12 July, 2011
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- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse; Celiac Disease; September 2008
- MayoClinic.com; Gluten-Free Diet; January 2010
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What Can I Eat if I'm Allergic to Wheat & Corn?
Food allergies can be annoying at best, or potentially lethal at worst. If you are allergic to two of the most common ingredients in the American diet, it may seem like you're stuck with eating steak and vegetables for the rest of your life. The good news is the the rise in food allergy awareness has made more alternatives available. You may have to learn a few new recipes and bring your reading glasses to the grocery store, but living without wheat and corn is easier than you think.
Manufacturers have made more non-wheat flours and alternative baked goods available. While wheat, rye, semolina, spelt and graham flour are off-limits to you, many baked goods can be successful with alternatives like rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, coconut flour and bean flour. Most larger health food stores carry these products, but regular grocery stores carry breads made without wheat if you prefer not to make your own. Look for baked goods labeled "gluten-free," and check the ingredients label for corn.
Most boxed cereals are problematic because they are made with either wheat or corn. There are exceptions though, like puffed rice or millet and oat-based cereals. Oatmeal is a smart breakfast option for those with wheat and corn allergies because it provides a healthy dose of fiber. Experiment a little and try unfamiliar cereals like arrowroot or tapioca, or make potato pancakes with an alternative flour. Steer clear of grits and farina, which contain corn and wheat, respectively.
Dinner is when you may feel the least put-out by your diet restriction. You can't have regular pasta, but you can have tofu noodles from the produce section at the grocery store. You can still have potatoes, rice and beans, but avoid polenta, corn tortillas and cornbread. You can buy wheat-free dinner rolls in many health foods stores, or make your own from an alternative flour. Read labels carefully, because wheat and corn crop up where you least expect it -- many sauces and gravies contain cornstarch, and bouillon cubes, rice mixes and sausages can contain wheat.
Most beer is made from wheat and barley, but there are some microbrews made with allergies in mind. Read ingredient labels, and start with brands labeled "gluten-free." You can still have wine and most distilled liquors -- avoid whiskey and grain alcohol, which can contain wheat and corn. Be careful with flavored liqueurs and drink mixes -- some lower-end brand use high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. Examine all ingredients labels for signs of wheat and corn, or mix your own cocktails from fresh ingredients. True homemade sour mixes and simple syrup don't contain high-fructose corn syrup, so make your own for safer, better-tasting drinks.
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