My name is Kelly and this is my blog, Gluten Free, It's a Lifestyle. Writing has always been something that I enjoy and it just seemed natural that I start my own blog. I started out by sharing my gluten free baking tips on Facebook and my friends like my recipes so much that I wanted to share them with the rest of you out there.
Now being gluten free is not just a way of loosing weight or eating healthier, even though I have, but it is a true lifestyle change. This journey started when I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and around that same time my oldest son was diagnosed Autistic. These two journeys may seem entirely separate from each other, but through much research I realized that they have somethings in common. For one, food intolerance. I'm not talking about allergies, that is something different. Allergies are when the body can not tolerate even the smallest particle of that substance and has a violent reaction. Food intolerance is often linked with autoimmune response where the body creates antibodies to battle the substance, resulting in a reaction that can range from violent to mild.
In my case, I would get eczema really bad and it became worse after my second son was born. I also have a hard time with my digestive system. Heartburn was common for me and I lived off Tums some days. In a quest for a cure for my thyroid problems, I read several sources that linked gluten and dairy to Hypothyroid. I decided to give it a shot and took myself through an elimination diet. I had removed eggs, milk and processed foods when I was pregnant due to morning sickness and so I started there, one food at a time. I found that I felt so much better once I switched to soy milk that I removed cheese and the rest of the dairy from my diet. I kept a diary and after about two years of playing with recipes I am now gluten, dairy, and egg free.
I also found that the American diet is full of refined white sugar and that I didn't feel so bloated when I removed it from my diet and that my headaches went away. I also know that I'm sensitive to canola oil as it makes my skin itch and the tomato/pepper family is something to eat every now and then. My biggest lesson learned was that I need to listen to my body. It knows what it needs and doesn't like and I just adjust my menu as needed. If I had too much sugar one day, I back off for a week or so until my body feels more in balance. It's all about paying attention.
Early in my own food intolerance journey, my oldest boy had a bad reaction to a popular tubed yogurt that he had at preschool. I had a friend with a boy about my son's age that had bad food allergies and I remembered her saying something about the ability for her boy to concentrate was a symptom of his allergies. We had yet to have him diagnosed, but I went ahead and started a food diary for him and realized that everything he had a hard time with had corn. I took him off any foods containing corn, which is a lot in our American diet, and he began to calm down and his ability to concentrate was greatly improved. I did take him to an allergist and he encouraged me that even though the test were negative that if I noticed a difference that I should do what I thought was best for my son.
Once he was diagnosed, I found many a resource that listed Autistic children as having problems with gluten and dairy, as early research had indicated that the bodies of these children reacted to gluten and dairy as if it were an opiate; messing with their concentration and increasing hyperactivity. Since I was already on my own food intolerance journey, it didn't take long to decide to remove dairy and gluten from his diet as well. He has shown great improvement and he is able to keep up with his classmates and make friends. He has also had a great set of therapists, so I'm thankful for all the hard work, food, and training that has brought him as far as he is.
Not only is eating a part of this lifestyle, but exercise as well. Just as my oldest son needs body movement to regulate his mind, so does my body. My husband got me hooked on P90X and after 6 months of this at home program, I'm hooked. I love that I have more energy and that I have rid myself of my baby chub. This isn't an easy task as those of you who have a thyroid problem know that the thyroid is in charge of the metabolism. It took having my medication balanced and a little help from the Thyroid Diet to get my body to the point that I could lose weight. Healthy eating, portion control, and getting my intolerances under control made going through this exercise program successful. This is now part of the lifestyle and I intend to keep up with staying fit through running, rollerblading, chasing my kids, workout videos, or whatever means of fitness are available to me at the time. A healthy body is an efficient body and I plan to keep it that way.
Through this journey I have found many helpful blogs and recipes online that I tweeked to my own tastes once I learned what replacement foods I could use and where. Now I am more comfortable in my skills and through the encouragement of my friends I am going to share some of these lessons with you. I am by no means a professional chef or a lifestyle coach, in fact I'm a Horticulturalist by trade, but I have learned a lot in helping my family to eat better and I hope I help at least a few of you as you continue on your own journey.
Join me on my journey in this gluten free lifestyle.
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free Rice Bread
Note: I live at high altitude, so the cooking times may be shorter at lower altitude.
Quick and easy; makes a wonderful breakfast toast.
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs ground flax seed (or pre-ground flax seed meal) plus 3 Tb hot water mixed and set aside for 10 minutes. (can use one egg if not vegan)
1-1/2 cups Brown Rice
2 Tbs Potato Starch
1 Tbs ground flax seed or flax seed meal plus 3 Tbs of hot water
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp gaur gum
1 1/2 cups Rice Milk
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 4" x 6" bread pan, set aside.
For those that are new to the whole gluten free or vegan diet:
To replace 1 egg: I use one Tablespoon of flax seed that I grind in my coffee grinder. I put this in a small bowl and add 3 Tablespoons of hot water-can be from the tap- and add it to the flax seed. You can also use flax seed meal, but I prefer to mill my own seed since the meal can go bad if not used within a month.
I also use the coffee grinder to make my own rice flour. It takes a few times to figure out how fine a flour you can make, but even my finicky child has no problem with the courser grind that I get from the coffee grinder. Plus, this saves a little money, especially if you get rice from Costco or Sam's. You can either use brown or white rice, but I find that the brown rice requires additional rice milk for this recipe to work. Needless to say, I don't grind much coffee anymore ;D
Sift dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients. Mix well. Beat with a blender for at least three minutes.
Scrape the dough into a 1.5 pound loaf pan (or 7 to 8-inch round cake pan for ciabatta style) and smooth evenly (I use wet fingers). Loosely cover the pan (I use wax paper so that I can see how high it is just in case it gets too high and might stick to the cover) and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes in a warm spot.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. When the oven comes to temperature bake the bread until it sounds hollow when thumped. 60 minutes for people at higher altitude.(this might be anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes for lower alt) Lower style round pan loaves will bake at 30 to 40 minutes, usually.
If you like a crusty loaf, remove the bread from the pan and return it naked to the oven for an additional 10 minutes- keep an eye on it and don't let it get too brown. It should be a light golden color.
Cool on a wire rack.