I had just finished delivering a Purim mishloach manot (gift basket) containing homemade hamantashen when my doctor called and said the dreaded words, “Merav, you have Celiac disease.” That was five years ago, and my diet has changed dramatically since then.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects about one in 133 Americans. It causes an immune reaction to gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. This means that a person with Celiac disease cannot eat flour, bread, baked goods, pasta, certain sauces, dressings and gravies and many other foods. A single breadcrumb can trigger a reaction in a person with Celiac disease and can lead to permanent damage to the small intestine.

Oats are often also considered off-limits for Celiacs because they are often prone to cross-contamination with wheat, whether they are grown and harvested alongside each other or processed and packaged together.

These days, Celiacs like me are not the only ones shying away from gluten. Many people have found that they are allergic or intolerant to gluten or simply feel better when they eat less of it. In the nearly five years since my own diagnosis, the awareness and the number of specialty products and restaurants catering to a gluten-free diet have increased exponentially.

Despite this, how does one balance Jewish food traditions with a gluten-free diet, when, for example, challah appears every week at the Shabbat table, and the holiday that would appear to be most gluten-free-friendly—Passover—relies, in fact, on a cracker made from nothing more than wheat flour and water? How can you preserve family traditions and holiday celebrations when you can’t have—or serve—your grandma’s noodle kugel?

The gluten-free diet certainly involves some compromises, sacrifices and developing of new traditions, but it doesn’t have to mean giving up all traditions! Some examples of delicious gluten-free and adaptable recipes are listed with this article. Many more can be found on our JFE Recipe Collection where you can search by “gluten-free.”

If you’re interested in learning about the diet and about maintaining and creating new Jewish traditions within its parameters, join me for the Jewish Study Center’s “Jewish Cooking: Gluten-free and Still Delicious!” The class will be held on Tuesday, October 8, 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, 1181 R Street, NW, two blocks from the Dupont Circle metro.

Not gluten-free yourself? In the class, we’ll talk about accommodating family members and guests who are. And, of course, we’ll sample a gluten-free treat! Please register for the class here ($15 for JSC, JWV and NMAJMH members and $20 for non-members includes refreshments and sample). I look forward to going against the grain together.