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Kristine Xu is a journalism freshman and Mustang News food columnist.
After coming to college, I was suddenly exposed to a wide range of gluten-free food options for an allergy I had no idea affected such a large population. Whether grabbing a plate at 19 Metro Station or grocery shopping at Campus Market, gluten-free foods can be found in abundance across campus.
Celiac disease is a genetic disorder that affects one out of 133 Americans, causing the small intestine to become painfully inflamed and preventing the consumption of wheat, barley and rye-based products. These grains can be found in breads, baked goods, pasta, pizza, cereals, desserts and even beer.
This diet is the most common method of treating celiac disease, but is also becoming a popular diet in modern society. However, there is no conclusive evidence that supports any added health benefits to avoiding gluten. Only individuals who are severely allergic should practice a gluten-free diet.
Fortunately, for those who are allergic, there are still many healthy and naturally gluten-free foods, including:
- Raw beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
- Fresh organic eggs
- Fresh protein, including raw meats, fish and poultry
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products, including milk, yogurt and cheese
Besides those delicious options, grocery stores are now stocking more options, such as gluten-free breads and pastas. Whether you are sensitive to gluten or just trying out a gluten-free diet, here are some recipes for easy to make gluten-free foods.
Baked sweet potato sticks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 8 sweet potatoes cut lengthwise into strips
- Before preheating the oven to 400 F, grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or vegetable oil to prevent sticking.
- Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Coat each potato stick with an even coat of the mixture and place on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 40 minutes and wait to cool down before eating.
Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs or corn flour
- Any combination of spices, such as garlic powder, salt, oregano or dried onions
- 1 egg
- Dash of water
- Preheat the oven to 350 F before separating chicken into thin strips.
- Combine wet ingredients of egg and water into a bowl.
- Combine dry ingredients of gluten-free breadcrumbs or corn flour and spices.
- Coat chicken pieces in the wet mixture before layering with the crumb and spice mixture.
- Place into a greased back-safe glass container and spray both sides with a layer of non-stick spray to produce a crispy outside.
- Bake for 15-30 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked through. Check if meat is cooked by cutting open to check for pink meat.
- Place on cooling rack before enjoying.