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Holiday Ideas for Gluten-free Feasts

November 21st, 2017

The Holidays are almost upon us and we are busy in the kitchen pre-making items for our holiday table. This year my youngest son is coming.  Not only is he  gluten-free, but also is dairy-free.  I am up to this challenge.  This Thanksgiving I am starting with the fruit filled cornucopia with our family’s traditional little chocolate heresy’s for the kids to pick from.  For appetizers I am having cut up veggies with hummus, hot Reuben dip (made with mayonnaise) with gluten-free toast points, and shrimp dip (made from chopped cocktail shrimp, chopped celery and green onions, mayonnaise, salt and pepper). The crackers for this is Bretons gluten-free “Garlic and Herb” crackers.  Luckily no one in our family is allergic to crustaceans.  If any one in your family is, make sure that you do not cross-contaminate utensils and cutting boards with the shrimp. I am also having asparagus with pieces of dry Coppa ham attached to them with Tofutti cream cheese (an imitation cream cheese) flavored with garlic powder and chopped chives.  The turkey is organic and gluten-free.  Be careful some turkeys have gluten in the basting. Right now I have gluten-free bread that has been trimmed and cubed drying in a bowl for the stuffing.  I am using Udi white bread and a new gluten-free artisan bread by La Brea Bakery. For the stuffing, I am using my recipe “Savory Chicken Stuffing” from my book page 102, and premade part of my gravy “Turkey/Chicken gravy” page 180.  It can be made about 2 days ahead.  I will add to the gravy on Thanksgiving.  I plan to have Brussel sprouts and Apple Waldorf salad.  For the salad I am using “honey crisp” apples with celery, pecans, and mayonnaise.  My husband is intolerant of walnuts, so that is why the change.  For dessert, of course pumpkin pie with a gluten-free crust.  The only thing now needed is family.  Leave your politics and biases at the door, just bring love.  Happy Holidays

Raising Healthy Gluten-free Children

August 14th, 2017

With all allergy children, it takes hours of diligent care and awareness to keep these children healthy and safe.  Educating your children, their playmates, parents, care-givers, and teachers is critical.  You cannot assume anything with individuals outside your sphere.  As an example, one night my husband and I went out to dinner.  I explained to the babysitter that the boys could not have any form of wheat and showed her the acceptable foods for the boys.  After we left, the babysitter told  the boys ” Let’s get pizza, that not wheat it’s flour. ”  I can thank the California State Education system for her lack of education.

With meals, it is important to make your meals healthy, tasty and colorful.  Using colorful vegetables and meals with gluten-free ingredients is very important.  There are many items available today that were not around before.  Still knowing how to cook is very important.  An example is gluten-free pasta, you can make great pasta meals with this type of pasta.  You just need to understand that this pasta may need to cook longer, that you do not cook it al a dente, and it generally will not do well as a left-over.  Other tricks are great breadcrumbs for cooking cutlets like those in  Chicken Parmesan.  Use a bread crumb mixture like gluten-free Aleias, a combination of white rice flour and sorghum flour for dipping the meat in flour if needed, and real Romano cheese (made from sheep) instead of Parmesan cheese.  You can make spaghetti with meatballs, you just have to make the meatballs yourself.  I hope the gluten-free type will come out soon.  Until then make enough for more than one dinner and freeze the rest.

Try to include your children with preparing dinners.  Since our schools systems have minimal classes on nutrition or where food comes from (At least in my state).  It is important to not only teach them how to cook but where food comes from.  Planting a garden, is a great idea.  It really helps with a picky eater, who might try something they grew. These children need this type of instructions because there will be a 39% to 50% chance that their children will also have these allergies. The more the children participate in food preparation for meals, the more they will be educated on their needs and will be ready to face all the challenges that their allergies cause as they grow into adults.

Eating Healthy for Summer Holidays

May 27th, 2017

The Summer Holidays are upon us and everyone is looking forward to the hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad, watermelon, and lemon meringue pie.  Healthy? Not exactly, while some foods, mentioned have some healthy aspects most of those food are acid foods.  What is wrong with acid foods you ask?  They are a large part of the causes of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.   The old saying “We are what we eat” is very relevant  is this case.  How does one make traditional summer holiday food healthy?  Answer: we get sneaky.  We add some healthy alternatives that are attractive to eat.  Color is everything.  First, don’t buy your meal, make it.  That goes for most of the foods you are eating.  Then you can control what your family eats.  Here are some suggestions. While you cannot do much with the Hamburger(the beef is very acidity), we can add some more vegetables to go on top of it.  For the lettuce use green leaf lettuce not iceberg.  Try topping the hamburger with avocado besides the tomato.  To the potato salad add celery, red pepper, chopped finely.  Make a Cole Slaw with red and green cabbage and maybe some sliced carrots. Add some other barbecue veggies to the choose from besides corn on the cob, like; marinated red and yellow peppers, onions, and portabella mushrooms.  Choose hummus instead of sour cream onion dip. Use the dip with cut celery and carrots sticks, sliced cucumber, sliced radishes and possibly broccoli.   Add nuts, especially almonds if no one has a nut allergy, as a snack food.  The desserts are the hardest.  Possible put lemon curd into bowls with pomegranate seeds on top instead of lemon meringue pie.   The crust is the problem with the pie as the hamburger bun is the problem with the hamburger. For gluten-free individuals the  gluten-free bun is not very tasty  so they sometimes eat the hamburger with the lettuce.  That is the optimal choice, but not everyone with go for that.  Your best bet is for others not needing gluten-free buns is to get a bun that are whole wheat with other grains like quinoa.  That will cut down the acidity of the meal.  That’s all of my suggestions.  Check my summer recipes section for recipes. Everyone have a healthy and safe Summer.

