Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Let's Exchange Gluten-Free Baking Tips

The New York Times Magazine was dedicated to food this past weekend. One of the articles was titled “Rules to Eat By,” by Michael Pollan. He had posted an entry on Tara Parker-Pope’s blog, Well, asked people for their tips on healthy eating and received 2500 responses. There are some fairly interesting observations.

But, after reading it, I recalled a conversation I had with a gluten-intolerant friend where she gave me a great tip. She told me that I should replace the liquid in a gluten-free waffle mix with club soda because the carbonation really made the waffles incredibly light and fluffy. I told her I would try it and gave her a baking tip in return. If I want cookies to get a brown, crisp texture, I add almond meal to the mix. Anywhere from a 1/4 cup to a 1/3 cup doesn’t really alter the recipe, but the cookies come out of the oven with the golden brown color often missing with gluten-free flour.

I also thought about my favorite ingredient in gluten-free baking, Greek style yogurt. Shouldn’t every celiac know how adding a rich product like yogurt or sour cream can add moisture and lessen the crumbly texture of some gluten-free flours?

There have to be thousands of tried and true gluten-free baking tips out there and we need to share them! Part of a gluten-free lifestyle is cooking and baking, which is great since we can control the ingredients and substitute healthy ingredients, lower fat content, add different spices and alter the amount sugar or salt. But, it can also be frustrating when you spend time in the kitchen to produce a tasteless pile of crumbs.

I shared three baking tips—who else has baking tips they would like to share? This could be the start of something really helpful to all celiac bakers.
Kendall Egan

Thursday, October 1, 2009

H1N1 and celiac disease

With all the news about the H1N1 virus, I wanted to see if people with celiac disease would have to take any special precautions. I also wondered if celiac disease would put you in category with others who have chronic conditions and are more likely to have complications from H1N1.
I contacted Alessio Fasano, M.D., director of the Center for Celiac Research at University of Maryland School of Medicine to find out. Here's what he said:

Since people with celiac disease on a proper diet are not distinguishable from the general population, no special consideration concerning H1N1 vaccination should apply.

The Centers for Disease Control website has lots of important information for the general public about the flu. Included are what to do if you get sick, conditions that put you at risk, emergency warning signs, anti-viral drugs and when to take them, and how long to stay home if you have the flu. You can also get the facts regarding the flu vaccination.

There's another special website devoted just to flu information, including steps you can take to prevent getting it.

Here's hoping everyone gets through this flu season with as little discomfort as possible.