William Davis's Blog
July 22, 2014
Kyla posted this question on the Wheat Belly Facebook page. Her story so perfectly illustrates some of the problems with gluten-free foods that I’m sharing it here. I started the wheat free diet at the end of May. I lost over 8 1/2 inches all over during June and at the end that month I found the “gluten free/wheat free” section at the grocery store. Not thinking about the fact that it had rice flour, I found things I really liked. Problem is I stopped losing and actually gained an inch back, and started getting incredibly bad headaches that would last for hours. Could it be the rice flour? Yes, Kyla: The increase in fat weight and headaches can most definitely be blamed on the rice flour. We’ve discussed why such gluten-free replacements are unhealthy, but let’s do so again in some greater detail. There are four common flours used to replace wheat and gluten to recreate baked products like breads, pasta, and cookies:
Rice flour (and brown rice flour)
You already know that wheat products raise blood sugar to high levels, such that 2 slices of whole wheat bread raises blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar. (Don’t believe it? It’s in every table of glycemic index. Get yourself an inexpensive glucose meter and test strips and check your blood sugar 30-60 minutes after consuming either: You will see high values after sugar, higher values after whole wheat bread.) What foods are worse than wheat? Rice flour, potato flour, cornstarch, and tapioca starch. Every time blood sugars rise to high levels, high insulin levels follow. Insulin blocks mobilization of fat and encourages fat deposition. So wheat makes you grow fat, especially the inflammatory visceral fat variety–and so do these gluten-free flours and starches. That’s why I call these gluten-free replacement ingredients junk carbs. Let me state this unequivocally: Gluten-free foods made with these junk carb ingredients make you fat. The values below would be a representative blood sugar experience 30-60 minutes after consumption of these foods: Fasting blood glucoose: 100 mg/dl After a whole wheat bagel: 167 mg/dl After a whole grain gluten-free bagel: 189 mg/dl These would be typical values in a non-diabetic. People with diabetes typically range even higher. Every time blood sugar ranges above 100 mg/dl, you glycate proteins, i.e,. you glucose-modify proteins irreversibly. If the proteins in the lenses of your eyes are glycated, they create opacities that, over time, result in cataracts. If the proteins in the cartilage of your knees and hips are glycated, cartilage becomes increasingly brittle, eroding over time and leading to arthritis. If the proteins in your LDL particles in the bloodstream are glycated, they are much more adherent to artery walls and cause atherosclerosis and heart attack. If you glycate the proteins in the skin layers, you get brittle skin and age spots. Glycation is a body-wide process and, the higher the blood sugar, the greater the glycation. It doesn’t end there. As Kyla observed, rice flour had effects that could not be blamed on blood sugar phenomena, headaches in her case. In addition to its exceptional glycemic potential, rice has a small quantity of wheat germ agglutinin (even though it is in rice) that is inflammatory and a direct bowel toxin. It also contains inorganic arsenic, a finding that had the FDA commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg hemming and hawing recently. FDA conclusion: levels detected did not provoke acute toxicity, even though the highest levels (30 mcg per serving in rice bran cereal) overlap with the toxic levels that occur in water in some parts of the world (WHO), but chronic toxicity is still an uncertainty. Among the effects of acute inorganic arsenic toxicity are neurological phenomena, such as headaches. If her gluten-free products were made with cornstarch, then there are other potential problems. Even though corn is technically classified as “gluten-free,” nobody tells you that the zein protein of corn overlaps substantially in amino acid structure with the gliadin proteins of wheat, rye, and barley. Many of effects triggered by wheat gliadin, such as increased intestinal permeability and anti-gliadin antibody autoimmune phenomena, are also triggered by the zein protein of corn. This explains why, for instance, in animal models of type 1 diabetes, 15% of animals eating wheat- and cornstarch-free chow develop the disease, while 57-70% of animals develop type 1 diabetes if they consume either corn- or wheat-containing chow. And, because the majority of corn is now genetically-modified, it means that most corn products contain residues of the herbicides glyphosate and/or Bt toxin, as well as all the uncertainties introduced by the insertion of new genes, changes both genetic and epigenetic. In other words, the gluten-free industry have chosen to dig this deep hole for themselves, resorting to such junk ingredients to replace wheat and gluten. Don’t fall for it. And if you hear me repeating this over and over and over again, it is because the gluten-free message continues to propagate and engage many people who enjoy initial health benefits from elimination of wheat and gluten, just as Kyla did, only to then experience health problems because of the gluten-free bagels or breads you thought were good. 100% gluten-free usually means 100% awful.
