Living the Gluten-Free Life
“After I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, I said yes to food, with great enthusiasm. I vowed to taste everything I could eat, rather than focusing on what I could not.” –Shauna James Ahern
When a person has been diagnosed with Celiac disease, the usual question they have is, what can I eat now? And what can I not eat? Do I have to buy special products and put in extra effort just to prepare daily meals? It can be overwhelming, but in reality living a gluten-free life is both simple and exciting in so many ways. THE BASICS ON GLUTEN Gluten is a protein found in wheat flours and is therefore a key component in baking. Every baker will tell you that without it, a baked product will not be able to hold together. It is also responsible for texture, tenderness and elasticity of a baked product, be it a bread or cake.
Although gluten sensitivity, more commonly known as Celiac disease or the inability to digest gluten, is more prevalent among Europeans, there appears to be a growing sensitivity to gluten manifesting itself in other forms like skin rashes and allergies here. And like the son of one mother who requested for a gluten-free class, it is believed that gluten and casein-free diets help some children who are academically challenged to focus better. It is for this reason that Heny Sison Culinary School has started offering Gluten-Free and CaseinFree classes, to address the need for this specific diet. GOING GLUTEN-FREE Our in house expert on gluten-free cooking and baking would be Chef Patty Loanzon. Her extensive research and kitchen-tested recipes have brought flavor and variety to an otherwise bland and boring repertoire of food that can limit one's creativity and appetite, but not with Chef Patty's specialties. It was a surprise for me to taste the gluten-free cookies and cakes of Chef Patty. And if I did not know they were gluten-free, you would not have suspected a difference.
Chef Patty made me taste the recipes she was testing for the new class she taught at my cooking school, Gluten, and Casein-Free Cooking and Baking held last November 26. The development of the classes came about because we got a request from a mother, whose young child had been diagnosed with autism. It required that the child keep a gluten-free and casein-free (Bovine milk products) diet. Following that request was another from a student who had signed up for Chef Patty’s
Baking 101 class, in the hope of learning to prepare her own food. She too had been recently diagnosed with gluten sensitivity.
Ideally, most people who want to have a gluten-free diet in the Philippines find a great challenge in finding a fitting cuisine to match their appetite or to even simply come across recipes and locally available ingredients to fit their lifestyle. Chef Patty's class has made shopping and sourcing various ingredients locally possible.
Learning how to make our usual fare with a different approach can be very challenging, but stepby-step, living a gluten-free life provides a lot of health benefits, that one cannot help but take a look and try it out yourself.
Waffles, carrot loaf, almond madeleines, and snickerdoodlesall made gluten-free.