An assortment of iron-rich foods: eggs, spinach, beans, prunes, steak and liver.

Celiac Disease and Iron Deficiency

One of the first symptoms I had of celiac disease was anemia. I still have to take an iron supplement daily, since my body has trouble absorbing nutrients from food even though I follow a strict gluten-free diet.

Celiac disease causes damage to the small intestine that leads to malnutrition and non-absorption of vital nutrients. Iron is one of the main mineral deficiencies seen in people with celiac disease.

According to Baylor University Medical Center research, it is not unusual for patients to continue to be a risk of developing anemia even if they are following a gluten-free diet.

Not only does anemia make you feel really bad, it can also be life-threatening. It is very important for anyone with celiac disease to have their iron levels checked on a regular basis.

The symptoms of anemia include weakness, headaches, dizziness, breathing problems and pale skin. A complete blood count (CBC) test is necessary to diagnose anemia. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor so you can get the test.

For people with celiac disease, staying on a gluten-free diet is important because it decreases the chances of malabsorption. It may be necessary to make other dietary changes such as increasing the amount of iron from the foods you eat.

Foods that are high in iron include red meat, especially organ meats like liver, egg yolk, oysters, dried fruits, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach. Iron supplements may be another option for some patients, but it is crucial to consult a doctor first. Iron absorption is increased markedly by eating foods containing vitamin C along with foods containing iron.

So be sure to eat your spinach and get tested regularly!

Source: Iron deficiency in celiac disease is common problem, emaxhealth.com.

Milo graphic

Milo says….

You can keep the spinach, but I’ll have some of that liver PLEASE!

 

Ceramic bowl filled with beef and sorghum stew.

Slow Cooker Beef and Sorghum Stew

When I was a child my mother used to make this wonderful beef and barley stew. I can’t eat barley now, because it contains gluten, but I thought I would try this stew with whole grain sorghum instead. Fall is coming soon and this recipe makes a good, hearty meal that will stick with you through those chilly evening football games.

This stew will cook more quickly on the stove, if you don’t want to use a slow cooker. Feel free to change up the seasoning to suit your taste. I used some basil that I grew in my garden last year and dried. I also put in some fresh thyme I have growing in my garden this year and it was really good. I love using fresh herbs in soups whenever I can.

Whole grain sorghum has a slightly courser texture than barley. It also will tend to fall apart when you cook it a long time. I liked that, because it thickened the stew a little bit. If you’re cooking this on the stove at a higher temperature, the sorghum takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to cook to a soft texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless lean beef, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 32-ounce package beef broth
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 small to medium-sized potatoes, cubed
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup whole grain sorghum, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

Directions:

I let the whole grain sorghum soak in a cup full of water while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

 

Whole grain sorghum in a strainer after rinsing.

I soaked the sorghum in water while preparing other vegetables and then rinsed it before adding it to the stew.

Cut beef into bite-sized chunks and sauté in the olive oil with the minced garlic and pepper for 5 minutes, or until browned. Place seasoned meat in your slow cooker.

Beef and minced garlic browning in skillet with a little olive oil.

Beef and minced garlic browning in skillet with a little olive oil.

Add chopped vegetables, beef broth, tomatoes, and basil.

Close up of Food Club Stewed Tomates can.

Here are the canned tomatoes I used in the stew.

Close up of a 32 ounce box of Pacific Organic Beef Broth.

This is the brand of beef broth I like to use because it doesn’t taste as salty as some others.

Browned beef and cut up vegetables in the slow cooker.

Browned beef and cut up vegetables added to the slow cooker

Drain sorghum in a strainer and rinse. Add sorghum to stew.

Beef, vegetables, broth and whole grain sorghum in the slow cooker.

Beef, vegetables, broth and whole grain sorghum added to the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours, then on high for 1 hour, or until the vegetables and sorghum are tender.

Add the thyme just before serving.

Sprigs of fresh thyme on a wooden cutting board partially chopped.

I used chopped, fresh thyme from my garden.

