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Aug 20, 2007 02:41 PM

Lordy Lordy... Wheat Free? What the @#$%^#%?

Okay, I did a massive search of this on the site, but I am still needing some help. Basically I'm a foodie. I love to cook. I am also a vegetarian. But now I find out that the migraines I've had for over 15 years may be attributed to a wheat sensitivity. This differs from Celiac. The sensitivity is more to wheat, but a bit to gluten. I need help!!!! I've tried the co-op and Whole Foods, but I'm really looking for recipes to replace some favorites...pastas (homemade are great) bread (SHUCKS, I just bought the bread bible and made my first artisan loaf) I'm scraping by on a large repetitive rice and beans life. Help please! Chows help Lollya! I need you!

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  1. A good source would be gluten-free girl:

    The links down the left side also point to gluten-free food bloggers and other sites devoted to gluten-free stuff.

    It could be a useful starting point and I directed a friend of mine recently there who just found out she has a wheat sensitivity.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pickledgarlic

      thanks pickled! i was just on her blog and about 10 others. i'm just reeling from the whole deal. thanks!

      1. re: lollya

        I have Celiac so I am a bit more restricted, but here is what I have found.

        1. I took a break from bread for awhile. I did do corn-bread and a few things like that because I was disappointed with most of the wheat-free bread alternatives.
        2. I looked for traditionally wheat-free recipes. Need a cake - make an almond torte. Works well.
        3. I used a few very specific baking mixes to make pancakes (Pamela's is decent) or brownies, etc, until I felt ready to bake on my own.
        4. Once I was ready I baked muffins with teff flour - still a favorite for bread. I now bake GF bread, but artisan loaf it is not. It tastes fine and when I am payign attention it is as good as any I can buy, but nothing compares to the real wheat loaf.

        You are in luck because you can try the wheat related breads - they may work better.

        In the end, I don't find that my foodi-ness has been in jeapordy. I stopped focusing on what I couldn't have, and what I could have and how much better I felt! After time goes by though, I have to say, you become more forgiving of some baked goods, and you find things that don't suffer from being gluten free.

        FYI - I haven't found a gluten-free blog I love dearly. I try a few, but mostly just focus on all the wonderful things out there that are GF.

        Here are a few things to try:

        Tinkyada pasta is the best I have found. I hav ethe best luck with the "energy saving" cooking instructions. You may try some spelt pastas and the like though. They may be better.

        Spanish tortillas are very filling, satisfying and naturally GF.

        Grilled polenta. Put a nice summer tomato, eggplant, pepper sauce over it. Cheese if you are inclined...

        I have discovered quinoa and millet to add variety to my grains. Madison's vegetarian cooking for everyone has some recipes if you don't use them, as does Heidi Swanson's book.

        I LOVE dosa! I usually don't make my own, but you can if you want.

        For a crust for a quiche (assuming you eat eggs), use cooked rice, or try the teff crust from 101 cookbooks.

        Try socca.

        You can make your own falafel at home (sub wheat free flour if you need to in the recipe) and eat with a salad and yogurt or tahini sauce.

        I have made super yummy squash gnocci, with very little flour (I used sorghum I think or rice). They are dropped into the water and boiled wihtout shaping, so they can stay very soft without the wheat.

        1. re: jsaimd

          Hello lollya and jsaimd- I totally agree with you jsaimd. I've been WF for 15 yrs (though I lapse, get sick and then come back to the restricted diet.) Tinkyada Rice pasta has brought pasta back into my life. After trying corn, quinoa, etc. all non-gluten forms of pasta on earth the only one that is satisfying is the Tinkyada. Beware of spelt, is my suggestion. I can handle rye and oats (not all wheat sensitive people can) but spelt/farro (same thing) and Kamut are related to wheat, same genus, and cause same problems for me. Polenta is a real treat and especially good if homemade with all sorts of additions- eat it hot in its porridge form or cool it, cut it and then grill and top with anything you love. As jsaimd said, try to focus on what you can eat rather than dwelling on the "oh I really wish I could eat that yummy palmier at your favorite french bakery" (I know this one well.) WF options have come a LONG way in the last five years. Mixing flours (barley, brown rice, quinoa, oat) is a way to enjoy the benefits of the each without being dragged down by their shortfalls (bitterness, sogginess, heaviness, etc.) Although you may find recipes using garbanzo flour for sweet treats- I cannot suggest garbanzo for any thing you'll be calling a treat. It works for a indian type pappadums or a coating for veggies or fish, but wouldn't go much further than that. Also invest in xantham gum, helps hold those wheat free creations together where they usually end up crumbly and without structure.

