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The Celiac Section

Tricks to the Gluten-Free Diet

Mmm, Home Baking

The scent of fresh-baked goods may make your mouth water but no matter how good they smell, it helps if the finished product isn’t dry, crumbly and tasteless. That’s a challenge when it comes to baking with alternatives to wheat flour because they don’t contain gluten, the very ingredient that gives baked goods structure and depth.

Baking sans gluten is at once an art and a science, but experts recommend first combining gluten-free flours and/or starch and then mixing in a binding carbohydrate called xanthan gum, available in health food stores and some supermarkets. The result of fermenting glucose, xanthan gum is best added to dry ingredients. The general rule is to use one teaspoon for every cup of gluten-free flour when making bread and half to three quarters of a teaspoon for other baked goods.

The News on Oats

Once, oats were included on the list of forbidden foods for people with celiac disease because they were thought to trigger the same toxic reaction as wheat, barley and rye. The problem was that the only oats available were grown, processed and transported alongside wheat, barley and rye. Oats were being contaminated with gluten.

No longer. New studies show that pure, uncontaminated oats consumed in moderate quantities are just fine for most adults and children with celiac disease, though not all.

The key words here are “pure,” “uncontaminated” and “moderate” consumption. Buy only “pure” oats from specialty companies that take many precautions to ensure their oats are not cross-contaminated with gluten grains.

With regard to moderation, the professional advisory board of the Canadian Celiac Association recommends that adults eat no more than ¾ cup of dry rolled oats a day while children have up to a ¼ cup a day, no more.

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