surviving GF in GENEVA (link to an article by Hiba Giacoletto)
Gluten Free baking is a science! there are thankfully hundreds of websites and books out there to help one navigate through the realm of GF life. But truth be told the GF free path is much of a jungle made of multiple traps and obstacles to overcome. As concluded by some of us who have tread the path, there is unfortunately not One unique flour you can pull out to bake with. The best results are those with a mix of combined flours (such as Rice, Corn, Potato starch, Xantham Gum (a binder)) additionally you should experiment with Chick Pea (Garbanzo), Quinoa, Coconut, Almond and Chestnut Flour. I will not go into more detail here, because it would take me a book of my own to take it further but here’s one website I enjoy for some GF recipes and the rest you can find on my pinterest page: Gluten free on a shoe string – pinterest Yogattic boards
One personal suggestion, if you go GF by choice or obligation (read below about Coeliac disease) don’t overdo the Xantham Gum and consume moderate amounts of Corn starch and potato starch that have little to no nutritional value and contribute to weight gain… sniff….
Ever heard of “Hydroxypropyl Methyl-cellulose”, does it sound appealing? well it’s in many GF products… yum…
I was introduced to the minimalist baker which I love too even if she isn’t purely GF, but I love the idea of less than 10 ingredients. On that note I’d like to stress the importance of reading labels always, but particularly in GF products.
GF does not mean healthy! In our race towards a GF diet, I have had to learn to read the fine print on packets to ensure Gluten is in nothing I buy. And although the products I would pick up might be certified GF free by AFDIAG (association Française des intolérants au Gluten) there have been times when the list of ingredients was 4 lines long and contained ingredients I had never heard of, i.e. not a food found in nature! So those products stay on the shop shelf. I nowadays try to stay away from the GF products that try to mimic the original product, because: 1. they just don’t taste the same – 2. The list of ingredients and contents is scary – 3. They taste like crap!
So we’ve given up bread in it’s traditional form because the GF stuff is yuk and GF pasta is very rare on my menu list, or maybe the buckwheat or rice version instead of Corn pasta. But Kim saved us with her Crisp bread cracker. Yes, that means I spend more time in the kitchen, I bake a lot more, I experiment even more than what I bake and I fail quite majestically on many occasions… I have been humbled by the whole experience…. But the up-side is I know exactly what we are ingesting even if it looks like bird poop. The downside is, there’s no last minute meals, no take-away, no sandwich or croissant on the go, in the car rushing out the door. I can’t just pop a frozen pizza in the oven when I’m lazy (although having said that I did find one GF frozen pizza at Botanic, that does the deal, yeah!!!!).
Meal planning and cooking in big batches and freezing have kept me sane thanks to a course I took this January which taught me how to do it. Really helped me get organized and make healthy choices. I recommend this to anyone who wants to embark on a healthier journey but keeping it real and practical for you and your family. I highly recommend it- :
About Hiba and her journey and work:
some inspiration for your journey – shared by some of our yoginis, who are also passionate about food and heath:
A personal note and some facts about Coeliac Disease
Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune condition. This is where the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It isn’t an allergy or an intolerance to gluten.
In cases of coeliac disease, the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attacks them.
This damages the surface of the small bowel (intestines) called the Villi, disrupting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.
The symptoms differ between individuals in terms of type and severity but range from bloating, diarrhoea, growth stint, nausea, wind, constipation, tiredness, mouth ulcers, sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases), hair loss and anaemia.
Diagnosis with or without symptoms is usually made by a blood test: tTG-IgA test. Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (tTG-IgA) and confirmed by an endoscopy/biopsy of your small intestin.
Even very small amounts of gluten (Gluten is found in Wheat – Rye and Barley) can be damaging to people with coeliac disease.
• keep cooking utensils separate during food preparation and cooking
• avoid frying food in the same oil that has previously been used to cook foods which contain gluten
• use a clean grill, separate toaster or toaster bags to make gluten-free toast
• use separate breadboards and wash surfaces thoroughly
• use separate condiments like jam, butter, mustard and mayonnaise.
Risks: If celiac disease is left untreated, complications ranging from iron deficiency to osteoporosis to cancer may develop. Some of these problems can occur because of the small intestine’s reduced ability to digest food and absorb nutrients properly. Other problems may develop from damage to the intestinal lining that may or may not cause noticeable symptoms.
Did you know you could find gluten in these products:
– Soya sauce – rice vinegar (thus some sushi….) – Lindt chocolate – tarama – processed ham – sausages – hamburgers – fried fish when dipped in flour before cooking – store bought salad dressings – beer – casing of capsules in prescription drugs – oats that aren’t certified GF – corn flakes (although they are corn…) …. in some candy… and the list goes on and on…
So with all that said, yes we’re lucky to live in an age where GF is more available than it was 20 years ago when my parents in law had to walk these steps for my brother in law, who was diagnosed as a baby. Yes it was harder then than it is now. But…. GF is not easy, not when you are a Coeliac, regardless of what’s available in the shops, going out is a nightmare, being invited for a meal can be uncomfortable, travelling is worse. Most of all being a newly diagnosed teenager whose whole diet gets turned upside down is like quitting smoking, cold turkey, after 14 years of lighting them daily….