Gluten-free eating has become more and more popular the past few years. About 3 million people in America have celiac disease, while many more are either gluten intolerant or just prefer to avoid this ingredient.
What is gluten? It’s a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. With those who are sensitive to gluten, this protein — while not something that is unhealthy, per se — will attack the villi in the intestine of those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Because of the attack, the villi are damaged, causing inflammation and malabsorption in the intestine.
How do you know if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Many people experience a multitude of symptoms: bloating, stomach pains, migraines, achy joints and sometimes lactose intolerance.
However, an increasing number of people are asymptomatic, so it’s important to get tested. There are three main ways to find out if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance:
- A simple blood test.
- Endoscopy. A doctor can perform this procedure in order to take a sample of the intestine, which can determine the level of damage.
- An elimination diet. Cut gluten products out of your diet for three to four weeks — if it eliminates symptoms that you once had, then there is little reason to get an “official diagnosis.” At this point it would be in your own interest to remove gluten from the diet.
Having digestion problems in your everyday life could possibly indicate a gluten intolerance. When you eliminate gluten, your symptoms are improved dramatically! Quality of life is enhanced and it only takes avoiding one ingredient.
Of course, there are struggles in finding gluten-free alternatives to your favorite foods. The holidays are one of those times during the year that can be tough. But if you know where to look and do your research, it can be easy; you can still have the classic foods at that holiday dinner without feeling left out.
Here is one amazing apple crisp recipe that even your non-gluten-free friends will want to eat:
Gluten-free Apple Crisp
Recipe by Alexa Barbee
6 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup almond flour
½ cup gluten-free, old-fashioned oats
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (whichever you prefer)
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine the apples, cinnamon, honey and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir together to make sure the apples are all evenly coated. This will be the filling.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour, gluten-free oats, salt, cinnamon and pecans or walnuts.
- Usng your hands, work the ¼ cup of honey and 3 tablespoons of butter into the above mixture. It should have a crumbly consistency.
- Place apples into a 9×9 baking dish, then cover with the topping.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the topping is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Can serve immediately warm. Tip: Put some whip cream or even dairy free whip cream on top for an amazing holiday dessert!