Tag Archives: baking

Eating Allergy Free

Two months ago, I discovered I had a host of food allergies I’d never known about before. For years I’d always felt a bit off in the digestive area. I’d tried avoiding certain foods, drinking more liquids, taking supplements, and following special diets, but more often than not, I felt bloated and unable to digest properly after eating. I even felt gross after eating completely harmless meals such as a vegetable stir fry or a fruit salad.

After so many years of feeling this way, I began to accept these symptoms as normal. I thought this was going to be my everyday life. All that changed in July when I had a food sensitivity test done. Turns out I’m sensitive to 13 common foods! It’s been two months since I completely changed my diet and I’m feeling noticeably better than I did before. My stomach hurts less, I don’t feel bloated all the time, I have a lot more energy and I feel less generalized aches and pains. As if that isn’t enough to keep me motivated, I’ve lost a few pounds too! But my new diet is definitely not free of challenges.

I’m now avoiding the following 13 foods: wheat, gluten, soy, eggs, peanuts, ginger, mushrooms, bananas, all types of melons, red wine, coffee, beer & MSG.

The first four on the list are the biggest offenders. Eating gluten-free on its own is fairly easy to accommodate these days, but more often than not, gluten-free products are loaded with soy. Soy, I’ve discovered, is in everything. I’ve said goodbye to all the pre-made gluten-free cake and bread mixes, and most of the gluten-free crackers,  tortillas, English muffins and more. (I’ve even had to say goodbye to almost all chocolate!) Throw the egg allergy on top of gluten and soy and there goes another big chunk of my old favourite recipes.

Vegetable and Mascarpone Quiche with Potato Crust

Some things are just impossible to replace. Soy sauce, which I love, is a definite challenge. A stir fry just isn’t the same without it. And bananas? Previously, I was eating a banana almost every morning, so what gives? Have I been eating them too often, and overloaded my body? In time, I’ll experiment with adding bananas and mushrooms back into my diet, but for the time being I’m resolving to be as strict with my food as possible. That means I’m making almost everything from scratch.

It isn’t all bad though. I’m learning new things, trying new recipes. I’ve got several allergy-free friends to offer me advice, and I’ve discovered a whole massive network of allergy-free bloggers online with loads of delicious new recipes to try. I made a few amazing fruit pies with this pie crust recipe from the Art of Gluten-Free Baking, and some scrumptious cornbread using this recipe from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.

Berry Pie (crust recipe from the Art of Gluten-Free Baking)

Although it certainly is time consuming to learn this new style of cooking, I’m always up for a new culinary challenge. I feel healthier, and I’m finding new recipes that satisfy old cravings. That reminds me, it’s time for me to take a batch of chocolate chip cookies (from Gluten-Free Goddess) out of the oven. Thank heavens for Enjoy Life’s allergy-free mini chocolate chips that I purchased recently. So far they’re the only soy-free form of chocolate I’ve been able to find!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe from Gluten-Free Goddess)

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How I Discovered Brazilian Cheese Bread

About six months ago, a good friend of mine discovered she was allergic to gluten. The second she told me I instantly felt what I’m sure she felt too: a tragic sense of loss. I had attempted a wheat-free, sugar-free diet myself about a year earlier, so I knew how hard it was going to be. And as an avid food lover (which my friend is), it was awful to find out she could no longer eat a whole host of tasty foods. But, unfortunately, gluten is in everything these days!

Aside from the obvious breads, pastas and baked goods, it’s in sauces, salad dressings, processed meat products, and countless other things. It’s so difficult to avoid that it makes buying pre-made, packaged or even restaurant food a very frustrating experience. Yet, what I quickly learned while on my diet – after a week or so of boring meals – is that you just have to readjust how you think about your food, and get creative instead! Make pizza crust out of mashed potatoes, design recipes for your own sauces and salad dressings, and bake breads with different styles of flour (like those made from rice, kamut, almond, potato or tapioca). Once you get into the swing of it each day gets easier and easier, and now my friend is happily dining on delicious meals every night!

Brazilian Cheese Bread is a recipe I learned from her, after she made some for my husband and I earlier this summer. After our first bite, we instantly fell in love! The bread is made with tapioca flour, which gives the baked dough a wonderfully sticky, chewy texture. Combined with a pinch of salt and grated, cheddar cheese, this was the best bread we’d ever been served before!

AllRecipes.com has a wonderful recipe for Brazilian Cheese Bread that I’ve made many times since my first encounter that night. Each time I’ve served it, guests have gobbled it up, and commented, without fail, on the deliciously gooey texture. If you want to impress your friends, regardless of a gluten-allergy or not, this recipe is definitely a winner.

Kimbe’s tips:
If you don’t have any parmesan cheese you can use cheddar or mozzarella (or both) instead. I also usually increase the garlic and add some chive flakes, for colour.

I usually double this recipe, because otherwise the buns disappear too fast! When doubling, take extra care to make sure you measure the flour correctly. I had a little mishap myself between batches last time. See the difference that one extra half-cup of tapioca flour makes?!

Oops! Remember to measure carefully.

But even still, the buns were immensely satisfying, and were completely devoured before the end of the night!