Lifestyle Guide : "Gluten Free Lifestyle"

Paleo All Purpose Flour

 

When people go grain free they may lament over not being able to have breads and bakery items any more.  Thankfully that is not true.  Although it is a bit different to use the flours in a paleo flour mix, you can enjoy the same things you have grown up eating. I think it makes better pancakes than our gluten free all purpose flour.  They turn out a beautiful golden brown and look just like glutinous pancakes.

So you might ask, what is in a paleo all purpose flour?  It is actually really simple.Just 4 ingredients.

  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Arrowroot
  • Tapioca starch

There are some commercially sold paleo flour mixes, such as Bob's Red Mill.  But I feel they are way over priced.  If you purchase the 4 flours in large enough quantities, 2-5 pounds each, it ends up being way cheaper to make it yourself.

Here is where the fun begins.  In some recipes it may work as a one to one replacement of flour, and in other recipes you may have to make adjustments to your liquids. Coconut flour tends to absorb liquids extremely well and is what may make adjusting your liquids necessary.

I tried using the flour mix we have in an old gluten free almond bread recipe we used to make often.  It actually ended up very  runny, so for that one I still need to experiment with that recipe to get the mixture correct.  That will be shared once I have perfected it.  It still turned out well, but I ended up making it with xanthan gum, which can be obtained from grains.  Like the pancakes, it had a beautiful golden brown color to the crust.  We don't make bread often and the 2 loaves went in one day 🙂

 

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Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

 

The first step in becoming gluten free is to get rid of gluten containing foods.  The most effective way is to remove all grains.  That can be a very daunting process for most people.  Taking smaller, gradual steps to being grain free may bring you the most success.  It has taken me over 8 years to get there, so don't worry if this is the route you choose.

In those 8 years, I learned how to eat a strict conventional gluten free diet (still eating grains).  My husband and I came up with a great gluten free flour recipe that could replace regular flour one-to-one.  One of the great things about that is we didn't need any specialized, gluten-free cookbooks.  We just used the ones we had before going gluten free.  The only thing we haven't been able to make gluten free is croissants.  Everything else, we have been extremely successful in using this recipe.  In fact, those who don't know it is gluten free don't even notice.  We even did a whole Thanksgiving meal gluten free and no one knew the difference.  You can get all the recipes we used and more here

My kids say everything tastes better with the gluten free flours.  This is because wheat has an intense flavor and when that is removed, all the other flavors come through. I never noticed the intense flavor wheat had until I eliminated it.  Now foods taste so much more vibrant.  

My husband and I even used the flour to make homemade gluten free baklava.  Now that's a labor of love! First time we made it, it took us 8 hours!!!  I hope you have fun making memories with your family and enjoying your favorite recipes together.

 

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Grain Free Baking Powder

Baking Powder, a simple baking ingredient, right?  We shall see.

Numerous people with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance find they are still reacting to their foods even while eating a strict gluten free diet.  I was on a strict gluten free diet for over 8 years and still was not finding much relief from my symptoms.  It can be a frustrating spot to be in.

Many have found more success and better health when they eliminate all grains. I have learned through lots of study and research that grains can illicit the same kind of response on the immune system as gluten does.  (But that's for a different post)

Eliminating grains can be difficult because grains are used as fillers in so many things and a lot of them you wouldn't even think have grains.  Why would you ever question nuts. they are just nuts right?  Nope, most are dusted with some kind of flour.  I find rice flour used a lot.

Another one of those is baking powder. I know, I, never thought of what was in baking powder.  It's just baking powder, right?  Nope.  Do you know what is in baking powder?  I looked it up when I saw that it was not an acceptable paleo/primal food on one of the paleo sites I frequent.  Commercially produced baking powder (unless stated) is made from baking soda and cornstarch.  Since cornstarch is made from corn, a grain, it is not paleo/primal and if you are eating grain free it should be avoided.

