Although I feel like I haven’t had bread in about a million years, I’m still relatively new to the world of restricted diets. Because I can’t help but over-research literally everything, you can imagine the amount of reading and question-asking I did (and continue to do) when I first made the switch. Since I’m really only as good as my information, I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite resources, not only for gluten-free eating, but also for nourishing food in general. Keep in mind, this list will be in no way comprehensive. Just a couple of places to start.
When I first started eliminating gluten, I was basically miserable. All I wanted was a giant donut and a melty grilled cheese. (Sourdough, cheddar, extra bread-and-butter pickles. Duh.) So I needed some motivation for WHY I was actually doing this, besides the whole spending-4-nights-a-week-on-the-bathroom-floor thing.
Enter Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. Sure he can be controversial, but if you’re looking for a book to help solidify all the reasons you’re eliminating gluten (or cleaning up your diet altogether), look no further. He also takes a historical/anthropological look at the negative effects of sugar, corn, soy, and even dairy. (We’ll get to my opinions on all these later). Oh, and the data he gives, a science nerd’s wet dream.
Along the same lines, Wheat Belly is also great for data-and-convincing and sticks mostly to the problems grains have caused in modern health.
If all else fails, just Google search “gluten-free success stories.” It’s crazy (and inspiring) to read changes people experience after eliminating gluten and other inflammatory foods.
So now that we’re sold on why we’re doing this, we need some guidelines. We need to know what gluten is, where it is, and how we should be avoiding it. I always start with a quick round up of medical research. I won’t bore you with the papers I find interesting, but Mayo Clinic and NIH are good places to start. This quick article from Mayo Clinic gives some bullet-pointed lists of do’s and don’ts, which is helpful and easy to read.
Blogs are also a great place for information because bloggers do a lot of the leg-work for you. Gluten Free Girl wrote a great piece for gluten-free newbies (that I hope to recreate in my own words at some point….)
There are thousands of other places to find information but for the sake of brevity, we’ll start with these.
We’re lucky to be living in a time that gluten-free is so popular because there are a plethora of fabulous recipes for just about anything you’re craving.
My favorite go-to for GF comfort foods is the America’s Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten Free cookbook. It plays on my science-nerd need for data and research while providing solid recipes for some of our old favorites (breads, pizza, mac and cheese, etc.). It also gives tips on the best brands, how to stock your pantry, and key terms you need to know when cooking gluten-free.
If you’re like me, all this research (and an hour with your nose buried in the ATK book) has probably led you to a couple of conclusions or questions. 1. WTF is xantham gum? Psyllium husk? Tapioca startch? Those can’t be “good” for you, can they? Isn’t this sort of what Pollan was talking about with the disintegration of the American diet? And 2. This seems like a lot of extra work to make a goddamn biscuit.
Those are basically the same conclusions I came to, which is what led me to…. Paleo. Ok, don’t roll your eyes. (And if you don’t know what Paleo is, of course I have a resource for that.) I’m definitely not going to claim I follow a strict Paleo diet, but I use Paleo recipes more often than not because they are always gluten-free and typically use whole-food ingredients—which means I feel better about myself AND I’m not having to go to 4 different store looking for psyllium husk to make a fucking pizza crust. Not to mention, the Paleo community kind of kicks ass and is filled with a bunch people who I literally want to be in my next life. I could probably make a whole post of just Paleo bloggers I follow, but here are some of the best:
Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple. He started the “primal” movement and is an even bigger research nerd than I am. I also don’t know if he’s technically even considered a blogger anymore… just, like, the Godfather of Paleo. Great information, inspiration, and resources to boot.
Stupid Easy Paleo is my girl crush. She squats heavier than my boyfriend and comes home to whip up this deliciousness.
Danielle Walker at Against All Grain has great recipes, information, and even shopping lists to help make the whole process simpler. Her second book, Meals Made Simple, makes meal planning, shopping, and eating on a weekly basis a breeze.
Finally, PaleOMG makes me happy to read her blog every day. She makes delicious food, but also shares my passion for over-sharing. You know exactly what’s on her mind, in her mouth, or in her closet. And she doesn’t hesitate to throw in a handful of swear words to round it all out.
I have so much more to say about all of this… but if I give you all the goods at once, I won’t have anything to keep you coming back! Not to mention it would be the longest post in history. So look in to some of this stuff and let me know what you think… Or don’t. Meanwhile, I’m going to work on using less parentheticals (but I probably won’t. Sorry.)