the least problematic.

We have found the Kroger brand of cheese to be quite tasty, and not cause any reactions! Kroger brand can be found at Smith's Food and Drug, Kroger, Fry's and Fred C. Meyers. I am not familiar with any other Kroger store names, but there may be more.

Wal-mart has recently changed their house brand cheese to use annatto and potato starch. Don't take my word for it though, always read the label!

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7 comments

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma

My youngest son is allergic to milk. So we have been doing our best to keep it out of his diet. Hopefully he will eventually grow out of it. He is doing a lot better now without it. He is one and got severe constipation whenever he got any milk.


Sparkle Chi profile image

Sparkle Chi 7 years ago from Chandler, AZ Author

Jim10, you should read through my 'Allergic To Everything' hub. I talk about our milk allergy there. Allergies are not necessarily something that are grown out of, but rather the reaction to them changes. Sometimes by eliminating an allergen for a few years, you can successfully rotate it back in.

Milk is so easy to avoid that I wouldn't worry about your son's allergy to it. Lots of dark leafy greens will provide better calcium for growing bones and teeth anyways!


lisabeaman profile image

lisabeaman 5 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

Great hub! I suspect that I may have a gluten allergy myself and have gone without gluten (minus one birthday doughnut) for a month now. I can't believe how much better I feel! I'm working on a hub right now about my experiment and I ran across this one. Thanks!


Rfordin profile image

Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

Hmmm I just commeneted about gluten and Autism in my reply to you...interesting connection. I must ask is gluten free the way you changed your daughters diet to take matters into your own hands so to speak?

Regardless I have a friend who went gluten free and I must say I NEVER knew how much society depends on it. I suppose to much of anyhting is a bad thing but when I wtinessed her changing EVERYTHING she ate it really was an eye opener to gluten. Now-a-days around here we do shop for some things gluten free but I don't go over boad on this one as I also have allergies to take into account. Interesting tho....thank you!

~Becky


Sparkle Chi profile image

Sparkle Chi 4 years ago from Chandler, AZ Author

Most definitely! Finding the connection with my daughter (and my whole family) with problems with gluten was one very important step in managing what other people were saying was ADHD. Today I have a well balanced nineteen year old who is brilliant and creative!


tebo profile image

tebo 3 years ago from New Zealand

I have been toying with the idea of gluten free for myself and my son. I did have him gluten free for a couple of years a while ago and I think he did function better. He is on the autistic spectrum. After reading about your family I should give it another go. Thanks for all the interesting information.


Sparkle Chi profile image

Sparkle Chi 3 years ago from Chandler, AZ Author

So many people can benefit from removing the gluten from their diet! Experiment with removing it completely for several days, at least four, and take notice of differences in your son's behaviors.

I am so glad you found encouragement to try again in my words! Good luck!

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