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Gluten Free Food Diet - How To

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  • Gluten Free Food Diet - How To

    Last year the US government came up with regulations on exactly how much wheat gluten would be "allowed" in foods labeled: "Gluten Free". The page over at the FDA that had that exact information posted on it mysteriously disappeared. To be more precise when I tried to access it recently I got a message saying it was missing. So to sum it up processed foods labeled; "Gluten Free" may or may not be.

    I have a problem with gluten. So the following is what has been working for me. I am not a health care provider. Anyone who has a problem with gluten or suspects they may should contact their properly licensed professional health care provider for information on they should do about it. Personally this did not work for me. I had two different sets of tests done by licensed Doctors and was assured, according to the results of the tests, I did not have a gluten problem. I stopped eating wheat gluten and the symptoms almost immediately subsided.

    The purpose of this thread is to provide information on Gluten Free Foods and how I and hopefully others have tackled the problem. These are things that have worked for me. They may not work for everyone.

    One of the problems with a gluten free food diet is taste. That is because wheat flour is used as an anti caking agent in many prepared spice mixes and foods. To keep foods from becoming too bland and tasteless these are a few of the things I have done which helped.

    Salsa: It adds a big punch of flavor. So far I have not had a problem with the brands I have purchased. I just got through planting the tomatoes and onions in the garden. The peppers and cilantro should be in shortly. This fall there hopefully be a good number of home canned jars of salsa in the pantry.

    Onions and Garlic: These add flavor. I like to add them to vegetables especially mashed potatoes. The commercial minced garlic in a jar has worked for me so far. No I don't always want to or have the time to chop up or crush fresh.

    Peppers: Like salsa they can add a lot of flavor. I love to add roasted peppers to humus. When working with the hot ones I ware exam gloves and avoid touching my eyes, mouth and any other sensitive parts of my anatomy.

    Black pepper and other whole fresh spices: I am learning to grind and mix my own. That way I know what is in them. I am now using a marble mortar and pastel. I have broken several metal manual spice grinders. If anyone knows a good source for one please post! I grow and dry some fresh spices in my garden. I have found some ethnic grocery stores that have a nice selection of dried whole spices at a decent price. They are not cheap.

    Pickles and olives: These are making an appearance on the table more and more. As summer progress I hope to add more varieties to the pantry. So far I have not had a problem with the commercial ones I have tried.

    Indian Curry: Recently I found a brand of Indian Curries that are wonderful over rice, labeled "Gluten Free" that I have not had a problem with. YUM! Also taking with the owners of a local Indian restaurant many of the offerings on their buffet table are gluten free and made from scratch. It appears that many of these recipes do not use wheat flour as a thickener. They use a nut flour. He told me he is getting more and more customers that are asking for gluten free. He is happy to oblige.

    Trying to find a substitute for wheat flour to use as a thickener can be a challenge. I have had success with the following.

    Corn Starch: This is an old stand by and works. It appears that corn starch does not have the same dietary effect that wheat gluten does. I don't go overboard with it.

    Kudzu Root Starch: Yes this is starch extracted from the invasive vine that is in the process of devouring the southeastern US. It can be found in whole food stores and a little goes a long way. It is usually chunky and the chunks should be gently crushed back into powder or smaller pieces before using. It is expensive.

    Rice and chick pea flour: I plan to try these and post the results. They can also be found at some ethnic grocery stores.

    Nut flour: I have recently learned from the owner of an Indian restaurant that he uses nut flour as a thickening agent in his wonderful curries. I plan to find out which one, give this a try and report the results.

    Arrow Root: The local Amish stores carry it. It works but I don't use it often.

    Store bought munchies and snacks:

    Corn Chips: (Some have wheat flour so I do read the label and take note if symptoms show up).

    Potato Chips: Not the flavored ones. Plain or salted vegetable chips have also worked for me.

    Rice Based Cereals: I look for Gluten Free and hope it is.

    GORP aka trail mix:(Good old raisins and peanuts) I mix my own from died fruits and nuts from sources I trust.

    Dried Fruit: I make sure it does not have a coating, sugary or otherwise. It is not too hard for me to dry fruit in my dehydrator while it is in season and is cheaper.

    Canned Fruit: So far commercially canned fruit has not been a problem. I plan to dry, can and brandy a lot more this year than I did last.

    Fresh Fruit and raw veggies: A nice quick snack.
    We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.

