Going Gluten-Free

[This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2006. ]

I had always considered myself to be healthy. But I had no idea that one of the cornerstones of my diet, wheat and other gluten-containing grains (rye, oats and barley), was causing me so many problems until I eliminated them for a month. After my four-week, gluten-free trial, I decided to try some wheat just to see what would happen. Within a few hours, all of my familiar symptoms returned that had quietly disappeared over the past few weeks: fatigue, digestive problems, constipation, canker sores, acne, mood swings, and irritability. I had not realized how mediocre my level of health really was until I felt the difference! Life without wheat became very desirable to me because I felt so much better without it, although my cravings for it were still strong. Finding tasty alternatives was the key for making an easy transition.

Increasing numbers of people are finding that they are allergic or intolerant to grains that contain gluten: wheat, rye, barley and oats. James Braly and Ron Hoggan, the authors of Dangerous Grains, estimate the incidence of gluten sensitivity to be around 30 percent of the population, but some researchers think it may be much higher. While some people may find that properly prepared, long fermented sourdough bread may not be problematic, others cannot handle any grains. This is not an issue to be taken lightly, since gluten can damage the lining of the small intestine causing malabsorption of nutrients, which can lead to serious disease.

Here are some of my favorite gluten-free recipes.

 

Rosemary Crackers

From Vibrant Health by Becky Mauldin.

Makes 16-20

2 cups walnuts, soaked in salted water overnight
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked with the walnuts
1 clove garlic
3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
2 teaspoons raw red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup ground flaxseed

Drain nuts and seeds in a colander. Place in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients, except for the flaxseeds. Process to form a coarse paste. Pulse food processor to mix in the flaxseeds. Spread mixture onto non-stick dehydrator sheets as thin as possible with a rubber spatula or your hands. Score into cracker shapes with a knife. Dehydrate at 100 degrees for 12-24 hours, remove nonstick sheet and dry until completely dry.

Onion Bread

From Recipes for Life by Becky Mauldin.

Makes 8-10 slices

1 1/2 cups onion
2 cups golden flax seed, ground
1 cup crispy almonds, ground
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of pepper

Process all ingredients in a food processor until well mixed. Form dough into a loaf on a cutting board. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place on mesh dehydrator sheets and dry until the outside is dry, but the inside is still soft, about 8-12 hours.

Gluten-Free Granola

Adapted from Raw Food, Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma MeIngailis.

Makes 10 cups

1 apple, chopped
1-1 1/2 cups dried fruit, such as dates, figs and apricots
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
2 cups almonds, soaked overnight
3 cups pecans, soaked overnight
1 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
1 cup dried cranberries

In a food processor, place the chopped apple, dried fruit, sweetener, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and 1/4 cup of the sunflower seeds and grind until completely smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Drain the nuts and seeds and place in the food processor. Coarsely chop the nuts with a few quick pulses. Add them to the bowl with the apple mixture, add the cranberries and stir well. Spread the granola onto Teflex-lined dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 100 degrees for 8-12 hours. Flip the granola over onto the screens and peel away the Teflex. Continue dehydrating for another 8-12 hours, or until it is crunchy. Break apart into pieces, let cool, and store in an airtight container.

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Adapted from The No-Grain Diet by Joseph Mercola and Alison Rose Levy.

Makes 6-8

2 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cream or coconut cream
1 tablespoon honey
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
blueberries for mixing into batter

Combine all ingredients, stir in blueberries and cook on a hot cast iron griddle.

Rice Muffins

Makes 12-14

1 1/2 cups rice flour
about 3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons whey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Zucchini Muffins

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1/4 teaspoon dried ginger

Carrot Muffins

1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Fruit Muffins

1-1 1/2 cups blueberries, blackberries
or raspberries

Mix the first three ingredients and soak overnight. After soaking mix oil and honey thoroughly in a separate container. Add eggs, then salt, soda, powder, and any spices. Combine flour mix and egg mix with fruit or vegetable. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes,or until a toothpick comes out clean.

GLUTEN-FREE RESOURCES

Celiac Disease Association: www.celiac.com/

Celiac Sprue Association: www.csaceliacs.org/

Specific Carbohydrate Diet: www.scdiet.org/

Note: Oats do not have gluten.  They are added to the gluten-containing list above because they are usually contaminated with wheat…. wheat and oats are usually grown next to each other.  However, now Bob's Red Mill sells gluten-free oats. 

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Becky Mauldin, N.D. is a Naturopath, teacher, speaker, and author.  She has authored two gluten-free cookbooks, Vibrant Health and Recipes for Life. Her story of recovery from an incurable illness has inspired many people around the world. She is known for making a healthy diet achievable for real people and real life.

Connect with her on Facebook and let her know what you think of this post. 

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3 Responses to Going Gluten-Free

  1. Thanks for sharing this great round-up at Allergy-Free Wednesdays.  I'll have to try some of them out.  As always, we hope to see you back again next week!
    ~Michelle, AFW Hostess

  2.  
    Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!
     
    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
    http://realfoodforager.com/fat-tuesday-march-13-2012/

  3. Jennifer says:

    We have been Gluten Free and Dairy Free in our house for three years since 4 of use we diagnosed with celiac disease. In the beginning we had many of the same struggles but sticking to the diet has made us feel so much better and when we get "GLUTENED" life stops as we get violently ill. I love the recipes you have posted and I will defiantly be trying them in the next few weeks. Thank you for the post

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