By Tracy Bush, Nutrimom- Food Allergy Liason
“Gluten free is just a fad! The percentage of people who really cannot eat gluten is small” seems to be something that I hear quite often. Although I am not someone that is diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I still stand by my choice of eating gluten free as part of my health choices. Yes- not a food choice, it’s a health choice. For some like me, there are symptoms that are not easily diagnosed that can be traced back to what you eat. Although it may not be life threatening, it’s still life altering.
So how does a person begin to find out how to adjust to a gluten free lifestyle when there is so much controversy about products and preparation? As I always say, keep it simple-
Taste Test Your Products- In my opinion, one of the best parts of finding your favorite gluten free foods! Although there will be some pretty awful products that you will come across during your search, I am happy to report that there are even more companies such as Glutino that offer delicious varieties to keep you happy. You will want to consider things such as how similar the gluten free items are to the foods you are replacing, the texture and/or consistency and if you feel satisfied with the product. Don’t be afraid to mix things up as well, such as a fast Smores Party Mix. Most often, you will find that not only will products be simply delicious; they will also be so similar to their gluten-filled buddies that even the pickiest person would not be able to tell they are gluten free.
Don’t Listen to Your Mom- Play With Your Food! One of my favorite side effects of choosing to eat gluten free is to rethink the foods that I can use in unique ways. Don’t get me wrong- eating pretzels is always fine but why not multitask with them? Fun Fact- a Glutino gluten free pretzel stick is not only delicious but it can be an automatic edible handle as well. Waste nothing- use everything! In a gluten free world, the budget gets a little bit tighter so finding ways to use every last scrap can be budget-friendly as well as deliciously satisfying.
Embrace New Kitchen Tips- During your gluten free journey, you may also learn handy new kitchen tips. My most recent find was during my Valentine’s Day review and recipe stint (see here) when I was lucky enough to be sent some of the newer products from Glutino. When one needs some fast shortcuts along the way and finds a new purpose for something previously seen as a waste, it’s a winning situation. For instance, have you ever wondered what to do with those paper muffin cup dividers that you find in between aluminum foil cups? (No, you are NOT supposed to bake with them! Google it, I did). Imagine my happiness when I needed to crush up some gluten free pretzels but did not want to lug my entire mini chopper out for such a small batch and suddenly- wham! Apparently, these dividers are the perfect size for crushing and dispensing tiny foods. I do recommend placing a towel or placemat underneath while in process to protect your surfaces from damage.
Expect Delays but Enjoy it- As with any new cooking venture, you will have to tweak your cooking habits. In the beginning, remember to give yourself extra time and patience while working on these new recipes. Also remember that what seems like a gluten free fail could just as easily turn into a brainstorm of a new recipe. All of those broken pieces at the bottom of the packages can become your new best friend. Whether it be using them for a fast gluten free coating to save you even more money or making your very own Pretzel Cheese Dip, I am confident that you will amaze yourself with new ideas. There are no bad ideas- just bad products which are why I continue to appreciate all of the consistently wonderful products that Glutino brings to our families.
Tracy Bush is the founder and President of Nutrimom, Inc., also known as Nutrimom – Food Allergy Liason. As a Consultant, Author and mother of food allergies she specializes in bridging the gap by providing guidance and support for anyone who has been diagnosed with food allergies. Her expertise includes a variety of ways for supporting the food allergy community and continues to expand. For more information about what she does as well as her ebook “The Stepping Stones to Food Allergies” at www.AllergyPhoods.com