If you suffer from any chronic disease, the answer is yes. Sad, but true. I have just returned from a fabulous Institute for Functional Medicine conference in Portland, Oregon. As always, gluten is a hot topic when discussing chronic disease and I felt compelled to share my learnings with you.
So why, might you ask, do you want me to give up bread and pasta and Voo Doo Donuts when they make me so happy? Happy in the short term, maybe, but there is no long-term happiness with gluten.
The wheat that we have today is NOT the wheat of 50 years ago. Back in the day, we used to consume ancient varietals like Einkorn and Kamut. Europeans still enjoy this pure seed. However, in the US, almost all of our wheat is high-yield dwarf wheat. Crossbreeding and crude genetic manipulation beginning in the 1960’s developed this form of wheat. The difference is visible. Dwarf wheat has shorter stems, large seeds and a much greater yield making it more economically feasible.
I recently spoke with a wheat farmer in Kansas. He stated that in the past, he was able to purchase the Einkorn seed (at 7x the price) and had a few crops of this varietal. Over the last 3-5 years, this pure seed is not even available for purchase.
What we have created through genetic modification is a form of food that is vastly different in its nutrient and protein composition. Modern wheat is less nutritious: minerals such as zinc, copper, iron and magnesium have decreased up to 30%.
This dwarf wheat is very inflammatory to our cells and a major contributor to the increase in all autoimmune conditions. This is likely due to the protein composition of the modern wheat. There are more problematic proteins, which stimulate the immune system. A 2015 study found that gluten “increases intestinal permeability in all individuals.” This is not a good thing. Another study from the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that 50% of IBS patients who eliminate gluten, eliminate their IBS too!
Dwarf wheat has been shown to increase TNF-alpha, an inflammatory mediator and a bad actor in the inflammation cascade. Excess inflammation in the body is linked to almost every modern disease. Again, no long-term happiness with the gluten of today!
Granted, going gluten-free used to be a challenge. The products were expensive and hard to find 10 years ago. Not so today. Here is a yummy gluten free cookie recipe for you and your family to enjoy!
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted if lumpy
- 1/2 cup raw or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly1
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/3 cup raspberry jam or jam of choice
- In a medium bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- In another medium bowl, stir together the coconut oil, egg and almond extract.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir just until combined. The dough will feel quite wet. Let sit for 10 minutes, which allows the coconut flour to absorb the liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place 2″ apart on the prepared cookie sheet. The dough will feel quite greasy but this is okay.
- Using your thumb, make an indentation about 3/4 of the way down into each cookie. You may want to re-form the edges a little to make them prettier.
- Fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Be sure not to overfill them.
- Bake for 8 minutes or until the cookies have barely started browning on the bottom.
- Let the cookies, which will be very soft, cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Refrigerate for up to 4 days, can also be frozen!
Recipe courtesy of healthyhappyhourwithshari.com
Photo courtesy of eatrealstaysane.com