Go Gluten-Free – Maybe, Maybe Not

I have read a couple of online posts regarding gluten.  One was a study, while inconclusive, stated that people with kidney failure may regain kidney function by having a gluten-free diet. The other site featured posted comments, including a woman who stated that her kidneys hurt whenever she eats gluten, another woman who regained kidney function within weeks of going gluten-free, and a man who has been gluten-free for a long time but has experienced no improvement in his kidney function. My kidney doctor agrees that the research is inconclusive right now. However, it can’t hurt to try, can it?

Well, I already watch sodium because of my blood pressure and fat due to blood cholesterol. Now with kidney failure, I am to not only limit sodium, but also potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Cut out gluten, and it makes it even harder to plan meals, grocery shop, and cook food with flavors which will make me want to eat it. I am used to buying low sodium and salt-free products. I do not use salt when I cook, the exception being certain recipes which will need some salt in the baking process. I flavor foods with herbs and other natural ingredients. Baking without gluten, though, not only changes the flavor, it often changes the texture as well. I’ve tried gluten-free burritos and pizza, the tortillas and pizza crusts made with rice or potato flour. They tasted good, yet neither one tasted as it should. In other words, the pizza looked like a pizza, but it did not taste like a pizza. Same for the burrito.

Recently, I purchased a box of Gluten-Free Apple-Oat Scones.  It is from Sticky Fingers Bakeries.  I have bought scone mixes of this brand in the past (not gluten-free), and I have been pleased with both appearance, texture, and taste of the scones.

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I prepared the mix according to the directions on the back of the box.  The directions said to drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Since scones are usually triangular, I decided to make scones the traditional way, by shaping all the dough into a big circle and then scoring it into eight triangles.  Just like other recipes I have made before which call for oats, the mixture was sticky, making it harder to scrape all of it from the bowl and hard to form into a round shape.  Keeping my hands out of the dough, remembering that oat-based dough mixtures can really stick to one’s hands, I used two spatulas to work the batter from the bowl onto the baking sheet, and then work it into a rectangular shape.  With my dough scraper, I cut it into eight triangles – the last couple of cuts being more difficult, as the sticky dough adhered to the scraper.  (Yes, now I know why the directions suggested portioning out the dough by spoonfuls.)

After the scones had baked and cooled down a bit, I ate a couple of them.  (It was breakfast time, after all.)  I liked the  combination of the apple and oatmeal, but guess what?  They tasted more like a muffin than a scone.  Would I make these gluten-free scones again?  Yes, but I think I will scoop the batter into muffin tins and bake them.  Since they don’t taste like scones, they shouldn’t look like scones.  (Yes, I’m picky, I know.  See my earlier posts on cronuts.)

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Bottom line: could I go gluten-free if had to do so?  I think so, though, going gluten-free would require much getting used to.  If it  means making my kidneys healthy again, I’ll do it.  But, it will not be an easy adjustment.  I’ll probably cheat a lot at the beginning, as I did when I had to cut back on potassium.  (Hey, try eating meat without a potato; it’s not that easy!)

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