          For bread alternatives, try some of the whole rye sourdough breads that are available (only at the health food store where I live). They come with flax seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpernickel style. Though they don't hold up like wheat bread for a sandwich, they're great toasted or for a grilled sandwich.
          Good luck and thanks for all the other posts.
          I've baked cakes with almond meal, texture is not your average, delicious, moist chocolate cake or dense, moist pound cake, but very good and flavorful. And there is always the flourless chocolate cake- rich and delicious with a raspberry coulis.
          good luck

          I've found some of the raw foodies have great ideas that give you completely different alternatives.

          1. re: tjdavis

            I'm reading this with interest, because I don't think I have any sensitivity, but someone I know went to a seminar and was told how gluten is so evil and all your ills are caused by it etc etc, and my Mom is also jumping on the bandwagon. I'm not going there but thought it would be interesting to get slightly away from it to some extent ( I love my carbs), so thanks for all the the info.

            PS How common is this really? I'm overwhelmed by all the things that are supposedly bad for us.

    2. I do not know of a satisfactory pasta substitute, but I'm certain that corn pasta is not it! What is that "ancient wheat" grain, begins with an F I think ... do you know if you can have that? Tried quinoa?

      A couple things you might try ... fresh field peas, fresh corn cut from the cob. I like to make salads with both of these.

      4 Replies
      1. re: foiegras

        do you mean farro maybe, foiegras? i'd also recommend kamut wheat pasta-- it is an ancient egyptian variety of wheat and many people with a wheat intolerence (not those with celiac though) can tolerate it. it's like a "very" whole wheat pasta, chewier, needs an assertive sauce, but once you are used to it very hearty and satisfying. eden organic makes good stuff from it-- different shapes as well. quinoa is great too. some rice pastas are really good, a little more delicate.

        Lollya, i know you're veg and not vegan, but i just picked up a the "little vegan monsters" cookbook and there are a lot of wheat-free and gluten-free recipes you might be able to use. baking recipes too!

        1. re: soupkitten

          That's exactly what I meant, thank you :)

        2. re: foiegras

          I'm not celiac or wheat sensitive and I like corn pasta just fine! It's lovely cooked right with sauteed summer veggies and and parm, for example.

          1. re: foiegras

            TJ's has good brown rice pasta. There's also quinoa pasta and various kinds of Asian pasta: pure buckwheat soba (you have to read the labels) as well as some made from rice, sweet potato starch, etc.

          2. get some kosher for passover cookbooks.

            2 Replies
            1. re: smartie

              Kosher for passover does not mean wheat free - it just means not leavened - matzah is made with wheat -

              1. re: weinstein5

                however, there are a lot of people that will not eat wheat on passover EXCEPT if it is in matzah. Non-Gebrokts is what you will see, and a lot of KoP cookbooks have wheat free recipes.

            2. I am gluten intolerant as well, so I can certainly sympathize...
              Some of us have problems with oats, others don't (I personally can tolerate unprocessed steel cut oats all right as well as those from Bob's Red Mill).

              I use soy grits from Bob's Red Mill, and I make both sweet and savory grit concoctions.

              As a pasta sub, I found I prefer spaghetti squash to the gluten free alternatives. That or zucchini sliced with a spirulina slicer.

              Somewhere I have a great amaranth bread recipe; if you're interested, I'll dig it up and post it.

              I have found a number of great products through Dixie Diner brand (love the maple smaps i.e. maple flavored gluten free rice krispy product)

              1. oh my gosh, thank you so much, each of you. this is completely overwhelming for someone to just find out one day. I appreciate all of your help. Please keep the secret tips coming, I so do appreciate it.

                8 Replies
                1. re: lollya

                  hi Lollya,

                  I'm a fan of lemon and found this cake recipe on epicurious
         a while back.

