Thinking of going gluten free? Many people keep gluten-free diets as a way to boost health and energy, to lose weight, or to cope with health conditions. A person with Celiac disease suffers allergic reactions when they ingest gluten. People who can’t tolerate gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) suffer from inflammation of the small intestine and can endure damage which leads to malabsorption of nutrients and involuntary weight loss. Many people without Celiac disease experience inflammation and other side effects of gluten without even knowing it. This immune dysfunction can cause a variety of health problems but if you don’t know which foods contain this protein, you might not even realize you are suffering from its effects. Read more about gluten here.
A great way to find out if you have gluten allergies, try some of these great gluten-free foods for a few days to see if you notice any benefits from excluding it from your diet. Go here for gluten-free goodness!
What is Gluten? This protein composite is found in foods processed from wheat and related grains. It also helps doughs rise and gives elasticity to dough, providing the chewy texture. Used as a stabilizing agent in products like ice cream and ketchup, it poses a hidden threat to those who do not expect it in foods such as this. Since it is a hazard for those with celiac disease, the U.S. Foods and Drug Administration is still formulating proper labeling for foods that contain gluten.
Watch this short video for more information on the benefits of a gluten-free diet:
Gluten-Free Cooking Going gluten-free can be challenging. Since gluten-free cooking means learning how to substitute for wheat flour and still keep light, and chewy texture. With baked goods it can be difficult to get the same texture as when cooking with wheat-based flours. Safe grains for baking include: brown rice flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, millet, and teff. Starches for baking include: potato starch, cornstarch, arrowroot and tapioca starch.
Gluten-Free Baking Tips:
Mix Up the Flours When using a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour try a combination of equal parts sorghum flour, tapioca flour and rice flour.
Beware of Baking Powder Since some baking powders contain gluten (although most don’t) be sure to check the label because many are blended with wheat starch.
Use More Butter Gluten-free baking may require more butter as it helps reduce the stickiness of dough, and adds moisture to drier gluten-free doughs.
Here’s 2 basic flour blends to get you started: For cupcakes, cookies, cakes, muffins, and bread: 1 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup millet, almond or buckwheat flour, 1 cup tapioca, potato starch or cornstarch, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
For breakfast muffins, cookie bars and bread: 1 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup millet flour, 1/2 cup buckwheat flour or cornmeal, 1/4 cup quinoa or almond flour, 3/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour) or tapioca starch or corn starch, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum