Hello everyone! My name is Gree and while I myself am not entirely gluten free, my daughter Izzie is.
Our journey started when she was barely two and we began to notice some episodes of mysterious hives on her stomach, arms and legs. These hives came and went and once we even did an elimination diet with great success, but adding foods back in didn't seem to generate a response so we carried on.
About 8-10 months ago right before she turned four Izzie began complaining of severe belly pain. Her poor little belly was bloated and taut and she even woke up at times complaining about her belly. Eventually she developed horrible diarrhea and stopped eating altogether.
After some time and investigation we were hooked in to a wonderful pediatric gastroenterologist and Izzie is now entirely wheat, gluten, and dairy free.
She has thyroid disease as well as some celiac precursors, and she has improved dramatically on her gluten and dairy free diet. While it's challenging keeping a preschooler wheat and gluten free she embraces it most times because it "makes my body feel healthy".
I am so thankful that we live in a time when gluten-free products are more prevalent and available, I don't know what we would have done ten years ago! We have a few favorite products, when you have a 4.5 year old you have to be creative about nutrition!
A Few of Our Favorite Things:
Bob's Red Mill - We loved Bob's Red Mill pre gluten-free because their products are simple, affordable and delicious. Now that Izzie is gluten-free and we are too our favorites are the gluten free rolled oats (we love our oats) and their gluten-free pancake mix, which makes delicious fluffy pancakes.
Larabar's - We loved Larabar's even pre gluten-free and we love them even more now. Our favorite kinds are the peanut butter cookie and chocolate coconut (Izzie), and the PB&J and ginger snap (the parents).
Boulder Canyon Rice and Adzuki Bean Crisps - Izzie loves chips and these are no exception. They are gluten free and actually very pretty, they remind me of those multi-layered desert canyon walls. They have a hint of cumin, 2 g of protein and a lovely saltiness.
Enjoy Life Cranapple Crunch Granola - You can't even tell this granola is gluten free and it is so dang tasty! It has a tartness and a sweetness and is very crunchy, good as a snack or with milk!
Bionature Gluten-Free Organic Pasta - Izzie is a super Italian, you CANNOT pass off bad pasta on her, she will see right through it and will have none of that! This pasta doesn't have the density some gluten free pasta's have, and it holds up much better during cooking.
Uh...so what CAN she eat?
We hear this a lot from Izzie's friends, family, and school. There are a lot of misconceptions out there and a lot of educating to be done about eating gluten free. Recently Izzie spent a night with her dearest Grandma and Papa and she came back with a bellyache to beat the band. Turns out she had meatballs with breadcrumbs in them, but because they were frozen nobody actually considered they might have gluten or wheat. They felt horrible, but it wasn't their fault, gluten, wheat and dairy are hidden everywhere.
Because of this we tend not to eat out a lot but we still eat like royalty. Gluten-free CAN be gourmet, and it's easy to adapt any recipe once you get the hang of it. We recently made a lovely meal out of the Hodgson Mills cookbook, which includes some fabulous gluten free recipes. The pastry is especially versatile and we used it for the tart and for the apple turnovers! We served this meal with yummy garlic green beans!
Gluten Free Pastry
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup potato starch
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp cold vegetable shortening
2 Tbsp water
Mix the dry ingredients in bowl and cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or rub it in by hand until it's crumbly. Beat the egg and water together and add to the mixture, knead gently and form into a smooth ball. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes (but allow dough to soften a bit when it comes out of the fridge)
Gluten Free Pesto and Zucchini Tart
1 recipe Gluten Free Pastry
1/2 cup homemade or jarred pesto (I made mine out of brazil nuts, basil, olive oil, spinach, salt and pepper)
1 zucchini, sliced thin on a mandoline
1/4 cup parmesan (we used Vegan Veggie Shreds)
1/2 cup mozzarella (we used Vegan Veggie Shreds)
Preheat oven to 400. Roll dough out between two sheets of parchment and lay it gently in a parchment lined springform pan or tart pan. Make it as artsy as you want! Layer on the tart; pesto, parm, zucchinni, and mozzarella. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly,
Gluten Free Fruit Turnovers
1 recipe Gluten Free Pastry
1 cup finely chopped apple, peach etc..
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp tapioca starch
Preheat oven to 350. Roll the dough out between two layers of parchment and cut into rounds (small or big, whatever you prefer). Combine the remaining ingredients and spoon into the rounds, fold over or place another round on top, pinching to seal. Brush with egg was or high protein milk (hemp or almond) and bake for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!
Gree writes the blog Feed The People, be sure to check it out!