The post Don’t fall for “gluten-free” foods made with junk carbs appeared first on Dr. William Davis.
July 14, 2014
Follow our discussions here and on the Wheat Belly Facebook page, and you will see that newbies make the same mistakes, over and over again. While all of these issues are discussed in the original Wheat Belly book, and even more extensively in the soon-to-be-released in September, 2014 Wheat Belly Total Health book, somehow they missed some crucial pieces of the message. So, to help you avoid such common mistakes that booby trap both health and your ability to lose weight, here is the list. Don’t make these common mistakes:
Eat gluten-free foods–Gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, tapioca starch, potato flour, or rice flour should not be used in place of wheat or other gluten sources. This is replacing a problem with another problem. You already know that two slices of whole wheat bread raises blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar. Know what’s worse? Yup: gluten-free foods made with cornstarch, tapioca starch, potato flour, and rice flour!
Eat organic wheat–Without herbicides or pesticides, it’s still wheat. Even worse, it’s still likely to be modern high-yield semidwarf wheat, the worst of all. Is organic tobacco healthy to smoke? Of course not. Organic wheat is no better.
Eat traditional strains of wheat–This includes spelt, kamut, Red Fife, Russian wheat, emmer, and einkorn. These are older strains of wheat that predate many of the changes introduced by geneticists and agribusiness. These strains are indeed less harmful than modern semidwarf strains, but they are not harmless. If I had a cigarette that posed 50% less risk of heart disease and cancer compared to conventional cigarettes, is that good enough for you? Probably not, but that’s how it goes with these traditional strains of wheat, too: less harmful, not harmless.
Find unhealthy grain substitutes–Outside of the awful gluten-free flours, people will often turn to quinoa, buckwheat, or brown rice flour, even more exotic replacements such as teff or millet. While none of these alternatives have the potential like wheat to trigger autoimmune diseases, mind effects, neurological impairment, psychiatric disease, and gastrointestinal disruption, they still send blood sugar sky-high. As with gluten-free flours, don’t replace a problem with another problem.
Mistake gliadin-derived opiate withdrawal with “need”–Stop the flow of wheat and you stop the flow of gliadin protein-derived opiates and you experience the nausea, fatigue, depression, and headaches of opiate withdrawal. People will sometimes interpret this to mean that you body somehow must “need” wheat–no, it is an opiate withdrawal that you must get through.
Remain fearful of fat–Cutting total and saturated fat are corollaries of the “eat more healthy whole grain” message: We reject both. But many people have a hard time with this, having endured 30 years of low-fat messaging and products. This is represented by all the people who have lots of hunger or cravings with wheat elimination. So eat fat: buy fatty cuts of meat, eat the fat on pork and beef, eat the dark meat and skin on poultry, save drippings to use for cooking, save all bones to boil for soup or stock and don’t skim off the gelatin or fat when it cools, use more organic butter or ghee, use more coconut oil, eat more avocados, eat the yolks in eggs. This induces satiety.
Inadequate hydration–When you stop consuming all things wheat, insulin levels plummet. This permits water loss. If you lost, say, 5 pounds your first week, around 2 or 3 pounds during that first week can be water loss. This can leave you dehydrated. We compensate by hydrating more than usual that first week or so. As salt is also lost in the urine, adding back a mineral rich form of salt, such as sea salt, can be also be important.
It’s really not that tough. Millions of people are now wheat-free, many more millions will become wheat-free. With it, we are going to witness a dramatic tidal wave of health transformations–so don’t botch it up!
The post Don’t make these mistakes when starting Wheat Belly! appeared first on Dr. William Davis.
July 11, 2014
A frequently asked question around this neighborhood: “I (or my friend/husband/wife/cousin etc.) have ______________ (insert condition). Can wheat elimination help me?”
We know for certain that a wide range of human health conditions recede or disappear with wheat elimination, from autoimmune diseases, to common skin rashes like eczema and seborrhea, to metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and obesity. We know this from published clinical data, confirmed with the overwhelming cumulative experience generated through the Wheat Belly experience.
But we don’t have data nor experience for many uncommon conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis or pemphigus vulgaris. It does not mean that wheat elimination cannot offer potential for improvement; it just means that nobody ever performed a clinical trial of wheat elimination vs. no wheat elimination to compare the effect.
