Friday, April 6, 2012

Getting Started Gluten Free- pantry substitutes

Now that we've established what to eat for breakfast while starting your gluten free diet, let's talk about a few easy things that you can put in your pantry to make almost all cooking and baking gluten free. 

Soy sauce
Who would have thought?  Yup, soy sauce, at least the brand that exists in most of America, is actually made out of wheat, not soy.  There are lots of gluten free brands out there.  In fact, our generic Kroger (store brand) soy sauce is gluten free.  There's another brand I commonly see near the Asian food section and/or in the organic section called San-J.

    Wheat flour is THE gluten source.  When you're starting your gluten free diet, don't go out and buy 20 flours (rice, tapioca, potato, quinoa, etc.) or even a mixed flour (Bob's Red Mill) or a bunch of Xanthan Gum.  You want Jules Gluten Free Flour.  This is the only flour that is a pure one to one substitute in all of your recipes.  Is it perfect?  No, there's no real gluten substitute.  Gluten is what makes breads stretchy.  Jules gluten free flour has a mix of flours and some other cool stuff that acts a bit like gluten.  The problem is, it's only available online, as far as I know.  Click on that link above and get some shipped to you!

    Unless you're making a lasagna, quinoa noodles are the only way to go.  They take slightly longer to cook and aren't good as leftovers.  Beyond that, it's one of the few gluten free substitutes that might actually be healthier for you.  Quinoa is a super grain. You can read all about it on the back of your box.  I find these in the organic section of my grocery store, but you can buy boxes online too.

    Cleaning the gluten out of your pantry
    Of course if you live with a gluten eater, you can keep all the gluten junk around and just add the above suggestions to your pantry.  Dave and I share a kitchen and he keeps his own flours around (he bakes bread and pizza dough from scratch for himself) and his own oats and pastas (his are cheaper), his own snack foods (pretzels, granola bars, cereal), but everything I'm going to cook us dinner with is gluten free.  There's no sense in having regular gravy and gluten free gravy around-- when is he ever going to have his own gravy that I can't eat?  There's also no sense in having two soy sauces, for example.  We do, however, have separate peanut butters.  If Dave's going to spread it on his roll, then put the knife back in, I'd rather just have my own jar.  I just use a sharpie and put my name all over it.

    If you're going 100% gluten free in your pantry, go ahead and get rid of your gravy packets, anything with regular noodles, any boxed mixes (brownies, cake, muffins).  Check any of those easy-meal things for wheat on the label (Zatarans--only one kind is gluten free, flavored rice meals that might have thickeners, couscous is gluten filled).  Soups are usually gluten filled for no good reason, check the label (no barley either!)  Get rid of your crackers and pretzels and check your junk food labels.  Then check the labels on your salad dressings.  I'm willing to bet that most of the other ingredients in your pantry and fridge are already gluten free, assuming you have already switched your oats to gluten free oats from our breakfast round.  If you're already a whole-food-eater, you might not have many of these things to toss out!

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