Making a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

It was 7 years ago that I decided to delve into the world of sourdough!  I was pregnant with Precious #6, and I took a sourdough e-course from GNOWFGLINS Traditional Cooking School.  The class was awesome!  The series began with teaching how to make a starter from scratch and then how to use that starter to make everything from breads to cakes.  The course included a pdf for those who learn best from reading, and it featured videos for visual junkies like me–I learn best from watching and doing.  I was able to cultivate a starter from spelt flour (a glutenous ancient grain), tried the recipes in the e-course, and soon converted my own recipes to this more healthful method of preparing breads.

At the time, we ate a lot of gluten free foods as well.  I had been wheat free for many years, but everything I read about gluten free sourdough, which used a brown rice starter, said it could be difficult to maintain and that it may require re-starting a starter now and then.  I am all for easy, so  No, thank you!  And so I was too intimidated to try.

When I HAD to go gluten free, I missed my sourdough!  Gluten free grains can be more gritty, and I knew my baked goods would not be as nutritious or digestible without the benefits of fermentation.  Eventually I decided to just try it, and I’m so glad I did!  No more guilt for whipping up quick breads, lol!  This gluten free sourdough thing is good, and as it turns out, it’s easy too!  My starter has been going strong for about two years and I have never had an issue.

After sharing a picture of some fresh bread on Facebook, I received a lot of requests for a recipe.  I plan to teach a local class in September, and will give starter to participants, but for anyone who is in a hurry or not local, I decided to share the steps to going gluten free sourdough with you.  The first thing you need is a starter!

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You will need:

Filtered water,

Clean glass mason jar  (for starting your starter!),

a paper towel or clean piece of fabric with a rubber band or jar ring to cover the jar,

brown rice flour,

and coconut water kefir.  If you do not have coconut water kefir, you can learn what that is and how to make it HERE.

Since I didn’t invent this Boosted Brown Rice Sourdough Starter, I’m going to send you to the web site that taught me.  You can find instructions over HERE at The Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking.

One thing I will add to her directions is:  Follow her directions exactly on the first day. However,  on the second day–on the second feeding and following when you feed your newly fermenting starter, before you add the 1/3 to 1/2 cup of brown rice and water, first remove and discard 1/3 to 1/2 cup of starter.  If you do not remove starter before feeding, you are going to be swimming in starter, and larger quantities of starter require being fed larger amounts.  So simplify and remove some starter before feeding.  You will know if your starter is healthy if it develops lots of airy bubbles throughout the jar.  You will be able to see these developing as it ages… less after being fed and more before the next feeding.

Here is a look at my thriving starter:

GF sourdough starter 1

And here is a top view.  The top looks a little dry.  It has been sitting, covered on my counter all day.  I’m ready to use some in a recipe for breakfast and then I will feed it.

GF sourdough starter 2

If creating your own gluten free sourdough starter is not something you feel like tackling right now, but you want to get started baking, you can buy a starter from Cultures for Health.  It will come with instructions that are easy to follow.

Starters are fermented, so definitely expect a sour smell.  It is unpleasant to some people, but I promise your finished baked goods will smell heavenly and taste yummy… rarely ever a sour flavor when you actually eat it!

If you have questions, please let me know in the comments below… someone else is bound to be wondering the same thing!

Good luck, have fun, and when you have a thriving starter you can come back here to try out some recipes with me!

 

 

 

The Results of June’s 30 Day Fitness Challenge

Someone mentioned renewing our vows.  I don’t remember who.  And then my husband surprised me by acting interested in the idea.

“Does your wedding dress fit you?” he asked me.

“I imagine it does,” I told him, “after all, I weigh less now than I did when we got married.  He made a comment about it being flattering to him that 20 years and 8 children later, his wife still fit in her wedding dress.

But then I tried it on… and despite my lower body being smaller than ever, the upper half was not proportioned the same, and I could not zip it.  Add additional insult to my pride, hubby had been pointing out to me that even though I was thin, he couldn’t feel muscle tone, especially in the lower half.  He was suggesting, more and more often, that I start exercising.

His persistent suggestion was made out of loving concern.  Several years ago he was concerned about how my weight could lead to health problems.  He was right then of course, and he was right this time too, but I was busy and didn’t feel like figuring out how to fit exercise into my schedule.  I was becoming increasingly annoyed by his suggestion.