Men and Gluten-free Food

April 30th, 2017

I think men have the hardest time with gluten-free foods. First, they do not want other people to know that they need to be gluten-free unless it is really bad.  Second, they have a hard time with the different taste of gluten-free foods.  Granted that gluten-free products are getting better. I just saw that Starbucks has a gluten-free Canadian bacon and egg biscuit.  I am assuming it taste good, but haven’t tried it yet.  Many companies are seeing the need for gluten-free foods and trying to fill this need.   Biscuits are not high rising doughs like breads which are the real problems when it comes to gluten-free eating.  The breads will not rise like normal gluten breads nor will they taste the same.  Most men would rather eat a cracker than eat a gluten-free bread.  The process for bread making  is just not there yet.  I am very encourage that meat manufacturers like “Columbia meats” are producing gluten-free meats, and mayonnaise is now gluten-free with many manufacturers.  I must caution about mustard manufacturers, I was surprised that some still use gluten to thicken the mustard.  My husband is an expert cooking gluten-free pastas.  The extra time it takes for gluten-free pastas he has done to the minute.  In gluten-free products, I must say that muffins and cake have made the most strides.  I am especially impressed with ”Flax 4 Life” muffins.  They are tasty and good for you.  For the home maker, have faith, things are getting better in the gluten-free world.

Parents Feeling the Stress of Increased Celiac Disease Incidence

March 30th, 2017

Times are changing.  Celiac Disease instead of being the exception, it is now the rule.  More and more children are showing symptoms of Celiac Disease in this century.  The consumer at large does not understand that exposing babies and toddlers to processed food at an early age may lead to this increase of the disease.  Only after their children are affected then the parents must learn what foods and additives their child need to stay away from.  The changes to the family are financial, emotional,  social and physically.  Financial due to the extra cost of gluten-free products, emotional due to the food items the children may no longer eat, socially due to the children feeling isolated from their friends not able to partake in foods their friends eat.  Physically because may doctors will not test for Celiac Disease until the child is seriously affected.  The gold standard of diagnosis (elimination diet), treatment, and follow-up remains controversial and confusing due to many and various symptoms of this disease.

Another problem is the attitudes of non-family members and some individuals at restaurants.  Some, not all, feel (this from recent research), that these allergies are no big deal.  There perception of the problem is considered minor and a little cheating is not a problem.

The above problems cause considerable stress to the parents of these Celiac Disease children.  More research is needed for treatments, prevention and diagnosis of Celiac disease.  More gluten-free diets need to be available to the population at large at a lower cost than present times.


Suggested Diets for Chronic Inflammatory Diseases such as Asthma, Arthritis, and Celiac Disease

February 23rd, 2017

Inflammation has much to do with many of the chronic diseases known to man.  The ones that I am concentrating on today are Asthma, Arthritis and Celiac Disease.  Why, because Asthma seems to hit individuals early and later in life.  While Arthritis comes later in life and Celiac Disease spans the entire life of an individual.  So I am covering with these diseases, the entire life span of an individual.  So what do all these diseases have in common?  Answer inflammation of one sort or another.  The idea to combat these diseases is to eat foods that are anti-inflammatory.

Starting with Gluten-free food, these flours are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory foods. They have been proven effective for pain and injury in arthritis, helping stop the formation of the inflammation factor in asthma, and just a plain miracle food in Celiac Disease.

Apples are wonderful anti-inflammatory and pro alkaline fruit.  The old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is really true.  Research indicates that eating 3 to 5 apples a week will decrease asthma attacks approximately 30 percent.  It will also decrease gastric reflux attacks.

Tart cherries are known to have the highest anti-inflammatory content of most foods.  Studies have shown tart cherries, juice and dried cherries especially effective for osteoarthritis pain.

Caffeine has been shown to prevent inflammation in the development of cardiovascular and other diseases.  New studies are showing that people that drink coffee live longer.

A new study on postmenopausal women noted that a diet of anti-inflammatory foods such as: healthy fats, vegetables and fruit, whole grains and gluten-free grains, prevented osteoporosis and bone fracture.

Lastly, researchers have found that resveratrol, a compound in red wine, has anti-inflammatory effects.

Lists of more specific foods that are anti-inflammatory can be found online.

