Monday, June 20, 2011

Creating a Gluten Free Kitchen

Celiac disease has many names, such as gluten intolerance, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, and non-tropical sprue. Each name describes a life-long autoimmune disorder in which a person’s body cannot tolerate a group of grain proteins known collectively as gluten. Gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley, and any derivatives of these grains. Celiac disease was once thought to be rare, but is slowly being recognized as one of the most prevalent genetic disorders in the United States.

The only definite treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a 100-percent gluten-free diet for life. Following a gluten-free diet is not an easy task, but it can help prevent complications and symptoms that are associated with this disease.

The good news is that individuals with celiac disease are not alone. There are all types of groups that provide resources and support for people with celiac disease and for their families. As awareness of this disease grows, so does the pool of resources. There are more choices today than ever before for people with celiac disease.

Whether you personally have been given the diagnosis or you have a family member who's been diagnosed the first step to getting things under control is knowing what kinds of foods you should have at hand so as to avoid further complications caused by this condition. Below you will find an excerpt from Chapter 4 of Tell Me What to Eat if I have Celiac Disease by Kimberly Tessmer.

The Gluten-Free Kitchen - Stocking Your Kitchen

It is a great idea to clear out a special cupboard in the kitchen to store all the special products you will need for the gluten-free diet. Making sure you always have certain products on hand will make whipping up meals and snacks much easier. You can make things even easier by batch cooking. Cook large quantities of food or dishes and freeze the leftovers in individual storage containers to allow for a quick and easy meal or snack.

People on gluten-free diets often need to cook from scratch to ensure that meals and dishes are in fact gluten-free. Cooking from scratch does not have to be so time-consuming. There are several kitchen appliances you can use to help reduce your workload. Bread-makers, heavy-duty mixers, crock pots, and pasta makers can be very helpful additions to the gluten-free kitchen.

As with any type of diet, it is wise to plan ahead when on a gluten-free diet. Having the following foods on hand will ensure no-hassle preparation when it is time for a meal or snack.

Gluten-Free Kitchen Essentials

Assorted jams and jellies

Baking powder (GF, such as Clabber Girl or Calumet)

Baking soda

Beans: chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, GF refried beans, GF baked beans

Breads: GF bread, bagels, buns, waffles, and/or muffins

Bread crumbs (GF)

Bread machine

Bouillon base and cubes (GF)

Canned chicken (GF)

Canned tuna or salmon (GF)

Cereal (GF)

Cheese (GF)

Condiments (relish, GF ketchup, etc.)


Cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch

Corn tortillas or tacos

Cottage cheese

Crackers (GF)

Cream of tartar

Crock pot

Eggs (whole, fresh)

Flours such as bean flour, chickpea flour, millet flour, potato starch flour, brown/white rice flour, sorghum flour, soy flour, sweet rice flour, and/or tapioca flour

Fresh and/or frozen fruit

Fresh meats

Fresh and/or frozen vegetables

Fruit juices

Herbs and pure spices (such as garlic powder, onion powder, pure black pepper)


Margarine or butter

Milk (low fat or fat free)

Mixes for GF bread, muffins, waffles, cakes, and brownies

Nuts and seeds


Pasta (GF such as rice, corn, potato, legume, quinoa)

Peanut butter

Popcorn, plain or GF microwave popcorn

Potatoes (whole)

Pretzels (GF such as Glutino Brand)

Rice (brown)

Rice cakes: GF mini flavored rice cakes or large version

Salad dressings (GF)

Sauces (GF): BBQ sauce, pizza sauce, pasta sauce, salsa, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce

Seeds and nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds)

Sugar (white and brown)

Tofu (plain)

Tomato paste, whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce (GF)


Vegetable oil

Vinegar: white and red wine, cider, rice and balsamic

Xanthan gum or guar gum

Yogurt: plain or GF fruited yogurt

All About Gluten-Free Flours

There are plenty of gluten-free mixes on the market today that are perfect for breads, muffins, biscuits, cakes, and any of your favorite baked goods, but you can still bake from scratch if your heart so desires. It just takes a little extra work when baking with gluten-free flours. Many health food stores, specialty online gluten-free stores, and even local grocery stores sell gluten-free flours and/or flour mixtures. There are many types of flours that are gluten-free, but the typical ones include corn, rice, soy, tapioca, potato starch flour, or a mixture of these.

