Gluten free recipes are more popular than they ever were. There was a time when most Americans would probably give you a blank look if you had asked them to cook a gluten free meal for you. Today, almost everybody has heard about gluten free food and there is an increasing number of people who are eager to try it out.
Given the remarkable availability and abundance of gluten free recipes, it should not come as much of a surprise to you that many of the recipes that you can read off the internet or even find in pamphlets or small cookbooks are actually quite terrible. Creating a gluten free meal is not as easy as you think it is. It is not just about eliminating wheat. You need to make sure that each and every single ingredient that may be contaminated with gluten has \ been removed. Also, you need to find decent substitutes for gluten. Otherwise, you will be compromising with the taste and the texture of the food, which is never a good thing to do.
Before you start following gluten free recipes, you need to acquire the ability to assess these recipes and figure out whether they are the right fit for your healthy gluten free diet. To improve your assessment ability, here are five pointers that you should bear in mind:
1) The Listed Ingredients should be of High Quality
What exactly is a high quality ingredient? You answer that question through the process of elimination. In other words, start thinking about what makes a particular ingredient bad. A recipe that asks you to use an unacceptable amount of sugar, processed ingredients (such as pre-made sauces), trans fats and fake foods (preservatives, flavourings, colourings and additives) is one that encourages you to cook with unhealthy ingredients. A gluten free diet warrants the consumption of healthy ingredients that are organic, whole and nutritious. Why would you intentionally put rubbish in your body? Living on a diet filled with such ingredients is only going to worsen your health. Look for recipes that instruct you to use fresh, seasonal and natural ingredients that are full of vitality.
2) The Listed Ingredients Can be Obtained Easily
A good gluten free recipe would always encourage the use of fresh, local ingredients that can be availed easily by the consumers. You would be surprised to know that there are certain gluten free recipes out there that want you to use imported ingredients. There is nothing wrong with using imported ingredients, but going local is always the better option. With imported ingredients, you run the risk of consuming food that is nearing its expiry date. Also, ingredients that are meant to last for years such as canned beans are not good for your body because they have been overly processed and are therefore stuffed with an overwhelming amount of preservatives. Easily attainable ingredients are ones that you can buy from your local farmer’s market or grocery store. If a recipe calls for you to travel several miles to fetch a single ingredient, then that recipe deserves to end up in the bin.
3) The Cost of Cooking is Within Your Budget
No matter how passionate you are about cooking, you can’t forget the financial aspect of preparing food at home. One of the main reasons why we eat at home instead of constantly dining outside is to save money on our food consumption. If the gluten free recipe that you are following is an impractical one that asks you to buy expensive, top tier ingredients that can only be afforded regularly by people of great wealth, then you should probably stop using that recipe. You may use that recipe for special occasions when you can afford to spend out of your budget, but it is not one that you will depend on every week.
4) You Have Enough Time to Prepare the Dish
There is nothing quite as annoying as coming across an over-the-top gluten free recipe that takes up your entire day. Gluten intolerant people have the same amount of time in their hands as other people. Therefore, it makes very little sense why there are numerous gluten free recipes that instruct people to be engaged in cooking for 2-3 hours per day. Once again, these recipes are only good for special occasions or days of luxury when you have all the time in the world in your hands. For regular days, you should count on recipes that can help you prepare food in around 45 minutes.
5) The Recipe Allows Flexibility
Fussy, gourmet experiments can drive a regular home cook insane. You aren’t expected to have all the necessary ingredients all the time. You may also not have enough time in your hands to complete the recipe on certain days. Hence, it is preferable that you stick to recipes that are flexible in terms of the time taken to prepare the meal and the ingredients used for cooking. For example, go for recipes that allow you to swap vegetables with the seasons and the ones that let you in on the shortcuts of cooking.