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Life Lessons: Gluten-free restaurants

Published On: Mar 21 2014 04:00:00 AM CDT

Life Lessons: Gluten-free restaurants

About one in 133 Americans has celiac disease and will need to follow a gluten-free diet, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Now, cooking, baking, and dining in restaurants have become easier than ever.

It’s in bread, pasta, crackers, and baked goods, but Jane Mueller, who's allergic to gluten, says you can nix the gluten without losing the taste.

“[They're] old recipes; you’re just converting them,” says Mueller. "You just have to find the right mixes that you like."

For easy banana muffins, try mixing white rice, potato starch, and tapioca flours.

Then, add xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, vanilla, oil, and an egg. Mix in the bananas, scoop into cupcake liners, and bake.

The result is gluten-free muffins that taste great.

While Mueller can bake substitutes like these, she says the choices are pretty limited when she eats out.

"There are still some times [when] I go into a restaurant [and] I’ll say boy I wish I could have that," said Mueller.

Some tips when dining out: call ahead to see if the restaurant has gluten-free options.

Also, ask how the dishes are prepared, if they add any extra spices, and how they avoid cross contamination.

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness offers a program that trains restaurants how to prepare and serve gluten-free food. You can find a list of approved restaurants on their website:.

If you want a gluten-free dinner you can make, dietician Amanda Holliday says start with quinoa.

"Quinoa is an interesting grain because it’s very high in protein," Holliday explained.

Boil it and simmer for 15 minutes, then chop up some bell peppers, carrots, and cilantro.

Next, mix in gluten-free soy sauce, lemon and lime juice, and some garlic. Then, add the quinoa and top with baked salmon.