GLUTEN FREE DIETARY GUIDE
Being gluten free doesn't have to be hard anymore. Today
we are fortunate to have an abundance of information out there at
our fingertips as well as an ever increasing awareness in the market.
I list below some of my favorite resources. You can take it wherever
you like...keep it simple and make a few basic changes, or get very
creative and challenge yourself to come up with even more options
for the gluten free world.
A few simple tips:
You don't have to buy 7 different kinds of flours and do your
own mixing. In my opinion, it is too expensive, takes up too
much space in the kitchen and/or fridge, leads to waste and
is time consuming. It's not for a busy life. There are some
very good "all-purpose" mixes finally for sale out
there. My favorite so far is put out by King
Arthur. You can use it to substitute for flour almost everywhere.
You will also need to have on hand some baking powder (for rise)
and Xanthan gum (for elasticity) for some recipies. The books
below will show you how to use them. It looks like Betty Crocker
just had a Baker's
Challenge Recipie Contest and soon will be coming out with
some great stuff.
Learn how to read ingredient lists on all the food and drinks
you buy. Look for "Gluten Free" or "GF"
on the label. If it is not there, it may still be safe. Keep
in mind the difference
between the FDA and USDA. The FDA requires 8 major allergens
(milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and WHEAT)
to be listed on the label. Notice, many gluten-containing items
are not in this requirement. Any foods regulated by the USDA
(e.g. meat and meat products, poultry, eggs) are not required
to list allergens, only all ingredients using common names,
which can be confusing. Watch out for and avoid all of the following:
gluten - of course
wheat (includes, bulgar, durham, semolina, farina, spelt,
triticale, matzo meal, graham)
oats (unless stated Gluten Free)
malt flavoring, maltodextrine, dextrine
brewer's yeast (not regular dry active yeast)
soy sauce (as it is most often made from wheat)
Be cautious of "natural flavoring" and "modified
food starch" as they can come from a glutinous source
and FDA rules do not require it to be noted on the label
Watch out for cross-contamination, both at home and when purchasing
products. It is not currently required to list on the label
if a product is made in a facility or on machinery where gluten-containing
products are also made. Many companies are now volunteering
this information, but it is not required. The app "Is That
Gluten Fee" below can assist you here. At home, unless
the entire home is gluten free, you will also neeed to take
care not to cross-contaminate. Be sure not to use the same cooking
tools (e.g a pasta strainer) that was just used for gluten-containing
foods. Don't "double dip" into a gluten-free food
(e.g. jam) after spreading it on wheat bread.
Come up with a system to easily identify GF foods in the home.
Mark all gluten-containing foods at home with a very visible
"X", or vice versa, mark all gluten-free foods with
a large "GF". It makes it easier on the individual
who is gluten-free in the home or, if you have a gluten-free
child in the home, for any babysitters that you might hire.
Take a gluten-free vitamin daily and add a little flax seed
flakes to your recipies for better nutrition and to bring back
some of the fiber that is lost when restricting whole grains.
Discover everything that nature has to offer that is naturally
gluten free. It will broaden your diet. Meat, poultry, fish,
vegetables, fruits, nuts, rice, potatoes, dairy products, all
in their unprocessed simple forms.
A very tasty ready-made gluten free bread, in my opinion, is
offered by Udi.
Usually in the freezer section. Our local Trader Joe's carries
A very tasty ready-made gluten free pizza is made by Glutino.
In the freezer section.
Pasta made from quinoa, pronounced "Keen-wa" is
the best, in my opinion.
Non-food items such as vitamins, toothpaste, lipsticks and
balms can contain gluten.
Play-Doh is made from wheat flour and we all know our kids
like to experiment with eating it!
You can't be only partially gluten free. It's an all or none
thing. A tiny bit of gluten can be enough to trigger a reaction
(abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas and bloating) if you are sensitive
and recovery can take a few days. This can be especially frustrating
when you are testing your response to this diet. If you are
testing, please give it at least a two-week trial of being absolutely
Apps: Download these on your phone or other gadgets.
Is That Gluten Free? - For iPhone and Android. Helps you find
out if something is GF by ingredient, brand or category. There
is an Eating Out version too.
Find Me Gluten Free. - For iPhone and Android. Helps you find
local restaurants and groceries that carry gluten free items.
Gluten-free Scanner. - For Android. I haven't used it, but
it sounds interesting and convenient.
"Living Gluten-Free For Dummies" - Dianna Korn. -
Really. It is a very easy read, humorous and with lots of useful
information. Available on Kindle.
"Free For All Cooking" - Jules E. Dowler Shepard.
Available on Kindle.