But, as I often point out, why not give wheat elimination a try anyway? After all, wheat elimination:
Provides a wide range of other health benefits–even if no response were to be experienced for __________, but you lose 28 pounds, are freed from acid reflux and bowel urgency, have lower blood sugars and blood pressure, and regain mental clarity or freed from migraine headaches, then nothing has been lost.
Costs nothing–There are no costly meal replacement drinks, cleanses, nor 4-enemas-per-day involved–just don’t eat wheat. (Due to the loss of appetite-stimulating opiates from the gliadin protein, many people who follow a grocery budget actually report modest cost savings with wheat elimination.)
Can be followed in the comfort of your own home
Slashes need for prescription medications–especially drugs for blood pressure, cholesterol, depression, anxiety, pain and inflammation, acid reflux, and diabetes. Because drugs introduce unanticipated changes that distort health, such as changes in bowel flora and blocking weight loss, reducing your exposure to them achieves more than you often expect.
Eliminating wheat and, even better, other closely related seeds of grasses, especially rye, barley, and corn when autoimmune conditions are involved, should in my view be the default strategy when trying to reverse just about any health condition. No other strategy–drugs, nutritional supplement, exercise, alternative therapy–has the potential to improve health so powerfully in so many ways.
Outside of the initial inconvenience, there is NO reason to not give this approach a try.
July 7, 2014
Here’s a sample of one of the delicious and healthy dishes made from the recipes, one for Breakfast Cheesecake:
I packed this Cookbook full of time-saving recipes that fit into busy schedules. I also provide recipes for sauces, salad dressings, seasoning mixes, mayonnaise, etc. to replace all those store-bought brands you no longer trust. There are also puddings, jams, yogurts, and kefirs, as well as new ideas for muffins, cookies, and sandwiches!
July 2, 2014
I like to think of bowel flora, the thousand or so species of microorganisms that inhabit the human gastrointestinal tract, as a garden. Probiotics, i.e., anything that provides microorganisms believed to be among the desired inhabitants such as the various Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria species, are like planting seeds for peppers and zucchini in your garden in spring time.
But what if you planted your seeds, then neglected to water and fertilize your garden? If you’re lucky, you might have a few peppers and zucchini after a few weeks, but you’re more likely to have a few stunted vegetables or nothing except a few shriveled vines. A successful garden requires water and fertilizer.
So it goes with bowel flora. You eliminate the extraordinary bowel-disruptive effects of grains–gliadin, gliadin-derived peptides, wheat germ agglutinin, indigestible D-amino acids, trypsin inhibitors, and others–then “plant” some desired species from a probiotic preparation or fermented food, but then fail to nourish them. It means that desired species may not proliferate, they may not outnumber and overpower unhealthy species such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile, and Firmicutes. Unhealthy species are allowed to proliferate, thereby increasing intestinal permeability and resulting in higher blood levels of the bacterial byproduct, lipopolysaccharide, that is highly inflammatory. It also means that healthy bacteria fail to produce fatty acids, especially propionate and butyrate, that are required by intestinal cells for normal metabolism, heal “tight junctions” between cells (disrupted in conditions such as ulcerative colitis), and reduce potential for colon cancer. It also means that metabolic benefits, such as reduced insulin and blood sugar levels, reduced triglycerides, reduced blood pressure, and reduced visceral fat do not result–all because desirable bowel flora were not “fertilized.”
So what acts as water and fertilizer to bowel flora? What feeds them, allows them to proliferate and yield factors such as butyrate? Fibers. But not all fibers.
In a fascinating tale of symbiosis, the coexistence of microorganisms and Homo sapiens, a specific class of fibers, i.e., polysaccharides or polymeric sugars, that are indigestible to the human digestive apparatus but digestible via the enzymes expressed by specific bacterial species, allow all these beneficial health effects to occur. It means that food, chewed, swallowed, bathed in stomach acid, emulsified by bile, broken down into constituents by pancreatic enzymes, exposed to 20-some feet of small intestine, finally reaching the colon where most microorganisms dwell, contains little remaining nutrients to nourish bacteria. The desirable species that thrive in this unique environment are those that can digest the undigested remains of your meal–fibers. But not cellulose fibers, i.e., wood fiber, of the sort that dominates in grains and is found in bran cereals. Cellulose is essentially indigestible by both our own digestive apparatus, as well as the bacteria that humans are capable of carrying. (It is digestible by ruminants.)
