Is this a strictly gluten free blog?

I would like to think this is a blog for everybody, whether you eat gluten or not. But yes, all of the food here is gluten free. I can’t eat gluten, so all of my recipes are safe for gluten free eaters, but in the vast majority of recipes you’re not going to find ingredients that are specific to gluten free eaters since most foods are naturally gluten free. If we’re making Fettuccini Alfredo, the sauce is gluten free all on it’s own, and you can just use regular pasta if you’re not gluten free.

Are your recipes tested before they’re posted?

Yes! Usually multiple times. This is the stuff I eat at home, so if it’s on the blog, that’s because I think it’s good enough to share, and I am confident that it will turn out well for you, too.

You mention a lot of brands, is that because your being sponsored or getting free products?

If I’m ever being sponsored in any way, I will disclose that right up front. I mention product brand names because not all food products are created equal – especially when they’re gluten free. Telling you the brand of GF flour I used could be the difference between a great recipe or a total fail. I will also mention brands and product names if they are generally hard to find gluten free to make it easier for you!

A recipe calls for gluten free flour, but I don’t need to eat gluten free. Can I substitute regular all purpose flour?

Maybe! But I can’t promise that it will turn out. I can’t eat any gluten, so I can’t test recipes that contain gluten. Some recipes will provide non-gluten free alternatives in the notes that I know work, because I made them with all purpose flour before I had a problem with eating gluten. But if I don’t know that it works, I’m not going to tell you to do it. That being said, if I’m just calling for generic “gluten free flour” in a small amount, your results may look different with all purpose flour, but will likely work. However, if I call for something like “almond flour”, you can’t substitute it with all purpose flour.

I’m new to gluten free and I have no idea what to do or what I can eat! HELP ME?!?!

I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, but I would love to help you in any way I can! You can email me, or comment on a recipe, or find me on Instagram (@sizzlingmessblog) and Facebook and I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions. I do my best on each recipe to give you all the information you’ll need to successfully make it with gluten free ingredients, but I can’t cover everything, so just give me a shout if you need help!

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and derivatives of those products. Specifically, it’s the protein that makes those grains “sticky”. When you are baking, you might hear about “gluten production”. Things like muffins are minimally worked so that they have low gluten production and are tender, whereas things like pizza dough are kneaded to create better gluten production and give them that “chew” that makes it so great! Oats are often listed as not being gluten free as well – this is because the growing and manufacturing processes for them mean that they’re frequently contaminated by wheat and therefore not really gluten free – but oats all by their lonesome are gluten free.

Do you have Celiac Disease or is this a fad diet?

Yes, I have Celiac Disease.

Do you ever “cheat” and eat bread?

No. Please see the question below this one.

What happens if you eat gluten?

Death! Destruction! Blood and guts everywhere! No, I’m kidding. Kind of. I get very sick from even tiny amounts of gluten (it damages my small intestine), and without getting too graphic, it’s basically like having food poisoning that doesn’t fully go away for a couple of months until my intestines heal.

Aren’t those grains that contain gluten pretty easy to avoid? Just don’t eat bread and you’ll be fine, right?

You’d think! I thought that at one time. If you make a lot of your own foods, they actually are pretty easy to avoid once you get the hang of it.

The problem is everything you didn’t make in your own kitchen. Any products containing wheat are required to have an allergy warning on the label, but that’s not the case for barley and rye. What makes it even more difficult is that barley and rye are sometimes used as part of proprietary recipes for flavor, and so, while not incredibly common, the label might just say “Natural Flavors” and not be gluten free. There are LOTS of food companies that explicitly disclose all gluten containing grains on the label, but there are lots of them that don’t.

There is also concern about cross contamination. Just because a product doesn’t say it’s gluten free, doesn’t mean that it’s not. But if wheat products are made in the same facility or on shared lines there is some concern for contamination. You can often find more information on a company’s website about their production process and gluten containing ingredients than you can on a label.

The most concerning thing for me is cross contamination in restaurants or at other people’s houses. Something that a lot of people don’t realize is that people with Celiac Disease can’t even eat fries that were fried in the same oil as something breaded! It’s really that serious. If a crouton accidentally makes it into my salad and I don’t notice until I get to the bottom (this has actually happened to me before), it’s not just “not feeling well”, it’s being being sick every day for weeks. Over one crouton that I didn’t eve eat, it only touched the food I ate.

So, if you know someone with Celiac Disease, please promise me that you’ll be nice to them about it. We wish we could try the cookies you brought to work, but “just one bite” really might kill us. We love you and your cookies, but we also love not being sick. You’d be surprised how many people tell us it’s not a real illness and that we can eat “just a little” gluten and be fine.

Are you one of those people who thinks everyone should eat gluten free?

Absolutely not! If you don’t have a medical reason to not eat gluten, then by all means, you have my blessing to stuff your face with pizza crust, roll around in breadsticks, and sleep on a bed of doughnuts. But talk to your doctor, because I’m not a medical expert and I’m not sure that sleeping on a bed of doughnuts is good for your skin.

How do you feel about people who don’t eat gluten as a fad diet?

I’m glad they exist because it means that I have more options at restaurants and grocery stores, and that more people know WHAT gluten is. Just because someone doesn’t have Celiac Disease doesn’t mean they feel great when they eat gluten. What a person eats is their own decision, and I’m here to support them regardless.