Gluten-free, why me?

After finally, fully committing to a gluten-free diet these last 7 months, I get a lot of flack from friends, family, people in general.  Also I get a lot of questions and people who just don’t understand what gluten is or what it means to be on a “gluten-free” diet.  So here I am doing the blog thing to try to help demystify what it means to be gluten-free.  Starting at the basics, gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barleyrye, and spelt.  It is the “glue” that gives dough its elasticity and holds it together.  However, there are endless amounts of grains, vegetables and legumes that do not contain gluten that you can make “dough” from as well.  It’s just a bit trickier and requires some other binding agents, typically.  Thankfully, the natural grocer nearest you likely has a plethora of gluten-free bread, pasta, and starchy alternatives for you to choose from.

Now to clear some things up.  Because I’m gluten-free does not mean I am a vegan.  I have no idea why people make this connection but I have people make that mistake CONSTANTLY!  Being gluten-free just means you avoid the above listed gluten containing grains and the processed foods that those grains are sometimes added to.  Next, because I am gluten-free does not mean a cannot have sugar.  Another weird assumption that I have heard.  Maybe they are thinking I’m saying glucose?  IDFK Lastly, being gluten intolerant or even worse, having celiac disease, is not a myth, diet fad or hocus pocus.  It is a legitimate health issue that sadly plagues many americans.  Why more Americans than other countries, you ask?  Likely due to the fact that those above listed grains, especially wheat, are highly genetically modified.  Our bodies simply did not evolve quickly enough to catch up with the industrialization of food and all of the genetic modification.  Which is why our grand parents and great grandparents had no such issues.  They ate real food.  Before industrialization and heavily processed and GMO foods existed.

Some of you may have noticed the influx in your friends mentioning being gluten sensitive.  Seeing gluten-free menu options at your favorite restaurant and the obvious 9 choices of gluten-free bagels at your local whole foods.  Kudos to those of you who have noticed and who are curious about learning more.  If not for yourself, then for your friend like me, that doesn’t always want to be the jerk at the table asking the waitstaff about every ingredient in the soup du jour.  Educate yourself because I personally believe we could all greatly benefit from eliminating gluten from our lives, but even if you aren’t, someone close to you might be and you can help make their lives a little bit easier.

I will leave you with some of my favorite gluten-free products available at most natural grocers or online

canyonbakehouse

LFRB-PASTA-VALUE-4-ALL

raincoast

ASIAN CITRUS CHICKEN

This is healthy, yummy, and you probably have a lot of the ingredients in your pantry.

2lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (you can use any part of the chicken you want but the breast is leanest)

2 juicy limes

3 satsuma tangerines

3 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp dijon or stoneground mustard

2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sesame or peanut oil

Cut chicken breasts into desired portion sizes and place in large freezer bag.

In a mixing bowl squeeze juice from limes and tangerines and mix with all the other ingredients with a whisk.

Pour the marinade over the chicken and squish it around to make sure it’s evenly coated. Let the air out of bag, seal it and put in fridge for 4 hours.

When it’s ready preheat the oven to 375 and bake chicken  utill desired doneness. 155 internal temp is good for the boneless skinless breasts. 165 for dark meat if you decided to use it.

You can make a yummy sauce by sauteeing garlic and onions until light brown then adding some orange juice and a little soy sauce. Reduce slightly and then while simmering thicken with corn starch.

Serve with steamed rice and steamed broccoli and carrots.

Enjoy! – Chef Joann

Gluten-Free Beer

Gluten-free beer has been available for a while now, although hard to find and not always that tasty or interesting. For beer drinkers who have been diagnosed with an intolerance to gluten this can be a particularly frustrating part of the diet change.  Anheuser-Busch produces a gluten-free beer called Redbridge– but for most people who enjoy complex, layered beers, Redbridge is only slightly more tempting than Budweiser.

Excitingly, however, someone has finally taken notice of a gap in the market. While gluten-free beer has been an afterthought in a brewery’s beer lineup, The Craft Beer Alliance announced yesterday that they will be introducing a line of gluten-free beers, to hit taps in Oregon April 2nd. Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland will brew the beer under the label Omission Beer.

Omission Beer will go above gluten-free beer expectations in another way as well. Instead of using naturally gluten-free grains in their beers, like those brewed with sorghum, quinoa or buckwheat, Omission will use traditional beer ingredients like malted barley and hops. Every batch will be tested to ensure that it meets international standards with gluten levels of less than 20 ppm.

Let’s hope we see this nationwide soon!

Erin Tewes – Brooklyn