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Showing posts from March, 2018

A Baker's Dozen of Gluten Free Flour Tips

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Gluten gets all the glory in baking, but many other components of dough are equally, if not more important in baking.  For this post, I want to remind you that all the words we use to describe pieces of flours, such as gluten, starch, and more technically, mucilage and oligosaccharides... these are all collections of different components in flour, not monolithic single chemicals that we can write down as a formula or draw a picture of.  We could probably make a model of a gliadin molecule found in one variety of wheat and even write out its formula, but it would be different than a secalin molecule found in a variety of rye... yet both are 'gluten.'  Such mysteries we will delve into today.

Because I'm not rich enough to go out and buy every type of flour and test it, nor do I have the stamina for such an undertaking, I'll have to limit my personal comments to flours I've used.  Bu there are others who have been baking gluten free for years and between their descr…

Research - NCGS Review says gluten sensitivity may be an innate immune response

This one is hot off the press.  Three days ago, a review was published summarizing what we know so far about Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS).  The most important conclusion, I think, is that NCGS is immune-mediated. Although we don't know exactly what part of the immune system is involved (not IgE, that would be anaphylaxis, not tTG, that would be celiac, etc..), we do know a few things.  For instance it is theorized that it activates an innate immune response.

That's a bit of an odd thing to say.  All responses are innate in my body, aren't they?  What does this mean exactly?  Two definitions:

From:  http://www.biology.arizona.edu/immunology/tutorials/immunology/page3.html
"Innate immunity Innate immunity refers to nonspecific defense mechanisms that come into play immediately or within hours of an antigen's appearance in the body. These mechanisms include physical barriers such as skin, chemicals in the blood, and immune system cells that attack foreign…

Being 'Glutened' - What Happens

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What if I told you that from now until forever, every time you eat food with 'an ingredient'  in it, you'll feel sick for roughly a week, and not just sick, but unable to do normal work, not even basic housework or answering phones at the office?  What if this 'something' was only lightly regulated, so that food manufacturers wouldn't have to tell you, that food they sold you was contaminated with the ingredient.  But they could advertise (on an honor system) that their food doesn't contain 'it' and charge you a premium for its absence?  What if the ingredient was a staple of society's food system and could be hidden in almost any food under dozens of alternate names, making identification difficult? The 'ingredient' I'm talking about is gluten, and for about 1.5 billion people worldwide, this is a good description of their relationship with gluten.


That might seem like a large number.  It is. The world population right now is 7.6 bi…

Gluten Free Pizza Dough Accidental

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A week ago I made some gum-free gluten free rolls for St. Patrick's Day.  I reserved some of the stretchy dough and made this amazing pizza crust pictured above.    I've been using this cheese because I'm new to GF and I'm being extra careful to only eat things I can verify are gluten free, and cheese is a tough one to find.  It makes a decent replacement for shredded mozzarella.  Choose whatever toppings you like, though.

►  First make the dough, as for the rolls recipe above.  Unlike most pizza dough, this one is a quickbread.  If you decide to make half of a recipe, make sure you weight the flours and use exactly half. If you want to store it, that's ok, just store it for a few days in the fridge.  I've never tried freezing it at this stage (see below).

🎯  "OK I made the dough, how much dough do I use?"  - this was a large handful for me, and my hands are big. The result was about 10 inches, stretched out. If you use this quick method, you'l…

Vitamin D - Old News, Right?

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Chances are, you've already heard that there's a rash of Vitamin D deficiency.  But did you know it's partly because a math error caused a large underestimate of how much we need every day?  Did you know that the debate for how much we need daily ranges from 1000 IU, to 10,000 IU?  Here are some annotated links that may help you find the right dose for you.


In my experience, D2 and D3 aren't the same.  I take both of them and that helps me stay above 50 in my Vitamin D tests.  When your skin makes vitamin D, it's a range of hormones that are made, not just one thing.  Hormone is the correct term to describe Vitamin D.  Butrealistically there are only three options for improving Vitamin D status:  food/supplements, tanning booths, and sunshine. 

You might not know that liver disease and belly fat are negative outcomes of Vitamin D deficiency. This is important because as my liver struggled more, it became obvious that I couldn't get much benefit from sunlight o…

Lunch and Chat - GFD vs Celiac Safe

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My husband said something interesting about gluten free, so I thought I'd share it with you.  For months, he's been embroiled in the same gluten free difficulties as I have been.  Products and even meats still fool us, most recently a Picnic Ham that turned out to be glazed with gluten ingredients.  We've "avoided gluten" before, but never to the Celiac standard and the difference is huge.  Also the results are different and much better.

