If you are new to gluten free, it can seem like a whole new crazy world! You need to manage a lot from ingredients in food to how to dine in restaurants without getting sick from cross-contamination.
This Guide to Gluten Free Living is a great introduction, and the information is the framework to living a gluten free lifestyle.
Gluten free flours have come up a lot. Here is my best advice on substitutions:
Can I substitute a different gluten free flour in the recipe?
Unfortunately, gluten free baking is a lot like chemistry. There are dozens of gluten free flours out there and they all have different proportions of grains and starches.
Sometimes chemical reactions occur. One example is a reader who wanted to try a recipe with lemons. She used Cup4Cup, which contains a lot of dry milk powder instead of the Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 flour. Her cake didn't come out well because the lemon and milk reacted poorly together.
Another case is some gluten free flour blends do not contain xanthan gum. Without xanthan gum, gluten free baking is very crumbly and often the cookie or muffin made without will fall apart/not hold up.
If you are newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity, you are no doubt confused, overwhelmed, and scared.
Two of the best resources of information for newly diagnosed gluten issues:
- The Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten Free.
- Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California.
Important articles I have written to give you an idea about cross-contamination:
1. The Top 6 Questions to ask a pizza restaurant about cross-contamination - Just because a pizza restaurant has a gluten free pizza does not mean it is safe for you to eat.
2. Top 10 Scary Thing Restaurants Have Told Me - This will really make you aware of what can happen in the kitchen.
3. Gluten in the Wine Making Process - What you need to know about wines. Not only can gluten be an issue, but if you have an egg allergy, you need to read this article.
4. What to Know to Keep your Allergic Child Safe at that Overnight School Field Trip. - Know what you need to do to prepare for that overnight school field trip. Printable allergy cards, allergy reaction sheet, and more!
5. Top 7 Tips for Safe Gluten Free Dining at a Sushi Restaurant - Know how to avoid cross-contamination while dining out at a sushi restaurant.
6. Our Family's Gluten Free Adventure on a Carnival Cruise - Our four-day cruise to Mexico was not as scary as we thought.
Gluten free foods have come a long way in the past few years. Many gluten free foods are delicious. Mainstream grocery stores are carrying more and more gluten free options. Many stores such as Trader Joe's, have huge lists of the gluten free foods they carry.
Farmer's markets have become a great place to find gluten free baked goods. Restaurants are coming up with separate gluten free menus, or guides to what is gluten free on their menus, and their chefs are often willing to adapt recipes for you.
Physicians who specialize in gluten-related issues
- Dr. Sunjya Schweig is a general practitioner in the East Bay who specializes in getting to the root cause. He specializes in many areas including gluten-related issues and Lyme Disease.
Gluten free bakeries in the Bay Area
- Mariposa Baking Company in Berkeley. (Just try their cinnamon rolls OMG!)
- Imagine It Bakery has a commercial kitchen in Santa Clara. They also sell at several Farmer's Markets, including the Campbell Farmer's Market.
- Bread Srsly makes and delivers homemade gluten free bread in SF and the East Bay. They also sell at many great locations.
- Edna's Bakery sells gluten free goodness at several Bay Area Farmer's Markets, including Campbell.
- Gluten Free Gourmet in Campbell. You can go in and buy ready made desserts from this dedicated gluten free kitchen.
- Miglet's is a gluten free bakery and grocery store in Danville, CA.
- Flour Chylde Bakery in Novato, CA
- Aunti Gluten's Bakery in Pleasanton, CA
- Patti's Perfect Pantry a bakery and cafe in Gilroy
Gluten free foods can be expensive. One thing our family does to save money is buy our favorite products in bulk at Amazon.com. Their case pricing can add up to some great savings.
Costco has become another recent source of gluten free bargains. They are now carrying gluten free breads, crackers, snacks, marinades, etc.
Hidden sources of gluten
Gluten can hide in many foods that you don't suspect. Here are a few lists to review before you hit the grocery store.
- WebMD has a long list of hidden gluten.
- Cooking Light's list of safe and not safe foods.
Noteworthy Articles for the Restaurant Industry
- Three ingredients for an allergy-friendly restaurant
- Q&A: What the FDA's gluten free labeling requirements mean for your restaurant
Converting your kitchen to gluten free
This Gluten Free Candy List is updated every few months and is a great list of gluten free candy.
Have I missed a gluten free business? Please contact me so I can get them added to my site.