Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Gluten Free Grains and their Benefits

I found this great resource at
photo from Awesome
1.  Millet:
Gluten free millet provides a host of nutrients, has a sweet nutty flavour, and is considered to be one of the most digestible and non-allergenic grains available.  It is one of the few grains that is alkalizing to the body. Millet has always been a favorite grain of mine since I discovered it in my hippy days in the 70s!
Read about millet’s 12 health benefits, some interesting trivia and history, 10 tips how to use it, and 3 delicious millet recipes.
We use millet in our Healthy BootCamps. Besides all the health benefits, it is tasty and economical.
2.  Quinoa:
Quinoa is a Powerfood Vegetable Seed! Although referred to as a grain, it is actually a seed from a vegetable related to Swiss chard, spinach and beets. Quinoa is pronounced keen-wa not kwin-o-a. Learn its benefits, history, tips and cautions. Read all here:  8 Health Benefits of Quinoa – the Mother Food
3.  Brown Rice:
Rice feeds the world! Three billion people worldwide depend on rice for over half of their daily calorie intake. Most of them eat white rice.  Find out all the benefits of rice and which is better, white or brown at Brown Rice vs White Rice: Benefits and Cautions
4.  Cornmeal whole grain (not corn starch):
Cornmeal is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamin B-6. And cornmeal is good for: weak digestion, heart disease, high blood pressure, edema and gallstones.
Because corn is often genetically modified, one should only purchase organic corn or corn products.  However, even organic-labeled corn does not guarantee it is GMO free. Most individuals get  exposed to corn in so many products, often as a sweetener.  If you are not eating it in packaged or junk food-form, corn can be a healthy addition.
5.  Buckwheat:
Buckwheat is rich in flavonoids like rutin and a good source of magnesium. Buckwheat is good for your cardiovascular system. It’s a valuable food for those with diabetes, as it can be helpful for regulating blood sugar.
Note:  These grains are the most common grains that a person tries when they start going gluten free.  Read more less-known grains on the next page.
6.  Oats (make sure they are pure and uncontaminated):
Your grandma and the Scots ate oats because its inexpensive and grows anywhere. I eat oatmeal for its taste and nutrition and its many other benefits. Read all the benefits here:  10 Smart Reasons to Enjoy Oatmeal
There is some  controversy about whether oats is really gluten free.   Read here:  Is Oats Gluten Free?
7.  Sorghum (whole grain):
Sorghum contains large amounts of fiber, protein and nutrients.   In studies it has been shown to possibly inhibit cancer growth, protect against diabetes and help manage cholesterol. Sorghum is significantly more nutritionally dense than ordinary white flour. It is often eaten as a porridge but can also be ground into flour.
8.  Teff:
Teff leads all the grains in its calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123 mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient not commonly found in grains.  It can be grown in areas that won’t support other crops.  The seed is so small it cannot be refined so is always a whole grain.
9.  Amaranth:
Amaranth contains significant amounts of B vitamins, calcium, iron and Vitamin C. Amaranth may help lower cholesterol. At about 13-14 percent, it easily trumps the protein content of most other grains. Amaranth was a major food crop of the Aztecs, domesticated between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago. The Aztecs didn’t just grow and eat amaranth, they also used the grains as part of their religious practices.
10.  Popcorn:
Movie lovers will be happy about this one! Popcorn has an abundant source of fiber and it has B vitamins and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorous. Popcorn’s crunchy hull is rich in polyphenols—antioxidants that provide several important health benefits such as protection from coronary artery disease, protection from cancers, healthy bloodsugar levels and prevention from premature aging.
10.  Montina (Indian Rice Grass):
Indian rice grass was a staple of Native American diets. Pure Indian rice grass flour is super high in protein and fiber with 17 grams of protein, 24 grams of dietary fiber, and 24 grams of insoluble fiber in just 2/3 of a cup.  It has a strong wheat-like taste.
All the above grains are recommended by the Canadian Celiac Association.

Read more:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

{Gluten and Dairy Free} East Indian Bombay Potatoes

I love Tasty Bite's Bombay potatoes and thought it would be fun to make my own. I found this great version from BBC Good Food.   I would add a can of garbanzo beans for protein as is included in a Tasty Bite.  This looks easy and is naturally gluten and dairy free.


