The Health Advocate

by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

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Going gluten-free can make cooking a challenge. The group of proteins found in breads, grains and cereals has gained notoriety in recent years. Those who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance have been going on for years without gluten, but newcomers to a gluten-free diet may be at a total loss on how to accommodate this new lifestyle.

Gluten is a lot more common than you think, and it can be found in some unexpected sources. Packaged and processed foods are especially high in gluten, which makes shopping and meal prep a lot more challenging.

The good news is that while it does take some adapting, gluten-free cooking can still be fun, satisfying and, most importantly, delicious. Read on for four ways you can start whipping up some delectable gluten-free recipes in your kitchen.

Use Gluten-Free Substitutes as Meal Bases

When you shift your focus toward naturally gluten-free foods, cooking satisfying meals becomes much easier. Rice, potatoes and corn are three sources that can be great fundamentals in your favorite dishes.

For flours, you can use chickpea or coconut flour, both of which contain a good dose of fiber and are easy to whip up at home.

There are dozens of different kinds of rice to choose from depending on your particular taste or mood that day. The thin, crispy texture of brown basmati can be great for Mediterranean dishes, while jasmine and sticky rice make great pillars for Asian-inspired meals.

Focus on Fruits

You can add plenty of variety and flavor to your dishes by incorporating fruits. Cut up fresh strawberries and toss them into a salad along with some feta cheese and cucumbers (yes, they’re technically a fruit).

Slice up some of your favorite fruits and stick them on a skewer to make some delicious fruit kebabs. Serve them over a bed of steaming rice.

Vegetables are also safe to eat, and you can really improve your personal health when you prioritize fruits and veggies in your meals rather than viewing them as side-dishes.

Check out the Gluten-Free Aisle

Many supermarkets now have gluten-free aisles packed with tons of fantastic products including gluten-free pizza crusts, pasta and bread. For carb lovers, going without sandwiches, pizza and hearty bowls of noodles can feel like capital punishment.

Checking stores for specialty organic options can make the transition to a gluten-free life much easier. Nowadays, pretty much everything from gluten-free bone broth protein powders to brownies and cupcakes has a substitute available.

Be sure to thoroughly read the ingredients list on any product you buy, though. Some people mistakenly think that organic or vegan products are gluten-free by default, and this isn’t the case

Keep Your Foods Separated

Cross-contamination can cause irritation and flare-ups for people who are gluten intolerant. Make sure that your gluten-free products are always stored separately from your regular products, and that anyone in the house doesn’t use utensils or cooking wear that hasn’t been thoroughly washed first.

It’s easy to feel a bit left out and disappointed when you start to go gluten-free. Eating out becomes more of a chore than a pleasure, and many of your favorite recipes may now be off-limits. But remember that if you have to eat a gluten-free diet, it’s for your well-being. Use this as motivation to get creative in the kitchen. There are a wealth of gluten-free recipes online, and you’ll be surprised at just how delicious so many gluten-free dishes can be.

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