Perfect Summer Recipes + Gluten Tutorial

Oooooh…. the following 2 recipes look truly fantastic and perfect for late summer. They’re both from Danielle, at, which is a great web-site for people who are either gluten intolerant or who have celiac disease (an auto-immune disease which damages the small intestine and is caused by eating the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and  oats).

First…. a pop-quiz…Answer yes or no to the following:

  • Villi are small hair like protrusions that line the surface of your small intestine and increase the absorption of the nutrients from the food you eat.
  •  If the villi are damaged due to an immune reaction caused by eating gluten, the decreased absorption of nutrients can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of vital nourishment leading to other illnesses and even stunted growth in children.
  • Celiac disease is more common than Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and cystic fibrosis combined.
  • Gluten is hidden in many foods and used in unexpected ways such as a stabilizing agent or thickener in products like ice-cream and ketchup
  • Gluten can even be in things like the glue that you lick on envelopes.

OK…. I’m betting you all got 100%, answered yes to all of the above and wish that I was the one who developed the questions to all of your tests and quizzes throughout your school years… right? (Please say yes).

Anyway, regarding problems that arise in many people from eating grains… generally speaking, the type of grains that cause problems for people who’re sensitive or intolerant are as stated above: wheat, rye, barley and oats (although there’s a lack of concensus from the medical community regarding oats…. there’s growing evidence that pure oats may not cause a problem to people with celiac disease, but they may become contaminated with other grains in the facility they’re processed in or the fields they’re grown in).

The problem is caused by different proteins in these different types of grains. Other grains have these kind of proteins too, such as corn and rice, but theirs aren’t toxic to people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. TMI? Not yet! Read on….

A gluten-free diet allows for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and many dairy products. The diet allows rice, corn, soy, potato, tapioca, beans, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, Montina and nut flours and prohibits the ingestion of wheat, barley, rye and related components, including triticale, durum, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt, malt, malt flavouring or malt vinegar. ….

Almond flour is a low-carbohydrate alternative to flour, with a low glycemic index. In spite of its name,buckwheat is not related to wheat; pure buckwheat is considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet, although many commercial buckwheat products are actually mixtures of wheat and buckwheat flours, and thus not acceptable. Gram flour, derived from chickpeas, is also gluten-free (this is not the same as Graham flour made from wheat).  wikipedia

OK, if you’re still hanging in here with the tutorial, that means you’re REALLY interested in this, so read on. If not, skip down to the recipes below. Here’s the deal (from Living Gluten-Free for Dummies by Danna Korn):

wheat causes the body – in all humans, not just celiacs – to produce too much of the protein zonulin. This excess zonulin causes the junctions between cells in the small intestine to open too much, and next thing you know, there’s a party in the bloodstream and all sorts of things can get into the bloodstream that shouldn’t be there – things like toxins and gluten fragments. When stuff leaks through the intestinal wall that normally shouldn’t be able to, the condition’s called leaky gut syndrome.

So now, thanks to the excess of zonulin that was released because you ate gluten, the gluten fragment has made it’s way into the bloodstream. In people with celiac disease, the body sees gluten fragments as invaders -toxins that shouldn’t be there. So it launches an all-out attack against these invaders, but – and here’s why celiac disese is called an autoimmune response – the body also attacks itself.

An autoimmune disease is one in which the body’s immune system produces antibodies that react against normal, healthy tissue (rather than against bacteria or viruses), causing inflammation and damage. Celiac disease is unique, because it’s the only autoimmune disease for which people know the trigger that sets off the response….

Specifically, the body attacks the villi on the lining of the small intestine. As the villi get chopped down- blunted is the technical term- they can no longer be as effective in absorbing nutrients. That’s why you see malabsorption (poor nutrient absorption and nutritional deficiencies in people with celiac disease who still eat gluten).

Because the food is just passing through without being absorbed the way it’s supposed to be, you sometimes see diarrhea. But think about this: The small intestine is nearly 22 feet long, and damage from celiac disease starts at the upper part – so there’s lots of small intestine to compensate for the damaged part that’s not able to do its job. That means by the time you have diarrhea, you’re usually a very sick puppy”.

I’m sure you’ve seen the gluten free aisles in many markets and many of us are becoming more aware that this has been a pretty common situation, even if we weren’t aware of it before.

So lucky us, that we have those gluten free aisles, books, & research that can be used to educate ourselves, and web-sites like to show how fun and delicious gluten-free diets can actually be!

And for those of us who may not be gluten intolerant or sensitive… or may not KNOW that we are (!), just an FYI….. remember the point above that the protein in gluten affects ALL humans by opening up the gaps in our small intestine allowing toxins into our bloodstream, and also that grains and all products made from grains, to some degree, = sugar = excess insulin = inflammation= likelihood of fat on our body, and, = possible development of chronic inflammation and chronic degenerative disease. BUMMER!

So here you go, a link to 2 great healthy recipes that are perfect for using up some fresh garden produce!

watermelon salad with arugula, goat cheese, and candied walnuts

Posted by Against All Grain on June 10, 2012 · 12 Comments

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zucchini noodles

Posted by Against All Grain on July 30, 2012 · 14 Comments

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2 Responses to Perfect Summer Recipes + Gluten Tutorial

  1. johnrmcphee says:

    Susan – THIS is so valuable and important … my bro has celiacs and since realizing it and going gluten-free he is so much healthier and also lost 18 pounds … and 5 years later it is still off … he says its because of EXACTLY what you say above …. grains -> sugar -> insulin -> fat on body!
    We are doing best we can to follow in your footsteps – ESPECIALLY so since i saw bicyclist on NW23rd last week who looks as though he has lost more than 20 pounds and I KNOW he lives for your direction and guidance! THANKS FOR THIS – J

  2. Thanks John… sometimes I wonder if practically all of us may be at least “sensitive” to gluten. Autoimmune diseases seem to be on the rise, and since something like 90 % of our immune system is located in our gut, it would seem that the human body’s reaction to gluten (opening up the door into the bloodstream for things that shouldn’t be there) are the beginning of many chronic degenerative diseases. I’m tempted to give it a try and see if I notice a difference…. but it must be hard at first!!

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