Tag Archives: gluten free food

An Introduction to Gluten Free Cooking

What is gluten free cooking? What kinds of ingredients do you need? Where do you shop for gluten free food? And where can you find gluten free cooking recipes? We’ll give you the answers to these questions and more. Learning to cook gluten free meals takes a little adjustment but once you have the hang of it you’ll see how rewarding it is to avoid foods with gluten and cook meals that are tasty and promote good health.

The Health Benefits of a Gluten Free Diet
Various forms of gluten intolerance are on the rise. From gluten sensitivity and allergies to the more serious celiac disease, gluten has been found to cause a number of significant health issues. If you suffer from gluten intolerance, removing gluten from your diet, over time, eliminate a host of uncomfortable symptoms. Imagine that just changing your diet can eliminate chronic stomach discomfort, diarrhea, anemia, muscle weakness, mental fogginess and more. There are so many illnesses in the world that do not have treatments – it’s fortunate indeed that a change in diet can have such a profound impact on gluten related health problems.

Stocking the Pantry
The best way to switch to a gluten free diet is wholeheartedly. Clear out your pantry of anything containing gluten. This includes wheat, rye, barley, spelt and most oat products. Replace them with gluten free flours like tapioca flour, amaranth flour, corn starch, teff flour, potato starch, white or brown rice flour and necessary ingredients like xanthan gum. Find gluten free baking mixes for convenience and add those to the pantry as well. Remember that most foods are naturally gluten free, so the primary area you need to be concerned with is processed foods and foods traditionally made from wheat. The trick is to learn how to replace those foods with gluten free substitutes.

Gluten Free Recipes
Online is the easiest way to find gluten free or celiac recipes. One method of building your repertoire of delicious meals is every time you think of a meal you used to enjoy that contained gluten, attempt to create a gluten free version. Go on a quest to find the perfect gluten free pizza dough recipe. Or challenge yourself to create the world’s best gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Don’t forget to think about gluten free snacks as well as recipes for gluten free appetizers, breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Celiac organizations like the Coeliac Society is another great way to expand your recipe repertoire.

Subscribe to a Gluten Free Cooking Magazine
Another great way to expand your culinary horizons is to subscribe to a gluten free cooking magazine like Delight or Living Without. These magazines provide helpful lifestyle tips as well as amazing recipes. You may end up finding your favorite gluten free recipe between the pages of one of these publications.

Whether you’ve just received a celiac disease diagnosis or if you’ve been living gluten free for years, taking an exploratory attitude toward gluten free cooking can open your horizons. Food is such an integral part of our lives – why not enjoy every minute of it?

Making your own Gluten Free Foods List

The key to following any kind of specialized diet is to be organized. How are you going to manage menu planning, family functions and dining out without a bit of planning? The key to avoiding foods that contain gluten is a well researched and well organized list of gluten free food.

Go High Tech
The easiest way to build your list is electronically. Use Word, Excel or a similar program to start your list. Once you’ve got all the foods you can think of listed, print it out and make notes on it for the week. As you discover more gluten free food, add to the list and update the electronic copy. You may even be able to load the electronic file onto your phone for easy access when you’re dining out or when you’re with friends.

Start Big, then Get Specific
When you’re just beginning to avoid foods with gluten, it’s a good idea to include everything on your list. You can even create two lists if you prefer. The first would be one that is a naturally gluten free foods list that includes items like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, oils, meats and dairy products. The second list would be a list of foods that are specially formulated to replace foods containing gluten. It would likely include categories like:

  • Gluten free baking mixes – As you try various gluten free mix brands, like Gluten Free Pantry or other similar brands, add them to your list. Cookie mixes, pancake and waffle mixes, bread mixes and all-purpose mixes should be a staple.
  • Gluten free flours – Tapioca flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, amaranth flour, teff flour, sorghum flour, and cornmeal would be likely candidates for this section of the list.
  • Gluten free alcohol – Brands and varieties of your favorite hard liquors and beers.
  • Hidden ingredients to avoid – This is important to add to your list. As you discover ingredients that are not gluten free, it’s important to make a note of it. Items like ‘starch’ or ‘malt’ are likely to contain gluten yet do not directly refer to wheat, barley or rye.

