Gluten-Free Pantry and Refrigerator - 5 Steps PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 03 July 2011 07:28

By Toni B. Snyder

How do you create a gluten-free pantry and refrigerator if you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease? Follow the five steps below to ensure a safe, gluten-free kitchen for you and your family.

1. Sorting Space

To prepare for your adventure, clear off a large, clean space near the kitchen for sorting food from your pantry and refrigerator. Separate this area into three sections: Keep, Toss, and Not Sure. Having a designated sorting space will help you organize and manage the food items more efficiently.

Familiarize yourself with what gluten is: wheat (including durum, kamut, semolina, spelt), barley, rye, triticale, malt, and oats that are not certified gluten-free. Remember that wheat-free is not gluten-free!

Thankfully, most food companies now list common allergens and what their foods are manufactured with on their labels. This will be very useful as you sort through your pantry and refrigerator.

2. Food to Keep

A basic gluten-free diet focuses on natural, fresh, whole food. Carefully read the labels on all packaged, boxed, and canned edibles to make sure they don't contain gluten. Some of your food packaging may actually state it is gluten-free. Lucky for you!

These items belong in the "Keep" section:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh meats, poultry, fish, eggs (no basting or flavoring)
  • Natural dairy products: milk, butter, cheese (no blue cheese)
  • Pure, gluten-free grains and flours: quinoa, corn, millet, buckwheat, sorghum, rice, amaranth, teff, Montina, potato, bean, flax, nut
  • Natural herbs and spices (spice mixes may contain gluten -- read labels!)
  • Distilled alcohol, wine, vinegar
  • Any food specifically labeled "gluten-free" and/or absolutely does not include gluten-containing ingredients

3. Food to Toss

Throw out or donate food that has obvious gluten ingredients and does not clearly state "gluten-free" on the label. Double-check the following for your "Toss" pile:

  • Flours, breads, cookies, cereals, pastas, breading, coating mixes, croutons, bakery items
  • Preserved, processed and imitation meats, lunchmeats, sausage, cheeses
  • Soups, soup mixes, bullions, condiments, sauces, gravies, dressings, marinades, thickeners, spice mixes, flavorings, beer
  • Baking powder (often contains gluten unless labelled gluten-free)
  • Nutritional supplements (herbals, vitamins, minerals)
  • Drugs and medications

If you are uncertain or can't make sense of the ingredients, then move on to the "Not Sure" section.

4. Food - Not Sure

If you just can't decipher the label, even if the food appears safe, then put it in the "Not Sure" pile. Questionable substances include:

  • Artificial, natural, caramel, or smoke flavoring
  • Artificial coloring
  • Modified food starch
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Hydrolized or hydrogenated ingredients
  • Anything you can't pronounce!

These ingredients may or may not have gluten depending on how and where they are processed. Don't be shy...If you are not sure if the food is safe to eat, contact the food manufacturer by website, email, or phone to find out exactly which of their foods are gluten-free. Some of their websites even have gluten-free lists and charts! However, if the company hesitates to give to you an acceptable answer, consider the food unsafe and pitch it or give it away.

5. Clean and Organize

Now that everything is out of the pantry and refrigerator, scrub down the shelves, drawers, and surfaces with hot soapy water, vinegar, or your choice of disinfectant. Think of gluten like glue -- it adheres to surfaces and gets stuck in grooves and crevices. Take the time to thoroughly sanitize to make your kitchen a safe eating environment.

You may have to arrange your clean kitchen into gluten-free and gluten areas. Give the gluten eaters their very own lower shelves in the pantry and refrigerator to prevent their food from cascading down onto your safe edibles. Label their gluten foods and provide your loved ones with their own condiments and dressings. Be sure to discuss the importance of keeping this area clean and free of crumbs to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

Put all your safe, gluten-free provisions into the pantry and refrigerator. Bag up the unsafe food to throw away or donate. Follow up with the "Not Sure" pile. Now it's time to whip up something yummy!

Toni B. Snyder invites you to visit for more information on gluten-free living. Dr. Snyder is a nutrition consultant specializing in the management of common nutrient deficiencies and related health concerns associated with food sensitivities and allergies. Take her Free Health Assessment and discover the benefits of personal nutrition consulting.

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Fighting the Hunger Demons PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 02 July 2011 11:26

By Veronica Tomor

The biggest enemy of anyone trying to better their health and eating is hunger. There are a variety of situations that can lead to irregular eating, but if you allow yourself to get over-hungry, your ability to make appropriate food choices is compromised. It's the old joke about shopping while hungry. It's actually sound advice!

Similar to making decisions while drinking alcohol - when you are too hungry, your judgment is impaired. You buy more than you need and make spur of the moment decisions because something catches your eye or appeals to your growling stomach! Wherever you are, in the airport, on the plane, in your hotel, standing over the snack table in a meeting, if you are too hungry you will overeat. You will also be likely to choose fattier and higher-calorie comfort foods. This is your brain's way of trying to stock up because it perceives there is a famine going on. Incidentally, regularly allowing yourself to go long periods without eating slows down your metabolism! Your body thinks it is starving, so it starts to reserve fuel, making the battle for a healthy weight all that much harder.

Best Tip to Curb your Hunger Demons: Pack snacks

You want snacks that are easy to carry with you, and don't require refrigeration. Fruit is always a good snack, but can be difficult to transport and sometimes spoils easily. You can consider trail mix, nuts, travel packs of peanut butter, and energy bars. All in all, protein bars are the business traveler's best friend. They allow you to stave off hunger until you are in a location where you can find a healthy option, or to take the edge off before an unknown situation, such as a buffet. You want a snack that is low sugar, and low glycemic index, if possible.

I'm not talking about carb-heavy granola bars. These tend to be high in both sugar and salt. My personal favorite is Kashi� GO LEAN� bars. They have the perfect balance of protein, fiber and optimized glycemic response--perfect ingredients for great taste and a lasting feeling of fullness. Protein bars will give you a good dose of energy that will last longer than something that is full of carbs. Larabars� - a "raw" energy bar that tastes amazing - is all fruit & nuts, no added sugar, and come in flavors like "cherry pie". Also worth noting, Clif Bars�: Try the "chocolate chip" flavor. It tastes like a cross between a brownie and a chocolate chip cookie! Luna� bars: "Nutz over Chocolate" is one of the best flavors in this brand.

Ultimately, find a brand you like, hopefully with different flavors to ensure a variety that will keep you from getting bored. You might need to experiment a bit and choke down some of the nastier types out there (we all have our own taste preferences) but soon you will be buying your favorites in bulk. Before long, you will not leave the house without having 3 or 4 bars in your bag or briefcase.

Arm yourself with healthy snacks - be it fruit, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or protein bars - and you will never be "too" hungry, again.

Dr Veronica Tomor - Author and Speaker

Twitter: leantraveler

Fanpage: Veronica Tomor

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