Posted in Gluten Free Recipes, Side dishes

Gluten Free Onion Soup Mix

3/4 cup instant minced onion
1/3 cup Herb-Ox beef bouillon powder
4 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed celery seed
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Directions:
Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.

Approximately 5 tablespoons of mix are equal to 1 1¼-ounce package of onion soup mix.

To make onion dip: Mix 5 tablespoons with one pint of sour cream.  Great served with some Snyders gluten free pretzels!

This makes approximately 1 1/4 cups.  

Since Lipton Onion Soup Mix changed their formulation and now has barley (gluten) I found this recipe on food.com and adapted it to make your own gluten free version!  I bet this will be much more economical too!!

Herb-Ox bouillon is gluten free and you can find it at your local Walmart!  If you want to reduce your salt intake, I believe they have a reduced sodium version as well.  Your onions, onion powder and celery seed should all be gluten free…..double check your labels to be safe.

Live and LOVE Gluten free!!

Posted in The Basics

OMG! I’ve Been Glutened!! Now What?

It’s gonna happen, no matter how safe you’ve tried to be.  You have accidentally ingested something with hidden gluten or has been cross contaminated and now you are sick.  Ugggh!  Woulda, coulda, shoulda……………yeah………we know……..but it’s done…….now what?

We all have different rituals to heal and feel better and you will have to figure out what works best for you.  Also, don’t forget everyone is different as to how long it takes to get back up and running.  One time I was been better after a day of yuck, another time it took me more than a week!  Depending on what your symptoms are, here are a few ideas to help deal until you can get back to “normal”:

First off, don’t beat yourself up about this.  It happens to all of us and probably won’t be the last time.  It is important to figure out where the gluten came from and make a mental note so that you can steer clear of whatever it is in the future.

Drink lots of water.   It is important to stay hydrated.

Sooth your tummy with some tea.  Pick one or a combo of:  Ginger, peppermint, fennel or chamomile.  Fresh is great, if not dried/teabags will work too.  All of these are great for calming the tummy, relaxing you and helping to relieve spasms, aches and gas.

Ginger – I keep candied ginger around just because and just in case.  Ginger is a wonderful little root that has all sorts of benefits like relief from inflammation, heart burn, nausea, stomach spasms and aids in digestion. Of course if you have fresh ginger and want to use that for your tea or in your food that is even better! 

Eat less and be bland! Sick to foods that are easy to digest, mashed potatoes, rice, soup, smoothies…….  Your tummy is already fighting the gluten, don’t make it work harder by trying to digest dairy, spicy or high fiber foods too.  Give it a day or three of feeling good before you start your regular eating again.

Get in a little exercise.  Key word here…….a little.  Don’t go crazy, but do some stretching or yoga.  Exercise will give you a little more energy and actually helps to detoxify your body.

Activated charcoal can help to alleviate diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, abdominal pain, etc.  When ingested, the activated charcoal adsorbs toxins and takes them out of the body before they can be absorbed.  Keep in mind that charcoal will absorb EVERYTHING, including medicines and vitamins you take and move it out before it gets a chance to absorb.  So you do not want to take this for days on end because while you are eliminating the toxins you are also eliminating all of the good stuff too!

Probiotics.  If you are not taking them already, now is the time to take some.  You gut is out of balance.  The “good bacteria” will help to get things back in order.  If you are not on them regularly, then take them till you feel better and keep them on hand.  If you are already taking them, up your dose for a few days.  Personally, I use FLORAJEN which for me works much better than the other ones I’ve tried.

Bentyl.  Before I realized that I was gluten intolerant, Bentyl was prescribed to me for stomach spasms.  Since being gluten free, I keep it on hand and take it when I’ve been glutened and my tummy is not cooperating.  It does not take away spasms 100%, but makes them MUCH more tolerable.

GlutenAid – This is a product at CVS that claims “CVS/pharmacy GlutenAid is specially formulated for individuals who feel unwell after eating wheat or grain and thus may have an intolerance to gluten.”  I HAVE NOT TRIED THIS.  But if you CLICK HERE there is another gluten free blogger that tried it and you can read what she experienced.  Please know that there is no cure for celiac or gluten intolerance.  The only way you can be symptom free is to completely avoid gluten.  This pill may or may not help with symptoms if you’ve been accidentally glutened and is absolutely NOT a pill to take so that you can purposely ingest gluten.  You will need to determine for yourself if you think this is worth it.

Digestive enzymes.  These help to breakdown different foods so that they can be absorbed/processed by the body.  Different enzymes help with different foods.  Some people have found this helps when they have been glutened.  Personally I have not tried this so I cannot say yay or nay.  But I will say again – if you are celiac or even gluten intolerant, this is not something that will “allow” you to eat gluten.

