My No. 1 Tip for Navigating a New Gluten-Free Lifestyle

by in Gluten-Free, May 1, 2014

Navigating a Gluten-Free LifestyleLast month I shared here on Healthy Eats that we discovered my daughter is gluten intolerant, and so for nearly a year I have been navigating the new waters of gluten-free living in our house. Since then I have been asked many questions by gluten-free folks wondering everything from whether going gluten-free has made a difference in my daughter’s life (answer is yes, like night and day) to wanting tips on going gluten-free or accommodating gluten-free guests.

I’ll back up and tell you that my initial response to gluten-free cooking was to head straight into my arsenal of recipes (and luckily, I have a lot of them) and start the swapping — corn starch for dredging, gluten-free flour blends for baking flour, tamari instead of soy sauce. While this wasn’t a bad start, it was ignoring an obvious solution, which is my number No. 1 tip for gluten-free neophytes: Start out making foods that are just naturally gluten-free.

If you focus on whole foods that you are in charge of cooking, this is surprisingly easy: think fresh vegetables, fresh fish and meats, herbs, fruit, quinoa and brown rice. Stick with foods you already know how to make (don’t get me started on how many batches of gluten-free pasta I’ve botched — a tutorial for another day). If you need to read a label, maybe just skip the ingredient altogether until you get your gluten-free sea legs, because gluten is hidden in so many non-suspicious-sounding ingredients (malt, yeasts) and foods (rice cereal — who would guess it has gluten?). Keep it simple. You don’t need to re-create your famous angel food cake recipe in a gluten-free version today. Serve an easy gluten-free dessert instead, like poached pears and chocolate.

To get you started, here are meal and dessert ideas for your debut gluten-free meal.

In the comments below, let me know if there are any new gluten-free folks out there. What are your favorite “starter” dishes?

Meal:
Burrito Bowl, Carnitas, Claypot Fish and Potatoes, Fish Skewers with Basil Chimichurri (pictured above), Fish en Papillote, Flattened Pan-Roasted Chicken, Grilled Chicken Fajita Platter with Grilled Tomato Salsa (serve with corn tortillas or rice), Italian-Marinated Chicken and Potatoes, Picnic in a Jar, Roasted Chicken and Potatoes, Roasted Salmon Greek Salad, Salade Nicoise, Shrimp with Cilantro Pesto, and Sirloin Steak with Chimichurri

Dessert:
Cafe au Lait Pots de Creme, Caramelized Banana Shake, Chocolate Sundae Ice Pops, Fun Fruit Sushi, Honey-Glazed Grilled Pineapple, Orange Supreme Gratinee, Poached Pears with Quick Chocolate Sauce, Sauteed Bananas with Tangy Cream, and Watermelon with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup

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Comments (15)

  1. [...] If you focus on whole foods that you are in charge of cooking, this is surprisingly easy: think fresh vegetables, fresh fish and meats, herbs, fruit, quinoa and brown rice. Stick with foods you already know how to make (don’t get me started …read more [...]

  2. KLS says:

    I love that you are doing this! I am such a big fan of you and your recipes and I am also gluten and dairy free. You stepping into the gluten free world is like Christmas for me!! Thanks, Melissa!

  3. Beli says:

    I am allergic to cheese , real butter and sour scream and only in recipes use milk of any kind. I try to eat meat only 3 times per week but would love more recipes leaning towards more vegetarian , fish type meals.book suggestions or where I can find this would be great. Oh and I do not like sweets at all so I'm nit looking for desserts just healthy meals . Any help would be appreciated

  4. [...] No. 1 tip for gluten-free neophytes: Start out making foods that are just naturally gluten-free. Read full article Read [...]

  5. [...] yes, like night and day) to wanting tips on going gluten-free or accommodating gluten-free guests. Read full article Kids Coop Theatre Presents Shrek The MusicalSandwiches & salads are available daily [...]

  6. [...] No. 1 tip for gluten-free neophytes: Start out making foods that are just naturally gluten-free. Read full article How to Post on Craigslist For FreeHow to Post on Craigslist For Free. From buying and [...]

  7. [...] No. 1 tip for gluten-free neophytes: Start out making foods that are just naturally gluten-free. Read full article Read [...]

  8. [...] No. 1 tip for gluten-free neophytes: Start out making foods that are just naturally gluten-free. Read full article Read [...]

  9. [...] Melissa d’Arabian, a Food Network star, shares her take on gluten-free eating: “My number No. 1 tip for gluten-free neophytes: Start out making foods that are just naturally gluten-free.” Yes, ma’am, and thank you. I completely agree with this statement. Instead of grabbing processed and packaged foods labeled “gluten free.,” go for whole natural produce and protein, and you’ll realize that you have so many options and won’t feel deprived from being unable to eat pizza or pasta. [...]

  10. [...] yes, like night and day) to wanting tips on going gluten-free or accommodating gluten-free guests. Read full article My No. 1 Tip for Navigating a New Gluten-Free LifestyleLast month I shared here on Healthy [...]

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