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Gluten Free Support Groups, Menu Plans (and a tiny rant)

Before sharing this week’s gluten free menu plan, I want to share an exciting new feature over at Gluten Free Easily.  The GFE Virtual Gluten Free Support Group!

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am that Shirley is opening up her home (virtually of course) and allowing all of us in the gluten free community to participate in the monthly support group meetings she leads in Virginia.  Why am I so excited?  Because the Albuquerque Gluten Intolerance Support Group meets at a time (12 noon on Saturdays) that is just not conducive to a mom with busy young boys going to birthday parties, sporting events, etc. etc.

Meeting people who eat and live the same challenging lifestyle as I do has been crucial in my gluten free journey.  Support groups are so very important, not only on the emotional front, but also for navigating the STEEP learning curve that comes with completely overhauling every aspect of your life.

Shirley will be sharing information from her actual support group, including presentations, recipes, member tips and so much more.  Shirley will also be hosting monthly giveaways which will no doubt be for something very useful as you begin and continue your own gluten free journey.

Last week, Shirley shared the documentary, The Future of Food (click the link to see the documentary in full).

I remember the first time I saw The Future of Food, it was shortly after I watched Food, Inc. for the first time (see my post from December, 2009).  Mike and I were in awe at how radically different our food “procurement” process is today versus even a few generations ago.  While we all learned about the pivotal role that agriculture has played in every society during 7th grade social studies, it is remarkable to think about just how far removed from this life sustaining process we really are.  And perhaps that is why so many of the obvious injustices that these documentaries bring to light are possible.  I think to a certain extent “we” don’t really care anymore because “we” don’t have to care anymore.  Now, there are obvious advantages to having so many people in our society able to focus on things other than growing their own food (more engineers, doctors, bloggers, etc.), but what will be the ultimate cost to our society?

For those who wish to make an honest living growing wholesome, non-GMO food, we simply must do better by them and in essence, ourselves too.

Okay, quick rant so please bare with me here.

I am Not a Burned Down House

I often think of Governor Mike Huckabee when he equated people with pre-existing conditions as “burned down houses.”

I know that Governor Huckabee was speaking contemporaneously and at the time when the health care over-haul was a very politically charged issue, and I am willing to forgive him (a little) for that.  But at the same time, there is no way for us to prevent ourselves from becoming burned down houses.  To use the Governor’s own example:

You have to buy a house but are not allowed to have an inspection.  In fact, you are not even allowed to see the house or inquire as to its basic construction.  You have been told by a few certified “experts” that the house is fine and suitable, even though they themselves will admit that they have only seen the house one time, and that was four years ago.  Three bedrooms, two baths…isn’t that all that matters?  It’s just a basic house and since there is really no difference between one house or another, all you have to worry about is whether or not you can afford the payment.

And that is the heart of the matter, my dear readers.  Can you afford the payment?  Not the payment to your health insurer…the payment to your congress-person (I intentionally did not capitalize that word, even though normally it should be).  The efficacy of our government, indeed the foundation of our supposedly open society, absolutely and without question depends on transparency.  And while I understand that there have been backroom political deals since the very day our great Republic was founded, such dealings should not, indeed can not, be the normal political operating procedure when it comes to the health and vitality of the citizenry.  We ask not for restrictions or lofty rhetoric.

We ask for one simple thing: LABELS!

When the U.S. government decides to put its citizens first and make it law that companies label genetically modified ingredients (but if the STILL lack of a gluten free labeling standard is any indication, I won’t hold my breath).

It is going to be up to us to make our voices heard.  And at the same time, we must all continue to seek physicians who are intellectually curious and willing to listen to what their patients are telling them (like Shirley’s amazing Ob/Gyn Dr. Miller {scroll down Shirley’s page}).  Perhaps if we can get enough of our personal “home inspectors” to write enough articles, give enough testimony, and do enough interviews, things might actually start to change.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox for now.  Here is this week’s menu plan.

Heidi’s Menu Plan: Grain Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free and Soy Free

Monday: Ginger Steak Salad (use Coconut Aminos instead of gluten free soy sauce to make this soy free)

Tuesday: Baked Chicken Legs (rub recipe to come), Roasted Potatoes with garlic and onions and Salad

Wednesday: Spicy Salmon Zucchini Roll-ups and Salad

Thursday: Tunisian Tomato Lentil Stew and Salad

Friday: Meatloaf Cupcakes (I will use chia egg replacer), Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Garlic Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds

Saturday: Corned Beef and Cabbage (duh…Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

Sunday: Wild Rock Shrimp Salad (I will use regular shrimp and Soy-Free Vegenaise) and Grilled/Smoked Artichokes with Vegan Lemon Garlic Aioli (recipe to come)

A Few “Just” Gluten Free Mexican Recipe Ideas

Grilled Fish Tacos (use gluten free corn tortillas, such as Mission brand)

CrockPot Salsa Chicken

Easy Beef Enchiladas

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Mexican Breakfast Pizza

How many doctors did you have to go through before you found one willing to listen?  Or…are you still dealing with an MD who has wax in their ears?  Any horror stories?



