Oct 20, 2012

The Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten-Free Rolls
Photo and recipe from: glutenfreegirl.com
You probably have friends who are on a "gluten-free" diet, I know I do. These people have celiac disease, which is genetic and is a surprisingly common autoimmune disorder, affecting one in every 100 people in the United States, that's 3 million Americans. This disease can begin at any time in a person’s life, but no one knows exactly what causes it to become active. It’s important to remember that celiac disease is NOT a food allergy. Some practitioners call it an allergy as a shorthand way to explain why those with a diagnosis need to avoid certain foods, but that description is both misleading and dangerous. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, a category of diseases in which the body’s immune system attacks itself. The immune system reacts to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, and related proteins found in rye and barley. When even the smallest amount of gluten enters the digestive system, it sets in motion a cascade of inflammatory processes. The immune system begins to attack the body’s own tissue, resulting in damage to the small intestine. Celiac disease is treated entirely by making the right changes to your diet.

If you are on a gluten-free diet, you know that there are so many products and foods out there that contain gluten that we tend to overlook! Once you become familiar and confident with reading a product label and knowing exactly what to avoid, it will be much easier and your choices will no longer seem so limited. There is some great information about hidden sources of gluten in the book, "Healthier Without Wheat," which I would recommend checking out at Amazon.com. There is also a website that lists the best gluten-free products and a gluten beware list which can be found at: http://www.dietsinreview.com/diet_column/03/best-gluten-free-products-and-a-gluten-beware-list/.

Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
San-J Gluten-Free
Tamari Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a staple in Asian cooking, especially here in Hawaii. Japanese soy sauces are primarily made with wheat and some component of soy. Therefore they are NOT gluten-free. I recently discovered "San-J Organic Gluten and Wheat Free Tamari Soy Sauce Platinum" that is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Association. It tastes exactly like regular soy sauce. You can buy this product on Amazon.com for $4.29 for a 10 ounce bottle. 
"The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen"
by Laura B. Russell

I also found this cookbook that I highly recommend if you like Asian food, but Asian food that is gluten-free. It's called "The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen", by writer Laura B. Russell, and is also available on Amazon.com for $15.63. 

More resources and products are coming out every day for celiac disease, and with the large consumer-packaged goods companies getting on-board, the gluten-free marketplace is evolving. As I become aware of these new products, I will add them to this list, so check back to this post.



'Ulu, Hawaiian Breadfruit
Read about breadfruit in my January, 2012 post

Naan flat bread,
made from gluten-free flour

Photo from celiac.com
Making Gluten-Free Flour From Breadfruit
'Ulu, as it is named in Hawaiian, was one of the few subsistence plants the Polynesians brought with them when they sailed to the Hawaiian Islands. It never became a staple food as it was on islands further south. Taro played that role. Even so, ulu's mythical origins, its fame in history, and its immense usefulness to islanders have made the tree an immortal symbol of Hawaii Nei. The breadfruit, Artocarpus altilis, is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family, and is commonly referred to as "loaves of bread on trees". Breadfruit also happens to be gluten-free! In Jamaica, chips are being made from breadfruit, dried and processed into gluten-free flour which is used to make pancakes, flat bread and tortillas. You can read about this new discovery at this website. Also in Haiti, a company called Signa-Haiti is actually selling breadfruit flour now, check out their website, they also have recipes. One other site to visit is www.celiac.com to read more about breadfruit flour. VERY INTERESTING, Hawaii should be doing this!

Gluten-Free Flour Mix
This gluten-free flour mix recipe from tasteofhome.com can be used in place of regular wheat flour in recipes for cakes, cookies, muffins, etc.
Ingredients:
2 cups white rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
2 tablespoons xanthan gum

Procedure:
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year. Yield: 3 cups.

Banana Bread That's Gluten-Free
Ingredients:
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped dates
4 large eggs
2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/2 cups brown rice flour*
1/2 cup sorghum flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped walnutsPreparation:

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour 1 cup boiling water over dates in a small bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Lightly beat eggs with a whisk in a large bowl. Whisk in bananas and next 3 ingredients until blended. Stir together brown rice flour and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Gently stir flour mixture into egg mixture, stirring just until blended. Gently stir in melted butter, walnuts, and dates. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9- × 5-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Makes 1 loaf.

*Note: Brown rice flour and sorghum flour can be found in the organic section of supermarkets.
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