Wednesday, June 29, 2016

GF Flour and Tips

I'm a big fan of using gluten-free flours in place of regular flour, and even whole wheat flour. Not because gluten is inherently a bad thing, but because many gluten-free flours are lower in carbs, higher in protein, fiber, and heart-smart fats, and have a lower glycemic index.
Essentially, more of the stuff we want, and less of what we don't want – including gluten, for those with celiac disease, wheat allergies, or sensitivity to wheat or gluten.
If you're switching out your regular all-purpose flour for something more nutritious, though, make sure it's really worth it.
Almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal, chickpea flour, and black bean and white bean flours are some of my favorite gluten-free flour replacers.
Other gluten-free flours, however, like rice flour, arrowroot flour, and tapioca flour really aren't any better than regular all-purpose flour – and in many cases they have more carbs, with the same – or less – protein.
But simply buying gluten-free flours is one thing; knowing what to do with these flours can be the challenge.
Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, rye and barley. It gives dough its elasticity, and is also part of what makes bread rise, giving texture, structure, and shape to baked goods.
Which is exactly why cooking and baking with gluten-free flours can pose quite a challenge. It's incredibly easy – and not uncommon – to end up with a dry, crumbly product on our first attempt with gluten-free baking.
But with just a little know-how and a few strategic ingredient tweaks, cooking and baking with gluten-free flours can be relatively simple and deliciously rewarding.
We turned to the experts for their advice, including the folks at Bob's Red Mill, one of the largest producers of flours and grains, including a full range of gluten-free flours, and one of my favorite gluten-free baking experts, Carolyn Ketchum of
Ketchum is a talented baker and blogger, and, since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2010, she has become quite the expert in all things low-carb, including gluten-free baking and cooking. She is currently working on her first low carb, gluten-free cookbook, due out in fall 2017.
Here's a summary of their tips for a beginners guide to gluten-free baking, including seven good-for-you gluten-free flour alternatives to try, and how to use them.
Almond flour
Ketchum considers almond flour to be one of the most versatile low carb ingredients. And she's quick to point out that almond flour and almond meal are two very different products.
"Almond flour should be so finely ground that you can make beautiful, fine-textured cakes that rival their wheat-based counterparts," says Ketchum.  "Almond meal (which is less pricey) is better for products that don't need a fine texture, like muffins and breads. And you don't even have to buy almond meal; you can make it yourself with a food processor."
When it comes to substituting almond flour for wheat flour, there is no guaranteed formula, says Ketchum.
Almond flour is ground almonds, so it's full of fat and moisture, entirely without gluten, and not nearly as powdery, fine and dry as wheat flour.  So there are a variety of factors to account for when adapting a wheat-based recipe to a gluten-free recipe with almond flour. 
For almond flour baking newbies, Ketchum recommends sticking with tried and true recipes for a while, to get a sense of how almond flour "behaves" in baking.
For those who are looking to experiment, however, she suggests using more flour than the original wheat flour recipe calls for – up to 50 percent more flour – and cutting back on the liquid by as much as 50 percent – to account for almond flour's lower density and natural moisture content.  She also often adds whey protein to make up for the lack of gluten, and to give the finished product more structure, allowing it to rise and stay risen.
Ketchum cautions that almond flour batter will almost always be thicker than batter for wheat-based recipes.  But resist the urge to thin it out with liquids, she says, or we're likely to end up with a soggy mess.
Coconut flour
Coconut flour is very finely ground dried coconut, with the natural sweetness and richness of coconut.
"Coconut flour is a very useful low carb and gluten-free ingredient," says Ketchum, "but it's a strange beast that behaves in strange ways.  If you attempt to treat it like wheat flour, it will taunt you out of pure spite." Or, as the folks at Bob's Red Mill put it, baking with coconut flour is a "unique experience."
