Friday, January 21, 2011

Beware: Places You Might Not Expect to Find Gluten



Julia Child's signature 'beef bourguignon' is braised in
wheat flour
I ran across this interesting piece in the Huffington Post (as previously posted by The Daily Meal)-- a slideshow thumbnailing (is that a word?)different places where you might not expect to find glutens, but where you will.  Some of the places might surprise you, or not.  We are becoming quite savvy around how substances are 'snuck' into our food (i.e., MSG, dairy, peanuts, sugar) bit it is always good to know just a little more isn't it?


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Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns. I am also an affiliate for many of the products promoted on this site meaning that I get a commission if you click and purchase. Thank you for supporting my continued ability to provide information through this website.

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Gluten-Free Bumbleberry-Apple Crisp



We have another Church potluck on the weekend and tomorrow (Friday) we're off to do something else, so I am making up a few things tonight.  This Bumbleberry -Apple Crisp turns out to be a bit of a dessert hit with a couple of the single guys.  It's easy to make, and it uses up some of the excess of frozen blackberries in the freezer (yes, we are blessed with an excess due to having gone hog-wild in the berry patch this past summer-- love it!), and everyone I know of can eat it.  You can use any combination of berries you want (that is why they are classed as "bumbleberries").  The chopped apples provide pectin that gives it a nice gentle binding.  You can always add a little skiff of tapioca inside the fruit as you lay it down as well. (old prairie woman secret).

Be sure to look for "gluten-free" on your oats package.  Many oats are grown, harvested, cleaned, or processed in close proximity to wheat and this "cross contamination" is  very problematic for anyone with more than a mild gluten sensitivity.  This oat farm-mill company is run by a family with Celiac disease and looks like a safe, healthy source of oats. (you can see their video below this recipe).

Ingredients:


2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 cup fresh Apples, chopped
8 tablespoons organic cane sugar
3 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour (I grind up oats in the Vitamix)
3 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 cups packed organic brown sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups extra virgin coconut oil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, gently toss together berries and organic cane sugar; set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  
  • Cut in extra virgin coconut oil until crumbly. 
  • Press a quarter of mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan and about 1/2 in a couple of smaller pans. (You can cut the recipe in half to make just one large pan of the crisp- I like to bake several things in one go and freeze the extra for another time.)  
  • Cover with berries. 
  • Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

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  Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns. I am also an affiliate for many of the products promoted on this site meaning that I get a commission if you click and purchase. Thank you for supporting my continued ability to provide information through this website.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Haystacks-- A Quick Gluten-Free Meal



This is an Indian styled Haystack Salad courtesy Wikipedia
When I became a Seventh-day Adventist I was introduced to "keeping the Sabbath", the wonderful Biblical truths around Heaven and the "state of the dead", and a fast, delicious salad called "Haystacks".  It's a sort of vegetarian taco or Mexican salad, so you know it's comfort food.  And it can certainly be quickly made to be a gluten-free meal.

There are lots of ways to put the haystacks together, but my personal favourite combination goes something like this:

  • Place a handful or two of fresh organic corn chips(fresh as in out of an unopened bag) on your plate.  Some like to crush them first... I like to use mine as scoops, so I keep them complete. (Alternately, as in photo, use rice)
  • Pile on a chosen quanitity of grated cheese (dairy or soy)
  • Cover cheese with piping hot (oven-baked) beans or lentils 
  • Add other layers consisting of lettuce, sliced black olives, snips of green onion, sweet pepper strips, sprouts, diced tomato, finely-chopped celery, chopped cucumber, corn niblets, etc.
  • I've seen cooked rice or quinoa used in a layer just under or over the beans, perhaps instead of chips
  • Top with a couple of scoops of sour cream, salsa (your hotness), and maybe a cherry tomato on top...
  • It strikes me (although I've never seen it done) that fine-chopped fresh cabbage would be a more authentic choice than lettuce
We have a haystacks potluck this coming weekend at our Church.  People just bring 'toppings' of choice and everyone makes their own haystack as they go through the line-up.  It's a quick, easy, delicious, fun meal!


