Gluten-free Diets: Fad or Necessity?

Recipe for pecan-raisin bread made with almond flour

More people are discovering they feel better after adopting a gluten-free diet. And food manufacturers have responded by making more GF products available, though not all of them are healthy, according to Judy Stone, a nutritionist currently working on a special project with Hillary Bisnett, director of the Ecology Center’s Healthy Food in Health Care program.

cover“Being sensitive to gluten does not necessarily mean that you have celiac disease, a genetic problem with digesting gluten,” Stone says. “In fact the prevalence of gluten sensitivity is far greater than that of CD, according to current medical literature.”

Stone says it’s a myth that everyone with an intolerance to gluten has digestive problems. “Many don’t but they often have other symptoms like ‘brain fog,’ anxiety, fatigue, or muscle and joint aches after eating food with gluten.

Gluten is found primarily in grains including wheat, barley, spelt, rye, kamut, cous-cous, triticale, bulgur, as well as in other foods with gluten derivatives among their ingredients.

Stone recommends this recipe from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam when clients want ideas for delicious GF treats.

“I always want to give suggestions that fit with lower refined carbohydrate and low sweetener guidelines to promote healthy blood sugar regulation; healthy fat and reasonable calories count too,” she said. “I love this recipe because it meets those criteria. It also fits with many dietary plans where people have to avoid allergens such as dairy or soy, AND it’s delicious!”

Pecan Raisin Bread

 

  • 3/4 cup creamy almond butter or roasted almond butter room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (aluminum free)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • grapeseed oil for greasing pan (other oils will work also)

 

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350; grease a 7-by-3 loaf pan with grapeseed oil and dust with almond flour.
  2.  In a medium or large bowl blend the almond butter with a mixer until smooth, then blend in the eggs.
  3.  In a separate bowl combine the almond flour, arrowroot, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  4.  Add the dry ingredients to the almond butter-egg mixture and blend well. Add the raisins and pecans.
  5. Pour the batter in to the prepared loaf pan. Bake 45-50 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan for one hour before slicing.

 

Note: Most loaf pans are 3.5" to 4" wide. To make this loaf come out tall enough, I made a tin foil strip about the height of the loaf pan and a few inches longer than the loaf pan. I folded the foil several times to give it some sturdiness, then placed it lengthwise in the loaf pan, and bent the extra length around the inside ends of the pan, to create a 3" wide pan. Be sure to also oil the foil strip when you oil the pan.

 

Nutrition info: Based on 20 slices per loaf

117 Kcal, 10g carb, 8g fat, 3g protein 

EcoLink — March 2012 Ecolink
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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