5 Tips for Trying New Gluten-Free Products – Guest post by G-Free Laura!

5 Tips for Trying New Gluten-Free Products

One of the difficult things about the gluten-free diet is testing out new gluten-free foods and brands. There have been many times when I’ve gotten excited about a new product on the shelf at the grocery store and purchased the product, only to get home and find out that it tastes like junk.

So how can you prevent yourself from wasting money on gluten-free products that aren’t worth it? The below 5 tips will help you to happily try new products without any regret!

Tip 1: Ask the Blogosphere

The online gluten-free community is HUGE. It is an invaluable resource for those on the gluten-free diet. There are tons of gluten-free blogs out there that are run by people just like you! Everyone is in the same boat when it comes to trying new products: we don’t know how it will taste until we taste it, and we don’t have the money to waste on things that taste like cardboard.

Before you pick up your next box of new gluten-free crackers, or a loaf of gluten-free bread from an unfamiliar brand, go home and Google the product to see what people have to say. Chances are that someone has written a review on the product. Utilize this online ‘support group’ before you commit a new product to your pocketbook.

Tip 2: Go on Twitter or Facebook

Odds are if you’re gluten-free and semi-in tune with the whole social media thing, you follow a few gluten-free people on Facebook or Twitter. If you have a question about a product and want to find out if your favorite blogger or social influencer has tried it, just ask them!

The great thing about normal, down-to-earth people with gluten-free blog-personalities is that they are right there with you. If someone sends me a message, or asks a question on Twitter, I respond as quickly as possible and to the best of my ability. If I don’t know the answer to their question, I try to figure it out, or point them in the right direction. I don’t want my followers wasting their time or money on products that aren’t worth it!

If you’re wondering whether or not to spend the $6.99 on those frozen gluten-free pizza crusts, or the $4.99 for that box of gluten-free crackers, ask someone if you should!

Tip #3: Utilize New Resources

Another great way to try new products is to literally get them delivered to your door step. There are new gluten-free companies popping up left and right that want to help the gluten-free community with their journey. I’m not going to lie, I’m jealous they weren’t around when I went gluten-free! It would have made the process slightly easier.

I recently learned about a company called Taste Guru that sends monthly boxes filled with gluten-free products. How awesome is that? A box delivered to your doorstep filled with gluten-free goodies. I so wish I had this service when I went gluten-free four years ago – It would have been the highlight of my month!

The BEST thing about utilizing resources like Taste Guru is that you get a lot more bang for your buck! The cost of one month’s box is $24.99, yet the value of the box is between $75 -$100. That’s like gluten-free gold. The company also prides itself on the fact that the boxes don’t just contain gluten-free food, but they contain GOOD gluten-free food. There’s none of that hard, questionable looking, bird-food stuff.

Tip #4: Keep a List

Have you ever tried a product, fell in love with it, then when you went to buy it again, you couldn’t remember the brand name for the life of you?!

When my family first went gluten-free, we would tear off the name on the box of crackers, or keep the bag it came in, so we would not only know the name, but also what the packaging looked like. We ended up having a somewhat large stack of package scraps but it sure was worth it! I’d rather have a pile of brand names to spark my memory than lose the chance to have my favorite product again.

A more efficient method than ours might be to start an excel spreadsheet (yes, the nerd in me is coming out now). Have a column for food type, brand name, link to website, and where you purchased the product at. This can help you to stay organized, know which store carries which brand, and make your shopping experience more efficient!

Tip #5: Believe in the Little Guy

Sometimes the best products are from start-up companies. Why? Because these people have a passion for gluten-free living and they oftentimes create the product for themselves or a loved one to eat. Who doesn’t want to eat food that is literally baked with love?

So give the ma and pa shops a little g-free love when you see them promoting themselves at the gluten-free expo, Celiac tour, or just at your local grocery store! I bet you won’t be sorry!

Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009 and reviews products, restaurants, posts simple recipes, and writes about gluten-free experiences on www.gfreelaura.com. Laura’s passion for spreading g-free love has led her to become a contributor for sites such as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Rudi’s Gluten-Free ‘Baked on the Bright Side‘ blog, and SwimUtopia. Visit Laura on FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedIn, and Google+.

13 Reasons Living Gluten-Free will make this the best year yet

I finally met Laura in person at the Celiac Awareness Tour in Cleveland, Ohio in 2012 and I just simply adore her! We have similar stories and passion for sharing information and awareness about celiac and gluten free living. I thought what a better way to do this than by cross promoting our blogs. So here is her guest blog!

