24 June 2011

Introducing Mrs. Lidia & Her First Post

Hello loveliest of lovely readers...and you less than lovely schmucks, too, I suppose. I have an announcement to make, so pay attention:

I've decided to invite two other bloggers to post once a month as some of you have asked about gluten-free vegan food and how to make some of my recipes GF. I will freely admit that I know next to nothing about gluten-free living aside from the fact that you don't eat wheat. So, in trying to cater to youse guise, I have invited two lovely bloggers that I respect to post stuff like that for you. The first post will be an intro to being GF by the lovely @LidiaLF. Lidia writes the blog AirEater.com - aptly named because people think being gluten-free and vegan means you eat just that...air. But, as you will learn, being GF isn't a death sentence, but an opportunity to not only educate yourself but to also try a whole new plethora of tasty goods. 

Here's a little bit about Lidia:

Scarborough born, 32 year old, written for Generation Go and Four Green Steps specifically about being a gluten free vegan by choice. Currently, working in the marketing/packaging industry at a food company. Wife to @MathieuLF and cat mom to two lovely beasts residing in Toronto. 

And because someone is shy...here she is:

So, anyway, that was my big news. I will still be posting my normal type recipes and rants and stuff like that, but I'll be trying to pay more attention to the GF issue as I would like to learn more about it myself. So, I hope you appreciate how hard it was to secure Lidia as a guest blogger. I had to pay her WAAAY too much and give her all sorts of perks. You all better be thankful. 
I kid. Kind of.  So, let's please welcome Mrs. Lidia!!

Here's her first post!

An Intro to Gluten-Free Living!

I was recently asked, on Twitter, about tips to being gluten free for beginners.

The best piece of advice I can give is to always read the labels and use common sense. My day job involves food packaging. I am always amazed at the different words for gluten and how some companies try to cover it up.

There should be clear labels on all products denoting common allergens avoiding any misconception, however, until that day comes it's best to be uber aware of what ingredient statements mean.

Here are the many words for ingredients that often contain gluten:
- wheat
- durum,
- bulgur
- dinkel
- kamut
- spelt
- semolina
- couscous
- starch
- bran
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- dextrimaltose
- stoneground flour
- wheatgerm flour
- malted wheatgrain flour
- wholemeal four
- malt
- caramel
- butter flavour
- Chocolate, pudding, candy, and frosting
- Creamer substitute
- Dextrin, dextrose
- Food dyes
- Herbs, spices
- Hydrolysates or hydrolyzed anything
- Miso and other soy products, such as soy sauce and teriyaki sauce
- Modified Food Starch (can be from other sources)
- Mustard Powder
- Nitrates, nitrites, sulfates or sulfites
- Oat Flour or oats
- Vitamins
- Edible Starch
- Einkorn
- Enriched Flour
- Farina
- Graham Flour
- Granary Flour
- Hard triticum
- High Gluten Flour
- High protein Flour
- Hordeum
- Triticale
- Udon
- Vital Gluten

There are more, but this gives you an idea.

Let's start at the beginning. You wake up to shower - is your soap/shampoo/conditioner gluten free? Is your toothpaste/mouthwash gluten free? What about your creams/make up/perfume?

Amazing how wheat can be in your everyday items. Being gluten free includes all these things.

What about breakfast? There are many options when it comes to gluten free bread and cereal, if you're a traditionalist, but a protein smoothy is a great way to sneak in protein without really noticing.

I'm a big fan of Vega, it's gluten free, vegan and free of most common allergens. Invented by a Canadian Iron Man, Brendan Brazier, Vega is easy to make and quick. I know I don't have much time in the morning, due to my own fault, but at least I know I'll get my fill of vitamins/minerals no matter what else I eat during the day. See Vega's health claims here.
Here are the Nutritionals for the Chocolate flavour, my particular favourite, I suggest checking out the site for a non fuzzy version.
In between breakfast and lunch, I'm a big fan of snacking, I usually have a Larabar and or fruit/nuts at my desk.

Lunch can consist of anything, if you're willing to put in effort or find a restaurant you know that can promise a non contaminated meal. It doesn't have to be all salads and bird seed. You can have a sandwich on gluten free bread, or gluten free pasta, gluten free pizza - anything really. It's just a mental thing interms of breaking free from the, "What the heck am I going to do now?!" thinking. Being gluten free just requires a bit more thought in terms of your meals. The difference being to walk into any restaurant and feel comfortable with the handling and preparation of food.

Eating at restaurants is a bit harder in terms of finding people who really understand what gluten can do to you if ingested. I find the closer you are to a city the easier it is.

Say goodbye to drinking: beer, whiskey, malt based drinks, gin and some vodkas. All of these drinks are made with some form of gluten. I find I've come to appreciate wine more. I was also pleasantly surprised that my favourite vodka, Iceberg Vodka, was gluten free.

There's gluten in the candy coating shell in Smarties, Blue Cheese, Rice Krispies and a number of surprising places just to name a few. It takes a while to adjust passing by rows and rows in the grocery store that contain gluten. It's a shame really, but that just opens the doors to more natural fruits and vegetables that are gluten free and much better than anything processed could be. On the bright side, it gets you cooking and more aware of your health than ever before - not really a bad thing?

If you're interested there is a "Dummies" series for living gluten free:

Hopefully this post has helped.

Check out great links like:

Happy eating!


  1. miso is not a gluten-containing product. it can be, for example barley miso, but let's not group them all together. and let's not just write "vitamins" as containing gluten too. she needs to be more specific, the post is misleading...she says "here are the many words for ingredients that contain gluten" - that is just not true for all those words in all cases. please don't misinform, it's a huge pet peeve of this sleuth over here :)

    good post though for the rest of the info.

  2. Hi Rick, if Meg would be so kind as to change the wording before the list to say these items often contain gluten - that would solve this.