**I'm not advising everyone to ditch the gluten, but if you have severe IBS like me, you should definitely tell your doctor about your stomach issues. Then ask about the Low FODMAPs diet to see if they advise you to try it. There's no harm in trying.
I load up on smoothies, oatmeal with peanut butter and brown sugar, gluten free cereal (like Chex, Crispix, Corn Flakes, Honeycomb, etc.), and coconut yogurt with fresh fruit for breakfast. Grapes, nuts, and carrot sticks make quick snacks. I love sticky rice, popcorn, tofu, baked potatoes (sweet, purple, russet, gold, red, butter... potatoes), butternut squash soup, and my newly introduced favorites for lunch and dinner; Pamela's GF bread, macaroni noodles made from brown rice with melted Daiya cheese on top, quinoa, and Amy's Organic GF vegan burritos. I'm still searching for recipes and new products too!
How does GF baking differ from regular baking?
Upon trial and error I've noticed-generally speaking for baked goods- it takes longer for GF recipes to bake, they don't rise as much when cooking, the texture is often 'grainy-er' and chewier, and the dough you're used to kneading with wheat flour will need to be close to a pancake batter consistency.
Since GF flours tend to dry out when baking for so long, many recipes for light and fluffy pastries require butter or buttermilk. Don't fret vegan crew; there are plenty of vegan butters out there, and buttermilk is just poppycock for '1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to every 1/2 cup of your favorite type of milk substitute' (example: if a recipe needs 1/2c buttermilk, add a teaspoon on vinegar into 1/2 cup almond milk).
GF recipes also require hotter temperatures. Wheat flour bread recipes usually cook in about 30 minutes at 325 degrees F, but a GF version requires 60 minutes baking at 375 degrees F + 10 minutes resting in the hot loaf pan before cooling. Thankfully, this extra time baking isn't really 'extra' because GF recipes don't usually require you to knead the dough or let it rest for several minutes before baking, unlike wheat breads.
The good part about GF baking is since there is no gluten to be 'activated' or 'stretched' into the dough by kneading, you can stir the heck out of your batter. So basically when you're used to gently folding a cake batter X amount of strokes, the recipe is making sure you don't activate the gluten in the wheat flour. By activating the gluten the cake would become dense and hard like bread.
How do you substitute GF flour for regular flour?
I'm mostly sticking to pre packaged flour blends that you add your other ingredients to, just because I'm not as great at baking GF as this blogger quite yet. There are a few blog posts I found that explain differences in the types of GF flour textures, appearance, taste, and protein/starch content so you can figure out which one(s) would work best in a recipe.
I've found that you don't just substitute one type of GF flour for wheat flour in a recipe. For example, you really can't just take a cupcake recipe and substitute refined white flour for teff or coconut flour. You need a blend of light flours and 'stickier' flours like tapioca or xanthin gum to bind them all together. It all depends on what you're baking.
There are some GF '1 to 1' or 'cup for cup' flour blends that are made to substitute your regular wheat baking flour with the sane amount of the GF version. These come in handy! But just remember, the time it takes to bake the GF version will probably be longer than the gluten recipe. And you almost always need some kind of egg substitute.
Isn't GF really expensive?
It certainly can be. Just like how being vegan can be expensive; if you buy tons of pre-packaged meals, meat substitutes, fancy egg replacer elixirs, and imported specialty chocolates. GF diets can be satisfying with cheap food staples like rices, grains, vegetables, fruits, and starches. Many of these are super inexpensive. Then when you master GF baking, you'll know what flours to buy in bulk to make your own, relatively cheap, breads and stuff. That might be the most expensive part about eating GF, other than eating out at restaurants who charge double for GF options.
To make one loaf of my favorite GF vegan bread, it cost about $4.75, plus about $2 for a box of silken tofu (I only used 1/2 a box, so $1 really) to make the 'eggs' for it. $7 for a whole loaf isn't bad. It can last you a while if you vary your diet!
GF flours can go bad quickly- so I've read- but you can preserve the flour and your baked goods by wrapping them in ziplock bags, wrapping those in a plastic grocery bag, then tucking them into your freezer.