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  Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns. I am also an affiliate for many of the products promoted on this site meaning that I get a commission if you click and purchase. Thank you for supporting my continued ability to provide information through this website.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Healthy Yummy Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Cheese



You know that I am experimenting with healthy 'cultured foods', most recently with gluten-free sourdough.  This came in yesterday from Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, one of the online alternative 'doctors' I really enjoy following:  

Wow. What a day. Did you ever have one of those days when you intended to get a whole lot done and found yourself hours later still working on something you started early in the morning?

I started to send an email letting you know that our Raw Dairy Free Cheese class was filling up and early registration pricing was expiring at midnight Friday.

Then Karen send me the gorgeous, mouth watering photos of the cheeses we'll be making, so I decided to share them. I started a blog post so I could post the photos, and ran into some snaggles. Then one thing lead to another and here I am, at the end of the day and the blog post isn't finished.

There are only a couple of photos there as I write this, and all of them may already be there by the time you read this. If not, check back in an hour or two.

http://drritamarie.com/blog/?p=3135

I've extended the early pricing until Saturday night since I was so tardy about the reminder.

I'm looking forward to learning a thing or two myself, as Karen is a master cheese maker. The cheeses she made me for Christmas were so delicious.

Here's the signup link. You can watch on webcast or get the videos if you live far away.

http://drritamarie.com/videoclasses/cheesenodairy2011-01

I have a few other things to share and will do so over the weekend. One is the screening I attended of a new feature length film about the effects of diet on the course of disease. I have some video clips to post to my blog and have a lot to say about the impact I believe this film will have on healthcare in the US.

There's more too. Stay tuned for additional life-enhancing tips and resources.

I'm off to my son's basketball game.

Enjoy the weekend.

With Love and gratitude,

Dr. Ritamarie

P.S. These cheeses are not only a delight for your taste buds, they are healing to your digestion, too. They contain high levels of probiotics, which enhance your digestion and support your immune system. We've deliberately kept the cost super low so you can benefit without a big investment. Whether you attend live or on webcast, you'll get lifelong access to a private members page that contains all the videos. That way you can watch a recipe and make it with very little time investment, too.

http://drritamarie.com/videoclasses/cheesenodairy2011-01
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  Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.  I am also an affiliate for many of the products promoted on this site meaning that I get a commission if you click and purchase.  Thank you for supporting my continued ability to provide information through this website.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

GF Taco Shells or Pizza Crust (Raw- Dehydrated)


Besides being gluten-free, this recipe for taco shells or pizza crust is "raw" or "living" meaning that it will not be heated above 110 degrees and therefore the natural digestive enzymes in the whole foods that are used to make the crust or shell are still in place (not destroyed by heat)-- to serve you with great nutritional benefits and digestion!  *be sure you are not allergic to corn before beginning-- corn, unfortunately, is one of those chief allergens.

You will need a way to dehydrate this crust/shell.  Some people have success in their convection ovens, and those who have hot prevailing temperatures outdoors could  put the crust in an outdoor dehydrator or just in the sun itself.  It will take much longer, likely, but you could also eat it without its being completely dried I suppose.  I personally love my Excalibur dehydrator with its nine trays and hundreds of hours of service to me (I've paid for it over and over just by the money I've saved in drying food that I would pay an arm and a leg for at the health food store).

So, here is this simple recipe, an adaptation of one of Annette Larkins in her useful little book called "Journey to Health2".Journey To Health 2


Ingredients:


10 Cobs Fresh Corn
1 T. Raw Honey
Husk the corn, wash it off, and remove the kernels from the cobs.  Add the corn and the honey to your Vitamix canister (or other strong blenders should work).  Using the dehydrator sheets, or parchment paper, pour 6 individual circles of blended corn/honey onto 6 separate sheets/trays.  Dehydrate for 24 hours at 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  Dry for five hours more after peeling from the paper and turning the pizza/taco over.  Fold for taco shells.

Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: Kelp Noodles (Gluten Free of course)


So, I have heard a lot about kelp noodles from my raw vegan contacts. What comes to mind? Well, frankly, some sort of rubbery unpleasant tasting stringy things-- that I would eat uncooked-- with some sort of raw tomato sauce.

