There are lots of strange ingredients to get used to like guar gum or xantham gum. Mostly those are used to replace the “binding” agent in wheat, barley, rye and malt which is the gluten. Rice, corn, potatoes will be your new friends.
Several things to do to start:
1. Go through all shampoos, conditioners, soaps, makeup and look for wheat. Best thing to do when you don’t know is go to google and put in the name of the product, like “mary kay cosmetics” and follow with “gluten free”. Mostly Dove soaps and products are wheat and gluten free. Salon hair care products generally are not. Wheat is used as a thickener in conditioners and volumizers and shampoos.
I’ve found a limited number of stuff without wheat or barley type ingredients. Regis has one set of their organic type shampoos that has no wheat in them but you have to read the labels. I have another salon brand at home, that I will look at tonight and send you.
Like I said, Dove shampoos are generally gluten free.
As for makeup, Bare Escentuals, Mary Kay and some Clinique are generally wheat/gluten free. It will depend on how sensitive she is.
The reason for this is that once she eliminates wheat, barley, rye and malt from her system, any of those products that contain it will dry her out, make her itch etc. Even some nail polish contains gluten. You’d be surprised. I broke off most of my hair, it got so dry, before I discovered the wheat in the conditioner. I ended up switching to men’s haircare products for a while, because they don’t need all that fluffy stuff women do, so their products are much simpler.
She needs to make a designated “gluten-free” area in her kitchen. Whether it’s a cabinet where she can keep her stuff and the counter space below, or however she chooses. If she has family and they are not following this program, she’ll need things like an additional toaster that can only be used for her breads and believe me, if she’s buying ready made GF bread, she’ll want to toast everything.
Good website to sign up is http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/ This is a gluten-free forum and full of good info.
Glutenfreemall.com and glutenfree.com are good places to look for products. Best ready-made bread is: Udi’s gluten free bread. Best bread mix (and it has consistency of cake batter you pour into pan) is Gluten-free pantry’s “favorite sandwich bread mix” http://www.glutenfree.com/index.cfm/manufacturer/Gluten-Free-Pantry/126001M-___-Favorite-Sandwich-Bread.html.
However, anything you make from scratch or a box has no preservatives so you have to eat it within that week.
For snacks, good brands are: Glutino, Gluten-free Pantry, Pamela’s… I’ll send more as I look at what I have.
Also, Bob’s Red Mill products are ok, but they use lots of bean flours and I don’t like the “bean” taste in my stuff.
Best recipe books are by Betty Hagman. (Gluten-free gourmet, etc.) She explains the ingredients and conversions.
My favorite flour mix substitute for the wheat flour is called “featherlight” flour mix. It uses 1 cup white rice flour, 1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup tapioca starch and 1 tablespoon potato flour (yellowish color). There is potato flour and potato starch. There are essentially 27 varieties of flours that can be used in different ways to replace certain things. King Arthur brand mixes are also good.
I’ve found that Pamela’s GF flour mix, basis of almond meal, is good, as is Gluten-free Pantry’s GF Flour blend. But it’s easier to get and mix my own. It’s a trial and error kind of thing.
I’ve taken my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe and had to substitute oatmeal for a lot of the flour, as rice flour is a bit gritty and coarse in some things.
Betty Crocker now has some gluten free stuff that is decent.
3. The basics: Stick as much to fruits, vegetables and meats, as possible. It’s good to find the substitutions for breads, pastas, etc. and the snacky stuff but it’s also way more dense so one GF cookie is about the equivalent calorie-wise to about 3 regular cookies. If you get caught up in all the gluten free cookies and snacks, you’ll find yourself gaining weight. However in the early stages when you suddenly get frustrated and think there is nothing left to eat, it’s good to know there are some good things out there. I went through a tootsie-roll stage. It seemed like the only “normal” thing I could find to eat at the time.
4. Cereals and Pastas: Rice pasta is good, but you have to cook it, then “set” it with cold water, then reheat to add your sauces, etc. Corn pasta cooks and acts like regular wheat pasta, if you can do corn, but if you have leftover and store it with sauce on it, it will become polenta (corn mush) the next day. Most Chex cereals are now gluten-free, labeled on box, which is a huge plus. There are lots of special brands of gluten-free cereals but they are not that good. Rice krispies are NOT gluten-free because they contain “malt” which is the sweetener on them. Until they choose to redo them… However Rice Chex are gluten-free and can be made into marshmallow treats, just not as pretty as rice krispies style but still good.
There are many specialized brands of these things but they can get expensive.
5. Other: Hidden stuff is in things like soy sauce, marinades, spices, shampoos, conditioners, makeup, etc. you have to consider those if you have to eliminate from your diet. Also eat only cheese that is white. the yellow food coloring is called annatto and is derived from wheat. Also anything with MSG. Chinese food is mostly out but Thai food is ok.