Ok, so you found out you are sensitive to gluten. Now what? It can seem like an overwhelming task to figure out what to eat, what not to eat, how to make meals, snacks, etc.
Don’t be upset–there is still a way to enjoy many of your favorite foods! I’m here to help walk you through the maze of gluten free.
I have had problems with wheat and gluten for about 25 years. Going wheat and gluten free was not near as easy back then and the easy to find substitutes that are available now, did not exist 10-20 years ago.
Over the years I found easy ways to cook without gluten, and how to avoid it when going out to eat, so I am here to help you find ways to enjoy most all of your favorite foods without feeling deprived.
First of all, let me point out that gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are all one and the same. While some doctors may distinguish between the two, both are essentially the same disease, just a difference in the severity of the reaction.
And it’s important to know, gluten sensitivity is inherited, so if someone in your family has it, the chances of someone else having some degree of gluten problem is about 1 out of 4. And sometimes it takes time to develop noticeable symptoms. Many people don’t realize they have problems with gluten until they are adults, or even middle-aged or beyond. Often it’s easier and healthier for everyone in the family to adopt the gluten-free lifestyle, rather than having the tempting off-limits foods around the house, making it hard for the gluten sensitive person to avoid.
Ok, so first of all, how the heck do ya’ cook gluten free?
Well, you CAN make most of your favorite recipes. The easiest solution that I have found is Brown rice flour, which you can substitute for most everything. Rice flour does not have the gluey-ness that regular wheat flour has, so some things may tend to crumble more easily (like cookies) but it does work. I use brown rice flour for everything from breading and coating meat, thickening sauces and gravies, to pancakes, waffles, cakes, cookies, muffins and more. Often nobody can even tell the difference between the brown rice flour and regular flour.
There are plenty of different gluten free baking mixes out there, but I generally prefer not to use them. Many of them use a lot of refined tapioca starch, corn starch and other refined starchy additives, so really you are just trading in one bad food for another. Check out your favorite health food store, Whole Foods, your local grocery store or online for flour, baking mixes and prepared foods.
There are many other flours out there worth experimenting with–one of the newest is coconut flour. This has a much heavier texture than rice flour but it is low glycemic, lower in carbs and can be mixed with rice flour for extra fiber. I have used coconut flour in several recipes with great results. Generally you need to use a ratio of about 1 part coconut flour to about 4 parts rice flour. And coconut flour requires you add a little bit more liquid as it tends to absorb liquids more readily.
Sometimes cooking your own favorite recipes may take a little bit of ‘tweaking’ to get them perfectly right, but I have found I can eat most all of my favorite goodies that I once ate with a little bit of experimenting.
So, where to start…
-Learn to read and recognize ingredients that contain gluten. Many prepared sauces, gravies, soups, and other foods will contain wheat, wheat flour, barley, barley malt, or modified food starch (usually ‘iffy’ since you can never be of the food source).
-Shop the gluten-free section of your food aisles carefully. Many of the gluten free substitutes may taste good but they are of little value as food, since the ingredients may be highly refined grains and starches.
-Learn to make your own gluten free food. Obviously the safest place for gluten free foods is in your own kitchen, since you have control over both the ingredients and the method of preparation.
-Move towards eating WHOLE foods with one ingredient. There is no mistaking the ingredients in an apple, a handful of raw nuts, a slice of cheese, or a fresh, healthy salad. (Watch out for the dressing though!)
–Celiac.com has one of the most informative websites on gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.
And stay tuned to www.simplesmartnutrition.com as I will continually be adding more recipes all the time. Check the ‘Recipes’ section on the menubar for new gluten free recipes added frequently.
Watch for my new book, The Fat Burning Kitchen Superfoods Recipes, full of delicious, healthy, easy to fix recipes that are gluten, dairy, corn and soy free. Healthy simple foods for your health and enjoyment.
And feel free to email me with any questions you may have about gluten, dairy, corn or soy allergies. I’m happy to help! firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine (Cat) Ebeling RN BSN,is a back to basics diet and nutrition specialist. In addition to her advanced degree in nursing from a major medical school, she has spent the last 30 years intensely studying diet, health, food allergies, and nutrition. She also has a book titled “The Fat Burning Kitchen, Your 24 Hour Diet Transformation” that has sold over 60,000 copies worldwide, and has helped thousands of people transform their lives, lose weight and improve their health.