One of the things that I’ve been hungry for recently has been a coffee cake, not exactly on my gluten-free safe eating list. There is nothing quite like having a moist coffee cake with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. I can remember when I was younger and spending a lot of time on the road it was easy to stop by a convenience store and buy a Tastykake Coffee Cake Junior and a cup of coffee for that mid-morning or mid-afternoon energy on the go. My pre-celiac days.
I chose Martha Stewart’s mini coffee cake muffin recipe because I generally have success with her research and experience. Often if I bake something in a square pan it dries out before I’ve eaten it all. Others in my family prefer gluten in their baked goods.
Delightful moist coffee cake
This recipe was pretty straightforward, brown sugar and flour for the topping, a little bit of salt, cinnamon, a little butter. And the batter itself was as you probably anticipate some baking powder and baking soda, salt and butter, sour cream, a little buttermilk and of course all-purpose flour. I substituted the all-purpose flour in the topping and in the batter with King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour. I wish that I would’ve doubled the recipe because my Kitchen Aid mixer doesn’t do very well with small quantities. I would have liked to had a lighter fluffier batter to start with when you mix the sugar and the butter together. Perhaps next time I’ll substitute coconut for the butter for the plant fat content. I used a silicone muffin pan that doesn’t need cupcake wrappers.
Results were amazingly good and every bit of delicious as what I remember from Tastykake’s Coffee Cake Juniors. Allot of sugar but delicious. Martha Stewart’s recipe calls for 24 mini muffins. I got 11 regular cupcake size muffins out of it.
We were fortunate to get there mid-afternoon in February. The weather was warm and the little street was busy. The town street and surrounding area was allot smaller than the feel you get in the movie. The cafe’s operating hours are 11 AM to 4PM, they take MasterCard, Visa, and cash. Service dogs with current papers are welcome. It doesn’t look like they remodeled since the movie, it looks the same from what we remembered.
My gluten-free choice was a Swiss cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, pickle and Ketchup. The hamburger had good flavor and no “barbecue sauce.” The french fries appeared like they had a coating of corn starch before they were deep fried. I was a bit surprised that the cheesecake wasn’t the traditional Philadelphia style cheesecake but a cake with about seven layers. It looked good but is not gluten-free. It was interesting to see in the recipe they share there is corn meal in the fried green tomato batter, I would have assumed it was all wheat flour.
The southern fried chicken with buttered lima beans and mashed potatoes looked pretty good too.
We watched the train go by, went by the little church that is now United Methodist. It was worth the extra time that we spent to find the Whistle Stop Cafe and understand more about the setting of The Fried Green Tomato Movie. It’s a bit out of the way so be sure to include this on one of your trips to southern Georgia, just north of Valdosta.
I’ll have to admit when my chiropractor said to me “you look like you eat allot of cereal” I was totally in the dark, not sure what he would know about my nutritional habits from a cursory view.
For the last twenty-years or so I’ve always had an annual physical and in the last ten -years I’ve seen my chiropractor routinely for wellness adjustments. In recent years he would say I’m not sure what else I can do for you. I also avoided gluten since being diagnosed with celiac disease over twenty years ago. If I didn’t my stomach would bloat and I’d loose my energy. I baked my own gluten-free bread and cakes, make my own yogurt, focused on being gluten-free.
When the chiropractor made the “cereal” statement to me I was thinking breakfast but I was not eating allot of cereal in my view. I was alternating between 2-eggs and a banana, cooked old-fashioned or steel cut Irish Oatmeal, and rice squares. When eating cereal I added whole milk since I didn’t want to use milk that had been “processed and reformulated into 2-percent or skim etc.” feeling like that may be some folks issues with allergic reactions to milk and dairy products. I would often add a spoonful of sugar or honey and a sliced banana. I rarely had toast for breakfast. So my reaction to him was No, I eat allot of eggs and rotate my cereals for breakfast. His response to me was “you need to see my father.”
His father was a nutritionist who had experienced allot of success with his patients following a heritage diet. That is, if your ancestors were middle-European, or from southern-Africa, or Asia etc. hundreds of years ago what did they eat, and that is what your body genetically required. Probably allot of roots and greens. He also prescribed a blood test (that the insurance company would not pay for) that supported his view and confirmed that my diet was mostly on track when it came to basic nutrition. Some added nano-greens, vitamins and minerals were recommended as well as a membership to a local gym. For breakfast I reduced the cereal consumption and went to eating mostly eggs, a banana and a cup of coffee for breakfast. But my “cereal body” with the tummy fat and about twenty-pounds of excess weight did not melt away.
