Sick Food: What to Eat when you’re Gluten-Free and Under the Weather

Let me share with you the exciting things I ate yesterday:

  • a small tray of mini tater-tots, which I didn’t leave in the oven long enough to get really crispy enough
  • five strawberries
  • some kombucha, some herbal tea, some water-with-fizzy-vitamin-C-tablets
  • a bowl of microwaved rice with a slice of Jarlesburg cheese on top

In other words: I didn’t feel very well yesterday. Gluten-free or not, every now and then we all get laid up with a cold or a flu or a sore throat. But do we all have to be doomed to starchy mush and takeout when we’re under the weather? And if our gluten-free loved ones are sick, what can we cook for them to speed them along the way to recovery?
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Breaking News (Sort of)! FDA Sets Timeline for Gluten-Free Legislation

Some pretty exciting news for you today! Thanks to for breaking the story: the FDA has, it seems, put their money where their mouth is regarding a timeline out for pending legislation on gluten-free labeling.

According to the post, the FDA, “is gathering data to respond to calls for an ‘alternative approach’ to determining a specific gluten threshold level other than the proposed level of under 20 parts per million gluten as one of the criteria to define the term ‘gluten-free.’” Furthermore, the post notes that the FDA intends to finalize their decisions by the end of the fiscal year (2012).

Hooray! Maybe! What does this mean?
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Be Your Own Boss: Toss Out the Wheat and the Meat

By Zach

This article goes out to all of you gluten-free eaters who are vegetarians, but also, this article is dedicated to gluten-free meat lovers who are interested in learning about a vegetarian-friendly lifestyle. For those of you who have already rolled your eyes because you wouldn’t dream about “complicating” your life even more than it is now, hear me out because even if you don’t want to be a vegetarian, you may find that adopting a “plant-based” diet (which doesn’t exclude meat) could be the x-factor that you’ve been trying to find.

Protein Sources

One of the main criticisms that vegetarians receive from adamant carnivores is, “Where do you get your protein from?” I’ve gotten this hundreds of times over the years, and I usually first reply to them asking, “Well, do you even know how much protein you’re suppose to intake in a day?,” which they usually can’t accurately tell me. Obviously gender, age and weight are significant factors in determining how much protein someone should eat, but 55 grams is the suggested amount of protein the average adult should consume. Some great gluten-free and vegetarian protein sources include:

  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Cheese
  • Lentils
  • Beans/Legumes/Seeds (Pulses)
  • Plain Tofu (other varieties are not guaranteed to be gluten-free)

Quinoa is a golden protein source because of its “complete protein” properties. It embodies all 8 amino acids, which is essential to promote good health.

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Understanding Gluten’s Role and Achieving the Same Results Without it

By Bridget

One of the most frustrating aspects of being gluten-free is the fact that wheat-free flours just don’t behave like their gluten-laden counterparts. A cake made with oat flour often seems to sink, have too high a moisture content, and never truly brown in the same manner a gluten-filled cake would. But why is this? What is it about wheat that gives baked goods a property unachievable by any other grain?

In terms of gluten as an aspect of food science, it is the protein portion of wheat flour with elastic characteristics necessary for the structure of most baked goods (this is why different recipes will call for more or less flour – depending on if you want bread with a lot of structure, or a sauce with just a small amount of added viscosity). Interestingly, from a culinary standpoint, gluten is not present in plain old flour! In order to form gluten from flour, the product must be hydrated (with water or milk) and be manipulated (with stirring, kneading, mixing, or mashing)!

When it comes to gluten-free grains, like uncontaminated oats, rice, and corn, the lack of gluten protein actually inhibits gas retention and the structure building properties that are natural to wheat grain. This prevents our baked goods from having any leavening power, due to a different protein content.

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Gluten-Free Treats Worthy of a WOW!

WOW Baking Company turned me on to gluten-free morsels within one bite of trying their cookies. This is a bold statement, but one I am proudly willing to make. I was ordering coffee at a local shop in Seattle and had a sugary craving that refused to cease. After glancing over at the cookie selection and seeing the giant, fluffy WOW Cookies, I could not resist putting my taste buds to the test. This experiment would prove to permanently change my perception of gluten-free sweets (and cuisine, in general).

Using premium, all natural ingredients and baking their products in small batches, the Pacific Northwest-based company has re-defined the taste of a gluten-free treat. They pride themselves on always using real butter, vanilla, and organic cane juice and never using hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, artificial flavors or (of course) wheat and gluten. It seems as if they realized that the gluten-free community was sick and tired of saying, “This is really good for being gluten-free.” They aimed to discover a way to produce postprandial thoughts that left out the “for being gluten-free” and succeeded admirably as WOW products are just plain good (period).

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