Parents of Food Allergy Children And Their Frustrations

January 16th, 2017

The parents of Food Allergy children are getting frustrated. The children of America are increasingly becoming allergic to many foods. Most of the allergen foods are: cow’s milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, and eggs.  A great deal of the children are developing anaphylactic responses instead of just intolerance.  So we are getting more and more intense responses to food allergens.  The immunotherapy that will reduce the anaphylactic response has been under study for years.  What is available is very expensive and some what reliable.  The researchers keep promising that this therapy readiness is just down the road, but they have been promising that for years.  Parents should be frustrated. So far the only reliable therapy is elimination of the allergen.  This  is difficult, and time consuming for the parents and now schools

Data is showing that food allergies are on the rise and becoming an epidemic.  Food Allergies are doubling every 10 years.  Experts are still wondering if the reason is genes or environment.  I would like to inject my opinion on this.  I have been watching the experts and researching this problem since 1979, and I have come up with a theory.  It is: while some allergies were noted back in the time of the Roman Empire; the proliferation of processed food with milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, and eggs, mixed into our food and non-food products such as cosmetics cause our bodies to react to these allergens in what is called an “Iceberg effect”.  That is it reacts with our body and causes changes without the awareness of the individual.  Sometimes it is a gene change, sometimes it is sensitivity and inflammation of the body that is explained away by scientists or physicians as abnormal.  Whatever happens, the true effect seems to happen worse on the second or third generation in the family.  What I am trying to point out is, when we try new products that have processed food in them, we may be affecting our generations to follow.  Eating natural foods may be the best gifts you can give your children and grandchildren.  It takes generations for a species to adapt to new environments (and foods).  Try not to ingest new foods unless you know what is in the food.  Stay away from fast food restaurants whenever possible to prevent new allergies in your family tree.

Gluten-free Holiday Meals Are Getting Easier To Do

November 13th, 2016

The supermarkets and health food stores in this country are making gluten-free meals easier.  I still remember in the 70′s and 80′s when I had make everything from scratch.  Now with pre-made flours, baking mixes, and breadcrumbs everything is pretty much a snap to cook.  When my kids were young they used to sneak cookies from their friends houses.  Now gluten-free cookies are tasty and most individuals including children cannot tell the difference between gluten-free and flour based cookies.

Holiday meals are easier.  Before in my book “Food to Some, Poison to Others”, with my stuffing recipe on page 102, you had to make your own bread for the stuffing.  Now you can just buy the bread loaf (I like Udi).  True the breads are smaller than home-made but they are also less yeasty tasting.  Just add an other loaf to make up the difference in size.  I still do not like the gravy dry mixes.  I still taste an “after taste” with the package brands.  I recommend to still use my gravy recipe on page 180. Instructions are in the recipe for preparing the gravy to a certain point ahead of time(keeps for about a week) and then adding your thickener, be it arrowroot or corn starch on Thanksgiving (or Christmas).  Gluten-free turkeys are not longer a problem, gluten-free crusts and rolls can be found in the frozen section of the market.  Gluten-free desserts are all the rage now and very easy to find.  I like to make crab cakes for appetizers as one of my Thanksgiving appetizers.  I use Aleias gluten-free breadcrumbs which come “plain or Italian seasoning”. The morning after I usually make gluten-free pancakes or waffles.  My grandchildren cannot taste the difference.  With all the great additions in the supermarket, you the parent,  have time to enjoy the Holidays instead of being trapped in the kitchen baking.  Happy Holidays!

Interpreting New Allergy Research

October 26th, 2016

Several new studies are out on Food Allergy management.  These studies have produced some interesting new results.

1. Immunotherapy- Patch immunotherapy and identification of molecular motor Kinesin-1 that controls mast cells are two promising studies.  These two studies are exciting.  While one shows that immunotherapy patches are useful in lowering allergic triggers, the other has identified the molecular motor that controls the release of inflammatory factor reacting to allergens.  Obviously both of these studies are just at the beginning stage.  But these results and studies are very encouraging.

2.  Baked foods – This study has found that an allergic individual can sometimes tolerate baked versions of the allergy causing food.  I want to suggest caution with this study especially regarding diary allergies. Diary products have two proteins in them, one is casein the other lactose. Soft cheese and sour cream have more proteins to denature through the baking that do hard cheeses.  In most cases the casein is already denatured or reduced in hard cheeses.  I, myself have experienced a reaction to sour cream baked in a recipe, while have no problems with cheddar cheese baked into a recipe. Check your physician and research the cheeses before you experiment.

New Industries for Food Allergy and Intolerance Testing

July 27th, 2016

Any time there are problems for humans, someone will come up with an idea to cure or improve the problem.  Two companies have done just that. and are providing easy new testing for food allergies.  One utilizes hair DNA, the other uses blood samples through the patient’s physician.  Whether these companies will really help is a question.  Only time will tell.  Both companies are charging hefty amounts for their testing.  I will keep an eye on both these companies and report back with further information.

Another company new to the Allergy and Research arena is “FARE” Food Allergy Research and Education.  This company/research group has come up with some promising research on peanut allergies.  It seems that FARE’s research has discovered that those individuals with peanut allergies are missing a particular “gut bacteria” needed to digest peanuts.  This study supports the theory I have offered in my blogs that  humans cannot mutate fast enough to digest certain foods.  We all hope that this research on peanuts will progress quickly to help those affected with this very dangerous allergy.