Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gluten-free, Corn-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free Pumpkin Bread

I have always had a love/hate relationship with food. Overweight since I was 7, it seemed like I was always thinking about food. When I got older, my focus on food in general got worse. I started focusing on losing weight. Counting calories, working out, steaming veggies. I thought I understood eating and nutrition, but I didn't, not really.
Then my mom got sick.

She completely lost her ability to swallow. She couldn't eat or drink anything. She could barely get down water! My strong, beautiful mom started wasting away. It took us about a year of doctors appointments, emergency room visits, and "procedures", to find out that she suffered from food allergies. After adopting an elimination diet for six months we discovered my mom is allergic to 24 different things including gluten, corn, dairy, and soy. Finding out that you are unable to eat most of the things that the rest of the world eats is devastating! No more eating out, eating at a BBQ at a friends house, popcorn at the movies, food at the fair, or brunch with the family. Why live?

It's a huge job trying to figure out what you can eat on a rotation diet, not to mention dealing with swallowing difficulties! So I decided to take over making my mom's food. I was never really a big "cook-er" before I made this decision. My mom is an amazing cook. She's made homemade breakfast, lunch, and dinner's my whole life. I would go in and help her, maybe cut up salad, stir something for her, or open cans. Mostly I'd just watch. Watch how her hands moved when she crushed basil to add to soup. Watch her arms work when mixing a batch of chocolate chip cookies. See how quickly she moved when preparing multiple dishes. From watching her I learned how to cook.

I had a huge task in front of me. I had to find alternative proteins. Figure out how to cook different grains and vegetables in a way that she could swallow. Not to mention the actual cooking and baking. I also had to balance out her calories and nutrition.

Being forced to understand the role foods play in out health, completely changed how I thought about what I put in my body.

When I decided to start a blog, I knew that I didn't just want to talk about eating gluten-free or even soy-free. What I really wanted to is explore how changing our diets for the better will positively affect us. How eating healthy will make you  healthy and happy. Not to mention by making the food healthy and delicious . . . .well where's the bad?!

I think I should be the next Project Food Blog Star because I have a voice. A voice that needs to be heard. It's a voice from another time and place. A time when food was real. When the colors where genuine. A place where people are healthy and alive.

I cook and write the way people used to, the way we all remember our grandmothers (not mine, but maybe yours) cooking. Fruit, vegetables, protein, grains. Real foods. Whole foods. If I can trace it to the earth I eat it. Write about it. Period.

Also so many people in this country and beyond suffer from food allergies. 1 in 10 people suffer from gluten allergies in the united states alone. More and more people are finding out they have food allergies, and are searching online for something, anything to eat. If they could come to FoodBuzz and find hope and answers . . . What more could they ask for? If I were the next Project Food Blog Star these people will be represented, and I will do my darnedest to bring them the best food I possibly can!

What should I eat for breakfast?

People around the world ask themselves that question every morning. For the average person, a bowl of cereal or a pastry will do, but for allergy sufferers neither of these work. Most store bought cereals are full of gluten, corn, or so much sugar it will stop your heart. Gluten-free cereals, for the most part, taste like little cardboard bits floating in rice milk. Gluten-free pastry is a different beast entirely. Finding delicious pre-made gluten, soy, and corn free donuts or danish is as likely as finding a Slurpee in the middle of the Mojave desert!
So what do I like to do?

I bake delicious healthy breads and bars, freeze them and eat them at my leisure.That's right.
At any given time I have a freezer chock full of flax brownies, quinoa raspberry bars, scones, pumpkin bread, and cran-apple bread. I think that since we are coming on the fall season, I am morally responsible for telling you how to make the best quick breads you will ever have!

Pumpkin is really thought of as the underdog of the vegetable world. If it's not baked in a pie or flavoring the latest latte at a coffee shop, it's useless.
Well, all I can say is "Tutt, Tutt"! Shame on you for belittling pumpkin that way.

Don't you know pumpkin is practically a power vegetable?! Here are 5 reasons why you should eat pumpkin:

1. Pumpkin is loaded with fiber which helps lower cholesterol, heart disease, and helps with . . . Ur . . . other things.

2. It's orange color tells you it's high in beta carotene which research has shown helps prevent certain cancers.

3. Pumpkins contain lots of anti-oxidant vitamins A and C, as well as zinc and alpha-hydroxy-acids which helps to reduce the signs of aging.

4. Eating an ounce of pumpkin seeds three times a week can lower your risk of an enlarged prostate.

5. 1/2 a cup of pumpkin seeds has 92% of your daily value of magnesium. Boo yah!

Hopefully 5 reasons are enough for you to realize you must make this bread!

Gluten-free, Corn-free, Soy-free Pumpkin Bread
From The Allergen-free Handbook
Makes 1 Loaf

1/2 c. Canola Oil
3/4 c. Agave Nectar

1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 c. Pure Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Nutmeg
2 c. Brown Rice Flour
1 c. Tapioca Starch
3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt 1/ c. Raw Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 c. Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat the oven 350F.
2. Combine the oil, nectar, and vanilla until it thickens.
3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Combine.
4. Whisk together flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.
5. Combine dry to wet. Fold in pumpkin seeds.
6. Bake for 30 minutes rotate, reduce temperature t 325F. Bake or 40 more minutes.


Stevie said...

You are an AMAZING individual :) I'm so proud!!

Jillian said...

Wow. Thank you so much. Really you have no idea!

Alissa @ Not Just Apples said...

Fantastic! What a brilliant entry. Very inspiring, and a great recipe too :)

suz said...

Hey there! I found you through your guest post on Gluten Hates Me. I'm so glad you're making allergen-free goods and blogging about it (like me and also in socal)! If you're going to the Foodbuzz fest in November, would love to meet up.

Check me out at Look forward to reading your future blogs :)

*Oh also, xanthan gum is usually derived from corn. Safer to use guar gum for sensitive corn allergics :)

Lick My Spoon said...

Is your freezer currently full of pastries? If so, can I pay rent to live there with them?

I did my best to cook for a roommate that was allergic to eggs, gluten, dairy, and a ton of other stuff back in college. It takes some getting used to.

Lick My Spoon

Jillian said...

Suz, Sorry no I won't be able to go to the festival this year, but I really hope next year!

Lick my Spoon, absolutely! But I live in a pretty small house so squeeze in!

Linda said...

Wow, what a story about your mom. Sounds like you are a terrific daughter. Thanks for sharing this at Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

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