By Cheryl McEvoy, Online Content Manager, NFCA
Staying gluten-free is challenging in itself, but many individuals with gluten-related disorders also have other food sensitivities. Fortunately, there are many gluten-free, allergy-friendly alternatives on the shelf, so you can find an option that meets your dietary needs.
Dairy-free: Many people with celiac disease also have trouble with lactose, so demand for gluten-free and dairy-free products is high. Luckily, the options are growing. Try soy milk or ricemilk in your gluten-free cereal. For cooking, almond milk and coconut milk offer a creamy and smooth texture. For a quick dairy-free ice cream or custard, chill coconut milk, then skim the thick cream off the top. Or try hemp milk for something new!
Nut-free: Almond flour is a common ingredient in gluten-free baked goods, so check the ingredient list. Look for products made with bean flour, potato flour or rice flour (bean flours have the most protein and fiber). Shop for gluten-free crackers made with amaranth or flax seed instead of nut-based ingredients.
Egg-free: If you have to avoid eggs in your cooking, try flax seed. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal with 3 tablespoons of water. Let sit for a few minutes to firm up, then add to your batter. You can also use an egg replacer mixed with warm water.
Corn-free: Gluten-free recipes often call for corn flour or cornstarch. What to do? Instead of corn flour, use rice flour or potato flour. (You can also try a bean flour, but that can make a heavier batter.) As for cornstarch, opt instead for potato starch. Be careful when buying gluten-free pastas. Some are made with corn, so look for ones that are made with rice or quinoa.
Soy-free: Like gluten, soy can sneak into unexpected foods. Take caution and read labels when purchasing sauces, salad dressings, and gluten-free snacks like crackers and cookies. Look for products that use nut flours and try hemp hearts or powder for a boost of protein.
Remember, fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are always at your disposal, so stock up on the ones you enjoy!
If you’re looking for more information on this topic, join NFCA for a free webinar on June 20: “Yes, You Can Eat! When Gluten Isn’t the Only Ingredient You Avoid.” (Register here) The webinar is sponsored by Lucy’s, which offers a line of gluten-free cookies that are also free of milk, eggs, tree nuts, and peanuts.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness offers Vitacost.com website visitors weekly recipes and blogs about living the gluten-free lifestyle. For more information about celiac disease and gluten-free living, visit www.celiaccentral.org.