Giving Up Gluten: 5 Stages of Grief

Giving Up Gluten: 5 Stages of Grief

Saying Goodbye to anything that you have a relationship with comes with various emotional swings. Why should removing something form your diet be any different? The following is a fairly accurate expression of what I’ve been going through these last few months.

Denial:  I can eat wheat, it isn’t that bad, that wheat belly guy is selling snake oil. I just have to eat less… What is gluten anyways? These pancakes are delicious! Why thank you, I love white crunchy bread and olive oil. Happy Birthday !! Is that a pound cake?….yum.


Anger: How come they get to eat wheat? I HAVE to eat wheat, because there is NOTHING in the house except for bread, crackers and pasta … You’re cooking tonight and we’re having pasta AGAIN. I’m being sabotaged! I’m hungry, fuck it… I’m eating crackers.

Bargaining: I haven’t had wheat in 3 weeks that means  I can have pasta tonight. I don’t want to seem rude and not eat the birthday cake… I’ll be good at least until my birthday 8 months from now.

Depression: No more croissants, filo pastry, no more soft bagette, oh my gawd is there gluten in wine? I don’t care, I’m drinking wine… a lot of wine.

Acceptance : It isn’t that bad. I have been working towards eliminating processed foods anyways. I was just about to start on a project to make my own bread, now I’ll just make my own gluten free bread! This is going to be great. Gluten free is the new black. Man, these jeans look good on me.

I’ve made the decision to go gluten free, but I still don’t know exactly what that means.  This is going to take some time and what to do while I’m figuring it out? What is gluten? Where is it? And where isn’t it? And what am I going to replace it with?

I know I’m going to bump into gluten in strange places, but one step at a time. The first thing I did was tackle the familiar places and make a list of items that I use regularly and that I feel like I will miss the most. Once I sat back and had a good look, I realized that it wasn’t going to be all that bad.  I don’t typically buy cookies and cakes or cook with filo pastry. Croissants do make me sad, but really how hard will it be to give up the 3 croissants I eat a year. There are an abundance of gluten free products out there to compensate and I like to bake, so hopefully I’ll be able to make whatever it is that I’m missing.  And if not, there’s always Sweets From The Earth Cashew Cookies (pictured above), which might be one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted, wheat or otherwise. And when you are mourning. It is helpful to have a good cookie on hand.

The very first recipe I altered to be gluten free are the cookies I make for just about every occasion. Below is the original recipe as it was featured on SPC in the early days and then my gluten free adjustments. Easy peasy.


Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies – The Original Recipe. 

3/4 cup wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup muesli
1/2 package of chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt in a bowl.

Cream together softened butter, vanilla and sugar until light. Add egg and blend again.

Add the flour to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in muesli and chocolate chips. Drop batter onto cookie sheets with a teaspoon and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

It was fairly simple to make these cookies gluten free thanks to Bob’s Red Mill products.  I simply used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Muesli and Bob’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and a 1/4 tsp of xanathan gum which is an ingredient I had never heard of before attempting this recipe. Xanathan gum helps to bind the cookie dough and is used quite often in gluten free baking ( a whole other post).  The children didn’t notice the difference except when they asked to lick the spoon, apparently the batter tasted funny. The second time I made them, I used chia rather than xanathan gum to act as the binder. In my world, you can never get enough chia. While I’ve read that you can simply trade out xanathan gum for chia in the same quantities that didn’t strike me as a good idea so I added  a heaping Tablespoon of chia seeds. While these cookies tasted quite delicious, they did crumble easily and I had to be quite careful lifting them off the pan. My next crack will be to use almond and coconut flours instead of the all purpose mixture, mostly because I like to lick the bowl. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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  1. Melana
    March 08, 15:09 Reply

    I’m on the same path Heidi! Glad to read the posts. We’ll have to chit chat on this one sometime.

  2. Heidi
    March 08, 19:33 Reply

    Any time. Thanks for reading!

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