And then, when teaching on the Fruit of Self Control, I asked the women how they were exercising self control in the area of diet and exercise, and conviction began to seep into my heart.  Sure, my diet was impeccable.  But the exercise… Every time I became annoyed with my husband’s loving suggestion, I knew I had a heart issue.  And so I decided to kill two birds with one stone.  I would exercise, and get back into that wedding dress!!

My goal: To tone up and rebuild muscle, to target belly fat, and get back into my wedding dress by our anniversary at the end of the summer.  This gave me 3 months to reach my goal, and I would do it one 30 Day Fitness Challenge at a time!

What I did:
* 30 DAYS OF EATING LOW CARB. I have been doing this since February, but I really reigned it in and recorded what I was eating so I kept my macros where they belonged. On week three I did a 5 day egg fast to give my liver a break and turn up the burn.
Week 4 I remembered how great green tea is for flushing toxins and cellulite, so I drank a ton since I love tea anyway!

* EXERCISED 6 DAYS A WEEK (when I was not previously exercising at all). I was faithful in this!
Week One: 2 miles with Leslie Sansone, different miles to target different areas each day, but pretty consistently doing the mile for belly.
Week 2: Walked 3 miles a day with Leslie, targeting different areas each day,
Week 3: Saved Leslie for days I couldn’t get out and began walking 3 miles (4 days a week) outdoors, up and down hills.  and began doing 2 days of T-Tap, which is a 55 min. work out.
Week 4: Same as Week 3

* I drank the new Plexus Slim every morning upon waking, mixed with coconut water kefir… because:
* I’ve noticed that when I use Slim I target more fat and preserve more muscle, and muscle is what this was all about.
* It contains nutrients that aid in detox, and boy was I flushing toxins (yay!!)
* It contains yummy pre-biotics which nourish friendly gut bacteria which are foundational to immune support, mood, the manufacture of many vitamins in the gut, digestion, pH, keeping harmful bacteria and parasites under control, staying thin, and more…
* It supports my adrenals, and I’m working hard!
Oh, and I’m also taking Plexus Probio5 at night, a probiotic that also targets and cleans up the “bad” bacteria.

The result:
**My fasting blood sugar level this week was 78! Fantastic!!!**

I lost:
1/2 inch above each knee
1 inch on each thigh
1 inch in my hips
1/2 inch in the belly
1 inch in my waist

I lost 6 pounds! I totally did not expect that as I was aiming to build muscle, and it weighs more than fat!

I dropped a pant size, which I didn’t think was possible. My lower half has never been so small. Wish I could say the same about the abdomen!
Hubby can feel muscle, yay! And I can SEE muscle

 

And as you can see from pictures, I can zip and button my wedding dress! But as you can also see, it’s a little tight, as evidenced by the creases in the waist.

So what’s next? Another 30 days. Same diet, same Plexus products, and same basic exercise routine. I’m adding in some weights, Theresa Tapp’s flat belly exercise every morning, and some exercises to strengthen the diastasis recti.

My goals?
* To loosen that waist on the wedding dress so that it fits just right. Our kids are already planning our vow renewal.
* To continue to build and shape muscle, particularly in the arms this month. Hubby is officiating a wedding mid July. I have a sleeveless dress and want to knock his socks off!
* Continue to target that stubborn upper belly fat. That stuff is bad news. I gained with during my pregnancy with Precious #4 when I started drinking soy milk!! And by the time I realized the soy wagon wasn’t a good thing to join, it was too late for my belly. This fat contributes to the inflammatory “dis-eases”, and produces hormones I don’t want going on! So, banish the belly fat!                                                                                                       *  Increase my bone density
* Enjoy doing some thrift shopping and garage sale-ing to find some fancy pants that fit.

Taking care of my body is not only a privilege, but also my responsibility.  God gave me one body with which to serve Him.  I never want to miss out on walking into good works He has prepared in advance for me to do because I didn’t take stewardship of my health seriously.

30 more days…Who wants to join me? As Theresa Tapp likes to say, “YES, you CAN!!!”