  • #2
    Re: Gluten Free Food Diet - How To

    Eating out
    Eating outside the home can be challenging for those with food allergies, sensitivities and or calices disease. Some with gluten problems may find they also have a problem with dairy products. This can make normal activities like eating out with friends or family or ordering in fast food a major issue. I have notices that even in eateries advertizing "Gluten Free" entrees there is a caveat on the menu that reads something like: "We do our best to ensure that the Gluten Free entrees are gluten free. However it is possible that despite our best efforts, cross contamination can occur."

    My first weapon in dealing with this issue is common sense. If a pizzeria or restaurant advertizes "Gluten Free Pizza" it is time to be observant and ask a few questions. First is the area where the GF food prepared and cooked segregated from the non-GF foods? If there is a pale haze of flour hanging in the air, my bet is that it probably doesn't matter if there is a segregated GF area or not. It is also time for me to leave the premises.

    I have had luck with local Chinese and Indian restaurant. The owner of the Indian restaurant is especially sensitive to those with Gluten issues and he is finding a growing customer base there. In other places I make sure I tell my waitress; "Please let the chef know; no gluten. No bread. No wheat products." I have still ended up with toast on my breakfast plate.

    The following meal list I have found to be relatively safe for me. There are no absolutes. What "safe" at one dinner can cause a reaction at another. What is safe today may not be safe tomorrow, if a chef makes a minor change to a recipe. What works for me may not work for someone else. I have made it a habit to tell the wait staff that I have "wheat/bread allergies".

    Fruit juice, eggs, bacon coffee with real half and half or cream. Avoid: powdered creamers, sausage, scrapple (savory meat pudding). Prepared ground meat products may have bread crumbs as a filler.
    Cereal: puffed rice, polenta and grits (processed corn) are on my OK list. I have found some commercially produced gluten free rice based cereals work.
    Fresh fruit and yogurt usually works out well. Once and a while it can cause a problem.

    A burger on a bed of lettuce, unseasoned French fries or chips and a pickle.
    Egg salad, ham salad or chicken salad on a bed of lettuce, is usually OK. I ask about gluten content. Sometimes it helps.

    Salad: no croutons, no cheese and no dressing, I ask for oil and vinegar on the side. Unbreaded fish broiled in butter, plain grilled chicken salad, plain boiled or steamed vegetables(no sauce), a plain baked potato. Avoid coated or marinated chicken.

    Extended family meals and parties

    I bring my own food and hope the hosts or hostess can appreciate the issue.
    For buffet h'orderves I look for are fresh fruit and vegetable platters without any dressing. Salted potato chips are ok for me. I avoid flavored chips because flour could be used as an anti caking agent or to help the powdered flavoring stick to the chip. For the main course I look for plain roasted meats, steamed or boiled vegetables with no sauce or coating, baked potatoes or rice. Dessert: mixed fresh fruit, gluten free sherbet, fudge.
    We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


    • #3
      Re: Gluten Free Food Diet - How To

      Finding a new normal
      Accepting living with gluten sensitivities as the new normal takes time. Adjusting a live style to it doesn't happen overnight. Some substitutions are tolerable and make it doable.

      Commercial Gluten Free bread
      I use it. It does not have the same texture or taste or mouth feel. It costs two to three times the price of regular bread. A women with celiac told me the secret; "Toast it.". Toasting or using it as French toast worked. I will not buy gluten free bread at small bakeries whose main business is to sell wheat based baked goods. The risk of cross contamination in that situation is one that I am personally not willing to take. Some are cashing in on the gluten free "trend". Flour dust particles can hang in the air for a for a long time and in the process of baking it can be easy to get them airborne.

      Bread crumbs
      Rolled oats have been used as a substitute for bread crumbs in recipes such as meat loaf and ham loaf. Some people with gluten sensitivities can tolerate oats. I can't. I use cooked rice or crumbs made from a loaf of gluten free bread I can tolerate instead. One thing I haven't tried yet is using crushed gluten free corn flakes for coating chicken. It is on the agenda.

      Gluten free quinoa pasta worked and IMHO tasted better than the corn based pasta.

      Prepared foods are mostly a thing of the past. Cooking from scratch is now the rule. This way I know what is in the food. There are a few brands that I trust but they have been discovered by trial and error, lots of trials and errors.

      Starch substitutes
      Quinoa, rice, potatoes (sweet and regular) and corn have become my dietary substitutes for wheat products. I found a recipe for using quinoa as a substitute for bulgur wheat in taboli that looks promising.

      Breakfast Cereal
      Puffed rice, polenta/cornmeal mush and grits (processed corn) are on my OK list. I have found some commercially produced gluten free rice based cereals work. Whole grain quinoa, well rinsed to get the natural coating of saponins off and boiled like rice works for me as a good substitute for oatmeal.

