Allergies, Sensitivities, and Auto-Immune Diseases, Oh My!

I have been called or emailed or texted more than once by friends requesting advice for themselves or their friends when they are given the news that they must drastically alter their diets. Most people are clueless about how to properly nourish themselves if they have to do away with gluten. So how do they manage when they must stay away from gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, etc.? Fortunately for me, when I discovered my allergies, my mother had lived with them for 3 or 4 years already. The change was not easy, but wasn't as difficult as it could have been thanks to her. This post is my way of paying it forward.

Before I continue, know that your life isn't over and neither is your spouse's. You can create yummy, filling meals without gluten. All of the foods in this post are suitable to my personal needs--no gluten, nuts, soy, dairy and limited corn. If you have further allergies and sensitivities, you will want to check the ingredients listed with each item. This post will be a work in progress, and I will update it whenever I discover something new and delicious.

Glutino Crackers Original—Corn starch, white rice flour, organic palm oil, modified corn starch, dextrose, liquid whole egg, yeast, salt, guar gum, sodium bicarbonate, ammonium bicarbonate, mono and digycerides, natural flavor.
Glutino Crackers Vegetable—Corn starch, white rice flour, organic palm oil, modified corn starch, dextrose, liquid, whole egg, yeast, tomato powder, salt, oregano, garlic, guar gum, ammonium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, mono and diglycerides, natural flavor.
These crackers are delicious! The vegetable variety is my favorite. I use them as I would any cracker, but my favorite snack is these crackers topped with pepperoni, sprinkled cheese and diced jalapenos.
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Betty Crocker Cake Mix—Rice flour, sugar, potato starch, leavening, xanthan gum, salt. May contain soy ingredients.
Uses: The cake mix makes a fine cake, but I use this mix along with butter to top my favorite cooked fruit for cobbler. (You may also use a combination of rice flour, butter and sugar for cobbler.)
Betty Crocker Brownie Mix— Sugar, semi-sweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Corn Starch, Xanthan Gum, Salt. May contain soy ingredients.
Uses: I think that it's pretty obvious. I love it topped with homemade goat milk ice cream (see below for recipe).

Ingredients: Brown Rice Pizza Crust—Whole grain brown rice, potato
Uses: Use as pizza crust. It takes some getting used to, but it’s better than going without pizza. I recommend Paul Newman’s Sockarooni Sauce for your pizza sauce. I use aged goat cheese, pepperoni and veggies to top my pizza.

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Ingredients: Barbara’s Brown Rice Crisps—Organic whole grain brown rice, organic fruit juice concentrate (apple, peach, pear or pineapple), sea salt.
Uses: Cereal, Rice Krispie Treats (Watch your brand of marshmallows. Not all brands are gluten-free.)

Gluten-Free Pantry French Bread Mix—white rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, guar gum, granulated honey, salt, and a packet of yeast. May contain traces of soy.
Uses: It is my all-purpose bread, but it serves best as toast. I can’t use a lot of other mixes because the content of tapioca starch is too high. I have a sensitivity to it.
GF Pantry Brown Rice Pancake and Waffle Mix—brown rice flour, white rice flour, corn starch, buttermilk, granulated honey, baking powder (corn), sodium bicarbonate, salt, xanthan gum.
Uses: This mix makes the BEST pancakes!!

Ingredients (Brown Rice Flour): Brown rice
Uses: It is so versatile. It serves well as a flour substitute in banana bread recipes, brownies (see recipe below), cobbler topping, and batters. I have fried venison, squash and goat cheese in brown rice flour seasoned with Tony’s seasoning.
Ingredients (Potato Starch): This stuff is my best friend. I use it to make my own cream soups so I can have casseroles (all processed cream soups contain flour) and gravy. Instructions for gravy are on the package. See recipe for mushroom cream soup below.

Ingredients: (Kinnikinnick Donuts)—Icing (sugar, water, glucose, vanilla), sugar, white rice flour, tapioca starch, water, whole eggs, sweet rice flour, palm fruit oil (non hydrogenated), fructooligosaccharide, yeast, pea protein, egg whites, xanthan gum, fruit concentrate (dextrose, dextrin, fiber), salt rice bran extract, cellulose, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, pea starch, mono calcium phosphate), glucono delta lactone, sodium bicarbonate, nutmeg.
Uses: With coffee. They also come in Maple glazed, Cinnamon, and Chocolate glazed. The Maple is my favorite, the Chocolate is my least favorite.
Ingredients: (Kinnikinnick Chocolate Cake Mix)-- Sugar, Potato Starch, White Rice Flour, Cocoa Powder, Sweet Rice Flour, Baking Powder, Guar Gum, Salt, Pea Protein, Sodium Bicarbonate, Pea Starch, Pea Fibre.
Uses: This is my favorite chocolate cake mix. It makes PERFECT cupcakes and a great birthday cake. Top with your favorite icing. I like vanilla icing on mine!
Kinnikinnick is a HUGE gluten-free company stocked with all kinds of goodies! Check out their site here:

Ingredients: Brown rice.

