Gluten Free Baking Ingredients in Food for People with Celiac Disease
People with Celiac Disease who are eliminating grains and foods from the diet that contain the gluten protein, reading labels and choosing new menu items can be a bit confusing. Many ingredients on labels of especially processed foods can be frustrating to read through because some ingredients are listed with multiple titles although they are actually the same thing.
And when it comes to differentiating preservatives with what is safe and what isn't, sometimes labels can be misleading and leave the consumer without a way to know whether or not what they buy is safe for consumption.
Most people living with a gluten free diet find it to be necessary to cook and prepare foods from scratch more than before which can cut into schedules and free time. Although, maintaining a healthy gluten free diet doesn't have to be completely stressful or impossible.
Know what you CAN consume
Knowing what you can consume eliminates guess work and cuts down on time spent at the grocery store trying to figure out what will be safe to eat.
Here is a list of grains that are safe to eat:
- Corn ( corn flour, corn meal, grits etc.)
- Rice ( all varieties )
- Buckwheat ( kasha )
The great news is that many companies are manufacturing foods that contain gluten free grains that satisfy carb cravings but don't send the consumer into allergic reactions. For example, there are many pasta's, breads and cookies now that are made with rice flour among many others like potato and corn that have various textures that are similar to wheat varieties.
Most gluten free foods are priced higher in a packaged form although there are many types of cookbooks that make gluten free cooking easy to follow and take about the same amount of time to prepare as other gluten varieties.
Purchasing separate gluten free flours in bulk volumes cuts down on spending and adds to the staples that are used every day.
Ah, here comes tricky labels that we need to pay extra attention. Many spices are gluten free as their natural self. However, in some spice combinations, gluten may be included so it's best to read every spice packet label to prevent unintentional contamination.
For example, a lot of meat rubs may contain MSG ( mono sodium glutamate ) or wheat derivatives. Wheat is an emulsifier which acts as a thickening agent. If you're not so sure what you can eat, combine your own spices to create meat rubs that work.
Corn starch is a great emulsifier that is gluten free. And so are potato buds. If you're looking to thicken soups etc. corn starch and potato buds work great without altering the flavor too much although gluten free flours work too but can be a bit more expensive to use.
For convenience, many companies provide sauce and spice packets for meals such as stir fry's, taco meat or even seafood dishes. The difficulty with that is most packets contain small amounts of gluten, especially if there are gravy mixes included in wet or dry form.
McCormick varieties of sauce and spice mixes work great with a gluten free diet. Not all are gluten free so check the labels.
If you've chosen to go with baking your own goodies, including carb items like bread, it's good to know these ingredients and especially flours bake differently. Sometimes they tend to be a bit dry or flaky so measure according to recipe's that are specifically adjusted for gluten free flours. With that said, who has time these days to spend many hours a week in the kitchen?
If you are on the go, then take a full day to designate for baking and prep work. In glass jars or baggies, combine your preferred spice mix or dry rubs for meats you plan to cook that week. If you're planning on baking cookies or bread remember, many gluten free flours cook differently. There is less aeration so they will tend to mold sooner than other gluten varieties. For bread, if you're using a bread maker, slice your loaves afterward and store portioned slices in an air tight container in the fridge and freeze the rest. On the shelf you have about 2 to 3 days before mold appears. With cookies, cakes and other desserts, they may tend to be a little dryer so using applesauce for moisture in place of oil can cut calories and keep the desserts moist longer. Save desserts as you would the breads.
Label all your baked goods and gluten free ingredients in containers that are used only for gluten free food so that no cross contamination occurs.
Prepare seasonings and gravy mixes in bulk in advance so that when it comes time to cook dinner after a long day, or cook breakfast before a busy day, it will cut down on prep time which will be more encouraging to maintaining a gluten free diet.