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  • Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD
    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD

    Comfort Food: Gluten-Free Rice Pudding

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Summer 2014 Issue

    Comfort Food: Gluten-Free Rice Pudding - Image: CC--stu_spivack
    Caption: Image: CC--stu_spivack

    Celiac.com 09/27/2016 - Healthy comfort food is hard to find in the supermarket—especially when you want it tasty, cheap and appealing to everyone. Rice pudding is the ultimate comfort food because it is found on almost every continent wherever rice is available (none was found on Antartica during my month there). Rice cream or pudding has many names- Arroz con leche in Spanish, Risalamande in Scandinavia, Pulut hitam in Malaysia, Riz bi halecb in Lebannon.

    But when you make your own from this simple recipe, alternative milk choices need to be carefully selected.

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    Cow's milk is one of the big 8 allergens with increasing numbers of people avoiding the highly processed homogenized, pasteurized milk in the dairy case. I remember the days when milk spoiled in a week. Today, you know it is highly processed when the expiration date on the carton is 4 weeks from the day you purchase it. Individuals with celiac disease may also have an intolerance to the proteins in cow's milk so other sources need to be considered to avoid gastrointestinal inflammation.

    Soy milk is not a better choice because over 90% of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified to withstand Roundup pesticide exposure. There is adequate research to indicate GMO soy products should be avoided. Don't be fooled by a major brand that has carefully selected wording on their carton to the contrary. There is insufficient non-GMO soybeans grown in the U.S. to produce all the soy milk products available in every supermarket across the nation. Besides, males should tread lightly in their consumption of phytoestrogen products like soy. Besides, a recent study done at Northwestern University in Chicago has indicated that soy oils are harmful to the lungs and cause increased asthma. This may be the tip of the iceburg of how dangerous GMO soy foods may be to overall health. Other choices for making rice pudding would certainly be better.

    The worst choice for making a healthy rice pudding is almond milk. USDA and the California Almond Board have allowed the false advertising and mislabeling of almonds as "raw". Pasteurized almonds sold as raw almonds or made into almond milk can be toxic. In 2007 it became mandatory to pasteurize almonds because of numerous salmonella foodborne illnesses. The treatment process approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is propylene oxide (PPO). Even the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) cautions about the neurological effects of PPO that have been observed in animals. Research also indicates PPO has caused tumors in animals and is a probable human carcinogen. Consumption of almonds and almond milk can be a health risk.

    The best choice of milk for a healthy rice pudding is coconut milk. It provides a creamy texture and delicate flavor. Don't worry about the saturated fat content in coconut. It is not a factor in coronary hart disease until the oil is hydrogenated into non-dairy products and toppings.

    Yes, supermarkets can be dangerous places but wise consumers can eat healthy by making simple home prepared meals and desserts. You can bring home that extra rice from the Asian restaurant and make it into rice pudding, or chose your favorite rice - jasmine is mine- and make a delightful rice pudding.

    Gluten-Free Rice Pudding


    • 2 cups milk
    • 3/4 cup uncooked rice (1 1/2 c cooked)
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 inch piece vanilla bean
    • Sprinkle with grated nutmeg
    • Pomegranate seeds or raisins, optional

    Cook milk, rice, honey and salt (+ vanilla bean, if using) in saucepan over medium heat about 30 minutes until rice is soft, stirring frequently. Lower heat to simmer. Cover for 10-15 minutes until rice kernels soften and take up milk. Stir in vanilla extract. Divide into serving dishes. Sprinkle with nutmeg and top with pomegranate seeds or raisins. Makes 4 servings.

    Calories per serving (varies with milk choice) 88-112
    Protein : 3-4 g
    Carbohydrates : 19 g
    Fat: 2-5 g

    Note: For special occasions, soak raisins in rum and serve on top with sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

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    Rice is inherently gluten-free. No worries.