During this experience with the nutritionist the company I worked for had a wellness program that had health requirements that had to be met to get the best rate for health benefits. My burgeoning BMI (body mass index) finally became an issue. After hitting the gym three days a week and reducing my calories I was able to reduce the weight but I didn’t loose the “cereal body” my doctor referenced. I had gained weight attempting to eat gluten-free, a frustration when I was hearing about others who lost weight when changing to a gluten free diet.
About 4-months ago I came across some references to Dr Stephen Gundry’s work and lectins and decided to read his book The Plant Paradox where he takes a broader view on “cereal” than what we eat for breakfast, meaning the grain category including wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice etc.. I admit I’m not with him in his view of the origin of man but it makes sense if we create vaccines from the disease we’re trying to cure why wouldn’t we do the same with fat? My changes included eating 4-eggs (1 white with 4 yolks) and a banana for breakfast, some of his favorite coconut flour muffins and including hi-plant fat avocados which Dr. Gundry claims is the only food we can’t eat too much of and changing jobs to an active work instead of a desk job resulting in a loss of over 20-pounds and most of my “cereal body.”
I know life is a journey, so is it the higher-fat diet and less cereal grains or the less sedentary work and more active lifestyle or perhaps a combination of both? What I’ve learned is that I still have allot to learn. Starting this journey with a high-probiotic diet to reducing my cereal grain consumption took me back to a weight I had over 40-years ago when I felt my best. I have not adopted a Vegan or Vegetarian diet but today thankfully, I can physically out-work most 20-year-olds.
I’d love to know your story as well especially when it comes to the reduction of cereal grains in your diet.
Using coconut flour is becoming popular and is a great choice with allot of healthy plant based fats, fiber and protein. It’s great for diabetics and is gluten and grain free. If you’re following a gluten free, low glycemic, nut-free or Paleo diet this is a good alternative. Volume substitution is often 25 to 33 percent of wheat or other grain flours in a recipe. It is a stand alone flour and does not require other flours in the recipe. It’s often recommended to increase the eggs in the recipe when substituting.
There are many recipes for using coconut flour including, breads, cake, pie crust, cookies, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, pizza crust, and brownies. It can be substituted for almond flour. Erica Kerwien has over 100 amazing recipes in The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook. You may also want to try some of Johanna Davidson’s recipes in Coconut Flour Recipes: The Ultimate Guide.
You may have wondered how people in the United States became cold cereal lovers as I have. Especially considering celiac disease and so many people getting on the gluten-free bandwagon.
Often the name Dr. John Harvey Kellogg comes up for his interest in vegetarian foods and his focus on disease being related to the microbial health of the gut or bacteria in the intestines. He is known for his Seventh-Day Adventist faith, establishing the Battle Creek Sanitarian and his focus on high fiber whole grain foods. He also used enemas to clear the bowel and yogurt to replenish the intestinal health.
John received a patent for tempering or rolling wheat berries including other grains like rice and oats calling his rolled wheat cereal Sanitas Toasted Corn Flakes. This process included the hull making it a processed whole grain cereal, avoiding the milling process. John’s brother Will who claimed to be part of the original invention wanted to add sugar to the flaked cereal process but John would not agree, so Kellogg’s of Battle Creek was born headed by brother Will Kellogg with his own version and exclusivity of the name Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Kelloggs Corn Flakes includes malt flavor, salt and is fortified with vitamins and minerals.
A meat substitute patent was granted to John Kellogg in 1901 for Protose, a blend of nuts and grains, one of many vegetable meat alternatives. A previous farm Equipment manufacturer C.W. Post, a patient of Dr. John’s became a competitor after spending time at the Battle Creek Sanitarian.
Gluten is a lectin that has reaped havoc with many folks digestive systems and is difficult to overcome when eating cereal bakery products without traditional yeast to break down the gluten. Some have been eating gluten free and no longer have the good bugs in the intestinal track to process the gluten. There are many gluten free cereals today that support the Celiac and a gluten free experience.
Before we talk about black rice flour lets talk about the kernels it comes from. Black rice sometimes called Purple Rice is often labeled forbidden. Forbidden in the sense that it is reserved for the Chinese emperor to ensure a long life. Coming from the same plant family as Tai jasmine and Indonesian black rice with a similar nutty flavor profile and nutrient load. Black rice is the only rice with anthocyanins shown by the color. Also used as natural dyes these purple colored pigments have also shown to improve vision and mental health, act as an antioxidant and protects against several diseases, a similar action in other fruits and leafy vegetables with the same color. Protect your clothing from potential stains while cooking.