Uses: Perfect substitute for grits. Good sweet, dressed up or with a simple dollop of butter.

Ingredients: Rice

Uses: Makes great Asian dishes. You can also buy the boxes with seasonings. The original flavor is free of soy. Add chicken, veggies, and crushed red pepper for a sweet and spicy treat.

Ingredients: Brown rice.

Uses: Use as you would any pasta. I love this brand because it is so hard to overcook. Other brands will disintegrate if you cook them too long. My husband never knew the difference when we switched, and you can get any kind of pasta you need in this brand (Tinikyada).

Ingredients: Brown rice.

Uses: As above, use as you would any pasta. This brand will disintegrate if overcooked, but I like it because it cooks quickly, and you don't have to cook the lasagna at all.
Ingredients: Rice protein.

Uses: If you are into protein shakes, fruit smoothies with a boost, etc, try this in place of whey. It is grainy, but it's better than itching or being ill.

Ingredients: Corn

Uses: Corn bread. Most cornbread mixes have wheat flour. This makes a yummy, but less fluffy version.
Ingredients: Brown rice flour, water, potato starch, canola oil, pineapple juice concentrate, peach juice concentrate, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), pear juice concentrate, salt, soy lecithin, defatted soy flour, guar gum.
Uses: These are great in lieu of Eggos. They are quick, and very good toasted in a toaster. They are not so splendid microwaved. I like them topped with blueberries and maple syrup.

Ingredients: Goat milk.
Uses: Use the milk as you would any other milk, but decide carefully about desserts. Sometimes the milk taints the cake you’re trying to make. It is perfectly fine for banana bread, pancakes, scrambled eggs and savory cooking though. The aged cheese is also very good. When people say “goat cheese” they are usually referring to the fresh, crumbly goat cheese, which is great on salads and serves as a good substitute for cottage or ricotta cheese on lasagna. The aged cheese is good for pizza, lasagna and anything you would use mozzarella or cheddar for. Both brands are excellent (Meyenberg or Alta Dena).

Now, the holy grail of gluten free snacks!!!

Ingredients: Snap pea Crisps—Green peas, corn oil, rice, salt calcium carbonate, ascorbic acid. Be careful! Peas are legumes!!!
Uses: They are advertised as salad toppers, but they are great with sandwiches or by themselves as a meal. They are very well balanced with protein, fat and carbs, and the main ingredient is peas!
Ingredients: Sorghum Flour; Grape, Apple and Pear Juice Concentrates; Brown Pure Cane Sugar; Date Paste; Chocolate Chips (Evaporated Cane Juice, Chocolate Liquor, Non-Dairy Cocoa Butter); Expeller Pressed-Vegetable Oil (Safflower Oil and/or Sunflower Oil); Water; Natural Rice Dextrin; Xanthan Gum; Baking Soda; Salt; Vanilla; Rosemary Extract

Uses: This little company is awesome. They make sure their foods are free of all of the leading allergens. No gluten, no nuts, no eggs, no casein. Check out Enjoy Life Foods here.

All of these foods should be available at your local health food store. If they are not, check to see if they can/will order it for you. And always tell your health food store merchants about your dietary needs. They can help you find lots of yummy products. Be prepared to spend a little more on groceries than you used to, but you will live. I promise.

In the meantime, do not underestimate the power of these:
Plain old rice and potatoes make GREAT starch substitutes. There are so many yummy potato recipes and you are only limited by your creativity when it comes to rice.

Recipes (kind of):

Mushroom Cream Soup (for casseroles):

Saute chopped onions and baby portabellos in butter and Tony's seasoning. Add goat milk (1 to 1 1/2 cups). Cook until warm again. Meanwhile, mix 2 T. of Potato starch with cold water. Add to milk, onions, and mushrooms. Stir until thick. Add to casserole.

Microwave Rice Flour Brownies:

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. rice flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Beat eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla for 1 minute at medium speed. Add butter, continue beating. Mix in flour and cocoa at low speed. Stir in nuts. Spread evenly into greased 8 in. square dish. Microwave 4 1/2 to 5 minutes.

Homemade Goat Milk Ice Cream

4 eggs
2 1/4 c. sugar
6 c. goat milk (ready to drink)
4 cans goat milk (concentrated milk like Pet milk)
5 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

Beat eggs. Add sugar and beat again. Mix in other ingredients. chill. Freeze in ice cream freezer. Serve plain or with Microwave Rice Flour Brownies.

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