One of the highest-fiber flours, coconut flour is powdery and extremely dense, and it "soaks up liquids like nobody's business," says Ketchum. Coconut flour recipes also require more eggs, and often other binders like xanthan gum, to help keep the final product intact.
Her recommendations for modifying wheat-based recipes for coconut flour are essentially the opposite of what she does for almond flour:  Use less coconut flour – as much as 50% less than wheat flour – and more eggs and other liquids. As a general rule of thumb, Bob's Red Mill team suggests an equal ratio of liquid to coconut flour.
And if you don't like the taste of coconut, you might want to try another flour, as baked goods can still taste pretty coconutty, especially if they don't have other strong flavors to mask it, like cinnamon, chocolate, or savory herbs and spices.
If you're not looking to remake an entire recipe, but just boost the fiber and nutritional value a bit, coconut flour can be used to replace up to 20% of the wheat flour called for in a recipe – just remember to add an equal amount of liquid, as well. 
Garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
With one-third less carbohydrates than regular whole wheat flour, garbanzo bean flour adds creaminess along with a sweet rich flavor. It can be used to replace up to 25 percent of regular flour in baked goods, and it also works well to thicken soups, sauces, and gravies.
Black bean flour
A good source of fiber, black bean flour can be used as a base for black bean soups and dips, or added to veggie burgers, enchiladas, burritos, tacos and more. Because of its rich, earthy flavor, black bean flour works best in savory recipes. If you're using it for sweets or baked goods, try pairing it with bolder flavors like chocolate, mocha, or chipotle.
White bean flour
Similar to black bean flour, white bean flour can be used as a thickener for sauces and gravies, as well as a base for soups and dips. Its lighter color and milder flavor give it more versatility than black bean flour, however, and it works well in both sweet and savory recipes from flatbreads to crackers to pancakes or cookies. You can replace about 1/8 of the flour called for in a recipe with white bean flour, to boost the fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Flaxseed meal
Flaxseed meal is rich in magnesium, fiber and heart-smart fats, and is one of the top food sources of lignans, which can have a protective effect against cancer.  Add flaxseed meal to breads, pancakes, muffins, bars, cookies and other baked goods for an extra nutritional punch and a mild nutty flavor.
While flaxseed meal is not a replacer for 100 percent of a flour, you can use flax meal to replace up to 25 percent of the flour in a recipe.  Flaxseed meal can also be used as an egg replacer in recipes for baked goods, using one tablespoon of flaxseed meal and three tablespoons of liquid to replace each egg called for in the recipe.
Commercial gluten-free flour blend
If you're new to gluten-free cooking, and experimenting with a variety of gluten-free flours is overwhelming, you can always try a store-bought gluten-free blend like Bob's Red Mill Low Carb Baking Mix to eliminate much of the guesswork – and cut carbs by nearly 50 percent.
With a blend of gluten-free flours and grains like oat bran, wheat bran, soy flour, rye flour and flaxseed meal, Bob's Red Mill Low Carb-Baking Mix can be used cup-for-cup to replace all-purpose flour in most recipes, both sweet and savory.
More gluten-free baking tips:
In addition to gluten free flours to experiment with, Ketchum also recommends keeping a stash of xanthan gum or psyllium husk on hand.
Xanthan gum is used in many gluten-free recipes, improving the texture of baked goods. It acts as an emulsifier and a binder, and adds volume to gluten free breads, cookies, and cakes.
Ground psyllium husk, often used as a fiber supplement, can be used as a substitute for xanthan gum.
Weighing versus measuring.  Gluten-free powders are often more finely-ground and powdery, making them a bit more challenging to measure with measuring cups. Using a kitchen scale to weigh flours is a more precise approach, especially for recipes where small deviations can be significant.
And finally, be patient.  "Please, please let your baked goods cool completely," says Ketchum. "It can be tempting to start cutting them up soon after they are baked, but try to resist, or you can wind up with a heap of crumbs.  The texture and cohesiveness of gluten-free baked goods always improves upon cooling and sitting.  Crackers, cookies and tart crusts will crisp up better and breads and muffins will hold together better when left to sit for an hour or two."

