Going Gluten Free

Celiac diseases result in a harmful intestinal reaction to proteins in the gluten in wheat and other grains like barley, spelt, kamut, triticale, rye, and occasionally oats. The gluten in wheat flour is a protein complex that functions to bind the bread as it is made.  Gluten must not be ingested by persons with the disease because serious damage to the digestive system may result.  The proteins in gluten hang around like glue on the villi of the gut so even an occasional indiscretion can have long term consequences. The damage inhibits the absorption of vitamins and nutrients, and predisposes its victims to osteoporosis, neurological illnesses, and even lymphoma.  Some other grains, such as rice, millet, tapioca, buckwheat and quinoa do not pose this danger. A very high proportion of people with lupus, RA, other autoimmune disease, and all with Crohn’s disease or celiac cannot take gluten at all. Gluten sensitivity may not show up on a blood test until damage is profound, although there are more sensitive stool tests. Unlike some food sensitivities, celiac seems to require lifelong avoidance

Going gluten free requires reorienting your cooking and eating and spending some time . For instance, instead of bread you might wrap your sandwich fillings in nori sheets and roll them up. Or you might just trade in sandwiches for salads (without croutons) or soups without starch. Fish or meat should not be breaded or should use rice cracker crumbs. Instead of pastries you might go to dark chocolate truffles, but avoid those with malt sweeteners. Parties and festivals can be particularly difficult so I suggest telling the hostess and bringing a gluten free cake or plate of cookies or fruit dessert. For religious celebrants, I have listed sources for matzah, challah and hosts.

It may be easier to start with the Atkins diet, with lots of vegetables and no wheat sources. Then, if you are not insulin resistant, add in fruit, and gluten-free grains. The advantage is that people understand that you can’t have carbs on Atkins (where most gluten is found) and you will not be so focused on the substitutions.

If you are addicted to carbohydrates, as many of us are, the first 16 days or so may be utterly difficult. Prepare yourself by taking 800 mg magnesium, chromium, a Vitamin B complex and get more sleep and exercise even before you start. (Atkins recognized this difficulty by not requiring limits on fat and protein during his induction period.) But the feeling lifts like a cloud and you will feel much better afterwards, with clearer thinking and a sense of ease.

While some are allergic to even tiny amounts of gluten, others are not as reactive and you alone know whether you need to be vigilant about a separate toaster for gluten free bread, not licking an envelope or consuming only food manufactured in a totally gluten-free facility. BodyEcology.com sells probiotic-fermented beverages where gluten has been reduced below a tenth of levels necessary for “gluten free” and the beverage was tested before and afterwards due to the action of the good bacteria.

However hidden sources of gluten include ingredients like plant protein, hydrolyzed anything including vegetable protein, vegetable gum, soy sauce, modified starch, malt or malitol, stabilizer, flavoring or cereal. Unless these state clearly they are gluten free, avoid them. In fact it is best to consume foods without additives, fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, food that would be recognized by your great grandmother.

Gluten-Free Pasta

Tinkyada makes the best gluten-free pastas I have tasted, but all rice-based pastas are intolerant of too much cooking. This takes about 15 minutes to cook. Kosher (COR). Widely available or at www.glutenfree.com or www.koshervitamins.com

Gluten Free Hosts for Christians

For many Protestants, using a gluten free slice of bread or pita bread is sufficient. Heaven Mills makes a gluten free, leaven free burger roll that can substitute for pita bread. A group of Catholic nuns formulated gluten-free hosts, or as close to gluten free as can be theologically permitted and will serve all but the most gluten sensitive. Sisters Jane Heschmeyer and Lynn Marie D’Souza, of the Benedictine convent in Clyde, Missouri have developed a Communion wafer that has been approved as valid material for the Eucharist by the Holy See with a level of gluten content of 0.01% it is safe enough for consumption by almost all celiac suffers. The low gluten hosts can be purchased from:
Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
Altar Breads Department

31970 State Highway P
Clyde, Missouri 64432
Phone: 1-800-223-2772

Seriously allergic Christians should also consider a separate host container or plate and a second chalice of wine which will not be contaminated by dipping gluten hosts into the wine by others, or should commune first.

Gluten-Free Shmurah Matzah

Description: Handmade gluten free shmurah matzah. Made with oat flour. Please call in your order well in advance.

Heaven Mills Bakery (cert. Tartikov Kashrus Agency)

1242 53 Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11219
Fax: 718-972-0665
E-mail: heavenmills@thejnet.com

Heaven Mills also carries gluten free hamentashen, cinnamon kokov cake, and a full range of gluten-free bakery goods including challah.

Gluten-Free Challah


Commercial Oat Challah (Tartikov Kashrus) available from: http://www.heavenmillsbakery.com/prod_detail.php?pid=19


From: www.Glutenfreeinthegreens.com which has wonderful recipes

There’s no obvious substitute for tearing apart and sharing bread with your friends and family, and that not-so-gentle reminder arrives each Friday at sundown when you hover for Shabbat prayers around a cutting board bearing a braided challah. The first time I had to sing the hamotzi over a rice cracker while everyone else ripped apart the bread, I cried….I regularly halve this recipe successfully…to fill half of the Kaiser bakewear braided loaf pan.

½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup sorghum flour
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup white rice flour
1 tbsp. yeast
1 tbsp. xanthum gum
2 tbsp. dried milk powder or almond meal
2 tbsp. potato flakes
1 cup warm water
¼ cup oil
¼ cup honey
3 eggs
cooking spray
sesame or poppy seeds

Turn the oven to 200. Spray the pan (I use a Kaiser Bakeware Laforme Braided Loaf Pan) with cooking spray and sprinkle with your seeds of choice.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Dissolve the potato flakes in the water. Add the water/potato mixture, oil, honey, and eggs to the dry ingredients. Mix on medium for 2 minutes, until the batter looks like pudding. Transfer to the baking pan. Put the pan in the oven and turn the oven off. Let the dough rise until it reaches the top of the pan, about 30-35 min.

Turn the oven to 350 and bake for 50 min. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Freeze leftovers, if you don’t finish the loaf within 2-3 days.

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