      Snack substitutes
      Potato and GF corn chips have become my substitute for pita bread with humus and pretzels with dip. fresh fruit, popcorn and trail mix work well.

      Lunch meat
      GF lunch meat is commercially available but again it is more expensive and it is a significant distance to drive to a store that sells it. Humus has become a staple in our home, used in place of lunch meat. Home made ham and chicken salad are easy to make from leftover cooked meat. Egg salad is not just for the week after Easter Sunday. Nut butters may also work for some but label reading is a must and a call to the manufacturer may be appropriate to double check.

      Ice cream
      I love ice cream and sometimes I suffer the consequences. Sometimes for me it is worth it. There are soy and rice based ice cream substitutes and some of them I have found to be very acceptable substitutes. Again they are expensive and the stores that sell them are too far for the average grocery run. When I go to these stores I like to bring a cooler with ice and stock up. Some commercial sherbet I've found to be gluten free and an acceptable desert substitute. The Flavored water ice found in my local grocery stores have been gluten free and tasted decent.

      Grape leaves
      Dolmas (spiced meat and rice wrapped in grape leaves) are relatively easy to make. They make a nice grab and go food, h'orderve or side dish. Grape leaves for dolmas can usually be found in middle eastern grocery stores. They can also be grown. All grape leaves are not created equal. A kind Armenian women told me to use Concord grape leaves or look for a grape that is green on both sides of the leaf. If the underside of the leaf is whitish the leaf will be bitter and don't use it. The leaves should be picked when they are young but big enough to use, blanched in hot water for a minute or two and then rinsed in cold water and immediately frozen in packs of about twenty. Dolmas are available commercially canned but I prefer home made.

      Commercially available gluten free canned soups
      The hunt is on. I am still looking for an acceptable brand. I have tried one. It was very expensive for the serving size, was pretty tasteless and did not have much substance in it despite the pretty picture on the label.
      We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


      • #4
        Re: Gluten Free Food Diet - How To

        I came across this link for gluten free recipes. With the holidays almost here I could not resist posting it. The cakes and cookies depend on nut and bean flours so I suspect that they will have a much heavier consistency than similar recipes using wheat flour. If they taste as good as they look Christmas baking may come back into style at our home.

        Below is one of the recipes at the site. The link is at the bottom of the page. At the there are pictures to compliment the step by step instructions. - AC

        Wednesday, November 5, 2014
        Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

        Chocolate and Cake. Are there any two things that go better together than these? The rich, sweet taste of cocoa-infused deliciousness, combined with that light, fluffy, sponge-like treat sooth our souls and melt in our mouths! Really, how could we ever survive without chocolate cake?

        Now, imagine if you will, a thick, rich slice of dark chocolate cake, topped with the perfect, creamy layer of dark chocolate frosting, sliced up and ready for your enjoyment. Oh the taste, oh the pleasure! But what you can't see is the mouth-watering, celiac-friendly secret ingredient that not only gives this cake a delicious extra flavor, but makes the whole thing completely gluten-free! That's right, this cake is made with our amazing Hazelnut Flour! Are you ready for a slice now? Grab your apron, it's time to bake up some Hazelnut Chocolate Cake!

        1 cup Cacao Chips
        3/4 cup Butter
        6 Eggs, separated
        2/3 cup Sugar
        1 1/2 cups Honeyville Hazelnut Flour


        1 1/4 cup Cacao Chips
        2/3 cup Heavy Cream

        Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

        In a sauce pan melt butter and cacao chips over low heat until a creamy, rich-colored chocolate sauce appears. Remove from heat.

        In a medium bowl, add egg yolks and sugar and beat until thick and creamy. Add chocolate sauce and hazelnut flour and beat until fully combined.

        In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks begin to form.


        Add egg whites to batter and fold in until fully combined.

        Pour batter into an 8" circular cake pan.

        Bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes. Remove, and allow to cool in a pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.

        While cake is cooling, make icing by melting cacao chips and heavy cream in sauce pan until a thick icing forms.

        Pour icing over top of cake, evenly distributing with a spatula, then allow to stand 10 minutes to set up before slicing and serving.

