delicious gluten-free coffee cake?!?!

Let me first state that I love to bake and especially with my kids and with this whole confusion thing I’m feeling with gluten (is it true? true for me? my kids?)  I’ve had mixed feelings about baking.  I’ve tried some gluten-free mixes and recipes and I knew a recipe wasn’t for us when I was throwing away (gasp!!) gluten-free cookies and ! gluten-free brownies.  I figured if I was going to eat or bake a treat it was just going to have to have wheat in it.  But wait…!

I just made “Coffee Cake” with the “Crumble Topping” from the book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring by Nicole Hunn.  It was delicious!  I did know it had the possibility to be a good recipe because the ingredients called for sour cream and butter and lots of sugar, but often it’s the wheat substitute that ruins the whole recipe.  My kids basically made it.  It did take a lot longer to bake than the time the recipe listed.  For the flour I used Mama’s Coconut All-Purpose Flour (www.glutenfreemama.com) and for the xanthan gum I substituted gelatin because I couldn’t find my xanthan gum.  If you go to Nicole Hunn’s website www.glutenfreeonashoestring.com she has many recipes including a coffee cake recipe that is similar to the one I used in her book.

Just one last note on gluten–  I just started reading Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book The G-Free Diet (www.gfreediet.com) where she emphasizes that celiac disease is not an allergy to gluten–it is an autoimmune disease and many people  have symptoms that they do not correlate with what they are eating and many don’t have any symptoms but might have other health problems down the road as a result of not realizing they have celiac (eg. osteoporosis because they aren’t absorbing calcium or cancers because they’re not absorbing B vitamins, etc.).  And many who are not feeling well are not being diagnosed because many physicians do not know about it or do not believe it could be a problem.  There is not much research on it because no one will make money on it, which I’ve also heard about vitamins and herbs.

Anyway, Elisabeth was an athlete and eating lots of bread, etc. and “fine” until she went to a foreign country while she was in college and became very sick with a bacterial intestinal infection and her health declined and she was diagnosed by numerous doctors with irritable bowel syndrome.  It sounds like celiac is difficult to officially diagnose.  When she was on the tv show “Survivor” she was basically only eating fish and rice and she felt fantastic after 39 days being out there and then when she came home started back to her normal eating habits and she became sick again.  Elisabeth states that you could be fine but carry the gene for celiac and then a traumatic event could activate the gene. I have not gone in to be diagnosed for celiac. I have a similar story though–I was an athlete and ate lots of bread, pasta, bagels and I went to Costa Rica right after high school, and after that my iron stomach became affected by everything I ate.  My mom thought I was exposed to parasites when I was there.  I also noticed (like Elisabeth) in the past six years that when I didn’t eat anything I felt better.  So I started taking things out of my diet (wheat, corn, dairy, soy, sugar, caffeine) but I didn’t feel a whole lot better and my joy in eating disappeared.  So now I wobble between the worlds, but am thinking once again about eliminating gluten from my diet–it’s day 1 and a 1/2 so I’ll see how long I can last.  That doesn’t sound very convincing or strong. Let me restate:  I am tired of feeling how I am feeling-not strong, tired, no vitality and clouded in my head and many of the other 256 symptoms that I occasionally have that are related to celiac so I might as well take gluten completely out and see if I notice a difference or not.  If Hunn’s recipes for pizza dough, pasta, and bread come through like her coffee cake, I think my family and I might have a much more joyful and healthful life!

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