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Monday, January 10, 2011

Gluten Freedom - Not Quite

by Throwback at Trapper Creek

With winter full-on in our location, comfort food and warm fires come to mind. However, a few years ago my husband's life long digestive problems required a more in-depth look. He was diagnosed with many food allergies, and foods he liked started dropping off the menu like flies. The items that gave him the worst fits were potatoes and corn or dishes with those vegetables added. Low on the allergy tests were things like yeast, sugar and egg whites. All pretty easy to avoid, unless you really, really like baked goods like breads and desserts. As foods dropped away and he was still having occasional bouts of digestive problems, his doctor suggested maybe a gluten intolerance could be still bothering him.

Everywhere you look there are gluten free recipes for everything. For us though, that approach didn't really fit. Too many additives and things we didn't want to buy or eat just to have that brownie or bread. We - he the eater, and me the cook- decided that just cutting back would be a better approach. Since he wasn't really that gluten sensitive, maybe going back to a simpler time when desserts were actually a treat, not everyday fare, would be the way to go. Besides, cutting out sugar and refined carbs would benefit all of us.


Expanding on the treat idea, we decided we would just have one or two items a week that contained gluten. Maybe pizza, or pie. And I pretty much quit making two crust pies, whether savory or sweet. We found we didn't miss the extra crust, and in small amounts the weekly gluten or a little yeast in a pizza crust did not cause any digestive upsets. I think if I was trying the gluten free recipes for everything we would still be eating too much sugar and other things like high calorie nut flours we don't really need and are very expensive.

We all feel better, and realized that we were all a little sluggish with the baked goods and cereals in our diet. I realize that this won't help if you have a serious problem with gluten like celiac disease, but just a few changes in our kitchen yielded great results.

Have you made similar changes in your cooking and eating in regards to food sensitivities and allergies?

20 comments:

Diana R.Smith said...

My DH was getting so everything he ate seemed to cause some symptom..heartburn, bloating, stomach discomfort. He'd be up several times at night searching for Tums. It was becoming very frustrating cooking for him. Then while browsing thru some old Mary Janes Farm mags I found a small blurb about a woman who had cured these problems with a simple drink so I thought it wouldn't hurt to try it. It uses one TBSP Braggs Organic apple cider vinegar stirred into small glass warm water with one tsp. baking soda and some honey or other sweetening if desired. Well, he has been taking it only 8 days and the change is miraclous. Eats anything without any problems and has cut down from the recommended 3x daily to just once before breakfast. I don't know exactly why this would work but feel his system was just plain out of balance and my sugested fast was a no-go with him. Worth a try. I've been using it daily now and haven't had a Tums in days either!! Note, the Braggs is available at health food stores and,surprizingly, we found it at the local Mennonite store. Has to be the real cider with the "mother" in it. As a nurse I could see the docs wanting to do all kinds of stomach tests and thought starting with diet was worth a try. DEE

Sweet Homestead Alabama said...

Gluten intolerance has become amazingly prevalent in our society, hasn't it? I believe there is wisdom in your approach. Over-indulgence of so many foods has caused allergies and sensitivities in many people. I'm one of them. Like your husband, I have Crohn's. I don't have celiac, but I have greatly benefited from reducing the amount gluten in my diet. I went the route of gluten-free for several months and found it to be insanely expensive and full of things my grandmother wouldn't have eaten. A problem. Now, when I have gluten (which is only a few times per week), I make sure it is fermented (sourdough) or at least soaked overnight in the Nourishing Traditions fashion. I'm happy to report that my digestive issues are FINALLY in check.

I've also benefited from adding ACV, lots of yogurt, coconut oil, ginger, and garlic to my diet. And I've all but cut out sugar. Stevia has been a life saver. I believe that yeast may contribute greatly in digestive disorders, so I semi-follow a candida diet. Like you, I believe moderation is the key. Great post!

emilysincerely said...

I am glad that cutting back on certain foods has helped. As I plan to make pizza tonight I grateful that we can stomach it. Thanks for sharing the changes you have made. I hope Hang Dog is feeling better and better with each change that you make. Emily

Peggy said...

I have heard, and tend to believe, that it's not just overindulgence, but a change in the grain over the last few centuries which is complicit in gluten sensitivity these days. I know it doesn't alter the gluten, but I find we can tolerate sourdough (true, homemade sourdough) better than regular dough. My husband would refuse ACV on his deathbed. I wonder if a little kombucha would accomplish the same thing. Throwback, you have field trials, I have table trials!

Kevin Kossowan said...

One crust pies need a comeback. Long live the dowdy!

Paula said...

Boy, have I! It took some doing, but we figured out that my husband can eat the stuff that causes blood sugar issues if he eats it later in the day- irritants at work tend to make him blow up if he's had dairy, or grains. He can handle potatoes, so his regular weekday breakfasts are eggs, potatoes, and bacon, sausage or lo-so spam. And he has to take hemp milk in his coffee. But it's working, and that's the important thing!

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

I just started following your blog. I found the link via Rhonda over at Down to Earth. I don't have any gluten intolerance that I'm aware of. However, I do have a minor form of inflammatory bowel disease called proctitis..so for that reason I've starting to look into changing what I eat. That includes really examining/learning about the different ingredients in foods..because I'm convinced that has been part of the problem to this point ;) I'm really looking forward to reading the various posts here. Thanks for letting me join :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Limette said...

