Archive for April, 2010
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already leading a gluten-free life. Have you noticed that you’re hearing about more and more people who also have allergies or intolerance to gluten-containing grains? In fact, Dr. Tom O’Bryan, expert on gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease, found that 77% of patients who walked into his Chicago clinic had elevated anti-bodies to gluten! Fortunately, both food companies and restaurants are responding: every month, there are new gluten-free products in grocery stores and on menus.
The question is: why the increase in gluten allergies?
There are many factors involved here, but one of the main issues is that our digestive tracts and immune systems are overexposed to gluten. We all know people who eat wheat at every meal (think bagel for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner). When our gut is overexposed to a particular food – especially a hard-to-digest protein like gluten – our body can start mounting an immune response to this food. Compounding this problem is that we are only eating a very few varieties of wheat today, due to big “agribusiness,” versus the many varieties of wheat our ancestors used to grow and eat.
Another reason for the increase in gluten sensitivities and allergies is poor digestion. Many of us are deficient in hydrochloric acid – which our body needs in order to digest protein – and/or digestive enzymes, and therefore we’re not able to completely break down proteins like gluten. The poorly digested protein molecules then make their way down into the intestines. If the intestinal lining is unhealthy and inflamed, these large molecules pass through the gut lining to the bloodstream, where they’re seen as “invaders” and the immune system reacts, causing a wide range of unpleasant symptoms.
It doesn’t help that food scientists have genetically altered wheat to increase the gluten content (that’s why bagels are so yummy and chewy). More gluten = harder to digest. Yikes.
Besides the undesirable symptoms, the problem with gluten allergy/intolerance is that it can lead to Celiac disease. Celiac disease can eventually lead to auto-immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, painful nerve conditions such as carpal tunnel and sciatica, & more.
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Guest blogging by Julie Halpin, Certified Nutrition Consultant. Julie works with individuals and groups in the areas of weight management, digestive health, and cleansing/detoxification. She and her husband are both happily GF.
Even if you lack the gene that fuels your all-American baseball spirit, now’s the time to get yourself to a game! Because on Tuesday, June 1st, AT&T Park is sponsoring Celiac Disease Awareness Night. As the Giants play the Colorado Rockies (which may be mere consequential information to some of you), a special $25 ticket buys you pre-game catered goodies from Mariposa Bakery, a seat in the special Celiac Awareness section of the ballpark, and a complimentary Mariposa Bakery gluten-free sandwich. Need a little something special to wash down all that gluten-free ballpark fare? Look no further…Redbridge beer will be available for purchase. Let’s team up, celebrate this one-night event, and eat with wild abandon!
For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Hunter Mize at 415.972.2292.
Imagine youʼve just arrived in Brazil (because we all could use a little vacay, right?). Whatʼs that tempting aroma wafting from that vendor cart? Smells like fresh bread, you think in gluten free dismay. But wait! Step right up and order yourself some Pao de Quejio! This bread is gluten free, enjoyed in Brazil by countless people. It is made from manioc (tapioca) flour which is from the Cassava root. The good news is that this bread is just moments away. While you save up for that trip to Brazil, check out how you can get your Pao de Quejio on at home. Chebe (say: CHEE-bee) mixes and frozen baked goods are gluten free and couldnʼt be easier to use. They are also free of soy, corn and nuts. Check out three mixes Iʼve used over and over again:
Chebe Bread Mix
This is the best mix for rolls and bread sticks. All youʼve got to do is blend the mix with oil, eggs, and cheese, form into shapes, bake for about 30 minutes, and voila! Or should I say, ¡ai esta!
Chebe Cinnamon Rolls Mix
Who doesnʼt like cinnamon? With this mix you can make rolls, cookies, turnovers, tarts, pie crust, and — wait for it — sticky buns.
Chebe All-Purpose Mix
This is so versatile and makes a great pizza crust. You can also make sweet or savory treats such as rolls or calzones.