Enjoy…

Rebecca

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13 Reasons Living Gluten-Free will make this the best year yet

If I could describe the month of January in three words it would be motivated, success, and failure. Yeah, you didn’t read the last word incorrectly, I meant to say failure. Why? Because two weeks in to this wintry month, resolutions turn into dreams, and results turn into that thing you will never obtain. Well folks, it’s time to change your failures into life changes! It’s time to be happy, healthy, and no longer support your bad habits and so-called addictions.

Have you been toying with the idea of going gluten-free? Did you doctor recommend this diet for you, but it seems so…difficult? Were you recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease and you just can’t seem to pull the final gluten plug?

Throw all of the things holding you back out the gosh darn window people!

Here are 13 reasons why going gluten-free in 2013 will make this the BEST year yet:

1. Stop being so tired!
Many suffer extreme fatigue as a symptom of Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance. Think of all the times you say, “If I only had more energy I would be able to do more”, well here’s your chance! Going gluten-free can help you feel less sluggish so you will have the ability to do more of the things you love.

2. No more gas
Yuck, I know. But it’s reality, isn’t it? I tooted my own horn way too often before I went gluten-free, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Just days after going gluten-free my flatulence subsided. I no longer had deadly gas brewing, but instead I felt, dare I say, normal!

3. Sayonara, Bloated Stomach!
Do you ever feel like you’re a hot air balloon on the verge of popping? The culprit may be gluten. Before I went gluten-free, I would eat a slice of bread and look 6 months preggers just an hour later. The bloating side-effect may not seem like a huge deal, but once you no longer have to experience it, it is truly a wonderful thing!

4. See ya, Constipation!
Yeah, no one likes to talk about it, but it happens. One of the most uncomfortable things to experience is constipation. Some people that should be on a gluten-free diet experience constipation as a side-effect (while others experience the opposite). Both can be horrible. But, going gluten-free may take away all of your toilet troubles.

5. Vominos, Vomitting!
Although I didn’t personally experience this symptom, my sister did. She seemed to constantly be vomiting. What was mistaken in college for “drinking too much” has since been diagnosed as a side-effect of the gluten she was ingesting. If you experience the vomiting symptom regularly, think of how good life would be without it…

6. Stop being so Irritable
Tell your husband/wife/sister/friend that it’s not your fault you’re so irritable (well, to a certain extent). Many experience extreme irritability as a result of gluten in their diet. Imagine a life in which you aren’t so…wound up. Now go achieve it!

7. Get your ‘bean-stalk’ on
Many children suffering from Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance experience delayed growth before going on a gluten-free diet. If your child seems like they aren’t growing as they should be, gluten could be the common denominator. See what happens to your child’s height when they go on a gluten-free diet. You might have a weed on your hands after that!

8. Finally Gain the Weight
Some may call you crazy for explaining your weight loss as ‘unwanted’, but we understand. If you’re on a gluten-filled diet that doesn’t agree with your body, the result could be unexplained and unwanted weight loss. You simply are not absorbing the nutrients you need. Going gluten-free might be the answer to your problems.

9. Itchy Skin Resolution!
One of the most annoying things that can come from eating gluten is dermatitis herpetiformis, an itchy skin rash that looks like eczema or poison ivy. This is one symptom that everyone can see. People can hide stomach pain, diarrhea, and flatulence, but you can’t hide unattractive skin rashes. Think of how beautiful life would be if you didn’t have to deal with this issue!

10. Feelings of Depression may Subside
There might be a reason you always feel down in the dumps. What could be better than testing out a gluten-free diet and seeing not only a change in your body, but also change in your mood?! By going gluten-free this year, you just might change a lot of negatives into positives!

11. Finally Hitting Puberty
All you teenagers and parents reading this – there may be an explanation for you or your child’s delayed puberty. I personally experienced delayed puberty that I attribute to my gluten-filled diet growing up. This is a symptom of Celiac Disease and could be remedied with a gluten-free diet.

12. Become ‘Regular’
Ladies, some women experience erratic menstrual periods as a result from their gluten-filled diet. This may seem trivial to some, but I know it can be mighty annoying when you’re the one dealing with it. Imagine a world where you become regular. Maybe a gluten-free diet can help you achieve that!

13. Be Healthy!
The number one thing a gluten-free diet can do for you in 2013 is help you to become healthy. Being healthy isn’t achieving just one thing; it is an all-encompassing term. A gluten-free diet may help you to alleviate several symptoms, enabling you to be healthy in your mind, spirit, and body. All three of these contribute to a happy life.

If you’re struggling to start a gluten-free diet this year, remember the above reasons why it can help you. You can also join the online gluten-free community for help and support through this confusing time.
It is also important to consult your doctor before going on a gluten-free diet.