Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Why Gluten Free? and Some Favourite Things
Whoa, No recipe today ?
Not today, but another lovely picture. More wonderful cupcakes made into a bouquet of flowers plus a fabulous deep dish Lemon Meringue Pie. A fabulous idea I stumbled across last year somewhere on the internet. I use all my own photographs in this blog. These are my creations photographed in my kitchen, so this is how the actual recipes look when baked - thought I'd just clear that up in case you thought I was hijacking awesome pics and posting as my own...now that would just be dishonest.
Now these cupcakes above - simple, yes; but the presentation blew my Mum away on her Birthday last year. Find a gorgeous vase and get a polystyrene ball that will fit on top but sort of nestles snugly inside a bit (check out Spotlight if here in Oz) Bake and decorate your cupcakes then secure them to your ball at the last minute using long bamboo skewers and some great greenery - a vine is perfect for snaking through the cupcakes - remember to wash it first tho...Simple but effective.
As I state in my Welcome, I am not a diagnosed Coeliac but I do largely follow a Gluten Free diet. I say largely because I have been known to be lured back into the glutinous world at my own peril and am then often left repenting at my own leisure in the days that follow with that gluten hangover and bloat. I always swear I'm not having gluten again...
Much as been written about gluten and its role within the body. I have done a lot of research myself and talked with many people about it including my GP, Naturopath and my Endocrinologist. I have been particularly interested in the research surrounding gluten and inflammation in the body. Its has been interesting to see many elite athletes adopting a gluten free lifestyle as an adjunct to their training regime and hear them talk about how they believe it has enhanced their performance. I do not advocate a Gluten Free diet for all. I only know that for myself, my body and mind seem to function in a superior fashion when I eliminate gluten from my diet. I was diagnosed with re-occurring Graves Disease in 1999 while in London. This is characterised by an overactive thyroid gland which can wreak havoc with the body's metabolic rate and has some rather severe side effects. I controlled this disease with daily medication for over 10 years. I believed I would be on this medication for life.
About 3 years ago I consulted a wonderful Naturopath, Sam Beau Patrick here on the Gold Coast, and through our discussions, I began to explore ways of optimizing my diet and nutrition and I began looking at a Gluten Free diet. I did not eliminate it completely but reduced gluten dramatically, and eventually 2 years ago commenced gluten free living. Well 12 months ago, my Graves disease ceased to be active. I have been off medication for over a year now and am feeling fantastic. The only change in my life during this time has been the adoption of a Gluten Free diet. There are many articles published showing links between an inflammatory Gluten Diet and AutoImmune disorders (of which Graves disease is one). I have no scientific proof that my diet change aided my remission and I still monitor my blood levels to ensure it hasn't re-occurred, but I strongly believe that my move to a gluten free diet has helped me leave my Graves Disease behind. So there's my "Why".
Now for some favourite things. How wonderful if we always had time to bake from scratch. We are so very fortunate here in Australia with the wide variety of quality Gluten Free products available in all mainstream supermarket chains here. I can tell you from experience that this is not the case in the UK or the USA. Gluten Free foods are almost mainstream here in Australia with Coles, Woolworths and Aldi all stocking a comprehensive range of products including flours, cake mixes, sliced breads, crackers, biscuits, pastas, soups and ready made meal bases.
Pictured above are 5 of my favourite things that I always have in my baking drawer. Basco Golden Butter Cake Mix. Awesome ! This bakes the most deliciously moist cake or cupcakes and can be adapted easily with a little ingenuity into some wonderful variants including choc chip, lemon or orange.
Melinda's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix. For die hard chocolate fans (of which I am not - but have friends who are...)this is the ultimate gooey fudgey brownie. It is forgiving enough to adapt as well and I often throw in additional handfuls of choc bits, white and dark, or extra nuts. The Aldi "Has No..." brand of Gluten Free flours has been very successful for me and price wise a great bargain. White Wings 100% Corn Cornflour a must for every GF baker - beware the evils of the 'Wheaten Cornflour'.
I have also been really impressed with Ward's Gluten Free Baking Powder.
Well on that cheery note I shall sign off. If you pass any of these items in you supermarket travels and always wondered what they may be like, next time you pass them, perhaps throw one in your trolley. I vouch for them :-)
Happy Gluten Free Shopping