Home' Nova National : NOVA NATIONAL NOVEMBER 2011 Contents ALLERGIES ARE BECOMING far more
prevalent than ever and everywhere I go
I am hearing people say to me they are
gluten intolerant. Indeed, gluten free is the
new 'in' trend, with the perception that
because a food is gluten free, it is healthy.
I don't think people are always
intolerant to gluten, but rather are showing
the symptoms of poor gut ecology, an
exhausted digestive system from too many
processed and difficult to digest foods, poor
eating habits, and a poor understanding of
how to prepare grains for optimal digestion.
Grains are some of the most difficult
foods for humans to digest, with the
particular protein in wheat among the most
difficult. What is important to understand
is that this is only compounded with an
immature (young children) or an adult's
compromised digestive system (poor gut
ecology, sickness, ageing) with the resulting
problems ranging from bloating to a general
Shifting to other grains that are not
wheat can help alleviate this problem.
Thus other gluten grains such as barley,
oats, rye or spelt may be easier to digest;
of these, spelt and oats are the most water-
soluble. Such individuals will also be able to
tolerate the gluten free grains, amaranth,
buckwheat, corn (maize), millet, quinoa and
rice. Some can tolerate oats when they are
certified free from gluten contamination,
but the idea that there is such a thing a true
gluten free oat is hotly debated. Still, I am
of the belief, that if you are truly are coeliac
(and have been diagnosed), you should
There are many other primary and
essential ways to aid the body in the way
it digests food, including those containing
● Eat real food. It is this which the body
understands, smells and responds to.
● Eat whole, real and unprocessed
foods. Raw, whole milk or wholegrains
for example, are easier to digest than pro-
cessed and fractionalised foods. Refined
foods, especially white flour and white
sugar, actually remove valuable nutrients
from the body in order to be digested.
● Introduce and use lacto fermented foods
for beneficial bacteria. You're probably
hearing a lot about probiotics these days
and how good they are for you. Well,
lacto fermented or cultured foods are the
original probiotics, providing an abundance
of beneficial bacteria. A good gut ecology
with an abundance of these beneficial
bacteria and yeasts is a critical part of the
digestive process. Some examples of these
include yoghurt, kefir, cheese, kombucha
and pickled vegetables such as sauerkraut
● Serve lacto fermented foods to aid
digestion. A little sour cream or yoghurt,
or cultured vegetables with a meal goes a
long way towards helping heavier foods
like meats, legumes and whole grains be
● Reduce your reliance on grain (especially
bread). It can be a difficult thing to digest
and this is one of the reasons so many
people have problems with it.
● Use the 'softer' and easier to digest
grains such as hulled millet, oats, rice,
quinoa and amaranth. The high protein /
low carb 'grains' quinoa and amaranth are
● Where possible, soak all grain used.
Soaking delivers huge benefits to grain
which all contain phytic acid in the outer
layer or bran and enzymes that inhibit
digestion. As little as seven hours of
soaking in water at room temperature with
some acid (lemon juice, vinegar, whey,
buttermilk, yoghurt or kefir) encourages
lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to
break these down. Another huge benefit
is that lactobacilli break down gluten and
other difficult to digest proteins, and in
effect, pre digest the protein.
● Once soaked, cook the grain in a bone
● Where possible, bread should be
sourdough, or made from sprouted grain or
sprouted grain flour. Sourdough leavening
is ultimately a process of lacto fermentation,
and will provide similar benefits to the grain
flour as described above.
● Include coconut oil, cream and milk
liberally. Coconut is one of the gut's best
friends as its short and medium chain
fatty acids can help promote the beneficial
bacteria in the gut.
● Go carefully with soy products, which
can be very difficult to digest.
● Support the digestive process with bone
stocks. For example, cooking grains in
● Use real salt which aids digestion. I like
the Celtic Sea Salt.
For some, this will be enough. For
others, they will not be able to tolerate
any gluten at all. There are varying degrees
of intolerance to gluten, from those who
simply find it incredibly difficult to digest
(generally because they have a poor
digestive system) to Coeliac Disease, where
gluten triggers an autoimmune response,
damaging the stomach. In both cases, all
gluten containing grains should be avoided.
There's a lot of confusion about wheat
free diets and gluten free diets -- they are not
necessarily the same thing. As you can see
from the above, some people just need to
avoid the particular gluten found in wheat,
and they will be fine. On a gluten free diet
they will need to avoid all gluten grains.
Thus something labelled 'wheat free' may
not necessarily be gluten free and labelling
something ' wheat and gluten free' is silly --
you may as well just say 'gluten free'.
The other aspect I'd like to discuss here
is if you or your child is gluten intolerant,
be careful what you choose to replace it.
Baking with gluten free grain flours is tricky
-- they don't really like to stick together.
Thus most gluten free pasta, noodles,
pastry, cakes or biscuits are made from
highly, highly refined starches and gums
(gums are a big no no). Potato, rice, tapioca
and corn starches are all very popular for
gluten free baking. They give a lovely light
end result, but cast your mind back to when
you were a child and mixed a white starch
with water -- you got glue. These highly
refined starches will do the same thing in
your stomach and compound the problem
by breaking down to sugars too quickly,
and feeding bad bacteria. They have their
place, but you are much better off trying
to avoid them as much as possible and,
instead, becoming comfortable with using
the gluten free whole grains described
above and their flours. Give my gluten
free muffin a try out in your kitchen this
month. I hope you enjoy it.
© NOVA NOVEMBER 2011
CLASSIC GLUTEN FREE MUFFIN:
MAKES 9 - 10 GOOD SIZE MUFFINS
See our website
novamagazine.com.au for more of
Jude's fabulous wholefood recipes
This is a lovely, all purpose mix for gluten
free baking. You can replace the coconut with
groundnuts if desired. You can expect to use ¾
cup milk, increasing it as you remove the egg.
Macadamia Nut, Coconut and Palm Sugar
Topping (Makes enough for 10 muffins)
• ½ cup roughly chopped raw macadamia nuts
• 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
• 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
Mix all ingredients together
• 1¼ cups / 200gm brown rice flour
• ¼ cup / 30gm quinoa flour
• ¼ cup/ 30gm true arrowroot
• ¼ cup / 20gm desiccated coconut
• 2½ teaspoons baking powder
• ½ cup rapadura sugar
• 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
• 80gm butter unsalted - melted and cooled a
little, or 1/3 cup macadamia or almond oil
• ½ cup full cream, non - homogenised milk
• ½ cup buttermilk, kefir or yoghurt
OR for dairy free:
• ½ cup each rice milk and coconut milk with 2
teaspoons apple cider vinegar added.
• 400 gm fruit, weighed as bought (with skin or
stone), peeled as needed, cut as desired
PREPARING TO BAKE:
Pre heat the oven to 180c or 165c if fan forced.
Place muffin papers into a 12 hole muffin tin.
Have your topping prepared and ready.
Place flours, coconut, baking powder, and
sugar into a bowl and stir through with a whisk
to lighten and break up the flours, and sugar
clumps. Add the fruit (except if using berries)
and stir gently to distribute evenly.
Place the egg, vanilla, butter and 3/4 cup mixed
milks into a jug and whisk together. If using rice
and coconut milk, add the apple cider vinegar
also. Add to the dry ingredients and gently mix
together. Add the remaining milk as needed
-- gluten free batters should be slightly wetter
than those made with spelt or wheat. Gently
fold through berries if using.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins,
generously sprinkle with the topping and bake
for 30 - 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool for 10
minutes in the tins, then remove and cool on
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