face it most of the results of our first gluten-free bread
baking experiences were truly Wonder Bread. We looked at it
and wondered, what in the heck is that? We tasted it and wondered,
what in the heck is that?
We, Americans are obsessed with bread. And
we, Celiacs have taken this obsession to a new level.
We will eat ghastly tasting bread-like objects to trick our
minds into believing we are enjoying a good slice of bread.
Why do we do it? Because we always have; habit; and because
we are inundated with advertising messages that tell us that
bread is good for us.
If we look back to the beginnings of mankind,
human beings originally consumed a diet of vegetation and
The so-called "Agricultural Revolution"
(primarily the domestication of animals, cereal grains, and
legumes) occurred first in the Near East about 10,000 years
ago and spread to northern Europe about 5,000 years ago. What
this shows us is that historically human beings lived off
a diet void of domesticated cereal grains (wheat, rye, oats,
barley, corn, rice, sorghum and millet).
primate gut is not equipped with the enzyme systems required
to derive energy from specific types of fiber. Consequently,
unless cereal grains are milled to break down the cell walls
and cooked to crystallize the starch granules (and hence make
them more digestible), the proteins and carbohydrates are
largely unavailable for absorption. So, until the onset of
regular fire use and processing, it would have been almost
impossible for our species to consume cereal grains to supply
the bulk of our daily caloric requirements.
Bi-gastric herbivores (those having second
stomachs) have evolved an efficient second gut with bacteria
that can ferment the fiber found in leaves, shrubs, and grasses
and thereby extract nutrients in an efficient manner. Humans
can clearly put grasses and grass seeds into our mouths; but
we do not have a GI tract which can efficiently extract the
energy and nutrients.
This would serve to dispel the notion that
bread or even grains are necessary for a healthy diet. And
certainly not the staff of life.
One of the reasons people get depressed
about eating gluten-free is that they focus on what they cant
eat. They mourn bread, pasta, pizza and the like. They are
disappointed when the bread they make looks and tastes funny
and falls apart in their hands when they try to eat it.
struggle to find any edible item at their favorite fast food
restaurants. They are caught in a spiral of desperation about
what they cant eat by surrounding themselves with foods
People diagnosed with Celiac disease, especially
the newly diagnosed, get caught up in the quest for great
tasting gluten-free bagels or pizza or for anything that they
can eat at McDonalds. This line of thinking is a set up for
failure and disappointment. A bagel is a bagel because of
gluten. A bagels chewy texture is chewy because of gluten.
A croissant is a croissant because of gluten. Remove the gluten
and its not a croissant.
There are hundreds of bread and bread-type
recipes in the archives of Glutenfreeda.com, but our philosophy
is not to focus on bread. Instead, we focus our attention
on foods other than bread, foods that are naturally gluten-free.
Instead of being disappointed or settling
for less, we concentrate on naturally gluten-free foods that
will turn out great every time. There are thousands of healthy,
wholesome, authentic gluten-free foods that you can enjoy
without shopping by mail order, without adjusting recipes,
without purchasing a battery of strange ingredients or equipment.
The good news is you can change your eating
habits to a naturally gluten-free lifestyle with healthy,
whole foods and organic foods. If you read the labels on organic
foods you will find minimal processing, most are gluten-free,
no artificial ingredients and no preservatives.
naturally gluten-free is eating healthy.
The elimination of gluten means the elimination
of a lot of other things your body doesnt need like
fast food, preservatives, etc. We also know that breads and
wheat and other cereal grains do supply nutrients so
how do we make sure we get these nutrients without eating
wheat? By choosing foods that are high in the nutrients usually
supplied by gluten breads and other cereal grains. By selecting
foods that are high in B vitamins & iron and fiber.
Foods that are high in B Vitamins and iron
are fish, dairy products (for those that can eat dairy), meats,
legumes, nuts, seeds and just about all fruits and vegetables.
There are so many wonderful foods that are
Think about it rice, potatoes, vegetables,
beans, meats, poultry, fresh fruit and list goes on and on
Naturally gluten-free food tastes like it
should! It is not hard to make things come out right because
they turn out the way they are supposed to taste authentic.
So now you know why eating naturally gluten-free
is a positive way to approach Celiac Disease but is
The first step is to develop a gluten-free
pantry and this way youll have everything on hand when
you want to make just about anything. Think ahead to
eat well on a gluten-free diet you must think ahead. Even
if cooking is not your first love there are ways to
cook infrequently in bulk and freeze it.
Schedule some time on the weekend to make
a few staples like broths and sausage. One of the items I
always have on hand is homemade stocks. I know there are gluten-free
stocks or broths on the market but homemade stocks
are so much better. You can completely control the ingredients,
and it couldnt be easier to make. I always buy whole
chickens for whatever chicken dish I plan to make. It is more
economical and I can custom cut it. When cutting up a chicken,
I put the back and neck into a larger pot, fill it with water,
bring it to a boil, add carrots, celery and onion, a few herbs
reduce it to a simmer and forget about it for 6 hours.
I then strain off the broth and pour it into 1 and 2 cup plastic
containers and freeze them. Lets face it, when you cut
up a chicken you have to do something with the back and neck.
Its just as easy to throw it in a pot as the trash.
Homemade sausage is even easier. Have the
butcher at any grocer store grind pork with a fair amount
of fat in it. If its too lean, sausage will dry out.
I usually have the butcher grind 4-5 pounds and package them
in 1 pound packages. Bulk sausage is nothing more than spices
added to ground pork. Make different flavors like chorizo,
breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, etc. and freeze then for
And then the obvious fresh fruits
(lemons, limes), vegetables (red & green peppers, green
onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, lettuce) eggs, meats, seafood,
beans, nuts, etc.
Add variety to your diet by increasing your
fish consumption (get those great omega-3s). A lot of
people we found in our classes profess not to like fish
but part of the problem is that they havent eaten fish
that is cooked well
or fresh fish. Contrary to popular
belief fresh fish is not fishy. If you buy fish and it smells
fishy it is old do not eat it. But fish is a
great way to add nutrients to your diet.
A gluten-free diet can be anything but restrictive.
Celiac disease can be the vehicle that will lead you to a
better and healthier way of eating and you may find, as I
have that it can truly be a blessing in disguise.
Resouces: The Late Role of Grains and
in the Human Diet, and Biochemical Evidence
of their Evolutionary Discordance
by Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
Published "Cereal grains: humanity's double-edged sword."
(1999) World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics, vol.
84, pp. 19-73.