Even though I was diagnosed with celiac as an infant, and ate a banana every day to counteract the effect of wheat on my stomach, I thought the gluten-free movement was something of a fad. After all, I enjoyed good health, a doctor told me I don’t have celiac after all, and I didn’t have any severe symptoms from eating wheat.
Now I’ve decided to alter my diet to minimize the consumption of wheat and oats.
Earlier this year, I stopped eating pasta and pie. I cut the wheat content of the bread I make in half by substituting cooked buckwheat groats (kasha) and millet, plus soy and spelt flour. I stopped buying supermarket bread (with wheat gluten a major ingredient on the label) and substituted sourdough bread from Whole Foods.
Two things convinced me to take the next step. First, I met dietitian (and celiac survivor) Melinda Dennis, and checked out her website, deletethewheat.com. Then, I picked up “Wheat Belly Cookbook” by Dr. William Davis, who maintains that the wheat we eat today has been engineered so much that it scarcely resembles the wheat we knew 50 years ago. He claims that wheat is now addictive and can cause joint pain, headaches, depression, insomnia and dementia and obesity.
Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but I thought it was prudent to try cutting back further on wheat and oats and see if I noticed a difference. I noticed some stomach discomfort after eating my homemade granola with lunch, and thought that was a good place to try something different.
2 cups uncooked buckwheat groats (kasha)
1/4 cup uncooked millet
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup crushed almonds (I substituted walnuts)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
I combined all those ingredients and then put them in a pan and heated slightly:
1/4 cup applesauce
3 Tablespoons Olive oil
3 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
I combined the heated wet ingredients with the dry ones, spread the granola out on a big pan (photo above), and cooked it for 30 minutes at 355 degrees. Next time I’ll stir it after 15 minutes to keep the granola on the side of the pan from burning.
Betsy took a mouthful and said, “It tastes like bird food.” Well, she doesn’t seem to have a wheat sensitivity. I thought it wasn’t bad. I’m combining it with decreasing amounts of my last batch of oat/wheat germ granola to ease the transition.
Improvisation can work well for soup and salad, but rarely for baked goods. But I couldn’t find any recipe online for certain ingredients I wanted to use, so I made it up as I went along. Here’s what I came up with:
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons applesauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup spelt flour
I laid the mixture out in an oiled square pan, using a rubber spatula dipped in water to compress it (photo at top). I cooked it for 30 minutes at 355 degrees in the same oven as the granola.
It wasn’t half bad. It was more crumbly than I would like, so next time I’ll add an egg, more water, and a little more spelt flour. I may try it as cookies instead of bars.
Wheat is grown on more land area than any other crop in the world. But more and more people believe that the increased yield from new strains isn’t worth the health compromises. I’m going to see what happens when I delete the wheat.
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