What is Gluten-Free Eating?

What is Gluten-Free Eating?

Look for the GF

 

There are many healthy food choices that are delicious and naturally gluten free. What is gluten free eating all about?  For me it is about keeping my husband healthy, because he was diagnosed with Celiac Disease it is vital that he does not have any gluten at all in his diet. And because he shows no outward symptoms when he consumes gluten it is harder to make sure that he doesn’t have gluten.

My most challenging thing was changing the way I cooked. You have to learn what food is gluten free.  Not all foods are gluten products in fact their are a lot of naturally gluten free items available but you have to be aware of how you cook them to keep them that way.  The way I cooked using frozen things like breaded meats which were easy and quick but that all had to change. They do make gluten free breading now horray!

Gluten Free French Fried Onions

One of my staple casseroles is the green bean casserole which I am always required to bring to Thanksgiving. The first year I made two different casseroles one gluten free with no fried onions on top and one regular. This year however I found gluten free fried onions so I took a chance and made it with progressive gluten free soup and used the gluten free fried onions for on top. I didn’t tell anyone until it was gone so I guess it was a success!

Now I have to prepare for meals more than I ever had to before. I don’t have to eat gluten free but it only makes sense to and I really don’t mind I didn’t realize how much of my food was already gluten free. It really is a life changing event but in the long run it is also a healthy one. Your core food groups should still be fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy.

Fresh Produce

Healthy Vegetables
Colorful Vegetables

There are many healthy food choices that are delicious and naturally gluten free. There are several food groups that are naturally gluten free and they include foods such as vegetables, fruits, meats, dairy, fish and seafood as well as beans and nuts.

Always Read Labels

Just about all Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. It is however, important to check the labels on any vegetables and fruits that have been processed. Dried fruit and pre-packaged items such as smoothies. Additionally, packaged frozen potatoes are not always gluten-free, and labels should be read carefully when considering these products.

The food industry is getting better at marking the packages with the Gluten Free label which in turn makes for easier shopping for the consumer.

Many items are naturally gluten free but, they can be easily cross contaminated by preparing foods where you are also preparing gluten containing foods. Such as using a cutting board where you have cut bread. Or using a toaster that has been used to toast bread that contains gluten. Or just using a knife to cut something with gluten and not washing it before using it to prepare gluten free foods.

Many Grains are Gluten-Free

You can find many grains at your local grocery store and then their are others that you may have to look harder for perhaps at a health food store. Times are changing for the gluten free group store are becoming more aware of the need for this type Gluten Free Muffins

of food and are making it easier for the consumer to find and recognize them. Also, the product manufacturers are producing prepackaged products that are now gluten free such as, cake, muffin, bread mixes and much more you just have to know where to find them in your store. Do not buy grains in bulk because of the chance for cross contamination.

These two grains are gluten free but do have gluten in the seeds so if they are not harvested right gluten contamination can occur. Depending on your sensitivity you may want to stay away from pure wheat grass and barley grass. Grains should contain less than 20 ppm of gluten to be considered safe.

Naturally Gluten-Free Grains

Below are some grains that are naturally gluten free.

Amaranth, Arrowroot, Beans, Buckwheat groats(kasha), Cassava, Chia, Corn(maize), Flax, Millet, Nut Flours, Oats (Gluten Free), Potato, Quinoa, Rice, Sorghum, Soy, Tapioca, Teff, and Yucca.

There are many products that are marked gluten free and that really helps the consumer greatly. Beware their are also Check the Ingredientsproducts that are not marked but may be gluten free. Your job is to be a good label reader to check the ingredients carefully to make sure it is safe.

Most wheat products contain gluten such as breads, crackers, pasta and other baked goods. Today their are alternatives to many of these items using other non gluten flours and grains. Of course these products are prepackaged but use can purchase flour blends that will allow you to make your own items from scratch.

There is usually a freezer section with gluten free items which is where you will most likely find the bread. One of my favorite things to make is muffins using the King Arthur’s Brand muffin mix which allows you to add your own ingredients. I will add cinnamon, dried blueberries, cranberries and walnuts and they are delicious!

Cereal

Cereal
Most Cheerios are Gluten Free!

Many cereals contain gluten, their are several that are gluten free. Not all brands make it easy to tell but General Mills Cheerios make it very obvious with there Gluten Free label right on the front of the box. Please note not all the varieties are but their is a good selection. Not all cereals are marked gluten free so check the ingredients to make sure. There are some cereals you might think should be gluten free but when they are processed they might use ingredients that have gluten. For example malt flavoring is used in cornflakes and rice puffs.

GF Pancake Mix!

As far as breakfast goes pancakes are one of my husbands favorites.  It took a while  to find the pancake mix that was just right but I have and I would like to share it with you Here!  I use King Arthur Brand Pancake Mix it is light and fluffy.  A trick I use to make them more to our liking is to add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the mix.  It gives the pancakes a different flavor.

