Sunday, August 21, 2011

Good Gluten Free Bread Options

A friend of mine asked me, after trying one of those brickabread gluten free blocks, “is there any good gluten free breads?” I said, "Of course!" Well I didn't say it, I typed it. We were FBing.

If you've asked yourself the same question, you need answers, and fast. Here are a few tasty options...

Rudi's
Their hot dog buns are fantabulous! Their breads are soft and chewy, unlike almost every other gluten free bread. After freezing a loaf, they can be a bit crumbly (see http://glutenfreefantasy.blogspot.com/2011/07/rudis-breadthumbs-up.html), but not nearly as much as that older brickabread stuff! It makes great French toast and sandwiches. The bagels are my second fave!

Udi's
No, that isn't a typo. The Udi's brand is almost just as good as the Rudi's brand. It almost makes me think that they are one in the same. The difference, Udi's hot dog buns are not so, well, hot.

Rice Cakes
This is what I used before I started writing for Rudi's and getting free bread. ;) Its an inexpensive alternative and easy to manipulate. Doesn't make good french toast though, and you can just forget about folding them in half. :)

Lavash
I recently discovered a millet based lavash bread at our local food Co-op. :9 It was great! Soft and chewy and while it didn't roll, it folded nicely to make a great little snack!

One other thing, don't be afraid to break out of the bread mold (pun intended). We as Americans have been trained by advertising for the last 50 years or so that bread is part of lunch. It doesn't have to be. We make whole meals out of carrot and veggie sticks with peanut butter! Hubby hates it when I do that, but... Now, let’s go have some fun!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nutritional Supplements for Those with Celiac Disease

UPDATE!

I was reading an article at Mercola.com and he had a very interesting quote from Green Med Info:

"The selenium that is found in foods like brazil nuts, mustard seeds, and fresh produce grown in selenium-rich soil is infinitely different from the biologically inert forms being put in some multivitamins. In fact, i.e., sodium selenite/selenate can cause cancer, whereas the selenium found within food, or laboratory chelated forms like selenomethionine have all been shown to prevent and combat cancer.
The basic principle that explains this difference is that when you isolate a nutrient or vitamin out of the food complex within which it is naturally found, and where it is inseparably bound to thousands of known and unknown food factors (e.g., enzymes, protein chaperones, glyconutrients, etc.) it is no longer as beneficial to life. This is especially true in the case of vertebrate mammals who are equipped to get their minerals from the plants they ingest or through the biotransformation of inorganic minerals to organic ones by microflora in their gastrointestinal tracts.
The primary reason that sodium selenite/selenate are preferred by some vitamin manufacturers over safer, more beneficial forms like chelated or yeast-grown selenium is because it is more profitable to use raw materials of lower quality."

It seems this further proves my point. If you are not taking a vitamin or mineral where it naturally occurs, you are likely doing more harm than good. I'll now say it is almost ALWAYS better to get your nutrients from raw foods.

Thanks Mercola.com for bringing this to light. Dr. Mercola also warns about supplements containing magnesium stearate, or stearic acid, and titanium dioxide. Both of these fillers cause immune system problems and stearic acid can acutally cause a nutrient barrier in the intestines which blocks your body from absorbing the very nutrients you think you are getting with the supplement. You can read the whole article here: Is Your Multivitamin Toxic?

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It would seem reasonable that if Celiac Disease drained your body of required nutrients and damaged your intestinal lining you should take supplements that help meet your nutritional need as well as aid in the healing process. Celiact, a supplement designed especially for those with Celiac Disease, has done just that. It has 5 components of the supplementthat that address different Celiac needs:

  • Multivitamin
This includes vitamins A, E and K for vision, immunity and blood clotting, the anti-oxidant Vitamin C, and B vitamins, including folic acid and B12, which may reduce the risk of anemia.
  • Bone Health
Calcium, magnesium and vitamin D all work together to help build strong bones. Many of those with Celiac Disease suffer from bone loss due to lack of absorption of these essential nutrients.
  • Gut Healing
Zinc, glutamine, and citrus bioflavinoids work to heal the damaged intestines according to the maker's site. Zinc helps "patch up" holes, while glutamine provides nourishment for the lining of the gut. The bioflavinoids are said to reduce inflammation.
  • Probiotics
Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Lactis, and Bacillus Coagulans are the three cultures available in this supplement. Some research says that probiotics help crowd out the bad bacteria, fungus and other pathogens in the gut.
  • Digestive Enzymes
These help break down food to allow it to be more easily absorbed.

