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Inside Scoop On The Gluten Free Life

April 13, 2017

Are you gluten free? Do you think about going gluten free but still not so sure about it? Do you know what gluten is? What Celiac disease is or a gluten intolerance? I’m here to tell you all of this and even give you some places you can eat out and fun recipes to try! Places that don’t just offer salad without croutons as their gluten free option or only having ice cream for dessert every single time. As a non-gluten consumer myself, I know just how difficult and aggravating cutting something entirely out of your diet may be.
So let’s start with what exactly gluten is. Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape and acts as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected. Yes, this includes all the yummy breads, pastas, and most cereals many people wouldn’t even think about saying goodbye to. However, sometimes you don’t get a choice. Celiac disease and gluten intolerances do exist and they suck for the people they affect! Okay, so now you’re probably wondering what the heck those things are. Celiac disease is a genetic  autoimmune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. When people with Celiac disease consume gluten their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, which promote nutrient absorption in the small intestine. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. The only treatment currently for celiac disease is a strict, gluten-free diet. A gluten intolerance is also an immune reaction to eating gluten but to a less severe extent.

I myself have a gluten intolerance and found out in November of last year when I started to get bad stomach aches after eating meals. I went a week with cutting certain foods out of my diet and it turned out gluten was what had been affecting me the most. I completely cut out gluten and decided to also go vegetarian as well in the same day. This completely changed my whole diet and way of living. I didn’t want to go out to eat anymore with friends because I knew that I’d most likely be stuck eating salad – not fun – when your friends are eating delicious juicy burgers right in front of you. But alas! There are always other options. I was just a young, naive gluten free-er at the time but I’ve done much research and eaten out at many restaurants since then. Cutting out gluten from your diet may seem like a difficult and limiting task but fortunately, there are many healthy and delicious foods that are gluten-free!
Now’s the time you’ve all been waiting for: good(and I mean finger-lickin’ good) restaurants and recipes for all you non-gluten consumers to try out! The first restaurant, my personal favorite, is called New Cascadia Traditional, located on 1700 SE 6th Ave. It’s right by GoodWill so when you’re tired and hungry after thrifting, you can go eat yummy food! New Cascadia Traditional specializes in gluten-free baked goods, plus pizza, sandwhiches, and coffee! It’s a little slice of heaven from a gluten-free perspective. My favorite part about this bakery is that everything is made from scratch, practically right in front of you and if you get there early enough, you may be able to catch your favorite muffin coming right out of the oven. The second restaurant is called Petunia’s Pies and Pastries. Petunias is located on 610 SW 12, Ave. This bakery is known for creative vegan & gluten-free sandwiches, soups and desserts. The service at Petunia’s is lovely and paired with probably the best gluten-free cakes and pastries I’ve ever tasted, you just can’t go wrong!

Lastly, here are some easy and fun gluten free recipes to try in your own home:
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Crispy Baked Tofu with Honey-Sesame Glaze –

Brown rice
• 1 1/4 cup brown rice, preferably short grain
Roasted brussels sprouts
• 1 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
• 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
• Fine grain sea salt
Extra crispy baked tofu
• 1 (15 ounce) block of organic extra-firm tofu
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari* or soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
Spicy honey-sesame glaze
• 1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
• 3 tablespoons honey (maple syrup also works)
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
• 1 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or sriracha (depending on how spicy you like it)
• 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
• Big handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Spicy Kale and Coconut Stir Fry –

• 2 tablespoons coconut oil or quality vegetable oil
• 2 eggs, beaten with a dash of salt
• 2 big cloves garlic, pressed or minced
• 3/4 cup chopped green onions (about 1/2 bunch)
• Optional: 1 cup thinly sliced vegetables, like bell pepper, carrot or Brussels sprouts
• 1 medium bunch kale (preferably Lacinato but curly green is good, too), ribs removed and leaves finely shredded
• 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
• 3/4 cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes* (not shredded coconut)
• 2 cups cooked and chilled brown rice**
• 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or sriracha
• 1 lime, halved
• Handful fresh cilantro, for garnish

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