Adjective Gluten-Free Meals

Gluten-free meals are meals that are made without a trace of gluten-the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Many people are choosing to follow a gluten-free diet for a variety of reasons. If you have Celiac disease, you must follow a gluten-free diet to protect your small intestine and to allow it to heal and remain in a healthy state. If you have dermatitis herpetiformis, you may also decide to opt out on foodstuffs containing gluten as a way to promote your best health. You also may have heard that some people with autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder and chronic fatigue have found relief from distressing health complications when living on this diet.

Difficulties With Gluten-Free Cooking
Whatever your reason to pursue a gluten-free diet, you've probably discovered that cooking meals for someone who can't eat gluten becomes challenging very quickly. It's not as simple as avoiding wheat, rye and barley because almost all processed foods have traces of gluten in them or have been processed on machinery also used to process wheat, rye or barley, cross-contaminating even products that do not inherently contain gluten.

You may be wondering how to find gluten-free products or lamenting the fact that you have not found gluten-free desserts or baked goods. The good news is that there is a growing market for-and supply of-gluten-free foodstuffs. Even gluten-free desserts-made with rice flour, arrowroot flour and other such products-are readily available in whole food stores.

Finding Gluten-Free Products
Check natural foods stores and ask the store manager for direction finding gluten-free products. You'll also want to invest in a gluten-free cookbook and read suggestions for gluten-free cooking online.

For baked goods, you will need to invest in a variety of gluten-free flours such as cornmeal, rice flour, soybean flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour and buckwheat flour. These different types of flour vary in consistencies and results when used for baking, so you'll want to read the differences of each flour and begin testing recipes using combinations of these baking ingredients.

You'll also want to scan the store for gluten-free products and contact the manufacturer to make sure the products truly are gluten-free. Empty your shelves of products containing gluten and stock your pantry with gluten-free items such as distilled white vinegar (instead of malt vinegar), food starch made from arrowroot or tapioca instead of modified food starch and tamari in place of soy sauce. Load up on canned fruit and vegetables without sauces or heavy syrups. Fill your refrigerator with whole vegetables, fruits and cuts of meat without seasonings or sauces from the butcher.

Keep a log of foods as you try them, recording which recipes suit your taste and what kinds of reactions you notice in your body. If you experience abdominal discomfort after testing out a new meal, investigate the list of ingredients used to find the offensive item that may still contain gluten. Eventually you'll build up a recipe book of gluten-free meals that work for your family.

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