Soups and Sauces

Gluten Free canned soup

When it comes to soups and sauces many prepared soups include wheat as a thickener therefore if it doesn’t say it is gluten free you must check the ingredients carefully especially cream soups. Of course if you make your own soup you can control what goes in it.  I haven’t found any canned soups that are perfect but Progresso makes a fairly decent one but you still have to check each flavor because not all are gluten free.

Beverages

Most beverages are gluten-free, including juices, sodas, and sports drinks.

Generally most wines are considered gluten-free to the FDA standard because they contain under 20ppm of gluten. Wines fermented in barrels lined with wheat paste do not contain enough gluten to cause a reaction. These wine might include muscatel, port, and maderia.

Wines with added flavoring or color are not safe for someone with Celiac. These are generally dessert wines. Also, wine coolers made with barley malt are unsafe. For these, consumers should check the label, and if in doubt, opt out or contact the company for clarification.

Hard liquor, distilled liquors, and hard ciders are all considered gluten free. Others made from gluten containing grains that are not distilled which includes beers, ales, lagers, and malt Gluten Free Beerbeverages are not gluten-free. However, their are several brands of gluten-free beers available in the United States and abroad. There are more coming on the market all the time. My husband found one he likes called New Grist.

Check, Check, and Recheck!

These are the Steps I take to make sure my packaged foods are gluten free before I purchase them.

First I look for the GF label which tells me the FDA has passed this product as Gluten Free.

Second, if no label is on the products I would check fo common gluten containing ingredients such as Wheat, Rye, Barley, Malt, Oats (not specified gluten free) and Brewers Yeast.

Third I check for the allergens found in the product. Then check the overall ingredients to make sure their aren’t any hidden gluten ingredients.

I also, have an app on my phone that lets me scan the barcode and tells me if it “contains no gluten”, or it might say “no gluten ingredients found.” This is just one more way to make you feel more comfortable with the product you may purchase.

After doing the above checks you might want to also check with the manufacturer to see if the product is processed in the same area as other products that contain gluten.  If so, there is a risk of cross contamination.

 

Are gluten products bad for you?  No they are not unless you have Celiac’s Disease or have a gluten senitivity.

So what is gluten free eating all about? It is making sure your foods and other products you use do not contain gluten. Being sure the foods you eat and even the products you use don’t contain gluten is the only safe way to control Celiac disease at this point in time. I hope this has helped you learn what food is gluten free. There is always research being done and maybe one day a cure or an easy way to help will be available. So eat gluten free and live a healthy life with Celiac Disease.

It does get easier as you learn what products you can have.

 

Edible Flowers for Health!

Some Edible Flowers for Health Benefits!

Flowers are best known for decorations, as gifts and just to enjoy looking at. Using Edible Flowers for decoration on a meal can help create an appetizing meal that not only looks beautiful but also tastes wonderful.

Chefs all over the world use Edible fresh flowers in different styles of cuisine.

Not all flowers are safe to eat, but those that are can offer a unique burst of flavor and color to many dishes, including salads, sauces, beverages and entrées. Some of them may even offer health benefits. What are some edible flowers you might like to try?  Leave a comment below to tell us.

Here are some edible flowers that may offer health benefits.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus plants are known for their large, ornate blossoms. They are usually grown in tropical and subtropical areas around the world.

Hibiscus

One popular variety to eat is Roselle or Hibiscus sabdariffa. Their are many varieties of Hibiscus. With colors ranging from several shades of pink, red, yellow, and white.

Recipes using Hibiscus include salads, jams, and teas.

Hibiscus teas are known for their medicinal properties in many cultures. Hibiscus may help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The tea is tart, somewhat sour and has a red color. The tea is very refreshing in summer on hot days served over ice but, can be severed hot as well.

Dandelion

Dandelion
You though it was a weed!

Most see these as pesky weeds in the spring that multiplies like crazy. Dandelions are also one of our edible flowers that are highly nutritious. They are full of powerful antioxidants that are very good for your system

Have you ever heard of Dandelion wine? Yes they can be made into wine as well as many other dishes. The flower part can be breaded or fried, you can toss them in a salad or make jelly with them.

You can use the roots to make tea. The greens can be consumed raw in salads, or as a sandwich topping and can also be cooked into stews or casseroles.

Lavender

Lavender
Pretty and Edible

Lavender is are small violet flowers and are probably known best for the calming effect the scent gives you. It is a woody floral herb. They are plentiful and originally grown in the Mediterranean and parts of northern Africa.

With Lavenders scent and color this flower is a favorite addition to many foods. Hot tea with lavender before bed will help calm you for sleep. It can be used in many baked goods, added to syrup, and liqueurs.

When cooking with Lavender start with a very small amount and increase slowly because it can become overpowering very quickly. It goes well with both savory, and sweet ingredients.

 

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle
So Sweet!

