Is Gluten Free the New Black?

Apparently gluten free is trendy. I should alert Gluten Free Grandma that she might have started a fad. For those with celiac disease or wheat allergies, following a gluten free diet is a true necessity. If you don't already know, Celiac disease in an autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye. Those with simple wheat allergies aren't experiencing any fun either; some symptoms include fatigue, skin rashes or acne, bloating, mood swings, joint aches, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, constipation or diarrhea.

Sour Dough Bread with Rye

It's possible that those who are following gluten free diets might also be feeling better because they are eating real food. It is difficult to think of a processed food that doesn't have some form of wheat. In our country we really go overboard with wheat flour. Other cultures make delicious flours from corn, rice, teff, amaranth, millet, coconut, legumes, seeds and nuts. 

This may come as a surprise but I don't think the whole world needs to go gluten free. I do think we need to look into better preparation of our wheat-based foods. Sourdough bread is not gluten free but when traditionally made is a very healthy and yummy old-world treat. The most nutritious way to eat grains is to soak your grains to remove the phytic acid. Why do we want to do this? Because phytic acid blocks absorption of important nutrients including phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Now that the air has cooled I have been enjoying gluten free oatmeal. Oats are technically gluten free but if produced in a plant that also produces gluten-containing foods then there is a risk of cross-contamination. I soak my grains overnight in water with a squirt of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Here's a guide to soaking all your favorite grains. If you want to read more about cooking with grains I suggest reading Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats by Sallon Fallon with Mary G. Enig and The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics by Jessica Porter.

A Few Announcements . . .
Speaking of gluten-free things I want to mention that the Illinois Food Allergy Education Association will be taking part in the Hike for Lung Health on October 3, click here for more information. Also, later today Doreen Virtue will be hosting an on-line live seminar on how to heal weight, appetite, cravings and addictions. The seminar pre-show will start at 3:45 PDT (5:45 pm Central).

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