The proper care and feeding of bowel flora therefore causes proliferation of healthy Bacterioidetes, Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacteria that produce bacteriocins that suppress growth of unhealthy species, metabolize fibers to butyrate that yields metabolic benefits, even improves bowel habits and allows you to have normal, healthy bowel movements without “crutches” like the bulk of cellulose fibers, laxatives, or enemas.
Is this evolutionarily appropriate? Is there precedent in human adaptation on this planet for such unique fibers? I ask this question because this is my litmus test for the suitability of any dietary strategy we consider. Recall, for instance, that grains were added 300 generations ago, or 0.4% of our time on earth, a mere moment in time ago. They are inappropriate for human consumption, now made worse by the genetic fiddlings of agribusiness. (I have to concede that grains do indeed have some fibers that have health benefits, such as arabinoxylan in wheat and beta glucan in oats, but they come with such undesirable other components that it is simply not worth it.) Yes, consuming such fibers is evolutionarily appropriate, as it dates back well over 8000 generations of human existence, predating even the appearance of the Homo species, even predating carnivory, as it was practiced by pre-Homo hominids, Australopithecus (especially “robust” strains). It is therefore deeply instilled (I almost said “ingrained”–acchhh!) into the adaptive physiology of our species.
So how do we obtain such indigestible fibers that nourish healthy bowel flora, so-called “prebiotics” or “resistant starches”? Well, do what a member of the Hadza of sub-Saharan Africa or Yanomamo of the Brazilian rainforest would do and grab a stick, stone, or bone fragment and dig in a field or forest for the underground tubers of plants. If you don’t want to do that, you can incorporate foods available in modern grocery stores that mimic such practices. Among the foods that yield such fibers:
Green unripe bananas or plantains–with around 27 grams prebiotic fibers per medium sized banana
Raw peeled potato–with around 20 grams per 3 1/2-inch medium
Inulin powder–with 5 grams per teaspoon
Bob’s Red Mill raw unmodified potato starch–8 grams per tablespoon
Legumes, lentils, chickpeas, hummus–Around 3 grams per 1/4-cup. But we have to be careful here, as any more than this quantity and blood sugars start to climb to unhealthy levels.
(Thanks, by the way, to Richard Nikoley, the prolific blogger of the Free the Animal blog, who has done a spectacular job of providing meaningful discussions around the science behind resistant starches, as well as identifying the Bob’s Red Mill product as a convenient and available source.)
These are the most efficient sources, with lesser quantities in other below-ground vegetables. I pick one of the above foods and include them in a smoothie every morning along with, for instance, a cup of unsweetened coconut milk, some blueberries or other berries, a few drops of stevia, etc. If you choose the banana, peel it like an apple or chop off the ends and slit the skin, as it is very tough to skin when green. Chop both banana and potato coarsely before putting in the blender; a blender with a strong motor is advised.
The science that examines bowel flora composition tells us that 20 grams of such fibers yield substantial effects. While the average grain-consuming human obtains around 3 or 4 grams per day, us grain-deniers can fall below this and experience undesirable bowel and metabolic effects. Benefits begin around 8 or 9 grams per day, with maximal benefit likely around 20 grams. (Interestingly, there is anthropological evidence of intakes as high as 135 grams per day.) When new to this experience, start with no more than 10 grams fiber per day; more and abdominal pain and bloating can occur; build up over days to weeks. Full benefits, such as reductions in blood pressure and blood sugar, require 4 to 8 weeks to show themselves, likely due to the shifts in bowel flora species.
Every once in a while, a new strategy declares itself that yields unexpected outsize benefits. Vitamin D was that way, as well as wheat elimination. Now add restoration and management of healthy bowel flora with probiotic and prebiotic strategies to that list, strategies that acquire even greater importance in the grain-free lifestyle.
June 30, 2014
I made a full-sized family pizza starting with the Wheat Free Market Wheat Belly Pizza Crust Mix.
The people at Wheat Free Market made the mix according to my recipe for pizza crust. Despite being wheat-free and not using any of the junk carbohydrate ingredients typically used in gluten-free doughs (NO cornstarch, tapioca starch, potato starch, or rice flour), the recipe is designed to yield pizza dough sturdy enough to hold in your hands. And be tasty, of course!
