Bread and bread alternatives

Making gluten-free sourdough bread is easy. Try any mix of grains.

Making gluten-free sourdough bread is easy. Try any mix of grains.

Is bread right for me?

For thousands of years, most cultures have thrived on some kind of bread. In the Western world, bread has traditionally been made from wheat and/or rye.

Recently, there has been an exponential increase in celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, prompting many to wonder whether gluten is bad. Many folks have sought out gluten-free alternatives to bread and other baked goods.

Gluten can trigger autoimmune illnesses and fuel auto-immune flare-ups. This is especially true for celiac disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. However, I have seen autoimmune illnesses such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis go into remission through strict elimination of gluten.

Beyond autoimmunity, other conditions make gluten inadvisable. When digestion is poor and gut health is compromised, the proteins that make up gluten can enter the bloodstream before being fully broken down. These long peptide sequences can be improperly metabolized into a morphine-like compound called gluteomorphin. Gluteopmorphin can cause emotional and behavior changes. Unfortunately, it can also make gluten highly addictive.

Whether and to what extent you tolerate gluten depends on your gut health, your predisposition to autoimmune illnesses and the quality and purity of the food you eat. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, has been implicated in celiac disease and other forms of gluten sensitivity.

Many people tolerate gluten just fine. And many people don’t. There are many different reasons for this, and I welcome you to contact me for a nutritional therapy session if you would like to explore whether gluten is right for you or a family member.

Gluten free – not always better

In recent years, there has been an exponential growth in the availability of gluten-free foods. Not all of these are good, just as gluten isn’t always bad. It used to be that people who could not eat gluten automatically avoided many highly inflammatory foods altogether and ate more wholesome and natural foods than those consuming gluten. They avoided most processed foods and restaurant foods. Instead, they consumed more whole foods in their natural form and made more homemade foods from scratch.

While it’s really great that there are so many gluten-free choices in stores and restaurants today, there is a downside. In fact, many people who avoid gluten to a health condition are now consuming more processed foods, which can have adverse effects on health.

Beyond bread: gluten-free alternatives to sourdough breadgluten-free injera

Gluten is definitely not for everyone and can be hard on many people’s immune and digestive systems.

– You can look up recipes for making a homemade teff starter for injera bread. I have had great success with teff and find it a lovely flour to work with. The simplest way to make the teff starter is to follow the recipe for the traditional sourdough starter and substitute teff flour for the wheat, spelt or rye flour. Then follow your favorite recipe for injera bread (I like Sandor Katz’ recipes in Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation).

Another really fun alternative to bread is my Warrior’s Chickpea Pizza recipe, which uses fermented chickpea flour, high in minerals and B vitamins, and higher in protein than breads made with grains.

Recipes

Sourdough bread – with and without gluten

Warrior’s Chickpea Pizza

Chestnut flour flatbread

Coconut and nut flour breads

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