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Gluten-Free Made Easy

January 7th, 2018
Helga W.
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Gluten-Free Made Easy
Just a few years ago the thought of going ‘gluten free’ seemed like a death sentence. No cereal, no crispy crumbed chicken or battered fish, no sauce, no cookies, no pastries, no bread, scones, crackers, pasta, pizza....no nothing!

Luckily it is now much more common to be ‘gluten-free’ and there are a variety of products catering to such specifications.

What is gluten-free really?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, but also in many other grains. Its main purpose in baking is to help the product hold its shape. As bread rises and air pockets form the gluten allows the dough to be stretchy and hold the risen shape, keeping it airy and fluffy. Gluten is however hidden in many foods where wheat or flour is added for reasons such as thickening, or texture enhancement and that is why avoiding gluten can be so challenging.

Gluten-Free Simple and Easy

One of the easiest ways to be gluten-free is to eat fresh, whole, natural food. If it hasn’t been in a factory or amended in any way from its origion in the soil or from the farm, it is most likely gluten-free. Think fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, milk, eggs and natural (no batter, spice or sauce) chicken, fish, and meat. To this mix add rice, corn or quinoa and you not only have the makings of a gluten-free diet, but also an incredibly healthy and nutritionally balanced diet.

Sample Gluten-free meal plan:

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Breakfast: Fruit Salad with Yoghurt OR Veggie Omelette

Lunch: Tuna with Salad OR Baked Potato (dress with lemon juice, olive oil or cottage cheese)

Dinner: Rice, Roast Vegetables, and Chicken or Salmon Fillet

Snacks:

- Home-made popcorn (add your own salt as the flavourings of store-bought popcorn may contain gluten)
- Raw Nuts /Seeds
- Fresh Fruit
- Rice cakes

essential tips for going gluten-free:

Read food labels when you shop - This is incredibly important as gluten is hidden in many foods you may not be aware of, or there may be a risk of cross-contamination during production. Cross-contamination will only affect you if you are incredibly sensitive to gluten and will not be a problem for most people.

Strict nutritional labelling laws make it much easier to be aware of what is in your food, so look out for mentions of wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt or any other gluten grain. Many products will also be labelled specifically as ‘gluten-free’ and these are generally safe to try.

Use substitutes - Instead of wheat crackers have rice cakes and maize crackers. Check the label first, but generally rice crispies and corn flakes are good gluten-free breakfast cereals.

When making sauces use cornflour for thickening.

Check labels on spices, alternatively use fresh herbs.

Choose your booze carefully - Gluten-free alcohol includes cider, wine, sherry, spirits, port, and liqueurs. Going gluten-free means that beer, lagers, stouts, and ales are a no-no as they all contain varying amounts of gluten.

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Being gluten-free doesn’t mean you have a boring culinary life ahead of you. Infact, it is a chance to explore an entire range of new foods you most likely otherwise never would have tried. Many restaurants now cater for gluten-free diners. Ask the chef if you are not sure and always ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side or to be left off completely.

Be creative and enjoy exploring new substitutes. Bon Appétit!
Please share some of your favorite recipes in our comment section below!

Helga x

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