I made a single large family-sized pizza from one package, but one package can also yield two smaller pizzas.
I drizzled olive oil, spread pizza sauce (high-fructose corn syrup- and sugar-free, of course!), and spread some shredded mozzarella cheese:
Now for the best part: Eating it!
Now for the desserts!
Here are recipes for Pumpkin Pie, Apple Cranberry Crumble, and Pumpkin Spice Muffins.
Remember: By taking out wheat and other grains, not resorting to gluten-free junk carbohydrate replacements, not adding sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, limiting net carbohydrate content and not using other problem ingredients, we now have healthy desserts that do not pack on the pounds, screw with blood sugar, mess with satiety signals, or exert inflammatory effects.
Have your Apple Cranberry Crumble or Pumpkin Spice Muffin and suffer not a moment of guilt! And I think they’re pretty darned tasty, too.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
Wheat-free Pumpkin Pie
Here is a reminder of how us wheat-free folk make a wonderful and delicious pumpkin pie that is wheat-free. Without wheat, it does NOT stimulate appetite, does NOT send blood sugar sky-high, does NOT add to arthritis/joint pain, acid reflux, irritable bowel symptoms, leg edema, depression, moodiness, migraine headache, hypertension, dementia, heart disease, or cancer. You can just have your nice big slice of pumpkin pie, even with a big dollop of whipped cream . . . without worries!
The pumpkin puree poses only a slight potential carbohydrate challenge. The entire pie contains 36 grams carbohydrates; if divided into 8 pieces, that yields 4.5 grams carbohydrate per slice–a tolerable level for most people. Heck, even two pieces yields about the same carbohydrate load as half an apple.
Makes 8 servings
1 1/4 cups ground walnuts (or pecans or almonds)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg
4 ounces butter or coconut oil, melted
2 cups pumpkin puree
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk (canned variety)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar (e.g., 6 tablespoons Truvia)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, mix together ground walnuts, flaxseed, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. In small bowl, whisk eggs and add butter or coconut oil. Pour liquid mix into dry mix and blend by hand thoroughly.
Grease a 9-inch pie pan with coconut oil or other oil. Transfer mix to the pie pan and spread evenly along bottom and up sides. If mixture is too thin, place in refrigerator for several minutes to thicken. For ease of spreading, use a large metal spoon heated under running hot water. Set aside.
In another large bowl, combine pumpkin, cream cheese, eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly by hand. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and sweetener and continue to blend by hand.
Pour pumpkin mix into pie crust. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until toothpick or knife withdraws nearly dry. Optionally, sprinkle additional nutmeg and/or cinnamon, top with whipped cream or whipped coconut milk.
Apple Cranberry Crumble
Apple, cranberry, and cinnamon: the perfect combination of tastes and scents for winter holidays!
I took a bit of carbohydrate liberties with this recipe. The entire recipe yields a delicious cheesecake-like crumble with 59 “net” grams carbohydrates (total carbs – fiber); divided among 10 slices, that’s 5.9 grams net carbs per serving, a quantity most tolerate just fine. (To reduce carbohydrates, the molasses in the crumble is optional, reducing total carbohydrate by 11 grams.)
Other good choices for sweeteners include liquid stevia, powdered stevia (pure or inulin-based, not maltodextrin-based), Truvía, erythritol, and the Wheat Free Market sweetener blend of erythritol and monkfruit. And always taste your batter to test sweetness, since sweeteners vary in sweetness from brand to brand and your individual sensitivity to sweetness depends on how long you’ve been wheat-free. (The longer you’ve been wheat-free, the less sweetness you desire.)
Makes 9 servings
Crust and crumble topping
3 cups almond meal
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 cup xylitol (or other sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar)
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon molasses
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Dash sea salt
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
½ cup xylitol (or other sweetener equivalent to ½ cup sugar)
1 Granny Smith apple (or other variety)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh cranberries
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In large bowl, combine almond meal, butter, sweetener, cinnamon, molasses, vanilla, and salt and mix.
Grease a 9½-inch tart or pie pan. Using approximately 1 cup of the almond meal mixture, form a thin bottom crust with your hands or spoon.
In another bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs, and sweetener and mix with spoon or mixer at low-speed. Pour into tart or pie pan.
Core apple and slice into very thin sections. Arrange in circles around the edge of the cream cheese mixture, working inwards. Distribute cranberries over top, then sprinkle cinnamon over entire mixture.
