Going Gluten-Free

| February 25, 2009 | 4 Comments
  • 4 Comments

certified gluten-free logoA few years ago Shauna, the blogger aka Gluten-Free Girl, wrote about Eating Gluten-Free in Italy. She was amazed at how many gluten-free products she found there. It turns out celiac disease is the most common genetic disease in Europe and in Italy about 1 in 250 people suffer from it.

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. Celiacs cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, commonly found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. The problem is, gluten can be very hard to avoid. It’s not just in things made from flour but as an additive in things like bouillon, candy, cured meats, sauces, soups, soy sauce and even tortilla chips. The symptoms of celiac disease are many and include a whole host of gastrointestinal disorders, making it hard to diagnose.

Relatively few Americans are diagnosed with celiac disease, it’s estimated most suffer unknowingly. Fortunately awareness is growing in no small part thanks to food blogs like Gluten-Free Girl, Karina’s Kitchen and La Tartine Gourmande (mostly gluten-free). Each of these three blogs include plenty of recipes but are really about the love of food and how our experiences connect us all, written by passionate, funny women with unusually strong creative talents.

gluten-free pasta
Celiac products are beginning to show up on shelves, and not surprisingly some of the best are from Italy like two newly introduced gluten-free organic pastas from Rustichella d’Abruzzo. One is made entirely from corn, the other from rice. If you are cooking for someone who is celiac, they are a great choice. Each are light and flavorful, but like conventional pasta they must not be overcooked or they become gummy. The rice noodles are particularly good with Asian style sauces and the corn noodles pair well with Southwestern flavors. Here are a couple more suggestions for how to use them, courtesy of Market Hall Foods, I think canned tomatoes would work in place of fresh too:

  • Cook some loose Italian sausage with fresh tomatoes and garlic and toss with the Corn Fusili
  • Stir together fresh tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese and fresh parsley and mint. Let marinate for a few hours and toss with the Rice Spaghetti

gluten-free books
Two good books for celiacs include Shauna’s book, Gluten-Free Girl How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back…And How You Can Too and 1000 Gluten-Free Recipe. Shauna’s book will be an inspiration to anyone who wants to enjoy food, not just tolerate it. While Gluten-Free Girl has some recipes in it, the real bible is 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes. It’s what the Joy of Cooking is for the rest of us, a place to find a recipe for almost everything under the sun.

Related

Explore: ,

Category: cookbooks, health and nutrition

About the Author ()

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her friends and family were constantly asking her where and what to eat. Three months after it launched, Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the top five best food blogs, praising her writing as “smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and the world. In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes restaurant reviews for SF Station. Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook reviews along with some interviews and current events. Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer. She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine. She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.
  • http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com Karina

    Thanks, Amy, for the shout-out on celiac disease. Going gluten-free isn’t as scary as it used to be. Pasta, gluten-free flours and baking mixes have come a long way since I was first diagnosed in 2001. We have so many choices now- it’s hard to feel deprived. And thank you for mentioning Karina’s Kitchen- I’m honored to be in the company of Shauna and Bea.

  • http://www.onefrugalfoodie.com Alisa – Frugal Foodie

    Well written! All of Carol Fenster’s books are very useful, and I enjoy each of those bloggers. I am not gluten-free at this point in my life, but tried the diet per doctor recommendation (elimination diet testing). I found it really useful to experiment with different grains too, such as quinoa, amaranth, and millet. I now eat a more varied diet because of it!

  • http://hungryforcookbooks.blogspot.com Jenny

    I love Gluten-Free Girl!

  • http://test2.abuelsamid.com/laconica/index.php/odessabenchoff212 Jay Kay

    Thanks, Amy, for the shout-out on celiac disease. Going gluten-free isn’t as scary as it used to be. Pasta, gluten-free flours and baking mixes have come a long way since I was first diagnosed in 2001. We have so many choices now- it’s hard to feel deprived. And thank you for mentioning Karina’s Kitchen- I’m honored to be in the company of Shauna and Bea.