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Archive for March, 2009

Today I am visiting Bob’s Red Mill store or rather Bob’s Red Mill virtual online store. I am very impressed with this company and use their products often. Their gluten free labeled products are baked in a dedicated facility and each batch is tested using the R5 Elisa Test to ensure gluten free status. They have a wide variety of flour and flour mixes. Their new GF Pizza crust mix is one of our family’s favorite. CAUTION: They do make gluten containing products too, so be sure to look for the gluten free label.

A mere fifteen years ago, the diagnosis of celiac disease (gluten sensitivity that affects the gastrointestinal tract) brought dread because of the austere and limited lifestyle that lay ahead. There was a lot of isolation and loneliness. “She is a celiac child, poor thing,” people would whisper.

Back in those early days, gluten free gave new meaning to the words, “blase gourmet.” Chinese cellophane noodles or spaghetti squash were for pasta dishes. Attempts to duplicate pizza or pretzels or dumplings brought angst and frustration. (I did bake a great potato flour sponge cake.) Breads were crumbly and dry, but decent when toasted. Rice cakes and peanut butter and jelly were sandwiches. Grits were the only hot cereal. But, the tragic thing was that cross contamination was not even in anyone’s awareness. We knew so little.

NO LONGER! As you will come to realize, there is absolutely no reason to be downcast at the prospects of a gluten free diet. In fact, our whole family loves sharing recipes and new foods with each other. We have a great time at our family dinners, too. All of our homes are gluten free safety zones.

Here are a few of my favorite flours:

Organic Coconut flour. This is a delicious and healthy alternative to gluten grains.
Almond Meal flour. Great in cookies and sweet breads.
Black Bean flour. Great for bean dip and Mexican recipes.
Organic Flax seed. So very nutritious and high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Organic Brown Rice flour.This is a staple in baking recipes.
Creamy Buckwheat and Buckwheat groats.This is not a grain at all, it is a fruit. Yum.
Fava Bean flour. Add a little extra protein to baked goods.
Garbanzo Bean flour. Great for recipes to boost protein and to make hummus.
Green Pea flour. Create green pea soup or use in recipes to add fiber and protein.
Hazelnut flour. Yummy in baked goods. I love this nutty taste in things.
Hemp Protein powder. A great source of protein for shakes and recipes. Just don’t try growing it and smoking it……..
Potato starch. Make a dreamy light cake or use as thickener.
Sorghum flour.This is another grain from antiquity high in protein and fiber.
Tapioca flour. This is a grain free root.

I did not include millet flour, because some very sensitive people also have problems with millet. Quinoa is also suspect, for reasons yet unknown, so I will err on the side of caution and not include it. Teff and amaranth are usually OK but I am quite leery of grains, period. Corn is highly allergic and moldy so don’t load up on corn. I also recommend not using oats in the early days of transition, if at all, because some people do not do well on oats. I guess you could label me “grain free.” But bravo to Bob’s Red Mill for growing their oats in gluten free dedicated fields and for batch testing to make sure there is no incidental gluten. Bob has been inducted into my “Food Hero Hall of Fame.”
I am not a fan of soy either, for other reasons too complicated to mention now.

There are recipes on Bob’s Red Mill site, too. Oh, I almost forgot. There are cake mixes, brownie mixes, pancake mixes and more………

Austere? Bleak? Lonely? Isolated? Poor thing? NOT!

Be sure to : Visit Bob

With gratitude for every nutritious blessing, and that we are not “poor things” but very healthy, wealthy and wise.
Margery

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The Great Food Pyramid

Today’s travels have brought me to The Great Food Pyramid of the USDA, that antiquated monument to gluten gluttony. As I contemplate the foundation of the pyramid, I begin to question the wisdom of placing grains, and especially gluten grains of the wheat type, as a huge supporting base of a good diet. My mind wanders to the millions and millions of adults who are eating the recommended intake of 6 to 11 servings of grains daily, mostly in the form of wheat. I am even more concerned about the wheat/sugar based diet of American children. ” How is their health on such a diet?” I wonder. Actually, I don’t have to wonder. I KNOW how their health is.

But who am I that I should touch this sacred shrine to rearrange it a bit? I am so tempted, but I fear the gods would be angry. I think I will leave it alone, this manmade unscientific monolith, but I will suggest something for you, dear gluten free traveler. Before you rush out to replace all your favorite sugar laden gluten goodies with gluten free ones, begin to increase your intake of veggies and fruits and healthy fats and meat. Your carbohydrate/protein balance is a function of your metabolic type, not of an artificial edifice constructed by self interest groups. (More on metabolic types later.) Is there a place for gluten free grains? Of course there is, but in non addicted moderation! But maybe your food pyramid should look more like a not so tall Empire State Building and perhaps one day, so will the USDA’s. I hear they have been renovating.

And one more thing. If your digestion is really screwed up and you need to gain weight, see a health care professional who is gluten free savvy and who can carefully support you in your transition to health. Please don’t travel alone.

I wish you all the best,
Margery

© 2009 Margery J. Thomas. All rights reserved.

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Is It Gluten Free?!!

Is the following statement true or false? Gluten free foods are “Foods made from grains (and grain-like plants) that do not contain harmful gluten, including: Corn in all forms (corn flour, corn meal, grits, etc.). Rice in all forms (white, brown, basmati and enriched rice). Also amaranth, buckwheat (kasha), Montina, millet, quinoa, tef, sorghum and soy.”

It is true if and only if there is no co-mingling of these grains with gluten grains ANYWHERE in the processing of the grains from the field to the grocery store to the table. The above statement is very misleading to the new gluten free traveller. Based on the above statement, the unwary shopper is now celebrating that the corn chips she loves is gluten free. She rushes out to get some only to be sick for a week. Some diligent detective work reveals that the corn is processed in a mill that also mills wheat and to make matters worse the chips are fried in oil also used to fry gluten containing foods. REMEMBER: A grain is absolutely gluten free if and only if the company has batch tested it for gluten. This strict rule I apply hard and fast to grains since the likelihood of cross contamination is so high with grains. It only takes a few parts per million to signal your immune system that gluten is present. So beware, be very aware. You could end up in the Jabberwocky den with Alice. Answer: true and false. It all depends.

Staying on the right path,
Margery

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