Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Going Gluten Free in Belize...

 
Gluten free baking supplies can be found here in Belmopan!  I thought I was going to have to take a trip out to Spanish Lookout to find everything I need.  Thankfully, that was not the case.  

I found the tapioca starch and the rice flour at Fansico, a Chinese owned grocery store, and I found the Xanthan Gum at Ultimate Herbal Health Food Store.   I was shocked to find the Xanthan Gum...totally shocked.  But so relieved that I didn't need to order it online and try to have it sent here.  

Tom is the bread eater in our family not me.  So I thought I could just eat meat, chicken, fish, veggies and fruit and be okay.  And then I remembered how much I love pancakes, pizza and pasta.  That epiphany almost weakened my resolve but I knew I had to soldier on.  

After spending time googling recipes I got overwhelmed.  We live on a modest income and cannot afford to do too much experimenting with expensive ingredients.  I need to make every cent count.  I stumbled on a simple recipe for an all-purpose gluten free flour and knew I was headed in the right direction.

All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum

I started a Gluten Free board on Pinterest to collect recipes and tips.  My quest for ingredients started on Saturday.  I knew where to get the rice flour and 'lo and behold' right next to it was the tapioca starch.  The xanthan gum was harder to find...fortunately, we finished up in the counseling office yesterday early enough for me to head over to the health food store.  I found coconut flour, almond flour and even a gluten free baking mix on the shelf.  I asked about the xanthan gum and the girl found it quickly.  Success!  

Last night I was able to make a batch of 'test biscuits' using the all-purpose gluten free flour mix recipe.  I tried them once before just using rice flour without the tapioca starch or the xanthan gum and they came out dry and heavy.  They were much improved over my previous effort but I will do one more test run before posting that recipe.

My plea for help on Facebook got me connected with a friend of a friend who told me about some other ingredients to look for and is going to pass along some recipes as well.  I was taken aback by how many people know someone who is gluten free.  I didn't want to do this at first.  I didn't want to be difficult to feed when we are away from home, and I just didn't want to be different.  Yet, I have to take care of myself...I have lived with the pain of fibromyalgia for far too long.  I had told myself that there was nothing more I could do or take than what I was already doing.  But, I was wrong. 

After a week of taking some new vitamins and eating gluten free I am already experiencing less pain and more energy.  And I know that it will only get better the longer I stay away from gluten and continue down this path toward better health.  

So, if you have any gluten free recipes or tips to pass along I am open! 


12 comments:

  1. Good for you for going gluten free! I have been wanting to do that myself, but I know I love breads and pastas toooooo much, but seeing how there are so many different ways to make them gluten free, I am seriously thinking about trying it! Good luck on your recipes! Can't wait to see what you come up with! :)

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    1. Thanks, I am getting excited about trying some new things!

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  2. My girls make delicious gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free treats from the cookbook Baby Cakes. I bet they have recipes on.line. It is a bakery in New York City.

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    1. Thanks Glenda, I will look them up!

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  3. I thought I'd just share this since it's fresh in my mind, you probably know. I was just listening to a doctor talk on tv about gluten free and using almond flour as a part of a healthy gluten free lifestyle. She said it's wonderfully healthy but cautioned that it's extremely high in calories. She went on to say it was a good idea never to use more than 1/3 almond to 2/3 other flours of a recipe this way gaining weight wouldn't be a concern.

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    1. Jen, I didn't know that...thanks for the heads up. I saw a pizza crust recipe made with almond flour and that would be high calorie!

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  4. I don't have any tips, sorry. Everyone I know who has gone gluten free has benefited so much from it, even those who were not having great difficulty. I have not gotten the nerve to try it yet. Good for you!

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    1. Thanks Galen...it does seem to make a difference for me. And I have heard the full benefits may show up over the next two years.

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  5. I am not experienced in the gluten-free thing but all my friends who are seem to feel so much better. I wonder if we all should try it? I once heard a dietician say this about the diabetic diet. She said it really is the way we all should eat. Eye-opening, isn't it? We started a little garden last year and it's amazing what that simple thing has done to our eating. A whole new way of seeing.

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  6. Hi. My name is Erica and I found your site through Ann Voskamp's one day. I gave up gluten for Lent this year, and while it didn't help with my migraines (so I'm right back on it. Yum. Sorry.) I found the site glutenfreegirl.com super helpful. She's an excellent writer, has married an amazing chef, and has been working on perfecting gluten free baking and cooking since her celiac diagnosis about five years ago. She has published two books, but has several recipes on line.

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  7. You never cease to amaze me :) Thanks for linking up I know it will encourage other mommies to read your story, it certainly did me.

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  8. I see this is an old post, but I wanted to know if you have continued to be gluten free in Belize? My daughter has a wheat allergy and we are moving to Belize in a month, I was hoping to get some ideas of where to start looking for flour-alternatives. My email is jdirish@ymail.com - thanks!!

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