In this issue:
- Featured Recipe: Collard Green Steamed Samosa Wrap
- Myra's Kitchen Corner: Gluten-Free Flour Part 2
- A Note from Our Chief Nutrition Advisor: Food Allergies in Kids-Prevention is Key
- What's New with MyFoodMyHealth
- Recommended Reading: CHEF by STEP® The World’s Easiest Cookbook
Featured Recipe: Collard Green Steamed Samosa Wrap
Seasonal collard greens, chickpeas, and quinoa make this flavorful, vegetarian wrap a nutrient powerhouse. Enjoy its hearty goodness for entertaining, as a snack or light lunch.
Myra's Kitchen Corner: Gluten-Free Flour Part 2
Here’s a primer on some of the most useful gluten-free flours:
Almond meal or flour is ground blanched almonds. It’s great for crusts, as a combo in flours, and as a coating for chicken, fish, or vegetables. Hazelnut meal also makes a tasty nut flour. Nut flours work well in combination with brown rice flours to create a grainy pleasing texture. Almond flour mixed with sorghum flour and a little arrowroot is a good mix for thin tuille cookies.
Arrowroot is a root starch thickener, and acts like cornstarch, but is more digestible. Arrowroot is good for thickening sauces and making crispy coatings. Add a couple tablespoons to thin tuille cookie batter to add the necessary gluey component.
Amaranth flour is best used in a flour mix (such as 25 per cent of a gluten-free combo) in recipes that do not have a lot of water, such as breads, muffins, or cookies. It adds protein, and tastes nutty and sweet. You can also use amaranth flour to thicken roux, sauces, and gravies.
Buckwheat flour is strong and earthy, and best when you want that particular flavor, such as in buckwheat pancakes and waffles. You can also use it as part of a flour combination.
Chickpea flour adds protein, moisture, and texture. Both the delicious French socca and the Italian chickpea farinata are versions of crêpes made from chickpea flour. Another bean flour combination that is popular now is garfava flour, which is half chickpea flour and half fava bean flour. The mix of bean flours has a less intense flavor than pure chickpea flour. Chickpea flour functions deliciously in baked goods that have strong flavors, such as chocolate, spices or nut butters. (The uncooked batter never tastes good, however.) Bean flours boost the protein content of baked goods, although some people have a hard time digesting them.
Coconut flour, also know as coconut fiber, is amazing when it works. Sift it and use in small quantities. It is high in fiber and fat, and low in carbohydrates. Coconut flour is highly absorbent and therefore requires a lot of added liquid to keep baked products moist. You can't use coconut flours directly to replace wheat flours in recipes, because the recipes don't call for enough liquid, and the cooking methods cause moisture to be absorbed by the coconut too quickly. It’s best to use recipes that have been specially designed for coconut flour. You’ll notice they all have a high liquid to coconut flour ratio. Muffins made with coconut flour and eggs make a great low-carbohydrate, high-energy breakfast, perfect for those on the go. Make sure to refrigerate baked goods made with coconut flour.
Cornmeal is great for corn muffins, bread and pancakes, and is a wonderful flour to use for dredging. Use it in combination with rice flour or quinoa flour for excellent light muffins. Purchase the stoneground variety in natural food stores.
Millet flour is high in protein. Add it in small amounts, in combination with other flours, to boost the nutrition in baked goods.
Potato starch is a thickener, and it is used to add moisture to baked goods. It can tolerate higher temperatures than arrowroot.
Quinoa flour is a good source of protein, gives baked goods a nutty flavor, and adds moisture to gluten-free baked goods. It has a somewhat bitter taste, but is excellent in combination with other flours. Try it with cornmeal in muffins or quick breads.
Rice flour includes three types: brown, white, and sweet rice. All are mild-flavored. Brown rice flour, which is the most nutritious, has a somewhat gritty texture. You can use the grittiness to advantage by combining it with nut flours, such as almond or walnut, to make baked goods with a pleasant nutty crumb.
Rice flours, both white and brown, make excellent roux. Sweet rice flour is called glutinous flours, but doesn’t contain gluten. It is a good thickener; you can coat foods with it before sautéing, and small amounts added in baked goods improve the texture.
Sorghum flour is high in protein, and has a wheat-like taste. It is becoming very popular in the gluten-free community, since it has a neutral flavor and adds great texture to baked goods. It isn’t gritty like brown rice flour, and doesn’t have the beany flavor of chickpea. You can use it in a gluten-free flour mix; and in many recipes it works well by itself.
Tapioca flour is a flavorless, high carbohydrate starch, and is low in nutrients. On the up side, it is a good binder in baked goods when used in combination with other flours. It is a reliable thickener for sauces and desserts, and is included in batter coatings to make crisp, golden crusts.
Teff flour has a nutty, almost sweet flavor, and imparts moistness in gluten-free baking. Use it in small quantities to improve the nutritional quality.
Xantham gum is a common ingredient used in gluten-free baking to improve the binding quality, which is lacking. The amount that usually works is ¼ teaspoon per cup of flour for cakes and ¼ to ½ teaspoon cup per flour for cookies, quick breads, and muffins. For baked goods that require kneading, 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup flour is needed. Guar gum can be used in place of xantham gum.
