Do you remember the day you found out you had to change your way of cooking to adjust for food allergies or medical condition?
It seemed so daunting.
When I found out John and 2 of my sons had non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), it was challenging to change the way I cooked. What would life be like without flour?
I had loved baking.
But, back then there wasn’t as much information available about how to substitute for wheat flour.
At first, I separated the gluten free foods in my kitchen and sometimes cooked two different meals. That was tough.
Now my whole kitchen is gluten-free.
Here are some of the many lessons you could learn by having to change the ingredients in your cooking.
8 Life Lessons from Cooking Gluten Free
1. Do Your Research:
The best thing you can do is to become familiar with safe and unsafe ingredients. You’re going to get really good at reading food labels. Tell me, why are the ingredients written in such small print? If you’re like me, you’ll need to carry a pair of reading glasses with you when you go to the supermarket. Most whole foods are gluten free though. Stock the basics in your pantry such as: gf flour, gf pancake mix, gf breadcrumbs, and gf pastas, and you’ll be prepared to whip up a meal on the spot. Also be careful with skincare products, medicine, and vitamins.
2. Take care:
It’s important to prevent cross-contamination in your kitchen. Research shows that it can take as little as 1/64 of a teaspoon of gluten to cause small intestinal inflammation in those with celiac disease. Here are some steps you can follow. (I wrote more on this here: 5 Essential Steps to Prevent Gluten Cross Contamination In Your Kitchen) Designate gf cooking utensils, pots, pans and appliances. Also, keep a separate space in your pantry for gf foods and label gluten containing leftovers placed in the refrigerator. Make sure friends, relatives, and young children know which items are to be used for gluten-free foods only.
3. Arm yourself with the proper tools:
Having proper tools on hand such as a food processor, slow cooker, super blender, efficient knives, two toasters, and a quality set of pots all streamline your cooking experience. Adding some fun tools, like a spiralizer makes cooking a little more interesting. How about a yogurt maker or perhaps an ice cream maker? Now we’re talking fun!
4. Plan and Organize:
Whether you’re going on vacation (7 Ways to a Carefree Gluten Free Vacation), dining in or dining out (restaurant information here and here), or even going to a baseball game (many stadiums have gluten free vendors more here and here) planning ahead saves anxiety. Planning new recipes, assures family members won’t get bored. Without a doubt, the more you cook the better you get.
5. Show Love and Understanding:
Making the effort to learn the foods your family likes is one way to show you love them. Tasting as you cook, take time, continue family traditions, and remember the most important ingredient is love.
6. Be Patient:
Learning a new way of cooking is a process. Have a back up just in case a meal doesn’t turn out right. As you keep trying, you’ll get it right.
7. Be Cheerful:
Food will taste better when you enjoy the preparation. Kitchens should be welcoming to helpers. I have a tendency to get nervous wanting each meal to be perfect. Relax. Have fun cooking together and show appreciation for everyone’s contribution.
8. Bless others:
You will probably find that many folks are dealing with food allergies. Sharing recipes and methods is something to be grateful for.
Stay away from negative thoughts like: why can’t we be like everyone else and eat whatever we want? No matter how hard changing your diet is, it’s worth it.
We’ve been eating healthier foods since going gluten free. Emphasize the positive foods, what you can eat, not what you can’t.
You can do this. We can do this.
Set the table, delight in your meal, savor your food and celebrate life.
Are you cooking gluten free or for food allergies, a special diet or medical condition? Is there any lesson you would add? If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and share with someone you would like to inspire.
“Look to the Lord and His strength. Seek His face always” psalm 105:4