He often stops on the way home from work to pick something up, and usually doesn't need my hints to know what we need.  He said there's a difference between "gluten free" and "Celiac safe."  Normally, a person with a new Celiac diagnosis is told that they need a gluten free diet, and often they receive dietician advice on how to follow it, covered by insurance.  I haven't tried to get a dietician officially through insured healthcare, it might be possible, but so far we have been on our own.  We d…

Flora Gardening - Bringing Beans Back to Our Lives (Safely)

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I love beans!  But they're FODMAPS and usually hurt me.  When mixed with the right umami flavors and spices, beans can be divine and satisfying. I've been missing them.  When suddenly introduced into a diet, beans can cause extreme pain and agony in some people with gut problems.  Even healthy people experience gas with beans, but those of us with a gut issue often find beans difficult or impossible to eat.  I'd given up on beans and it wasn't until I abandoned gluten that my body felt strong enough to give beans a try again.  I ate an entire 16-ounce can of beans yesterday (no pain) and I'll show you how I got there.
Before you start, make sure you haven't had a "glutened" reaction in at least a week, and don't start this unless you've been feeling well for at least a week.  If you can tolerate probiotics, start with eating a bit of probiotic yogurt, sauerkraut, or non-dairy kefir, and add the probiotics when mentioned below.  Otherwise, you…

Being a Better Gluten Free Community Citizen

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Sometimes I encounter people who are convinced that Celiac is the only valid reason to adopt the Gluten Free diet.  It's especially bad if the GFD is used in the context of weight loss.  But what if, gluten does more damage than just ruin the small intestines of the estimated 1% of people with Celiac?  What if gluten worsens a lot of problems that are still called "minor" problems by health officials (IBS, ME/CFS, Migraines, POTS, Lyme, Q Fever, PCOS, Metabolic Syndrome,  Fibro and more)?  Why do so many people, even others on the Gluten Free Diet (GFD) react badly to the sudden popularity of the GFD? What if you don't have a Celiac Disease diagnosis? Should you abandon the GFD?    
As the gluten free diet gains popularity, there are increasingly strident warnings that it can be unhealthy, that it is a limited diet, and that "amateurs" joining the "fad" will make life difficult for Celiacs who need the diet.  But are any of these charges (and oth…

Research - Breast Milk Contains Gliadin (Gluten)

I've found only a few studies on this, but this is the latest one I could find on Pubmed and it discusses the subject as if it's well known already.  I find it interesting because other researchers are doing work to try and reduce the rate of childhood Celiac disease by finding the correct timing for introduction of gluten to babies.  Finding the "right time" to introduce gluten is moot if the mother's breast milk already contains gliadin, and the child is breast fed.

Presence of high levels of non-degraded gliadin in breast milk from healthy mothers.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9867098 
Scand J Gastroenterol. 1998 Nov;33(11):1186-92.
Chirdo FG1, Rumbo M, Añón MC, Fossati CA.
Author information  -  Center for the Investigation and Development of Cryotechnology of Foods, Dept. of Immunology, School of Exact Sciences, UNLP, La Plata, Argentina.

Excerpt:
CONCLUSIONS:  Very high levels of gliadin were detected in milk samples from healthy mothers on an unres…

Officially not allergic to the Big 8

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It doesn't mean I have no reaction to gluten, it just isn't IgE related (IgE mediated allergy is what causes anaphylactic shock). This is a huge load off my mind.  Big thank you to RequestATest for making this easy to do.  On the other hand, it really should've been covered by insurance and it wasn't.  Do you think I should file a claim?

Update:  It turns out I'm reacting to milk, probably milk protein because lactaid doesn't make any difference.  The question is, how?  I've seen some research that says casein can produce a reaction in people with Celiac genes as well.  For the moment I'm assuming that's the problem, but there isn't much good information on it. Reach out to me if you know more about it. Thanks!

Gluten Free Gum Free Four Leaf Clover Topsy Turvy Dinner Rolls Recipe

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In honor of St. Patrick's Day, maybe the funnest day of the year (after Christmas)...  I present to you... Gluten Free, Gum Free, Four Leaf Clover Topsy Turvy Dinner Rolls... (say that 5 times fast!) These gluten free dinner rolls smell like bread, make a hollow sound if you tap them like bread, and I daresay, have the texture of bread... and with no gums.  That's not a sacrifice, this recipe doesn't need gums to be fluffy, substantial and believably bready.

The four leaf clover design is even more pronounced on the bottoms, and if you cut them in half, you get two croutons on which to melt cheese for a festive look... Perhaps when you're making Irish onion soup.

Announcement:  For this weekend only, it's Irish onion soup ...on loan from Brittany.  On Monday, it reverts to French Onion Soup.  


 Tips for success (first, please read the recipe through before starting): 
This recipe is a bit involved, with the hydration time, it's about a 2 and 1/2 hour project,…

Research - NCGS or FODMAPS (objection, your honor)

An old mentor of mine once said that the measure of a person is when they say no.  That's when you see the real person.  Agreeableness is fun and it's friendly, but sometimes we have to create definition in our lives by disagreeing with a few things.  I disagree that NCGS (non celiac gluten sensitivity) is only about FODMAPS (short carbohydrates that usually show up as "fiber" on food labels, but can trigger IBS).  From my experience of scientists, they love debate, so let's get to it, in the proper spirit of discourse.

The concept of FODMAPS was a godsend when I first discovered it, and it took a long time to memorize the lists of foods that were safe for me.  However, problems continued until I finally gave up all gluten containing foods, plus cross-contaminated foods.  There is an inherent problem with trying to separate FODMAP sensitivity from gluten sensitivity:  Wheat, barley and rye are all high in FODMAPs.  I'm not the only one talking about this.

Bac…