Quick & Easy Breakfast Ideas

Let’s face it: most of us hardly ever have time for a proper meal in the morning. Whether it is to squeeze in a few extra minutes of shuteye before heading off to our day, or our to-do lists are simply too long  to make room for a pause in the morning. So, we racked up a few practical ideas here that you can try as quick breakfast options sans the need to deal with your gluten allergy, or celiac disease symptoms. It’s important to keep your energy high first thing in the morning to get things done, don’t you agree? And gluten should be one less thing to worry about at this most important meal of the day.

Eggs

gluten free breakfast eggs with asparagus

Sunny side up, scrambled, or made into a nice omelette, you cannot go wrong with this breakfast item. You can mix in your selection of veggies, add basic spices and herbs and you can have a filling meal in a matter of minutes. A quick trick is to boil a couple of eggs, peel them, dice and mix in with tomatoes, asparagus, a pinch of salt and pepper, and you’re good to go. Healthy, quick, and hassle-free.

Fruits

gluten free breakfast fruits

This seems like a no-brainer but if your time is scarce, you can forget a basic gluten-free item like this. Ready to eat fruits are convenient, and the quickest of quick meals. Make a berries mix, or grab a convenient apple, or a couple of bananas, or dalandan (they’re one of the remaining cheap ones you can find around street markets or groceries around Metro Manila), before going out to run your errands. If you’re really pressed for time, you can finish these while on a drive, or at your desk at work.

Gluten-free pancakes and waffles

gluten free pancakes with raspberries

This is great if you have gluten-free flour lying around. If not, you can also do mashed banana, mixed with gluten-free oat flour, and eggs as replacement. Fry these in a bit of oil, add some berries, or pour into your waffle maker and finish with syrup. You can even make a sandwich out of these with nice spread or fruit filling. Pack them in sandwich bags and you’re done!

Gluten Free Sandwich or Toast

gluten free sandwich

Gluten-free breads are now thankfully easier to come by. Drop by your healthy food store or look for gluten-free breads online. We have a selection for you at GERALD.ph and you can get them home delivered. If you’re serious about eliminating gluten,  this should already be a staple item in your pantry.  Spread a nice jelly filling, peanut or other nut butters, or chocolate spreads. 

Why not try these to rev up your day unglutened? Let us know how it works out! 🙂

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Gluten-Free Cauliflower Rice

Here is an excellent gluten-free version of our favorite cauliflower rice recipe! If you are also worried about calories, aside from gluten, this is a great meal substitute for your usual gluten-free pasta or rice.  Excellent to pair with meat or seafood. It is a staple for those on a keto diet, but just as excellent if you also can’t have gluten. You can also try it without the egg or meat for a vegan healthy dish! Ready? Let’s get cooking!

INGREDIENTS

2 packs of Cauliflower

1 medium-sized carrot, shredded

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 bunch of spring onions, chopped

2 chicken breasts (optional)

salt & pepper to taste

2 tbsp. sesame oil

1 egg (optional)

2 to 3 tbsp gluten-free seasoning

6 to 10 pieces of broccoli florets

3/4 cup frozen peas

 

DIRECTIONS

Chop cauliflower finely using knife or use a food processor to achieve rice-size pieces.

Season the chicken and fry until cooked through (15 to 20 minutes cooking time.) Let cool, and shred it using a fork or cut into small cubes.

In the same pan, sauté  garlic, and then add the cauliflower. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat, making sure to mix to avoid burning. Scramble egg in by directly breaking egg into the pan and mixing.

Mix in the carrots, broccoli, chicken, peas, and spring onions mixing continuously. Cook for about 5 more minutes or until the veggies are soft enough to your liking. Add the gluten free seasoning and sesame oil. Add slices of chili if you want your rice with a bit of a kick. Plate and serve with your favorite side of gluten-free seasoned meat or seafood.

Enjoy!

 

Weight Watching: What to expect on a Gluten-Free Diet

Since going gluten-free involves switching up one’s diet, most people are bound to experience a difference in their weight. What changes can we actually expect? To help, we’ve provided here the 3 possible routes your weight can take on your gluten-free journey.

lady thinking about gluten free diet

  1. The Good – Weight Gain

In Celiac Disease, because of the damage your intestinal walls go through over time, the body loses its efficient natural ability to take nourishment from the food it consumes. Someone who has had this disease, and has not been diagnosed for a long period (which may very well be a decade or more), may be extremely underweight, as a result. Or if not , they may have difficulty in maintaining healthy weight, because of the challenge this disease poses for nutrient and calorie absorption.  

