Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gluten Freedom: August 2009

So here it finally is, the first of a series of Gluten Free recipes born from one very long conversation (and some killah brownies that were snaked before she could try ‘em) between me, and Sunette Fenn.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Annie Nelson and I have been a patron of Mana Foods for about 24 years. I travel a great deal, and because I have Celiac Disease ( which I will go into in a moment ), I have had the good fortune to discover just about every health food store in the US, plus much of the rest of the world. I can honestly say, without reservation that Mana is Da Best! We are very lucky Maui…let’s all keep Mana Foods going!

As I said I have Celiac Disease. It is not an allergy, it is an autoimmune disease in which people who have the DQ2 & or DQ8 Celiac gene markers cannot handle gluten proteins from Wheat, Barely, Rye & some Oats. It’s commonly defined as an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Essentially the body is attacking itself every time a person with celiac consumes gluten.

Here is the Mayo Clinic definition:

“Celiac disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye (my note: including anything made with grain alcohol, vinegars, soy sauce…you get the picture right?). If you have celiac disease and eat foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs in your small intestine, causing damage to the surface of your small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.
Eventually, the decreased absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) that occurs with celiac disease can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of vital nourishment. This can lead to other illnesses and stunted growth in children.
No treatment can cure celiac disease. However, you can effectively manage celiac disease through changing your diet.”

Depressing huh? Well believe it or not, it’s not so bad. It used to suck to have this disease, but there are now places like Mana Foods, and some really amazing restaurants, that provide a wide variety of gluten free alternatives to your usual foods. For more information about Celiac Disease here are some websites you can visit which are helpful:

So…back to the point. I will be providing from 1-4 recipes each week or month (not sure that’s been worked out yet), for you to try at home. Since many people with Celiac Disease are sensitive to other known food irritants, I will not be using dairy, which is da usual bad boy, even though it is gluten free. I will use foods that can be found while shopping at Mana. There’s more to say but let’s get started!

Since I took up most of the space for this first article with the alohas, I will give just one recipe to get you started, but be warned…these are really decadent! They are also full of chocolate, so no eat befoa bed eh?...unless you are immune to caffiene’s effects.

Pam & Annie’s “Killah” Gluten Free & Vegan Brownies (VEGAN-DESSERT)
I package Pamela’s Chocolate Brownie Mix
1 Individual Cup from a Packet of Santa Cruz or other PLAIN Applesauce
1 Applesauce Cup of Apple Juice (Martinellis is best)
1 Applesauce Cup of Grapeseed or Canola Oil
½ Bag Tropical Source Dark Chocolate Chips ( 10 oz)

Let your imagination run Gluten Free!

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl add entire contents from Brownie Mix. Make a well in the center of the mix. Open Applesauce individual cup and add applesauce. Use the applesauce cup to measure and add Apple Juice to top, and then with same applesauce cup add oil to top. Cut open package of Chocolate Chips, then add ½ of the bag.

Mix the ingredients until blended but do not over mix. Pour into a greased 8” or 9” pan (shape doesn’t matter). Bake for 25-30 minutes (do the toothpick check).

Aloha & Peace,

Annie Nelson