Gluten-Free Pantry Makeovers
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Kitchen clean-up for those with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivities

May is Celiac Awareness Month and for the estimated 1 in 133 Canadians affected by celiac disease as well as the family and friends who support them, understanding how to set up your kitchen for success is critical.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where eating gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, triticale, spelt and kamut) causes damage to the small intestine that is responsible for nutrient absorption. There may be no symptoms of celiac disease but common signs include digestive issues, low iron levels, weight loss, poor growth or dermatitis herpetiformis (an intense burning or itching rash). There is no cure for celiac disease and the only treatment is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet.

There are also people that have what is known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity and while these individuals do not have celiac disease they may find reducing gluten will help reduce digestion symptoms such as abdominal pain, fatigue, headaches and paresthesia (tingling of the extremities).

Speak to your family physician before starting a gluten-free diet as this is the only way to ensure accurate test results and diagnosis of celiac disease.

Three biggest challenges

The top three challenges we often hear from our clients adjusting to a gluten-free diet include:

Eating out –  Many restaurants don’t offer gluten-free options and those that do often have untrained staff that claim items are gluten-free despite having cross contamination during cooking or hidden sources of gluten in items such as sauces. Learning to cook delicious gluten-free meals from home is one of the single most important ways to protect your health.

Finding replacements for most loved food – If you have a treasured family recipe or favourite brand that you eat regularly, it can take some time to find options that replace these. The good news is that there are more choices and recipes than ever before that can help you find options you will love.

Kitchen and family meal makeovers – Tiny bread crumbs and flour dust matters. Make sure you have a separate butter dish, jam jar, peanut butter container, cutting board, toaster and ideally even section of the kitchen that is gluten-free to help avoid cross contamination. For meal planning try some of the following gluten-free food swaps.

Food swaps:

Gluten-containing food
Bread (including spelt), tortillas, pizza shells and buns
Most baked goods
Wheat, rye or barley flour, bran
Gluten-free (GF) food swap
GF bread, tortillas, pizza shells and buns
GF muffins, cookies
GF flour blend made from legume, corn, potato, rice, nut, tapioca, taro, teff, sorghum, quinoa

Gluten containing food
Regular pasta, couscous
Wheat, rye, barley, bulgur, faro, kamut
Flavoured rice and potato mixes
Gluten-free (GF) food swap
GF pasta made from rice, corn, quinoa, legumes
Amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, rice
Potato, sweet potato, yam, corn, legumes

Gluten containing food
Most commercial breakfast cereal
Commercial oats and oatmeal
Gluten-free (GF) food swap
GF commercial breakfast cereal
Cornmeal or GF hot rice or quinoa cereal
Pure uncontaminated GF oats*

Gluten containing food
Most crackers
Potentially seasoned nuts and chips
Some ice cream, chocolate, candy
Gluten-free (GF) food swap
Plain corn taco chips, potato chips and nuts
GF crackers, rice cakes

Gluten containing food
Seasoned, breaded or deep fried prepared meat, poultry or seafood
Canned seafood in broth
Some deli meats and sausages
Prepared burger patties
Gluten-free (GF) food swap
Fresh or frozen non-breaded meat, poultry or seafood
Homemade burger patties
GF deli meat and sausages

Gluten containing food
Many salad dressings
Many sauces, gravies and dips
Malt vinegar
Many stocks and soups
Gluten-free (GF) food swap
GF soy sauce, sauces and dressings
Homemade vinaigrette
GF broth/soup, homemade stock and gravy

* Discuss with your physician and dietitian before introducing as a small number of those with celiac disease may not tolerate.

Speedy gluten-free meal

Udis Pear and Bride QuesadillasBackyard Pear and Brie Quesadillas

Sweet pears or strawberries, melted Brie, and peppery arugula combine in between two crisp tortillas for a delightful summer barbecue meal or appetizer.

2 Udi’s Small Tortillas
3 slices Brie cheese*
1/2 pear, sliced thin (or 1/2 cup sliced strawberries)
1/4 cup (60 mL) arugula
Salt and pepper

Place 1 tortilla on a skillet or griddle pan over medium-high heat on your stove or barbecue. Immediately, top the tortilla with cheese, pear or strawberries, arugula, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place the remaining tortilla on top and cook for 1 minute. Using a spatula, flip the quesadilla and continue to cook for another 2 minutes or until cheese begins to melt.

– Recipe from www.udisglutenfree.com

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