MyFoodMyHealth Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 2

In this issue:

  • Featured Recipe: Gluten-Free Corn Muffins
  • Myra's Kitchen Corner: Gluten-Free Flour Part 1 
  • A Note from Our Chief Nutrition Advisor: Vitamin Power - The ABCD & E's
  • Eating at Home Can Save Your Life
  • Recommended Video: Recommended Serving Sizes


Featured Recipe: Gluten-Free Corn Muffins

This moist, gluten-free cornbread is a delicious take on a comforting classic. Try it for breakfast with your favorite spread or as a side for a homestyle chicken dinner. It's sure to please with each golden bite.

Download the Recipe


Myra's Kitchen Corner: Gluten-Free Flour Part 1

Before examining the ins and outs of the different gluten-free flours, it is good to have a basic understanding of gluten and its properties. You are then in a better position to make an informed choice when deciding which of the gluten-free flours or mixes will be appropriate for your particular dish.

As a quick review: note that the flours that contain gluten include barley, rye and wheat, including the unhybridized varieties, such as spelt, kamut, and farro. Gluten-free oats can be purchased, but not everyone on a gluten-free diet can tolerate them. If you are not sure about oats, it is safer to leave them out of your diet.

Gluten is what makes dough stretchy and doughy, and in the case of bread, helps the dough to rise. Flours that contain gluten actually have two proteins in them by the name of glutenin and gliadin. These only turn into gluten when they come in contact with liquid. The more water added to the flour, the more gluten, and the chewier the dough. Kneading makes gluten molecules in dough form into long elastic strands, so how much the dough is kneaded also makes a big difference in the degree of elasticity. Added yeast gives off gasses that are trapped by sheets of gluten molecules, causing the dough to rise.

Different types of wheat dough contain different amounts of gluten. Bread dough has a lot, pastry dough a little. In addition, pastry dough contains additional fat, with only a little water, which is mixed in briefly, so that the gluten strands are just barely formed.

Wheat is especially versatile. It is used as a thickener in pies, sauces, and roux, as well as a crispy coating for sautéed items. It is common for a recipe to call for dredging an item in flour before sautéing it to make a crispy coating.

Substituting with Gluten-Free Flours
When it comes to substituting gluten-free flours for those with gluten, there is no "magic blend" that works for all recipes. You need to consider whether you need a thickener, a binder, or just simply structure. Gluten-free flour mixtures (as opposed to a quantity of a single variety) work best in many instances, since a combination of flours will contribute different properties. You can buy a commercial mix, or keep the flours on hand to make your own. In some instances, however, a single flour will do the job. I've used almond flour, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, chickpea flour, and coconut flour successfully in recipes.

When you need to thicken a sauce, the root starch thickeners, such as tapioca or arrowroot, work well. You can coat items in arrowroot, tapioca, rice flour, or cornmeal to get delicious crispy crusts. Since tapioca and rice flours tend to give baked goods structure, these are common in flour blends. Gums, such as xantham gum or guar gum are used to create the sticky binding effect that gluten has. They are not always necessary, especially if there are eggs in a recipe. Although people vary the amount of gum added, a good rule of thumb is a ratio of 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum per cup of flour for cakes, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for cookies, quick breads and muffins, and 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup of flour for items that require kneading.

Sometimes gluten-free baked goods do not hold up as well as those containing gluten, so the use of muffin tins or bread loaf pans can be helpful. Note that the addition of warm liquid helps to give structure to your baked goods, and it is always best to add your liquid slowly.

If you are using a blend of flours, it is a good idea to sift them together in order to make sure that you don't end up with unmixed pockets of leavener or flour. Keep gluten-free flours in the refrigerator, if you have the room, for up to four or five months, or in the freezer for up to a year.

Measuring Gluten-Free Flours
Most of the time, 1 cup of wheat flour can be substituted for 1 cup of a gluten-free flour, but there are some notable exceptions. The biggest difference is that you have to use only half as much nut flour in your recipe.
You can grind your own grains in a high power blender or a spice grinder. It is easiest, however, to use readymade flours. The following flours can be purchased readymade.

1 cup Wheat Flour Equals:

  • Amaranth - 1 cup
  • Bean Flour - 1 cup
  • Cornmeal - 1 cup
  • Gluten-Free Flour Mix - either home made or commercial - 1 cup
  • Millet Flour - 1 cup
  • Nuts (finely ground- almond, hazel nut)- 1/2 cup
  • Oat Flour - (only if gluten free) 1 1/3 cup
  • Potato Starch -3/4 cup
  • Quinoa Flour - 1 cup
  • Rice Flour (white/brown) - 7/8 cup
  • Sorghum Flour - 1 cup
  • Sweet Rice Flour - 7/8 cup
  • Tapioca Flour/Starch - 1 cup
  • Teff Flour - 7/8 cup


A Note from Our Chief Nutrition Advisor:
Vitamin Power -The ABCD & E'skathySwift

by Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD LDN

All too often, clients unpack hefty satchels loaded with supplement bottles on my desk and ask my opinion of their vitamin regimens. And more often than not, they are searching for solutions to their health concerns from pills and potions instead of plates of home-prepared meals made from whole foods.

Cutting-edge science continues to prove that a "foods first approach" is the pathway to powering up good health. The vitamins in the whole food package provide the nutritional accord we were designed to run on. Here is a whole foods sampling of the vitamin ABCD & E's for you to savor and feel the difference:

Vitamin A: red peppers, carrots, sweet potato, kale, apricots, and other red/yellow/orange veggies and fruits

B-vitamins: beans (adzuki, cranberry, chickpea, pinto, navy, soybeans), quinoa, asparagus, spinach

o B-12: (animal foods) fish & seafood, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy

Vitamin C: acerola cherries, guavas, citrus (oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, etc), broccoli, kiwi, kohlrabi, snow peas

Vitamin D: cod liver oil, herring, salmon, halibut, sardines, trout, mackerel, fortified dairy, and of course, sunshine!

Vitamin E: wheat germ, rice bran, sunflower seeds, almonds, flaxseed oil, hazelnuts

I invite you to take the Vitamin Power Challenge: choose at least three whole food sources from the list above and integrate them into your menu this month! And remember, spice it up...herbs and spices (basil, thyme, chili powder, parsley, etc.) deliver a flavorful dose of nutrient rich antioxidants and phytochemicals!

Here's a vitamin powered MyFoodMyHealth recipe for Black Bean and Vegetable Spirals that delivers a hefty dose of whole food ABCD & E’s to get you started:

Download the Recipe

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

Eating at Home Can Save Your Life

By Dr. Mark Hyman

The slow insidious displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties. In 1900, 2 percent of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50 percent were eaten away from home and one in five breakfasts is from MacDonald's. Most family meals happen about three times a week, last less than 20 minutes and are spent watching television or texting while each family member eats a different microwaved "food." More meals are eaten in the minivan than the kitchen.

Research shows that children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana. Regular family dinners protect girls from bulimia, anorexia, and diet pills. Family dinners also reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. In a study on household routines and obesity in US pre-school aged children, it was shown that kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don't watch TV on weekdays.

We complain of not having enough time to cook, but Americans spend more time watching cooking on the Food Network, than actually preparing their own meals. In his series Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver showed us how we have raised a generation of Americans who can't recognize a single vegetable or fruit, and don't know how to cook. 

Read More of This Article

Learn more About Dr. Hyman


Recommended Video: Recommended Serving Sizes

Watch this MyFoodMyHealth video by Daemon D. Jones and learn what serving sizes of fruits and vegetables are recommended for good health. You might be surprised just how easy it is to get enough healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet. 

Watch the Video Here


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