Serve warm with gluten-free breadsticks or cheese biscuits.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Beef stew is the BEST SMELL in the whole world! I watched Maizy cooking it ALL DAY and FINALLY she put a little taste in my bowl. I LOVE having dinner with Maizy!

Gluten-Free Cereals Review

I generally try to limit my consumption of processed foods in my quest to get proper nutrition while sticking to a gluten-free diet, but I do enjoy having a plain old bowl of cereal for breakfast every now and then. I admit that most gluten-free cereals aren’t very good, especially for the price, and many of them have a lot of added sugar to help them taste better.

I like to add walnuts and fruit to my cereal to increase the nutritional content. Gluten-free cereals tend to be low on certain nutrients, especially B vitamins, unless they are enriched or fortified.

One of my favorite gluten-free cereals is Perky’s Crunchy Flax with Chia by Enjoy Life. What I like about this cereal is that it’s slightly sweet without being too sweet and it sticks with me throughout the morning. I believe it’s staying power comes from my favorite ingredient – whole grain sorghum flour!

Perky's Crunchy Flax with Chia box front

Sorghum is high in insoluble fiber, which, combined with protein and starch in the sorghum endosperm, makes it more slowly digested than other cereals. The slower rate of digestibility of sorghum products makes them more filling and may be beneficial to diabetics. Enjoy Life is one of the first companies in the U.S. that has used sorghum as a main ingredient.

Side of the Crunchy Flax box showing ingredients and some nutritional information

Sorghum flour is the first ingredient.

 

Another gluten-free cereal I tried recently is Ancient Grain Flakes by Freedom Foods, an Australian company.

Ancient Grain Flakes box front.

Although the flavor of the cereal was ok for a gluten-free cereal, I was disappointed by the misleading description of the cereal on the front of the box. It says the cereal is “made from buckwheat and sorghum”, but when you look at the ingredient list on the side of the box, it has rice and corn listed as the first two ingredients, then sorghum and buckwheat.

Ancient Grain Flakes - side of box showing ingredients and some of the nutrition information.

Sorghum is the third ingredient.

It’s funny to me that the Freedom Foods logo at the top of the box has the words “honest, nutritious & free” underneath. It’s seems like a more honest statement would be “contains buckwheat and sorghum.”

One thing I did like about the Freedom Foods cereals was the allergen symbols at the bottom. This makes it easier to see which common allergens have been eliminated from the product.

Close up of the bottom of the Ancient Grain Flakes box showing FREE FROM and seven icons for various allergens, gluten being the first.

The allergen icons at the bottom of the Ancient Grain Flakes box are a nice idea.

The flakes have a definite corn flavor when you first bite into them. I found that I was hungry again about two hours after I ate this cereal. I probably won’t be getting this one again.

 

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Happiness is LICKING the cereal bowl when Maizy is finished with it!

Baked breadstick on small plate broken in half so you can see the inside.

Gluten-Free Italian Breadsticks

I made these breadsticks last weekend to go with an Italian chicken soup that I love to make in the summer when I have fresh eggplant, tomatoes and bell peppers from my garden.

The original recipe called for 1 1/3 cups of rice flour, so I split that into equal amounts of rice and sorghum flour. This makes a breadstick that is slightly heavier in texture, but more flavorful and nutritious, in my opinion.

I decided to sprinkle them with dried rosemary instead of parsley – I love the flavor of rosemary in bread!

These breadsticks are best served warm right out of the oven, but I found the leftover breadstick was still pretty good warmed up in the toaster oven two days later.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free dry active yeast
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning – (I used 1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar
  • 1⅓ cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine yeast and other dry ingredients, in a mixing bowl.

Brown mixing bowl with flour and other dry ingredients mixed up in it.

Dry ingredients mixed.

Add olive oil and vinegar to milk and stir together. Slowly add milk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until a thick dough is formed. I mixed this by hand and it worked ok, but you can use a mixer if you prefer. The dough will be very sticky.

Dough mixed up into a ball in brown bowl.

