Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Trouble with Gluten

What the heck is a bread baker doing talking about gluten-free living?

I am so glad you asked.

If you are a regular reader you may remember that my daughter, now grown and living on her own, suffers from multiple food sensitivities. She is not alone in this, of course, food sensitivities are pandemic in this era and gluten issues are multiplying rapidly. It is thought that about one percent of the population can't tolerate gluten and that is a huge number. Especially if you consider how insidious gluten (the protein in wheat and other grains) is. It's in everything, right down to your prescription medications.

People who are sensitive to gluten generally fall into two camps - gluten intolerant and people with celiac disease. There is screening available now, but gluten sensitivity often goes undiagnosed. And when it does get diagnosed, people are often left in a "what now?" state of mind. An overwhelming depression over the fact that every food now seems to pose a threat.

The Complete Gluten-Free Diet & Nutrition Guide is a great book for those just starting on their path of either being diagnosed as gluten intolerant or suffering from celiac disease, or for people starting an elimination diet to find if gluten is the culprit behind their digestive woes.

It shows you how to shop, where gluten may be hiding in everyday foods, how to gluten-proof your kitchen, a breakdown on celiac disease and how gluten affects the body of the gluten-intolerant, gluten-free meal plans and over 100 gluten-free recipes for any time of day. It emphasizes maintaining good nutrition and even has a health chart and diet diary for those undergoing an elimination diet.

I think it is the perfect start to investigating or initializing a gluten-free life.

Complete Gluten-Free Diet and Nutrition Guide
With a 30-Day Meal Plan and Over 100 Recipes

Alexandra Anca MHSc RD, Theresa Santandrea-Cull
Paperback, 272 pages

In the KitchenPuppy test kitchen, we whipped up this nutritional powerhouse of a salad. It was absolutely delicious. The book also has recipes for gluten-free baking, if you are so inclined.

Cranberry Mandarin Coleslaw with Walnuts and Raisins
Makes 8 to 10 servings

3 cups shredded red and/or green cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped green onions
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup raisins
½ cup raw green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
½ cup fresh cranberries
½ cup walnut halves
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup brown or natrual rice vinegar
1 can (10 oz/284 mL) mandarin oranges, drained
  1. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, celery and green onions. Drizzle with lemon juice and toss to coat. Toss in raisins, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and walnuts. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Top with mandarin oranges. Cover and refrigerate overnight to blend the flavors.