Allergies and Baking

A few months ago I had a sinus infection. The doctor asked if I had considered having surgery. A few friends recommended that I try getting rid of wheat and dairy. I’ve been trying to take gluten/wheat and dairy from my diet. It has been challenging and interesting. Another friend also recommended

The Plan: Eliminate the Surprising ‘Healthy’ Foods that are Making You Fat – and Lose Weight Fast by Lyn-Genet Recitas. I have begun reading this, but haven’t followed it although I do like the ideas presented. One of the reasons I haven’t tried following it, is because of the difficulty in finding some of the food here in Japan. The basic premise of the book is that everyone’s body reacts to different foods. When we have a “reaction” that usually causes an inflammation and often the inflammation causes chronic conditions, such as my sinus infections.

Eliminating gluten and dairy in Japan has been a challenge for me on several levels. First of all I don’t read much Japanese and ingredients are written SOOOO tiny, often I can barely make them out. I guess I could try carrying a magnifying glass and dictionary or digging out my glasses more often. Fortunately I have a friend who reads and writes Japanese and who has done a lot of research on gluten in Japanese foods(thank you Denise). Secondly, finding alternatives can be challenging. Another problem is, I’m not sure the problem is gluten or dairy, although since I’ve tried to eliminate them, when I do eat them I get a headache and sometimes I can even tell in my breathing.

I have started experimenting with various “powders” rice, almond, soy, corn, and sorghum. I tried to make corn muffins using a combination of corn and rice and corn meal, they turned out a bit dry and when I tried to eat them, my throat felt like it was closing. Don’t know if I’ll try corn flour and corn meal again. I have been able to eat corn flakes and corn so I don’t think I’m allergic to corn. But I think I’ll wait a while before baking with them again. But then it might be the combination of the corn and rice flour? That is something mentioned in “The Plan”, sometimes it is a combination of certain foods that cause a reaction.

Yesterday I baked “Morning Glory Muffins” but substituted several ingredients. I substituted soy powder and rice powder for the whole wheat flour. Also substituted a zucchini for the apple, no walnuts either. So no gluten or dairy! They looked great, but unfortunately when I ate one, I got a headache and have had shallowness of breathe all day today. I also tried Prune Muffins by Betty Carlson from Favorite Fixin’s from Christian Academy Community published in 1981. Betty’s original recipe plus my substitutions.

Beat together:         1/2 c. oil(I used coconut oil)            2 eggs                    1 c. white sugar(I used 3/4 c. honey)

Add: 1 c. cooked prunes, cut up    1 c. prune juice(I added the water I cooked the prunes in)                    juice from 1/2 lemon

Sift together:   2 c. flour(used sorghum flour)           1/2 tsp. salt              2 tsp. cinnamon              1/2 tsp. cloves                  1/2 tsp. allspice               1 tsp. baking powder        1/2 tsp. baking soda

Add first mixture(1 and 2) to number 3 and mix well. Can add 1/2 c. chopped nuts. Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full or put in paper lined tins. Bake 1/2 hour at 350 F or until done. These were very fluffy and moist yesterday but are a bit drier today.



My husband did say they both tasted fine and I guess I have some to share if anyone else wantst to be a taste tester.

I have also experimented with making my own yogurt. A friend recommended using Kefir. Thankfully I’ve been able to find it at a local market in Hibarigaoko. I have learned somethings. The first batch I made with soy milk that can be used to make tofu. The consistency was great and with fruit and acai juice added it tasted fine. Otherwise it tasted very similar to tofu. I like tofu but not as yogurt. Almond milk does not work to make yogurt(it separates) and almond milk sold in Japan actually has milk products in it so it is NOT dairy free! I’ve tried 2 types of almond milk here and both have mild products. My second batch with regular soy milk was not as thick but I didn’t leave it as long. 48 hours works better than just 24. I hope to eventually figure out what works best.

This is a new journey for me, but one that many others are also traveling. Changing life styles is never easy, but since I’ve tried to eliminate gluten and dairy, when I do eat it, I can usually tell and as a good friend said, “Why would you want to poison yourself?” For many people gluten and dairy are not a problem and I wouldn’t recommend taking it out of your diet unless you have a reason to.


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