Gluten Free Diet Tips to Help You Enjoy Fun, Safe & Delicious Holidays!
The holiday season is upon us once again. The time of year when we catch up with loved ones over dinner and at holiday parties and allow ourselves to unwind and indulge in rich desserts, pastries, and baked goods. For those of us who follow gluten free diets, these social occasions can prove quite frustrating.
This article will shed some light on the new advances in gluten free recipes and provide you with some helpful tips for enjoying all of the delights of the season while easily maintaining your gluten free diet. Whether, you're a person who's restricting your gluten intake or you're preparing meals for a loved one, this article is for you.
The Need for Good Gluten Free Recipes
For many Americans "going green" and organic, the gluten-free lifestyle is a choice, but for those with wheat allergies or suffering from Celiac disease (a condition affecting the small intestine), a gluten free diet is a necessity.
The main culprit that gluten free eaters must avoid is, of course, wheat. Unfortunately, wheat in all it's shapes and forms is a key ingredient in much of our food. From bread and pizza, to pies, cakes, cookies and even alcoholic beverages wheat in some form or another is usually present.
Gluten Free Tip #1 -- How to Create Gluten Free Recipes Without Wheat Flour
To many gluten free diners -- especially those with a sweet tooth or love of fresh baked bread and pastries, avoiding wheat flour may be the hardest hurdle to overcome. Fortunately, there are now more alternatives to Grandma's white all purpose flour.
The first is to simply use flour from another grain. Many gluten free dieters enjoy products consisting of flour made from maize, rice (especially brown rice), sorghum or potatoes. Often, though, the texture and consistency of the food items isn't the same as those made with white flour. One option is to combine the flours of different weights in order to create an all purpose baking mix. In these mixes, tapioca and xantham gum are often included as key ingredients.
Don't feel like making your own gluten free baking mix? Fortunately, many companies have heard the public's cries and responded with specialty mixes of their own. Arrowhead Mills, for example, has released a Gluten Free All Purpose Baking mix that's made from a brown rice base and is even certified organic by the Texas Department of Agriculture. They also make brownie, chocolate chip cookie, vanilla cake, and even pizza crust mixes. Look for their line of products in your local natural food or health food store.
Gluten Free Tip #2 -- Fall in Love With the Sweet Potato
There are so many reasons to love sweet potatoes. They're inexpensive, readily available, and though they taste sweeter than white (Irish) potatoes, they have a much lower glycemic index, and they're very filling -- both of which are helpful for folks who want to indulge over the holidays with out packing on the pounds.
From sweet potato pies (in gluten free crusts, of course), oven baked sweet potato fries, coffee cakes, and even pancakes there seems to be no limit to the number of ways you can enjoy this sweet and healthy potato.
Best of all they're loaded with Vitamin A and are great sources of dietary fiber and other minerals, such as Vitamins C and B6.
Gluten Free Tip #3 -- Keep It Simple When Dealing With Alcohol
As always, you err on the side of safety when drinking alcoholic beverages. Safe bets at parties or social gatherings are all varieties of wine and distilled liquors. Though some distilled liquors, such as bourbon, are made from grains like barley or rye, the glutens don't survive the distillation process.
There does seem to be some controversy over whether or not whiskey contains glutens, since malted barley or rye is added later in the distillation process. If it's any consolation, however, in 2000, the American Dietetic Association declared all distilled liquors safe to drink by people adhering to a gluten free diet.
Beer lovers, on the other hand, do face more of a challenge, since beer definitely contains glutens. The best strategy here is to anticipate the social occasion and plan ahead by purchasing gluten free beer. Though gluten free beers are still something of a specialty item, they are becoming more prevalent in the market place. Even beer giant Annhueser-Busch has entered the arena with Redbridge, a gluten free beer made from sorghum, that's gained some favorable reviews in the marketplace.
Yes, It Is Possible to Eat Well on a Gluten Free Diet!
As you can see, people with Celiac disease or who are adhering to a gluten free diet face many challenges during the holiday season. However, with a little planning, creativity, and flexibility there's still plenty of good times and good food to enjoy. Hopefully, this article of gluten free diet tips will work with the gluten free cookbooks and other information on the Internet to give you several options to follow in your pursuit of a gluten free diet.
Other helpful resources for advice on gluten free eating are the ebooks The Essential Gluten Free Guide and my personal favorite, Guilt Free Desserts which contains over 30 gluten free dessert recipes. Check them out today.
All the best and bon appetit!