        This cake is a soul-satisfying experience! The rich taste of dark chocolate, combined with the amazing aroma, texture, and taste of hazelnut make this cake simply mouth-watering and an experience you can't pass up! Best of all, it's gluten-free, so this cake can be enjoyed by most every friend and family member out there!
        We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


        • #5
          Re: Gluten Free Food Diet - How To

          I just had to add some of my knowledge to this thread (which I absolutely love, by the way).
          My children have FPIES (and since I breastfeed, so do I). The offending triggers are milk, soy, gluten and most grains, rice, oats and most beans. I therefore, cannot use most commercial gluten free products. These are my tricks:

          MILLET!!!!! I love this grain, it is so versatile, and is a bit more mild than quinoa.
          Sorghum is one I have been meaning to try, but it has been sitting idly in my cupboard because the cook time is a bit much.

          Corn meal. I use this instead of breadcrumbs. It is cheaper than "glutino" which is actually just corn meal and sugar. I buy large packages and season according to the type of recipe. My meatballs (and I am hardcore italian, mind you) turn out fabulous. It just takes a little bit of getting used to as it is denser than breadcrumbs.

          Guacamole and mayo. I use these whenever I need a creamy condiment. Beans can make a great creamy sub too.

          Mix your own gluten free flour. Since I can't do rice flour, a good rule of thumb is a 70/30 protein/starch mix. I don't bake much, but I do a lot of dredging and coating, and I like a millet/tapioca mix with a pinch of baking powder. I also use arrowroot starch and sweet sorghum flour.

          I have tons of other tricks for dairy and soy subs, but I just wanted to add these to the gluten free arsenal! Happy eating!!!


          • #6
            Re: Gluten Free Food Diet - How To

            Cheap gluten free breakfast cereal
            Recently has a "DO'H" moment. Cheap gluten free breakfast cereal: popcorn. We pop our own. It takes a few minuets and about $.50 of unpopped popcorn produces more than enough breakfast cereal for a week.

            Hot chocolate
            Almond, soy or rice milk
            coco powder
            a pinch of salt
            a little bit of real vanilla extract

            I throw my hot chocolate together on the stove as the family troops in from the cold. It is done to taste without much measuring. Sometimes I add a little water to make it go farther.

            What has helped the quality of my diet and life are left overs. Without being able to depend on store bought processed foods and eating out being expensive I have come more and more to depend on cook ahead meals. Chicken and vegetable broth are staples in my kitchen they can be turned into quick soup with leftover meat and frozen mixed vegetable or used to enrich rice or other starches and vegetable dishes. Soups and stews are becoming a bigger part of my diet especially with the colder weather. Peas and beans are less expensive sources of protein. They make great soups and bacon, ham and salt pork can be added for richer flavor rather than using the meat as a significant source of protein. Coming home after work and being able to grab something out of the fridge and just heat it can be a blessing. Some evenings I do not have the time, energy or ambition to cook from scratch.
            We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


            • #7
              This source contained information I was unaware of such as: wheat flour being used to coat frozen hamburger patties and gf foods fried in grease with non gf foods (restaurant fryer) can become contaminated with gluten. I have to admit to feeling particularly stupid for not recognizing the potential danger in restaurant fryers. It could explain a few things... As to the suggestions for GF commercially prepared foods listed here? I would proceed with caution. Not all the foods listed below are "safe" for me as I have other intolerances and may not be "safe" for everyone.. A call to the corporate office may or may not help.

              I have also found that all corn flakes and corn chips are not created equal some contain malt (processed from barley) or wheat flour. It pays to read labels. - AC

              Fair use.
              Gluten Free Living
              by EmmettO

              A lot of times you start to explain to people that you can't have wheat products and they think you mean you can't eat whole wheat bread. After it dawns on them that you can't eat any normal bread products they then say "What can you eat?". So here's a safe list. Your list may be more restrictive due to other allergies or lifestyle choices.

              Bear in mind that how these foods are cooked can make them unsafe. For instance fish is safe but breaded fish would not be. You also have to be very careful about food cooked in a fryer. If they are used to cook other non-GF foods, they should be left out.

              I'm only including things that may be common in anyone's kitchen. This is partly to help with finding foods you and family might be familiar with.

              Food groups that are safe (Please note these foods may be "safe" for the author but not necessarily everyone else -Amish Country)

              Starches that are safe
              Potato (baked mashed etc)

              Common cereals that are safe
              Fruity and coca pebbles
              Rice chex are now safe

              Take out food that is safe (as of this writing)
              Burger King Fries (they have their own dedicated fryer and don't coat with wheat starch)
              Burger King Milk Shakes
              Wendy's Burgers without the bun (Fresh patties means they're not dusted with wheat starch to separate them.)
              Wendy's Baked Potato
              Most take out salads (croutons are normally in their own pouch) but watch out for the dressing
              Hot Dogs without the bun are usually safe

              Red Bridge beer made with Amaranth and is labeled Gluten free
              Wine (all except possibly spiced wines)
              Potato Vodka

              When going to a restaurant ask if they have a gluten free menu. Many are starting to, some have menu items that are marked gluten free.

