Contents FOREWORD xv PREFACE—When the Food You Eat Is Making You Sick xvii part 1—bakINg leSSoNS 1. A NEW ADVENTURE 3 Reading labels 6 Redefi ning healthy eating 12 Eating together 14 Breaking the rules 15 Key Lessons 16 2. REPLACING WHEAT 17 Gluten-free versus wheat-free 18 Great grains 19 The role of gums 25 How to use gums 26 Off -the-shelf gluten-free fl our blends 26 Mixing your own fl our blends 29 Gluten-free biscuit and baking mixes 31 Measuring fl our 32 Key Lessons 34 3. REPLACING MILK AND AVOIDING SOY 35 Non-dairy milk options 37 Exploring milk further 42 Buttermilk, cream, yogurt, and sour cream 43 About oils 44 Butter, margarine, and shortening 47 Making the most of shortening 50 ■ ix.
Foreword By Dr. Stephen Wangen Food allergies are a huge public health issue. Those of you reading this cookbook likely already have some appreciation for this issue. But millions of people consume foods that are directly or in- directly responsible for their health problems. It is a relationship that I see played out in my clinic every day. There are literally hundreds of different symptoms that can be caused by food allergies. Potential consequences can range from headaches to heart disease (yes, research really does support this connection), and from canker sores to cancer. Ironically, the public is far ahead of the medical community when it comes to diagnosing and addressing reactions to foods. Individuals are still far more likely than most doctors to see this connection and to do something about it. Most doctors don’t recognize the true power of food and negative reactions to foods except in the case of anaphylaxis. But anaphylaxis, a life threatening reaction to food, is merely the tip of the iceberg. The single most profound thing that I do for my patients on a daily basis is to help them identify reactions to foods. I never cease to be amazed at how significant an impact a food allergy can have on one’s health, or at the extremely wide ranging potential conse- quences of those allergies. Let there be no doubt that these reactions to food are indeed al- lergies. Allergies occur when the immune system is involved in the reaction. This in turn triggers inflammation, and inflammation is at the root of nearly all health issues. Food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance, does not involve the immune system and therefore does not involve inflammation. For this reason it cannot cause inflamma- tory reactions in the body.
preface When the Food You Eat Is Making You Sick looking back on it now, it’s clear that my son suffered from food allergies since birth. He was miserable after he was fed—it didn’t matter whether it was breast milk, or the myriad of milk- and soy- based formulas his doctors suggested. The first six months of Patrick’s life were an endless cycle of feed, scream, and spit up. I described my son as “the blurpiest baby you have ever seen,” and I was afraid to leave him with anyone besides immediate family. He was unable to be comforted and didn’t want to be held. But my beautiful baby was nothing short of persistent; he continued to gain weight, and was .
1 A New Adventure You just received a phone call from the doc- tor and your son’s blood test indicates he is allergic to wheat, eggs, soy, and milk, or you just came home from the allergist’s office where your daughter’s scratch test showed allergies to milk, wheat, and peanuts, or the oral food challenge you just com- pleted in the doctor’s office confirms that your child now needs to avoid eggs and tree nuts—in addition to the three other foods previously diagnosed. Your child has food allergies. You are asking your- self, Now what?.
back in an ingredient I have left out (only if you’re not allergic to it), I encourage you to do so, and have some tips you may find helpful (see page 257). You have my permission to substitute. The only requirement I have as you learn to bake allergen-free is to have fun. Don’t beat your- self up if you forget an ingredient or miss a step. I’ve done it many times myself. Just enjoy the adventure and keep baking! Reading labels Learning to bake allergen-free starts with the ingredients. There’s more to the labels that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires on packaged food products sold in the United States than just calories and nutri- tion facts; a detailed list of ingredients is also required. Whether you are buying products to make muffins from scratch, looking for a baking mix to make a quick dessert, or planning a dinner for your family, your first concern when shopping for groceries is to understand what’s in the food you’re buy- ing. To do that, you must always read the detailed ingredients labels. When my son was first diagnosed with food allergies, I had limited experience in reading food labels. I sometimes checked for the calories per serving, and scanned the labels to avoid products with high-fructose corn syrup in the first few ingredients, but I rarely paid attention to—or understood—what most of the ingredients in my food were. I quickly had to learn that casein and whey were both milk proteins that could cause allergic reactions, and I learned to avoid products with ingredients such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, because they may be hidden sources of wheat or soy. Today, reading food labels is much easier, thanks to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA).2 The act spells out how packaged food products sold in the United States must list ingredients on their labels when they contain any of the top eight food allergens—wheat, milk, soy, tree nuts (which includes almonds, ca- shews, walnuts, pecans, and other nuts), peanuts, eggs, fish, and shellfish. This legislation was a breakthrough for families with food allergies, mak- ing it much simpler for us to identify the products we can eat safely, and those to avoid. Understanding what the law requires (and what it doesn’t) is key to reading labels. First you should know that the labeling requirements only apply to food (not cosmetics or cleaning products), and they only apply to packaged food (not produce, meat, or fish bought at the fish counter). If it’s meant for humans to eat and it has a label, the law applies. The primary focus of the law is clarity—food vendors need to spell out 6 ■ learning to bake allergen-free.
threshold for the presence of gluten in products labeled gluten-free, the FALCPA did not include gluten as an allergen, but required the FDA to create a standard definition for gluten-free. As of August 2008, the deadline established to implement rules for voluntary gluten-free labeling guide- lines, the FDA had provided no guidance. Some independent certification organizations, including the Gluten- Free Certification Organization (GFCO), provide their own guidelines and test vendor products to ensure that they do not exceed a gluten threshold measured in parts per million (ppm). The GFCO standard threshold is 10 ppm.
