HOW TO DRINK GRAIN FREE
As the holiday season barrels on you may start wondering how to stay away from grains and sugar when it comes to beverages. Whether straight or spiked we keep it pretty simple in our house.
Some beverage decisions are easy. Flat water? Yep! Coffee? Yep! Tea? Yep! Carbonated water? Yep!
Eggnog? If you follow my recipe you will be safe, but stay away from sugary store bought versions if you can. There is typically no grain issue with eggnog, but as usual most brands you find in the store have added preservatives and chemicals.
The challenge really come along when you mess with mixes and flavored stuff. They may add flavor, but it is in the form of unnatural chemicals added for color, sweetness and flavor. If you do go for drink mixes read the labels carefully. You never know when grain based fillers are used in their making.
MIXES. Did you know that some instant tea and coffee mixes are likely to have wheat?! We don’t use them often, but I was looking to make an instant spiced drink mix for Grain Free Haven. My search resulted in the decision to not make it, because the mix labels stated the possibility of wheat content, or they had sweeteners I avoid for my products. Stay tuned, because I am getting close to a mix that relies on matcha tea powder! I digress….
As the colder weather gradually creeps into our lives we yearn for hot chocolates, ciders and flavored hot coffees. Some mixes found on grocery store shelves don’t include grains, but are full of chemicals and sugar. To keep it simple and still succumb to yearnings, I came up with two solutions specific to my family’s desires. One I shared last week and will share here again – the Pumpkin Spice Syrup, which can be used in a myriad of ways, including in hot tea and coffee. Another solution is my Sugar Free Hot Chocolate Mix, which I have available for sale and we consume daily at our house.
BEER. We like beer. As a matter of fact my husband has made it regularly in the past, and we splurge on a six pack occasionally. It is one of the very few grain vices we have. If you know anything about beer you are aware it begins with grains. The recent rise in availability of gluten free beers helps to keep people sensitive to wheat safe, but if you are sensitive to grains as a whole they are just not a good choice.
The process of fermenting sugars and starches to make beer removes a majority of elements from the grains that can cause irritation for people sensitive to grains. Because of this process we sometimes take the risk and have a few bottles. My husband cannot handle wheat based beers, but beers made with other grains don’t bother him at all. Bottom line on beer – each individual must figure out the impact on their bodies and decide if the risk is worth it.
WINE. To avoid grains, wine is the best alcoholic beverage choice. The primary ingredient is grapes. Although a rare practice, some wine makers use gluten as a clarifier in the wine making process, but research shows thus far that the gluten does not carry over into the final product. Ideally you would stay away from sweeter whites and stick with drier whites, like sauvignon blanc, or drier reds, like pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
LIQUOR. Liquor is a seriously mixed bag when it comes to avoiding grains. For many people, the distillation processes used for making liquor results in a beverage that does not irritate grain sensitive conditions; regardless, almost all types of liquor start out using grains, like whiskey and most vodkas and gins.
Even if grain-based liquors don’t bother you, if you dive into the world of flavored liquors and sweet liqueurs, you risk exposure to grains through the added spices, flavorings and colors. The safest course is to not consume grain based liquors or flavored versions at all.
That said, there are some exceptions that can help steer you away from grains. You can often find potato based vodka. Rum is distilled from sugar cane. Proper tequila is made from the agave plant, so is also grain free. Brandies and cognacs are processed from wine, so they are safe too.
Whatever liquor you choose to consume, alway beware of the cheap stuff. Even if you purchase a liquor not traditionally grain based there is a chance that inexpensive, grain based fillers were used. Go ahead and pay a few extra bucks on the higher shelves for the less mysterious brands.
GRAIN FREE COOKBOOK
I have mentioned many times I have a food blog called Any Kitchen Will Do. It will be four years old in January! The content tracks a journey from a diet of grainy, sugary foods to focusing on grain free and sugar free eating habits. I frequently refer to it to remake or revise my own recipes.
Since starting Grain Free Haven a lot of people ask me what I eat to avoid grains and sugar. I in turn describe how my family eats and refer them to my blog. But with over 300 recipes listed, it can be tough to quickly find what you are looking for.
To further highlight favorite recipes on the blog I am organizing some into a cookbook! I plan to start with a few topics in the first book, probably sweets, soups and salads, then cover more in later books. I hope it is ready by the blog’s fourth anniversary, but we will see how fast I can work!
Here is one of the recipes that will be in my cookbook. It tastes decadent and sinful, but is totally good for you and a small amount can be filling and make you feel very energetic.
Chocolate Chia Pudding
1 cup coconut milk
4 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp flaxseeds
3/8 tsp pure stevia powder (equivalent to 1/4 cup pure cane sugar)
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Fresh berries (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until everything is combined – you may need to scrape down the sides to make sure the cocoa is fully incorporated. Let sit for a minute, then blend for about five more seconds. You will see it thicken as it blends. Let chill for about 20 minutes before serving – top with fresh berries if you like. If there are leftovers and you chill them overnight you may need to add more coconut milk and stir it up to thin out before partaking.
We will be at the Grand Prairie Farmers Market on December 12th from 8am–1pm. This is the market’s last week of the year, so make sure to come out and grab some gifts from creative, artistic small business owners! I will still make available complimentary bases, wrapping and bows ready to make pretty whatever combination of my products you would like for gifts! I will also have some pre-wrapped packages for a quick getaway. Be ready for Hanukkah or any other gift giving celebration that is coming up soon!
If you come by my booth and tell me this week’s discount code you will get $1 off any purchase of $15 or more! The code for this week is HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Please feel free to forward and share this newsletter with anyone you like! I look forward to seeing you this weekend!