After getting diagnosed and taking measures to improve your condition, by eliminating gluten, for one, the body can then heal itself. Your intestines can gradually once again absorb the nutrients, and calories from the food you eat. Your small intestines will hopefully improve its function, and  as a result you will experience weight gain as your body absorbs the benefits from the food it consumes. This weight gain is great news! It is important for the body to maintain a healthy weight to make sure your it performs optimally.

  1. The Bad Weight Gain, And Good Weight Loss  

man running

However, Dr. Vikki Peterson, a doctor publishing specialized content on gluten relevant concerns, explains that there is also another case where the body may react differently. In gluten sensitivity, wherein the damage is not as severe as those in Celiac disease, but where the body is still very reactive to gluten, the manifestation instead could be the opposite. Sensing your body is not able to gain nourishment from the food it consumes, it can hold on to what you give it by not wanting to burn anything. This results a decrease in metabolic rate, causing your body to pack on the pounds. [1]

In this case, eliminating gluten and the inflammatory substances from food you eat, can actually eventually correctly tune your body into letting go of all the pounds it’s been saving for  a rainy day. Going gluten-free may actually help you lose weight. 

 

weight loss on a gluten free diet

3. The Ugly – Unadvisable weight gain

There is a third  route your body may take, on a gluten-free diet. If you do not have problems with severe weight loss from Celiac Disease, you may encounter another type of weight gain, that is not the desirable kind.

It may be the case that in your effort to remove gluten from your diet, you are in turn consuming a lot more processed foods with a whole lot of junk in them. A lot of gluten-free food are processed foods that can contain sugars, sodium, or additives, bad fats, and dairy in unhealthy amounts. Avoid the trap of ditching gluten, the one thing your body is reactive about, only to land on a whole pile of things that is in other ways very bad for you.

The trick would be to go naturally gluten-free. Or if you are eating processed food, know the ingredients in what you’re eating. Choose to take the fruit, instead of the gluten-free baked good with glaze and so much butter. For your main meal, get vegetables on the side in place of those gluten laden dinner rolls. Basically, be careful of the general content of your food, aside from the gluten content. This can help eliminate the unnecessary weight gain from adopting this new diet. 

Do you have your own experience to share on how going gluten free affected your weight? Feel free to share with us in the comments! 🙂

References:

“Gluten Sensitivity: Is It Possible To Be Overweight And Have A Gluten Problem?” Performance by Dr. Vikki Petersen, Gluten Sensitivity: Is It Possible To Be Overweight And Have A Gluten Problem?, YouTube, 6 May 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l09pkn71vSo&t=0s&list=PLF-d5_BISpj0BGZ1ttOYnrxVjk3aFxBl9&index=2.

Gluten-Free At Home? How to Avoid Cross-Contamination if you’re the only one.

woman in a non gluten-free kitchen

It’s nice when all the members of the family or a household adhere to only one type of diet. It’s a whole ‘nother story if you’re a solo gluten-free dieter at home.

In a study made by the American Dietetic Association[1], it was  revealed that a number of  grains that are inherently gluten-free (7 of the 22 grains tested) came out actually having gluten above 20 parts per million–the limit that FDA has set for a product to be called gluten-free.

Hold it, what? How does this happen? That is because of cross-contamination. Gluten can contaminate non gluten-containing foods in its different phases of production: from harvest of ingredients in farms where gluten-containing foods are planted, manufacturing in plants where gluten-containing foods are also processed, or even in the bulk bins in stores where they are placed next to gluten-containing items.

man eating gluten free food

And so, it is an important thing to note that right at home,  cross-contamination may also happen.  Kitchens used to prepare food that contains gluten; cooking tools, toasters, ovens, dishwashers, may actually pose risks of contaminating the food you eat.

What to do to avoid gluten cross-contamination? Here are some handy tips! How strict you will implement these would depend on how reactive you are to gluten. If you have Celiac Disease, we advise ticking all items on the list. 

  1. Have dedicated cooking tools such as pots, pans, cutting board, toasters, and ovens for preparing gluten-free meals.

Young Unhappy Woman Opening Door Of Oven With Full Of Smoke

If what you use in the kitchen handle non-gluten containing foods, it is best to have its gluten-free version. Though it would not be that practical to have two of everything, especially big expensive appliances, you can opt to have smaller versions of it for your solo use, at a fraction of the cost. Or if you are throwing away an old oven for a new model, for example, but they actually still work, disinfect and keep them as your gluten-free safe one.

