Gluten Free All-In-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
Cheat Sheet

Gluten Free All-In-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Gluten-Free All-In-One For Dummies

By Consumer Dummies

There are a lot of good reasons to choose to eat gluten-free, and doing so isn’t as daunting as many people think. If you think you have celiac disease, you need to get tested before you take on a gluten-free diet, and if you decide that such a lifestyle is for you, know that with small changes often a whole new level of well-being arises.

Simple Ways to Make a Recipe Gluten-Free

Although some recipes are easier to adjust than others, almost any recipe can be made gluten-free. The easiest to change are recipes with only small amounts of flour and fare with high fruit and vegetable content. But even if your gluten-heavy Italian recipe calls for wheat pasta, just use a gluten-free pasta instead. And if you’re clean out of gluten-free pasta, knowing you can substitute rice, potatoes, risotto, spaghetti squash, or polenta in the recipe can save the day!

  • Omit ingredients. The first step in making a gluten-containing recipe gluten-free is to know which ingredients to avoid. While you search the ingredient list for items you can leave out, be sure to check the labels on ingredients you plan to use as well.

  • Replace the flour. Converting recipes that don’t contain a large amount of flour is easiest. If the recipe calls for only a little flour, then just swap out the gluten-containing flour for cornstarch, arrowroot powder, or any gluten-free flour or flour blend.

    But if you’re preparing a recipe with more than just a few tablespoons of flour, you can’t throw in the same volume of gluten-free flour and have a recipe turn out well unless you use a blend. You can buy an all-purpose flour blend or make your own. Try 3 parts rice flour, 2 parts potato starch, 1 part tapioca flour, and 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum for every 1 1/2 cups of the flour mixture.

  • Keep it together with xantham gum. Xanthan gum is a natural soluble fiber that’s produced by fermenting a microorganism with sugar. It helps give dough a sticky consistency, and dough minus gluten really needs some help to stay together! If you’re just mixing a little gluten-free flour into gravy or a soup or using it for a coating, then no gum is required.

  • Add moisture to baked goods. Gluten-free flours tend to produce foods that are denser and drier than their gluten-containing cousins. Adding 1/4 cup applesauce, pumpkin puree, mayonnaise, or sour cream can improve the consistency.

  • Use alternative breading options. If a recipe calls for a fried or baked crispy coating on meat or veggies, use ingredients like gluten-free breadcrumbs, gluten-free flours, ground nuts, cornmeal, crushed potato chips or corn chips, instant mashed potato flakes, or crushed gluten-free cereal or crackers.

  • Reference gluten-free recipes. You don’t need to give up on favorite family recipes when you give up gluten! You just need to invent gluten-free versions. One way to figure out how to alter your recipe is to hunt for similar gluten-free recipes that have already been tried and published by someone else. If you want to make your grandma’s Spritz cookies, for example, there are certainly gluten-free cooks who have figured out similar cookie recipes. If you can’t find a gluten-free recipe for a specific dish, read through several recipes, looking for patterns that can help you alter your recipe. For example

    • Do the similar recipes you find tend to use certain flours? Which ones?

    • Do the recipes call for more or less liquid than the gluten-filled versions?

    • Do they tend to have more eggs or extra vanilla?

    • Do they tend to use the same cooking temperature and time?

Go Gluten-Free and Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Fabulous Fruit

Humans do love their sweets. You don’t have to give up everything sweet to go gluten-free. If you give a baby a spoonful of ice cream and one of sour cream, you don’t need a team of researchers and a multimillion-dollar, placebo-controlled, double-blind study to figure out which one will make him smile and which will make him grimace. Sure, people need glucose — that’s the sugar that powers the body. But you can get enough of that from fruit, vegetables, and other foods.

You also have the added benefit of getting vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants for far fewer calories than the “empty calories” you find in sugary foods. So satisfy your sweet tooth, but try to do it with foods that pack a nutritional punch. Here are some ideas:

  • Chocolate hazelnut spread fruit dip: Warm up chocolate hazelnut spread a little and dip fresh fruit in it.

  • Grapes and French cream: Combine about 1 cup fat-free sour cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup sucralose artificial sweetener (Splenda), and a dash of vanilla. Mix the French cream with red, green, and black grapes.

  • Peaches ’n cream: Put half of a peach or pear in a dish and add a small scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt. Put raspberries or strawberries on top.

  • Pudding: If you use skim milk with a packaged pudding, it’s pretty good for you. Serve it with bananas on top.

  • Strawberries and yogurt: Slice strawberries and blend them with nonfat flavored yogurt. Top the mixture with artificial sweetener if you want a little extra sweetness.

  • Strawberry sweet and sour: Dip fresh strawberries into fat-free sour cream and then into artificial sweetener or honey.

Fresh fruit is best for you when you store it properly. Don’t refrigerate bananas and other tropical fruits. Melons don’t need refrigeration until you cut them; store them in a separate bin, away from vegetables and meat.

Living Gluten-Free: Why You Need to Find Out Whether It’s Really Celiac Disease

If for any reason you or a family member have symptoms that you believe are due to gluten, do not commit yourself or a family member to a long-term gluten-free diet without first seeing a physician to have appropriate evaluation to determine whether celiac disease or some other potentially serious medical disorder is present.

Here are some of the many reasons why you or your family member should not follow a gluten-free diet without knowing what is being treated:

  • A gluten-free diet may not be the correct treatment for the underlying medical problem. A gluten-free diet, for instance, won’t help inflammatory bowel disease.

  • If you have been on a gluten-free diet for a number of months or more, it makes it more difficult to determine whether you have celiac disease. Similarly, screening family members for celiac disease is more difficult if they are already on a gluten-free diet.

  • A gluten-free diet is expensive, especially if the whole family eats gluten-free. Why spend this extra money if you don’t have to? Make sure at least someone in the family has a good reason to be eating gluten-free (be it celiac disease or gluten sensitivity) before committing to this expense.

  • You face some risk of being less well-nourished on a gluten-free diet. Before you put yourself on a gluten-free diet you should first meet with a registered dietitian to receive their expert advice.

  • For medical insurance and tax reasons, a proven diagnosis of celiac disease can be important. Simply advising an insurer or tax department that you felt better not consuming gluten is unlikely to be sufficient to assist you with any insurance claims or applications for tax deductions.