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10 Tips for Going Gluten Free

Article by Mandy King, the Official Gluten Free Guru of Gourmandize.com

1)    Accept that it’s not the end of the world

Having to eat gluten free is a blessing in disguise. All of a sudden, there’s no temptation for the pizza, chicken fingers or beer that you regret the next day!  Embrace it, and take it as an opportunity to completely overhaul your diet, making your meals more veggie filled and nutrient dense.

 

2)    Clean out your pantry

Rid your pantry of any gluten containing products, so that you don’t accidentally add them to a recipe.  If you’re feeling tempted to cheat on the gluten free diet, it also helps not to have any gluten in the pantry.

 

3)    Seek help from a nutritionist to get started

Many people who have to switch to a gluten free diet have incredibly damaged digestive systems, so often simply going gluten free isn't enough.  (In my case, I actually had a parasite for two years after going gluten free, so continued to have digestive symptoms until I sought out help!) 

 

Other common foods can unexpectedly continue to cause problems for you. A nutritionist can put you on a customized diet and supplement plan that addresses any other underlying symptoms so that your health is 100% back to normal, or maybe even better than you’ve ever felt.

 

4)    Become best friends with cider

Beer is no longer a beverage you can consume, save the occasional gluten free beer.  In my experience though, the majority of gluten free beers just don’t cut it.  Cider, however, is typically gluten free (check the label) and is a good alternative.  Look for one that has a pure ingredient list and is free of caramel color, and added sugar.

 

5)    Be careful with oats

Oats are a tricky one for gluten free folks.  While oats are naturally gluten free, their processing method causes them to be cross contaminated with wheat.  Make sure you are buying ‘wheat free’ or ‘gluten free’ oats.  Furthermore, watch how the oats affect you.  Many people find that oats actually bother their digestive system, even though they are gluten free as the protein found in oats is similar to that of gluten.  Experts recommend that those with celiac don't consume more than 1/4 cup of oats a day, or none at all if it causes digestive upsets.

 

6)    Try making raw desserts

Unless you are a super-baker, replicating gluten free pie crusts and other dough like products is tricky, and often the consistency doesn’t work by simply using gluten free flours.  Raw desserts typically use a combination of nuts, seeds, and dates to make a crumbly crust that is simply delicious!  All you need is a food processor and five minutes and you’ll have yourself a crust!

 

7)    Pick up some ‘tamari

Tamari is a gluten free substitute for soy sauce.  Lots of recipes call for soy sauce as a main ingredient.  I find the recipes can fall a bit flat if you simply eliminate it, but you can substitute tamari one for one in any recipe calling for soy sauce.  For any sushi lovers, it’s also great to carry around a small bottle with you so you can still dip your sushi rolls in something.

 

8)    Use a gluten free travel card

Traveling can be incredibly challenging, especially with a language barrier.  However, there is a website here that offers a printable travel card, explaining exactly what a gluten allergy is and what ingredients and foods you must avoid.  It’s available in 54 languages, and I can say it’s saved my life many a time, in Portugal, Greece and Italy.

 

9)    Have a snack in your purse at all times

Gluten free is definitely becoming more and more mainstream, but from time to time you find yourself in a situation where there is literally nothing you can eat!  It’s times like these where I am grateful for that bag of almonds, or the gluten free granola bar that I packed in my bag ahead of time, just in case.  This is especially the case in airports, where I recommend packing an entire meal with you, as often the airline will forget they said they would give you a gluten free meal, or you are unable to trust the airport restaurants to provide a proper gluten free meal.

 

10) Watch out for packaged gluten free foods

If you’ve been in a major grocery chain recently, you likely notice the plethora of gluten free packaged foods.  While at first glance this is great, I want to warn you that often these foods are actually even less healthy than gluten containing foods.  In order to truly be healthier eating gluten free, you should avoid the ‘gluten free’ packaged foods as much as possible, and replace your gluten with more vegetables, fruits and protein.

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Chef Tips and Tricks

VIDEO: Gluten-Free Broccoli Pizza

This Gluten-Free Broccoli Pizza is original, healthy and super tasty!

 

ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cups of your favorite shredded cheese (we recommend two types- 1 cup of one, ¾ cup of the other) 
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (or canned crushed tomatoes)
  • ¾ cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 9 slices coppa ham

METHOD

  1. Cut the broccoli and boil until soft.
  2. Place the broccoli in a blender.
  3. In a bowl, add an egg and ¾ cup of shredded cheese, mix until solid.
  4. Form a ball and roll it flat on an oven tray.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 min at 350° F.
  6. Once out of the oven, spread the tomato sauce evenly on the broccoli crust.
  7. Layer 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  8. Place a layer of Coppa ham.
  9. Top off with of grated Parmesan cheese.
  10. Slide it back into the oven until the cheese melts.
  11. Serve! 

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