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Quick Fixes for Getting Glutened

Alternative Antidotes for When You're Accidentally Glutened

After realizing I’d accidentally eaten gluten, my first thought was, should I throw up?
Celiac experts don’t recommend intentionally tossing your cookies, in part because you’re unlikely to get “all of the gluten up,” says Burkhart, a former ER doctor. But the idea of vomiting isn’t totally harebrained. “Syrup of ipecac was once used in the ER to induce vomiting when poisons were ingested.”
We queried GF&M readers about how they get through a glutening episode. In addition to extra sleep and fluids, many turn to various teas, probiotics and other intriguing antidotes. Here we list the top 9 quick fixes. None has been vetted in scientific studies but most are very safe, says Burkhart. In fact, she generally gives the green light to her patients when they ask about these modalities. Just be sure anything you’re taking by mouth is gluten-free. You don’t want to add to your misery with more inadvertent gluten.


1. Tea

Ginger and peppermint teas can help with nausea and cramping and they also help keep you hydrated. Slippery elm tea is purported to coat the gut lining and promote intestinal healing.

2. Bone Broth

Whether it’s the bit of salt, the warm liquid (warm liquid is better tolerated) or the bone broth itself, many swear by it. There’s no harm in drinking both, says Burkhart. For an easy and delicious bone broth recipe, go to

3. Probiotics

Many readers say they double or triple up on probiotics after getting glutened. The thinking is probiotics help decrease inflammation in the intestines and rebuild the gut lining. Stick to the probiotics you already use or try VSL#3, says Burkhart.

4. Psyllium and Chia Seeds

These fiber-packed food items are said to help absorb toxins—cytokines—that result when the immune system fires up after a glutening. Some also use bentonite clay or activated charcoal for the same effect. Talk with your healthcare provider about using these, including the appropriate dose for you.

5. Methyl-B12

This over-the-counter B vitamin is said to promote detoxification. As long as it’s gluten-free, methyl-B12 won’t hurt you and some say it helps them feel better faster. Ask your healthcare provider for your ideal dose.

6. Digestive Enzymes

These are used to support a digestive system that’s impaired after getting glutened. Digestive enzymes are considered very safe but whether they’re going to help is hard to say, says Burkhart.

7. L-Glutamine

This amino acid is said to help repair the gut lining. Research in patients treated with chemotherapy has shown it may help decrease gut permeability but the data is conflicting. Other uses haven’t shown much promise.

8. Meditation

There’s often a lot of anxiety surrounding a glutening. Anxiety can aggravate and even bring on symptoms.
Try meditation, says Burkhart. If you’re new to meditation check out the app Calm.

9. Mild Exercise

If tolerated, gentle exercise like walking, stretching or yoga will improve circulation and help your body naturally eliminate toxins through the liver.
Lifestyle Lessons
Regardless of what remedy you try, a glutening episode will eventually pass. If you’re able to pinpoint the culprit, use the episode as a valuable learning experience. I never again confused wheat-free with gluten-free.
The good news is that an occasional inadvertent glutening probably won’t do lasting damage. There’s not a lot of data on accidental exposure, but doctors tend to be more concerned about chronic exposure to low levels of gluten, like gluten in a daily medication, says Leffler.
“Don’t worry about long-term damage from a single exposure,” he says. “If you’re strict with the gluten-free diet and accidentally get exposed to gluten, your intestines will take a hit for a week—but they will heal.”
- Amy Burkhart, MD
Health editor Christine Boyd lives in Baltimore.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

They Said That Drinking Lemon Water In The Morning Is Good For You. Here Is What They Didn’t Tell You

 16  Less –Known Benefits of Lemon Water

1.      Food- Borne Illnesses
Any type of food poisoning can be avoided with the consumption of lemon water.
2.      Alcohol Cravings
Kick the alcohol craving with drinking some lemon water at parties.
3.      Kidney Stones
Lemons contain potassium which increases citrates in the urine, which in turn prevents the formation of oxalate and flushes out kidney stones.
4.      Gall Bladder
Drinking lemon water during your meals significantly reduces the pain caused by gall bladder stones.
5.      Constipation
Due to the fact that it promotes regular bowel movements, the consumption of lemon water can prevent and treat constipation.
6.      Inflammation
Inflammation in tissues is mainly caused by acidity. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, lemons can neutralize acidity and thus reduce inflammation.
7.      Finger Nail Health
Amazingly, the lemon water has the ability to clear the white spots that appear on the nails as well as to strengthen them.
8.      Immune System
Lemon water supports the lymphatic system which works in synergy with the immune system.
9.      Flu and Cold
Lemon is one of the best remedies for colds and flu due to its immunity-boosting, antiviral and antibacterial effects as well as the high vitamin C content.
10.  Fibromyalgia
People dealing with fibromyalgia and exhaustion are highly recommended to drink lemon water along with some yoga stretches.
11.  Colitis
Given the fact that colitis is an imbalance of the acid/alkaline levels in the body and that lemon can help balance the pH levels, lemons are one of the best remedies for colitis.
12.  Weight Loss
The pectin in lemon water can help you keep cravings in check and thus eat less during the day. Moreover, lemon water regulates the blood sugar levels and additionally accelerates the weight loss process.
13.  Acne
Drinking lemon water in the morning helps to metabolize the acidic temperature of the body which in turn prevents breakouts.
14.  Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease ( GERD)
You can replace TUMS with lemon water.
15.  Sore Muscles
Make sure you consume lemon water after a hard workout as it can significantly reduce the pain the sore muscles.
16.  Joint Pain and Swelling
Last but not least, lemon water can reduce the amount of uric acid in the joints and thus reduce inflammation. Therefore, it is extremely beneficial for arthritis sufferers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hummus Crusted Chicken Breasts

