Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ask the Dietitian

Ask the Dietitian
Volume 1

Welcome to the first installment of our new seasonal column.  Here, a registered dietitian (RD) will provide insight on nutritional issues impacting individuals (or their loved ones) with Celiac Disease or gluten-sensitivity.  Have a question?  Post in the comments here, on our facebook page, or email bmoreglutenfree@gmail.com!
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Is gluten-free bread better for you than breads with wheat in them?  I like to use gf bread for my sandwiches, but there are so many different types now it's hard to figure out which are nutritious.
 
Gluten-free bread is not necessarily a better choice than traditional wheat bread, unless you are omitting gluten from your diet for a specific medical reason. If you have celiac disease or another medical condition that requires you to avoid gluten, then you definitely should select a gluten-free bread variety. When choosing any bread (GF or otherwise) it's best to look for one that includes whole grains. Flours ground from whole grains contain the germ, endosperm, and bran, which is removed from refined grains. It is these important parts of the grain that contain the dietary fiber and most of the protein, which have many health benefits. If you are selecting a GF bread, compare fiber and protein content, and opt for the one that provides more of these nutrients.

In addition to being gluten free, I can't have any dairy.  I'm worried about getting enough calcium.  Should I take a supplement?

You definitely can get enough calcium without consuming dairy, but you will need to increase your intake of other sources of calcium. Oysters and sardines are good sources of calcium as well as cooking stocks that are prepared by soaking bones from chicken, turkey, pork, or fish. Additionally, leafy greens, such as mustard greens, broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower also contain calcium. The body is unable to absorb large amounts of calcium at a time, so it's best if you spread your intake throughout the day. Additionally, absorption is increased if high-calcium foods are consumed in the presence of vitamin C, found  If you are concerned about your calcium intake, you can have your doctor take a serum calcium level or assess your bone mineral density (a reflection of your calcium status).

I was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease and am nervous about the new changes I have to make to my diet.  I don't really know what a dietitian or nutritionist does...could they help me with this? If so, how could I find one? 

A Registered Dietitian (RD) can certainly assist you with making dietary changes that suit your lifestyle and can enable you to stay healthy by omitting gluten from your diet. Your primary care physician may be able to recommend an RD in your area, or you can find one by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website and selecting "Find an Registered Dietitian" (http://www.eatright.org/programs/rdfinder/).

--Meghan Ames, RD, MSPH

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Gluten-free Galentine's Menu

This month we have a guest post from the one and only Laura, who has created an annotated menu inspired by Girlfriends' Valentine's (aka Galentine's) Day.  I've actually had the pleasure of trying her 'mochi yum yum' -- it's hard to believe these delicious bite-size puffs are gluten free!  (p.s. I have no idea why the dish is called 'yum yum' as yum yum sauce--which is naturally gf--is a Japanese steak house mayonnaise concoction, and this is not that.)

Gluten-free Galentine's Menu

This post is a love letter to the ladies in my life - be they gluten free, vegan, or equal opportunity hedonists.  The ladies in my life have seen me through my best and worst.  They've obliged my bad haircuts and bad food experiments and loved me all the same.

This is also a love letter to a new food discovery: mochi.

Whether you're looking to host a Galentine's Party or a good old fashioned cocktail hour, look no further for a menu and recipes.

Okay, first thing's first. Here's a menu to celebrate your favorite (gf) gals (and gents) on Valentine's Day (or any day):

Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms, via Little Leopard Book

On to mochi.  I discovered mochi while shopping at my local Whole Foods.  It comes in a tan/brown brick that is not initially that exciting.  The label said it was rice.  Just rice.  Perhaps the japanese answer to polenta?  I threw it in my basket and kept on shopping.

At home, I did some research.  It turns out mochi has this miraculous way of puffing up into chewy little dumplings when baked.  How it does this is beyond me.  What I can tell you is that it is delicious.
 
