ALTERNATIVES TO GLUTEN FREE
Gluten is found in wheat, oats, rye and barley. Gluten free alternatives to wheat flour include rice, potato, cornmeal and soy flour. Gluten can be in hot dogs, beer, mustard, catsup, white vinegar and soy sauce although tamari sauce is gluten free.
Although genuine coeliacs make up about only about 1% of the population, some non-coeliacs find that a gluten free diet reduces their abdominal bloating and improves their mental clarity.
Gluten consists of two amino acids (gliadin and glutenin), which give flour dough it's agreeable sticky and elastic properties. Gluten free bread contains no wheat gliadin and consequently lacks the chewy flavoursome consistency of wheat bread.
Gluten free bread is mostly made from tapioca, rice, sorghum, potato and corn starch. It lacks the healthy insoluble fibre that is present is in whole grain bread, and can consequently cause a rapid rise in blood sugar that predisposes to obesity and diabetes.
Gluten free rice flour and gluten free white bread flour (contains rice, tapioca potato and sorghum) are marketed by Doves Farm and are available in some supermarkets. These products can be used individually or combined in equal quantities (best option) to make gluten free bread at home.
Spelt bread is made from an ancient strain of wheat and some people are able to tolerate it better than regular bread.
In one Italian study (1), it was found that the long fermentation process of a particular sourdough bread reduced its gluten content so much that the bread became well tolerated by genuine coeliacs.
Since not all sourdough bread is the same, the researchers did not claim that all sourdough bread is suitable for all coeliacs. Nevertheless, slow fermented sourdough bread can be a well-tolerated, healthy and palatable alternative to (unhealthy low fibre) gluten free bread for many individuals. The long fermentation process not only reduces the gluten content of the sourdough bread, but it also promotes the development of beneficial microflora, which promote healthy bowel function and a healthy immune system.
Grains of wheat have a nutritious outer part that contains fibrous bran and wheat germ, and an unhealthy inner part that contains powdery white flour and no fibre. Whole grain flour is made using old-fashioned stone milling and it has a high fibre content. With modern roller milling, the healthy bran and the unhealthy white flour are separated out. White flour has better keeping properties than whole grain flour and is consequently more commercial. In view of this, the healthy outer fibrous bran (with poor keeping properties) is mostly used for animal feed, and the unhealthy inner white flour is used for human consumption. In view of this, good sourdough bread should be made from wholemeal stoneground flour.
Slow fermented wholemeal sourdough, artisan wholemeal and organic sprouted multigrain bread may suit some people better than (low fibre) gluten free bread because the slow fermentation process significantly reduces the gluten content but not the roughage content. The high dietary fibre content in slow fermented wholemeal sourdough bread helps prevent constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis and bowel cancer.
Because of individual variation, the ideal bread for an individual can be determined through experimentation or ideally with clinical kinesiology (muscle testing) or vegatesting.
Margot Bakery in East Finchley sell a range of sourdough breads and, in particular on Saturdays, a very dense Danish rye sourdough bread that is generally well tolerated by most people who are gluten intolerant.
1. Grain of Truth by Stephen Yafa. ISBN 978-1-101-98291-4.
2. Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet by Elaine Gottschall, 1994: Kirton Press.