Ibuprofen. This can help to reduce the inflammation.  Please be sure that your brand of ibuprofen is gluten free!

I hope something in this list will help you!  Keep in mind, this too shall pass…….

Live and LOVE Gluten Free!!

Posted in The Basics

What Does Gluten DO to me?

Well lets start with the fact that gluten has NO nutritional benefits.  So by removing gluten from your diet, you will not be missing out on something important.  There are many people who have no issues at all with gluten and this post is NOT about them.  This post is for the 15% of U.S. population who have gluten sensitivity in some form.

Those with some form of gluten sensitivity can experience many problems such as hives, difficulty breathing, and digestive issues; in serious cases, a person can experience anaphylaxis, a sudden and severe reaction that can be life-threatening.  Gluten can also cause damage and inflammation in the small intestine, bloating, weight loss, joint pain, weight gain, fatigue and headaches.

For those of you who might like a little more detailed description of what it does in your body: you have small hair-like projections on the intestinal wall which are called villi.  Their function is to absorb the nutrients and vitamins as food passes through the intestines and help break it down. Gluten attacks the villi, wearing them down so that they can no longer function as they should (no longer absorbs nutrients and vitamins) which leaves you malnourished.

Sometimes, tiny holes are created in the intestinal lining, which lets food particles leak into your bloodstream rather than being broken down and absorbed normally. Your body’s natural defense system will fight these “foreign invaders” and attack the body.  You may see symptoms like skin rashes, eczema, bloating, mouth sores, and headaches and more.

Both Celiac disease and gluten intolerance create inflammation throughout the body, with 200-300 possible effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.”

Re-read that part……….TWO to THREE HUNDRED possible symptoms!  That is crazy! No wonder why it is so often mis-diagnosed.  Different organs can be affected by different types of gluten sensitivity and it can affect more than one area, again complicating diagnosis.  

When damage takes place in the cerebellum, the balance center of the brain that controls coordination and complex movements like walking, speaking and swallowing.   This is called Gluten Ataxia and is a neurologic condition characterized by the loss of balance and coordination. However it can also affect fingers, hands, arms, legs, speech and even eye movements. Typical symptoms include difficulty walking or walking with a wide gait, frequent falls, difficulty judging distances or position, visual disturbances and tremor.

When it affects your skin it is dermatitis herpetiformis.   This is a chronic blistering skin condition, characterized by blisters filled with a watery fluid.

When gluten affects the small bowel, this is celiac disease.  

The Gluten Free Network had some interesting points on Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance:

Celiac disease is an immune reaction, a severe sudden onset allergic reaction, to the protein called gluten. While celiac disease is initially an auto-immune disorder, it is also a disease of malabsorption, because essential nutrients are not absorbed.  If you imagine a continuum of gluten intolerance symptoms, celiac disease is usually at the most extreme end with immediate autoimmune reactions.

Gluten intolerance often has a slower onset than celiac disease, and may be hard to diagnose due to the broad range of symptoms and causes.  Undiagnosed for long periods of time, food intolerance have been found to contribute to diabetes, bowel cancer, anemia and osteoporosis.

A partial list from Celiac.com shows signs and symptoms of malabsorption, malnutrition, vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies associated with Celiac Disease to be:

Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating; Anemia; Diarrhea; Easy bruising; Epistaxis (nose bleeding); Fatigue or general weakness; Flatulence; Fluid retention; Foul-smelling or grayish stools that are often fatty or oily; Gastrointestinal symptoms; Gastrointestinal hemorrhage; Infertility; Iron deficiency anemia; lymphocytic gastritis; Muscle weakness; Muscle wasting; Nausea; Panic Attacks; Peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage); Stunted growth in children; Vertigo; Vitamin B12 deficiency; Vitamin D deficiency; Vitamin K deficiency; Vomiting; Voracious appetite; Weight loss or Obesity.

Celiac.com also shares a list of disorders and conditions that may have a connection to gluten intolerance:

Addison’s Disease; Anemia; Arthritis; Ataxia, Nerve Disease, Neuropathy, Brain Damage; Attention Deficit Disorder; Autism; Bacterial Overgrowth; Casein / Cows Milk Intolerance; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Cognitive Impairment; Crohn’s Disease; Depression; Diabetes; Down Syndrome; Dyspepsia, Acid Reflux; Epilepsy; Fertility, Pregnancy, Miscarriage; Fibromyalgia; Flatulence (Gas); Gall Bladder Disease; Gastrointestinal Bleeding; Infertility, Impotency; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Intestinal Permeability; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Kidney Disease; Liver Disease; Migraine Headaches; Multiple Sclerosis; Obesity, Overweight & Celiac Disease; Osteoporosis, Osteomalacia, Bone Density; Psoriasis; Refractory Celiac Disease & Collagenous Sprue; Sarcoidosis; Schizophrenia / Mental Problems; Sepsis; Sjogrens Syndrome; Skin Problems and Thyroid & Pancreatic Disorders.

