...but it doesn't have to. (Edit: After speaking with my wife, I realized that there was a lot of negativity here. I didn't intend to be negative, but I also didn't want to come across as, "Going gluten-free is easy! You'll have no problems! Everything will be sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns!") We have been sans gluten since February 2013. The first few months were excruciating. Our entire diet (and seemingly our way of life) had to be altered. We were not doing it because of a fad diet. Our son has Celiac disease. We had to change so that our son could live and thrive again.
What is Celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where the body can not process gluten. Oftentimes the response is digestive disruption, but it can also cause allergies and migraines. It is different for each person. Check out http://celiacdisease.about.com/ for much more information.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in cereal grains, most prominently wheat, barley, and rye. It also gets sneaked into a lot of products since so many ingredients are derived from these grains. Watch out for vegetable protein, modified food starch, natural and artificial flavors, seasonings, flavorings, dextrin and maltodextrin. (Find a more comprehensive list here.)
This website is dedicated to our story, our trials, and our successes. We have learned a lot in the past two years and want to pass our knowledge onto you. The first step is the most difficult. You must be committed and you can't waver. You have to have everyone in your family buying in to the diet. Be patient, and stick with it. You can do it.
If you are like how we were, it can be difficult to give up gluten in your diet. It's everywhere. It isn't just wheat that you have look out for. It is the other grains and ingredients derived from those grains. I discuss this more in the grocery shopping section. You will be amazed at what is not acceptable to eat. One seemingly innocuous ingredient can ruin everything. You will learn what to watch for, and then it will become second nature to you.
The page on eating out runs down some safe restaurants and some that should be avoided or treated with extreme caution, i.e., only the drinks are safe. Although you may not be able to go anywhere you want, there are some safe places and even new places you've never heard of.
Most important are recipes. We had so many dishes we would prepare on a regular rotation that had to be scrapped because they contained gluten. Or so we thought. We just had to learn to make adjustments, omissions, or substitutions. This is what we want to share. We are not all about eating gluten-free and being uber healthy. We still want the good old standbys like spaghetti, chicken nuggets, and hamburgers. We wanted meals that were easy to prepare and didn't require obscure or rarely used ingredients. We wanted normal, but now it just had to be gluten-free.