Wet ingredients added to make a thick dough.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray (I use olive oil spray.)

Coat hands with small amount of olive oil and divide the dough up into 6 equal portions. Putting oil on your hands will make the sticky dough manageable. You can also use plastic bags over your hands or latex gloves, if it is easier and less messy.

Six breadsticks uncooked in baking pan.

I put a small amount of olive oil on my hands before making each breadstick to handle and form the dough more easily.

Form each portion into a long breadstick that is uniform from end to end, coating hands with small amount of olive oil between each one. They will bake more uniformly if they are of even size and proportion.

Place each formed breadstick on the greased baking sheet. I wasn’t ready to bake the breadsticks right away, so I let them sit covered with a towel for about 40 minutes and they puffed up a little. You can cook them right away, though, if you want to.

Breadsticks in baking pan, dough has risen slightly so they are a little larger.

The dough has puffed up a little after waiting about 40 minutes.

Combine the melted butter and garlic powder in a small bowl. Brush butter mixture on top of each breadstick.

Uncooked bread sticks in baking pan with butter on top.

I brushed melted butter on each breadstick.

Sprinkle bread sticks with rosemary.

Uncooked breadsticks in baking pan with rosemary sprinkled across tops.

I sprinkled crushed rosemary on top of the buttered dough.

Bake for 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Brush breadsticks with remaining butter mixture.

Baked breadsticks in baking pan glistening with butter.

After I took them out of the oven, I brushed them with the rest of the melted garlic butter.

One cooked breadstick on a small plate.

Each breadstick was about 6 – 7 inches long.

 

Adapted from Megan’s Italian Garlic Breadstick recipe at TheGlutenFreeVegan.com.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

When I take Maizy for a walk, she always puts a leash on me first. I think she’s afraid she’ll get LOST if she gets away from me. I can ALWAYS smell the way back home, especially when it smells like breadsticks!

About a dozen bowls from above, each containing a different healthy food like beans, brocolli, blueberries, walnuts, etc.

Healthy Eating Tips for Celiacs

It is important to get enough B-vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), iron, and fiber if you are eating a gluten-free diet. Here are some tips to help you get enough good nutrition.

  • Choose whole grain, gluten-free products whenever possible. Look for products containing whole grain sorghum, whole grain rice, millet, teff, or corn.
  • Choose enriched, gluten-free products instead of refined, unenriched products whenever possible. Here are a few companies providing enriched, gluten-free products:
    - Ener-G Foods: Manufactures enriched ready-to-eat, glutenfree bread products
    - Glutino: Manufactures enriched ready-to-eat, gluten-free bread products and enriched baking mixes
    - Maplegrove Food and Beverage: Manufactures enriched, gluten-free pasta
    - Enjoy Life Foods: Manufactures enriched, glutenfree breads, bagels, snack bars, and granola
    - Kinnikinnick Foods: Manufactures enriched, glutenfree bread products
    - Gluten Free Cafe: Manufactures enriched soups and entrees
  • Eat more foods made with alternative plant foods, such as amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat. These plant foods are good sources of fiber and iron as well as some B-vitamins.
  • Eat other enriched, gluten-free foods such as enriched rice.
  • Make sure to eat plenty of non-grain sources of the nutrients your body needs. For example:
    – Lean cuts of fresh pork, legumes (dry beans, peas, lentils), nuts, and fish are good sources of thiamin.
    – Dairy products, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and mushrooms are good for riboflavin.
    – Eat poultry, fish, lean cuts of fresh pork, legumes, and seeds for niacin.
    – Choose legumes, green leafy vegetables, and fruit juices for folate.
    – You can get iron from lean cuts of beef, poultry, seafood, legumes, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
    – All plant foods—fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts—are good sources of fiber.
  • Consider taking a gluten-free multivitamin and mineral supplement

Source: The University of North Dakota Dining Services

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Maizy told me she needs more exercise so I have to take her for a walk EVERY DAY. We have fun walking together, so I don’t mind doing this to take care of her.

