Thursday, September 26, 2013

Freezer Muffins

Not only do my kids have multiple food issues, but they are also picky and sometimes down right stubborn about what they will eat.  Sound familiar?  I like to sneak fruit and vegetables along with healthy fats into muffins.  Shhh!  Don't tell them that they ate zucchini today.  I always make a double batch and freeze half of them for later whenever I make muffins.  They make a great snack to have on hand.  You can just pop them in the microwave for 1 minute to thaw them, and they taste like they are fresh from the oven.  It's my teenagers favorite after school snack.

Here's some of our favorite muffins recipes:

Banana Muffins - I just make this recipe, and bake in a muffin tin.  Lately, I have been substituting the canola oil with coconut oil and replacing the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey.  These are the kid's favorites.

Zucchini Muffins- Just make this as muffins for a grab and go snack.  I use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and use my own gluten free flour mix (3/4 cup Sorghum Flour, 3/4 Brown Rice Flour, and 1/2 cup Potato Starch).  I also leave out the nuts because we have a peanut allergy, and I worry about cross contamination with other tree nuts.

Pumpkin Muffins - Since the kids prefer muffins, I just make this recipe as muffins.  To keep it dairy free, just substitute coconut oil for butter.  I have been using some frozen pumpkin puree that I have on hand from last season instead of canned pumpkin, but either one will work fine.  I also have found that you can reduce the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup.  I'm planning to experiment with alternative sweeteners such as honey or agave nectar next time.  I use the same flour mix as above (3/4 cup Sorghum Flour, 3/4 Brown Rice Flour, and 1/2 cup Potato Starch).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

OMG, My Body Really Hates Gluten

I have been "glutened" twice in the past couple of weeks, and I have been feeling completely miserable.  My typical symptoms include a few hours of intense stomach pain followed by several days of digestive issues including constipation, bloating, and gas.  Then the fun includes flu-like body aches and pains, and a return of my joint pain.  All the while, I struggle with anxiety and just plain moodiness.  Unfortunately, my daughter was included in one of the occasions, so not only did I feel bad but I also had to try to manage an unhappy little girl with many of the same symptoms.  Yuck!

Cross contamination can be a major problem if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones who are highly sensitive.  We are completely gluten free at home, but I'm discovering that eating food from restaurants or homes without gluten free kitchens can be even trickier than I thought.  My first "glutening" happened at a party.  The host graciously provided hamburgers with gluten free buns for us, along with fresh fruit and vegetables, and even made "gluten free" cupcakes.  Somehow something must have been cross-contaminated though because my daughter and I both started having stomach pains within a couple of hours.  Just about the time that I was starting to feel better from the party incident, it happened again.  This time from a salad bar. Thankfully, it was just me though.  Check out this great link if you need more information about how to prevent cross-contamination:
Safety Tips for Avoiding Cross Contamination.  To all of my friends and family, I apologize ahead of time, but I will be asking lots of questions about any food that my family eats or just bringing our own food to social events.  We have to stay healthy to function.

So what do you do if you get accidentally get "glutened"?  I am by no means offering medical advice, but we have found a few things that seem to help get through it.  For my family members, the inflammation from the gluten exposure causes constipation, so we immediately start taking MiraLax.  I have also found that focusing on eating as clean as possible and including anti-inflammatory foods helps as well as drinking lots of green tea.  We also take anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium to reduce inflammation and reduce the body ache symptoms.  This past time, I even tried using activated charcoal since I had read on many blogs that others found it helpful in detoxifying their bodies after a gluten exposure.  I'm not sure yet whether it was helpful, but I plan to use it right away the next I start experiencing gluten symptoms.  I have also been reading about GlutenEase a product designed to help in the digestion of gluten.  While it is NOT a cure for celiac disease, it does appear that some find it helpful in recovering from an accidental exposure.  I read on several blogs that others have found it helpful to take it before eating in situations where cross-contamination is a threat.  I have some on hand to try.

What works for you?  I'd love to hear if you've tried any of these methods or have other tips to share on dealing with accidental "glutening".