  • 1 cup plain hummus (or flavored if you like such as this roasted red pepper hummus)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil or other high heat oil
  1. Cut each chicken breast piece in half (unless they are already small pieces). Pound out the thicker parts so they are the same thickness as the thinner end. This will help it cook faster in the skillet.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spread hummus evenly on one side of half the chicken pieces. Place the chicken hummus side down in the skillet. Spread more hummus on the top sides (the back of a spoon works well.)
  3. Cook 7 - 8 minutes then gently turn each piece over using a spatula. Cook another 7 - 8 minutes or until chicken reaches 165° F in the center. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
While I love using cast iron, this recipe definitely works best in a non-stick skillet.
- Gluten-Free Homemaker

Beets With Mustard Vinaigrette

Arrange 1 lb. sliced cooked beets on a plate. Whisk 2 tsp. dijon mustard,
1 Tb. red wine vinegar, and 1 Tb. minced shallots with 2 Tbs. extra-virgin
olive oil. Drizzle over the beets. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs. chopped salted pistachios.
Serves 4.
- Nutrition Action Healthletter

Cooking With Sprouts

Quick tip: Love sprouts in your stir-fry? Don't toss them into the pan at the last minute. Add them early enough so that they cook thoroughly. Raw or lightly cooked sprouts can harbor bugs like Salmonella and E. coli.
- Nutrition Action Healthletter

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Don't Let Gluten Corner You!

