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Food & Health : Prepping for gluten, dairy and egg sensitivities.

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by IndieMama, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. IndieMama

    IndieMama Monkey+

    I thought I'd start a thread on dealing with food allergies and special health requirements in your food preps. I will add to this subject as I can.

    It is important, during a SHTF situation, to be at our strongest and healthiest physically. That's why we must take care of ourselves now and consider what we need to store to keep ourselves healthy long term. To do this, we have to consider each individual's special health needs, for young and old.

    The first thing you need to do is realize that prepping with health concerns will likely cost more than if you were prepping for the average person with no health concerns. It's okay. Accept it now and move on. Optimal health is your greatest concern, so you do what you have to do. You might be able to recoup your costs in another area of your preps.

    For our family of 8, dairy, eggs and gluten intolerances are issues for a few of us, so I am just going to share what I am doing to prep in consideration of those needs, one subject per reply. I'm going to cover eggs in this post since they're the worst offender at our house.

    We got our chickens last June, and, inconveniently, we discovered our youngest is allergic to eggs just the next month when we ended up in the ER with her. Eek! Two more of us came up with some health issues last fall and this spring and after seeing a naturopathic doctor and having IgA Antibodies tests done, found we were both temporarily intolerant to eggs and dairy.

    So, there are still five of us who do eat eggs (we sell the rest), so I keep the eggs for making egg/egg dishes for them, only. For all baking, I use the following egg substitutes, which could come in handy for those finding themselves without access to eggs or laying hens when the SHTF:

    Flax Seeds
    Flax seed meal makes a good egg substitute in baking and provides Omega-3 fatty acids, B Vitamins and Minerals. Whole flax seeds may be stored for 2-7 years. Store them cool and sealed in an airtight container. You will need a way to grind them, as flax meal only lasts about a week after it's ground. I use a coffee grinder right now.

    Flax seed can easily go rancid. So a good test is to taste them to see if they are bitter. If they are, they are rancid and shouldn't be used.

    The recipe for one flax egg is 1 Tablespoon of flax seed to 3 Tablespoons water. You can grind your flax seed into meal in a coffee grinder and then add to the water, or grind in a blender, slowly adding the water.

    Chia Seeds
    It seems like a big waste to think of these seeds being used to grow Chia Pets. Remember those?

    Chia seeds are a powerhouse of a complete protein with all 9 amino acids, omega fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants. They can store for 2-4 years. Ground, they have a longer shelf life than flax, 1-2 years, and they have a milder taste than flax.

    Chia seeds are very versatile and may be used to make puddings, smoothies and sprinkled on salads. Runners drink chia seeds in water in preparation for marathons. Chia seed is a super food and therefore a highly valuable food storage item. I encourage you to research it's other health benefits and uses. Because it is a super food, I would store this even if I didn't have anyone with egg intolerances.

    The recipe to use chia seeds as an egg subsitute is 2 tsp. ground chia seeds (use a spice or coffee grinder) to 1/4 Cup water. Combine and let sit for 5 minutes before using.

    ENER-G Egg Replacer
    This is a commercial egg replacer which is completely egg free. It contains Potato Starch,Tapioca Flour, Leavening (Calcium Lactate, Calcium Carbonate, Cream of Tartar), Cellulose Gum, Modified Cellulose.

    It has a shelf life of about 3 years and little nutritional value, but it doesn't require any grinding. It's ready to use right from the package.

    Recipe: 1 -1/2 teaspoons to 2 Tablespoons water
    Where to buy: http://www.ener-g.com/egg-replacer.html

    If you store applesauce, this is also a good egg replacer for some recipes. Use 1/4 Cup applesauce for each egg called for.

    Not that we'll be storing these long term, but it's worth mentioning that bananas are a good substitute for eggs in baking. You need about a half a banana to equal one egg. Because of the banana flavor, this will only work for certain things.

    Fruit purees, besides apple and banana, work, too. I've made eggless pumpkin pancakes that were good. Other good puree options are persimmon, winter squash, peach and plum.

    Some of these products work better for some recipes and not for others. It will require some experimentation to find what works best with your recipes. Now is a good time to start!

    Something else I do is look for recipes to add to my repertoire that do not require eggs at all. I have a recipe for an eggless applesauce coffee cake that I can cook in a Dutch oven over a fire if need be. I actively seek out dairy and egg free baking recipes to try on my family and add to my binders. If your kids are like mine, they are completely honest with you when they don't like something, LOL!

    UPDATE: Here is a handy chart to determine which egg substitute is right to use with a particular recipe. http://chefinyou.com/egg-substitutes-cooking/

    Next time: Dairy
  2. IndieMama

    IndieMama Monkey+

    I am bumping this up, as I forgot I started it and I want to continue on with dairy next very soon.
  3. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey++

    My wife was complaining the other day about prepared stored food (such as Wyse) being non-GF, and non-dairy free. It's all loaded up with gravies and cheesy stuff. Not particularly good for those of us who need to be on low fat diets (myself included) with cholesterol issues and her with her GF requirements. No one seems to make stored food that meets these issues.

    The small group we're hanging with doesn't seem to worry about special diets needs (although a few of them should). So they're ordering up boatloads of this stuff on group buys.

