Food

Thoughts and tips on living gluten-free while pregnant

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Yes that lady is meant to look disgusted by the fact that she is surrounded by wheat.

I mean yeah wheat fields are pretty and all and kudos to all the farmers and the people who eat it.

But I also mean…

yuck.

At one time, not long ago I loved wheat products. But my life has changed so much since becoming gf last July.

And let me tell you, it is a whole new set of challenges when you add pregnancy to the mix. Sure, its not always hard, but other times it really is. (Feel free to vent in the comments if that’s you too.)

This post is mostly written for women who are A) pregnant and B) fairly new to gf living. But it’s not to say you can’t glean a few pearls of wisdom (hopefully) if you fall into neither category.

Either way, I hope these 5 tips can be a help to you.

 

5 Tips for Living Gluten-Free While Pregnant

 

Be prepared for food to be interesting

When a person gets hungry, it’s amazing to discover where your standards are as far as food that you are willing to eat. Case in point, here is part of what I had for lunch today yesterday:

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It is a hastily made tuna salad served inside half of a red bell pepper. And it was good!

Pregnant woman know better than anyone what it feels like to be super hungry. Sometimes finding good tasting food that won’t wreck your body can be an interesting road.

But I promise that all those tears of frusteration are worth it bc you are putting you & baby’s health 1st! Always a good thing and a worthy thing to celebrate.

 

Gluten-free hacks are possible

Some things just stink to not have. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how hard it is to go to an event where all your friends and family are noshing away on delicious food that you can’t have.

And there is no easy fix for something like that, other than to eat beforehand or bring some snacks with you, which feels rude, but *shrugs shoulders* what can you do?

One thing I’ve craved for ages since going on a gluten-free diet last July is honest-to-goodness, freshly baked bread. I’ve made gf pizza dough and banana bread too. But I mean I wanted some wheat-like that was fresh and all beautiful smelling. You know what I mean?

So I finally got brave enough to try it and I made this Gluten-Free Vegan Everyday Bread from Sarah Bakes Gluten Free. It took roughly 4 hours from start to finish, but it was worth it. And no kneading!

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It may be tough, but stick with it and you can find solutions to the things that you crave. I’ve learned how to make gf mac n’ cheese (sans cow’s milk) recently after all but giving up on having it again. There are a lot of helpful blogs and recipe books out there to get you started. I will list some at the end of the post. 😀

 

Keep trying till you find gf brands you like

I’ve found that so far I do not like rice pasta or gf white bread. In fact, most gf bread tends to be a little gross, in my opinion.

I’ve found I like Pamela’s shortbread cookies, Bananza chickpea pasta, and Digornos makes a surprisingly delicious gf frozen pizza (supreme is the only variety I’ve tried).

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Home-cooked family meals are still doable if you’re the only one who is gluten-free

Currently in my household, I am the only person on a gf diet. And it was hard at first to make family dinners that included things that I could have. Honestly wheat is in so many foods that you wouldn’t even think about until you are faced with the reality that you can’t have it anymore.

It is a continual excercise to make sure that everyone has some kind of carb or grain that they like/can have. I’ve found that it’s wise to keep some things on hand that I like to prepare for myself when everyone else is noshing away on something like wheat noodles.

We can always fall back on rice or potatoes, but unfortunately we can’t have those every night, especially when my kids don’t like rice.

So I will keep things like gf noodles, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, box mixes of rice and quiona, gf stuffing mix, some kind of gf bread or cornbread on hand for these times.

An example of a family meal that has that element of mix-and-match-hey-let’s-compromise is what we ate last night two nights ago for supper, which was baked chicken leg quarters, gluten-free stuffing, crescent rolls, green beans and sliced oranges.

 

Treat yourself

Yes, gf food products can be expensive. Yes, I am trying to save money on food. But sometimes you have to recognize that, hey, I am carrying a tiny human that needs to eat just as I do, so buying good food that I crave and doesn’t gross me out even when its expensive is sometimes needed.

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So yeah, sometimes I buy a $5 pack of cookies, or a miniscule loaf of my favorite bread. Because hey, when you’re pregnant, and even at any other time in life honestly, sometimes you just need to cut yourself a break.

Also noteworthy is that “treating yourself” will likely also involve pricier gf ingredients. It’s a sad fact that a lot of special flours will be considerably more expensive than wheat flour.

You may be able to buy 5lbs white flour for around $1.50, and a bag of whole wheat flour for $3.50, but the same amount of gluten-free flour is going to be as much as 31 times the price (5 lbs white flour=$1.50 vs. 5lbs lb almond flour=$47).

Fortunately there are a variety of gf flours available, the cheapest and most common are white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour/starch, and cornmeal. These flours would be more like $20 for 5lbs. (I’m going by iherb prices.)

 

It’s a learning experience 😎 Hopefully these tips were able to give you some support & encouragement as you go through the dual challenge of pregnancy and gluten-free living.

 

A Few Helpful Resources

Websites:

 

Books:

  • Allergy-Friendly Food for Families, by the editors of kiwi magazine
  • Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen: Everyday Foods the Whole Family Will Love, by Carlyn Berghoff and Sarah Berghoff McClure
  • Sweet Laurel: Recipes for Whole-Food, Grain-Free Desserts, by Laurel Gallucci (This book also has dairy-free, vegan and paleo recipes)
  • The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread: More than 200 Wheat-Free Recipes, by Bette Hagman

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