In the heat of the summer this might play out in an appetizing fantasy-- I could go harvesting in my little herb patches, grab a sunkissed tomato or two, eat on the balcony with a glimpse of the ocean through the trees.

Anyhow, I did buy some said kelp noodles out of the sales cooler at our local raw restaurant/juice bar (and was amazed to find that they have expanded to offer hot vegetable soup and some other non-raw items on their menu.) They look more like your standard angelhair (white rice) noodles in the bag, but they are soft to the clutch. They were fairly pricey, but I generally rationalize that part of it if the food is nutritious (and trendy?).

They lived in the fridge for a few weeks. I had thought that we would eat them over Christmas when my pasta-loving son was here, but he didn't stay long enough, or maybe I wasn't very well organized, or perhaps there was too many competing dishes on the holiday menu. In any case, there they were today, kind of calling out that they needed to be eaten.

I removed them from the bag, these shiny, diaphanous strands. The package instructed that the noodles be soaked in water before using so I filled a bowl up with water. Rather wisely (I discovered) I used only half the package, because like all pasta, these noodles expand in size.

There were a couple of Asian recipes on the back but not having wheat-free Tamari sauce, I decided to go more Mediterranean vegan. I stir-fried onions and cauliflower along with garlic, rosemary (I so love going out to clip rosemary from the shrub in the snowbank haha) and Celtic Sea Salt. I added water to steam them a bit, and then the remnants of a jar of organic spaghetti sauce. At the end I drained the water off the noodles and added them to the pan. I tried a noodle bit as I put it in-- a little crunchy. In a few minutes they were these long silky soft strands. I mixed everything together, gave it some twists of lemon, and ate. (My hubby ate too-- he gave them the double thumbs-up as well).

How were the Kelp Noodles?

As I said above, the noodles were silky soft (but not creepily so) and had a very nice mouth appeal... sort of like well-cooked brown rice spaghetti (which I also like a lot) but softer or maybe smoother with no teeth-fur after-effects. They blended very nicely with the other items, vegetables and spices, and I felt virtuous eating them because of all the sea minerals, (read: support to thyroid) that I know reside in them. I know that they are even healthier eaten in salad in their raw form and I will get to that... maybe in the summer. I believe that most pasta-holics would agree that they are a delightful alternative to wheat pasta, and I suspect that kids would love them.
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Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Review: Silver Hills Gluten-Free Chia Bread



Just after Christmas my husband, Ed, and I went through a period of bread-craving, and the subsequent attempt to find a fix among all the pseudo (gluten-free) breads on the market.  We have stocked up with gluten-free waffles because, frankly, they are more satisfying than most of the GF breads out there, until.....

along came Silver Hills Chia (Chia) Bread (called Wheat-free Chia Bread in some places).

We have been using chia gel for a couple of years-- in smoothies, in dehydrated cracker recipes, as a 'raw pudding' with fruit, etc.  So when we ran across the chia chia bread in the freezer at the local health food store (Edible Island in Courtenay, BC, the best of best whole food stores I've ever met) we feverishly pulled it out and tore home with it, to toast it up.

It's not advertised as "Gluten-Free" even though the only (gluten-free) ingredients are: Water, Organic Whole Sorghum, Organic Cane Sugar, Whole Ground Chia Seed, Organic Whole Psyllium Husks, Yeast, and Sea Salt.  The caveat, and what keeps it from having GF-status I guess, is the statement "Potential allergens on premises are tree nuts, soy, sesame seeds, wheat and gluten."  Oops.

I'm pretty sure that I don't have the sort of sensitivity that would be affected by the mere near-proximity of wheat flour, or even a dusting of it.

What did we think of the Chia Chia Bread?
It has truly earned the descriptor of "BREAD"... it is just slightly spongy (that must be the chia seeds) and has a pleasant nutty taste.  That white rice sawdusty quality was happily missing.  And it is "Very High Fibre" (6 g of fibre per slice)...The slices are smaller than a regular slice (maybe about 7/8 the size) but the taste and mouth-quality are so high.  I like to toast it and sprinkle with stevia and cinnamon (or, more decadently, stevia and cinnamon and extra virgin coconut oil made into a spread).  I recommend you splurge (these 'healthy' breads are pricey!) and get yourself some.
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Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.

