My first week and a half of being gluten-free, I stuck to obvious gf foods. I bought a bag of pasta and a box of crackers so I wouldn't go crazy (or starve). I only went to the grocery store for a few things, likes meats and veggies during that time. I knew that I needed to do a major overhaul of my pantry, so tried to weed out all the g-filled food I could. (Thankfully, I spent the two weeks prior expecting to hear a celiac diagnosis, so ate as much of my cookies, crackers, and pasta stockpiles as I could!) I went to the Harold Washington library and found their gluten-free books, checked out a few of them, and read them on my way to my mom's house for the weekend.
The first book I read was Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD, LD's Gluten-Free for a Healthy Life. This book is extremely comprehensive and answers a LOT of questions about going gf. Her conversational yet informative tone lets people realize that this IS possible, it will be hard, but you can do it and do it well. Some of her most valuable sections to the newly diagnosed (or those wondering what exactly gf entails) are her lists of foods to eat, question and avoid. There were a lot of foods and ingredients that I did not necessarily think of when calling to mind the standard wheat, rye, and barely (and sometimes oats.) She also has a section of "Tips from the Experts Themselves" - people who are living gf and eating well. There are a handful of recipes as well as suggestions for gf meals and snacks. I highly, highly recommend this as the first book to read regarding gf and celiac. I used her listing of flours and recipes to make my grocery shopping list and even took the book to the store with me so I could consult it. Tessmer also provides great resources and practical advices for families and children who are gf.
For me, this book gave me so much hope. There is a FAQ section and in it she addresses lactose intolerance and its relationship to gluten intolerance. She says (p 177) "Lactose intolerance is usually only temporary until the condition is under control and the small intestines heals." I constantly remind myself to focus on the word "usually", because my body does not like to respond in the "usual" ways, but even though I will always be gluten-free, I love knowing that one day I can try lactose again and maybe be able to reintroduce that in my diet.
I'm currently rereading this book and am working really hard to not dog ear important pages or highlight every bit of advice since this is a library book. I have read some sections of it aloud to my mom as I help her understand what changes need to be made in my foods, as she always cooks for me when I'm home. (Her recent solution was steaks! Brilliant!) I have added Gluten-Free for a Healthy Life to my "must purchase" book list to add to my growing personal library of cookbook and allergy-related resources.