When I found this out, I was like, “great, another baking item to eliminate.”  With a little digging on the internet I found a way to make a grain free baking powder.  Now I can provide my family with wonderful baked goods that I know are grain free and so can you. I hope you find it useful. 🙂

 

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Celiac Awareness

Celiac Awareness MonthMay is National Celiac Awareness Month.  To kick of the celebration of the month, I am excited to announce the launch of my first cookbook, The Ultimate Gluten Free Holiday. 

Ultimate Gluten Free Holiday

Many people have stereotyped gluten-free foods as boring, tasteless, crumbly, and inferior to their gluten-filled counterparts. We’ve gone through the same thing, and we can tell you—it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve found that gluten-free can be as good—if not better—and we want to share that with you. We’re all in this journey together – we don’t settle for anything less than the best flavor, texture, and experience; and we don’t want you to settle for less either. Along with this holiday guide, check out the resources found on my blog at www.be-gluten-free.com. I’ll help you have a holiday free from worry about missing out on your favorite recipes and experiences.

I have been living gluten free since October 2008. It is my hope that by sharing my experiences and what I have worked through regarding gluten intolerance, I’ll be able to help others realize that living free of gluten can actually be liberating. In this little book I’ll share the wonderful side of being gluten free, and I’ll dispel the myth that eating gluten free is nothing but “tasteless cardboard” with the “texture of sand.” It’s my opinion that gluten-free food can taste delicious as any other food; and anyone can lead the ultimate gluten-free lifestyle.

What a great way to help spread awareness than to share this cookbook with your friends and loved ones. Start your self and family on the road to the ultimate gluten free lifestyle and make those old family recipes again. Check it out now. The Ultimate Gluten Free HolidayThere are digital and print versions available. 

Gluten Free Christmas In July

It has been crazy busy here this summer.  Not only with all the fresh produce in the garden needing to be attended to but some really exciting things as well.  I have been thinking about Christmas in July.  Well, actually Thanksgiving as well.  Even though it is hot and sweltry outside, those holidays will be upon us sooner than you think.  These can be the roughest times of the year for those with gluten intolerances.  So many dinner parties and festivities with dishes loaded with gluten. That is what I have been thinking about.  I can help you have a wonderful holiday season.  I have been working on a holiday cookbook to help you enjoy all the traditional holiday dishes gluten-free and not even tell that it is gluten-free.

Several years ago , my husband and I asked my sister-in-law, who was hosting Thanksgiving, if we could make everything gluten free and not tell anyone.  Guess what?  No one knew the difference.  I am sharing all those recipes and more in my holiday cookbook.  It will be available this fall.  It is currently going through its first edit but I would love your input on what you want to see in this holiday cookbook.  If you would comment below and let me know what you would like to see in the cookbook, I would love your input.  This is going to be a small cookbook, perfect for stocking stuffers and gift giving. If I don't use your suggestions for this cookbook, I may use it for the cookbook scheduled for publishing next year.  Please sign up for email notification so you can find out the latest on both cookbooks and be the first to know of when they are available.  Also I am going to be launching a Kickstarter soon, so stay  up to date on that as well by signing up for email notifications.

As always, thank you for your patience and support.  I am so excited to see things come together and to know soon I will be able to add another way I can help others lead the Ultimate Gluten Free Lifestyle.

Raising Gluten Free Awareness Everyday

Think about itMay is winding down to a close and so is National Celiac Awarness Month.  That does not mean we should stop raising awareness on June 1st and wait  until May to continue the campaign.  Most people know or are effected themselves by gluten and we can and should be raising awareness everyday, everywhere.  Here are some ways we can help raise awareness daily.

 Talk to everyone about it.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  The more we talk about the issue and educate people, the more awareness will spread.  You can talk with friends and family in casual conversations.  Sometimes it is those closest to us who have the least understanding.  Let them know it is not just a fad, but necessary for health and to prevent other problems.  Educate them on your gluten intolerance so they can truly inderstand you.

When you go to a store or restaurant and they have gluten free options, talk to your server or the manager and let them know you are very appreciative of the options.  If they know that offering the gluten free items is making customers happy, they will be more likely to look into adding more variety of options.  If all people do is complain, who wants to deal with that?  If they do not have gluten free options, approach them politely about adding them in.  Let them know you want to support their business and if they offered gluten free options you would be more willing to do that.  Let them know what you would like to see them offer. Sometimes managers just have no idea what to offer if they are not gluten intolerant themselves.  There is so much to learn and they may feel overwhelmed and truly appreciate the knowledgable suggestions.