Gently layer remaining almond meal crumble evenly over top. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping lightly browned.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
I love having these muffins for breakfast in the fall and winter, including a delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast. Spread one with cream cheese and you will need little else to fill you up on a cold morning.
To use these muffins as a dessert, top with a cream cheese- or coconut cream-based icing (e.g., with your choice of sweetener, some ground nutmeg) or freshly whipped cream.
Makes 12 small muffins
2 cups ground almonds (can be purchased pre-ground)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1⁄4 cup ground flaxseeds (can be purchased pre-ground)
Sweetener such as Truvia, stevia extract, or Splenda equivalent to 3⁄4 cup sucrose
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of fine sea salt
1 can (15 ounces) unsweetened pumpkin puree
1⁄2 cup sour cream or coconut milk
2 large eggs
1⁄4 cup walnut oil, melted coconut oil, or extra-light olive oil
Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with oil. Stir together the almond meal, walnuts, ground flaxseeds, sweetener, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir together the pumpkin, sour cream or coconut milk, eggs, and oil in another large bowl. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the almond meal mixture and mix thoroughly. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them about half full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out dry, about 45 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
At the start of their Wheat Belly journey, many people resign themselves to a life without gravy, biscuits, or pumpkin pie, having to make the best of holidays devoid of enjoyment and indulgence. Just eat your dry turkey meat and lettuce leaves!
It’s not true. You can indeed have all your holiday dishes. But we are going to recreate them without wheat, without other grains, without use of gluten-free junk carbohydrates (no cornstarch, tapioca starch, potato starch, or rice flour), with little to no added sugars, and no other problem ingredients. Minus all the undesirable ingredients, in fact, pumpkin pie, biscuits, and gravy become health foods! Enjoy holiday dinner without feeling awful, without falling asleep afterwards, without gaining the usual 3, 4, or 5 pounds.
In part I, I start with dinner dishes. In part II, I provide dessert dishes.
Wheat-free Cauliflower Mushroom Dressing
This dressing is heavier than the usual bread-based dressing or stuffing. Because it contains meat, it should not be stuffed into the turkey to cook, as this will not ensure a sufficiently high temperature. While this works best as a two-step process–stove top to oven–if time-pressed, you could just cook on the stove top a bit longer.
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 pound pork sausage, preferably loose ground
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
8 ounces Portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 green pepper, chopped
4 ounce can/jar roasted red peppers
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground tarragon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring approximately 12 ounces water to a boil in sauce pan. Toss in porcini mushrooms and turn heat down to maintain below boiling. Stir every couple of minutes for 20 minutes.
In deep sauce pan, saute sausage (if encased, remove from casing) in 1 tablespoon olive oil, along with celery and onions, until sausage cooked. Drain excess oil. Place sauce pan back on low heat. Break cauliflower into small florets and add to sausage mix. Toss in drained porcini mushrooms along with approximately 4 ounces of the porcini broth (save remainder of broth to make gravy; below), remainder of olive oil, green pepper, roasted red pepper, Portabella mushrooms, flaxseed. Add onion powder, sage, thyme, tarragon, salt and black pepper and stir.
Transfer to baking dish and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
Without wheat flour or cornstarch to thicken our gravies, surely the taste of gravy suffers–but it does not! Without the usual unhealthy ingredients, this Wheat-free Gravy is actually tastier than conventional gravy while presenting no health downside. (Also see the slightly different version in the Biscuits and gravy recipe, below.)
If you follow the recipe for Wheat-free Cauliflower Mushroom Dressing (above), you should have around 8 ounces of porcini mushroom broth left over. This adds a wonderful mushroomy-meaty flavor to the gravy, a deeper character not usually found in standard gravies. Thickness is obtained without wheat, cornstarch, or other carbohydrate-rich thickener by use of coconut flour and coconut milk.
Because the quantity of drippings obtained will vary widely, depending on the size of your turkey, ingredient quantities are not specified. Rely on taste as you prepare your gravy to gauge ingredient quantity.
Heat drippings in the roasting pan or poured into a sauce pan on stove at low-heat. Pour in coconut milk slowly, stirring, until desired color is achieved. Gravy should be opaque, rather than translucent. Stir in coconut powder, 1 teaspoon at a time, waiting at least one minute before adding another teaspoon, until desired thickness is achieved.