Day 5- Start the Boosted Rice Starter for Gluten-Free Sourdough



So, today I separated the fruit out of the kefir starter and added it to my mixture of brown basmati rice flour and and water.  I covered it with a paper towel anchored with an elastic band and left it on the counter, feeding it again at around 9pm (8-12 hours, 2-3X a day for 4 days).  I have to say, the kitchen smells marvellous!  You know how basmati rice smells, right?  Well, this is that particular pleasant fragrance, but more pervasive in a sort of mellower way-- (yeah, I know, doesn't make any sense).  I will likely make pancakes out of this first go since pancakes are a good way to learn about the texture and other things, according to Sharon A. Kane who wrote The Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking (now in hard copy, available at her site).  It is nice to know that I am actually making the pancake batter right now-- that there are no complicated steps, just feeding the stuff everyday with rice flour and water.  After the starter is established it is a much quicker process.
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Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.
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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kefir Starter for Gluten-Free Sourdough

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the rather pretty little kefir starter
Quite a long time ago someone in our family ordered the ebook "The Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking" by Sharon A. Kane.  It must have gotten piled under hundreds of other useful email announcements.  It surfaced last week.  I printed it out and am finally getting around to reading it and starting the starter.

A couple of years ago we visited our son who when he was living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.  He and his roommates were joyously creating everything you can imagine from experimental sourdough: bread, pizza crust, even pie crust I think.  One level of their fridge was full of mason jars with various levels and colors of sourdough starter.  The counter always had a skiff of flour on it.  Wheat flour, of course.  Organic, but wheat flour nonetheless.  And this was ironic since the family he lived with had a history of celiac disease, at least one member with a full-blown example of it.  So my son began to take what he knew of sourdough and what he knew of the 'flours' available to persons trying to deal creatively with celiac disease and he experimented with gluten-free sourdough recipes, but without much success.

Besides, he moved and the urgency was no longer there.  He just continued to eat wheat sourdough, even though he was becoming convinced that wheat flour left him feeling less than well.  That must have been around the time we (someone) ordered Sharon's ebook.

So, long-long story a little shorter: I hopefully begin reading through this ebook with a great deal of admiration for Sharon's diligence (making the same recipe over and over and over before she is satisfied that is ready to be shared) and her generosity (updating the purchasers of the ebook with her more recent improved recipes and additional recipes to what is in the original ebook).  I get together what I think I need for a 'kefir starter'.  We have no 'water kefir' in our local stores.  I settle for regular dairy kefir from Superstore's "health food" aisle cooler.  She states that if one doesn't have a problem with dairy products, it's okay to use dairy kefir for the 'boosted brown rice starter' that she mostly uses.  I am probably going to look on the Internet for the dairy-free kefir to order because, in fact, my husband and I both have a few issues with dairy (that we occasionally deny).

So, I follow the directions and add the raisins and lemon slice to the full jar of kefir mix. I stir the kefir with a metal fork and feel that I have done something wrong, not sure where I read that you don't mix kefir with metal (my son later assures me that that is okay-- probably you don't stir with metal because the kefir itself is quite acidic and maybe damages the metal utensils?)  Then I set it over on the kitchen counter near the stove, fussing a little each time I check because it is quite cool in the kitchen, and because I am almost sure that the kefir is not working (my past bread-baking experiences have been variable-- mostly poor or non-descript-- I lack confidence).

A beautiful pillow of white foam-- like yogurt-- forms suspended between the top clear fluid and the bottom where the fruit lays lodged.  I watch every day (1 - 4 days) hoping that the fruit makes its way to the top of the jar, apparently the perfect thing to happen with the starter.  Day 4 (I'm thinking of it as Day 3 1/2) and the fruit is still somewhat stuck a the bottom, but there are signs that it is moving upward.  You can see where it looks like a sort of yummy confection in the picture.

I order this from Amazon. You can too.
Tomorrow I shall remove the fruit and move on to the part where I begin feeding the kefir with brown rice flour (which I made myself in my Vitamix from a bag of basmati brown rice that my husband's neice and husband left for us in the summer when they visited-- I'm thrilled at how it turned out.  The woman at the Vitamix site said that over the course of a year making her own rice flour she saved enough to pay for her Vitamix).