Mochi Yum Yum 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package brown rice mochi (I found Grainaissance brand)
  • Greens (mustard, radish, etc.), sliced into thin strips
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Radishes, cut in matchsticks
  • Rice vinegar
  • GF tamari
  • Grated ginger
  • Sesame oil
  • Red pepper flakes

Directions:

Heat some oil in a pan and cook your green onions over medium heat.  Add in the greens and cover with a lid to steam the greens.  Once the greens are nice and cooked (about 5 minutes depending on the type of green), take the pan off of the heat.  Add in your radishes and season the mix to your heart's content.  I recommend tamari, a healthy dose of rice vinegar and grated ginger, some sesame oil, and red pepper flakes.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your mochi into small squares - about 3/4 of an inch on either side and pop them in the oven.  They will puff up and brown.  You want them to be nicely toasted.
Take your mochi puffs out of the oven and let them cool for a bit.  Once they're cool enough to handle, you can cut them in half and spoon in your veggie filling.

Serve with a mixture of gluten free soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil for dipping.


And don't forget to toast your favorite gals!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wintertime meal

We did it.  We made the dinner we first talked about in a post last week.  The entire meal is gluten-free, egg-free, vegetarian, and kosher.  (It can easily be made dairy-free/pareve by using coconut or almond milk in place of the greek yogurt.) I kind of made it up as I went, but below are approximate recipes. Keep in mind the amounts listed are my best guesses...taste as you go!


Main dish: Chickpeas & Carrots in a pumpkin-yogurt curry sauce, over basmati rice

Mix all the ingredients in a pot until cooked through, stirring periodically.  In the meantime, combine 1 cup basmati rice with 1 cup broth, water, or combo of both in a rice cooker (throw in some salt and pepper if the broth isn't seasoned or you are using water).  When finished, garnish liberally with cilantro.
  • 1 can chickpeas [aka garbanzo beans]
  • 3/4 can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt (can substitute coconut or almond milk to make dairy-free/vegan)
  • 3 tbsp of curry powder
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Carrots, chopped -- pre-steam to save time
  • Onion, chopped
  • Handful of sliced almonds
  • Salt, pepper, and chilli powder, to taste (about 1 tbps each)

Side: Asian-inspired dijon slaw

Combine 1 package pre-cut carrots and brocolli stalk slaw mix with:
  • Cilantro (1/3 of a bunch, leaves only, chopped)
  • 2 - 3 tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 - 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 - 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • Hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp black and/or white pepper
  • Pinch of salt
Toss thoroughly and let sit (in fridge is best) for at least 20 minutes.  Add a heaping handful of sliced almonds [toasted or raw] and toss again just before serving.

Dessert: non-dairy cinnamon coffee ice cream w/ dates over a gluten-free graham cracker

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thursday Night @ Great Sage

Restaurant Review: 
Great Sage

Great Sage is a vegan restaurant located in Clarksville, a wealthy community next to suburban Columbia, MD, that I've been hoping to get to since I moved to the area over 3 years ago.  From central Baltimore during weekday rush hour (with moderate traffic), it took about 45 minutes to get there.  Not super convenient, but totally worth it!  Anyway, on to the review:

Thursday nights are half-priced bottles of wine, but I chose to imbibe with a cocktail called the 'St. Rita'.  This delicious mix of tequila, St. Germain, and lemonade tasted like a slightly less sweet margarita.  Food-wise, it was much more difficult to decide!  Gluten-free items are clearly marked on the menu, and our server seemed very knowledgeable about the menu and the restaurant's cross-contamination measures (e.g. gluten free bread is prepared on a special surface). All of the day's Small Plates specials sounded amazing, but I decided to go with items I felt were unique, that I couldn't easily get elsewhere or make on my own.


Appetizers:
The Roasted Buffalo Tempeh comes with griddled corn fritters and dijon coleslaw.  The tempeh was good, but the corn fritters and coleslaw were even better!  This dish may satisfy your 'buffalo wings' craving if you are vegan/vegetarian, but (as a current meat eater) I kept wishing the dish was spicier and crunchier.  I also tried my dining partner's (okay, okay, it was my mom) refreshing, veggie-loaded cold Vietnamese Spring Rolls.  If you order the gluten-free option, the only difference is they give you gluten free soy sauce instead of a spicy chili sauce.  It also comes with a peanut sauce for dipping, which I felt was necessary to add some flavor to this very healthy appetizer.

