/> Clean Convenient Cuisine: I Have A Gluten Allergy!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Have A Gluten Allergy!

Food allergies can strike at any time. Blame it on the environment, the additives and preservatives in food, an unhealthy lifestyle, genetics or mother nature, but having food allergies can make it hard to eat in restaurants (or even at home).

Gluten allergies are becoming more common, but it is one of the easiest ingredients to stay away from without affecting your overall health or diet. In fact, you are likely to improve your diet, because most foods with gluten are processed.

What exactly is gluten? A mixture of two proteins, present in cereal, grains and wheat, gluten is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. Some people are unable to digest it, hence a gluten allergy (or celiac disease). Luckily, numerous store bought foods now come gluten-free. When you have a gluten allergy, the main things to stay away from are wheat, rye and barley, though gluten is often unassumingly present in numerous foods. (If you suspect you might have an intolerance, you can ask for a complete gluten intolerance test at the doctor - or simply eliminate foods with gluten to see if you feel better.)

Foods safe to eat in the "grain" variety are corn, potato, rice, soybeans, arrowroot, carob, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa. Always look at the package label to determine the ingredients. This is a chance to comprise your diet full of whole, natural foods with lots of fresh veggies, proteins, healthy grains and fruits.

However, if you do have this allergy and you occasionally want to bake something sweet, there are many wonderful options (entire shops and blogs are now dedicated to a gluten-free lifestyle). Below is a delicious, gluten-free recipe to make on those days when you want something sweet but healthy!

Pumpkin Quinoa Cookies

1 cup Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes
1 cup sorghum flour (or fine brown rice flour)
1/4 cup millet flour
1 tbs. tapioca starch or potato starch
1 tsp. xantham gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 cups organic light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup spectrum organic shortening
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1 tbs. pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. light tasting vinegar or lemon juice
1 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup golden raisins or currants
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (quinoa flakes down to cloves). Add in shortening and combine the mixture until it's crumbly. Add in the pumpkin down to the lemon juice and beat to combine. Stir in chocolate chips, raisins and nuts and drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the parchment paper. Bake until golden and firm.

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