Three cheese biscuits on plate, one has a bite taken out of it.

Gluten-Free Cheese Biscuits

These cheese biscuits were so good I made them two days in a row. The original recipe that I found here called for one cup of rice flour and 1/2 cup of sorghum flour, but I switched it to 1 cup of sorghum flour and 1/2 cup of rice flour. I wanted to use more sorghum flour because it is more nutritious than rice flour – plus I Love Sorghum!

Ingredients

Dry:

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Wet:

  • 1/4 cup butter (half stick)  or 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add the buttermilk and cheese and mix thoroughly. If you do not have buttermilk you can substitute a cup of any kind of milk with a teaspoon of cider vinegar added. The dough will be very thick.

Cheese biscuit dough all mixed up in metal mixing bowl.

The biscuit dough was very thick and could be easily rolled into balls.

Spray baking sheet with olive oil spray or line with parchment paper. Roll biscuit dough into balls. When you have a nice 1 to 2-inch ball formed, flatten it slightly and place on the baking sheet. If you place them with sides touching, they will rise up a little more. I kept them separated so they would be crispier all around the outside.

Ten uncooked cheese biscuits on tray ready to cook.

One batch of dough made ten biscuits.

 

Close up of uncooked gluten free cheese biscuit

Each biscuit was about 2 inches in diameter.

Makes 8 to 12 biscuits. Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes (depending on size of biscuits) or until lightly browned.

Close up of cooked gluten free cheese biscuits on baking sheet.

Gluten-free cheese biscuits fresh out of the oven.

Adapted from Gloria’s Gluten-free Cheesy Biscuits at glutenfreepoodlehome.com.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Only when one catches their TAIL can one understand the CIRCLE OF LIFE!

Slice of cherry clafouti on dessert plate, view from above.

Gluten-Free Cherry Clafouti

Bing cherries are in season and on sale at the grocery store – what a great opportunity to try a cherry dessert I’ve never made!

Bing cherries in white colander

Ripe Bing cherries.

I had never heard of clafouti before I found it in Carol Fenster’s cookbook “Gluten-Free Quick & Easy”. She recommends using a blender to mix the batter, but I used a whisk and it worked just fine. I used a cake pan that was too big, so my clafouti turned out a little, well, little. It was only about a half-inch thick, but it tasted great – not too sweet, very cherry!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons divided out
  • 1/2 cup Carol’s Flour Blend (see below)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pitted Bing cherries, drained
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, for topping (I think I used a little more)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, for garnish

Carol’s Gluten-Free Sorghum Flour Blend:

  • 1 ½ cups sorghum flour
  • 1 ½ cups potato starch (not potato flour) or cornstarch
  • 1 cup tapioca flour/starch

Whisk together thoroughly and store, tightly covered, in a dark, dry, cool place.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan or round pie pan. I used a 9×12-inch pan and it was a bit too big. I used olive oil cooking spray in the bottom of the pan.

Combine the eggs, flour blend, milk, extracts, zest, salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Blend until very smooth. (I forgot to take a photo of the batter – it was rather thin.)

Two-cup glass measuring cup full to the top of pitted Bing cherries

Two cups of pitted and sliced cherries – plus a little.

Place the cherries in the prepared pan and sprinkle with one tablespoon of the sugar. Pour the batter over the cherries. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining sugar.

Cooked cherri clafouti in baking pan

Cherri clafouti after cooking.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until cake is spongy. Let cool in pan for five minutes before serving. Serve warm sprinkled with powdered sugar.

 

Slice of cherry clafouti on dessert plate, view from side.

My cherry clafouti wasn’t very thick because my pan was too big. Still good, though, even without the powdered sugar!

 

Source: “Gluten-Free Quick & Easy” by Carol Fenster. For Carol’s blog, click Here.

 

Milo graphic

Milo says….

Maizy took me to the VET yesterday. He pinched me and it made me growl just a little bit. BUT he gave me a TREAT, so it wasn’t THAT bad. I would do it again for another doggie sausage. Yummy!