Want to Live Gluten-Free? It’s More Than Just a Gluten-Free Diet!

Here’s to Inspired Gluten-Free Living!

Thanks for checking in with us here at Inspiration Bakery and Mixes! We are a woman- and veteran-owned business. We find inspiration in feeding people nutritious, tasty foods that contribute to people’s health and life quality.

Almost 50 years! That’s how many years, added together, we three partners have been living gluten-free. All that time, we’ve been “walking the gluten-free walk” and learning along the way. The articles we present here are all based on our experiences that show we know, first hand, that Living Gluten-Free is about more than just about food.

Here’s some background. In 2009, a grandmother’s love inspired Inspiration Bakery and Mixes.  Our founders, Debbie Caterson and her sister, Cathy, started Inspiration Bakery and Mixes to apply what they had learned developing tasty gluten- and casein-free foods for Sean, Debbie’s autistic grandson. Their hard work helped Sean develop into an articulate, friendly young author[1]. And that same work resulted in the Inspiration Bakery and Mixes products we lovingly offer you today.

Although Cathy left Inspiration Bakery and Mixes years ago, in 2017 Cap and Cheryl Caplan joined Debbie to help her make the business even more successful. Cheryl had followed a gluten-free diet since 2004 when she was diagnosed as both gluten- and dairy-intolerant. Cap and Cheryl had married in 2007, and Cap had been following gluten-free (at least at home) ever since.

Twenty years ago, it was almost impossible to find gluten-free diet options in markets and restaurants. And few chefs had written cookbooks or articles on the subject. Doctors and nutritionists were just making the connection between eating gluten and some autism symptoms, celiac disease, persistent gut problems, and, for some of us, just simply feeling “blah” after a gluten-y meal. Back then, we sorta wandered…confused but hopeful…through a food-choice maze and information desert.

Now, we can find many options for good foods and recipes. Whether you are adopting the gluten-free diet and lifestyle for yourself or for someone in your circle of family and friends, we know Gluten-Free Living presents constant daily challenges, many having little to do with the actual foods and diet choices.

In the same spirit as Debbie’s and Cathy’s care for Sean, we’d like to give you some ideas from what we’ve learned from our walks…ideas about how to make good choices benefitting you and other people in your life. So, please read on….

Challenges of Gluten-Free Living

We suggest that you think of Gluten-Free Living as more than just healthy food choices. It’s also about finding ways to:

  • Keep people with celiac disease and strong gluten allergies safe; and keep those with gluten intolerances free from common gut symptoms like belly bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, and from body-wide joint pain, swelling, and headache or migraines
  • Welcome people to gluten-free meals in your home; instead of pointing them to the salad bowl as their only choice, offer them many kinds of appealing dishes…ones that satisfy all your guests
  • Apply the same consideration to family and friends on nights out; locate restaurants offering a wide range of gluten-free choices
  • Investigate sources of crowd-pleasing gluten-free foods and products
  • Learn ways to prepare gluten-free foods from “scratch” or from pre-blended baking mixes, baked goods, or semi-finished products like frozen pizza crusts and bread
  • As much as possible, stay current on nutritional science and information about Gluten-Free Living
  • Keep in mind that sometimes it’s not just about gluten. You should know that some celiac or gluten-intolerant people may have other food allergies and intolerances, or cross sensitivities; for example, their diets might have to avoid
    • Common food allergens that include fish, shellfish, clams, or mussels; peanuts; tree nuts (including coconut); cow and other animal milks; soy; celery; green beans; eggs; mustard; sesame; and added sulfites often found in wines
    • Common cross-sensitive foods (where a person’s immune system mistakes a gluten-free ingredient for a gluten-y one) that include corn, millet, rice, oats, yeast, and milk-derivatives like casein
    • Certain spices like peppers or paprika or additives like monosodium glutamate or sodium benzoate

Accommodating these additional dietary challenges for yourself or others can make Living Gluten-Free more difficult and at the same time more intriguing and rewarding in the way solving a puzzle can bring you satisfaction. You investigate, you act, and then you feel better!

Some dietary-supplement companies offer enzyme-based products that can aid your digestion if you get exposed to gluten. These work in the same way lactose-intolerant people are helped by lactase.

But you should recognize these aids might only be partially helpful…or maybe not at all. And celiac or strongly allergic folks probably should not try to use them. So, if your diet is to be gluten-free, your best option may be to forego supplements and avoid gluten-y foods whenever possible.

From the list of seven challenges, you can see that Gluten-Free Living means not just adopting a gluten-free diet but also about how you make plans and decisions to promote Living Gluten-Free. And it means meeting those many challenges in your home and out and about in the world.

Here are some references to help you understand and adjust to your new lifestyle:

[1] Sean Gets Lost in the Jungle (2017)/Sean and Scout Go on an Adventure(2020), Amazon