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10 tips to going gluten-free during Celiac Awareness Month

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RICHMOND, Va. — One out of every 133 Americans has celiac disease (about three million), yet 95% of those with the disease remain undiagnosed, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Disease. It is an autoimmune disorder triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. It affects the small intestine.

Basically, if you have 266 Facebook friends, you know two people with Celiac Disease. But you probably know a lot more people who are choosing a gluten-free diet.

May is Celiac Awareness Month and the nutritionists at MARTIN’S Food Markets have drafted 10 tips to help go gluten-free whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or have opted to go gluten-free for other reasons. It’s an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat,

Here are ten tips from MARTIN’S nutritionists to help you and your family go gluten-free:

• There are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods that provide the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Build a gluten-free diet around fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds and beans and cook from scratch as much as possible.

• Most gluten-free breads and cereal are low in fiber. Choose naturally gluten-free fiber-filled grains like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, teff and sorghum.

• Instead of bread or wraps, use romaine or kale leaves. Add your favorite sandwich ingredients such as turkey, tomatoes, and avocado and roll up!

• Cross-contamination is an issue when preparing gluten-free food. To keep gluten-free foods safe, purchase two sets of cooking utensils and dishware as well as a separate toaster or consider reusable toaster bags. Make sure everything in the kitchen is labeled clearly.

• Gluten can be lurking in unsuspecting items. Read labels when it comes to broths, seasoning mixes, sauces and marinades. When shopping at MARTIN’S, look for the blue and green gluten-free logo on products and shelf tags throughout the store.

• Gluten-free items can be loaded with added sugar. Stick to single digits of sugar per serving, 8 grams or less is ideal.

• Enjoy pizza night by making a cauliflower crust and loading up with your favorite toppings. MARTIN’S offers an easy to make recipe found here and many other gluten-free recipes in the Recipe Center.

• Wheat flour is often used to thicken sauces and gravies, so try potato starch, cornstarch, arrowroot starch or tapioca starch/flour for a gluten-free alternative.

• Gluten-free baking can taste unfamiliar, so add spices for a flavorful boost. Double the amount of vanilla or try extra cinnamon or nutmeg to deepen flavor.

• When baking gluten-free treats, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees, as they tend to brown more easily.

For more information and resources on gluten-free, visit the NFCA.