Tips, hints, and random thoughts:
• In terms of allergen information, the Chebe bread mix does contain milk. The other mixes Iʼve reviewed do not. All mixes say to use eggs during preparation, but using a substitute such as Ener-G-Egg replacer or even silken tofu works well. The
• Chebe mixes are very easy to work with; the dough is incredibly forgiving. You can add 1 teaspoon of baking powder before adding the wet ingredients for a loftier final result.
• The longer you bake any Chebe product, the crispier it will be. Duh, I know, but some people adore the slightly chewy, dense baked texture that is a hallmark of Chebe, and others prefer an airier, crispier baked good. Experiment!
• Best straight from the oven, the texture suffers especially when reheated in a microwave, but a toaster can do a decent job of crisping things up.
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Guest blogging by Janine Acevedo M.E.C.S.E. Janine is a GF mom of a GF kid and works as an early intervention special educator. She is also the San Francisco Early Intervention writer for examiner.com.
Quinoa with kale and gouda
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large bunch or 2 small bunches kale
1 or 2 green onions
4-6 ounces firm cheese, such as Gouda or Parmesan, cubed
Cook the quinoa per the package directions.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet – preferably cast iron – over medium heat with some olive oil, duck fat, rendered bacon grease or schmaltz. Chop up a green onion or two and throw it into the hot skillet. Chop up one large bunch (or two small bunches) of kale, separating stems from greens. Toss the stems into the skillet with the green onions. In 3 to 5 minutes, once the stems have softened, toss in the kale greens and allow to cook until wilted, another 4–7 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
Put the cooked quinoa in with the kale. Toss in a cubed cheese and place over medium-low heat. Stir to combine, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot while cheese is oozy and delicious.
A perfect nearly-summer al fresco meal. Top this curried quinoa salad with grilled pork or chicken and viola! A meal that’s worthy to serve to guests, but is easy enough for a regular ol’ weeknight at home. The flavors are even richer the next day, so make enough for leftovers!
Curried quinoa salad
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh meyer lemon juice, from 2 lemons
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons blood orange olive oil, or olive oil with 1 teaspoon blood orange zest
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa (red quinoa is pictured)
1 tablespoon candied ginger, chopped fine
1 tablespoon seeded, minced jalapeno, or to taste
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
2 tablespoon minced fresh mint
2 cups chunked fresh mango
3/4 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
To make the dressing, whisk together yogurt, honey, lemon juice, curry powder and salt in a small bowl. Slowly add oils, whisking to combine. Set aside.
Place quinoa in a medium saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Rinse in cold water immediately to stop the cooking process and drain in a fine mesh sieve.
In a large bowl, coat the quinoa with the curried yogurt and toss in the remaining ingredients. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Orgran’s Multigrain O’s with Quinoa are wonderfully yummy with a light touch of sweetness and a lasting crunch that holds to the bottom of the bowl. There’s an evident “whole grain” flavor to the O’s, and with a topping of sliced strawberries and mangoes, I couldn’t ask for a more satisfying breakfast.
Here at The Lab, we like envisioning these O’s fulfilling other purposes. Crunched up, they would work great as a mac & cheese topping in place of breadcrumbs; they would be an excellent breading for pork or chicken if mixed with some savory herbs, Parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper; or if left whole, what about making a rice crispy treat? Mmmmm, quinoa crispy treats…!
For starters, let’s talk about how to pronounce our grain of the month. Ready? It’s KEEN-wah.
Quinoa was cultivated by the Incas in the pre-Columbian era. While distinctly grain-like, quinoa is actually a seed, and it’s related to beets, spinach and tumbleweeds (!!). It’s a versatile shining star in our queue of grains, it’s just as delicious sweet as it is savory, it comes in flake, whole grain and flour forms, and, most of all, it’s just plain ol’ delicious. It’s also high in protein, magneseum and iron, a great source of fiber, and, most importantly, it’s gluten-free.
For a retrospective introduction to cooking with quinoa, check out the recipes we’ve posted in the past that incorporate quinoa seeds, flour or flakes:
Quinoa corn cakes
Quinoa pasta with kalamata olives, artichoke hearts & lemon zest
Persimmon bread with walnuts (sub out any seasonal fruit or veggie for the persimmons. Bananas, butternut squash and zucchini all work well)
Blueberry streusel cake
Aaaannnnnd…we can’t resist leaving you with this interesting aside: NASA is considering quinoa as a possible crop in their Controlled Ecologoical Life Support System for long-duration manned space flights! Just what do we think of that?
