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Cooking Gluten Free

Aug 31, 2011 by


There are a number of challenges associated with eating and cooking with food allergies/intolerances, celiac disease, autism, etc. Our experiences teaching cooking classes and consulting with gluten-free people nationwide, suggests that the challenges can be divided into the following situations.

Some of us:
1. Did not enjoy cooking before and now have to cook beyond skill levels
2. Did not enjoy cooking and have no idea what to eat for breakfast, lunch
or dinner now that we cannot eat wheat cereal, wheat bread sandwiches
and pizza
3. Do enjoy cooking but are frustrated and/or inexperienced with the
limitations of the special diet
4. Are still recovering our health and are afraid to eat something that might make
us sick (or more sick!) — more facts are needed about what is safe to eat
5. Do not know how to substitute appropriate ingredients and/or are unaware
of the new products and ingredients available
6. Don’t mind cooking but lack inspiration
7. Enjoy cooking, are willing to try new foods and are open to new
suggestions and inspiration

Sound Familiar? Delicious Solutions are on the way!


We cannot over emphasize the importance of planning your meals. If you wait until you are half-starved and gaze into the refrigerator or pantry and scream, “There’s nothing to eat!” you are headed down a discouraging and frustrating path and may be tempted to cheat. Or the equally frustrating experience — your family converges on you and asks that dreaded familiar question, the one you are totally unprepared to answer, “What’s for dinner?”

BE PREPARED. If you don’t have a menu planned, the odds are good that you don’t have a grocery list and that leaves you at the mercy of impulse purchases and the search for safe prepared foods.



Good Grains – Bad Grains

Safe non-gluten flours and starches include amaranth, arrowroot, bean flours (pinto, gar-fava, garbanzo), buckwheat, corn, millet, montina, nut flours, pea flour, potato flour and starch including sweet potato starch, quinoa, rice (white, brown, wild, black and sweet rice), sorghum, soy, tapioca and teff.

Safe, in this context, means that the above grains, flours and starches are allowed on a gluten-free diet, however each person may have additional unique allergies, intolerances or sensitivities to a particular grain.

Forbidden Grains: The common gluten grains are wheat (including bran, germ and starch), barley (barley malt, barley extract or barley flavorings), rye and oats. Although oats do not contain gluten, oats in the US are grown, processed and packaged in contaminated (by wheat) environments. Do not use oats without your doctor’s knowledge and permission. Additional grains to avoid include couscous, durum and semolina (types of wheat), graham, farro, matzoh meal, spelt and kamut (also versions of wheat and may be known as spelta, Polish wheat, einkorn and small spelt), bulgur is cracked wheat and triticale is a crossbred grain from wheat and rye.

The gluten-free flours, binders (xanthan gum and guar gum), specialty foods and prepared foods are typically more expensive. Good meal planning can avoid over spending and wasted purchases.

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