Getting enough grains on a wheat free diet

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life

Last week I mentioned that one of the reasons suggested for the higher incidence of cardiac disease in people who are celiacs or on a wheat free diet. So today I thought I’d give you some pointers on how to ensure you get enough grains in your diet:

  • Consider adding seeds such as flax seed, sunflower seeds and other grains to your bread mixes
  • Eat gluten free muesli – commercial, or make your own
  • Consider alternative seeds such as amaranth or quinoa
  • Try buckwheat – it’s a great breakfast cereal
  • Seeded crackers are very tasty
  • Try brown rice instead of white – it’s very tasty and high in fibre
  • Look for ready made gluten free bread with added seeds and grains

Also, keep in mind that many gluten free products are not fortified with vitamins so consider taking a vitamin supplement as well.

Delicious Spring Veggie Time

It’s still technically winter here in Australia, but the spring vegetables are springing to life already. To celebrate delicious garden fresh peas, broccoli and other spring veggies, I made a spring vegetable risotto for dinner last night.  A real risotto is a bit time consuming and labour intensive, but it’s definitely well worth the effort.

I happen to really like risotto, and here’s the recipe for my spring vegetable risotto. It’s so easy to vary it. Use the basic recipe and try something like roasted beetroot and Fetta cheese, or sliced mushrooms, or seafood such as prawns. The trick is to make a really good stock to use as a base.

Gluten Free Eclairs

It took me a while to get the confidence to try gluten free choux pastry. Even as a wheat based pastry it has a reputation of being tricky. However, I decided to give it a go a while ago. It took a couple of goes to get it right so that it puffs up nicely.

I’ve included the recipe here. While the recipe here is for eclairs, you can use the pastry for cream puffs, profiteroles or savoury puffs if you like.

Give it a go and make some delicious eclairs for your next morning tea.

Image of Gluten Free Eclairs

Gluten Free Eclairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time, take care and eat well.

 

 

Batten down the hatches!

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life.

I was wandering around the internet over the last couple of days looking for something of interest to include in this blog. The latest hot topic seems to be that people who needlessly avoid gluten in their diet may be increasing their risk of coronary heart disease.

A study of over 100,000 people over 2 decades showed that people who were not celiacs, but who avoided gluten had a statistically significant increased chance of developing heart disease. The main reason seems to be that those people were avoiding high fibre grains such as bran, rye, and the seeds and grains that are in seeded breads and cereals.

It’s an interesting study that works as a counterpoint to the claims that gluten is causing a lot of the dietary ills in the world. I guess it means that dietitians and scientists are now starting to look properly at whether gluten is really a problem for the general population, or just celiacs like me and (maybe) you.

My response at this point for people who have given up wheat because they find they have a sensitivity to it is the same as my advice to celiacs: increase your fibre intake in other ways. Eat lots of unprocessed fruit and vegetables, and look for things such as rice bran and other cereals and grains you can eat that have lots of fibre but no gluten. I don’t think there’s a real necessity to rush back to eating wheat if you’re more comfortable not eating it. Just make adjustments to your diet to compensate and you should be fine.

Batten Down the Hatches!

We’re getting ready for one of the biggest storms of the year here. A few years ago a big storm blew down a couple of our biggest trees. They were a real loss because they were always full of birds. We used to have a bird feeder in one of them and the parrots and cockatoos used to come by every day for a feed. We see them around now, but they don’t stop by any more. We’re growing another tree, but it will take a few years before it’s big enough to support the feeder and provide food to local birds again.

In preparation for the storm that’s coming I’ve made a nice hearty seafood ragu for us for dinner. It’s healthy, filling and warm. Just what you need on a night like this. Check out the recipe here. I’ve made a note that you can make it as a soup if you prefer. Just don’t thicken it. Either way, it tastes delicious!

Image of French seafood ragu

French seafood ragu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut Jam Slice

For desert tonight I’ve made a coconut jam slice. I’ve used some of my home made strawberry jam for it, but you could use whatever jam takes your fancy. I’ve made this before with both raspberry jam, and apricot jam and it works just as well with each of them. Here’s the recipe so you can make this up for your next desert, or just for a treat sometime.