Add onion powder, garlic powder, and sea salt to taste.
Biscuits and gravy
Biscuits and gravy: the ultimate comfort food . . . one you thought you’d never have again!
The familiar dish of breakfast and holiday meals is recreated here with a delicious gravy that you can pour over piping hot biscuits. Because it contains no wheat or other unhealthy thickeners like cornstarch made with “junk” carbohydrates, there should be no blood sugar or insulin problems with this dish, nor joint pain, edema, acid reflux, mind “fog,” or dandruff—life is good without wheat!
While the gravy is also dairy-free for those with dairy intolerances, the biscuits are not, as there are cheese and butter in the biscuits, both of which are optional, e.g., leave out the cheese and replace butter with coconut or other oil.
Makes 10 biscuits
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound loose sausage meat
2½ cups beef broth
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup coconut milk (canned variety)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
Dash ground black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar (or other) cheese
2 cups almond meal/flour
¼ cup coconut flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
4 ounces butter, melted (or other oil, e.g., extra-light olive, coconut, walnut)
To make gravy:
In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté sausage, breaking up as it browns. Cook until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink.
Turn heat up to medium to high and pour in beef broth. Heat just short of boiling, then turn down to low heat. Stir in coconut flour, little by little, over 3-5 minutes; stop adding when gravy obtains desired thickness. Pour in coconut milk and stir in well. Add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
To make biscuits:
Preheat oven to 325° F.
In food chopper or processor, pulse shredded cheese to finer, granular consistency.
Pour cheese into large bowl, then add almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt and mix thoroughly. Add the eggs and butter or oil and mix thoroughly to yield thick dough.
Spoon out dough into 10 or so ¾-inch thick mounds onto a parchment paper-lined baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and toothpick withdraws dry.
Ladle gravy onto biscuits just before serving.
Better than mashed potatoes
(from the Wheat Belly Cookbook)
While potatoes, of course, contain none of the Evil Grain, they have problems all their own, including the potential for causing extreme blood sugar rises. Many potatoes sold today are also genetically modified, introducing a whole new level of uncertainty.
So here is how to recreate the taste and feel of mashed potatoes that are every bit as god as–no, better than!–the dish made with potatoes, but with none of the worries.
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Place a steamer basket in a large pot with 2-inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Place the cauliflower in the basket and steam for 20 minutes, or until very soft.
Remove from the heat and drain. In a blender or food processor, combine the cauliflower, cream cheese, butter, and salt. Blend or process until smooth.
Here’s a zesty version of traditional cranberry sauce, minus the sugar. The orange, cinnamon, and other spices, along with the crunch of walnuts, make this one of my favorite holiday side dishes.
There are 31.5 grams total “net” carbohydrates in this entire recipe, or 5.25 grams per serving (serves 6). To further reduce carbs, you can leave out the orange juice and, optionally, use more zest.
1 cup water
12 ounces fresh whole cranberries
Sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar (I used 6 tablespoons Truvía)
1 tablespoon orange zest + juice of half an orange
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
In small to medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Turn heat down and add cranberries. Cover and cook at low-heat for 10 minutes or until all cranberries have popped. Stir in sweetener. Remove from heat.
Stir in orange zest and juice, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Transfer mixture to bowl, cool, and serve.
June 27, 2014
Grains are the seeds of grasses. If you were to take a stalk of 18-inch tall semidwarf wheat, the creation of a genetics laboratory, you can’t eat the roots, nor the stalk, leaves, or husk. You can, however, isolate the seeds, remove the husk, then dry, pulverize, and heat them. You will then have something–porridge or flour–that can yield something you might view as food. But the seed, just like the rest of the plant, has components that are indigestible, such as wheat germ agglutinin, D-amino acids, gliadin (partially digestible), and trypsin inhibitors, among others. The one component that is digestible is amylopectin A, accounting for the exceptional glycemic potential of wheat and other seeds of grasses, explaining why two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar.
Why can ruminants digest grasses, even obtain most of their nutrition from them, while humans find them almost completely indigestible? Ruminants, such as cows, goats, sheep, and camels, have extensive evolutionary adaptations that allow them to digest grasses. For instance, ruminants:
Grow teeth continuously to compensate for the wear caused by sand-like particles, phytoliths, in grass blades. They also lack upper incisors, replaced by a bony dental pad to seize hold of grasses. You grow teeth twice in a lifetime, only during childhood and adolescence, and have proud bite-worthy incisors.
