I don’t have celiac, but have done every elimination diet known to mankind trying to figure out a mystery source of inflammation no doctor can diagnose. About to start a new one next shopping trip, which I have high hopes for because it’s so different from previous ones. I’ve gone gluten-free at least a dozen times now. Yeah, it’s probably going to be a big adjustment. Especially when the dietician tells you to throw away just about everything in your kitchen and replace all your bowls and kitchen equipment because of contamination. (Seriously, who does that???). But the good news is that this is probably one of the easiest food sensitivities to have because of the sheer volume of support, certified gluten-free foods, recipes, blogs, Facebook and other support groups, etc…
I’m already an everything from scratch homesteader, so it was never a big deal for me to just find new recipes. Eating at home is going to be not just safest, but also offer the most variety. If you tend to eat out a lot, though, it’s going to be harder. Every restaurant has a gluten-free menu, but it only applies to the actual ingredients and doesn’t account for cross-contamination. You’ll be relegated to griddled/sauteed proteins (pans and the flattop are the easiest things to clean) with just salt&pepper with certain veg for sides, because pretty much every every seasoning blend and sauce will have gluten, and the deep fryers are literally deadly to you.
Sure, gluten -free REPLACEMENTS for wheat foods are going to be slightly higher glycemic index because they tend to have a higher starch content than wheat flour to mimic it’s fluffiness. The reality is that you’re talking about swapping already high glycemic index foods for slightly higher glycemic index foods. It’s really not that drastic of a difference. If you’re looking to include these types of foods, there’s a website called Gluten Free On A Shoestring which has some of my absolute favorite recipes. They’re really good! She’s also got a lot of excellent cookbooks, which are usually available at the library if you want to try before you buy. And if you’re a pizza fan, there’s one called No Gluten, Problem - Pizza, written by a family that owns a pizzaria, and it’s hand-me-down the best!
It’s also really easy to just not eat those fluffy, wheaty types of baked goods and pasta, though, and focus on eating real non-processed foods instead. So long as you take it easy on the fruit, that pretty much guarantees low glycemic index and is ideal for diabetics following the traditional recommended diet! Just about everything in the outer aisles of the grocery store, except the bakery, is going to be gluten free: produce, meat, eggs, a lot of the deli (the attendants will know what’s gluten-free because of the hundreds of people before you who’ve asked), dairy&cheese (beware of the pre-shredded!), etc…
As far as making the change affordable: I’m not normally a Walmart shopper (supporting small businesses is just the Colorado way and Walmart is a dirty word here), but they’ve got the absolute best gluten-free assortment of any grocery store I’ve been in. There’s usually an entire aisle dedicated to it. Also, Amazon with subscribe & save discounts and Vitacost have been my best affordable online retailers. If you’re a Sam’s Club member, don’t trust their supposed gluten-free category in the app. It’s a mess of lies. You have to read the labels.
Speaking of reading labels… There’s an app called FIG (short for Food Is Good) that will read the labels for you and highlight hidden sources of gluten (or any other food sensitivity you program it for), of which there are many. It’s really a lifesaver when you’re making the transition. There is a limited free version which allows you unlimited searches, but does not allow you to filter by grocery store or scan bar codes (you get 5 free scans, but they go really fast). I despise subscription model app pricing, but this is the ONE that I do pay for. It’s like $40/year and so worth it to me. I’m getting ready to start a diet for Histamine Intolerance, which excludes a mile long list of specific foods, but not entire general food categories (tomatoes and hot peppers are bad, but other nightshades and sweet peppers are fine; certain food additives are fine but others are not, most grains are fine but the germ part of them is not, no citric acid or folate, anything fermented is forbidden, etc…). All I’ve got to do is tell FIG I’m histamine intolerant now and it just KNOWS all the forbidden things. It’s really nice to be able to just search for what’s in the cereal aisle at Kroger I can eat, instead of searching by specific name/brand.
And the big thing nobody will warn you about is negotiating with the rest of your household. It’s seriously easiest if you live alone, but not many people do. Do you have the willpower to avoid gluten others bring into your home or is the entire home forced/willing to go gluten-free with you? If not, are you prepared to have your plates/pans/pantry and their plates/pans/pantry? Cooking separate meals? Are they supportive enough to go on this journey with you? It can really challenge a relationship when food is soooooo integral to life! You’re going to need a support network if it’s not in your home.
Good luck with the shift! Just remember that it usually takes 4-6 weeks to change a habit. So it’s a relatively short time of truly sucking before you get a good grip on things and it just becomes the new normal.