Gluten Free Bread

Dairy, egg, gluten free breadOne of the trickiest food products I’ve had to search for is bread.  I’ve discovered that there are many options when it comes to selecting a gluten free bread – and that’s a good thing….

The only trouble is that I am also dairy free and egg free.  Finding a bread that meets those two dietary requirements has been pretty tricky.  I do have my favourite brand and I’d like to share it with you.

Glutenull Bakery is a small bakery out of Coquitlam, BC, Canada.  They have three bread products that I adore: Brown Rice, Quinoa and Buckwheat (they also have an Amaranth zest).  The first time I bit into a piece of toasted quinoa bread I thought I was in heaven.  The texture is light and fine and feels decadent on the tongue!

These products are vegan, and have an ingredient list that sounds more artesian than science experiment (the Buckwheat ingredients are listed as: Organic buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, organic flax, baking powder, xanthan gum, water, sea salt).

I usually try to have a slice of the Buckwheat bread for my toasty breakfasts – it’s a pretty hearty loaf.   The loaves are rounded and I’m not a huge fan of the heels, but I save them and chop them up for breadcrumbs.  Especially the quinoa and rice loaves  – I’ve found that they make great breadcrumbs that are perfect for breading fish or chicken.  I even made Christmas turkey dressing – took a loaf of the quinoa bread, cut off the crust, chopped the bread into chunks and mixed it with poultry seasoning.  Sauteed some green onions in olive oil and tossed in the bread chunks.  Smashed the whole lot in a small casserole dish, and poured on a little of the juices from the roasted turkey.  Baked for a half hour and bam!  Fabulous FodMap free turkey dressing!

I find this bread at my local Planet Organic.  Once, when a clerk there told me that they wouldn’t carry the Quinoa bread anymore, I ordered an entire case of it.  It still sits in my freezer, and I’m slowly chipping away at it.  Planet Organic is still carrying the product too…. So much for my attempt at hoarding!

It’s getting easier to find gluten free bread, but still very challenging to find a vegan or dairy and egg free bread as well.  I’m so pleased that bakeries are taking up the challenge!

FODMAP Free Baking for Christmas

It’s that time of the year again… Christmas!!! Over the years I’ve gone through Christmas with a varying degree of enthusiasm.  There was the Christmas that I celebrated by making Martha Stewart look lazy.  There was the Christmas that wasn’t so much celebrated as… endured.  This year I fall right in the middle of the two extremes and I have to admit part of my hesitation is the challenge of FODMAP-free baking for Christmas.  Can it be done?  Yes!

Dairy free, egg free, gluten free and FODMAP free.  And YUMMY!
Dairy free, egg free, gluten free and FODMAP free. And YUMMY!

The lights were up on our house at the beginning of December, the tree was up the following weekend.  We sent out about 60 Christmas cards (complete with cheezy family photo), and have attended various parties.  The one big thing that was missing from my Christmas preparations was the marathon Christmas baking that I used to do.

Now that I am dairy, egg and FODMAP intolerant, my tried and true Christmas baking recipes just make me a tad blue.  I did attempt last year t0 modify shortbread using rice flour and goats butter, but the cookies were a crumbly mess.  I vowed then not to attempt to bake Christmas cookies again.

But, another year later, I feel like something is missing from the Christmas festivities if I don’t do some baking.  There’s’ nothing worse than having food around that I can’t eat, so I asked The Husband and The Son what kind of Christmas cookies were their favourite and I would bake only that.  The Husband chose shortbread so I bought butter for the first time in years and made him up a batch of that (careful not to lick fingers!!).  The Son surprised me and chose gingersnaps.

“But those aren’t Christmas Cookies”  I said.

“That’s what I want” he said.  So that’s what I made for him.

Of course, all this baking made me crave some treats that I could have too, so I did some experimenting.  I used the basic white cookie recipe that I got out of the Living Without magazine, and attempted something… Christmassy.

I experimented and came up with three different cookies and I’m quite proud of them.  Not only do they look great on the cookie tray, they are so tasty that someone who didn’t know they were dairy free, egg free and FODMAP free (including gluten free), would be surprised.

Here’s my recipe for the Citrus Pops.  They are soft and sweet, with a crunchy citrusy zing.  Very pretty on the plate too!