Produce copious quantities of saliva. A cow typically produces 100 quarts or more saliva per day, compared to our 1 meager quart.
Have 4-compartment stomachs to break down the cellulose of grasses. You have a 1-compartment stomach.
Regurgitate grasses to chew as a cud. While you may have the urge to chew, it certainly is not for regurgitated wads of grass fiber.
A lengthy spiral colon that provides greater digestive exposure, unlike our relatively short colon with a couple of 90-degree turns.
Unique microorganisms in the 4-compartment stomach and colon that express the cellulase enzyme and other enzymes to break down the otherwise indigestible components of grasses. We have a relatively sterile stomach and upper small intestine with virtually no microorganisms that express a cellulase enzyme. (There are indeed species harbored in the human distal ileum and colon that express cellulase, but the net effect is tiny.)
You don’t look or smell like a ruminant. Why would you eat like one? When you try, however, all manner of health disasters result, from gastrointestinal distress, to autoimmune disease, to various forms of allergy. Humans are not adapted to consumption of grasses, seeds or otherwise.
June 19, 2014
We live in a world in which endocrine disruption–the disruption of endocrine gland function–is a growing health threat.
Endocrine disruption can take many forms. It can take the form of thyroid disease provoked by industrial chemicals, such as perchlorates, the residues of synthetic fertilizers in produce. Or it could be provoked by the polybrominated dipheyl ethers flame retardants in your carpeting. Or it could be the triclosan in your antibacterial soap and hand sanitizer. It can also take the form of causing young girls to experience menstrual cycles and breast growth prematurely due to exposure to estrogens in commercial dairy products, herbicides, and plastics. It could involve disruption of pituitary gland function from the head trauma of a car accident.
Wheat and, to a lesser extent, other grains exert their own form of glandular disruption. Among the ways that the muffin you had for breakfast or the pizza and beer you had last Friday can disrupt your endocrine gland function are:
Gliadin-induced autoimmunity–When gliadin remains undigested in the human gastrointestinal tract (as it often does), it increases intestinal permeability via a cholera toxin-like mechanism worked out by Dr. Alessio Fasano and colleagues. This is a first step in triggering autoimmunity, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis that impairs thyroid function, or autoimmune adrenal cortical destruction leading to impaired cortisol release, or the destruction of pancreatic beta cells that leads to type 1 diabetes.
Grains disrupt bowel flora–Gliadin, gliadin-derived peptides, wheat germ agglutinin, and the various allergenic proteins in grains, especially wheat, disrupt bowel health, part of which are changes in the composition of bowel flora. Should healthy Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species suffer and allow unhealthy strains, such as E. coli, Campylobacter, and C. difficile to emerge, intestinal leak develops and adds to potential for inflammation and autoimmune destruction of glandular tissue.
Wheat germ agglutinin and insulin mimicry–Wheat germ agglutinin, or WGA, the protective lectin protein of wheat, rye, barley, and rice, mimics insulin, thereby adding to the effects of high insulin that include blocking fatty acid mobilization for weight loss.
Wheat germ agglutinin and blocked cholecystokinin function–WGA blocks cholecystokinin, or CCK, responsible for stimulating the gallbladder to release bile and the pancreas to release pancreatic enzymes. This results in bile stasis and gallstones, impaired digestion with resultant indigestion, bowel urgency, and dysbiosis.
Wheat germ agglutinin and blocked leptin–WGA blocks the hormone of satiety, leptin, in effect not providing the “stop eating” signal after a meal.
Should the visceral fat of a “wheat belly” be part of the grain-consuming picture, then even other endocrine gland disruptive effects develop, including enhanced aromatase enzyme conversion of testosterone to estrogen that impair fertility, reduce libido, and grow man breasts in males, increase breast cancer risk in females; increased inflammation that blocks cortisol action at various organs, so-called “glucocorticoid resistance”; disrupted hypothalamic and pituitary hormone signaling at various organs that has potential to disrupt every hormonal pathway in the body.
These are far from uncommon effects. In total, they affect, to various degrees, the majority of people who were persuaded that humans could include the seeds of grasses, AKA “grains,” in their diet and remain healthy. Eat more “healthy whole grains” and you risk disruption of the endocrine gland system and all its peculiar health consequences.