Going Gluten Free

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Lately many of my friends have been diagnosed as gluten intolerant. People are going gluten free because of an allergy, not because it is a healthier way for everyone to eat. If you are having issues that you think could be related to wheat or gluten products make sure to ask your Doctor to test you for it.

gluten-free-bakingIf you or your child is gluten intolerant you’ll need to educate yourself, as well as relatives and neighbors who will be feeding your kid. Like any person with an allergy you will have to be hyper-aware of what they are eating. This means packing lunches and making sure that food at a friend’s house is ok for them to eat. You might want to go ahead and bake a batch of gluten-free cupcakes and freeze them. This way you can send your little one with a yummy sweet when they are going to birthday parties for friends that will have cake that they can’t eat. Gluten-free foods have entered the main stream and even Betty Crocker has gluten-free cake mixes you can use.

A few from scratch gluten-free cupcakes recipes to get you started:

* Pumpkin Cupcakes
* Orange Creme Cupcakes – vegan too!
* Chocolate Cupcakes

You can make cupcakes, bread, even pizza gluten-free. Now may be the best time to be gluten-free since more products are available in your average grocery store. There will be an initial investment in some expensive flours, but it will pay for itself by saving you as much as 7 dollars a loaf for gluten-free bread!

While you are learning to cook with new ingredients buy a few mixes to get used to the new consistency. Gluten is what gets stretchy when we knead fresh bread dough, and to get things to stick together without it does take some creative thinking. You can get biscuit mix, bread mixes, cookie mix and more. The more you make the recipes, the more natural it will become. If you live in an area that doesn’t have as many gluten-free mixes you can buy some online or make your own.

Don’t expect the exact same consistency in all gluten-free foods. You’ll find pizza crust is lighter and some of your other favorites will be heavier. But keep trying different brands and recipes until you find the one you like the most. Alternatives like brown rice pasta can keep your life on track. So you can still make your famous lasagna and pasta salad. Just make sure not to overcook the pasta or it will fall apart and you’ll have to start all over again. You can even buy boxed gluten-free mac and cheese.

Watch for hidden gluten in soy sauce, some brands of ketchup, salad dressings and other bottled sauces. Some foods are naturally gluten-free but are processed on the same machinery that gluten is, so make sure to only buy oats that are marked gluten-free. Celiac.com has a great list of foods to avoid and the names that gluten can hide under. They also have a list of safe foods too. The Gluten-Free Chef has another list of safe foods with links on how to cook some of the new ingredients you will be incorporating into your life.

Gluten free does not have to be boring or time consuming. Try reading a few of the blogs below to get tasty recipes ideas. Even if your family isn’t gluten intolerant you may find yourself cooking for friends and relatives that are.

Gluten-Free Blogs and Reference Sites

* Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program
* Ginger Lemon Girl
* Book of Yum – this is their list of gluten-free blogs but they have amazing recipes too
* A Gluten-free Day
* Kitchen Therapy
* Gluten-free Easily
* Celiac Chicks

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