A study by Rarastoeti Pratiwi at Gadjah Mada University describes about 24-varieties of black rice grown in Indonesia and their potential for cancer prevention, lowering the risk of an excess of glucose in the bloodstream often associated with diabetes and lowering high concentrations of fats or lipids in the blood. Exceptional health benefits as well as the risks. Rice supplies for the king were grown in central Java and Gunung Raung and Gunung Ijen.
Rebirth Rice from Thailand sells a Heirloom, Jasmine, and starchy but gluten free black rice they call Glutinous Black Rice you can buy through Amazon.com. Simple to cook, and you can make rice flour with a blender, coffee grinder, or grain mill. In the United States Publix sells Natures Earthly Choice black rice. Kroger carries Village Harvest Black Rice from China. and from Alibaba of course. You can buy black rice flour from Italy, Australia, and importers in the United States.
Not a cereal or grain though similar in size to wheat grains whole buckwheat is a wild rhubarb relative fruit placing it on the pseudo cereal list. Buckwheat or Fagopyrum esculentum is gluten free except in instances of cross-contamination. When planting
buckwheat seedlings appear within three to five days and it is ready for harvest in ten to twelve weeks according to Cornell University. Photo at right shows buckwheat in full flower.
After removing the fruits hull, the inside groats of buckwheat can be roasted to make kasha or ground to make buckwheat flour. Kasha describes a porridge made from any whole grain in most parts of the world.
So why all is buckwheat getting all this attention. Perhaps because it’s used globally as a staple and alternative flour in combination with other flours since it lacks gluten. It’s been grown over 4,000 years in India and Nepal and other parts of Asia. Perhaps you’re familiar with these buckwheat dishes:
Rich in protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin C, buckwheat has been placed in the super food category by some while others warn that buckwheat flour based noodles and pancakes have a higher glycemic load than the more healthy groats. Stone grinding the flour leaves the germ more intact than roller processes yielding a coarser texture with more flavor.
There are several places you can buy gluten free buckwheat flour. Bob’s Red Mill carries organic buckwheat flour, pancake mix, whole buckwheat groats, porridge or hot cereal, and whole grain kasha found at many grocers and amazon.com.King Arthur’s has gluten free buckwheat flour in 2-pound fresh-lock bags and recipes for buckwheat flour bread, blini, and Stromboli. You can also buy Hodgson Mills buckwheat flour ground from select groats with that nutty flavor made for generations from grocers, direct or at Amazon.com. The Arrowhead Mills brand may be available in your area. North Carolina’s High Mountain Farms also sells a organic stone milled buckwheat flour. As for organic sprouted buckwheat flour that can be found at Blue Mountain Organics, and Shiloh Farms.
It appears that today eating acorns is a trendy food source for not only squirrels, deer, chipmunks, wild turkeys, and other wild animals but for people too. Native Americans have used acorns as a food source for years. Although there are some varieties of the Oak Tree’s seed that contain marginal amounts of tannin you wouldn’t want to eat the acorns raw. You’ll want to remove the tannin by grinding the acorn and leaching out the tannin with multiple water rinses until it looses that bitter taste. It does not have gluten like wheat, rye and barley.
Bitter tasting tannin is the Oak tree’s way of protecting its seed and can cause “nausea, an irritated stomach, even a chance of throat and nose cancer” according to WebMD if eaten in large amounts. That said we find tannin in many foods including coffee, tea, bananas and herbal remedy’s.
Photo by Julia Kirschman, U.S. Forest Service
Where can we find Oak Trees and their acorns? The Oak tree or shrub belongs to the Beach tree family and is found in the northern hemisphere There are about six-hundred species including deciduous and evergreen varieties found in cool climates to tropical as far south as North Africa with North America having the most species. A large oak tree can produce 10,000 acorns in a productive or mast year. Sustainability seems to be the next question should humans choose to compete with wild life for this valuable food source.
If you don’t have access to acorns where you live you may be wondering where you can get some. You may want to get acquainted with someone like Acorno Acorns who sells handpicked from the ground acorns from Northern Vermont, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. They sell Northern Red Oak, White Oak Acorns, and Pin Oak Acorns by the pound, sun dried and pesticide free. You don’t have to eat them if you’re looking to used them in crafts and other displays.
Almond Flour and Almond Meal are both gluten free. Perhaps we need to know more about almonds to understand why this Mediterranean native and cousin of the Peach is so popular.