Entrees:
Here I opted for the Green Lentil And Green Chili Burger, substituting the toasted kaiser roll it normally comes with for gluten-free bread.  (I'm not sure which gf bread they use, but it's taste and texture was very similar to the Food for Life brand rice bread.)  The burger was very yummy--and filling--although it would have been too dry without the [delicious] chipotle aioli and green chili cashew 'cheese'.  The rosemary roasted potatoes that came on the side were the only disappointing item of the night: I love potatoes, but these were bland and mealy.
'Crab' Cake photo via Great Sage

The Hearts Of Palm 'crab Cake' my mom ordered was the real star of the night.  The texture and taste were eerily reminiscent of an actual crab or salmon cake!  And the quinoa-rice pilaf it sat on was simple but phenomenal.  I even enjoyed the roasted garlic caper remoulade, despite not liking capers.
 
Dessert:
Even for dessert, Great Sage offered many gluten-free options.  I was already stuffed, but as a huge caramel fan, I ordered the
Salted Caramel Taste anyway.  This is a brown sugar caramel pudding with soy whip and a gluten-free cinnamon cookie.  I don't know what the heck vegan whipped 'cream' is made out of, but it was just as good as any other whip I've had!  And if you like salted caramel, this dessert will surely hit the spot.

My mom got a scoop of homemade vegan espresso ice 'cream' (made from coconut milk) topped with house-made hot fudge.  I greatly dislike coconut, but our server said the coffee flavor masks the coconut... this was not my experience, so steer clear if you don't like coconut!  Luckily my mom loves it, and the hot fudge was great too.  Again, hard to believe these desserts didn't contain dairy!

Well, there you have it.  Despite the cold weather and long-ish drive back to the city, my mom and I left stuffed, happy, and anticipating our return!  It's a good thing I don't live closer or I'd probably spend my whole paycheck there.  Have you dined at Great Sage? Leave a comment and let us know what you liked (and didn't) about your experience!

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While you're in Clarksville, make sure to check out Great Sage's neighboor, Roots Market, which may be worth the trip itself for anyone who eats gluten-free and/or vegan.  SO. MANY. OPTIONS.  Owned by the same people as Great Sage, I can best describe Roots as the love-child of a local food co-op and Whole Foods/Trader Joe's.  Price-wise, it's a mixed bag: for example, GT's Kombucha bottles cost the same as they do at Whole Foods (the best price I've found locally), but their Amy's Rice Crust Pizza is at least $2 more than the price at Wegmans.  I don't really bat an eye at the sky-high prices anymore when I shop for groceries (hey, a girl's gotta eat), but don't say I didn't warn you!

Disclaimer: We received no perks, monetary or otherwise, from any company mentioned in this post.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pinterest-inspired menu

Maybe it's the unseasonably warm weather here in Baltimore (just the way I like it), but I'm feeling ambitious about being ambitious.  My mother is coming into town after Christmas, and I think I'll use that as an excuse to cook.  And I'm going to use Pinterest to come up with a meal plan!

I have two boards dedicated to gluten-free foods: one with [lacto-ovo] vegetarian recipes (though I've pinned plenty of awesome vegan goods there!) and one with fish & meats.  And don't forget to check out my beverage board!

So what's in the running?

For a vegetable/side, maybe this oven-roasted Parmesan broccoli:

or this garlicky peppered kale:







I'm still not sure what to do for a main dish, because my mom and I don't like a lot of the same foods and, well, neither of us are skilled home chefs.  I'm eyeing this chickpea curry -- but with plain greek yogurt instead of coconut (yuck!) -- or maybe just a good 'ole asian-style vegetable stir-fry.   And we haven't even gotten to dessert! Hmmm, decisions, decisions...


Friday, December 20, 2013

Hey all,
 
Season's Greetings and Happy New Year!


As a special gluten-free treat, we've updated this blog!  We've added several local establishments to our Where to Eat page and also updated our About Us.  We're considering starting a Baltimore Gluten Free Dining Club in 2014, so leave a comment here or on our facebook page if you would be interested in joining.

Shining love and light to our supporters this holiday season,
the bMoreGlutenFree team

Monday, December 24, 2012

Season's Greetings and Happy New Year!


While 2012 did not have much in store for bMoreGlutenFree, our New Year's resolution is to be more active on our facebook page.

We also hope to update our list of gluten-free friendly places in the Baltimore area.

To those still following, thank you so much for all your support :-)

Love,
Jen