Over 100,000 people are unable to eat foods from grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats. Others may also react to millet and buckwheat. This condition is known as Celiac Sprue Disease and is basically a problem of malabsorption. The primary treatment calls for the omission of any product that contains certain proteins, namely gluten.
Note from Chef James:
Rice can be ideal for the gluten-free diet. However, rice is not a non-allergic food, although rice allergies are rare in the U.S. (Rice allergy is not unusual in Japan and other countries where rice is a staple food, and rice allergy can be extremely serious.)
Rice is fat, sodium, and cholesterol free. Rice comes in many forms including white and brown rice, flours, rice bran, and rice oil. It is also very versatile: rice can be served as a snack or at any meal, as an appetizer, entree or dessert.
If you are following a special allergy diet, remember to read labels carefully. Ingredients often change from one product to another, and even from batch to batch from the same manufacturer. If the label is not clear, write or call the manufacturer (look on the label) for specific ingredient information.
For a copy of our brochure containing recipes that are wheat-free and gluten-free, as well as suggestions for ingredient substitutes for those avoiding milk and eggs, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the: "Basic Rice Recipes for Those with Allergies", c/o USA Rice, 4301 N. Fairfax Dr., Ste. 425, Arlington, VA 22203.
More information on allergies can be found at the Food Allergy Network www.foodallergy.org
When wheat and wheat flour are not used in baking recipes the final product tends to be coarser and denser. Here are some hints and ingredient substitutions that will yield a higher quality product:
• Include brown rice flour and rice bran in soups, casseroles, and baked goods to add more fiber.
• Add dried fruits, nuts or chocolate chips to batters to improve flavor and moisture retaining quality of baked goods.
• Bake gluten-free items in smaller sizes - like cupcakes, muffins, and biscuits; bake quick breads in mini loaf pans for better texture.
• Thicken sauces, gravies, and cream pies with rice flour. Use the same amount of rice flour as wheat flour. Whisk rice flour and liquid together and heat over medium heat until bubbles first appear for a smoother mixture.
• Combine dry cream of rice or dry crushed rice cereal with dried herbs and spices to make a tasty breading for fish, meat or poultry.
• Substitute the following for each cup of wheat flour in recipes:
7/8 cup brown or white rice flour (1 cup minus two tablespoons)
• Use Amasake, pure rice liquids; or Eden Soy, Lacto-Free, Tofu White (all contain soy); Nut Quick (made from Almonds) to use in place of milk. Several infant formulas are made from a base of soy or corn, check the labels to be sure they fit your needs.
• Some flavored rice drinks contain trace amounts of barley enzymes. Check for a gluten-free approval on the product packaging if you have a gluten intolerance.
• Replace milk with fruit or vegetable juices; and experiment with yogurt; many people who are allergic to milk are able to tolerate yogurt and other cultured dairy products.
• Add EggBeaters (found in the refrigerated egg section and in the freezer case) or EggReplacer (free of egg, dairy, corn, soy, and gluten) a dried product, to replace eggs and lower fat and cholesterol in recipes.
• Use buttermilk or yogurt in place of milk for lighter finer-textured products.
Throughout the United States there are several organizations that offer information and assistance for patients and families with celiac disease
The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
15110 10th Avenue SW
Seattle, WA 98166
Celiac Sprue Association/United States of America (CSA/USA)
P.O. Box 31700
Omaha, NE 68131-0700
Celiac Disease Foundation
13251 Ventura Blvd. Ste. 1
Studio City, CA 91604-1838
There are several excellent cookbooks and pamphlets devoted entirely to gluten-free recipes. Many of them also include adaptations to other allergies as well. The best selection include:
‘The Gluten-Free Gourmet: Living Well Without Wheat’
Henry Holt and Company, 1990
‘More from the Gluten-Free Gourment: Delicious Dining Without Wheat’
Henery Holt and Company, 2000
‘The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy: Wheat-Free Recipes With Less Fuss and Less Fat’
Bette Hagman and Joseph Murray
Henery Holt and Company, 2000
‘Freedom From Allergy Cookbook’
Ron Greenburg and Angela Nori
Blue Poppy Press, 1996
® Copyright 2004 USA Rice Federation, used with permission
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