For smaller items, definitely do not scrimp. Tools that you have to be extra careful about are strainers, peelers, graters; those that commonly get food stuck in crevices, even after thorough washing. Be safe, and get a twin.

  1. Separate a section for gluten-free items in your pantry and cabinets, a separate shelf in your refrigerator, ideally the topmost.

ref shelf

Not border-lining on OCD, it actually makes sense to have 2 separate areas at home for gluten-free and non-gluten-free items. It will make cooking and eating a lot more convenient, as you wouldn’t always be digging through your pantry to find safe items every time. It would also stop gluten from sneaking their way into your meals  when stored.

  1. Choose stainless steel cutlery and tools for easy cleaning decontamination. Avoid wooden spoons.

We’re in love with wooden spoons. They’re pretty, are gentler on sensitive cookwares and there’s that organic mama-is-home feel to it. But they can also be a pain to clean, and we’re not exactly 100% sure they are food safe. These can crack overtime with heat and repeated use, and then gluten-containing food particles can get stuck in them, not to mention they can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

spoon silhouette

  1. Once a week (or more than once, if your family members are amenable) have a gluten-free day.

This is a day when you will only cook from your gluten-free pantry section, and no one is allowed to complain 😉

Your food safety relies heavily on the support system you can get from your household.  Aside from speaking to them directly about the health impact for you of being gluten-free, do this also with hope of them getting consciously more considerate of the real diet needs of other household members.

The meals that you will eat on this day will also show them gluten-free day food is actually not that different from their usual meals. If you cook with ingredients from scratch, a bonus would be adding less processed foods, and more natural ingredients to their diet (Since they’d also be eating no additives that may contain gluten).

  1.  And lastly, the mother of it all:  Have the entire household go gluten-free.

It’s not easy to get everyone on this special diet, but a gluten-free household is the surest way to avoid cross-contamination. When something is not gluten-free, drop it at the doorstep before coming in. It is worth it to have some inconveniences and adjustments in the beginning, when in the end, you can say on a daily basis that you are healthy and safe in your own house.

gluten free family

Any more tips that you do in your own home to avoid gluten cross-contamination? Feel free to leave some in the comments! 🙂

References:

[1] Thompson, T, et al. “Gluten Contamination of Grains, Seeds, and Flours in the United States: a Pilot Study.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2010, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20497786.

What’s up with Grains?

glutenfree grains

A common assumption (and paranoia) for the gluten intolerant is that any food that is made with grains is laced with our enemy gluten. But let’s clarify. Not all grains contain gluten, but these are the culprits: wheat, barley, and rye, also triticale which is a hybrid of wheat and rye.

Another interesting fact is that pure wheatgrass and barley grass are actually gluten-free. What we’re concerned about is the gluten in the seeds. However, most find it less risky to simply stay away from byproduct of these grains altogether, as they may be contaminated during harvest and manufacturing.

There are actually plenty of other grains that are gluten-free. It’s the reason why there are still breads, desserts and even pizza and pasta out there as alternatives for those staying away from gluten.

 

corn

Corn for example is gluten-free, and it is one which is very readily available here in the Philippines in different forms and varieties: sweet corn, white corn, yellow corn. You can buy them fresh on the cob, frozen or canned in kernels, the white bloated addictive version binatog, served with coconut shavings (also gluten-free–getting the craving, yet?) and of course, popcorn.

filipino food

Rice  and potato that a typical Pinoy consumes in pounds per day thankfully, is also gluten-free (so worry not as your pure potato fries, and unli-rice food tripping is safe. 😉 ) If you’re not on the prowl for extra ordinary food adventure, the typical meal of rice plus viand, won’t actually be such a hassle. 

tahoSoy is also gluten-free and soy made product if in pure form (without extenders) are safe such as tofu (you can enjoy your tokwa’t baboy guilt-free) and warm and sweet dessert-breakfast taho.  Though, since gluten might be a cross-contaminant in the harvest, transport and storage of soy as most is grown in wheat farms, it is best to still be cautious with this item. 

Here are some more samples of gluten-free grains to help when faced with such a dilemma.

– tapioca

– quinoa

– beans

– flax

– chia

– nut flours

– gluten-free oats

– sorghum

– millet

– buckwheat groats (aka kasha)

– arrowroot

– amaranth

– teff

– yucca

You may also visit the complete list from Celiac.org here.

Have some of your own tips you would like to share to help with the gluten-free diet?

