Celiac Disease Awareness Month is almost over. I have enjoyed sharing the way of living and eating that keeps me healthy with you. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease your life is not over. There are still many wonderful foods you can enjoy. Give yourself time to experiment and you may even find foods you like better.
If you believe you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance you will want to consult your healthcare provider. Remember you must be eating gluten for diagnostic tests to be successful.
For more information on celiac disease, check out the celiac disease resources on the My Gluten Free Life page here at Espirational.
If you are looking for positive tips and suggestions for living the gluten free life check out my newest e-book The Gluten Free Good Lifeavailable in the Amazon.com Kindle Store. In the book you will find practical solutions of living gluten free, including the importance of attitude and of course a few of my favorite recipes to get you started.
The Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign helped me when I was first adopting a gluten free lifestyle. and I want to share this valuable resource with you. http://www.celiac.nih.gov. The Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign of the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
The awareness campaign began in 2006 and according to the campaign website “seeks to heighten awareness of celiac disease among health care professionals and the public.” As a part of this mission it provides educational materials about celiac disease including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management to both medical professionals and the general public. The Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign website is a good place to find research articles as well as practical, general information for living with the disease.
If you have just been diagnosed, the Awareness Campaign website is a good place to start. Of course there are lots of online support groups and people with opinions, but the information is not always accurate. Start with the Awareness Campaign first to get a good foundation of reliable information before venturing out into gluten free cyberspace.
Gluten free bread is expensive. Given the size of the loaves, it is very expensive. So, what are we supposed to do about those things we think have to be served on bread? We find other ways. Here are a few of my favorite bread substitutes I think even my non-gluten free readers will enjoy.
1. Corn Tortillas are a good way to make tuna melts or grilled cheese. Specialty tortillas are also available from other gluten free grains.
2. Lettuce Wraps are one of my favorite ways to do sandwiches. I love biting into crisp, crunchy lettuce.
3. Pancakes and Crepes are easy to make at home with gluten free flour and may be used to wrap around either sweet or savory fillings for desserts, main courses or even snacks.
4. Salad makes a healthy replacement for bread. Put your sandwich toppings on a bed of lettuce.
5. Homemade Muffins or Biscuits can be used as a replacement for toast or split and topped with your favorite fillings to make sandwiches.
6. Homemade Bread is always an option. With the cost of gluten free flours this is still a bit pricey but less than buying bread, since you are supplying the labor.
7. Rice Cakes have helped Bob still be able to have his peanut butter sandwiches he loves so much. Check the label for gluten status. With something yummy on top, they aren’t at all bad.
8. Waffles aren’t just for breakfast. I have made waffle pizzas, waffle tacos, waffles and gravy, waffle sloppy joes and even ice cream sundaes on a waffle raft instead of in a waffle cone or bowl. I try to make extra waffles and freeze the leftovers for the convenience of having “toaster waffles” later.
9. Load a Baked Potato with all your favorite sandwich fillings and toppings.
10. My absolute all time favorite is the Pepperwich, a halved green pepper shell cleaned out and filled with sandwich fixin’s.
You really don’t have to spend a small fortune on gluten free bread. Put your thinking cap on and I’m sure you can come up with even more ideas. Anyone want to share?
What I love about this is that we all came up with recipes that are naturally gluten free. Yes, even gluten eaters will love these dishes that include lots of naturally gluten free whole foods. How good is that?!
I am hosting the entrée and we are having fajitas. This is an easy way to serve a group and accommodate various dietary needs. I serve buffet style with corn tortillas (you could also purchase special gluten free tortillas), grilled beef, chicken and veggies and lots of lettuce (Bob likes to make a salad and skip the tortillas) along with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Everyone can then choose ingredients to make their own. Fajitas are also traditionally served with rice and refried beans, but you can choose to serve them with something else if you wish.
Beef, Chicken or Veggie Fajitas with Corn Tortillas
Serves 4 to 6 but is easily converted to a larger recipe to serve more.
The Marinade: 2 Tablespoons lime juice ¼ cup olive oil 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon chili powder 2 cloves garlic minced Pour marinade over the steak and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. You are using a tougher cut of meat so this is necessary. Pour marinade over the chicken and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours. If you marinate chicken too long it will turn to mush.
The Meat Steak (skirt steak is traditional but you may also use round steak) — allow 1/4 pound per person Boneless skinless chicken breasts — allow 1/4 pound per person If you are going to grill the meat leave it whole and slice thinly against the grain after it is cooked. You may also cut your meat into strips against the grain first and pan fry on top- of the stove in a little oil.
The Veggies 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced 1 onion, sliced thin 1 yellow squash sliced (if squash is large cut slices in half) 1 zucchini squash sliced The peppers and onion are traditional. I like to add the squash for a vegetarian fajita. I like to marinate my veggies for about an hour. The veggies may be grilled using a special grill pan or stir fried on top of the stove.
The Tortillas I use corn tortillas. Of course flour tortillas are traditional but will not work for a gluten free diet. You may also purchase specialty gluten free tortillas. Keep in mind that these are going to be a little pricey so you offer them only to your gluten free guests if desired.
The Flair Shredded lettuce may also be used to make a salad by those who prefer to skip the tortillas, so be sure to have plenty on hand. This is one tasty gluten free option that Bob usually chooses. Sour cream is a nice addition for differences in texture as well as to cool down the heat if you make your fajitas spicy but it can be left off. If you know you have a guest who does not eat dairy you may provide a dairy free substitute if you wish. Guacamole may be found in the refrigerator case (read the label), but guacamole is really easy to make. Just remember the lime juice and don’t make it too far ahead or it will turn black.) Salsa or Pico de Gallo may be homemade or use your favorite from a jar. Be sure to read the label.
Don’t forget to check out the other courses of our progressive dinner.
May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month and I’m ready to party. The gluten free life has been life changing for me. I see the lifestyle as one of health and wellness, not deprivation. So I have a few things planned for this month.