In our Autumn 2020 issue, Elle Fox of CNM (The College of Naturopathic Medicine) wrote about the drawbacks of gluten, while Svetlana Sidorova provided us with a great gluten-free recipe for Buckwheat and Almond Meal Bread. We can’t wait to try it out!
The Truth about Gluten
An alternative path
by Elle Fox
Gluten is a protein that is found in quite a few grains. There are many reasons that it has become a “problem food” for many, but we can boil them down to one main thing: human intervention. We’ve come a long way from the ancient societies who discovered that they could cultivate grasses for food. We’ve blended and combined modern wheat to produce something that is (supposedly) bigger and better, with greater yield and greater resistance to pests. But it bears no resemblance to the original steppe grasses that our ancestors were used to, and the gluten content is higher.
Gluten gives bread its body and its springiness, but it is a complex molecule that is hard for our bodies to break down and modern food production methods don’t help.
If you look at traditional societies, bread was not made in two and a half hours, as the bread you find in supermarkets is today. Now we use genetically modified yeast to make the bread rise very quickly, so there isn’t enough time for the micro-organisms to break down the gluten and starches.
That’s why wholegrain sourdough, made over 24-48 hours, can be very well tolerated by people who are otherwise intolerant to gluten. The micro-organisms have started the digesting for you.
Other, even more harmful substances sneakily find their way into our food and further compound the problem. We have also introduced pesticides and other toxins. For example, glyphosate – a weed killer and mould reducer – is sprayed on the crops many times a year and at no point is it effectively removed. So, when you pair a difficult to digest substance like gluten – which is effectively like glue – with a toxic agent like glyphosate, it hangs around in the gut. That sets off alarm signals from the immune system which lines the gut and you get local inflammation. Inflammation is a vital part of your immune system’s response to injury and harmful things that enter your body and can result in a number of things like pain, swelling, redness or warmth.
The gut is intimately connected with the skin and the lungs, so reactions to specific foods might manifest as problems with the sinuses, the ears, the throat or the skin. And gluten is the major aggravator for sufferers of inflammatory bowel conditions like Coeliac and Crohn’s disease. Any amount will make them very poorly.
Many of these conditions are the inevitable result of a broken food production system and takes the naturopathic perspective that they can be greatly rehabilitated by healing the gut with good bacteria and by eating foods that are gut friendly.
Processed food is not friendly to the body. At CNM we’re hoping to re-educate people that local food, organically grown and eaten in season, is the best thing you can give yourself. It’s not grains that we should demonise, but the production methods. It’s part of the larger problem, which is that the mass production of food comes at the expense of its nutritional value.
Elle Fox, Naturopath, is a CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine) Graduate, author and speaker.
Buckwheat and Almond Meal Bread
by Svetlana Sidorova
CNM Natural Chef Student
With gluten intolerance on the rise, this delicious buckwheat and almond bread makes a fantastic healthy alternative. It is bursting with healthy fats from the nuts and seeds, and is full of fibre from the psyllium husk. Once you try this bread, you’ll never go back to shop-bought gluten free alternatives.
Makes 1 loaf
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
150g almond meal
140g buckwheat flour
40g sunflower seeds
40g pumpkin seeds
40g cup buckwheat flakes
3 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp psyllium husks
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
250ml warm water
250ml cold water
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together well in a large bowl.
2. In a blender, blend the dates with the apple cider vinegar and warm water.
3. Add the cold water to the blender and blend some more.
4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.
5. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for an hour.
6. In a meantime, preheat the oven to 180 ° C (fan).
7. Line a loaf tin with parchment paper and pour in the batter.
8. Bake for 50 minutes at 180 ° C.
9. Using a toothpick, test for readiness. If still wet, bake for additional 10-15 minutes.
10. Once ready, turn it over onto the cooling rack.
CNM recommends the use of organic ingredients.