If you would like to learn more about Plexus products and how they can help you on your wellness and fitness journey, please let me know.  I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

Pantry Tips for Starting Your Low Carb Journey

***Though there are many links in this post, there are no affiliate links… (I will not get paid if you buy something. 😉  )

 

So you are thinking about trying a Low Carb or Ketogenic diet platform to improve your health?  Good for you!  If you stick with it, you won’t be sorry, but to be successful it’s helpful to have a pantry stocked with the right ingredients, and know what to do with them.

A Ketogenic or Low Carb Diet is a low, low carb, moderate protein, and high in healthy fats nutrition plan.  The goal is to guide your body into burning fat for fuel instead of being a sugar burner.  Fat is a cleaner burning fuel, causing less oxidation, and is therefore healthier for your body.  Fat is the ingredient most needed and loved by your brain, nerves, and the membrane wall of every single cell in your body… the many trillions of them!  And, fats are satiating, which means they will keep you feeling full long after a meal of traditional carbs would have left you feeling hungry and moody.

To truly do this right, you need to use healthy fats:

Coconut Oil~ Coconut oil is full of medium chain fatty acids, the same as God put in human breast milk.  If it’s good for our babies, it has to be good for us!!  Unrefined coconut oil is the best thing to buy, but according to Bruce Fife, author of The Coconut Oil Miracle, even refined coconut oil is better than using most of the other oils on grocer shelves.  Refining the oil removes the “coconut-ty” smell and flavor, and can leave some chemical residue behind.  If you are near a Costco, they sell both types of coconut oil at a competitive price.  If you have an allergy or intolerance to coconuts, I recommend you look into the benefits of cooking with Palm Oil.

Olive Oil~  Once touted as the oil for everything, reserve olive oil for cold application.  This oil is vulnerable to hot temperatures and will go rancid when cooked, making it not so healthy for you.  Instead, use it for salad dressings.

Avocado Oil~ Avocado oil is great in cold recipes, but unlike most other oils has a much higher smoke point and will stay stable at higher temperatures. One study showed that the lipids (fats) extracted from avocados might prove photo-protective against harmful effects of radiation, such as sun damage, inflammation, and even skin cancer, if ingested before exposure.  I buy my avocado oil at Costco.

Coconut Milk~ The canned, full of fat kind, and also the unsweetened carton in the dairy department are both items I use.

Dairy~ You will find a LOT of low carb and ketogenic recipes from food bloggers all over that use dairy.  Cheese, whipping cream, more cheese… so if you don’t have any digestive issues or intolerance, get ready for some dairy.  Grass fed and organic is best as this is the only kind that will be guaranteed free of damaging hormones and heavy omega 6’s that can be present in “normal” dairy from livestock that is fed a heavy soy and grain diet that has probably been heavily sprayed with glyphosates.  I only use dairy sparingly.  I can eat it, no problem, but if I’m aiming to lose weight… well, I lose the dairy.  And if I want optimal liver function, I lose the dairy.  We’re all different, and if you are hoping to lose weight and aren’t seeing results, this is a good thing to cut out and see.

And what about Fiber?  A challenge that many people face when they go low carb is constipation.  Not good!  And not necessary.  So make sure to stock the following…

Nuts~  They are full of healthy fats, and fiber too.  The trick is to not eat too many.  Even though we want to eat more fat, it is easy to go over our fat allowance with nuts, and too much of anything is a bad thing.   Stock your pantry with walnuts and almonds and maybe pistachios, but plan, and measure.   Want a different kind of nut?  Look up the carbs, fat and fiber.  You want to count net carbs.  This means look at the total carbs and deduct the total fiber to get your net carb count per serving.  And then do the math.  Will this nut fit well into your target carb and fat count?

Nuts are much healthier if they are soaked and then dehydrated.  They also taste better, in my opinion, and are easier on the digestion.  To learn how, you can read this excellent article over at Gnowgflins.

Almond Flour~ This is used a lot in low carb receipes.  I get mine at Costco.  It is also available at Sams Club, on Amazon, and many other places.

Ground Psyllium Husks~ This can be used in bready recipes that are filling, provide fiber, and satisfying those cravings that are inevitable when you first pull grains and sugars from your diet.  In addition, if you find yourself experiencing some constipation, you can mix a tsp. or two with water and drink it to help bulk up your stools.  I buy this psyllium from Viva Naturals on Amazon and will be making recipe recommendations off of my experience with it.