Leave some in the comments! 🙂

How Do You Make Sandwiches Gluten-Free in the Philippines?

SandwichesTo make things a bit easier for a sometimes challenging diet to conform to, we’ve gathered some sandwich classics to help you whip up filling gluten-free meals for kids’ school baon (lunch pack) or even for the office.

As a basic, of course, you’d want to start with a gluten-free base like your gluten-free bread, and baguette. Though pandesal and tasty bread are out, don’t fret. There are still great alternatives you can try. These are available in your supermarkets, and be sure you are looking to avoid these in the ingredients: wheat, barley, rye, oats, malt, and brewer’s yeast. If you want more convenience, you can visit GERALD.ph for a gluten-free selection you can have delivered to your home in Metro Manila. If you’re new to the gluten free diet, you can visit celiac.com’s comprehensive list of gluten-free foods .

So without further ado, here they are:

1 – Egg salad sandwich

egg salad sandwich

This is an easy one and definitely a favorite for quick sandwiches. We love it for it is moist, light but filling. It’s perfect that the typical ingredients, like mayonnaise and plain mustard, are grocery staples that happen to be gluten-free. Most come without the gluten-free stamp, but check the back label. Let a saucepan containing eggs submerged with water come to a boil, then turn the heat off and put the lid on and let sit for five minutes. Let the eggs cool in a bowl of ice water, and peel and dice. To the eggs, add mayonnaise plus mustard, salt and pepper, chopped celery and onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Smother on gluten-free bread, add strips of ham (check the label for some ham glazes may contain gluten. If the glaze is in a separate packet, just don’t use it). Chill and enjoy!

2 – Hamburger

burger

Make your own burger patty and skip the frozen patties. You can make better ones for less. Pure unprocessed meats do not have gluten, and so the ground beef that you get straight from the butcher and then mixed with wholesome spices yourself is guarantee you don’t have gluten cross-contamination risks that processed meats may have.  Also, this gets you away from additives and extenders that are common in local ready-made patties.

One thing that might require some research is the soy sauce to use with your patty. We do use a lot of soy sauce in our cuisine and a burger patty isn’t an exception. Based on a research made by soya.be, Kikkoman, a brand we have here locally appeared to meet the 20 parts per million content enough to qualify as gluten-free (and not have adverse physiological effects.)

Top patty with veggies like tomato, coleslaw, or gluten-free sauces to make different versions. 

3 – Grilled cheese sandwich

grilled cheese

Typically an American sandwich, but it practically has the Pinoy stamp on it what with the Filipino’s love for the really cheesy meals. Really, can you think of anything better than warm gooey melted cheese? I can’t. The ‘unspecial’ grilled cheese sandwich is made with processed cheese. For your gluten-free diet, go with the all-natural variety. It’s hard to find a proper grocery store now without a deli section so getting these should be easy (check: SM, Puregold, Rustan’s all has this. Now it’s online, too). Natural cheese does not have gluten, and you can choose to add much more interesting cheeses like emmental, gruyère, or comté, as long as they are soft, melting cheeses (Parmesan might be challenging to melt). Want to be more adventurous? Add crumbs of blue cheese. And the secret: add butter in your pan with the sandwich after your cheese melts. Look here to master the art of grilled cheese.

4 – Caprese wrap

caprese roll ups small

Mozzarella, tomatoes, basil in a sandwich. To make a gluten-free roll up version, substitute corn or brown rice tortillas for bread. Add steamed or grilled chicken and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette, and you have an exciting roll up. With how easy it is, this simple but elegant tasting dish will surely be a regular in your lunch pack.

Tip: for wrap recipes, you can actually do away with bread altogether and wrap it in greens like a nice iceberg lettuce or cucumber. Healthy, and certainly gluten-free.

5 – Croque Monsieur/Croque Madame

croque_monsieur_social

For something a bit fancier, try to make this baking-required French sandwich. A little trouble in the kitchen but Oui it’s all worth it. With gluten-free bread as base, Croque monsieur for the most part already uses gluten-free ingredients:  butter, milk, mustard, gruyere and Parmesan cheese. For the cheese sauce, just use rice flour instead of all-purpose flour.  Check out an easy to follow recipe here. Don’t forget to substitute the ingredients!

Add an egg to make a Madame. 😉

Hope you can make yours out of these and try other gluten-free versions, too! Do share with us some of your own special gluten-free sandwich tricks in the comments!

References: Celiac.com, celiacdesease.about.com, soya.be, seriouseats.com