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  • About Me

    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD

    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD is Assistant Professor, NY Chiropractic College, MS Clinical Nutrition Program Nutrition Assessment Course & Food Science Course.  She is author of the following books:

    • Fast and Simple Diabetes Menus, McGraw Hill Companies
    • Diabetes Meals on the Run, Contemporary Books
    • Living With Food Allergies, Contemporary Books
    • Diabetic Desserts, Contemporary Books
    • Quick & Easy Diabetes Menus Cookbook, Contemporary Books
    • American Diabetes Association Holiday Cookbook and Parties & Special Celebrations Cookbook, Prentice Hall Books


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    Scott Adams
    3 cups nonfat dry milk
    4 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 cups cornstarch
    1 ½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
    1 teaspoon coconut extract
    Mix the extract and the shredded coconut in a small bowl until the extract is absorbed. Add the coconut to the other ingredients and store in airtight container. To prepare, add 2/3 cup mix to 2 cups milk. Heat and stir constantly while boiling. Cool, then serve.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 02/18/2014 - Rice pudding is one of my perennial favorite desserts. This version fuses arborio rice with citrus, cinnamon and a dash of creamy mascarpone cheese to achieve a kind of rice-pudding nirvana.
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    In a saucepan, combine the lemon peel, 2 cups water, the butter and a pinch of salt.
    Bring to a boil. Add the rice and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
    In a separate saucepan, bring the milk, granulated sugar, cinnamon sticks and vanilla to a low boil.
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    Beat the remaining ¼ cup Mascarpone and the confectioners' sugar in a bowl.
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    Yvonne Vissing Ph.D.
    Celiac.com 02/02/2016 - Thanksgiving dinner is one of the culinary highlights of the year. Family and friends join together to share a blessed moment when they give thanks for each other and for homes, jobs, and the opportunity to live comfortable lives. We may give thanks for peace, decent weather, surviving illness, or just making it through another day.
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    In contrast to the previous soup recipe with is savory, this is a sweet soup recipe.
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    I was a vegetarian for two decades and know how awesome non-meat holiday dishes can be. Tofurky never quite worked for me. Here is one of our favorite dishes - but it's not safe for vegans because it contains both eggs and cheese. Sorry about that! We can't be all things to all people—but at least we are honestly transparent.
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    Salt, pepper, A-1 sauce, optional dried minced onions or dried parsley
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    What's Thanksgiving dinner without stuffing? Here's our version—tweak to your heart's content!
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    What could be easier? Scrape clean potatoes, cut them into hunks and toss them into boiling water until soft. Then mash. Add butter, milk, salt and pepper. Make more than you think you're going to need—they are going to disappear.
    Baked Corn
    Take 2 cans of gluten-free creamed corn, a can of whole kernel corn, drained, and mix them together in a bowl with 2-3 eggs, 1/3 cup corn starch, dried minced onion, salt and pepper and a smidge of butter. Pour into a greased casserole and bake until it is bubbly.
    Bacony-Delicious Brussel Sprouts
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    I'll be honest with you—as a child I learned to bake some of the most fantastic yeast wheat bread imaginable. gluten-free bread has, by far, been the hardest thing for me to recreate with satisfaction. My solution? Don't try to do it in a way that recreates child memories. Find a new way. You may be pleased with the result.
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    Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour into greased muffin tins. Make sure the tins are gluten-free safe. We have a special pan that nothing else goes in, and recommend you do the same. It's better to spray the muffin cups instead of using papers—the muffins actually come out much prettier. They rise high and are beautiful and tasty. These are our autumn delights!
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    This is the traditional dessert and so easy to make.
    Gluten-Free Pie Crust:
    1 can pumpkin 2/3 c. sugar 3 eggs 1 can evaporated milk Cinnamon, nutmeg Butter A tsp of corn starch Directions:
    The nice thing about making a gluten-free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner is that all the ingredients in the pie are naturally gluten-free, except for the pie crust. So follow the directions on the can for pie, or use the directions here. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then put into a gluten-free crust (your choice of frozen or homemade) and bake until it is firm and beautiful. Don't burn it! It will firm up as it sits for a few minutes. Top with ice cream or whip cream, and maybe a garnish of chocolate or glazed nuts. Serve with coffee or tea, and enjoy the closing conversation.
    This meal should leave everyone feeling satiated and satisfied. What most people are grateful for at Thanksgiving is to just sit together with loved ones and share good conversation, laughter, and connection. What they eat isn't nearly as important as eating together. But with a menu like this, everyone can eat together and feel treated to a gourmet meal fit for a king. And it's fun to show nonbelievers how scrumptious Going Gluten Free can be!