Chia seeds~  You may like them, and if you’re a woman, soak them, use them for fiber, for a binder, etc… not recommended for men’s prostrate health.  😦

Coconut flour~ Yep, coconut is still good for you, and the flour is a good source of fiber as well as great for bready recipes.  The best value I have found for our neck of the woods is also on Amazon, from Anthony’s.  Check out the jokes on the bag… 🙂

Unsweetened, shredded coconut~ You may like this in a breakfast porridge, or many people just spoon some into a bowl with some coconut oil, stevia drops, and cocoa for a sweet fix.

Fruits and Vegetables~  Well, vegetables anyway.  This is where you will get most of your carbohydrates.  Avocados and tomatoes are actually fruits, and I use them, but they won’t satisfy your sweet tooth.  Carrots are starchy, so use them sparingly if at all, and potatoes are out–too many starchy carbs.  Go for asparagus, spinach and kale (unless you have a history or kidney stones), zucchinis, lettuce (not ice berg), peppers, other cruciferous veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts.  You may find some veggies I’m not used to using.  I love onions, but they are a little high on the carb count so I use them sparingly.  You may occasionally splurge on a few pieces of Granny Smith apple, a strawberry, or blueberries… that is up to you.  You can use the cronometer.com calculator to help you decide.

Protein~  Yes, you need moderate protein, so besides the nuts you want to have eggs and meats on hand.  Just keep in mind, “moderate” may be less than you think…

Eggwhite Protein Powder~ I like to make Maria Emmerich’s Keto bread, and you will need this Eggwhite Protein Powder to make it.

Sweeteners

Yes!  I did say sweet.  Lots of the sweet ketogenic recipes you find use the “tols”, sugar alcohols, like erythritol or xylitol.  They are not sugar or alcohol, don’t affect blood sugar, don’t cause cavities, etc… and if you can use them, great, but I can’t.  They are not completely absorbed by your body and like a lot of other people, they cause me to have intense bloating and stomach cramps when I eat them and since they aren’t good for me I notice that I don’t lose weight as fast if I use them.  Not worth it.  So I use other alternatives.  If you try them, make sure they are not combined with other low-calorie or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame-K, neotame, saccharin, or crystalline fructose.  Swerve is a well known brand that combines erythritol and stevia, and is recommended by many food bloggers.

Stevia~  I use stevia in many forms.  It is a natural food derivative, many times sweeter than sugar, and a little goes a long way.  I can be combined with other sweeteners.  And it does the body good, the whole leaf stevia being found to lower blood sugar levels and kill bacteria (even the lyme disease bacteria, better than antibiotics).

What kind of stevia?

I use the Sweet Leaf Stevia drops with vanilla a lot in my tea or other quick treats.  It comes in plain and other flavors, but I like vanilla and it is a cheap add on from Amazon Prime.  You can also get it from Swansonvitamins.com, Azurestandard, and your local health food store, among many retailers!

I also use the Sweet Leaf powdered stevia, and you only need a pinch for most recipes, so it lasts a loooong time.  I buy mine through AzureStandard.com.

A lot of foodies use Stevia Glycerite in their recipes.

The other good sweetener recommended for the Ketogenic diet is Lo Han Fruit (also called monk fruit) extract.  Recently featured on draxe.com for being a recommended ketogenic sweetener, along with stevia, it is many times sweeter than sugar and has many health benefits.  Watch out when you buy, as it is often combined with other unhealthy artificial sweeteners, so read labels.  I buy mine from Swansonvitamins.com, combined with inulin (a sweet fiber and prebiotic that feeds good bacteria that nourish the gut).  I use this in recipes I will share.

Real Salt~  Not table salt.  Use RealSalt brand, unbleached sea salt, or himalayan salt that is whole and rich in minerals.

Supplement Smart.  Take a good multi-vitamin.  If you aren’t getting enough iron or amino acids, look into taking dessicated beef liver.  Need more C?  Take rose hips.  Have magnesium on hand.  I recommend Plexus Biocleanse.  Just want to clean out your bowels and relax?  Magnesium Calm will do the trick.  Do probiotics.  Swansonvitamins does regular sales.  If you sign up for emails they will send you coupons that will make it worth your while.

There are a few other foods and supplements I will be sharing with you in future posts, but these are the main ones you can do without having to learn “how to”.  I hope this is helpful.  God bless.