Lemon and Orange candied peel make these zingy and pretty!
Lemon and Orange candied peel make these zingy and pretty!

FODMAP Free Baking – Citrus Pops

Cookies:

  • 1 box gluten free vanilla cake mix
  • 1/2 c Earth Balance baking margarine
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of egg replacer (of choice) and 3 Tbsp of water
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract

Icing:

  • 2 cups Icing Sugar (more if needed for consistency)
  • Sugar water (see candied peel recipe)

Topping

  • Candied orange and lemon peel

Instructions:

Mix cookie dough, it should be very soft.  Use damp hands to roll into balls (dough will be sticky), and bake on parchment at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Remove from parchment and cool.

Cooling and waiting to be iced!
Cooling and waiting to be iced!

Add 1-2 Tbsp sugar water to the icing sugar and beat.  Add more icing sugar or sugar water depending on consistency.  You want a thick, but not too dry icing.  Dip tops of cookies into the icing (use spatula to smooth over the top of the cookie) and then dip immediately into candied peel (I kept the orange and lemon candied peel separate so I had two different types of cookies).

Let icing firm up and store.

Candied Orange Peel

  • 4 oranges
  • 4 cups water
  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sugar (for dredging)

Wash oranges thoroughly.  Peel oranges, trying to keep pieces as large as possible (makes the next step easier).  With a sharp knife, slice off as much of the white part (pith) as possible (it’s bitter).  Dice the peel finely.

Dicing Orange Peel

Combine water and first amount of sugar into medium pot over medium heat.  Bring to boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add peel and simmer for about 2 hours (check frequently to make sure pot doesn’t run over or dry out).  I’ve seen advice not to stir, but I run a spoon around the sides once or twice.  Remove from heat and let sit to cool.  Drain in colander (keep this sugar water to make the icing).

Dredge the peel in sugar (about 1 cup), and place on parchment covered pan in a 200 degree turned-off oven to dry out.  Check to make sure the oven isn’t too hot – you don’t want to bake these!  Let the peel dry out (you can leave them for an hour or overnight).  Store in a dry location.

This works with lemon peel as well, but I found the colour didn’t stay as vibrant after boiling.  To spruce up the colour, I put the 1 cup of sugar (for dredging) in a clean empty jar, added 1-2 drops of yellow food colouring and shook until the sugar was the desired colour.  I then dredged the boiled peel in this before drying out in the oven.

The Citrus Pops have been a big hit around here, and also generates some interest when I take them to gatherings.  Many people have food intolerances, and they welcome something safe to indulge in!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

 

Eating out with IBS

I’ve got a dinner invitation that I’m not sure I can refuse… it’s a family thing, and everyone thinks they are being kind to me – so I don’t have to cook.  It’s hard to tell family that eating out with IBS and food intolerances is a LOT of work.

However, I am determined to rejoin the greater world, despite having IBS, AND, I’m feeling much more confident after our road trip experience this summer.  So I’m going to do my best to make this dinner out work for me.

My first step is to go online and check out the websites of a few restaurants.  I went with larger chain restaurants, because they seem to be much more aware of food allergies, and will sometimes be so organized they provide nutrition and ingredient listings online.  I checked out three:  Joey’s, Moxie’s, and Earl’s.

I discovered that Earl’s didn’t seem to have a printable allergy/nutrition listing online (that I could find).  Moxie’s has a guide available and it very clearly lists out many of the common allergen ingredients in their food (including the common FODMAP foods).  Almost everything on the menu has either dairy, gluten, onions and garlic, though.  Joey’s didn’t have any of this information on line, but they did have the option of emailing the restaurant with a special request.

I have decided to go with Moxie’s because their on-line information is the most comprehensive (although, you do have to do some digging).  Their website shows the phone number of each restaurant, so my second step is to call them.  I managed to get the manager and he was terrific to chat with.  He assured me that they take food allergies special requests very seriously, and I found this to be comforting.

Moxie's on line allergen information is well laid-out.
Moxie’s on line allergen information is well laid-out.

We’ve booked the restaurant, and now I just need to make sure I eat gently in the days leading up to the outing.  I want my stomach to be calm, and I want my nerves to be collected when we walk into that restaurant!  I think I’ve messed myself up in the past by letting my anxiety get to me, so I’ll work to trust in my plan. (step 3!).

