The S.A.F.E. Food Pantry is finishing off October with a bang. With three events in three days, our goal to spread awareness about the need for gluten free and allergy-friendly food for those in need is truly happening.
On Thursday, October 26, Dr. Donna DeCosta from FoodASC was our featured speaker at our quarterly Food for Thought session. Her talk on The 3 E's to Empowerment: Passing the Food Allergy Baton covered the main topics to Evaluate, Educate, and Equip children who have food allergies. These tips also apply to parents of those with celiac disease and other related medical conditions as well as adults. For more information on this talk, please visit: www.foodasc.com/safe. While you are there, don’t forget to sign up to join the Food ASC community.
Our fall gluten free and allergy friendly food drive took place on Saturday, October 28 at the Giant Food in Clarksville, Maryland. We were fortunate to have sunny yet cool weather as we embarked on our quarterly community food drive. We appreciate our new and returning donors for making our food drive a success. If you would still like to donate, you can:
Also, on Saturday, October 28, our Youth Fighting Hunger team was invited to the Cel-Kids Halloween Party in Baltimore. Our youth ambassador, Lily, spoke about her experiences conducting a food drive for her bat mitzvah. We are so lucky to have Lily and her mom, Sara, as part of our team. They developed the Youth Fighting Hunger- Allergy Friendly Food Drive how-to guide and customizable flyer. Tiffany was also there to talk about the organization and food drive opportunities.
We would love to have you join our team as a food drive volunteer. There are many different opportunities:
by June Ramey and Kristine Dzagan
Are you up for a couple of new gluten-free flour blends that yield a soft, spongy texture when baked or made into quick breads? After not having any versatile flour blends available that didn't make everything turn out like shoe leather, we hit upon two new combinations that can pretty much be used cup for cup when substituting for wheat flour.
One has a base of buckwheat, which if used by itself, has a very strong taste that borders on a bit bitter. Used with a combination of innocuous starches, however, it offers a slightly earthy flavor and wonderful, spongy texture in baked goods.
The other has a millet base and has gentle flavors that lend itself to any combination of flavors. The beauty of this blend is the soft, spongy texture of the baked goods, similar to when we used to be able to use wheat flour.
In addition, there's instructions for toasting quinoa flour to remove the bitterness. Sound interesting? See the following.
Buckwheat Flour Blend
If you're not familiar with buckwheat, you should know it's a gluten-free grain, not at all related to wheat. In fact, it comes from the rhubarb family. This flour mix has an earthy, distinctive taste that can't quite be described. It works well in pancakes and breads. You'll find this flour blend offers the same spongy texture as wheat flour in baking.
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
3/4 cup arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons xanthan gum
• Blend all ingredients together and store in your cupboard.
Millet Flour Blend
This flour mix is mild tasting, and works well with other gentle flavors, or bold flavors. This mixture can be used cup for cup as a substitute for wheat flour in baking, and will yield a spongy texture similar to wheat flour.
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
1 1/2 cups millet flour
3/4 cup arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons xanthan gum
• Blend all ingredients together and store in the refrigerator.
Hot to Toast Quinoa Flour
You can change the bitter taste of quinoa flour by toasting it as follows:
• Heat oven to 215 degrees
• Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Spread 1/2 lb. quinoa flour no more than 1/4" to 1/2" thick.
• Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until no bitter smell
June Ramey serves as the Board Secretary for the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry. She and her daughter, Kris Dzagan, co-authors of Celiac Creations for Multiple Food Allergies: How To Survive When Your Food Is Killing You will be speaking at the next Food for Thought session on Thursday, April 20 featuring Gluten Free Baking. Click here for more information or to RSVP for our free educational session.
We are excited to report that S.A.F.E. kept busy during 2016! We took substantive action to achieve our mission by:
On Sunday, October 9, the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry was at the Baltimore Zoo for the Baltimore FARE Walk for Food Allergy. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share information about our organization and our upcoming events!
