NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

October 17, 2012

Going gluten-free gets easier

(Continued)

Rahman has her patients keep a log of both their food consumption and their symptoms and eventually may recommend that they eliminate gluten from their diets. Or, in some cases, she may work the other way by having the patients go gluten free to see if it makes their symptoms go away.

In either case, she says, adopting a gluten-free diet gets easier every year.

“Even in the past five years, there’s been a huge increase in cookbooks, in what’s available in stores and restaurants and in online support,” Rahman says.

However, she adds, part of the demand has been generated by a certain trendiness in gluten-free lifestyles that’s been aided by their adoption by various celebrities.

“They’re using it as a fashion statement, or in some cases they’re saying it might help with weight loss,” Rahman says. “But there’s no medical reason to follow it unless you have to.”

But that said, she advises her patients and anyone else who’s been diagnosed as gluten-sensitive not to be shy about it.

“Eating out or at someone’s house are things that many patients find very, very difficult,” Rahman says. It’s not just the food itself — there are issues of cross-contamination, as simple as crumbs left when regular bread is made in the same toaster.”

“But you have to be willing to advocate for yourself,” she adds. “It’s also really important to involve family members and friends. You’ll often get a lot of support that really helps you stay on top of it.”

ARTISAN GLUTEN-FREE

FLOUR BLEND

Yield: About 12 cups

5 cups (625 grams) brown rice flour

3 cups (350 grams) sorghum flour

2 2/3 cups (360 grams) cornstarch

1 cup (148 grams) potato starch

1/3 cup (57 grams) potato flour

4 teaspoons xanthan gum

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container in the fridge. The authors recommend measuring by weight rather than by volume for a more accurate and consistent result.

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