Going Gluten-Free: Tips & Tricks
More and more people are going gluten-free. Many choose this lifestyle to treat celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can damage the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Others go gluten-free as part of a diet trend, believing wheat should be avoided for health reasons.
No matter your reason for eschewing gluten, you need to know the ropes of your new lifestyle, and Premio Foods can help. All but two of our sausages are gluten-free, and we offer many gluten-free recipes with sausage for those who have decided to remove gluten from their lives. Here are two tips and some other guidelines to know before making the switch.
Read Labels Carefully
As you may already know, gluten is derived from wheat, but it’s also found in other things, such as barley and rye. You must become a smart label reader to ensure none of those things are in your food. Even labels that say, “gluten-free,” should be investigated further to ensure the packaging is telling the truth.
You can eat only gluten-free foods and still get “glutened,” which is what those with celiac refer to as ingesting gluten without knowing it. That’s because of cross-contamination. Anything that comes in contact with gluten, such as a toaster with regular bread or a knife used to butter gluten-containing toast, and then touches your own food can carry gluten and has the potential to make you sick. Make sure anything you consume has not made incidental contact with gluten-containing foods.
Conduct a Kitchen Investigation
Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and hunt for gluten in your kitchen. If you live with others who are not going gluten-free, you can always keep the gluten-filled items in separate places, such as together on shelves in the pantry or refrigerator. This will help you visually sort what you can and cannot eat.
Experiment With Gluten-Free Alternatives
Feel like you are being deprived because you can’t eat gluten? You might be surprised at how many gluten-free alternatives are already on the market. You can make just about any type of food with gluten into a gluten-free version. You might not always love all the products you taste-test, but stay open to some experimentation.
Go for Fresh
Often, one of the smartest and easiest ways to ensure a recipe or dish is gluten-free is to make it from fresh, raw ingredients. For instance, you will notice many of our gluten-free Italian sausage recipes call for produce, such as Hot and Spicy Summer Salad featuring chicken sausage. Start with clean, ripe vegetables and fruits. Then, add in your gluten-free sausage. Finally, add other elements to your gluten-free meal such as pure olive oil, ghee and seasonings. The fresher the basic items, the more certain you can be that they are truly gluten-free.
Learn How to Cook
Have you always been one of those people who stayed out of the kitchen? Make going gluten-free a time for you to learn how to navigate all those pots and pans! Our easy, gluten-free sausage recipes are a great way to start on your journey to becoming a more confident cook. Plus, you may find you save tons of money. Gluten-free pre-packaged products can cost more than gluten-filled varieties. Being able to whip up a gluten-free sausage scramble in the morning can be much cheaper and healthier than buying gluten-free bread or pastries. A great place to begin is with Annie’s Easy-Peasy Kale and Sausage Soup.
Be Careful When You Drink
In addition to thoroughly checking food labels and menu ingredients before you eat anything, you will also need to consider what you drink. Many beverages, including those made with alcohol, contain some form of gluten. Even your favorite smoothie at a fast-food restaurant could include gluten. It is up to you to stay disciplined about ensuring you do not accidentally drink gluten. A best practice is to carry water with you wherever you go, so you always have a gluten-free drink.
Offer to Bring Dishes to Parties and Gatherings
At first, you might feel a little awkward because you have gone gluten-free and your friends haven’t. Instead of avoiding parties and picnics, simply ask the host if you can contribute some dishes to the festivities. Almost all hosts will eagerly accept your offer, and this gives you the ability to make sure you always have something you can eat during the fun. Plus, you get to showcase your new gluten-free cooking skills. Who could turn down a delicious and satisfying helping of Gluten-Free Strawberry Spinach Salad With Sweet Basil Sausage?
Gluten-Free Diet Do’s and Don’ts
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to remember as you transition:
- DO: Ask lots of questions at restaurants. You want to avoid cross-contamination and false advertising. For instance, some places advertise gluten-free dishes but say they aren’t recommended for those with celiac.
- DON’T: Eat gluten occasionally. You’re all in or all out on this lifestyle if you truly want to change your eating habits or treat your disease.
- DO: Connect with others on the diet. They can give you tips and recommend local restaurants.
- DON’T: Rely exclusively on packaged foods. There are a lot of tasty gluten-free cereals, crackers and candy, but a healthy diet focuses mainly on veggies, fruit, meat and dairy.
- DO: Toast your bread. Many people who have been gluten-free for years swear GF bread tastes better when it’s toasted.
Gluten-Free Sausage Recipes
We know how hard it can be to find nutritious and delicious recipes when you go gluten-free, so we include a number of them on our website. Our gluten-free Italian sausage and other meats make delicious bases for these tasty meals. A few of our favorites include:
Remember, the key to succeeding on any diet, whether you’re gluten or dairy-free, is focusing on what you can have rather than what you can’t. There are so many delicious gluten-free foods available, from veggies and fruits to sausage and more. Enjoy them and be vigilant about your eating habits, and you’ll do just fine going gluten-free.