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Hy-Vee Dietitian

If you're planning a special meal for Mom or a graduation party, some simple changes to your recipes will make sure your gluten-free guests can eat more than the veggies on the relish tray. Johnson Avenue Hy-Vee dietitian, Judy Fitzgibbons, recommends using Hy-Vee's spring Season's magazine for inspiration and HealthMarket departments' wide variety of gluten-free foods to make your special, gluten-free guests know they're loved, too.

Gluten is the protein in wheat that allows traditional baked goods, like bread, rise and hold their shape. It is also in barley and rye. About one percent of Americans must totally avoid gluten because they have celiac disease, a condition in which gluten damages the lining of the gut and other organs. Around six to eight percent react to gluten with celiac-like symptoms, without organ damage, but still feel miserable. This is called gluten-sensitivity. In a wheat allergy, the body releases histamines causing an allergic reaction.

Fitzgibbons says that people who suspect they are reacting to gluten must be tested for celiac disease before going on a gluten-free diet. Current tests rely on measuring how much the body is reacting to gluten. Eating gluten-free before testing removes the measure. "Knowing whether or not you need to completely avoid gluten to prevent organ damage or if you can tolerate some gluten without hurting yourself is vital knowledge," says Fitzgibbons. The first pass is a simple blood test.

Check your mail for or pick up a copy of the Spring 2013 Seasons magazine at Hy-Vee for these beautiful and delicious recipes that can very easily be made gluten-free:

From the cover and on page 10: Strawberry, Goat Cheese and Arugula Sandwiches
Use Kinnikinnick gluten-free English muffins.

Cake for One-amazing cupcakes page 20: Make cupcakes from King Arthur's gluten-free chocolate or yellow cake mix. Bake in cupcake papers to avoid cross-contamination. Make any of the frostings and fillings on pages 20 and 21. Or use Betty Crockery or Pillsbury ready-to-use frostings. Look for "gluten free" on their labels.

Grilled Berry Pizza page 34: Instead of pizza crust mix, water and flour, purchase a Udi's pre-made frozen gluten-free pizza crust. Put foil on the grill instead placing the crust directly on the grate, especially if you toast bread on it.

Spinach and Onion Quiche page 72: A classic recipe for a Mom's Day brunch. Omit the crust and just serve the filling. It is pretty by itself. Or use Wholly Wholesome gluten-free frozen pie crust.

Final note: as you're preparing gluten-free foods, be sure to start with all utensils very clean and be careful not to cross-contaminate with knives or cutting boards. If you have questions about preparing gluten-free foods for guests, contact your favorite Hy-Vee store's dietitian.

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