* Always read the labels of the foods you are about to eat. The key to understanding the gluten-free diet is to become a good label reader. Don't eat foods with labels that list questionable ingredients unless you can verify they do not contain or are not derived from prohibited grains. Labels should be read every time foods are purchased. Manufacturers can change ingredients at any time. As of 2006, wheat used in products is identified on the label.
* Medicine plays a major part in our daily lives. Everyone suffers from minor aches and pains, and even those who prefer to take a natural route will occasionally pop an aspirin or down an antacid to relieve the problematic symptoms. Yet, while most consumers are worried about the side effects such as drowsiness, headaches, and/or nausea, few are concerned with the nutritional content. Always read the ingredients or speak to a knowledgeable doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, be it prescription or OTC, to ensure that it does not contain gluten.
CRUCIAL BAKING TIPS: Follow these tips to keep your gluten-free foods as fresh as possible:
* Gluten-free breads and baked items should be removed from the hot pan immediately after warming in the oven! Gluten-free items can get very soggy when left in a hot pan for too long.
* Freezing your gluten-free cookies and cakes will improve their texture!
Enjoy Sweet and Chewy Treats Marshmallows, gumdrops, plain hard candies -- these are all usually gluten-free. But it doesn't have to stop there. Look for specialty bakeries that may be able to create custom-ordered gluten-free cakes, pies, and other treats, too.
Dairy Free/Casein Free Alternatives:
Many products and recipes contain dairy or casein ingredients. For those with a dairy/casein allergy or sensitivity, this may be harmful. But, don't stay away from making your favorite goodies because they contain milk or butter. The following list of products are casein and/or dairy free and can be used as substitutions.
* Foods that are labeled Kosher Pareve (or parve) are casein free.
* Milk - Instead of drinking cow's milk, why don't you try rice milk
, soy milk
, hemp milk
, almond milk
, or even coconut milk
* Cream - There are a variety of dairy free creams and/or creamers available in many different flavors, including dairy free whip topping
, hazelnut creamer
, and french vanilla creamer
* The kosher industry has many products that are pareve (casein free). These products can be substituted instead of those containing dairy. For example, Toffuti cheeses, ice creams, and sorbets, coconut butters, etc.
* Do not try eating new products when you are in public! Remember to always read labels carefully. And most importantly, when in doubt, leave it out!!!
GETTING TO KNOW YOUR SPICES:
* To develop an understanding of a specific spice, take a sniff. Inhale the aroma and then crush a bit of the spice between your fingers to release the oils. Taste the spice to truly get a sense of the spice's flavor. But remember, the spice will taste better when in cooked foods. The raw spice release quite a dramatic taste which will become milder when cooked and/or mixed with foods. This exercise will help further develop your taste buds. And, if you like the taste and/pr smell of the spice you taste, then go ahead and add it to your favorite foods!
* Spice blends: How can you be sure that a spice blend agrees with your taste buds? It's quite simple. In a small bowl, combine a small amount of each spice you wish to use in your blend. Add the spices to a mild cheese, such as cream cheese, and allow the mixture to sit at least one hour. Then, ample the cheese. Do you like the flavors that the spice blend has imparted? If yes, then go ahead and use this spice blend on other foods you enjoy! Keep experimenting with different flavors until you find the blend that love!
* FYI: Spices that are green, such as parsley, dill, sage, cilantro, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and basil, impart a delicious flavor when used on chicken and fish.
* Spices that are the secret to a great soup or sauce base: cumin, curry powder, garlic powder, ginger, parsley, ground mustard, allspice, and basil.
* Kosher salt combined with olive oil makes a great rub for all meat, chicken, and vegetables that you grill.