trying to do wheat-free diet. Its proving difficult. What foods are completely forbidden? And any suggestions for meals.help!
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Why just wheat? Go grain free.
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Are you trying to do Gluten-Free? If so, do a search on the site for Gluten Free.
Wheat-free eliminates most pasta (except gluten-free pasta), bread (except gluten-free breads or cornbread with no wheat flour), and baked goods (except those made with gluten-free flours). As far as meals go? There are a gazillion things you can eat that don't contain wheat: Proteins (fish, chicken, beef, etc.), potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, brown rice, quinoa, all veggies, all fruits, dairy, etc. Good luck!
Look around at cuisines that already use smaller amounts of wheat in their diets. Asia is usually good for that, especially Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese cuisines. Many Indian dishes are completely wheat-free if you don't include the naan or poori on the side (just cook rice instead). Mexican or the cuisines of many South American countries are also fairly easy. They use a lot of corn and rice instead of wheat. Try to stay away from northern European dishes; that's usually where the highest concentration of wheat is used in the dishes and it's harder to make them wheat-free.
Take this opportunity to expand your diet into a lot of fresh vegetables and protein. You don't really need a lot of grains to feel full anyway! For those days you just want pasta, try some of the gluten-free pastas that are out there: Trader Joe's brown rice pasta and Tinkyada are both good. Keep in mind that you'll want to have a lot of wheat-free snacks available. If you're used to eating a lot of wheat during the day, your body will take a week or so to adjust to the lower levels of gluten in your system. Gluten and especially wheat take longer for the body to process, so you feel full longer after you eat them. Eating a number of small wheat-free snacks throughout the day will help keep you from crashing. Think carrot sticks, fruit, nuts, granola, yogurt, etc.
Here are a few resources:
http://www.celiac.com/ (for gluten-free diet)
I'm wheat-free and it's very difficult to find any Japanese food that is wheat-free since most soy sauce is made from wheat. Most brands should really be called wheat-sauce.
@syronai - great tips! Didn't know the effect gluten and what have on the system in terms of taking longer to process. It makes sense that when I eat bread after a long time not eating it, it makes me want to go to sleep.
One way to insure that you are eating right is to keep what you eat very simple. Stay away from prepared foods and mixes because you're likely to encounter the ingredient you want to avoid, where you might not use it in a home-cooked recipe. Syronai's advice is excellent (as usual). It helps to focus on what you can have (and that's everything else), not on the missing item.
A lot depends on why you are doing this. If it's for an allergy elimination/food sensitivity test of limited duration (minimum 21 days), followed by a challenge (eating the eliminated food), you will find out if this is temporary or long term. If you are doing this with the guidance of an experienced counselor, you will have support on what your next step should be.
No single item in our diet is irreplaceable! This focus on wheat to the extent that most Americans do is a rather modern one. When you can't have wheat, or gluten, it is an opportunity to discover all the other wonderful grains.
Be careful of couscous, barley. Become a label reading machine: all labels must state if they have wheat in them. Also, try avoiding GF substitutes (GF bread, pasta etc), instead go for quinoa, rice or rice noodles. There are so many amazing foods out there to try, experiment with tofu and other protein sources that you may not have tried before.
be careful of processed foods! wheat (and other gluten-filled grains like rye and barley) sneak into the strangest placest. eat whole grains and starchy vegetables, fresh proteins (be careful of some lunch meats), and fresh fruits and vegetables. Since breakfast is often one of the hardest meals to replace, I recommend gluten-free oats (whole food and trader joe's now have them), potato hash and egg scrambles with your favorite veggies!
I would suggest you spend some time on Shauna Ahern's blog, Gluten Free Girl. You can also pick up a copy of her new book...That family eats FANTASTICALLY and will show you that you do not have to be deprived to be wheat (or gluten) free.
Beyond the many excellent gluten free recipes on this site, I recommend "Gluten-Free Baking Classics" by Annalise Roberts for any baked goods you may be missing. I have had excellent results with Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend flour, which is made according to a mix by Ms Roberts' which she details in her book. She has other blends for bread baking. All of her recipes are the result of meticulous research and experimentation.
But I've found it easy to adapt to eating gluten free by simply exploring the wonderful variety of foods that are naturally gluten free. We have come up with simple solutions as corn tortilla wraps instead of sandwiches in boxed lunches. There are excellent brown rice pastas available and many times rice or riced potatoes can serve in place of pasta as a vehicle for your fave sauce.
Check at any major grocery or natural foods store for wheat free soy sauce and tamari sauce.
For wheat free soy sauce read labels carefully. The name 'tamari' on products sold in the US may have wheat.
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