    We still have the dehydrator that we used to dry fruits and game meats with before we moved to the big city. She's also no stranger to canning. I asked her the other day what would happen if we simply prepared our own (to heck with Wyse). She said it was an intriguing idea. The next step is to determine what foods store well within the parameters of GF / non-dairy and you're coming up with a few ideas. I forwarded the link to your post to her.
  4. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    I saw some gluten free MREs in the discount bin at Walmart a while back, but they had corn in it(which I am allergic too). I can't have milk(just the liquid/powdered stuff, cheese/butter, etc don't bother me) or corn or raw tomatoes(canned/processed doesn't bother me, just the fresh ones). I shouldn't have white sugar or gluten either probably. Got some coconut flour to try out, but it's so...gritty? and the bits stick to my throat going down and irritate it(not an allergic reaction to the coconut, just to having stuff stuck on it).
  5. IndieMama

    IndieMama Monkey+

    Let’s talk about dairy.

    At this point, we are finally a dairy free household. My husband was the last holdout, and he has finally come around, after noticing how he feels after consuming dairy. It is very common for family members who have eaten the same way for decades to have the same food intolerance issues. Four of our household have tested with a high intolerance for dairy. He does plan to go be tested at some point, himself. In the meantime, he is feeling a lot better since giving up dairy.

    I don’t find dairy and eggs to be that difficult to do without in my cooking. Eggs were hard at first, because we relied on them as an inexpensive protein source for so long. But as far as cooking is concerned, the only thing that makes me crazy is the non-egg/non-gluten combination, which I will address in a later post.

    So, what do we use in place of dairy at our house and what is the best form to store it in? I’ll break it down for you.

    Coconut milk: We buy canned coconut milk by the case from our whole foods supplier. We’re an organic household, so we buy it that way. Native Forest and Natural Value are two brands whose cans do not contain BPA, which is a big plus for us. But we much prefer the taste of Thai Kitchen brand. I use full fat coconut milk because children need fat. But light versions are available.

    I use coconut milk in smoothies and in cooking. It works well for cream soups, you just need to add more sea salt to counteract the natural sweetness in the coconut. I make clam chowder with this very successfully. If using coconut milk to make a cream soup, I recommend full fat. Coconut fat is actually a healthy fat.

    I also use coconut milk to make paleo flatbreads, which I will talk more about in my gluten free post.

    Canned coconut milk is as shelf stable as any other canned milk product. It’s part of our regular diet, so we rotate it out and restock often. This is likely the most shelf stable milk substitute available.

    Milk Substitutes in Aseptic Packaging: You can get pretty much any kind of milk substitute in aseptic packaging these days. We use a variety of different kinds due to rotating diets and other things more complicated n you really want to know about.

    I try to stay away from additives like carrageenan, etc., so that does limit what I can buy. Here are a few types of milk we buy this way and what we use them for. All of these, by the way, may be made at home with raw ingredients if you are inclined to do so.

    Almond: My family prefers this for drinking and cereal.

    Rice: This is our next favorite for drinking, cereal and to put in our tea. We’re big tea drinkers.

    Oat: Yes, there is such a thing as oat milk. This is our daughter’s favorite. It has a natural sweetness to it.

    Soy: Of course, there is soy. This is one thing I limit in our diets and only buy organic to avoid GMOs. Sometimes it’s necessary to augment our supply with soy for one reason or another. It is definitely the most neutral tasting of the milk substitutes and many prefer it. It is also one that can be found with the least amount of additives, which is a big plus. I don’t use this is any type of soup, as the proteins in soy milk tend to curdle when heated or exposed to an acid.

    I use any of the above for baking when I need a milk substitute. The shelf stability is not as long as a canned milk item. But they can still be kept for a long time and rotated out. Watch your dates. Some of them expire within 6 months. Unlike canned items, I don’t know how safe or how the quality is of something in aseptic packaging when it has expired.

    Powdered Milk Substitutes: Yes they do make them. Better Than Milk manufactures a soy based substitute and a rice based substitute. Both are available through Amazon. Neither are organic, but worth checking into. The shelf life for the powdered milk is longer than for the aseptic packaging. And as with any product, the cooler it’s kept, the better. I would imagine you could also freeze this powder.

    But make no mistake, no milk substitute powder has the shelf like that dairy milk powder has. This is and the expense are both downsides to having dairy intolerance issues and trying to prep for them.

    Growing Naturals produces an organic powdered rice milk substitute I am anxious to try out. There are also a few coconut milk powder producers out there. But beware, those usually contain casein –not suitable for dairy free folks.

    Water: I use water in baking when milk is called for with no problems at all, especially with quickbread or pancake/waffle recipes. I have never had a baking recipe fail because I used water instead of milk.

    As you can see, shelf stability and expense are the biggest challenges to prepping for dairy intolerances. I think I mentioned in my egg post that it requires us to be more creative with our budget and try to save money in other areas. Because of its versatility, I highly recommend storing as many case of coconut milk as possible if it is something you decide works for you.
  6. IndieMama

    IndieMama Monkey+

    Coconut flour requires A LOT of liquid in a recipe to make it work. You might try a different brand, too. Some are not ground as small as they could be.

    Edited to add: It also needs to be blended with something else, like arrowroot powder, to work.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  7. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey++

    Great post! Good info. I use Lactaid normally in place of milk for addition to oatmeal which I eat for breakfast every day. But I've also used rice milk and have trouble telling the difference.
  8. Gesko

    Gesko Monkey

    My wife has a gluten allergy too and also found out recently that she's lactose intolerant. And yes, getting all the gluten free stuff is rather pricey. Lactose is not really a problem, we have lots of lactose free stuff here in germany, like milk, cheese, cream etc. And then there are also pills that you can take before consuming dairy and it's fine then too. Really wish there were some pills for the gluten allergy though.
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