When you are first diagnosed with a food allergy or intolerance, things can seem a bit overwhelming. You start off with the shock of not being able to have what you love. Then you move in to the confusion of why could I have it before and not now. Next you get mad and frustrated because you can't have bread or milk or cake!
When it was just me that couldn't have dairy or soy, this was doable. When my husband was diagnosed with celiac disease, it took things to the overwhelming level. Going to the grocery store was already a bit complicated and now we have another whole group of words to learn that he can't have. Oh the number of words that you can't understand!
Things get harder when you are looking for any of your favorite quick snacks. We have started going to the store together (which I really like). We tag team reading and looking up what is in everything. We have iPhones, which makes it easy to look up products that are suspect. I can’t tell you how many times I have called a company, while I was standing in the store, to find out if the product is clean. By the end of looking up all these crazy ingredients, we have forgotten who is intolerant or allergic to what!
I have always been more of a whole food person, so when we pick up a bag or box of something and it has only three ingredients, all of which you can identify, we feel like we have hit the jackpot! Another trick we have learned is that you should focus on the things you can have and not what you can’t have.
On our first trip together to the store after we learned about his diagnosis, he decided to buy better cheeses from the deli department. He felt like it would be more of a treat to have something really great than to buy something else that was trying to mimic something that he loved. There is a balance you have to achieve when you have to give up things that you love, but you can find alternatives that will make you just as happy even if they aren’t exactly the same.
We have decided to make things simple for now since baking gluten free can be a bit confusing when you don’t know where to start. Everything has a different flavor or texture than what you are used to. The key to starting a new eating lifestyle without some of your old favorites is to focus on what you can have. There are great products out there, as well as great resources to get more information. Don’t get overwhelmed by the “giving up” aspect of food restrictions.
I have started researching one product or ingredient at a time. I use it in different ways so I know what works and what does not work. I work with smaller batches so I know that I won’t be wasting anything if something does not turn out the way I had expected. It will come together…it just takes some time. There will be failures, but there will also be successes. My first real success was a Coconut Rice Cupcake. This is really simple recipe with no crazy mixing of flours. It's also versatile so feel free to add your own flavors to the topping.