Sharon now has her book "The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking" available in hardcopy and you can get it from her site at http://glutenfreesourdough.blogspot.com
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Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Recipe for Gluten-free Psylly Banana-Raisin-Walnut Loaf



The Psyllium plant (Wikipedia)
In this morning's variation ("psylly banana-raisin-walnut") on my two previous loafs (Susan's Fave Banana-Nut Bread and Banana-Cranberry-Walnut) I substitute psyllium seed for flaxseed, and again use 1/2 C. millet flour in place of the original quinoa flour.  I wanted to take a picture, but, alas, my camera's batteries have died yet again.  Who votes that I get a new camera with all the foodie bells and whistles?  What  point-and-shoot digital camera would you recommend?

Psyllium husk is a great binder.  And a source of healing for the gut, a good starting ingredient for people with gluten intolerance.  It can help reduce the symptoms of both constipation and diarrhea.  But when you are taking in psyllium, it is important to also take in sufficient fluids: milled psyllium husk has the potential to attract around 10X its weight in water and expands in a like proportion... as with any dietary fibre, be sure to drink lots of water during the day (although not necessarily at the time you are eating).  Psyllium also does not have any pronounced flavour, which is a real bonus I think.  One simple gluten-free recipe that I have come across that uses psyllium is this recipe for flatbread based on nostalgia for the bread the recipe's creator ate as a child in Lapland.

Please read (or at least scan) through the recipe first.  Check to see what supplies you need and be prepared to do some grinding with a coffee grinder (if you don't have one, it is a handy-dandy kitchen tool).  If you don't have a food processor, poor you (I'm kidding... although I recommend a good one like the Cuisinart-- I got mine for $50 from Craigslist and I'm very happy with it)-- this loaf can be made the traditional way by grouping and hand-processing all the dry items and adding them to the hand-processed wet items... just so much quicker and smoother with a food processor is all.

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (325 degrees for glass pan)
  • Put either a silicon liner into your 8" x 4" loaf pan, or cut parchment paper to fit (no greasing needed in either of these cases-- otherwise, with just a regular loaf pan you may want to grease it up).  I cover the bottom of the pan (on top of the parchment) with 1/4 - 1/2 C. chopped walnuts. 
Put the following into the bowl of your food processor and process until eggs are "beaten" (everything is either a curdly looking mass, or homogeneously smooth):
  • 1/4 C. organic cane sugar (original recipe calls for agave syrup)
  • 1/4 C. liquid extra virgin coconut oil (liquify in advance in bowl over bowl of hot water)
  • 1/4 C. unsweetened applesauce (I ran 2 small organic apples up in my blender in advance)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. organic, alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 1/3 C. mashed ripe bananas
Next I sift together the following and add in to the processor:
  • 1 1/2 C. brown rice flour
  • 1/2 C. organic millet flour (I grind organic millet in my Vitamix)
  • 1/4 C. arrowroot starch
  • 1 T. baking powder
The last ingredients I add to the processor bowl are:
  • 1/4 C. psyllium 
  • 1/2 tsp. celtic sea salt (this is the salt with the 80+ minerals in it)
Process just until smooth.  Remove the lid and spoon into the loaf pan (parchment paper should cover all sides of pan since this recipe does rise beautifully).  As I layer on the batter  I tuck in about 1/2 C. Flame raisins on different layers and put a final layer of batter over top.  Bake for about 1 hour-- test at 50 minutes (with toothpicks) since some ovens "bake faster" than others.  Cool on a wire rack.
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  Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Digestive Enzymes for Gluten-Sensitivity



One of my favourite foodie-medicine people, Kevin Gianni of The Renegade Health Show, ended a New Year post with a list of 7 Things he Learned This Year.  This is a popular topic for his readers and you might want to look at it yourself... just go here. 

Kevin learned that food-- or maybe more explicitly-- the way and what foods one eats really is only a small factor in health. He learned that "you are what you eat" is more accurately stated as "you are what you digest" (or as a colon therapist states it: "You are what you assimilate and do not eliminate").  Kevin went on to state that the high point of his mother's year was her improved digestion because she boosted her stomach's hydrochloric acid and started a regular regimen of digestive enzymes.