Until next week, take care and eat well.

 

 

 

Gluten Free Myths and Fables

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life

The other day I was organising to go to dinner with friends who were being very careful to make a properly gluten free meal for me. They commented that they were concerned that the rice in the recipe they were doing was “glutinous rice” and thought that meant I couldn’t eat it. I assured them that glutinous meant sticky – not containing gluten.

But that conversation got me thinking about other misconceptions about celiac disease and the gluten free life. So here are my top five gluten free myths and fables:

  1. If I give up wheat for a few weeks and feel better then I must have celiac disease. No – you might not. You might just be sensitive to wheat (see my earlier blog). The gold standard for testing for celiac disease is to have a biopsy done of your gut after you have been eating wheat for a while. If you stop eating wheat then go get tested you may get a false negative. Celiac disease damages the lining of the gut and it’s the one best way to determine if you have the disease. If you stop eating wheat the gut will repair itself (if it’s damaged) and a gut biopsy won’t find any damage.
  2. Glutinous anything contains gluten. Nope – glutinous means sticky. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain gluten though. Read the ingredients! Gluten is wheat, oats barley or rye. If any of those are mentioned then, chances are it contains gluten. But glutinous rice is sticky rice and is fine to eat.
  3. If I order gluten free in a restaurant then the food is completely safe to eat. Sadly, it may not be. If the chef and staff know how to prepare gluten free so there is no cross-contamination then you’ll be fine. But I have seen people handle something with wheat flour, then handle my food so that it gets the flour on it.  Or they mix up my gluten free crackers for the cheese board with all the other crackers and then can’t see why I make such a fuss about getting all the crumbs off mine.
  4. Meat, eggs etc contain gluten unless they’re labelled gluten free. Honestly- this one really ticks me off! I saw eggs for sale the other day labelled “Proudly gluten free!”. Well duh! As if their eggs were somehow different from all the other eggs out there loaded with gluten. Gluten is only found in wheat, oats, barley and rye. So, unless something contains one of those food groups, then it is naturally gluten free. That does mean you need to check the recipe for meat marinades etc, but otherwise you can safely eat your poached eggs knowing they’re gluten free.
  5. Gluten free is a fad. This is another one that really ticks me off. The number of times I ask for gluten free and the waiter rolls their eyes and subtly sneers is just amazing. Trust me – I would love to knock back those delicious bread rolls, or gooey cakes for desert. But I also know just what that will do to me. But the number of people now who demand gluten free then do eat those bread rolls or gooey cakes really makes it hard for those of us who have no choice in this one.

Gluten Free Broccoli and Spinach Galettte

Back to baking for this week. Free form pies and tarts are one of those things that I used to think was a dim and happy memory. Now that I’ve worked out how to make pastry that will hold its shape somewhat, I am experimenting with new dishes. This is one I whipped up during the week to use up some of the glut of spinach and broccoli in my garden.

A galette is just a free form crusty pie or cake. It works really well for open faced savoury dishes such as this one.  You will need time to make the puff pastry, but the rest of the dish is actually very quick to put together. You could even double your puff pastry recipe and freeze half so you can make this up faster the next time around.

So try my gluten free broccoli and spinach galette next weekend when you have the time to make the pastry, then freeze the extra pastry for another day.

White Chocolate and Strawberry Mousse Cake

I was driving around the other day thinking of things to make for this blog and realised it’s been a while since I made a cake.  So I pretty much devised this one in my head between my place and the shops, picked up the ingredients I needed and headed home to make it.

The recipe is somewhere between a white chocolate mud cake and a Devil’s food cake recipe. Not as dense as a mud cake, but richer and heavier than a Devil’s food cake. The lightness of the mousse offsets the sweetness of the cake, but it’s still a quite rich cake.

One thing – don’t be tempted to make the cake part too high. If yours rises as much as mine did, just slice the top off and use it for something else. Mine rose so much I ended up with 2 cakes for the price of one. But you need almost as much mousse as cake for this dish.

Good luck, and enjoy my white chocolate and strawberry mousse cake.

Image of Gluten Free White Chocolate and Strawberry Mousse Cake

Until next week, take care and eat well.