Going gluten-free is not a sentence to a life of boring and tasteless food. It is possible to give up wheat, barley and rye but not sacrifice flavor, texture or enjoyment of food!
Full disclosure: I am not on a gluten-free diet. However, a lot of people I know are. I used to think that simply meant avoiding bread, pasta and pizza and in turn, I felt really sorry for those friends. But living a gluten-free lifestyle is so much more than that. Gluten is hidden in many foods, and one of the biggest things I learned while doing research for The Chopping Block's new Gluten-Free Gourmet guide is that being gluten-free means you have to be a pretty good detective.
It's incredibly important for those people who need to avoid gluten either due to a sensitivity or diagnosis of Celiac Disease to read every label of each food product to make sure there are no hidden sources of gluten. Not sure? A visit to the company's website or call to their headquarters may be next. If it's still unclear whether a food contains gluten, it's best to just avoid it.
There are plenty of gluten-free options available these days, and you've probably noticed the increase on your local grocery store's shelves. In fact, it's predicted that sales of gluten-free products will exceed $15 billion this year, twice the amount of five years earlier. That makes it easy enough to find replacements for your favorite pastas and breads, but the most common question we get in our gluten-free cooking classes is how to transform a recipe into a gluten-free version.
That's where Chef Melissa Novak (who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 11 years ago while working as a pastry chef at two of Chicago's top restaurants) comes to the rescue! She gives advice for substituting gluten-free flour blends that you can buy in stores, as well as how to make your own. She's developed six amazing recipes from Cinnamon Rolls to Cheesy Biscuits to Dark Chocolate Toffee Brownies so that those avoiding gluten don't have to avoid the good things in life.
In our new, free, Gluten-Free Gourmet guide, you'll find 20+ pages of valuable information about how to live gluten-free, including:
- An explanation of what gluten is and where to find it (both obvious and hidden sources),
- How to tell if you have a gluten sensitivity or possibly even Celiac Disease with the help of a checklist of systems and conditions courtesy of the Celiac Disease Foundation and of course, a visit to your doctor,
- Core principles of a gluten-free diet,
- Gluten-free pantry staples that are safe for you to stock your shelves with,
- Tips for transforming a recipe to a gluten-free version,
- Six amazing gluten-free recipes (yes, even Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza!)
- and how you can learn even more about this lifestyle in our gluten-free cooking classes.