Posana’s Fried Chicken
with Sausage Gravy
Gluten free: Necessity or choice?
Avoiding gluten can
have positive and
By Marijke Vroomen Durning
“GLUTEN FREE.” You might have noticed
this phrase popping up in grocery stores and
on restaurant menus, but what does it mean?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as
wheat, rye and barley. It’s an ingredient in
bread, pasta and baked goods, and is even
included in products that may surprise you,
such as some medications and candy.
they are more likely to be eating better overall.
They avoid breads, pastas, cakes and cookies,
for example. “They’re eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes and other lower-fat products,” Case says. “They’re reducing calories
and replacing them with more nutrient-dense
foods. That’s the main reason why they’re losing weight.”
Gluten free by necessity
For most of us, gluten is harmless, but it is
poison for people with celiac disease. They
can’t have any gluten at all because it damages
the lining of their small intestine, says registered dietitian Shelley Case, author of
Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide
(Case Nutrition Consulting Inc., 2010; not
available at Costco). Even the tiniest bit can
cause harm. The lining absorbs fewer nutrients as it is destroyed, causing malnutrition
and other complications, such as osteoporosis
A second group of people, those with
non-celiac gluten sensitivity, can’t consume
gluten either. While they don’t develop intestinal damage, gluten may cause them to suffer
from symptoms such as abdominal pain,
bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation.
Be careful if avoiding gluten
People who avoid gluten must be aware
that they may not get enough fiber and nutrients from their diet, Case warns. “Many gluten-free products are made with refined white
rice flour and starches, which are not only low
in fiber but [low] in iron and B vitamins.” She
also warns that if people replace their favorite
cookies or cakes with gluten-free products,
they may see their weight go up instead of
down. This is because of the extra fat and
sugar that must be used to get the desired taste
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup white rice flour
½ cup corn flour
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
Place all ingredients in a bowl, mix
thoroughly and set aside.
¼ cup white rice flour
1 teaspoon potato starch
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ pound raw breakfast sausage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix together white rice flour, potato starch and
cornstarch, and set aside. Cook sausage in a
medium saucepan, breaking it into smaller
pieces while cooking. Add butter. When melted,
add rice flour mixture and stir. When completely
smooth, add milk and reduce heat to medium.
Let mixture thicken, stirring occasionally, and
season with salt and pepper to taste.
The gluten-free choice
There is a third group of people who avoid
gluten: those who believe that a gluten-free diet
is a healthier diet and a way to lose weight.
It’s true that many people drop some
pounds when they go gluten free, Case says,
but it’s not necessarily because they eliminated
the gluten. “There is no scientific evidence to
show that going gluten free will cause you to
lose weight,” she explains. What happens is
that when people follow a gluten-free diet,
Enjoying gluten-free foods
Some people who must go gluten free are
sad that they may have to forgo old favorites and
flavorful foods, says executive chef Peter Pollay,
owner of Posana Cafe, a gluten-free restaurant
in Asheville, North Carolina. Pollay’s wife was
diagnosed with celiac disease eight years ago,
and he has been cooking gluten free personally
and professionally ever since.
While people on a gluten-free diet may
have to give up some foods, there are ways
around their limitations, Pollay says. For
example, he developed a fried chicken and
gravy recipe that is both delicious and gluten
free. And as for taste, “If you think something
doesn’t taste as good, a very easy way to bring
out the flavor of everything is just using fresh
herbs,” he suggests.
Whether you are gluten free by necessity
or choice, finding the right combinations of
safe foods and good flavors may be challenging, but it can be done. C
Marijke Vroomen Durning is a health writer
and registered nurse in Montreal, Quebec.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 ounces buttermilk
4 ounces canola oil
Soak chicken breasts in the buttermilk in a bowl.
Add oil to a cast-iron skillet or sauté pan and
heat on medium-high. When oil is hot, remove
chicken from buttermilk and let excess drip off.
Place chicken in the flour mixture to thoroughly
coat. Gently place breaded chicken in pan and
cook until golden brown. Turn to other side. When
second side is golden brown, remove chicken
and place on rack. Serves 4.
Tip: If chicken breasts are thick, place in a
375 F oven for 7 minutes to finish cooking.