When people notice your gluten free selections at the store or out and about, be willing to talk and share your knowledge with them.  So many only get a limit amount of information from the media which will give it a “fad” squew.  Most people are open to hear your story and learn about gluten since it is a popular topic in health today.1 in 133

If you work in an office and have the occassional lunch brought in for special events, make sure that you talk to the people in charge of the food and let them know that it would be appreciate that gluten free foods are also available.  With so many people dealing with gluten intolerance on its various levels, there is going to most likely be at least 1 person needing to have gluten free foods.  It sucks to have to not partake when everyone else is.  I have beenthere and you feel alienated and alone, left out.  NO one wants to be that person.

There are many organizations out there who help spread the word and educate about gluten intolerances and Celiac Disease.  Join,  follow, and perhaps even donate to support them. They are there to help make our lives even better.  

Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF)

Celiac Support Association (CSA)

NASPGHAN Foundation for Children’s Digestive Health & Nutrition

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)

 

Awareness is growing every year. We have come a long way in quality, variety, and avialability inthe last decade.  There is still a long way to go.  Education is key to raising awareness.  Many still have no idea what gluten is and what foods contain gluten.  Let's keep raisig awareness so all who need and want can have the ultimate gluten fee lifestyle.

 

Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

Gluten Free Food Allergy FestThis past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Living Without's Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a volunteer.  It was interesting to see it from a different perspective.  It was exciting.  I helped with the food demonstrations.  I was able to meet and converse with several of the presenters and learned a few things I could take back to my own kitchen.

Jules ShepardThe first demonstration was by Jules Shepard, CEO and founder of GF Jules . She showed how simple it is to use a bread machine and have great tasting bread at home.  She has been dealing with Celiac Disease a lot longer than I have and has done research into the chemistry of the ingredients.  I learned a lot that will help me with my recipes.

Next, Glutino and their sister company Udi's showed how you could use their pretzels to make meatballs.  They were delicious.  They also announced some of their new and upcoming products.  If you are a fan of their products, keep your eyes open for new products on the shelves of your favorite store.

Debbie Adler, owner of Sweet Debbie's Organic Cupcakes, told her journey to owning an allergen free, sugar free debbie Adlerbakery.   She was already an owner of a bakery  but it began to really take shape with an ER visit with her young son.  Soon after they learned their son had many, many food allergies.  This led her to develop cupcakes that her son could eat.  She showed us how easy it was to make energy bars that were not only allergen free and easy to make but also delicious.  It was during her demo that a thought came to mind.  Are those with food intolerances, not those with autoimmune reactions, really “sick” or are they the one's whose bodies are functioning properly and warning them and everyone else's are not working quite right?  Something to ponder.  I like to take Debbie's view point.  Food intolerance keeps me from eating foods that cause cancer, leaky gut, thyroid, disease, and have known toxins.  It is really a blessing.

There was more available at the GFFA Fest.  There were also lectures.  Unfortunately these were scheduled at the same time as the demos, so I did not see them.  There were also 68 booths of vendors, authors, and bloggers.  It was a great way to learn about the companies, their products and even taste some samples.  I discovered a pasta that cooks in 5 minutes and is excellent for cold pasta salads; most gluten free pastas aren't.  They are made by Sunrise Creative Gourmet.  They had several different varieties.  I tried the red pepper penne.  It was delicious and had a bit of a zing.

The event was a very good experience.  I would highly recommend it to everyone and hopefully you will see me at a booth in the near future.

 

Dates for future Gluten Free Food Allergy Fests

Portland,  Oregon             Sept. 26-27, 2015

Indianapolis, Indiana         Oct. 24-25, 2015

Stamford,Connecticut        Nov.  7-8, 2015

Austin, Texas                     April 2-3, 2016

Columbus, Ohio                 April 30-May 1st (tentative)

Minneapolis, Minnesota     TBD