THIS IS NO JOKE PEOPLE!

I would like to be clear here………….this does NOT mean that everyone with depression or an autoimmune disease or any of the above mentioned symptoms/disorders/conditions has gluten sensitivity.

What it DOES mean is that if you have any chronic illness, or one or more of the above listed issues and do not seem to experience relief from what the doctor prescribed, perhaps you should consider the cause could be gluten sensitivity.

How can you correct this?  You need to treat the cause not just the symptoms.

Eliminate gluten-from their diet – not just “cut back” on it.

This information only scratches the surface of what is available. Please check WebMd, Celiac.org, Celiac.com and many other sites for more detailed info.  I hope that this has given you a little insight as to the seriousness of gluten intolerance.

Live and LOVE gluten free!

Posted in The Basics

What the Heck is Gluten and WHERE do I find it?

Simply put, gluten is the one of the proteins found in certain grains like wheat, barley, rye, durum, spelt, farro, graham, kamut, and semolina. 

It is the “glue” (get it? GLUEten, lol) that makes dough stretchy, makes it rise and adds that texture that is often enjoyed in regular bread.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to check your labels* each and every time you buy anything BECAUSE:

It is in the obvious foods – breads, cakes, cookies, crackers, croutons, couscous, graham crackers, pasta, pizza, stuffing, pretzels etc…

It is used as a thickener and stabilizing agent – Asian sauces, BBQ sauce, canned baked beans, canned chili, canned soup, gravy, ice cream, ketchup, mustard, pie fillings, puddings, salad dressings, sherbet, soy sauces, soup etc….

It is a flavor enhancer and flow agent so you might find it in baking powder, beer, bouillon, coated popcorn or chips, cocoa mix, dairy products, dry roasted nuts, instant flavored coffees, packaged rice mixes, seasoning packets, spice blends,  etc…

Watch out for processed foods because you can find it in cheese, fast food, hot dogs, inexpensive cold cuts, pate, ready-made foods, reduced-fat foods, sausage, self-basting poultry, soy protein meat substitutes, etc…

Bet you didn’t think you could find it in: blue cheese, candy (especially licorice), canned meats, cheese sauce, chewing gum, curry powder, extracts, frozen french fries (it’s in the coating), imitation fish (like those crab sticks),  “malt”, pickled products, shredded cheese, sour cream,  etc…

Are you shocked yet?  

Here are a few more things to think about:  body wash, body lotion, hair care products, make up, laundry detergent, lipstick, prescription medications, tea bags, toothpaste and vitamin supplements.  

How about this:  your toaster, wooden cutting board, lickable envelopes or stamps, the inside of latex or rubber gloves, paint, clay, play dough and glue!

WHY why why is it in everything?  Simple answer for most – because it is cheap.  Think about this……….what is the best way to stretch a pot of chili?  Add beans.  What is the best way for manufacturers to use less of the quality ingredient and make more product (and more money)?  Add gluten, because is cheap.

Moral of this story – READ ALL LABELS!

It was my goal to make an impact so that you can see that gluten can be found in the obvious places and not so obvious places.  If you want to feel better you will need to remove gluten completely and to do this you need to investigate anything and everything that you put IN or ON your body.  Do not be overwhelmed by this large (but partial) listing. Once you start reading every label, it will quickly become second nature to you to be able to figure out what you can and can’t have.  Don’t despair – there are gluten-free products available for most items listed above!

The biggest and most important tip I can give you is to read, read, read every label – EVERY TIME YOU BUY IT (manufacturers often change their formulas with no warning or indication).  If you can’t tell from the label, contact the manufacturer, toll-free numbers are readily available on the internet.   If after all of this you still are not sure………don’t!

NOTES:  You will notice that I did not include OATS in this listing.  It is not an oversight – there seems to be some question as to IF it has gluten.  Naturally they do not and even though it is a different protein than wheat, some Celiacs might have a problem with oats.

One of the biggest concerns is from possible cross-contamination in the growing and  processing of oats – they might be grown in fields next to wheat and barley and/or processed in the same facilities.

It is suggested that if you want to try oatmeal that you find a product that is grown in gluten-free fields and processed in gluten-free processing plants.  Bob’s Red Mill is one of these companies that make gluten-free oats, there are others – check online.

Something else to think about:  Doctors say that Celiac and gluten-intolerance is from ingested gluten – but there are so many people out there (myself included) who have problems using products with gluten on their skin, hair etc. you may want to make your own choice based on your level of sensitivity.  Personally I steer away from anything that has it!

Live and LOVE gluten-free!