My husband is a super online researcher.  He will google and google and when he finds long articles with lots of scientific vocab seeded throughout, he will actually read them!
When he felt that he was not digesting his food well he went on a search for what might be key to turning that situation around.  He had gas, he didn't feel that he rested well at night, and he was more sensitive to certain foods than he had been in a long time (i.e., dairy products and possibly wheat).  We were paying attention to food combining.  We were pretty much what you would call "high raw" (meaning that about 70% of what we ate was fresh, organic, living whole foods-- fruits and vegetables).

What followed all the initial googling was a festival of reading about digestive enzymes.  Ed (my husband) is quite physically active by which I means he bikes, hikes, runs, and marathons.  We started adding digestive enzymes into our life (usually 1 or 2 multi-enzyme caps) whenever we eat a cooked meal.  His digestion improved considerably and he found that he had more endurance, was able to lift significantly more weight (in working out), and cut minutes off his long runs.

Around the same time we began to recognize that wheat pasta, bread and buns and cake, etc., left us feeling heavy, bloated, and without energy.  I began some tenuous movement into cooking more with quinoa and eating less of wheat products, at least at home.  Sometime in the Fall we decided, "this is enough of this" and began to make a true effort to cook and eat gluten-free.  And to take digestive enzymes to aid in digestion.

Very simplistically, this is how digestive enzymes work:
Digestive enzymes break down the complex molecule structures of food so that the body can better absorb the nutrients.

Human digestion takes place mainly in the oral cavity (mouth), stomach, and the small intestine.  Digestive enzymes are secreted by different glands such as salivary glands, secretory cells in the stomach, pancreas and small intestine.

Fresh fruit and vegetables have enzymes intact for this process.  When food is heated above something in the range of 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the digestive enzymes in the food are destroyed.

As we age, some of our body's own enzyme-producing functionality is significantly reduced.  Too, the quality of soil nutrients has diminished so that most fresh fruits and vegetables don't provide the digestive enzymes they did years ago.  And how many people actually consume nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, let alone nine raw ("living") servings that would contain enzymes?

When gluten is ingested by people with Coeliac (celiac) disease, the upper small intestine is damaged and prevents nutrients in food from being properly absorbed.  A recently developed "enzyme cocktail" of enzymes EP-B2 and PEP allow persons with celiac disease to handle some of the "hidden glutens" in their life without the irreversible damage they would ordinarily suffer.  The product Glutenzyme, produced in the UK, is an enzyme protease that has the ability to break down gluten protein.  Although persons with celiac disease are cautioned to take this enzyme formulation as a way to deal with minor "hidden" gluten ingestion, persons who are less gluten sensitive are finding that if this is taken before meals they are able to digest gluten.  Check with your health care professional/health food outlet to see if these are available in your community.

You might also be interested in this interesting article by Rebecca Shannonhouse:  Digestive Enzymes May Be Your Answer to Heartburn, Gluten Intolerance, Flatulence—and Even Arthritis.
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Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Recipe for Gluten-Free Cranberry-Walnut Banana Bread



My foray into gluten-free quick breads with yesterday's Banana Walnut bread was such a delicious coup that today I thought I would do a couple of revisions and put out a Gluten-Free Cranberry-Walnut Banana Bread.

My husband is my biggest fan.  But that is really not terribly significant... he has always happily eaten whatever I put before him (for over forty years)... however, let's just assume that I am a fantastic cook (I said assume-- those of you who have sampled my failures, please remain silent lol).  I enjoyed this loaf as well, and I'm likely one of my strongest critics.

Please read through the recipe first.  Check to see what supplies you need and be prepared to do some grinding with a coffee grinder (if you don't have one, it is a handy-dandy kitchen tool).  If you don't have a food processor, poor you (I'm kidding... although I recommend a good one like the Cuisinart-- I got mine for $50 from Craigslist and I'm very happy with it)-- this loaf can be made the traditional way by grouping and hand-processing all the dry items and adding them to the hand-processed wet items... just so much quicker and smoother with a food processor is all.

