I’ve been following a gluten-free diet for about eight years.  It’s easy to remember because I started right around the time I got married. In fact, I think we ordered the cake then I realized I couldn’t actually eat it. I have other friends who started avoiding gluten around the same time so it’s been nice to bounce ideas off or share new products, recipes and warnings.

Over the years I’ve had other friends reach out to me and ask what to get friends who were newly diagnosed with celiac or just starting out on a gluten-restricted diet. After getting questions a couple times I’ve created a list to easily pass along. On my list I include brands of items that are fixtures in my household:

  • Tinkyada pasta – I don’t buy any other kind so my entire family (I’m the only one GF) eats the same type with me
  • Udi’s bread
  • Glutino frozen personal pizzas
  • Pamela’s pancake mix
  • Betty Crocker’s gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix
  • Kinnikinnick Foods “Smoreable” graham crackers

I have links to helpful resources for the gluten-free lifestyle. From the Triumph Dining Gluten-free guides to websites, magazines and recipe resources, I also list out brands that I’ve tried but would not recommend, restaurants in my area with a published GF menu and those who are GF friendly.  I also can recommend where to shop for many of these items if the person lives in my area, which is Chicago-land.

Additionally, I list ingredients and foods for them to stay away from. That list doesn’t include obvious offenders, rather it includes those I’ve learned the hard way like:

  • Soy sauce
  • Imitation crab
  • Licorice
  • Soup, sauces, gravy, creamed spinach that may use flour as a thickening agent

The list has changed and evolved over time and will continue to be as I try new products or discover more restrictions. Overall though, I hope it gives the newly diagnosed a place to start. I hope it helps them to see that there are plenty of choices and convenient products still out there for their new gluten-free lifestyle.

Do you have a similar list? What info or items do you make sure to include on your list for gluten-free newbies?