When checking your labels, they will not list “gluten” as an ingredient.  You will need to learn what names to look for that have gluten.  I will be posting additional blogs on what to look for on a label.  For now a quick tip, after the ingredients you might see a bolded line that says “Allergen Information” or “Contains”.  This will be followed by a list of potential allergens.  If you see WHEAT then you know for sure to stay away!   

Posted in Gluten Free Recipes

Greek 7-Layer Dip

Makes 8-10 servings

1/2 cup sliced roasted red pepper
1 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hummus
1 cup peeled and chopped cucumber
2/3 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
3 scallions, chopped

In a food processor, combine roasted red pepper, Greek yogurt, garlic, basil and salt and pepper until mostly smooth. Spread 1 cup of the red pepper mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch round pie plate.

Spread hummus evenly on top of red pepper mixture all the way to the edges of the plate.

Top hummus with an even layer of the cucumbers, followed by the olives, then the feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and scallions.

Serve with your favorite gluten-free crackers or chips.  You could also make your own gluten-free pita chips which would be excellent with this.

NOTE:  Yogurt is naturally gluten free.  Many of the feta cheese brands are gluten-free.  I use Athenos Feta (Kraft).  Always read the label! 

I found this recipe at Tablespoon.com, by girlversusdough.  Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

Posted in Books and Websites

Gluten Free Product Resources – Part 1

In my never-ending quest for new gluten-free information, I have found two great websites for GF products and or services.  Check these both out (and don’t forget to bookmark them if you like them!), I am sure they will be very helpful.

The first one is Gluten Free Find.

Your most comprehensive gluten-free directory, with “everything gluten-free from A to Z”

Healthy living focused, free and easy to navigate, no registration required.  You’ll find it all here – accessibility, gluten-free style!

Simply click on a city, and then click on a category!

NOTE:  The city area is limited if you are in a rural area like I am, but this is perfect if I should need to make a day trip to Chicago.  Bakeries, spas, manufacturers and more.

The second one is GF Overflow.

GF Overflow is a searchable database of gluten-free products that at the time of this post lists over 9,000 gluten-free products across a broad range of mainstream brands and categories.

You can use our search box to find relevant gluten-free products, or browse our full listings organized by food category or brand.

Results will only show you product matches that have been stated by the manufacturer to be gluten-free. They also provide you with the manufacturer’s gluten policy, website information and contact info.

NOTE:  This is a pretty good site.  Very basic, no pictures or summaries, but information you need.  Once you have found the product, click further to get more details.

Live and LOVE the gluten-free life!

Posted in Drinks, Gluten Free Recipes

Orange Push-Up Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten Free)

1 can orange juice concentrate, slightly thawed
1 cup milk (half and half, cream, nut milk, soy milk)
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste (you can reduce the sugar or use an alternate sugar substitute such as stevia but it won’t taste as close to classic Orange Push-Ups. Many people use much more than 1/2 cup, myself included. I used about 1 cup in my version)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups ice, or to taste

Combine all ingredients, except ice, in a large blender or Vita-Mix and blend until smooth and creamy, taking care the sugar has dissolved and is well incorporated.  If desired, add a splash more water or more milk.  Add the ice and blend until smooth.

Makes approximately three eight-ounce portions.

Tips: Pour excess portions into glasses and thaw later and drink as smoothies; pour excess into bowls and freeze for orange sherbet; or pour into Popsicle molds, paper cups, or ice-cube trays and freeze for homemade Push-Ups.  Or half the recipe by cutting the can of orange juice concentrate in half and halving all other ratios.

Optional: Add 1 to 2 ounces of Rum, Malibu, Vodka, Citron, Marshmallow Vodka, Gran Marnier or similar, per smoothie portion, or to taste.   🙂

Edited to Add: There have been people who have made this and report theirs being bitter but believe it may be due to the brand of OJ concentrate they used. I suggest trying the brand of juice I showed in the above photos, Hawaii’s Own, and I used mango-orange flavor, as originally indicated above. I bought it at Ralph’s (Kroger) Grocery store.

Also, do not be afraid to sweet this to taste, and that may mean substantially increasing the amount of sugar used, i.e. using 1 cup or more, rather than 1/2 cup, of sugar. I used 1 cup in my version, but have a sweet tooth and some people said they tried 1 cup and it was too sweet for them. Everything is to taste (too bitter, too sweet; it’s all relative and depends on the brand of concentrate used).

NOTE:  Keep in mind you can make this dairy free by using one of the other milks listed, sugar-free by using stevia.  In addition to the tip of adding liquor, you could change-up the juice – grapefruit, cran-apple, cran-grape, whatever your favorite might be!  ENJOY, this one looks great and the season for really enjoying it is coming quickly.

Thank you Averie at loveveggiesandyoga.com for a wonderful, refreshing drink!