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Put either a silicon liner into your 8" x 4" loaf pan, or cut parchment paper to fit (no greasing needed in either of these cases-- otherwise, with just a regular loaf pan you may want to grease it up).  I cover the bottom of the pan (on top of the parchment) with 1/4 C. chopped walnuts and maybe a dozen frozen cranberries

Put the following into the bowl of your food processor and process until eggs are "beaten" (everything is either a curdly looking mass, or homogeneously smooth):


  • 1/4 C. organic cane sugar (original recipe calls for agave syrup)
  • 1/4 C. liquid extra virgin coconut oil (liquify in advance in bowl over bowl of hot water)
  • 1/4 C. unsweetened applesauce (I ran 2 small organic apples up in my blender in advance)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. organic, alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 1/3 C. mashed ripe bananas

Next I sift together the following and add in to the processor:

  • 1 1/2 C. brown rice flour
  • 1/2 C. organic millet flour (I grind organic millet in my Vitamix)
  • 1/4 C. arrowroot starch
  • 1 T. baking powder

The last ingredients I add to the processor bowl are:

  • 1/4 C. ground chiaseed (grind in coffeebean grinder or Vitamix)
  • 1/2 tsp. celtic sea salt (this is the salt with the 80+ minerals in it)

Process until smooth.  Remove the lid and spoon into the loaf pan (parchment paper should cover all sides of pan since this recipe does rise beautifully).  I tucked about another dozen frozen cranberries in and put a final layer of batter over top.  Bake for about 1 hour-- test at 50 minutes (with toothpicks) since some ovens "bake faster" than others.  Cool on a wire rack.
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  Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Susan's Fave Gluten-Free Banana-Nut Bread




Oh, I do love banana-nut bread and this really does taste, and have texture, of the 'real' (meaning with wheat flour) thing.  It's adapted from Susan O'Brien's Gluten-free Sugar Free Cooking (and Dairy-free).

One adaptation I made was to use my trusty Cuisinart food processor for doing everything (I bought it on Craigslist, local, from a priest who really just wanted a Vitamix).  You can do it the traditional way, though (blend the sugar and oil; add in and blend the other 'wet' items; mash the bananas and add; grind the flaxseed and sift all flours and starches and baking powder; add salt; add dry ingredients, including nuts, to wet, and mix up.)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Put either a silicon liner into your 8" x 4" loaf pan, or cut parchment paper to fit (no greasing needed in either of these cases-- otherwise, with just a regular loaf pan you may want to grease it up).  I cover the bottom of the pan (on top of the parchment) with 1/4 C. chopped walnuts
Put the following into the bowl of your food processor and process until eggs are "beaten" (everything is either a curdly looking mass, or homogeneously smooth):

  • 1/4 C. organic cane sugar (original recipe calls for agave syrup)
  • 1/4 C. liquid extra virgin coconut oil (liquify in advance in bowl over bowl of hot water)
  • 1/4 C. unsweetened applesauce (I ran 2 small organic apples up in my blender in advance)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 1/3 C. mashed ripe bananas
Next I sift together the following and add in to the processor:

  • 1 1/4 C. brown rice flour
  • 3/4 C. organic quinoa flour (I grind organic quinoa in my Vitamix)
  • 1/4 C. arrowroot starch
  • 1 T. baking powder
The last ingredients I add to the processor bowl are:
  • 1/4 C. ground flaxseed (grind in coffeebean grinder or Vitamix)
  • 1/2 tsp. celtic sea salt (this is the salt with the 80+ minerals in it)
Process until smooth.  Remove the lid and spoon into the loaf pan (parchment paper should cover sides of pan since this recipe does rise beautifully).  Bake for about 1 hour-- test at 50 minutes (with toothpicks) since some ovens "bake faster" than others.  Cool on a wire rack.

My husband commented on how nicely it sliced up compared to some "conventional" banana loafs from our baking past-- I'm guessing this will be the best gluten-free banana nut bread you ever eat.  Enjoy!

_________________________________________________
  Disclaimer:This blog reflects my own personal beliefs about the health benefits of being gluten-free. I am not a Medical or Health Care professional and any information or products contained in this blog are not meant to replace your responsibility to consult with the appropriate health care provider about your own circumstances and concerns.
Search this Site; Search the Web


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