              Update. We recently ran across Dinty Moore Beef Stew and found out it's gluten free!
              We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


              • #8
                The following is my recipe for semi-home made BBQ sauce. I use spaghetti sauce because I think it tastes better than ketchup. I like to shred left over cooked meats like roast pork, chicken or turkey, mix them in with the BBQ sauce and heat. This makes a nice quick meal over rice. Most of the rest of the family prefers hamburger buns. This recipe is usually tossed together by taste so amounts may have to be adjusted. - AC

                GF BBQ Sauce
                1 quart jar or left over GF spaghetti sauce
                1/2 cup brown sugar (dark preferred but light brown will work)
                2 tsp mustard
                2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (I can tolerate Lea & Perrins)
                1 or 2 tsp red wine vinegar
                1 clove garlic
                1 onion
                olive oil as needed
                1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
                1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
                A few drops of GF hot sauce (optional)

                Dice onion and saut? in olive oil until translucent. Add the crushed garlic clove and heat for just a little bit. Over low to medium heat and in the same pan or pot stir in the rest of the ingredients. Adjust to taste.
                We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Redcass View Post
                  I have tons of other tricks for dairy and soy subs, but I just wanted to add these to the gluten free arsenal! Happy eating!!!
                  Thank you for your controbution Redcass and I hope we will be seeing more of your GF tricks in the future.
                  We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.


                  • #10
                    I am having problems with some supposedly gluten free foods. The result is more meals are being made from scratch or near scratch. Things that are becoming pantry staples are:
                    packages of mixed frozen vegetables
                    chicken/vegetable broth
                    gluten free sauces and spices
                    This can become almost instant soup, stir fry, curry or a casserole with the additions of rice, potatoes or GF pasta.

                    With the cold weather I have been keeping a pot warming on the stove for quick warn snacks whenever anyone gets peckish. Usually it is soup. Today it is turkey chili with black beans.

                    There is now Mom's (gluten free food) and everyone else's food in the house. This has brought some contention. Not everyone is getting their "favorites" as often as they were. Becoming a short order cook is not an answer to keeping everyone fed and happy. One thing that has worked well is making food a head. Stodges like casseroles, mac n cheese and lasagna are making a come back. Luckily these less expensive meals help to off set the expense of the whole foods and gluten free food for my diet. These meals also keep my family fed while I get a gluten free meal together.

                    2 pounds ground turkey
                    left over spaghetti sauce GF
                    1 can diced tomatoes GF
                    Chile spice GF
                    2 onions cleaned and chopped
                    1 red pepper cleaned and chopped
                    1 green pepper cleaned and chopped
                    1 can black beans (organic) GF
                    Olive oil
                    Salt to taste

                    Brown meat and set aside. Saute peppers and onions in olive oil with a pinch or two of salt until translucent, a little soft. Rinse black beans in colander. Put all ingredients in a large pot and simmer.

                    French toast substitute
                    We had company this morning who wanted French toast (poor knights). I was happy to oblige.Afterward I had a craving for French toast and not a piece of GF bread in the house. This is the recipe I came up with.

                    Left over cooked white rice 1/2 cup to a cup
                    2 eggs beaten
                    olive oil
                    maple syrup
                    scant pinch of cinnamon

                    Beat the eggs mix in rice and cinnamon and set aside. Heat a cast Iron pan and add some olive oil. Fry the rice egg mixture, flip once. Serve with maple syrup and butter. Next time I may add a drop or two of vanilla and try whizzing the rice and egg mixture in a blender to homogenize it a bit. It should also be fattened out somewhat in the pan. The rice clumped in the middle of the "toast" and spilled out when I cut it open. All in all it was a satisfying substitute for French toast and tasted like rice pudding.

                    On a food show I seem to remember Chef Mario Batali doing this recipe or something similar.
                    aged cheddar cheese cut into bite sized chunks
                    Drizzel honey over walnuts and cheeze and serve.

                    Baked Apples

                    walnuts chopped
                    brown sugar
                    Cinamon to taste

                    Mix all ingredients except apples and butter in a bowl. Scoop out the core of the apple and the black bits at the blosoom end. Stuff the apples with the nut mixture and put a pad of butter on top. I may try to cream the butter and sugar some time and see how that works. Bake the apples in a metal pan at 350 degrees until the apples are soft. Putting foil under the apple speeds clean up.
                    We were put on this earth to help and take care of one another.