I have anemia. My primary phsyician sent me to a hematologist after I religiously took iron supplements for months with no improvement. It was my hematologist who put the various pieces together and tested for celiac disease. Turns out he was right.
Enter the gf diet as of September 2010. I feel better. I have more energy.Improved GI quality of life. No more canker sores. And yet, my anemia persists. Maybe the vast quantities of dark green leafy veggies aren't enough to keep up with demand. Maybe my heavy periods are to blame. My celiac antibody tests have come back normal, and all signs indicate that my gut has healed. For the time being, I'm going in monthly for the two-hour iron transfusion process. I'd rather this not be the long-term solution. I see my celiac doc next week, so I plan to explore it more then.
In the meantime, I recall that I have tested low on B12 and folate, which is completely understandable given my vegetarian and enriched bread-free life. While my anemia is of the iron deficiency type, I don't really know how it is distinguished from B12 deficiency anemia or folate deficiency anemia. These are clearly questions for my doctor. But, in the meantime, I figure it can't hurt me to try to boost my dietary sources of B vitamins and folate. Which brings me to the topic of nutritional yeast, which is rich in both plus tons of other good stuff. Seems like a virtual treasure trove of health all in a weird flakey substance.
The only way I knew how to use it is to sprinkle it on popcorn. A serving of the stuff is 3 TABLESPOONS. Since I eat popcorn maybe once every 6 weeks and I would practically have to bury it in nutritional yeast, I tried adding it to my usual diet of soups and stews. I quickly learned that it has a distinct enough taste that it needs to be treated as a primary flavor, not as something I sneak into the pot.
So I googled it. The big take-away there was to use it as a replacement for parmesan cheese, which I eat even less than I do popcorn. More research and ideas were necessary.
The obvious place to turn was the celiac listserv, which is a huge list populated by real people with real experience. I got a number of replies, some with actual recipes, and some with links to most excellent websites by gluten-free folks who clearly spend a lot more time in the kitchen than I do. Here are some of the suggestions, recipes and links.
Gravy: I got a couple of suggestions and links for gravy. I'm not much of a gravy eater, but we are in the holiday season when gravy seems to live large. Here's one recipe:
Start with a rice flour roux, add similar quantity of yeast as flour, then milk (or soy or coconut milk for the vegans.) Adding a bit of onion and garlic to the fat used in the roux is good, also a splash of GF tamari or amino acids enriches the flavor if you like those seasonings. Serve with steamed veggies and rice, or as gravy for
And here's a marinara sauce enhancement recipe: 1/2 cup marinara, 1 TBSP Almond Butter, 1 TBSP flax seed meal & 1 TBSP nutritional yeast.
Wendy Gregory Kaho of celiacsinthehouse.com suggested sprinkling it on kale chips and she recently reviewed Jules Shepard's cookbook, Free For All, which boasts a gf quiche that uses nutritional yeast as a primary ingredient.
And in addition to celiacsinthehouse.com, here are some additional recipes and great websites I'm glad I got introduced to:
Sage gravy, cauliflower gratin, dips, etc: http://toyourhealthnutrition.blogspot.com
In the end, I know I need to do some experimenting. Since my usual cooking M.O. is to make a big pot of something on the weekend and eat it for a number of dinners the coming week, I need to figure out which of these suggestions or which sites would accommodate that. And I can definitely sprinkle it on kale chips, popcorn, in scrambled eggs, incorporated into dips and added to gf pasta and sauce.