For some, going gluten-free is a necessity—either due to celiac disease or gluten sensitivity—but for others, making this big lifestyle change represents a chance to try something new and test their cooking skills with alternative ingredients.
Cooking (and especially baking) without gluten can be a challenge at first, because this small protein serves an important purpose in a lot of foods. It gives bread that sought-after chewy texture and holds the airy structure of your favorite pastries. Gluten is also found in a variety of products—some unexpected, like beer and soy sauce—so making this change to your diet requires a lot of vigilance when checking ingredient labels and finding out about the origins of the foods you eat.
A gluten-free diet is designed to help people whose bodies don’t tolerate gluten well. About 1 percent of the U.S. population has celiac disease, and some experts estimate that 10 percent may have a related non-celiac gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity. If your body seems to react when you eat flour or other products containing grain, you may want to give gluten-free eating a try.
While there are many gluten-free cookbooks out there, one new book is helping people who are gluten-free realize how many foods they can still enjoy, without focusing on the meals they can't have anymore. Living Without magazine's Best Gluten-Free Cookbook offers over 150 recipes to try, from brunch ideas to main courses—and even breads. Each chapter focuses on recipes from a different gluten-free expert chef.
Besides the meal ideas, like enticing Buckwheat Banana Pancakes or easy Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce, the cookbook includes a section called "substitution solutions," which tells you how to replace certain ingredients to make recipes dairy- or allergen-free. For example, did you know you could replace an egg with four tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce and one teaspoon of baking powder? We didn't!
So, if you're toying with the idea of cutting out gluten or you've recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, then try a few recipes from the book. This style of cooking can take some getting used to, but if you stick to using fresh, nutritionally dense ingredients, then you should be happy with the results.