What do you mean I have to eat gluten-free?

Stay positive and focus on all of the foods that you can eat and how much better you will feel.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Switching to a gluten-free diet means making changes in your pantry, in the foods you buy and in the recipes you use. It is also a lot of trial and error, but remember, if the foods you choose are fresh vegetables or protein eaten plain, raw or cooked simply, they will probably be satisfactory. Most healthy foods are gluten-free, but do read the labels. Your dietary changes will not happen overnight, but if you stick to a healthier lifestyle, your family will adjust right along with you.

Sometimes eating out can be a problem and at first you may feel deprived, but now many more restaurants are able to accommodate gluten-free diets. There is even gluten-free pizza — both in stores and in restaurants. You will be pleasantly surprised to realize how many gluten-free products, such as bread and pasta, are now available, especially in specialty grocery stores such as Sprouts Farmers Market and Whole Foods Market. If you cannot find them in your area, check with a celiac disease support group or go online. Also, check your body products and cosmetics, as many contain gluten.

Stay positive and focus on all of the foods that you can eat and how much better you will feel. You may even have to buy smaller pants.


Quinoa Pilaf


  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup white or yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 green onion (white and green parts), finely minced
  • 1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely minced


Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook for about 2 minutes or until the onions are starting to get translucent. Add the quinoa and garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes. You want the quinoa to lightly toast, but you do not want the garlic to get browned. Add the water and salt. Raise heat, bring to a full boil, cover pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. While quinoa is simmering, toast the almond slivers in a dry skillet over high heat until they are browned and fragrant, stirring often. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Set aside. When the quinoa is done, remove from heat and let sit covered for about 3 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and fluff with a fork. Add the minced green onion, parsley and toasted almonds. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil and toss. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serves 4.


Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (mild or hot), to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 heaping cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cubed or one 14.5-ounce can
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 6 cups light vegetable broth
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine, if desired
  • 1/2 can coconut milk, to taste
  • Lime zest for garnish


In a heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chopped carrots and celery, and stir in the spices. Lower heat and gently cook for about 10 minutes, being careful not to brown the onions. Add in the pumpkin, sweet potato, vegetable broth and sherry; stir together. Cover and bring to a slow simmer; cook for about 25 to 35 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender. Remove from heat, and purée the soup with an immersion hand blender; or purée in small batches in a blender or food processor. If using a blender or food processor, carefully ladle the soup into it, not more than half full. Cover tightly and purée the soup until it is smooth and creamy; return to pot. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Return the pot to low-medium heat. Stir in the coconut milk and blend until smooth. Warm gently for 10 minutes. Do not boil. Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of lime zest. Serves 6.


Savory Butternut Squash


  • 1 butternut squash — about 3 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place it cut side up in a baking pan, adding 1/4 inch of water to the pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until tender. Cool, then peel and cut into 2-inch chunks. In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the garlic over low heat for 1 minute. Do not brown or scorch. Add the squash, toss and cook for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, and toss to coat. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes and serve.


Sources:, and Joanne’s new recipe box.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 5, October/November 2012.

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