I've been reducing the amount of gluten in my diet as well. I was getting severe stomach aches after going to bed. I also stopped eating after 6pm. When I do eat gluten I try to keep it earlier in the day. I haven't had any issues since I started two weeks ago.

I want to try making gf bread but cannot find the flours around here to make it with.

dixiebelle said...

My husband is Coeliac, and has bought and home made gluten free food. Plus my little boy is on a dairy free diet at the moment too. My daughter could eat anything she wants, really, but she's just plain old fussy! So I eat very little gluten and dairy, which helps me out too.

Last night I made two pies, one apricot and one plum, with gluten free and dairy free crusts. I simply used a normal pastry recipe, using gluten free flour (a bought mix), Nuttelex dairy free margarine, egg and touch of sugar. The pastry is not the same as regular and you can't really roll it out (you press it in to the pie dish) but still taste and feels very good, bit like shortbread! We use fruit from our trees, and once I start grinding my own organic flour, have our own chicken eggs, (maybe even our own bees for honey instead of sugar), that will be a healthy dessert!!

For pizza, he has Tortilla Pizza, using corn tortillas as the base. They also make great Quesadillas.
It's an adjustment, and you have to be creative and resourceful, and also, not expect that it's going to be the same. That doesn't mean it can't be good!

The Professor's Wife said...

Yes - I am gluten intolerant, so my husband and I eat two different menus. I still cook bread and biscuits for him, and I do without except for special occasions like Christmas and Thanksgiving. It is just too expensive to make gluten free bread, even from scratch, so I make do with corn tortillas with hummus or rice or quinoa instead of rolls for dinner. I think it is helping on the weight loss front!

katie z. said...

I have a SiL who has Celiac's, and it has turned my world upside down. I am not a great eater of fruit and veggies, and we eat LOTS of carbs in our house. I am trying, though, to make sure when she visits, I can make something for her - I found a yule log recipe that was gluten free for Christmas eve, and she almost cried. It's good for me to try to cook outside the box, and it makes me more conscious of what we eat at home.

Cas said...

I am intolerant to wheat if I eat it every day, so I save it for times when the convenience of bread is a real help e.g. when I need a packed lunch. It gives me diarrhea and sometimes pain and bloating. My DH has IBS and is somewhat intolerant to wheat and dairy, but his main problems are cheese and potatoes. We eat a lot of rice with curries, chillis (both mild), with grilled meat and fish veg, also some quinoa; lovely with a beef casserole. To be honest, I find wheatfree is much easier than cheese and potato free diet.

Hayden said...

I'm not technically unable to eat anything. But having tried eliminating grains from my diet, I know I do feel better, less sedentary, less loaded down.

The problem is getting myself to do it. I really love and crave grains, alas. I've cut back on bread, but.... it's hard.

Tiffany Jewelry said...

heavy snow and delicious gluten.life is so nice.

Hilde said...

Have you tried spelt flour? Spelt is a very old grain which was eaten way before wheat or corn. Here in Southern Germany, it is still widely used in traditional dishes. It doesn´t cost much more than normal flour. Of course, I don´t know if you can get it in the US and how the price is there.

Cottage Tails said...

Hi
A blog friend linked me here.
We are going dairy. wheat. gluten free - plus egg, fish & nuts for ds. So far we are up to day 10 - doing good.
I've chosen to just eat fresh in season food - Summer here in New Zealand so lots of fruit & salads. So far going well.

Would be real interested to see what a weekly/daily menu is like for your family.

Love Leanne

First Gen American said...

I second spelt flour. I use it when my diabetic friend comes over. I also think it's just as tasty as regular flour.

I have IBS and I'm still trying to figure out all of my triggers. Some things are obvious like greasy foods, and caffeine, but there are still other days where I can't figure out the trigger except for stress. I'm too scared to start cutting out my gluten as I love carbs way too much.

Billie said...

After much pain (ie reduced to screaming on occasion) and intestinal upset, I finally started trying to see if it was food related. The end result of that search is that I no longer eat dairy or wheat. Talk about a double-whammy *sigh*

I still have high hopes that I might be able to eat cheese (will try soon) but the dairy and wheat and pretty clear. If I slip, I pay. I always said that good negative reinforcement works just as well as positive reinforcement so I have been slipping VERY little these days.

Olivia said...

I am celiac and have been cooking gluten free for years. Once you get the hang of it it's not a big deal. There are some excellent cookbooks out there. In fact, except for the bread, crackers, cereal, etc. that I buy for the rest of the family, everyone here eats gluten free since I can't even be around wheat flour (or spelt or kamut or barley or rye.) Some of my friends actually prefer my gluten free cakes and pies to their wheat based ones. I don't bake a lot just because we are not big dessert eaters here.

morgaineotm said...

I've got autoimmune thyroiditis from gluten intolerance. Was doing okay with that, but gaining weight. Just before Christmas, DH's doctor put him on low-carb diet to lose weight. This has been excellent. Am finding good foods made with flax and almond meal. A quick bread with flax, almond meal, baking powder, eggs, a touch of salt and some oil. Lots of dietary fiber, tastes good, and gives the "illusion" of having bread with breakfast! For making a "breading" type coating, crushed fried pork skin. Sounds awful, but works great!