Living a gluten-free lifestyle involves two steps. First you have to stock your kitchen with the very best gluten-free ingredients. Then you need to know how to substitute those healthy ingredients for the foods you want to eliminate from your diet. The book, Living Gluten-Free for Dummies, offers some great tips.
Here are the foods and ingredients to avoid in a gluten-free diet:
Wheat – Wheat is first on every list, and that includes any food with the word “wheat” in its name. Stay away from hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat starch, and wheat germ. Other forms of wheat, also to be avoided, include flour, bulgur, spelt, semolina, frumento, durum, kamut, graham, einkorn, farina, couscous, seitan, and matzoh.
The following foods usually have wheat in them, unless you can find specifically gluten-free versions:
Bread, bread crumbs, biscuits
Cereals (most of them)
Cornbread (which usually contains wheat flour)
Gravies, sauces and roux
Marinades (such as teriyaki)
Sweet baked goods (cookies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, pastries, pie crust and doughnuts)
Less well known foods to avoid:
Barley, including its derivatives, malt and malt flavoring
Triticale, which is a hybrid cross between wheat and rye
Now here are the ingredients you want on hand for a gluten-free kitchen (you can find them in some stores, or often online):
Gluten-free baking mix
Rice (brown rice is best)
Gluten-free bread crumbs
Gluten-free snacks (good to have around for kids)
Don’t be afraid to experiment with substitutions to your favorite recipes. Here are some popular ones:
Flour – try using cornstarch or gluten-free flour. You might also experiment with some of the new flours, such as bean flour, sorghum and amaranth.
Breadings and coatings: Try wheat-free bread crumbs or cracker crumbs, or use cornmeal or crushed potato chips.
Thickeners – Use cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca flour.
Binders: Use gelatin, xanthan gum, or guar gum.
Granola – You can use gluten-free oats if you can find them. Otherwise, try combining toasted nuts and seeds and mix them with gluten-free cereal, honey, vanilla, with a smidgen of oil, spices or seasonings. Bake at 300 degrees for an hour, stirring regularly, then add dried fruit soaked in water. Store in refrigerator.
Oatmeal – Try corn grits, prepared like oatmeal and topped with butter, cinnamon, and sugar.