Gluten-Free Tips To Still Eat the Foods You Love

A lot of people I know cringe at the idea of living a gluten-free diet, but as I continue along the path of becoming a vegan and living a gluten-free lifestyle I give a little snicker each time someone asks, "So what exactly do you eat?' Of course I explain to each person I eat food just like the next person, but am mindful of what is exactly on my plate, no matter where I dine out.

When you look at the term 'gluten-free' it's all about understanding what exactly living this lifestyle means. Gluten-free is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. The gluten protein is found in foods such as barley, rye, wheat, spelt, food starch, semolina, the list goes on. Basically it is a diet with no grains. Of course this may be a tough feat, but over time, switching to a gluten-free diet is as simple as becoming a vegan.

Before we get started on our path of gluten-free dieting I want to make one thing known; gluten-free doesn't always necessarily mean healthier. I know a lot of products out there add extra sugar to make their products taste better, so I hope this list will provide you with an easy how to guide on living a gluten-free diet, that of course, is kind to your waistline.

With that in mind, here are some alternatives to spanning into the realm of gluten-free living without missing the foods you love to eat the most:

Beer: With gluten being a main factor in the production of beer a lot of Celiac's were at one time unable to have a cold beer on a hot summer day. Over time, many breweries recognized this fact and have developed beers that are gluten-free (made from rice, millet, sorghum or buckwheat). So say 'so long' to drinking water as you're sitting by the pool this summer and say hello to Lakefront New Grist beer from Milwaukee or Bard's Beer; the world's first craft-brewed gluten-free beer.

Cupcakes: The world of cupcakes are certainly expanding, and expanding in the likes of dietary requirements around the world. If you are leaning towards a gluten-free diet, than you must try BabyCakes bakery in NYC. This spot is loaded with cupcakes and treats that are refined-sugar free, gluten-free, wheat-free, egg-free, the list really goes on. The beauty of this spot is that they have uniquely developed recipes that use the sweet tastes of agave nectar to sweeten their desserts instead of loading up on sugar. If you're looking to create your very own cupcakes they even have a recipe book that's loaded with hundreds of treats.

Pasta: Pasta is one of my favorite things, and over the past couple of years I have been indulging in rice pasta. Rice pasta is now a frequent, recent addition to menus throughout NYC and beyond. If you're looking for a good brand of gluten-free pasta, try Tinkyada. One of the best ways to enjoy rice pasta is to saute fresh tomatoes with some olive oil, garlic and onion and cook the rice pasta al dente, to get that perfect consistency you love.

Tacos: Tacos are messy, fun and best served with a pitcher of sangria. If you're planning on living a gluten-free diet you'll have to venture off to Brooklyn's Cochinita, where they are serving up gluten-free Mexican fare at a reasonable price. Looking to break free from the restaurant scene, than try making your own taco shells with just a few simple ingredients.

With a slew of gluten-free options out there, in no time at all you'll be creating unique dishes that expand your palette. Happy gluten-free eating!

What sort of gluten-free dishes have you created?