Tag Archives: Gluten-free diet

Big Bad Wheat


English: Bread from India


Gluten, one of the main proteins found in wheat, is a troublesome little guy. The human gastrointestinal tract has a very hard time completely digesting it AND our immune systems don’t like it.


In addition to being found in wheat, gluten can also be found in rye, oats and barley. These are best avoided if you have celiac disease.


Celiac disease, present in as many as 2% of us, is a disorder in which gluten causes an autoimmune reaction and atrophy of the GI system is the result.  As the condition continues, more and more cells inside our GI tract are killed with resulting malabsorption of vitamins and nutrients. In serious cases it can be deadly. For many, however, the symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea, gas, bloating and pain.


Celiac disease is not to be confused with gluten sensitivity. For many years doctors believed that a patient had celiac disease or nothing. They fervently denied the possibility that someone could simply be sensitive to gluten.  This has changed.


According to Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University:


“Recent studies are showing the gluten sensitivity may be much more common than previously thought. It may, in fact, be a separate disease entity that involves different organs and different mechanisms than celiac disease. While there is no doubt that the condition exists, the lack of definite criteria for a diagnosis has resulted in a skeptical attitude on the part of many doctors.”


Further, according to a study in the Lancet Neurology in 2010:


“Gluten sensitivity is a systemic autoimmune disease with diverse manifestations. This disorder is characterised by abnormal immunological responsiveness to ingested gluten in genetically susceptible individuals. Coeliac disease, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is only one aspect of a range of possible manifestations of gluten sensitivity.”


Basically this is saying that people may have gluten sensitivity and over time this may manifest as celiac disease. However, there are many other ways that gluten sensitivity may present. Other symptoms might include:


  • Fatigue
  • Eczema
  • Anemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Osteoporosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuropathy
  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • Infertility
  • Fatty liver


This list is by no means all-inclusive either. When a patient presents with a list of symptoms that don’t seem to fit together, have not responded to traditional types of treatments and have been long standing, one of the first things I do is check for gluten sensitivity. If it’s not there we move on to the next treatment strategy. However, for many in my practice, eliminating gluten has proven to be a very effective treatment.


If you’ve had a chronic health condition that has not responded to various treatment types, consider being checked for gluten sensitivity through a specialist with knowledge of the most recent research in this fascinating field.  It just might be the cure you’re looking for.


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Filed under Diet, Public Health

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I saw this on pinterest.com and knew that I had to try it. Who doesn’t love pizza? However, we all know that it’s not very good for us. First of all, the crust is made from wheat which we try to limit as it’s very pro-inflammatory and can be the cause of major food sensitivities for millions of people. There is often not enough protein on a slice nor are there enough vegetables.  As you know, we recommend eating protein and veggies and/or fruit at each meal about every 3 (+/- a half hour) hours. That makes pizza a treat to be eaten during one of our “cheat” meals. The problem for me is that when I have a “cheat” meal I tend to feel bloated and gross for a few days after which isn’t fun. When I saw this I thought it could be the answer to my problem.

It was! It tastes soooo good! It gives you all the flavor of pizza without all the bad stuff. Plus, I get to control the quality and quantity of toppings that I put on it. Personally, I love a pizza loaded with meat and veggies but that’s hard to come by at most pizza places never mind that you never know where their ingredients have come from. A bonus is that this isn’t hard to make. Seriously…not hard at all!

It would be a great recipe to make with kids as it’s healthy and fascinating to see how cauliflower becomes crust! They could make their own individual pies with the toppings of their choice. The recipe makes more than enough for multiple batches.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust – original recipe from Eat. Drink. Smile.

1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)

pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*

To “Rice” the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will purée it. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes (some microwaves are more powerful than others, so you may need to reduce this cooking time). There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.

Note from Eat. Drink. Smile. for those that don’ t have a microwave:

You can steam the florets on the stove before ricing them. The texture/consistency won’t be the same (It will be more like a purée) but it still works fine once you mix all the ingredients together! I know because I’ve tried it that way too!

One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To Make the Pizza Crust:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Use a leftover butter wrapper to grease the cookie sheet. (When I get out a new stick of butter I freeze the wrappers for occasions such as this.)

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9″ round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning. (The mixture should be about a half-inch thick. Mine was a little thin and burned at the edges.)

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).


*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes. For our pizza I used roasted chicken leftover, tomatoes, basil, green onions, olives, and pizza cheese. I also used an organic pizza sauce. The options are really only limited to your imagination.

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