We still have some other events coming up this month. We hope you can join us!
by June Ramey
My journey into the world of food allergies began 9 years ago when I got a desperate phone call from my daughter, asking me to move in with her, my 6-year-old grandson, and her new husband, Bob. Within six months of their marriage, he had become increasingly ill with numerous ailments never fully diagnosed. She dearly needed another pair of hands with a driver's license.
As we researched Bob's bewildering symptoms to find ways to give him a better quality of life, we began with gradual changes. Good quality vitamins and probiotics were our first line of defense, and we then moved on to eliminate soy and gluten from our diet. We determined early on that any changes we made, would be for the whole family, as we were all in this together.
Bob's health improved a bit, and my daughter, Kris, noticed she began feeling better also. We continued to eliminate other common allergens, such as artificial sugars, ginger, peanuts, and tree nuts, and saw added success. However, it was too little too late, and shortly after that, Bob's health declined and he died.
Although Kris wasn't officially diagnosed until a couple years later, we knew she had Celiac Disease, IBS, and candida, a yeast overgrowth in her body. We continued on the diet and just when we thought we had Kris back on track and healing, her health took another turn. Through testing, we discovered we had to eliminate tomatoes, anything fermented, fruit, condiments, dairy, natural sugars, and yeast.
At this point, there were no packaged foods we could open for a quick meal, and we quickly learned the joys of cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients and herbs. With the elimination of each new allergen, all our favorite recipes had to be reworked with substitute ingredients. Especially in baked goods, when you have to replace more than a couple key ingredients, nothing turns out the way you expect it to. We fed the garbage disposal a lot, and joyfully celebrated the successes. We documented all the recipes that worked, and went on to design new dishes to give us a greater variety of foods.
Realizing there had to be a lot of other people who were struggling with multiple food allergies, we contacted a publisher. At the end of four years, we had published a 400-page cookbook called Celiac Creations For Multiple Food Allergies: How To Survive When Your Food Is Killing You.
As Kris' list of allergies increased, we noticed a correlating increase in the cost of our grocery bill. We considered ourselves blessed to be able to afford the great food, but wondered how people who are less fortunate, manage to feed themselves and their families. When I was asked to join the Board of Directors for S.A.F.E. Food Pantry, I saw an opportunity to make a real difference in a greatly underserved community, by helping to establish a food pantry that specifically addresses the dual problem of food allergies and food insecurity.
Food allergies are on the rise, and due to the increased cost of allergy-friendly foods, there will be more requests for safe foods from food pantries all over the U.S. We are establishing partnerships, raising awareness of this increased need on our local level, and invite interested people from all walks of life to join with us in whatever way they can to promote this important work.
June Ramey serves as the Board Secretary for the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry. She and her daughter, Kris Dzagan, co-authors of Celiac Creations for Multiple Food Allergies: How To Survive When Your Food Is Killing You will be speaking at this Sunday's Food for Thought session. Click here for more information or to RSVP for our free educational session.
June is a busy month at the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry. We are looking forward to the following upcoming events and hope you will join us:
Sunday, June 12 from 11AM-4PM
2016 Washington DC Gluten-Free Expo
DoubleTree Hotel in Bethesda
8120 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814
The DC Gluten Free Expo is a great opportunity to meet with over 70 gluten free vendors and attend 6 different educational sessions. Thanks to the generosity of the Celiac Disease Program at Children’s National Health System, the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry will have a table where we will be sharing our mission to provide gluten free and allergy friendly food to those in need. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children and can be purchased in advance on the DC Gluten Free Expo website or at the door.
We are gearing up for our next Food for Thought information session on Sunday, March 6 from 2-3PM. This time we will be in the meeting room the Howard County Library System's Central Branch located at 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy. in Columbia, MD.
Join us for an interactive session where you can learn more about the S.A.F.E. Food Pantry and get your questions answered. Meet our Board of Directors and have the opportunity to provide suggestions on how we can make the most impact in the community. We look forward to seeing you there!
These sessions will be held at least quarterly. If you cannot attend this session, please stay tuned for future Food for Thought information sessions.
Please RSVP on EventBrite using the link below:
The S.A.F.E. Food Pantry is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization based in Howard County, Maryland.