We recently had the opportunity to try the entire line of Canyon Bakehouse goodies and we now have some new favorites in this house. The seven grain bread is the closest thing we have had to whole wheat bread. The texture and taste are surprisingly familiar to the whole grain breads I grew up on and altogether different from any other gluten-free bread I’ve had in these past 10 years of being completely gluten-free.
The other new family favorite is the focaccia. Both my sons loved the taste fresh out of the bag or warmed up in the oven under the broiler. This is a perfect bread to add to the side of soup or salad although really my sons will eat it along anything. This bread is also a unique offering in the gluten-free field and I appreciate the fact Canyon Bakehouse also makes these breads dairy, soy, nut and gmo free.
Life is short~ be kind, be wise, and try some new bread.
This bread surprised us for two reasons. The first being that the second ingredient listed is sour dough, made with rice flour and water. When I bought the bread I had only looked at the area that says “contains: soy” to see if it contained dairy and or eggs, so I happily bought it when I saw that it didn’t. I had no idea I was buying a sourdough bread! But as soon as I tasted it I could taste the sour dough and was so excited~ a dairy free, egg free gluten-free, sourdough sandwich bread is something we haven’t had since….well, ever, actually. We are eating a lot of sandwiches these days.
The second reason this loaf surprised me was because it isn’t in the normal spot where I shop for bread at the Whole Foods I frequent. I imagine this is one of those things probably debated among store employees, vendors, brokers, and merchandisers. At the Whole Foods I go to there is a dedicated gluten-free aisle, but there are also gluten-free items throughout the store. Normally when I buy bread, I go to where all the bread is and pick up a loaf or a bag of bagels or rolls. Schar bread is not there. It is only in the aisle dedicated to gluten-free items and by the time I hit that aisle my cart is usually already filled with bread products I got from the bread area. Hm. I know it is difficult to set up a store, I’ve worked in several myself, so I’m curious what people think…Do you like your store to have the gluten-free items mixed in with the other food, or do like it all in one specified space? Or mixed, with a dedicated gluten-free area but with other gluten-free items mixed with the other food in all the other aisles?
This is the worst part when I accidentally ingest gluten and absolutely the hardest thing to explain to people who don’t have a gluten issue~ the ‘brain fog’. This article adds to growing research into an often cited but hard to study complaint of brain fog in celiacs and those gluten intolerant. They liken the brain fog to a .05 blood alcohol level, which is an interesting attempt to try to wrap some definition around something as hard to grasp as ‘fog’ but I would classify it as that feeling when you are getting sick and feverish and your brain just feels like it needs a nap before computing, but maybe that’s because gluten makes me tired, oh so tired, and so all I think about are naps. Probably everyone experiences it a bit differently, but it certainly points to early detection being more and more important if we want our children to have the best experience as possible in school. The article notes that they are still not sure why that happens since one theory was a lack of micronutrients making it to the brain when the digestive system is impaired, but that did not in fact seem to be the case. Another theory has to do with the gut bacteria, always super important when talking about brain health, but it could also be the gluten itself. Whatever it is, I’m just glad enough people have cited the issued that it’s being studied.
Schar just shared this infographic on their Facebook page. If you don’t already follow them, I heartily recommend doing so if you like nice visuals along with your gluten-free tidbits. And if you are planning a visit to Italy, this is definitely a company to know because as I understand it, they have played a major role in making the land of pasta a safe place for Celiacs and the like. As far as the picture below goes, I can check off more than half those symptoms myself~ how about you?
There are many guides to help newly diagnosed celiacs and gluten intolerant people but I know when you are first figuring it all out it feels like you are the only person in the world changing your diet and lifestyle. There will most likely be favorite meals you are giving up, familiar restaurants, and things like weekly meet-ups and dinner parties need to be rethought. Things you never had to think about before suddenly need attention, everyday habits, social rituals, and even the chores of shopping and cooking scream for a revamp. It’s a lot, and it can be overwhelming, but hopefully it will help to know that many people have been there, with their miner’s lamps on before you, walking through the dark and leaving notes. First of all, make a list of all the things you can eat. It’s so easy to focus on the food/foods that need to be eliminated and feel like everything is off-limits, but in reality there will always be a lot more food on the OK list than on the ‘must avoid’ list. It is important to figure out where the hidden gluten might be, like soy sauce, fake meat products like soy hotdogs, and oat products, but it is equally important to understand there are things like wheat free tamari,
and safe oat products. (Unless you react to the similar protein that is found in oats the same way you react to gluten. Some people can eat certified gluten-free oat products just fine, while others cannot.) Beyond the products that are made to be gluten-free, of which you will find just about anything you can think of, there are foods that are naturally gluten-free and they are still there for you, so go ahead and eat all the French fries and corn tortillas you want. Most natural foods stores, like Whole Foods, would be happy to have a knowledgeable employee walk around with you to show you the gluten-free items and they will also know which are the best sellers, so if you don’t know which bread to try first just ask what the most popular brand is and start with that one. Calling ahead to find out when the best time to come in for some personal attention would be advised and you might even be able to do that at a regular grocery store~ depends on the place. A local Co-op here has monthly(?) food tours around their stores to highlight gluten-free things, or sometimes there are other themes, but the point is you might find something similar in your own local store. Speaking of that local co-op, it is called PCC and they have a webpage dedicated to gluten-free info and so does Whole Foods. Both of those places have many recipes that are labeled gluten-free and are a great place to find healthy foods in general. Trader Joe’s also has a gluten free list and other special diet lists and I recommend you look at your local favorite store’s website to see what they have available. Also check out Urban Spoon for information on restaurants and bakeries that are gluten-free friendly and find some places to visit sooner rather than later so when the inevitable time arrives when someone asks to meet for lunch you will have a place to suggest. Delicious living, a magazine you may have at some point seen in a natural foods store, has a guide for gluten-free living and there are several magazines dedicated to food allergies, but Living Without is the most popular one. There are blogs, social media groups, and online gluten-free stores to also offer assistance and advice, recipes and in some cases, coupons. In short, you aren’t alone and once you get into a gluten-free groove, it’s really not all that hard and you will find the amount you feel better outweighs any missing of old foods by so much that you truly don’t miss them.
