without Gluten, July 29, 2004
I'm delighted that I could transform my wheat intolerance
into a gratifying business that helps people eat the foods they
love-without the ingredients they don't want. ~Carol Fenster
Carol Fenster, Ph.D. is one of America's gluten-free experts.
Her work appears on the Health Network and she enjoys developing
gluten-free products for manufacturers. She also counsels
patients who are allergic to gluten. Carol's journey began with
a case of chronic sinusitis. When she stayed away from wheat,
she finally found relief.
Celiac disease now afflicts 1:133 Americans and is now the
nation's most common inherited autoimmune disorder. Celiacs have
to avoid gluten because it prevents the absorption of nutrients
in food. This causes a cascading problem and can lead to anemia,
osteoporosis and other health problems like rashes, stomach
aches and general fatigue.
When I went to the store to find a Gluten-Free Flour Blend, I
found the GF Garbanzo and Fava Flour blend by Bob's Red Mill.
Apparently, Carol developed a gluten-free line for Bob's Red
Mill. She also gives the recipe for her Sorghum Flour blend in
Today I made the most delicious Banana Muffins using Carol's
recipe from page 73. It is a quick bread recipe and you can make
a Banana Bread variation. I did use ¾ cup milk instead of the
recommended ¼-1/3. So, if you choose to buy a premixed flour
blend, you might need to slightly adapt the liquid quantities.
Overall, I was very impressed with the recipe and made 24
delicious and healthy banana muffins for breakfast. I'll freeze
the leftover muffins for future banana muffin cravings.
Last week, I decided to try the Basic Bread recipe in my bread
machine and then sliced the bread thinly and dried it out in the
oven for 20 minutes to make crackers. They are the best crackers
I've ever tasted. So far, I've only found rice-based crackers at
the store, so this was a wonderful solution. You will need to
look for items like potato starch, Xanthan gum, guar gum, soy
lecithin and cider vinegar. I used rice wine vinegar and another
flour in place of the potato starch. So, these recipes can also
be adapted to taste. Most of the ingredients are now readily
available at your grocery store on the natural foods isle. If
you can't locate these in your town, Carol gives plenty of
This book is simply fascinating because the author is so
knowledgeable and even suggests that you stay away from some
flours you would never suspect. Her alternative list of flours
for Gluten-Free baking will also be useful when you are shopping
and reading labels. If you normally use wheat as a thickener,
you might want to try Agar, Arrowroot, Cornstarch or Guar Gum.
There is a handy substitute list on page 23.
If you decide you are serious about the gluten-free lifestyle,
you might want to go through this book and make a list of the
special ingredients. Once you have rounded up about 5 main
ingredients, you can easily put together a number of healthy
recipes. Xanthan gum, gelatin powder, tapioca flour, potato
starch, soy lecithin, guar gum, sorgum flour, tapioca flour and
a choice of corn flour, almond flour or bean flour are needed
for this cookbook. It is nice to know that if you are allergic
to nuts, you can also use bean flour or corn flour.
Recipes I'm dreaming about trying:
Granola with Rice Flakes
Peanut Butter Cookies - I'll use Soy Butter
Chicken Fried Steak
Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Personally, I have a ton more energy when I stay away from wheat
products, so this recipe book is helping me to adapt my
lifestyle. I'm also excited about trying the Bob's Red Mill
flours in my own recipes.
You may also enjoy:
Living Without - A magazine, Carol is the food editor
Wheat-Free Recipes and Menus
Special Diet Solutions
Food Allergy Field Guide