My fourth and final step for preparation will be to print off my chef’s card to bring along with me. I’ll make sure to speak up confidently (but cheerfully!) to our waiter and ask for their help.

I plan on giving this to my server each time we go out to a restaurant!
I plan on giving this to my server each time we go out to a restaurant!

I’ll prepare The Husband by letting him know that he might be on tasting duty if I have any suspicions about what gets served to me.  I will also repeat my usual 30-minute wait request:  I like to sit about 30 minutes after a meal (that I haven’t prepared myself) to see if I have an immediate reaction.  My reaction to dairy is this fast, and I don’t want to be I the car when a case of diarrhea hits.

As for the egg and other FODMAP unfriendly ingredients, I’ll just have to wit to the following day to see if I had success in eating out with IBS at this particular restaurant.  Wish me luck!

 

FOODS THAT MAKE MY GUT ANGRY

 

I was thinking that I would share with you what foods I’m currently avoiding because they give my digestive system a hassle.  I’m technically on the challenge phase of the FODMAP diet, but I’m finding life so enjoyable without IBS symptoms that I’ve been reluctant to risk getting sick again – it’s easier (for me) to avoid everything and feel good!

 

Food Intolerances:

 

DAIRY:  My system cannot tolerate any amount of bovine dairy, in any form.  It’s more than just a fermentable issue with me – the smallest amount of even the ‘safe’ dairy (american cheese, parmesan, yogurt) will send me running to the washroom with watery diarrhea within a half hour (usually sooner).  I’m lucky that I can tolerate goats milk and related products (different protein makeup), so this has taken the sting out of loosing this food group.

 

EGGS:  My IgE blood panel tells me that it’s just the egg whites that my system reacts to.  However, this reaction is so strong (intense headache, fatigue, bowel discomfort) that I have written off all egg products. 

 

BEEF:  Eating a steak will result in me staying awake all night as I suffer through every groan, cramp, twinge and strain of my gut trying to break this meat down.  I can have a bite of steak (my husband is pretty good about sharing), but I haven’t chanced much more than that.

 

STRAWBERRIES:  Eating a few of these has me running to the bathroom with diarrhea and cramping within a few hours.

 

And FODMAPS.  FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols – the carbohydrates that are malabsorbed in my intestine.  I get very confused as to what an Oligo vs Fructan vs Fructose are, so bear with me…

OLIGOSACCHARIDES:  My excellent FODMAP App from Monash University tells me that fructans and galactos are in this group (FOS and GOS for short).  Vegetables like garlic, legumes and onions are listed.  Fruit like nectarines, peaches, apples and watermelon are included.  Grains like barley, rye, wheat are included.  Nuts like cashews and pistachios are included too.  This carbohydrate is also disguised as inulin on ingredient listings. 

I definitely have trouble with garlic and onion.  Apples are out for me.  I haven’t really challenged the rest.  The Monash FODMAP app helpfully lists some foods that have moderate Oligos-fructan/FOS and or GOS  – I’ve been avoiding these so maybe it’s time to try and start my food challenge with these items.  I know a serving of broccoli (listed on the app as having ‘moderate Oligos -fructan/FOS and or GOS’), at dinner doesn’t upset me too much.

DISACCHARIDES: lactose (dairy).  I stay away from all dairy, not sure if it’s an intensive reaction to the carbohydrate or the protein (casein).  Dairy causes my most immediate, intense reaction.

MONOSACCHARIDES:  one molecule sugars.  Glucose, fructose and galactose (lactose) are here. Honey, high fructose corn syrup, and fruits like apples and mangos are included.  I know honey and apples mess me up, so I’ve been avoiding these too.

POLYOLS: Polyols are sugar alcohols.  Sorbitol and mannitol (found in some fruits and vegetables and often found as artificial sweeteners) are some of these.  Cauliflower, mushrooms, snowpeas, peaches, watermelon are listed as having high mannitol levels, and I have been avoiding them. I know that giving up gum was one of the things that helped alleviate my symptoms so the artificial sweeteners are obviously a problem for me.

So, in a nutshell, most food makes my tummy grouchy.  This leaves me with limited options as far as cooking goes – most helpful ‘low FODMAP’ recipes are out for me (or need a lot of adjusting) because they will include eggs or dairy of some kind.

Watch for my next posting, where I list the Top 10 ingredients that I keep in my pantry.