Normally when I make pasta for the family I just make whatever gluten-free kind I happen to have, which is most often Jovial brand but really we like it all. It’s hard to get pasta wrong, gluten-free included, in fact it is one of the few gf things my gluten tolerant husband does not mind eating with us, his family of 3 intolerants, so it was with some surprise I realized I had some regular old wheat kind in my cupboard. When I decided to go ahead and make it the other night, along with our rice pasta, it dawned on me why I consistently do not make enough pasta~ wheat pasta doubles, or triples, or I don’t even know what in the boiling water, while gluten-free pasta just gets a tad bigger. After years of cooking half a bag of fusilli that becomes dinner for three people with leftovers, I haven’t changed my ways to gluten-free fusilli which just doesn’t expand as much. Aha! So, now I know when I make gluten-free pasta, use the whole bag if I want leftovers. Speaking of Jovial Brand, they have gift baskets for the holidays if you are wondering what to get your favorite gluten-intolerant people in your life. I think you have to order them through their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/jovialfoods. Nice idea!
A couple of days ago I was sitting in a doctor’s office when I spotted a Whole Living magazine which was a welcome diversion. I don’t often see those lying around so I was happily surprised, yet far more surprised by what I actually read. There was an article about a baker making sourdough bread with regular wheat that apparently gluten intolerant people can eat. The story goes on to explain about the starter and yeast and other things, but the gist of it was that at least one Santa Monica baker has a technique that has gluten intolerant people lining up for miles around, and it also talks about ancient wheat varieties versus the modern ones. Here’s the article so you can read it too, and join me in my plan to move to Santa Monica, or at least find out more about this technique. It sounds like at least a lot more people are thinking about this epidemic in gluten intolerance and trying to do something about it. (Yay!) The bummer for me though is the fact I was not tested for Celiac Disease when diagnosed with gluten intolerance. I just asked the doctor (whose office I was in reading the above article) about getting tested now and she said I would have to go on a gluten diet again before being able to get an accurate answer. That bites! I didn’t even ask how long I’d have to eat gluten (and feel rotten) because my immediate thought was about the feeling rotten part. She said as long as I don’t know I just have to stay off gluten entirely and forever~ which makes these ancient wheats and sourdough starter prospects bittersweet. It makes me wish I’d demanded to be tested way back when the first GI doctor I saw told me it didn’t matter because whether I was a celiac or just gluten intolerant all I could do either way was stay away from wheat, and that I didn’t look like a celiac b/c they are normally blonde and pale. (That still cracks me up.) At the time I wanted to know for certain because I thought it important for my kids since it is a hereditary disease, but I let him talk me out of sticking a long scope down my throat into my small intestine. Honestly, it didn’t take long for him to convince me that was unnecessary. Oh well. I guess I can always try these new things and see how I feel which sounds a lot easier than eating a bunch of gluten just in order to take a test. Looks like the Santa Monica farmer’s market is now on my “must go to” list now.
So I’ve been hearing about this ancient wheat possibly being digestible for us gluten challenged people and have found one company that is making pastas from one of the strands, and selling the flour. It is called Einkorn wheat and the company I have stumbled upon is Jovial. I have liked their gluten free pastas for a while now, and really enjoy their blog and recipes but up until now I have kind of ignored the whole ‘ancient wheat’ thing thinking it wasn’t for gluten intolerant people. Now I’m starting to hear mumblings that perhaps it is. Obviously, a celiac needs to take extra precaution, but for all those people who don’t eat wheat just because it makes them feel awful in one way or another, this just might be a way to enjoy it again. I don’t know~ I haven’t tried it yet myself. Funny how I used to eat wheat nonstop and now I’m stalling about trying this new development of an ancient grain, but I really don’t like feeling sick. (Shocking, I know.) And really I’d like some more evidence before eating it and possibly feeling sick and causing damage to myself. But, if anything is going to lure me in it will be the possibility of a hearty European style loaf of bread to eat. I could eat alternative grains for pasta, pastries, crackers, and just about anything else quite happily for the rest of my life, but a good old fashioned hunk of crusty bread just can’t be made without wheat. Or at least it doesn’t taste nearly as good, in my humble opinion. Of course, that also means I need to learn how to make a good old fashioned European crusty loaf myself, and apparently Einkorn is tricky to work with (which is exactly why it has gone out of fashion while the higher yield, higher gluten wheats have flourished.) As soon as I drum of the nerve to tackle the baking, and the eating, it’ll be documented here first.