A restricted diet can be hard. It can also be invigorating, exciting, seriously tasty, and creative, but hard still plays a part.
One of the most productive things I have discovered, along with developing as large a support group as is humanly possible, is to clear out the food that I shouldn't eat and replace it with foods that don't bite back. It's big job and a scary one to some degree, especially if you're a bit of a foodie at heart. There really was not a lot in my pantry that I didn't like or didn't want. I'm guessing that's the same for most of us. We don't bring food into the house because it grosses us out. Even though I knew it had to be done, I whined a bit as I removed every Barefoot Contessa mix from the freezer. The flour, about 40 pounds of it, mostly organic, was easier. (And where in the world did the Kraft mac and cheese come from anyway?) It's funny though, most of the specifics have faded. It had to go. If you can do as we did and bite the bullet, life will be so much easier. Any contraband you keep in the house is like leaving the stove on when you go to the store. It may not result in catastrophe, but there's sure as heck a possibility. And there's just no really good reason I can think of to take that chance.
That said, I must admit it was months before I gave away all of the cheese stored carefully in the refrigerator. When I say cheese, I'm not talking sliced American. We had Point Reyes Blue, my all time favorite, 3 or 4 goat cheeses, French and Greek feta, a couple of types of Swiss. I am, sadly "was", a cheese fanatic. For awhile I said GK could eat it, so I needn't dispose of it all, but that just doesn't work. The only exceptions in our house now are organic whipping cream for his coffee and one loaf of organic sprouted bread in the freezer. There's no way I will accidentally pick up either of those and eat them. (I may like to but I won't.)
So then, what do you put in all that space? Lots of amazingly good ingredients! A word of caution, be a bit leery of mixes. Read the labels. Just because they're gluten-free or dairy-free doesn't mean they're good to put in your body. I'm not saying never buy them, just be careful. The first thing I did was to buy an organic cornbread mix. I was hoping maybe if it were gluten-free, I could eat cornbread. And no, I can't, not without a whole lot of pain!
Bob's Red Mill has some really good products and some really great products. I love many of their flours. Their sweet rice flour is one of my favorite thickeners and it's also good as a starch portion in a flour mix. Amazon is a good source, if you know you like something or can't get it locally. I love having hard-to-find items shipped directly to my door. Your local grocery or natural foods store is a better choice to try a product first to be sure you like it. As you know if you're eating gluten-free, it can get a bit pricey at first, and I'm not sure that's necessary. I suggest one or two products at a time. Try them a few times to see what you think.
More about what's in my pantry to come. In the meantime, my all-time favorite advice is to focus on what you can eat safely, the foods you love that are kind to your body, and enjoy the heck out of those. Tomorrow our favorite quick bean salad that comes straight from the pantry.