As you become more experienced you’ll find that you need the first list of naturally gluten free foods less and less, and that you rely on your gluten substitute list more and more. As you learn more you can make either or both lists as specific as you need.

You may find that having prepared a list of gluten free foods to be helpful in a variety of circumstances: grocery shopping, dining out, traveling, assisting others you meet who are new to gluten free living, educating family members who wish to cook for you. These are just a few examples of how having a prepared list could come in handy. Challenge yourself to expand your lists on a weekly basis. As you explore new foods you can have fun and enjoy a greater variety in your diet.

Gluten Free Cereal – A Great Way to Start the Day

Breakfast is a very important meal. For millions of Americans cereal is a major component of breakfast on a daily basis. If you’re gluten intolerant finding a good gluten free breakfast can be a challenge. Cereals aren’t just breakfast food either – many people enjoy cereal as a snack or use it as a base to make cookies and pie crusts. In this article we’ll explore a few gluten free cereal brands and give a few recommendations of cereals to try. Whether you enjoy hot or cold cereal, sweetened or unsweetened you’re likely to find something you will fall in love with.

Gluten Free Cereal List
This is a partial list of gluten free cereals to try. We’ve noted a few characteristics of each cereal. It’s a good idea to try several brands to see which one you prefer. Cereals, like other gluten free food can be a little more expensive than the traditional counterparts. If cost is a factor, consider purchasing your gluten free cereals in bulk. Sometimes you can find great deals online. Watch for sales, particularly when merchants offer free shipping. Now on to the list!

Hot Cereals
One of the best ways to start a cold winter day is with a hot breakfast. There are several different gluten free hot cereals to try. One of the best is Gluten Free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal from Bob’s Red Mill. Add a few raisins and some brown sugar and you’re all set. If you enjoy oatmeal, give Lara’s Rolled Oats a try. Gluten Freeda also has several instant oatmeal varieties to choose from. Just be sure to use gluten free oats.

Cold Cereals
There is a growing variety of gluten free cold cereals to choose from. Whether you enjoy slightly sweet cornflakes or prefer unsweetened puffed rice you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy. Here are a few on the top of our recommended list.

  • Nature’s Path Corn Flakes – A great basic classic, these corn flakes are great as a breading substitute as well as a breakfast cereal.
  • Nature’s Path Gorilla Munch – If you like cereal as a snack you’ll love this cereal. Somewhat addictive, so watch out! These sweet balls of corn are great right out of the box.
  • Barbara’s Bakery Puffins – This wholesome slightly sweet cereal is sure to please and stays crispy in milk.
  • General Mills Chex – Available in a variety of flavors Chex is now gluten free.
  • Arrowhead Mills Maple Buckwheat Flakes – This cereal is simply amazing. It’s organic and delicious.

Gluten free does not mean cereal free. Take a look in the health food section of your grocery store and pick up a box (or several!) of gluten free cereal. You’ll be glad you did!

Recommended List of Gluten Free Foods

If you’ve been diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, your primary treatment option is to follow a strict gluten free diet. The best way to get started on the path to optimal health is to create a complete list of gluten free foods to use as a reference as you begin to plan your new menus. In this article we’ll help you get off to the right start by providing a free list of gluten free foods. By the end of this article you’ll have the great beginnings of a shopping list that you can use as you begin your gluten free journey.

What is Gluten Free Food?
The short and sweet answer is that gluten free food is anything that does not contain gluten. The longer answer is that it means a couple of things. When you see packages in the grocery store labeled gluten free, it is likely an item that would normally contain gluten – like bread for example. However, not all foods that are gluten free need to be labeled. There are hundreds of naturally gluten free foods available. Read on to learn more.