  • 1kg Salad/New Potatoes, cut in 2cm cubes
  • 2tsp Turmeric divided
  • Water for boiling
  • 1 1/3 tbsp vegetable/sunflower
  • 1 1/2 green chilis, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped
  • 2tsp Garam Masala
  • 2tsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • 2tsp Ground coriander
  • 2tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 3tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Fresh or tinned tomatoes (optional)


    1. Boil the potatoes in the water with half the turmeric until you can brake one easily with a fork. Drain well.
    2. Add the oil to the wok, and get the wok really hot. When really hot and chili and cook for 30 seconds until brown.
    3. Add the garlic, the onions, Garam Masala,Ground coriander, Fennel seeds, the rest of the turmeric and Black Mustard Seeds, and cook until the onions go slightly tender.
    4. Now add the potatoes and cook for a further 7 minutes on a medium low heat. If using tomato, add it at this point
    5. Add Lemon juice, fresh coriander and salt and pepper to taste, and serve with rice or Naan.Top with leftover fresh coriander.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Gluten Free and Allergy-free Apps That Could Change Your Life

There are so many great apps to choose from that  make finding food we can eat so much easier. Find Me Gluten Free is one such app that I have heard great things about.  This app takes your location into account and can help you find restaurants, bakeries, etc in your vicinity. I have used this apps locally and on vacations. I love it.Cover art

Want other ideas?

 Today's Dietician has this great review of Apps to help us out with our specialized diet (written by Lindsey Getz for Today's Dietician). 

She says, 

"While apps can be useful for successfully living a gluten-free lifestyle, Rachel Begun, MS, RD, CDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy), says it’s important to remember apps aren’t foolproof or a replacement for using common sense. “Everything we’ve learned to do to avoid contact with gluten still applies, such as asking questions about ingredients and preparation at the restaurant and performing diligent label reading at the grocery store,” she says. “What these apps do offer is awareness about restaurants and products out there that cater to the gluten-free community and do so responsibly.”
Though some dietitians may feel they can’t keep up with app technology because they’re simply not tech savvy, the truth is most apps are easy to use. “Many gluten-free apps are definitely user friendly,” O’Shea says. “The other nice thing is there are several to choose from. If you decide you don’t like one, you can easily find another that appeals to you. There’s always something else to try.”
Begun says many of the gluten-free/allergy-free apps available are peer rated, which means the information provided is based on users’ experience with a restaurant, recipe database, or grocery store. “The age-old adage ‘give and you shall receive’ applies here,” she says. “When you provide feedback for a peer-rated app, you’re making the app a better resource for the gluten-free community.”
Today’s Dietitian reviewed the top 10 apps clients can use to follow a healthful gluten-free lifestyle:
1. AllergyEats (Free): This app for iPhone and Android users includes a database of restaurants that cater to those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and food allergies. Users can find restaurants based on their “level of allergy friendliness.” Once clients determine where they want to dine, they can call the restaurant or find directions. It also allows users to rate restaurants instantly to give other users helpful feedback.
2. Cook IT Allergy Free ($4.99): With hundreds of gluten-free recipes that can be customized to meet most food allergy needs, this iPhone app is handy for clients who like to cook. Users can easily find substitutions within recipes for common items such as eggs, butter, milk, yogurt, cream, cheeses, and nuts. Recipes can be customized by saving them to a “Grocery List” so there’s always a quick-reference shopping list that clients can organize by recipe category or by grocery aisle.
3. Eating Out G-Free (Free): This iPhone app is meant to accompany Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s best-selling book The G-Free Diet. The app offers advice on how to live a gluten-free life, with tips varying from finding gluten-free restaurant menus to creating gluten-free shopping lists.
4. Gluten Free and Allergy Free Travel Checklists ($1.99): Available for both iPhone and Android users, this travel checklist is a great aid for travelers who need to eat gluten- or allergen-free foods. Users can access expert travel advice on how to order airline meals and safely explore new destinations by land or sea with a hotel and cruise checklist. There are even international travel tip guidelines for those headed overseas.
5. Gluten Free Registry ($1.99 for iPhone, $0.99 for Android): Available for both iPhone and Android, the Gluten Free Registry is a handy database of gluten-free restaurants, coffeehouses, grocers, caterers, and more. With more than 28,500 business locations listed, it simplifies the users’ search for a place to dine or order food. Users can read reviews and ratings by the gluten-free community, post their own reviews, view gluten-free restaurant menus, and instantly call the business or peruse the website from their phone.
6. Healthy Diet & Grocery Food Scanner (Free): This ShopWell app for the iPhone can help clients find foods to fit their specific dietary needs at the grocery store. The app identifies foods that contain gluten and then displays a red hand symbol so clients know to avoid them. Besides helping users avoid foods, the app can suggest similar product alternatives that don’t contain gluten.
7. iCanEat OnTheGo Gluten Free & Allergen Free ($2.99): With this handy iPhone app, users can enter their allergen concerns and find safe items to eat at popular fast-food style restaurants. It saves time at home from having to search through restaurant websites on the computer. This app is part of the award-winning Let’s Eat Out! series of apps, books, and e-books.
8. iEatOut Gluten Free & Allergen Free ($2.99): This app (also part of the Let’s Eat Out! series) was designed for the diner who misses “eating anywhere.” No gluten-free menu or allergy chart available? Users can still confidently eat safe meals in Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Mexican, steak, and Thai restaurants close to home and around the world. The iPhone app can be customized based on any combination of 10 common food allergens (including gluten, of course).
9. Is that Gluten Free? ($7.99): This iPhone app features a database of 23,000 gluten-free products from more than 510 brands, making it a great app for grocery store shopping. Users can search by category, brand, or product name and can rate and add notes to products. Comments from manufacturers appear about the gluten-free foods, cross-contamination, and other topics.
10. The Gluten Detective ($1.99): This app, developed by the Academy, is an easy tool to help users determine whether a food contains gluten. It has information on food labeling, ingredients, nutrition tips, gluten-free grains, and cross-contamination. The app also can be useful to dietitians who want to teach label reading to clients."
— Lindsey Getz is a freelance writer based in Royersford, Pennsylvania.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum

