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Yes, Gluten-Free Holidays are Possible!

By Theresa Santandrea-Cull

Yes, Gluten-Free Holidays are Possible!

Theresa Santandrea-Cull, co-author of Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide, knows how difficult it is to try to survive the holidays while on a gluten-free diet. Below are some of the questions she is asked most about cooking for those with celiac disease and gluten-intolerance:

Q1. Everyone says “I don’t have time to bake or cook” especially during the holiday season. Are these gluten-free recipes fast and easy or complicated?

A1. Most recipes were created with busy moms and dads in mind. They are easy, fast and taste great at the same time. The recipes that are a little more time- consuming were put on the weekend meal list for when you have a bit more time on your hands.

Q2. Can the whole family eat these meals or are they strictly for celiac?

A2. Everyone in the family can eat these meals as they were designed with a family in mind. I can’t imagine making two different meals each and every night. Can you?

Q3. Do the recipes taste gluten-free?

A3. In actual fact, all recipes were made to taste like wheat and to look like wheat. That was the whole idea behind these recipes, so that no one could detect the difference. Your holiday cooking/baking will be devoured in no time!

Q4. Is there a strong texture or flavor when eating gluten-free?

A4. Some flours have stronger flavors than others. That is why smaller amounts are used, this way, the benefits of the flours are there but are disguised by other ingredients such as cranberries or nuts or seasonings.

Q5. There is no xanthan gum in your recipes as in other gluten-free cookbooks, is there a reason for this?

A5. Yes, when our family started on this journey over 15 years ago, xanthan gum was hard to find and so I started to experiment without it to see if I could make the flours stick together. So far, so good.

Q6. How does one start? Or where does one begin? It’s seems so overwhelming since we are predominately a wheat society.

A6. The first thing to do is to go through every thing in your cupboard, fridge and freezer. If they contain anything that is on the list of no-no’s then give those items to a family or friend. Then, using this book, go down the aisles and read all ingredients and place them in your cart. It’s a little time consuming at first, but you will feel better for it in the end. What use to take me 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours now takes 1 hour. You will get familiar with the items and start to recognize it on the shelf. But, always make sure that you do read the labels. And, if you have questions, phone the toll free number on the package or consult a dietitian or local celiac association. There is so much variety out there now so it’s a lot easier than you would think.

Happy holidays to all our gluten-free friends!