Pesach and My Gluten Free Life

by Walt Clark, Office Manager

10606485_10101343564453022_869520489535807548_nIt’s Pesach (Passover) at Mayyim Hayyim. Late last week, the staff gathered downstairs to get the kitchen ready for the upcoming holiday.

As I was surrounded by the fury of cleaning, I realized that the Mayyim Hayyim kitchen had gone gluten free. I live in a gluten free household so I know the warning signs. Cake is gone. Bread is gone. The most exotic sauces we buy now are tomato sauce. It’s a big change in any kitchen. Because of this change, I’m now experienced with reading ingredient labels to make sure there isn’t any flour in foods and having to call restaurants in advance to ask “is there anything that doesn’t have flour in it?” For today’s post, I wanted to share with you the best ways to survive and flourish in such an environment.

Here are my top 3 strategies to cope with no grain in your life (even if it’s only for Passover).

1. Carbs. Who needs ’em?

Not being able to eat grain frequently means I am eating fewer carbs. I tell myself when I walk in front of a bakery and smell fresh bread that the fact that I am walking past the bakery and not walking in and eating all the bread is probably good for my health in the long run. I use it as an excuse to eat healthier.

2. Filling up on your other food groups

During the day, if I want a snack, fruits are a great to way to feel full, as well as picking up some extra vitamins. For meals, if you want to get carbohydrates, potatoes are the way to go. Here is a great recipe for scalloped potatoes. You may want to use my third strategy to make this kosher for Passover.

3. Ingredient substitution

If there are things that you absolutely can’t give up, there always the option of tweaking recipes and finding ingredients that will keep the consistency correct. For flour (which is in everything), I typically use corn starch as a substitute for a lot of baked dishes, but for Passover that may not be acceptable for everyone. For some, corn isn’t kosher for Passover because it is considered to be in the category of kitniyot(which also includes rice, millet and legumes). That being said, coconut flour is a viable non-kitniyot substitute.

Grain is a huge part of many people’s diets, but it is possible to live and have a good meal without it. Wishing you culinary strength in the days ahead.

Walton Clark is Mayyim Hayyim’s office manager and jack of all trades.  He is a working keyboardist in Boston, playing Black American Music and leads the acid-funk outfit Roxo Gato as well as performing in a variety of groups. You can follow him on Twitter @walt_twitwalker and on Instagram @welaxer.

 

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