As you have probably noticed, xanthan gum is my thickener of choice. When you are switching to gluten-free flour, the flour texture and properties are much different from wheat flour. One thing that is very different is it's sticking/thickening abilities. To compensate for gluten-free flours lack of those qualities you can add one of the following thickeners to your recipes. 

General Tips for Using Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum in Gluten-Free Cooking from

  • Bread and pizza dough recipes: Add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum per cup of gluten-free flour used in bread and pizza dough recipes
  • Cake, muffin and quick bread recipes: Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum per one cup of gluten-free flour used
  • Cookie and bar recipes: Add 1/2 teaspoon (or less) xanthan gum or guar gum per one cup gluten-free flour used

Note- For best results follow recipe recommendations when using xanthan gum or guar gum. 

What is Guar Gum?
  1. Bob's Red Mill Guar Gum - 8 oz
    "Guar Gum is a white flour-like substance made from an East Indian seed. Use small amounts as a thickener, binder, and volume enhancer. Instructions for use on package." 

  2. What is Xanthan Gum?
    Xanthan gum has a number of powerful properties. First, it works as an emulsifier, encouraging liquids that normally don't like one another to mix together. Second, it works as thickener, increasing the viscosity of liquids and batters. Third, it can create a creamy texture.
    In the world of gluten-free baking, xanthan gum plays the crucial role of imitating gluten. In baking, gluten is what makes dough "doughy." It gives the dough elasticity, as well as viscosity. Those properties help to hold a cookie together while it bakes on a sheet in the oven, and they enable cakes and breads to hold onto the gas bubbles that form inside them - this allows them to rise and take shape. Xanthan gum helps replicate these properties in recipes that do not contain gluten."Xanthan Gum is a plant-based thickening and stabilizing agent. It is named for the bacteria, Xanthomonas campestris, which plays a crucial role in this description. Technically speaking, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, which is just a fancy way to say "a string of multiple sugars." To create xanthan gum, the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium is allowed to ferment on a sugar. The result is a gel that is then dried and milled to create the powder substance.
  3. I got these definitions from Bob's Red Mill's site. I love me some Bob's Red Mill!


    Friday, February 17, 2017

    Soy-free, Sugar Free, Citrus-free Teriyaki Chicken

    This is the kind of recipe you gobble down before you even think about taking a photo. Thanks again to Rachel Ray, I tried her amazing teriyaki recipe (found here). She said it was the most downloaded recipe of 2011. She made hers in the crockpot. I made it in a pan at the last minute with chicken breasts.