More information on this supplement can be found at celiact.com. What I did not find at this site is a list of ingredients. I like to stay away from magnesium sterate and steric acid for the potential gut disruption they cause, and I will not buy a supplement with non-bioavailable (cheaper) forms of vitamins. While it's more convenient to take one supplement to meet the needs of those with Celiac, it makes sense to only take those supplements needed, and to take the most bio-available form of those supplements. For instance, the sublingual form of vitamin B is the most readily absorbed for most of us, and when your gut is damaged, sublingual bypasses the gut to go directly into the bloodstream through the tissues in the mouth.

It is possible, and probably most beneficial, to try to get these same vitamins through your food. Liver, for instance, is very high in vitamin A. Digestive enzymes can be found naturally in fresh pineapple, papaya and papaya seeds. The reason it is so important to try to consume these nutrients in foods is that the components required for proper absorption are usually already built in to the food. That means if you eat spinach, you will not only get calcium, you get the vitamin C that aids absorption.

Fresh and raw foods often are the best way to consume your "supplements." Don't hesitate to browse your produce section and make a salad of things like kale, papaya, broccoli and red cabbage. Iceberg has gotten a bad rap, but it's fiber and water content can help digestion, just don't make it the "base" of the salad as most of us do. Add things like raw apple cider vinegar and olive oil to dress it up and help aid the absorption of the fat based vitamins contained in the veggies. Papaya seeds can be dried and ground like peppercorns and give a sweet and spicy feel to the salad.

Now, go play with your food! You'll be healthier for it. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Growing Gluten Free - Yes You Can!

I am a sucker for growing things. I love to watch a pumpkin blossom turn into a tiny green globe, only to swell into an orange fruit (yes it's technically a fruit) that I will bake and mash up later for a better-than-you-could-ever-get-out-of-a-can, gluten free pumpkin pie. I get so excited seeing those little seedlings sprout up in their cozy cubes of soil.

Many of the things I have grown however have not turned out so well. Most of the tomato plants I grew two years ago got a severe mold infestation rendering them...well, fruitless. This is why to limit disappointment I've tried to grow foolproof plants that stand the droughts and take the rain. Here are some of my successes:
  • Spearmint - Most herbs are pretty easy to grow, and spearmint is no exception. The fresh stuff is also way better than you can get on any grocery store. It's great in tea, hot or iced. You can also snap off a sprig and chew it like gum to freshen your breath!
  • Pumpkins - Even with the drought we had, these little beauties still sent out loads of little fruits just right for making pies. You can save the seeds fairly easily (make sure your seeds are not patented) and use them again next year as well.
  • Oregano - I planted a packet of these back in 2002 and we still have a nice bunch of it in my herb garden. I let it reseed itself by making sure not to take too much of the new growth at each harvest. It then sends up little seed making pods. When they dry out in the fall I crumble them to release the seeds and sprinkle the contents on my oregano bed.
  • Cucumbers - Given the space and the hill we have, I plant them at the top and let them cascade down. Hubby likes not having to mow the spot too. Bonus!
  • Sunflowers - The seeds are great for roasting and they are truly a plant you can't goof up. Plus the quick growing stalk gives you something to marvel over every week.
Going gluten free opened me up to tons of fruits and veggies I wouldn't have tried before. Some of them I can grow. Those that I fear I might destroy, wasting my efforts and breaking my heart, I buy at Whole Foods.

Papaya, acorn squash, ginger, star fruit, kiwi, asparagus, bok choy, mango, butternut squash and fennel are all new and exciting foods I've grown to love since going gluten free. My "limited" choices opened my eyes up to the limitless possibilities these wonderful foods contained. Enjoy your GF gardening journey!