A Gluten Free Diet
If you have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, then you will need to avoid the most common grains and starches that people eat. The actual list of grains to avoid on a gluten free diet is quite short. Some will continue to eat oats, however due to cross contamination it would be safer to avoid them too.
Grains to AVOID when on a gluten free diet:
* Barley * Oats * Triticale * Rye * Wheat
Any food with the word wheat in it, should be avoided such as; wheat germ, wheat protein and wheat starch. The one exception is wheat grass which, like all grass does not contain gluten.
Foods That CONTAIN Gluten:
* Beer *Bread *Biscuits *Cereal *Cookies *Cupcakes *Donuts *Cornbread *Crackers *Croutons *Gravies *Liquorice *Marinades *Pasta *Pizza crust *Pretzels *Sauce *Soy sauce *Stuffing.
Anything prepared from wheat flour, such as breads, pastas and spaghetti will all have gluten in them.
There are plenty of other grains and starches for you to choose from which are GLUTEN FREE :
*Quinoa *Chickpeas *Beans *Millet *Taro root *Tapioca *Soy *Rice *Arrowroot *Montina *Ragi…and more.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these Gluten Free Grains:
Amaranth – is high in fiber and has more protein than any traditional grain, amaranth is nutritious and delicious, with a pleasant peppery flavor. Raw amaranth grain is not edible and cannot be digested but, can be prepared and cooked like any other grain. It is also a great source of lysine which is an essential amino acid and high in iron.
Arrowroot – is a starch obtained from rootstock of several tropical plants, traditionally Maranta Arundinacea or Florida arrowroot from Zamia pumila, and tapioca from cassava. The starch is used as a thickener in many foods such as puddings and sauces. It can also be used to make cookies and other baked goods.
Arrowroot makes clear, shimmering fruit gels and prevents ice crystals from forming in homemade ice cream. It can also be used as a thickener for acidic foods, such as Asian sweet and sour sauce. It is used in cooking to produce a clear, thickened sauce, such as a fruit sauce. It will not make the sauce go cloudy, like cornstarch, flour or other starchy thickening agents .
Millet – is a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains. Millet is usually associated as bird seed however, it is not only for the birds. It is a particularly delicious and versatile grain. It can be creamy like mashed potatoes or fluffy like rice and available throughout the year. Millet comes in a variety of colors including white, yellow or red. It is small and round in appearance with the most commonly form being the hulled variety.
Millet is an excellent source of some very important nutrients which include manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.
The heart benefits of consuming magnesium include lowering blood pressure and reducing heart attacks. It has also been shown to reduce the severity of asthma and reduce asthma attacks.
Gluten and Depression – When we think of celiac disease we tend to associate it with problems with our digestive system. However, two-thirds of sufferers will not have problems with digestion. After the digestive tract, the most commonly affected system to be affected by gluten is the nervous system. Depression can be caused by gluten.
Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Combine the honey, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the almond flour, cocoa powder, sea salt and baking soda.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing well until the dry ingredients are completely moistened.
- Spoon the batter into aluminum cupcake liners.
- Set the liners on a baking sheet and place the sheet in the oven.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until set in the middles.
- Let cool completely before frosting/decorating.
** If you frost the cupcakes, make sure you use a gluten-free confectioner’s sugar. Many confectioner’s sugars contain cornstarch, which may be contaminated with gluten.
Optional: Chocolate Ganache with Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Milk Chocolate Ganache:
- 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
- 3 Tbsp heavy cream
- OR, you can just use melted chocolate
For the Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 6 Tbsp salted butter, softened
- 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp peppermint extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar (gluten-free)
For the Milk Chocolate Ganache
- Combine milk chocolate chips and cream in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Cool mixture in refrigerator for about 10 minutes (until it’s a spreadable and not a drippy consistency).
For the Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk together butter and cream cheese until fluffy, about 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and peppermint extract. Slowly add in powdered sugar and mix until well combined and fluffy.
Once cupcakes are cool, spread 1 teaspoon of cooled chocolate ganache over each cupcake. Then, pipe on the cream cheese frosting and finish with a sprinkle of crushed candy canes.