Keep in mind that it is a good idea to combine the more nutritious gluten-free flours with the high starch flours to improve the nutritional quality.
Soy flour, which is commonly used in gluten-free baking, is difficult to digest, and therefore not recommended. Sorghum flour can substitute for soy flour in most recipes.
Here are some simple mixes that you can keep on hand. Make up a canister; and for best results, keep it refrigerated. Have fun experimenting with your favorite recipes.
For muffins and quick breads try equal parts sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and brown rice flour.
For an all-purpose combination, try 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour, and 1 teaspoon xantham gum.
A Note from Our Chief Nutrition Advisor:
Food Allergies in Kids-Prevention is Key
by Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD LDN
Food allergies in kids are on the rise and concerned parents and caregivers are searching for ways to prevent adverse food reactions. Immune dysregulation is a core imbalance central to allergy and adverse food reactions. Here are a few key guidelines based on the latest cutting edge research that can help stem the rising tide of food allergies:
Mom’s diet: Environmental exposure in utero and gene-nutrient influences impact neonatal immune regulation. Diet during pregnancy and the early prenatal period is critically important and should be "whole food centric". Folate, fish oil, and vitamin D supplementation throughout pregnancy is allergy protective while the role of probiotic supplementation also appears encouraging due to the beneficial effect on gut flora-immune function.
Breastfeeding: Breast milk is best for at least 6 months if possible as it is a source of prebiotic rich substances that are important for immunity. It is also thought that continuation of breastfeeding during the period of food introduction may help prevent allergy. If mom is unable to breastfeed, selection of appropriate infant formula should be determined with consideration of history.
Food Introduction: An optimal time for solid food introduction is 4-6 months and delaying the introduction of solid foods beyond 6 months may actually increase rather than decrease food allergy. Introducing foods before 4 months has been associated with increased risk of food allergy.
Food Allergen Avoidance: It may come as a surprise but there is insufficient evidence to support previous recommendations to delay or avoid potentially allergenic foods (egg, nuts, wheat, cow’s milk, peanuts, and fish) for the prevention of food allergy. If there is an adverse food reaction, the food should be excluded until assessed by the medical practitioner.
Nutrient Optimization: Diets in infancy and early childhood should include clean, organic, whole foods that supply a naturally rich nutrient index. Key nutrients such as vitamin D continued to be studied as a recent paper found an association between low vitamin D levels and sensitivity to 11 of 17 food and environmental allergens tested. For example, children with low vitamin D levels were 2.4 times likely to have a peanut allergy than those children with adequate vitamin D levels.
Nutrition and nature provide the solutions for preventing food allergies in children. Take the children in your life for a walk outdoors to catch a few rays and after that enjoy a yummy snack or lunch. MyFoodMyHealth's kid-friendly recipes make it easy to get children to eat nutritiously.
- Sesame Soba Noodle Salad with Chicken Recipe -
Here's a fun recipe for Sesame Soba Noodle Salad with Chicken the kids in your life will love.
References: Early dietary exposures and feeding practices: role in pathogenesis and prevention of allergic disease? S Jennings and SL Prescott. Postgrad Med J 2010;86:94-99.
Vitamin D levels and food and environmental allergies in US: Results from NHANES 2005-2006 S. Sharief et al.J Allergy & Clinical Immunology, 2011.
My Foundation Diet Expanded Second Edition
Now with flexitarian and vegetarian recipes & meal plans
The My Foundation Diet created by Kathie in conjunction with MyFoodMyHealth is a seasonal, delicious, whole foods approach to optimizing your health and genetic potential.
Learn more about the My Foundation Diet
Learn more about Kathie
What's New with MyFoodMyHealth
Introducing MyFoodMyHealth Chef Rita Patel
Rita Patel is the latest addition to the MyFoodMyHealth family of chefs. She is a creative cook and advocate for developing healthy and delicious eating habits to help address health issues. Currently she shares her knowledge about food and health in private cooking classes and as an instructor at the Demonstration Kitchen at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in Michigan. As a chef, food lover and educator she is a wonderful talent, providing MyFoodMyHealth users many delightful and nutritious recipes.
Try her Collard Green Steamed Samosa Wrap recipe featured above.
Kathie Swift Honored as One of 10 Dedicated Dietitians Who Are Making a Difference
Today’s Dietitian has named our Chief Nutrition Advisor, Kathie Swift, as one of 10 Dedicated Dietitians Who Are Making a Difference. Kathie was nominated for this honor because of her inspiring work helping clients craft healthy lifestyles and her leadership in promoting nutritious eating. Kathie’s dedication to her clients, the broader community, and her RD colleagues makes her a role model for others. We are proud to have her on the MyFoodMyHealth team.
Read how Kathie and nine other dietitians are making a difference. Read full article
Chef by Step: The World’s Easiest Cookbook
By Laurie Erickson with illustrations and photos by Jake Morrill
Chef by Step is a truly easy introduction to cooking for anyone 10 and up. With detailed visuals, step-by-step instructions, easy and economical ingredients, and helpful tips and tools it guides the way for preparing a collection of 20 simple and delicious meals. It is the perfect read to inspire novice cooks and increase their ease and confidence in the kitchen.
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