    8 chicken legs, thighs attached (I used chicken breasts when cooking in a frying pan)
    3 TBS cornstarch (or potato starch if you can't have corn)
    salt and pepper
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1 bottle teriyaki sauce (see my recipe below)
    3 TBS ginger grated or 3 tsp dry
    3 cloves garlic grated or minced
    3 TBS honey
    6 scallions, white and green parts sliced on the bias, but kept separate
    2 cups rice
    2 cups water
    1 TBS sesame seeds, toasted (I omitted these)
    1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
    1 cucumber, cut thin into matchsticks
    1 large carrot, cut thin into matchsticks
    3 TBS cilantro
    optional: 1 small bundle of broccoli cut into pieces

    Teriyaki Sauce
    2/3 cup chicken broth and salt (originally soy sauce)
    1/4 cup pomegranate juice (originally sherry)
    2 TBS maple sugar
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1 clove garlic
    (adapted from

    In a large bowl (I use a plate) dust the chicken with cornstarch and season with salt and pepper. Heat medium sized skillet over medium high heat with about 1 TBS of EVOO and brown the chicken legs (if you are cooking in a pan cook it until almost done on a slightly lower heat)

    In a slow cooker, add the browned chicken legs along with the teriyaki sauce, ginger, garlic, honey and white parts of the scallions (I added this to the pan when the chicken was almost done when cooking it on the stovetop). Put the lid on and cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours. When the chicken is about 20 mintues away from being down, add the rice, water, 2 TBS of EVOO and salt to a medium sized pot with a lid. (I started the rice first, and added the other teriyaki type ingredients to my pan of chicken when the chicken was almost done and let simmer for 5 minutes or so).

    Bring the pot of rice up to a boil, then drop it down to a simmer. Put the lid on and simmer for 10-15 minutes. When the rice is done, fluff with a work and fold in the green parts of the scallions and sesame seeds (I omitted them). I have found the greatest secret of rice on the stove top is don't lift the lid! Jasmine rice is my favorite.

    To serve, place the rice on a plate, put the chicken and sauce drizzled over the top with cucumber, carrot, cucumber and red pepper in a nice pile on top of that. Sprinkle with cilantro. I lightly sauteed some broccoli with the carrot to put on top as well. I seem to tolerate cooked carrots better than raw ones).It was fantastic! I usually can only handle one serving of left overs after a meal before I'm done with a meal for awhile. I enjoyed eating this for days! I also add hot pepper flakes on top since I love spice.

    Easy {Gluten and Dairy Free} Mediterranean Chicken Shawarma

    My friend Lori gave me this amazing recipe years ago that I have tweaked just a little bit. I just rediscovered it and am fantasizing about dinner all day. I love this dish! The sauce really does make it. My husband hates curry, but enjoys this dish! When we lived on the Mercy Ships we had curried EVERYTHING to the point where he can't usually stomach it. But he likes this so much it used to be a staple in our diets. Just to warn you, tahini is sesame for those that have a problem with sesame. I bought a bottle of lemon juice and a jar of pre-chopped garlic. That with the curry from the bulk section of herbs makes this dish easy, and very affordable, too. I am posting this at Allergy-free Wednesdays.

    10 cloves chopped garlic
    2 juiced lemons (6 Tablespoons of lemon juice)
    1/2 cup olive oil
    2 tsp curry
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp pepper

    1 clove garlic
    1/4 cup tahini
    1/2 cup water
    1 TBS lemon juice

    For Sauce:
    Blend sauce ingredients in the food processor until foamy.

    Marinade 2 pounds of chopped chicken overnight. (I do it just all day)
    Pan fry chicken and marinade, I add chopped spinach for additional nutritional value.
    When cooked chop on tomato.
    Serve over rice. Top with Tahini Sauce.

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Going Gluten Free?

    Or wishing gluten-free was easier? Here are some great tips and encouragement! I definitely think this is worth a read!

    Some of the main points are:

    • Buy yourself a good rice cooker.
    • Get good at planning in advance and eating leftovers.
    • Find your local Indian and Asian food stores, or shop online.
    • Plant a vegetable garden.
    • Check out your local library for gluten-free cookbooks to get ideas and recipes if you can't afford to buy them. Online websites and blogs are great too.
    • Make your own all purpose gluten-free flour, avoiding store brought pre-mixes to keep costs down.
    • Be positive! Yes it's hard work, but isn't it worth it if you feel better?