… A Book Review!
I love being able to share gluten-free and/or dairy-free resources with you that I think … am confident … will benefit your lifestyle and needs. When I can introduce you to a book that will accommodate both of these dietary requirements, I’m thrilled!
Today, I’m Thrilled! Yes, that’s meant to be a capital “T”. I’ve been reviewing a new book, Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free – A Whole Food Starter Guide & Cookbook, written by Alisa Fleming and Hallie Klecker. Perhaps you are already familiar with these two great people. They are strong contributors to the gluten-free and dairy-free community (Yes, I see these communities as one entity)! Among just a few of the ways in which they share their wealth of knowledge, Alisa and Hallie have individually written cookbooks prior to co-authoring this one, and each has a flourishing website, GoDairyFree.org and DailyBitesBlog.com, respectively. If either one is new to you, you’ll want to get to know her better.
With their new book in hand (rather, on my computer because it is available in e-book format), I went to task at learning all this book has to offer. Here are my notes …
- Great explanations of what “dairy” is and is not, the difference between milk protein and milk sugar, milk allergy and lactose intolerance.
- Clearly explains gluten, and the difference between wheat gluten vs rice and corn gluten. A very understandable read.
- Shares how to keep the number of “gluten-free” ingredients “real” by not purchasing items that can readily be made at home as needed, such as gluten-free flours you can grind yourself. This is beneficial because as they state, you “avoid filling up your cupboards with dozens of gluten-free flours.” I really like this point because in the beginning of the gluten-free journey, it is hard to know what you will and won’t use regularly so, to be best prepared, you potentially buy a little bit of a lot of things. (I speak from experience.)
- Includes easy reference lists to “definite” foods, “potential and rare” foods, and “surprisingly free” foods for both dairy and gluten ingredients and food sources. This section is a great, easy reference list showing clearly what is and isn’t safe, and the items that you’ll need to further research for a particular brand, etc.
- Positive, healthy attitude of focusing on what we can eat, rather than what we can’t!
- They’ve included a complete shopping list to “get you started with the recipes and suggestions in this book”. This is a very good list! Wish I’d had it when I first started out!
- Note: A couple of the items listed in the shopping guide would need to be researched whether a particular brand is gluten free or not, such as maple syrup. Provided you buy pure maple syrup (which is what I think Alisa and Hallie would recommend), you’d be fine. Should you buy one of the popular brands that are not pure, you’d need to check the ingredients or with the manufacturer, just to be safe. If the reader takes the time to read the entire book, this would be understood, but for use as a quick-reference guide and just flipping through the shopping list, particularly for those new to a gf/df lifestyle, this may not be as clear.
- They clearly share that spices can include a gluten-containing anti-caking agent. I LOVE that they include this, as many people don’t even think about spices being of concern.
- Thank you, Alisa and Hallie for including non-food items we use regularly that can potentially have dairy and gluten in them. These things, especially for those new to this lifestyle, can be easily overlooked.
- Nice pointers on how to handle dining out situations, such as establishing good communication with your server, being creative with meal suggestions, and keeping a positive attitude.
- The Ingredients Primer is a very helpful section that gives needed insights to useful ingredients that will surely become everyday pantry items. Their explanations of when to incorporate some of these items (such as certain flours), and how they will behave and taste in your recipes, can even shed light to some folks who have been living this lifestyle for years … (me, for example). Some brand suggestions are even included for certain items, which can be extremely helpful (since someone has already done the taste-testing and recipe-testing for you). Gentle but all-important reminders of how and where cross-contamination can occur also come as welcome knowledge.
- The Menu Plans and Recipes section is awesome! Wow, five different seven-day meal plans are included to get you well on your way to feeling healthy, smart, and not deprived in your new gluten-free/dairy-free world. LOVE THIS! They’ve set these menus up with a seasonal approach, making the most out of the whole foods that keep us well fed, deliver the freshest flavors of the season, and are most easily accessible and affordable. They’ve even put together a vegetarian/vegan meal plan. Good stuff! Okay, my mouth is watering while I read through these delicious recipes!
- One of the recipes I’ve got to try is the Berry Bliss Breakfast Parfaits. Oh, that sounds delicious for a healthful morning starter. Sounds so good, it might even feel like cheating.
- Another must-try recipe is the Weeknight Chicken and Vegetable Chili. I love how many varieties of vegetables are used, including sweet potato and green beans (two of my favorites), and the additional protein and fiber from the beans. Quick, easy and delicious!
- This section includes over 75 original recipes that are 100% gluten-free and dairy-free, and are made from whole food. Yay, the pre-packaged foods are not so needed any longer. Nice work, you guys!
I hope you’ve found inspiration in my notes to peruse this starter guide and cookbook for yourself, or perhaps to give as a gift to someone who’s just getting started.
To easily acquire your own copy of Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free – The Whole Food Starter Guide & Cookbook, click here. Alisa and Hallie’s book is in Kindle format, but you don’t need to have a Kindle to purchase/read Kindle ebooks. To get a copy and read it on your PC or Mac, simply click on this link, then look on the right hand side of the page just above the “Give as a Gift” button. There is a link for “Available on your PC.” You can click on it and it takes you right to a download that makes this possible. (It’s very easy, you just have to know where to look.)
Have you read this book yet? What did you find most helpful … or delicious? We’d love to hear from you in the Comments section below!
Disclosure: While I was provided with a copy of this book by the authors, the review and comments are solely my own.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™
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