Almost 200 honeysuckle species exist, but the most common are the Japanese and woodbine varieties. Honeysuckle blossoms hold nectar that can be eaten directly from the flower. The fragrant blossoms, are usually light yellow or white. Their are several hundred varieties of honeysuckle in the world with the most common being Woodbine and Japanese.

In the culinary world honeysuckle is often used to make tea or a flavorful syrup. Honeysuckle can also be used to sweeten products like yogurt, sorbet, ice tea, and lemonade or even replace the sugar in a quick bread recipe with Honeysuckle.

Exacts from Honeysuckle can help with inflammatory conditions. The honeysuckle flower and its nectar are perfectly safe to eat. However, the berries on some varieties can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.

Honeysuckle has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries as a vital part of their practices.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium with its savory flavor and brightly colored blossoms is a favorite among the culinary industry.

Nasturtium

Nasturtium are usually bright orange, red, or yellow and their petals resemble a small lilly pad. Their taste is said to be slightly spicy, and peppery. The blossoms are milder tasting than the leaves.

The leaves and flowers of Nasturtium can be enjoyed raw or cooked.

Cakes, pastries, and salads look very appetizing garnished with Nasturtium. Not only the look of Nasturtium but the flower itself is good for you and your health.

 

Borage

Borage
Starflower

Borage, also known as starflower, have blossoms that are most likely blue but may also come in pink or white. It is a herb that, has star-shaped flowers.

If you have a sore throat or cough you can try borage as a minor ailment treatment.

Borage is said to have a sweet flavor that resembles honey and cucumber. Like many of the edible flowers you can eat both the flower and leaves. Borage can be used as a stand along vegetable side dish.

Starflower has many ways to be used in the culinary world. Add them to flavor a salad or as a garnish for desserts and cocktails. Add them to your favorite soups, sauces and even in fillings for stuffed pasta.

Love Purslane

Purslane is in the category known as succulents. It produces tiny, yellow flowers and thick, fleshy leaves. The leaves and Purslaneflowers of Purslane can be eaten raw or cooked.

Purslane is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s also, contains more omega-3 fat than any other vegetable of its kind which is a plus for your nutritional needs it is very rich in nutrients.

Purslane flowers and leaves can be served raw in salads and sandwiches. You can also add it to soups, to sauteed or steamed with other vegetables as a side dish to add flavor. You may even consider trying this plant battered and fried.

Rose

Roses come in various sizes and colors. There are over 150 species of roses and all of them are edible but not all of them taste the same. So will need to use your smell test to see if you think it will taste good. Rose petals are the only part of this flower that you will want to eat.

Rose

Roses petals can be eaten raw, muddled and added to liquid to provide a nice smelling beverage. They have a very aromatic, floral and slightly sweet flavor.

Mix them into various fruit or green salads. You can also dry them and add to granola or mixed herbs. Mix chopped rose petals to butter or sugar to give it a special flavor.

 

Squash Blossom

When, you grow your summer squash try eating the blossoms they are just as edible as the squash itself. Zucchini is the most popular blossom to consume.

The male blossoms are the ones to eat because they do not produce a zucchini. Male blossoms have a long narrow stem and tend to grow on the outer edges of the plant. Only female blossoms will produce a squash.

Squash Blossom

The Zucchini blossoms are bright yellow with a long, rounded bell shape and can be eaten raw, .

Squash Blossoms can be eaten raw. Use them to garnish salads or you can stuff the blossoms with cheese and herbs and bake until the petals are crispy.

 

 

Pansy

Pansies are beautiful to look at and good to eat.

Pansy

Panies come in many colors but different shades of purple, blue and yellow are the most common. Their flavor is lightly floral, fresh and mild. Pansy texture is soft with five overlapping petals and a dark area in the center.

With all the different colors that panies come in they are excellent to use as embellishment for cakes, cookies, and pastries as well as many other desserts. You can even candy the petals. Chopped petals will add color to your salads and also give them a floral scent.

Their are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties found in Panies to help keep your body healthy.

 

Chamomile

Chamomile has been used in ancient history for stomach ailments, anxiety, and even as a mild sedative. Their oils are used in many products today.

Chamomile

Chamomile has a sweet earthy flavor. Known best for their use in tea, buying organic pure tea leaves when possible will give you the most benefits. They can also be used to make syrups, which can than be used in smoothies, baked goods, or desserts. A good amount of recipes call for heating the flowers in a liquid to extract their flavors. The leaves and flowers are also used dried.

Within this article are some Edible Flowers why not give them a try.  What do you have to lose?  They are all natural and good for your health.  What are the edible flowers you might like to have presented in your food?

With the variety of Edible Flowers for many meal and chef’s creations why not give them a try.  What do you have to lose?  They are all natural and good for your health.  You could even grow your own take a look at an indoor growing unit that you can use to do just that.

If you have any questions please feel free to comment below.