Folks sometimes ask me, What does the Gluten Free Watchdog eat?
In Honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Gluten Free Watchdog is writing a series of articles (the goal is one per day during the month of May) related to the gluten-free diet–currently the ONLY treatment for celiac disease.
Subscribers to Gluten Free Watchdog frequently reach out to me asking whether or not I eat a particular food, such as oats, or what I do in certain situations, such as restaurants.
Before answering the general question about what I eat along with a few specifics, please understand that what I eat is not what you should eat. Eating is personal. No one should tell you what or how to eat. In turn, you should tell no one how she should eat.
At Gluten Free Watchdog information is provided on various foods, ingredients, and products based on science—and only science (i.e., it is not based on sponsorship dollars). It is up to all of us to use science to inform our decision-making. But there are times when more than just science informs our choices—and this is fine too. Again, eating is personal.
My gluten-free food choices are based on the following:
- Cannot eat milk protein or egg-white protein*.
- Eat relatively plain (but not flavorless) foods in as natural a state as possible.
- Eat products that have very few ingredients.
- Eat oats on occasion but only when making homemade granola and only oats produced under a gluten-free purity protocol. I do not eat convenience foods such as bars, cookies, etc. that contain oats.
- Do not eat gluten-free foods containing wheat starch.
- Do not worry about allergen advisory statements (processed in a facility that processes wheat) when a product is labeled gluten-free.
- Use only those naturally gluten-free grains and grain foods labeled gluten-free.
- Eat rice grain and rice crackers but have eliminated all other packaged gluten-free foods containing rice ingredients due to concerns about arsenic.
My typical diet …
- Snack bar with four ingredients
- Black tea with soymilk and sugar
- Homemade hummus
- Plain rice crackers
- Homemade fruit and nut balls
- Corn “cakes” (like rice cakes) and almond butter
Dinner (a few examples)
- Chicken/roasted potatoes/asparagus
- Tofu/rice/broccoli/orange segments
- Pasta (corn/quinoa blend) with homemade pesto
- Rice bowls with black beans, tomato, avocado, onion, lettuce, black olives
When traveling I bring enough food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. For an upcoming trip I will be bringing…
- Snack bars
- Corn cakes
- Almond butter
- Dried cherries
- Carob chips
I never eat airline food
- I tend to frequent the same restaurants and choose among the same few dishes.
- When traveling or planning to eat at a new restaurant, I review the restaurant website ahead of time, checking to see if they have a gluten-free menu or identify gluten-free menu items.
- When ordering I let the server know that I cannot have gluten, milk, or egg, and emphasize that I am open to whatever the chef can make that doesn’t contain these proteins.
- It is perfectly fine with me if my dinner is a green salad (without dressing) and grilled fish on top.
- All I truly care about is not getting a stomachache.
- I likely have it easier than others because I cannot have milk protein. When the wait staff hears this they understand that my dish must be cooked on a clean surface free of butter. This undoubtedly helps prevent gluten cross contact as well.
- I am also lucky because my reactions to milk protein and egg are almost immediate. This prevents me from eating much of any dish that was not prepared properly. (This happens very rarely.)
* Skin prick tests were negative for egg white, egg yolk, and whole egg. I have not been tested for a milk allergy. I can eat egg yolks without issue but even the smallest amount of egg white causes an almost immediate reaction in the form of stomach pain and stomach swelling. If there are any medical doctors out there who have any thoughts, please feel free to share. I have had this issue since adolescence. Issues with milk protein (this is not a lactose issue) started after a severe gastrointestinal infection. But again, I have not been tested for a milk allergy.
Tomorrow’s post: hmmm.