    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD
    Celiac.com 04/12/2016 - Vitamin B12 is a group of cobalt containing compounds described by Alan R. Gaby, M.D. in Nutritional Medicine called cobalamins. Methylcobalamin is the coenzyme form of B12 that is critical for human health. Hydroxocobalamin is a more stable form of B12 but it first needs to be converted to an active form before use in metabolism.
    Vitamin B12 is important in DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, homocysteine metabolism and the production of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). Adequate B12 is essential for proper neurological and immune function.
    The importance of Vitamin B12 in health and anemia management began during the Depression era when animal protein foods were limited in the American diet. Three physicians who reversed pernicious anemia in dogs were awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize for medicine. Dr. George Hoyt Whipple and two other physicians fed the dogs and humans 1/2 pound of fresh liver per day as a means to control anemia.
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    The Institute of Medicine indicates that only 2 to 4 mcg Vitamin B12 is needed daily. The average American diet contains 5-15 mcg per day according to NHANES studies. Vegetarians and infants breastfed by vegan mothers are at greatest risk of developing B12 deficiency.
    Other factors increase the risk of developing Vitamin B12 insufficiency. Achlorydria secondary to gastritic, gastric bypass surgery, and ileal resection for Crohn’s disease need assessment due to malabsorption. Apathy abounds throughout the medical community despite the 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics indicating 1 out of every 31 people over 50 being B12 deficient. With increasing numbers of gastric bypass patients and Crohn’s resections, this deficiency could be significantly higher.
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    Many physicians are poorly educated on Vitamin B12 importance since it is a vitamin and easy to treat. Treatment with methylcobalamin injections with few definitive ways to test efficacy seems to be a primary factor. A complete medical history assessing for gut inflammation, celiac disease, GERD, recent nitric oxide use in surgery, and genetic factors like MTHFR should trigger a closer look at B12 adequacy even with a normal homocysteine (HCY) plasma test. High levels of B12 on standard blood analysis usually indicates poor absorption and not intoxification of Vitamin B12. Elevated B12 results >800pg/ml frequently indicate PPI use or low stomach acid malabsorption. Lab results <350pg/ml may still be inadequate for a patient with celiac disease, gluten enteropathy or gastric bypass surgery, so supplementation should be considered.
    Medications matter when considering Vitamin B12 status. Below are common drugs that impair absorption:
    Antacids- maalox, MOM, Mylanta, Tums Histamine blockers- Zantac, Tagamet, Axid, Pepcid Proton Pump Inhibitors- Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium,. Omeprazole, Acidhex Colchicine Questran Metformin, Glucophage Celexa, Effexor, Elavil, Nardil, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin Ativan, Librium, Valium, Xanax Viagra, Cialis, Levitra Compazine, Haldol, Risperdal, Tegretal Vitamin B12 supplementation is probably the safest medical treatment available. Many people need B12 injections to show improvement in their symptoms. Effectiveness of injections depends more on frequency of administration than on amount given with each injection. Those who improve with injections rarely improve with oral or sublingual products no matter how large the dose because the routes of administration are not capable of achieving high enough absorption levels.
    Treatment with Vitamin B12 needs to be continued for life. Until more research on efficacy and safety of oral B12 is available, intramuscular daily or weekly injections should be considered a standard of care, especially in celiac disease and those with gastric bypass surgery.
    A 20 page handout on Digestive Wellness is available for $15 from Dr. Betty Wedman-St Louis, 17920 Gulf Blvd, Ste 606, St. Petersburg, FL 33708. It includes information on how GMO foods destroy health which will be covered in a future article.

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