Get your space on. EAT QUINOA!
The Bay Area is a veritable playground for GFers. And this post goes out to our hometeam! (Sonoma County residents, that is.) It’s a quick snapshot of what’s goin’ on in GF-landia in the coming months:
Gluten Free Tasting Day
Saturday, April 10, 2-5 p.m.
Pacific Market in Sebastopol
Don’t miss this! Taste new as well as tried & true GF products, talk to the local North Bay Celiac members (they’ll have a booth), and discover a new – or support a longtime fave – shopping resource!
Napa County Support Group with North Bay Celiacs
Saturday, April 17, 2-4 p.m.
Queen of the Valley Medical Center conference room
Dr. Amy Burkhart will offer a Q&A session. The upcoming Stanford Conference will also be discussed. Find more details here.
Gluten-Free Cooking Class (demo)
Wednesday, May 5, 6-7:30 p.m., $35 (OR sliding scale based on income)
G&G Market in Santa Rosa
If you are gluten intolerant or want to eliminate gluten for better health, try your favorite recipes made gluten-free. Learning to cook gluten-free can be challenging, but with accurate information, patience, and practice you can adapt most recipes. Learn and taste new products and practice making tried and true gluten-free recipes that taste delicious. Find more details here.
Sonoma County Support Group with North Bay Celiacs
Sundays, May 16, August 15 and November 14, 2-4 p.m.
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Conference Room D
No need to sign up in advance for these meetings, just show up! Expect to enjoy a delicious GF Italian lunch and find support with your GF peers. Find more details here.
Mendocino County GF Support Group with North Bay Celiacs
Sunday, June 20, 3-5 p.m.
Location TBD, but it’s likely this meeting will be held at a park in the Ukiah city area.
Titled “Surviving the BBQ Blues” this meeting is sure to be a fun and delicious gathering! BBQ meats, drinks, chips, plates & utensils will be provided; everyone else brings a potluck side dish to share! Meeting topics will include how to survive summertime BBQs, summer camp resources, travel recommendations, and tips & tricks for how to travel and camp gluten free. Find more details here.
Italian GF Lunch
Saturday, July 10
Pasta Bella in Sebastopol
Award-winning cookbook author Jacqueline Mallorca will discuss her new book Gluten-Free Italian: Over 150 Irresistible Recipes without Wheat — from Crostini to Tiramisu and sign copies. The time of lunch as well as menu details are pending. Find more details here.
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Now go forth, eat and prosper!
First, we loved the packaging (that’s the graphic designers in us). Then we cracked the pint-sized, old-fashioned bottle, and we loved the beer inside. Granted, we’re not big beer drinkers (question: can a GFer really BE a big beer drinker?), so our tastebuds might be out of practice when it comes to evaluating beer. But after sipping for ourselves – and then asking our non-GF friends & spouses to taste & evaluate – here’s what we think:
The nose is sweet, but the beer is actually quite dry, a sensory fake-out. The flavor was called “respectable” (according to one of our non-GFers), “refreshing” and “quite good.”
According to St. Peter’s, this sorghum beer is meant to be “a clean, crisp beer with a pilsner style lager finish and aromas of citrus and mandarin.” As for the bottle? It’s a “faithful copy of one produced c. 1770 for Thomas Gerrard of Gibbstown, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. The original is now kept in St. Peter’s Hall and is a rare example of an oval Eighteenth Century beer bottle.” Here at The Lab, we’ve already got big plans for reusing the bottle (nocino, anyone?).
UPDATE!! Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol is now serving St. Peter’s Sorghum beer by the bottle. They also currently have a couple of GF-friendly menu choices. Salads, of course, but also their sausage plate (yay! no bready fillers!) and their salmon dish.
This is NOT an April Fools prank: The Gluten Free Lab was interviewed and given voice in a local weekly. We should’ve told you about it sooner (like when the paper was still on the stands, for instance), but you can read all about it online.