  1. Can you post your recipe for Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes recipe? I’ve been trying to master this one and can’t seem to get it right. Thanks!

  2. I can not tell you how happy I am to hear of a virtual support group!! I’m still in the steep learning curve and trying to wrap my head around this whole gluten-free lifestyle. And just to make it even more challenging (not something I usually shy away from), I’m also dairy-free, corn-free, potato-free (except for sweet potatoes), peanut-free…makes life a wee bit difficult and incredibly frustrating at times. So I’m extremely happy about any virtual support group. Keep us updated about it, please!

    • oops…forgot to mention that I’m not just gluten-free, I’m also pretty much grain-free except for brown rice, oats and quinoa (and their resulting flours). Thank heavens I can still have nut flours (minus peanut)!

  3. Ruth Lynn Marsh says

    Love the thoughts after “The Future of Food.” I’m sitting here listening to my son finish a research paper on Industrialized Farming. Wish we would have had the thoughts sooner. Summed up well!

  4. Heidi, you’re such a doll to highlight my virtual support group like this!! I am touched and so very thankful! I hope that the info that Dr. Miller shared will get out there, and also sincerely hope that more and more doctors will get on board. Your rant is warranted and while some would not consider that a tiny rant, I know that it is for you. 😉 I know because I often “resemble” your wordiness and ranting! The “burned down house” and “house inspection” analogy is a really good one, Heidi!

    Getting gluten-free labels won’t solve all our problems, especially for hypersensitive folks like me, but it’s a start and much needed for folks who continue to consume lots of gf products. Of course, as we know, even consuming one product, one item, that says it’s gf and is not, will cause us much harm, I’m particularly worried about the folks who are eating products that they think are safe day in and day out, when they are not (e.g., Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas).

    As far as the menu plan, I’ll be over on Wednesday and Sunday for sure. 😉 If only … a girl can dream, right? 😉

    Thanks again, dear. You rock as always!! xoxo,

  5. You asked for horror stories regarding being diagnosed so here goes: In June of ’09 I became extremely sick (diarhea, vomitting) everyday. This continued for at least 3 weeks. After 2 visits to the ER for dehydration and possibly some answers as to what was wrong, they just sent me home saying I had a stomach virus. So here comes the fourth week of all of it and I go to my MD. By this point I had already lost about 15 lbs. He gave me prescriptions for anti-diarhea and nausea and a pat on the head and sent me on my way. I was so sick the day I went to see him I could hardly walk into his office. Yet he was only willing to treat the symptoms and not find the cause. About 2 days later I called him and requested a referral to a gastro dr. I had to request it!! So I go to the gastro dr. He does a colonoscopy which just shows some inflammation, gives me some medicine and sends me on my way. By this time it had been al least 6 weeks since I had gotten sick. And we had already spent about $13000 on tests, hospital stays, dr visits etc. Needless to say I was frustrated. Finally the vomitting and diarhea stopped. But my stomach constantly hurt and I had no energy and I hurt all over. I put up with this until November and went back to the gastro dr and begged him to find out what was wrong. I explained all my symptoms and he immediately said I think you have Celiac Disease. I had the blood tests done that day, so the next day I started gluten free and have felt amazing since. Within 3-4 days I was feeling better. So it took a long time and a lot of money to get there, but I’m so glad my gastro dr (in the end) was knowledgeable enough to figure it out.

    • Boy sounds just like what I have just been through. I am just have such a hard time deal with this. I have 2 young kids and I want to eat everything they do! I can’t seem to find much of anything I like that is gluten free and when I do find it the price is nuts here and I don’t even know if I like it. I just want to go back to being normal and I too had to ask to go to a gastro Dr. So said when we know more then they do. Thanks for sharing makes me feel like I am not crazy.

  6. I’m currently dealing with several different doctors. I’ve been having a lot of issues lately and I’m pretty sure there is an autoimmune disease behind it. Two cousins have Celiac and my father & grandfather has/had Ankylosing Spondylitis. A little over a month ago, my body started screaming at me that something is very, very wrong… but so far, they’ve not figured it out. I’m hoping I find a doc willing to figure it out with me.

  7. I’m with you on the labels, Heidi! With all the questionably useful regulations in force, you’d think they could make one as helpful as that would be. Thanks for your passionate voice — it helps a lot of others who aren’t so articulate!

  8. Have you ever knew of anyone with type 2 diabetis and Celics.
    My grand daughter just was. Any suggestions?

  9. I know what you mean about support group meeting times. I am involved with my group, but do not make it to all the meetings. They are on Friday evening at 6:30 and it’s about 1/2 hour away. It just doesn’t work well for me. Going to check out some of your menu recipes….