A colleague recently told us she’d been diagnosed with a health problem that prevents her from eating foods containing grains – everything from breads made from whole wheat and unbleached white flour to pastas, beer and bagels. The list goes on and on.
“I was told I have gluten sensitivity,” said Kristen, who is one of our consultants. “I’ve modified my diet. My allergies are better when I don’t eat gluten.”
Gluten, I learned, is an “elastic” protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Consequently, Kristen has to avoid foods containing many types of flour, including bleached white flour, whole wheat, cracked wheat, barley, semolina, and spelt.
That means no pasta made from such flour. The same goes for bread and foods with a bread coating, such as chicken breasts. Kristen also needs to avoid beer – and any bratwurst, meats and sausage cooked in beer. And much, much more.
But Kristen is upbeat. “There are some amazing foods that you can’t believe don’t have any flour!” she notes.
That includes the pumpkin corn muffins pictured here. The muffins come from a fabulous blog devoted to gluten-free recipes, Karina’s Kitchen. Extra virgin olive oil, which we use in this muffin recipe, is gluten-free.
Karina Allrich describes herself as a “creative cook, visual artist, script girl.” (She’s married to a screenwriter.) Allrich also is a big fan of seasonal cooking. She published her first cookbook, Recipes from a Vegetarian Goddess (Llewellyn Publications), in 2000.
“The year after the cookbook was released I got increasingly ill. I lost weight. I suffered migraines. My bones hurt,” she explains.
Allrich ultimately was diagnosed with a digestive condition known as celiac disease. It can lead to other illnesses and stunted growth in children.
“Celiac disease, it turns out, is doable,” she explains. “The cure is food – a gluten-free diet. In fact, the right food can heal you.”
Allrich describes the pumpkin corn muffins as “tender and not-too-sweet.” And they reheat well.
“I halved and toasted mine in the toaster oven for a brunchy bite with green chile stew,” says Allrich.
And, thanks to Karina’s Kitchen, there are plenty of other delicious gluten-free recipes from which to choose.
Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch