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Comfort Food: Gluten-Free Rice Pudding

Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Summer Issue - Originally published July 7, 2014


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.

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.

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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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:
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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Ditto. However, this is what I can never understand about gluten free food. (see the bold bits which I've taken from the article) "We wanted to determine if gluten consumption will affect health in people with no apparent medical reasons to avoid gluten. Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more,? I wonder why what so much of what I eat that's gluten free doesn't have added vitamins - we of all people need fortification in our cereals and bread, surely?

Yeah we learned that the hard way. I am inclined to think (as I did initially) that it was JUST the Cheerios but as time is passing and she is not bouncing back I am worried that we need to strip away dairy again for a while.

Oh I have no issue with being dairy free personally but tell that to a 13 year old. We both went gluten-free at the same time and it has been mindlessly easy for me. But I am easy about food and no real food issues. I am far more adaptable. She comes to the table with her own unique set of issues that complicate just easily transitioning to dairy free versions of much loved favorites. To most they are jst that "substitutes" to her they are completely different foods and ones that she has no interest in eating. They don't satisfy her need for XYZ. It is like craving an apple and someone handing you a fish. For her anyway! LOL!

I believe the talk around this forum is that cheerios are not gluten free enough for people with celiac at this time. I don't know if anything has changed on that and when their lawyer calls me I'll quickly delete this. haha

Could be we generally say get off of dairy for a few months when going gluten free. The part of the intestines that produce the enzymes, and help break down dairy are associated with the tips of the villi, which are the most damaged if not gone in celiacs. THIS is why most of us end up with a lactose intolerance early on. And most can introduce it later after healing. As to her symptoms with it there was a bunch of research about dairy permeated the gut and causing neurological issues in a autism study I was looking at years ago. And there have been other studies about damaged intestines and how the hormones in milk can easier effect ones body. Personally I also have a huge grudge against dairy on a personal level as it is not natural to suck on a cows tits and drink the stuff, nor your dogs, nor a rabbits......I mean come on even Human Breast milk you would find odd to drink as an adult right? Back in the past dairy was a great way to get calories and fats when there was famine, etc around I mean it is meant to make a calf grow into a 500+lb cow. But on a genetic and hormonal level it is not really for human consumption and now days the whole corporate BS propaganda push and dairy farms shove that oh its healthy stuff down your throat. There are plenty of dairy free options for everything feel free to message me if you need help finding anything I have been dairy free for over a decade.