If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, your first thoughts may have turned to a life without some of your favourite foods. The truth is, however, that a gluten-free diet doesn’t have to leave you feel deprived at all. Just by making some basic changes to how you prepare your favourite meals, you can still enjoy all of the indulgence with none of the discomfort that comes along with eating foods that contain gluten.
These days, it’s easier than ever to find gluten free recipes for dinner, dessert, breakfast, lunch, or anytime. A simple internet search will garner lots of results! But how can you modify your own tried-and-true family recipes to meet your new dietary needs? It’s simple. By educating yourself on the kinds of ingredients you’ll need to swap out, their gluten-free alternatives and how you may need to alter your recipe to accommodate the gluten-free ingredients, you can continue to enjoy your family’s favourite recipes.
Let’s look at desserts, for example. Are you famous for your chocolate chip cookies? You can still make them while sticking to your gluten-free diet, as long as you make a couple of ingredient substitutions. You’ll need to find gluten-free versions of the flour, baking powder, vanilla and chocolate chips you use in your recipe. In some cases, the brand you already used might just happen to be gluten free already. In others (such as the flour) you’ll probably have to make some adjustments. Gluten-free flours are easier than ever to find – they are available right in the grocery store.
When it comes to dinner, many of your family’s favourites probably contain gluten. Dinner table staples such as macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, spaghetti and tacos all contain gluten in some form. The good news is this: You can easily swap out the gluten-laden ingredients for gluten-free versions without compromising the taste of the overall dish. For example, you can use gluten-free pasta in your macaroni and thicken your cheese sauce with a GF thickener such as cornstarch. With tacos, the main gluten culprit is the pre-packaged taco seasoning mix. So, the easiest way to fix that is to make your own seasoning mix that contains only the spices themselves, no thickeners. When you make burgers or meatballs, bind your meat with a GF binder such as GF breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs.
As for breakfasts, you can still have toast as long as you use gluten-free bread, and you can buy all manner of gluten-free quick breads and muffins. Be careful with things like sausages, which can have bread as a binder in them, but bacon is generally fine. Eggs are a good option, too!
As you can see, a diagnosis of gluten intolerance is not a culinary death sentence. You can still get all of the fun and enjoyment out of eating without the discomfort that comes along with having a reaction to gluten. The most important thing is to educate you on what ingredients to look out for, and how to read nutrition labels. Once you learn those things, you can transform any recipe into a gluten-free culinary masterpiece. No gluten required.