Let’s start with some basic facts what is defined as gluten? Gluten is a protein which is found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. What does it mean to be gluten free? It means no wheat, rye, oats and barley and no cross contamination from any of these items.
Is it hard to stay away from these grains answer is no. Is it hard to stay away from cross contamination answer is yes! Very hard. Anybody suffering from Celiac or from a full blown gluten allergy will react very badly to gluten or it’s cross contamination.
Living in India is a blessing for anybody with Celiac Disease as we are a country full of alternate grains and Indian food is naturally gluten free.
I am going to give you a list out Gluten free food my son loves and will give you a list of things that should be added to if you have Celiac or a gluten allergy.
The best natural food to add to your diet if you have a Celiac or a gluten allergy. These items should be added to every ones diet.
1. Beetroot: Beetroot is a great source of iron. Most people who have a gluten allergy have lower haemoglobin. Adding beetroot to your diet is the best thing you can do. We make roasted beetroot, beetroot and chocolate cake, beetroot crackers and the easiest is beetroot in your gluten free chapati.
2. Spinach: Spinach is a great source of iron. spinach soups, palak paneer, spinach pasta. Great way to eat spinach for kids. I love baking spinach and banana muffins.
3. Nuts & Seeds: A quarter cup of sesame seed contains more calcium than a glass of milk. Seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds benefit all diets. All nuts are high in protein and provide good nutrition.
I always like to give my kids naturally gluten free food and avoid all processed gluten free food which is generally heavy in starch.
1. Risotto: The Italian Rice is naturally gluten free. It is very easily available in most restaurants and can be made at home. I love making Beetroot or avocado risotto.
2. Dosa & idli: South Indian food is naturally gluten free and again is easily available. Warning: Sambhar might have hing so avoid eating it unless you have checked it is made without hing.
3. Grilled meats: Grilled fish is easily available and easy to make. Remember to check it isn’t coated with flour before frying.
4. Jacket potato: Very easy to make and very easy to find in a restaurant. Zero chance of cross contamination. Warning: French Fries are the riskiest ones as the oil can be cross contaminated with wheat.
5. Flourless chocolate cake: Made naturally gluten free so the chance of cross contamination is less. Avoid even Macaroons as some might have almond meal that isn’t pure.
Being gluten free isn’t hard. Just be a food detective and eat smart. My favourite tip is to eat naturally gluten free food as much as possible and read, read labels. Always check is the facility gluten free if you have Celiac Disease.
(Aarti Sarin Jain is the Founder of the 100% gluten free initiative, Baking From My Heart)
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