Using these types of flours in place of wheat flour may give foods a different taste and texture so practice and experiment with them to find the right combination. There are all types of cookbooks that can provide you with detailed information about gluten-free baking along with scrumptious recipes.

The following is a list of some of the types of gluten-free flours.

Amaranth: Mild nut-like flavor and good for baking, it is best when used in combination with other gluten-free flours.

Arrowroot flour: No real flavor, typically used as a thickener in many foods, similar in texture to cornstarch and can be exchanged for cornstarch, measure for measure, in recipes and mixes.

Brown rice flour: Slightly sweet, mild flavor, and excellent for use in desserts, it has a higher nutrient content (including fiber) than white rice flour and contains bran. Use it in combination with other gluten-free flours as a type of binding agent (such as eggs, mashed banana, or applesauce) to avoid a crumbly end product. Best used for breads, muffins, and cookies where a bran or nutty flavor is desired. Due to the oils in the bran, this flour has a short shelf life and its flavor will become stronger as it ages. Purchase it fresh and store it in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve it longer.

Buckwheat flour: Strong flavored, best when used in small quantities in combination with other gluten-free flours. Even though it has wheat in the name it is gluten-free and not related to wheat—it is instead related to the rhubarb plant. Be aware that some companies mix buckwheat flour with wheat flour to lessen its strong taste so always check.

Chickpea flour: Hearty but mild flavor, made from garbanzo beans, and high in protein and fiber, it can be used in combination with other gluten-free flours and when baking.

Corn flour: Milled from corn (maize), has a mild corn taste, and adds a light texture to baked goods, it is great for blending with cornmeal to make corn bread or corn muffins and best when used in combination with other gluten-free flours.

Garfava flour: A blend of garbanzo and fava beans, developed by Authentic Foods, it is high in protein and fiber, and it creates excellent volume and moisture content in baked goods.

Millet flour: Because it tends to make breads dry and course, substitute only 1/5 of the flour mixture with this flour.

Nut or legume flours: Nutty in flavor, it can be used in small portions to enhance the taste of puddings, cookies, or homemade pasta.

Potato flour: Not the same as potato starch flour and heavier in texture, it is best when used in small quantities and combined with other gluten-free flours, and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Potato starch flour: Made from potatoes, this fine white flour keeps well and is excellent for baking if sifted several times and used in recipes that include eggs. It can also be utilized as a thickener.

Rice polish: Soft, fluffy, and cream-colored, this flour is made from the hulls of brown rice. Much like rice bran and high in nutritive value, it has a short shelf life. Buy it fresh and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Sorghum flour: A fairly new product ground from specialty bred sorghum grain, it is best used in combination with other gluten-free flours, stores well on the pantry shelf, and can be substituted for rice flour.

Soy flour: Smooth textured and nutty in flavor, its defatted type is lower in fat and will store longer. Soy flour should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer (due to its shorter shelf life), is best when used in combination with other gluten-free flours because of its strong flavor, and has a high nutritive content. If you are sensitive to soy, bean flour can be substituted for soy flour in most recipes.

Sweet rice flour: Called “sticky rice” and made from a glutinous rice, this is an excellent thickening agent, especially in sauces that are to be refrigerated or frozen. Not the same as plain white rice flour, it helps to bind ingredients together when baking.

Tapioca starch flour: A light tasteless flour that comes from the root of the cassava plant, it adds a “chew” factor to baked goods, is excellent for thickening soups, creams, gravies, puddings, and gravies. It can be stored on the pantry shelf for long periods of time.

Teff flour: A versatile grain with a mild, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor, it can be a great thickener in soups, gravies, stews and pudding.

Quinoa flour: Slightly bitter in flavor, this makes excellent biscuits and pancakes.

White rice flour: Not much flavor or nutrition, it has a long shelf life, and is best used in combination with other gluten-free flours.

Whole bean flour or Romano bean flour: Dark and strong in taste, these flours are milled from the Romano or cranberry bean. They are high in fiber, protein, and other nutrients. Products made with these flours are denser and require less for best results.

Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD, LD, is an author and consulting dietitian in Brunswick, Ohio. Her books include the upcoming July release Tell Me What to Eat If I am Trying to Conceive, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Mediterranean Diet, and The Everything Nutrition Book. Kim currently owns and operates Nutrition Focus , a consulting company specializing in weight management, menu development, and other nutritional services. In addition, Kim acts as the RD on the board of directors for Lifestyles Technologies, Inc., a company that provides nutrition software solutions that develop a wide array of nutritionally sound menu templates.

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