                  I've never made it but always wanted to try it. I don't have gluten allergies. I am curious to how allergic you are to gluten or is it just wheat? I do love kamut pasta which has gluten but isn't wheat. Also, many people who can't eat wheat can digest spelt. And there is some good spelt bread out there.

                  It doesn't sound like your allergies are that severe so I'm certain you can eat more than you think. I've kept myself off of wheat before and ate very well. So if you can give more details I could certainly give you more ideas for eating.

                  1. re: Janine

                    hi janine, first off, thank you for the wonderful cake recipe - i love lemon as well. i wil have to try the kamut pasta as well. the allergy is specifically to wheat, not gluten in particular, but have sensitivity to gluten as well, just not as severe I guess. I'm not sure. I'm cutting out both to make sure for now. I do not have digestion problems as I am not Celiac diagnosed. I know it is confusing, it is for me too. However I want to make clear that my sensitivity is very severe for me. I have had stress-tension and migraine headaches almost daily for years now. They started when i was 15 and I am 31 now. They are so bad that I have tried many many meds, physical therapy, chiropractic, and other holistic techniques and had many procedures (tests) as far as MRI's etc for them. I just found out about the wheat sensitivity last week. I sleep with icy hot smeared all over the back of my head and on an ice pack through the night because the pain is so intense. I would love anything - help, support, suggestions from anyone. I am struggling very much.

                    1. re: lollya

                      hi Lollya,

                      Sorry to hear about the headaches. I cannot possibly know how difficult that is. All I can offer is what I know and that is another recipe with lemon in!
                      You'll have to buy gluten-free icing sugar. Did you know they put flour in icing sugar? Anyways, they are cookies that I make every Christmas but they are edible any time of the year. I cut this out of the newspaper long time ago.

                      They are called Tilli's Lemon Hearts

                      3 egg yolks
                      1 cup granulated sugar
                      1 tsp vanilla
                      1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest of 3 drops lemon flavouring
                      1/8 tsp baking powder
                      2 cups ground almonds
                      Icing: 1/2 cup icing sugar with lemon juice (about 1 tbsp)

                      Beat yolks with sugar until they change colour and add vanilla. Batter will be fairly stiff. Stir in zest, baking powder and about 1 1/2 cups of ground almonds to form a dough.
                      Roll 1/2" thick and cut with heart shaped cookie cutter and lay on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
                      Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Brush glaze immediately after baking.
                      I sometimes cheap and don't bother with rolling them out and just drop them onto the cookie sheet. The cookie will be more delicate and sometimes the centre falls in when you brush the glaze on. Rolling them with the extra almonds makes for a heavier cookie but still very good.

                      Also, meringue cakes are okay for you. I use quinoa instead of couscous. I looked at your blog, rice noodles are gluten free. I know that buckwheat has gluten in it but if you can tolerate some that might be a good runner up for some pasta dishes. You'll have to read the labels since packages mix wheat with the buckwheat. Also, bean thread has no gluten, you can has mung bean (chinese) or green bean (chinese/philippino) or the yam (korean).

                      If you like asian foods, there's alot of new recipes for you to try. Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian are okay as long as you stay away from the wheat noodle dishes (shanghai noodle, chow mein, chappati bread, naan)

                      And there are many good GF cookbooks out there now, especially ones that will show you how to make bread!
                      Good luck!

                      1. re: Janine

                        That recipe looks yummy! I will have to try them. I love almond flour desserts.

                        Buckwheat actually is gluten free - it isn't related to wheat, just has a similar name. Widely recognized as gluten free, but you are correct in that most buckwheat noodles also have wheat in them. I use the Tinkyada pasta, yam, rice and bean noodles.

                        Make sure you check out asian sauces for wheat based soy sauce or other sauces. Tamari is a bit stronger than soy sauce, but substitutes just fine.

                        1. re: jsaimd

                          thank you jsaimd! i will make sure to check everything. do you know if there is a wheat free hoisin sauce? that one just bummed me out. i use it to make my peanut sauce.

                          1. re: lollya

                            Yes I did find some wheat free Hoisin from Premier Japan. Whole Foods here carries it, but there may be others.

                        2. re: Janine

                          janine. thank you - you brought a smile to a grouchy girl's face :)
                          i love lemon. thank you for the recipe. and the hints. you are so sweet.

                          1. re: lollya

                            You're welcome. Always nice to be appreciated.