Before I give you my amazing recipe for gluten free paleo bread, I’d like to specify that I’m not anti-grains per se but I’m not a fan of gluten.
As a naturopath specialising in gut health, I find that most people feel better once they switch to a gluten-free diet. Now, if you’re pro-gluten you may argue that my opinion of gluten is biased as I only deal with people with gut issues and the healthy population at large is ok with gluten.
That’s certainly a possibility.
However, the fact is that most westerners only have two thirds of the variety of gut bacteria as found in more traditional South American and African societies. So I imagine that the loss of these beneficial gut bacteria may have something to do with the crazy increase in gluten intolerance in the last few years. This is based on worldwide figures on gluten intolerance – not just the Reclaim Your Health clinic’s statistics.
Or possibly we’ve all become slightly gluten intolerant because we’ve lost traditional sour-leavening techniques that used to make the gluten in bread more digestible.
Maybe the introduction of GM molecules in the food chain is causing a disruption in our ability to digest this protein.
Perhaps it’s to do with the selective breeding of modern-day wheat cultivars that favour a high gluten content in order to yield bread that is fluffy and spongy (gluten makes dough more elastic and flexible).
Or maybe it’s all of the above – though it’s interesting to note that in Asia, where they eat plenty of gluten in the form of seitan, noodles and soy sauce, gluten intolerance is virtually unheard of.
But maybe that’s going to change soon given the fact that obesity is also on the rise in Asia – obesity has been linked to profound changes in gut microbiota composition.
Whichever way you look at it, gluten intolerance is a serious issue for most of the people I see in clinic.
The problem with gluten-free diets however is that they’re generally full of packaged goods and as coined by journalist Michael Pollan, ‘food-like substances’ that are inflammatory and pose a big threat to the health of our gut microbiota.
I don’t eat bread anymore. Well, extremely rarely anyway. I prefer a breakfast of sausage stew with plenty of veg and lentils or, if I’m pushed for time, a berry smoothie with protein powder, ground flax and beans (that’s right, BEANS. But that’s a story for another blogpost.)
Arguably, when people switch to a gluten free diet the hardest shift to make is bread. Let’s face it, there’s a real paucity of good quality gluten free breads out there. Supermarket gluten free breads are a frankenstein product that has less to do with the ‘staff of life’ and more to do with the ‘stuff of nightmares’.
Here are some of the nasty ingredients you will find in these so-called healthy gluten free breads such as Helga’s or Country Life:
- Soy flour – blocks the thyroid production of hormones, deactivates trypsin necessary to digest protein.
- Propionates – chemicals linked to aggression, fatigue, migraines, behavioural issues.
- Sulphites – linked to asthma and gastrointestinal inflammation.
- Synthetic antioxidants 320-321 – hormonal disruptors linked to infertility and potential carcinogens. Linked to skin rashes.
- Canola/sunflower oil – pro-inflammatory and disruptors to cell membrane activities.
- Corn/maize and white rice flours – these feed opportunistic bacteria in the gut and offer no nourishment to beneficial bacteria.
So here’s a recipe for a healthy gluten free bread that was given to me by fellow Weston A Price chapter leader Fenja Schulze.
It is easy to make – provided you have a good food processor to mill the Chia seeds – and it has a soft consistency that makes it great for sandwiches.
It’s best eaten within a couple of days of making as it tends to dry out after that – though it still works well for toasting.
Gluten Free Paleo Bread
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg whites
- 95g chia seeds, ground (please ensure these are ground or the bread won’t come out right)
- 170g arrowroot
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp bi carb soda
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 60ml olive oil
- Mix all ingredients together
- Line bread tin
- Bake 180 C for approx 40 min.
- Let it rest for ten minutes before cutting.