Eating together So much of our lives revolve around food. We plan our days around break- fast, lunch, and dinner. Our kids look forward to a freshly baked cookie when they get home from school. We linger in the kitchen after a satisfy- ing meal, maybe finishing that last bit of bread. Most holidays revolve around food. We associate Valentine’s Day with chocolate and roses, and birthdays with cake and presents. When we want to reward ourselves af- ter a hard day at work or a major accomplishment, it is so often with food—and usually food that is full of wheat, milk, and eggs. When one family member has food allergies or restrictions, all of the joy of those happy occasions and gatherings can quickly turn to stress. It wasn’t until my son was in his teens and able to verbalize his feelings about food allergies that I truly understood how difficult mealtime could be for a food-allergic child. Yes, both you and your child are worried about what they are eating, and worried about a possible reaction, but there’s a serious social impact here as well. A 2011 survey by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and Galaxy Nutritional Foods found that seven out of ten parents of children with food allergies felt that their child’s quality of life had been impacted at least “somewhat” by food allergies.9 Food-allergic children may already feel isolated from friends at school because they have to sit at the “allergy table” or can’t eat the cup- cakes when there’s a birthday party. Most of all, they don’t want to be a burden. It can be very stressful for food-allergic children when every meal, every restaurant choice, and even every trip to the mall has to be planned around their food restrictions. It’s a fact of life that those of us with food allergies have to adapt when we are out, which is why I feel so strongly that we should strive to be stress-free when eating at home. When one family member has food allergies, it’s tempting to make two different meals—and in some cases (e.g., multiple family members with food allergies, or conflicting allergies) that may be necessary—but whenever possible, I like to make the same meal for the whole family. Depending on your family’s needs (and whether all family members are willing to follow an allergen-free diet), you may need to adapt selected items; for example, if you’re making hamburgers, substitute an allergen- free dinner roll for the wheat bun on your daughter’s plate. Be sure to fill the plate for the food-allergic child first, before handling any poten- tial food allergens.
hands getting into food that they shouldn’t, I suggest keeping the serving dishes off the table and seating that child strategically to avoid problems. Holidays and family gatherings are even more critical. I like to host Thanksgiving dinner at my house, and nothing goes on the menu unless it’s allergen-free and safe for everyone at the table. After all, there should be at least a few days a year when every warmed dinner roll, every savory side dish, and every delicious dessert can be passed around the table and everyone can eat as much as they want! Breaking the rules There are few cases where the ingredients in a recipe need to be followed to the letter. Unless you’re whipping eggs to make a meringue, or making a dish that centers around the egg or cheese itself (e.g., omelets or cheese- cake), chances are there is a way to substitute for most ingredients, and I encourage you to do just that. If a recipe calls for hemp milk, feel free to try rice milk instead. There’s no penalty. Really. Experimenting is not only encouraged, it’s a necessity when you need to substitute for food allergens. It’s lucky that I have a rebellious streak, because I’ve always looked for ways to modify recipes or switch them up a bit. Once I started baking allergen-free, even more substitutions were necessary. I began to look at recipes as a blueprint or a guide, rather than a rule. I first started adapting recipes by tentatively substituting to avoid allergens, but still sticking to basics. Often, I was disappointed with the results. I wanted them to look and taste like they had in the past. It wasn’t until I started to embrace new foods that I really started to enjoy baking again. Instead of baking without wheat, milk, soy, eggs, and nuts, I was baking with amaranth, oats, millet, hemp, coconut, flaxseeds, and a variety of new foods—and soon, you will be too! While the ingredients provide a blueprint, the techniques and methods used to bake do matter. Throughout the book I share twelve years’ worth of hints, tricks, and tips to help your allergen-free baked goods be the best they can. Some of these techniques take a little bit of practice, but once you’ve tried them a few times you will be able to fool everyone into thinking that you’ve been baking forever, even if you’re baking for the first time. You may even develop some techniques of your own, and I’d love to hear about them. I have used a variety of ingredients in my recipes to give you a flavor of what is possible. If I suggest sunflower oil and you prefer canola oil, go for it. If you need to avoid coconut or flaxseeds due to an allergy, go ahead and substitute for them. If you want to try to make a recipe sweeter, add ¼ cup of sugar or honey and reduce the liquids a bit to compensate (see page 140 to learn why). The more you understand the ingredients you are a new adventure ■ 15.
using, the easier it will be to substitute them for the foods you are allergic to. There are endless possibilities and ways to combine wheat-free grains with non-dairy milks, sugars, and egg replacements to create just about any baked good you may be craving. Go ahead, break the rules! Key Lessons ✓ wheat, milk, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, and shellfish (the top eight food allergens) must be clearly identified in the ingredients lists on food labels in the united states.