Gluten-Free Cooking Tips

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Chefs and “foodies” consider many factors when creating their culinary art. Making food look and taste fabulous does take some effort, after all. Well, individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance need to add another variable: keep all those delicacies gluten-free!

However, you’ll be rewarded for your diligent efforts, as a completely gluten-free diet usually results in a healed intestine and reversal of symptoms in a matter of months—an astounding relief that more than makes up for the inconvenience of changing your diet!

And gluten-free cooking is easier than you think. With a few minor adjustments, you’ll have a scrumptious portfolio of delicious, safe meals your whole family will love. Learn how to prepare your kitchen for safe and successful gluten-free cooking with these tips:

Get clear on safe grains and flours

A primary component of gluten-free cooking is learning how to substitute gluten-free grains for wheat, barley and rye, among others─in all of their various forms. This Gluten-Free Starch and Flour Glossary will help you determine which flours you can safely use in cooking and baking: http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/od/glutenfreeingredients/tp/20-Gluten-Free-Flours.htm

Collect some great recipes

Do you think you’re limited by eating gluten-free? Well, how do churros, humming bird cake with cream cheese icing, chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, and spaghetti carbonara sound? Or maybe buttermilk drop biscuits and crunchy pizza crust with all your favorite healthy toppings hit the mark? Get these recipes and many more here: http://glutenfreecooking.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=glutenfreecooking&cdn=food&tm=14&f=21&su=p284.13.342.ip_p830.11.342.ip_&tt=3&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.gluten.net/

Stock your pantry safely

When you’re working with fresh whole foods, like lean meats, poultry, seafood, fruit and non-starchy vegetables, it’s fairly simple. But most cooks rely on a few items in packages, cans, and jars, so reading labels is essential. Thanks to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, the presence of gluten must now be itemized on American food labels. Labels must also indicate if the food is prepared on equipment that is used to process wheat.

Prevent cross-contamination

This may seem cumbersome, but it’s well worth the effort. Designate one area in your kitchen for storing your gluten-free cooking ingredients. Refrigerate or freeze whole grain gluten-free flours in labeled, sealed containers. Make sure your food prep surfaces, utensils, mixer and pans are free of gluten residue. Buy a new toaster and use it only for gluten-free toasting. For additional tips on preventing cross contamination, visit: http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/cookingglutenfree/a/crosscontaminat.htm

Obviously, cutting out gluten is a major lifestyle change, but once you get in the groove with a series of menus you like, you can rest easy─exploring further when you’re ready. As the French say, bon santé!

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