Many people know the basics about how to avoid gluten- no bread, no pasta, put down the cookie, and don’t even think about that slice of pizza! Whether you are a gluten free seasoned pro or not, though, it is very easy for gluten to sneak up on you when you don’t expect it! With there being so many different forms of gluten, it is important to know where you should be a little extra careful to ensure you do not get glutened!
Gluten Out to Eat
  • Chips & Fries could use seasonings that may have malt vinegar or wheat starch and the oil used to cook them could be contaminated if also used with breaded/ gluten containing foods
  • Omelets and eggs may have pancake batter added to them by some restaurants
    • TIP! Try and stay away from any eggs that are scrambled
  • Gluten Free pizza and baked goods could be contaminated if made in a facility that also produces non-gluten free products. Surfaces could be contaminated if not thoroughly cleaned after coming into contact with gluten containing products and wheat flour could be lingering in the air if used.
  • Meat & Poultry could be prepared with seasonings or marinades that may contain gluten.
  • Imitation crab meat used in sushi or crab stuffing or salad is many times made with fish and wheat starch to hold it together
  • Vegetables are sometimes par-boiled in the pasta water
    • TIP! Always ask for your vegetables to be cooked in fresh water
  • Many Chinese condiments may contain wheat including soy, oyster, hoisin, and bean sauces, unless otherwise labeled
    • TIP! You cannot control a restaurants kitchen but you can help protect yourself by calling the restaurant ahead of time and letting the kitchen and manager know what time you will be there, ordering your food a plain as you can, and bringing your own salad dressings, bread, or sauces that you enjoy and can trust.
Gluten In Your Kitchen
  • Crumbs in toasters can contaminate Gluten Free breads
  • Community Peanut Butter, Jelly, Butter, Cream Cheese, Mayo, and other condiments can be contaminated by crumbs or utensils used on gluten
  • If wheat flour is used in your kitchen, it is so light that the flour can stay in the air for a long time after you use it. This puts you at risk of having a reaction if you ingest it or if it settles on gluten free food you prepare after using it.
    • TIP! If you must use wheat flour, either prepare anything gluten free beforehand or wait at least a few hours after using it and clean all kitchen surfaces before preparing anything gluten free
  • Shared cookie sheets and baking pans can contaminate gluten free foods with any crumbs or breading left behind
    • TIP! Line all cookie sheets and baking pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil and change after each use
  • If you have a shared kitchen where both gluten containing and gluten free foods are frequently made, utensils, pots & pans, and many other frequently used kitchen items can become contaminated by residue left behind from gluten containing products- such as on your colander after making gluten containing pasta!
    • TIP! Keep a set of dish sponges, utensils, cutting boards, a colander, etc. separate for use with only gluten free food preparation so that what you make gluten free does not become contaminated
    • TIP! Always clean kitchen surfaces thoroughly and frequently
Gluten Off the Shelves
  • Self-basting poultry and processed meats may use gluten as a binder in items such as cold cuts, hot dogs, sausages, and some specialty/reformed meats
  • Beware of flavored ice cream and gelato! These may contain gluten or have added ingredients that contain gluten (Think cookies and cream ice cream- we know, we’re sad too)
  • Various candy (such as licorice) can use wheat flour as an ingredient- but don’t worry, there are many gluten free candies left! (Click here for an updated list)
  • Many sauces and gravies (such as soy sauce, bouillon, and envelope mixes) contain gluten as an added ingredient or uses it as a thickener. Many salad dressings are also made with wheat
  • Many soups (boxed, canned, or mixes) may be made with wheat or barley
  • Meat & Fish substitutes such as veggie burgers, sausage, bacon, bacons bits, and imitation seafood may contain gluten as a binder
  • Pickles made with malt vinegar, (which is made from barley) contain gluten. Avoid malt vinegar as well as beef barley soup
  • Some spice companies use gluten as a filler or anti-caking agent so only use pure, high-quality herbs and spices with no fillers
Non-Food Items with Gluten
  • Medications & Supplements may use gluten to bind the ingredients of the pill together
  • Makeup, Lip balm, and other beauty products may contain gluten that could cause a reaction if ingested by touching around your mouth after use
  • Communion wafers are not gluten free
  • Kids modeling dough can be wheat based and can cause a reaction if a child is playing with it and then touches their mouth
  • Toothpaste and some mouthwashes may use a form of gluten that, if ingested enough, can trigger side effects
  • Many brands of chewing gum are not gluten free and can cause major reactions due to gluten being ingested through chewing. Brands such as Wrigley’s and Trident are gluten free
Gluten in Beverages
  • Flavored coffees and teas, instant coffee, hot cocoa, and powdered milk can all contain wheat starch that is added to give bulk to the mixture
  • Non-dairy creamers and beverage flavoring syrups may also use wheat starch
  • Beer, ale, lager, and malt beverages may contain gluten but wine and distilled alcohol is gluten free. Some wine, though, may have been stored in barrels that are sealed with flour paste
Other Names for Gluten
  • Other names for wheat include semolina, spelt farina, graham, durum, emmer, farro, khorasan, udon, and einkorn
  • Latin names that could be used on labels could include tricticum vulgare (wheat), hordeum vulgare (barley), Secale ceral (rye), triticale (wheat/ rye hybrid), triticum spelta (spelt/ a type of wheat)
Remember to always read labels and ask questions to do your best to avoid being glutened. When in doubt- go without, is a good motto to follow to be safe. Also, remember that when on a gluten free diet, you may have a greater need for nutrients such as B Vitamins, Vitamin D, and Iron so be sure to take a (gluten free) vitamin and/ or consume a variety of nutrient dense foods to help keep you fueled and repair any damage you may have to your intestinal lining. Some foods that are good to help repair any current damage you may have from consuming gluten are berries, brussel sprouts, summer squash, purple kale, and quinoa. The more colors you consume each day, the more antioxidants and nutrients you will get out of it.
Also, just because something is labeled gluten free, does not mean it is a green light to consume as much as you want of it! Gluten Free processed foods can be just as high in sugar and just as unhealthy as other processed foods. A bag of cookies is still a bag of cookies- gluten free or not! Do your research so you know that what you consume is clean, uses healthy ingredients, and is third party certified gluten free! Once you find your go-to products, pay attention to the serving size and where it falls in your daily variety of ‘colors’ that you should be eating and you will feel great while doing your best to avoid gluten!

For more information:
Bakery On Main- Items to Avoid
Celiac Support Assoc. – Label Reading 101
Avoiding Gluten Cross-Contamination