Sweet Almond production continues to increase in the United States, the world’s highest producer, with over 2.3 billion pounds forecast for the 2018 California crop. With more
Almond Board of California chart
than thirty varieties of almond trees about ten of them produce the majority of almonds in California. Sixty to seventy percent of the crop is exported the remainder is used in the United States. The journey of “Orchard to Table” has been nicely presented by the Almond Board of California. There are seven USDA Grades with California’s peak harvest in September. Almonds tree-ripen, and all almonds marketed in the United States are pasteurized because of the outbreak of Salmonella in 2001 and 2004. This includes both conventionally and organically grown nuts. Major almond producing countries in addition to the United States include Spain, Italy, Iran, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Australia, and Greece. The FDA reported that some bitter almonds were imported mixed in with sweet almonds causing some vertigo and cyanide poisoning concerns.
Almond flour and meal consist of 100% of nuts without gluten found in wheat, barley and rye, heavier than wheat flour and has more calories and fat. Unblanched retains the brown skin. Flour is finer than meal. Making it at home is simple and less expensive if you have a food processor. Simply add about a quarter cup at a time and pulse, work it through a fine sieve to make it finer in texture. If you are looking for inspiration Blue Diamond has put together a Almond Cookbook with over fifty-recipes breakfast to desert. Elana Amsterdam has a gluten free almond focused cookbook as well. One of my favorite places to use almond flour is to dust a pie pan when making quiche instead of using a gluten free crust. Almond flour can be used as a thickener for soups and like breadcrumbs on casseroles, vegetables, and meats.
There is some controversy surrounding allergy issues and digestion issues with PUFAS or polyunsaturated fatty acids when using allot of nuts and nut milk. You may want to try some to see if gas, bloating or other symptoms occur. Using almond flour and meal as a part of your meal planning can add some valuable health benefits.
banner photo shows Geneticist Craig Ledbetter examining the nuts of a self-pollinating almond selection in a California test plot. Photo by Peggy Greb. USDA Photo
The question, is oats gluten free or not may come from the thought that it’s considered a cereal grain. The most recognized grains with gluten would be wheat varieties, along with rye, barley, and triticale. The difficulty in confirming oats as gluten free is a transportation and processing issue. There is a reaction to oats in less than one percent of Celiacs to avenin proteins. Let’s think a moment about the journey of oats to our tables.
Certified seed oats are most often planted today. Years ago, many farmers saved some oats from the previous crop to plant in the new year. Germination rates were often too low prompting them to buy certified seeds with growing characteristics for their area and growing season. Many of the Agricultural Colleges as well as commercial seed
-Photo Credits – Mark Casada-USDA ARS
producers have test plots and staff focused on seed production. Once the seed is purchased it’s delivered to the commercial farmer who then plants it and waits for the harvest. Neil Bromhall shows the germination cycle for oats and the Eat Happy Project does a nice video showing farm to fork for porridge in the United Kingdom.
USDA Jesse Gastelle, Agricultural Marketing Service February 2018
Here is where it gets difficult to manage for most. It’s not difficult to clean a combine to get ready to harvest oats but it takes a great amount of care to keep it completely separate from other crops as it’s poured into trucks, unloaded at a storage facility, sold to a mill to make into instant, steel-cut, rolled oats or oat flour.. General Mills for example has created a process that separates the grains and mills the oats into a flour to create Cheerios. Steel cut McCann’s Irish Oats is gluten-free and has their familiar nutty flavor.
The story about Quaker Oats reflects the savvy use of media to position themselves in the marketplace where they hold the top four positions in popularity for hot cereal. Even babies as early as six-months can enjoy rolled oatmeal. With National Oatmeal Day just around the corner you may be wondering how to celebrate. I would think enjoying a bowl of oatmeal and shouting out #NationalOatmealDay on your social media sites would be a good way to start. Then enjoy the benefits as it helps to lower your cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer, being rich in iron and fiber. The Donnelly family in Ireland who holds the
The Murtillo Mazzo (Italian for the “Blueberry Bunch”) won second place in Michigan Department of Education’s 2015 Junior Chef Breakfast Competition (Oatmeal Squares)
oldest family Guinness World Record attributes eating oatmeal in the morning and before bed as the reason for their longevity. Originally laughed at and compared to eating horse feed the soluble and insoluble fibers are part of what Dr Michael Greger who wrote How Not to Die claims could solve a nations health problem.
Physicians, Nutritionists, and of course health conscious Moms have all recognized the value of teaching the value of eating oats.
Did you eat your gluten free oatmeal or porridge today?