A Gluten Free Foods List
Here is a good start on a gluten free products list.

  • Fruits – Apples, oranges, pears, grapes, bananas, cherries, plums, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, figs, dates, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and any other non-processed fruit.
  • Vegetables – Artichokes, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, onion, peppers, mushrooms, squash, potatoes, corn, peas, carrots and any other naturally grown vegetables.
  • Grains and Flours – Rice, corn, amaranth, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, and teff flour. Cooking quinoa is also a great choice.
  • Meats – Chicken, beef, pork, fish, lamb and all other non-processed meats are gluten free.
  • Dairy – Milk, cream, butter, eggs all are gluten free. Most cheeses are also gluten free, but be careful when purchasing processed cheeses as they may contain hidden gluten.
  • Oils – Olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, corn oils – all are gluten free.
  • Nuts – Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, brazil nuts – all these and all other nuts are naturally gluten free.
  • Legumes – Kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, soybeans and all other legumes are gluten free.
  • Sugars – Cane sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup are all gluten free. You can even find gluten free candy.

In addition to all the foods listed above, many grocery stores have a health food or natural food section that will contain a variety of safe foods such as gluten free bread, gluten free cookies, gluten free pasta and other foods traditionally made with gluten containing flour.

When you change your lifestyle the most important thing is attitude! When you take a look at the huge list of gluten free foods above, you can see that the vast majority of food is still on the table. Foods containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley and oats – except gluten free oats) are relatively few and there are replacement flours available. Use the list above to create your gluten free foods list and start on the path to a healthier diet program.

The Truth about Celiac Sprue

If you believe that you may be suffering from celiac sprue (also referred to as celiac or coeliac disease) then read on. In this article we’ll explain what celiac sprue is, what the common symptoms are and the best known way of treating this potentially life threatening disease.

What is Celiac Sprue Disease?
Essentially, celiac sprue is a disease of the small intestines. In people with celiac disease, when a form of protein called gluten enters the small intestines, an immunological reaction occurs. This reaction causes inflammation of the small intestines which in turn destroys the lining. The lining is responsible for the absorption of nutrients. With a damaged or destroyed lining a variety of nutritional malabsorption symptoms can arise. This disease can be very serious. In advanced cases it is possible to die due to lack of nutrition. If you think that you or someone in your family may have celiac sprue disease, please consult your physician as soon as possible. They will be able to perform a few blood tests and possibly a simple intestinal biopsy to accurately diagnose your condition.

Celiac Sprue Symptoms
Since celiac sprue impacts intestinal function, many of the symptoms can be related to digestive or nutritional issues. While not everyone has all of these celiac disease symptoms, and some individuals don’t even manifest any symptoms, these are the most common symptoms.

  • Weight loss or emaciation
  • Abdominal pain, particularly a few hours after consuming gluten
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Nutritional absorption issues like Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Absent mindedness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Failure to thrive or stunted growth in children

Celiac Sprue Diet
The best way to treat celiac sprue disease is to carefully follow a strict gluten free diet. Gluten is a protein found in some cereal grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Most people with celiac sprue disease also avoid oats because most oats are processed along side gluten containing grains and become contaminated. At first, the idea of a diet that does not contain wheat sounds daunting. However, there is an ever expanding variety of gluten free foods on the market in addition to all the naturally occurring gluten free food. The key is to try new things – whether it’s cooking quinoa for the first time or making bread with brown rice flour, being open minded can make all the difference.

Celiac sprue is a serious condition, but fortunately it is treatable. Most doctors recommend that patients immediately begin a gluten free diet. Since there are so many processed foods on the market that contain gluten, it is wise to begin by cooking your own meals and then slowly branch out into eating processed foods as you learn about foods containing gluten. Once you adjust to gluten free cooking you’ll find that living a gluten free life is not so difficult after all – and it’s well worth the health benefits.