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  • Yes, making a green drink is certainly the first choice for a detox and rejuvenation protocol. However, we also need options for a meal that includes not only tasting satisfying ingredients but also those that will contribute to our overall reduction of toxic burden while providing quality protein that converts to energy.

    This new series provides not only healthy recipes but also the health benefits of each ingredient.

    • 1 cup red quinoa (washed and rinsed in a very fine sieve)
    • 1 cup original quinoa (washed and rinsed in a very fine sieve)

    NOTE: If you don't rinse quinoa VERY well, it will be bitter. I soak mine 2–4 hours and then place in sieve and use the faucet sprayer and rinse the heck out of it with cold water several times…that does the trick. Occasionally I can find a sprouted quinoa-wild rice-brown rice organic mix, that does not need rinsing or soaking and obviously has more health and digestion benefits because it's sprouted.

    • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (make sure it's all natural with no aliases for MSG)
    • 1 bunch kale (cut into small strips)
    • 2–3 TB coconut oil
    • 6 cloves finely minced garlic
    • 4–5 scallions (white and green parts) very thinly sliced
    • 2 cups fresh organic small asparagus cut into small 1" pieces (you can substitute any vegetable you like)
    • 1–2 ripe avocados (cut into small cubes)
    • 2–3 TB lime juice or to taste (This really gives it a South American flavor)
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • tsp dried rosemary (1 tsp if fresh and finely chopped)
    • Salt & pepper to taste
    1. Combine quinoa with broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a rapid simmer. Cover and lower heat to a slow simmer until all the broth is absorbed (about 20 minutes). If quinoa is not soft, add an additional 1/2 cup broth and continue to cook until absorbed. NOTE: Do NOT keep opening the lid to check it as it will take longer to cook and for quinoa to soften.
    2. Strip the kale leaves from their stems and discard stems. Cut kale leaves into very narrow short strips about the size of a green bean. Rinse well and set aside.
    3. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large skillet, wok or stir-fry pan. Once oil is hot, add garlic and sauté over low heat until golden but not dark brown or it will get bitter.
    4. To the garlic, now add the kale and scallions and cook until kale is just soft. Next add the small pieces of asparagus and cook until asparagus are soft but NOT overcooked or you lose a lot of nutrition. Now add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently as you would for a stir-fry.
    5. At the very end, add the cooked quinoa just enough to blend flavors and heat.

    A. You can add chicken or beef sliced very thin and sautéed when you add the garlic. I also like to add ground natural bison; it's delicious and NO fat.

    B. You can add any green veggie like spinach, chard, broccoli, etc.

    C. I've also cut white onions in small pieces and sautéed along with the scallions and it gives it a bit more robust flavor.

    D. If you like those Asian stir-fry dishes with egg, try scrambling a couple eggs and adding at the end when you add the cooked quinoa.

    E. If you don't have on hand, or choose not to add both kinds of quinoa, you can use whatever you have. Blending the two kinds really gives this dish its unique flavor and I've even mixed in black or wild rice for a mouth-watering change.

    F. I like adding white or orange sweet potato not only for the awesome flavor but also it's great comfort food that's low in glycemic and high in nutrition and fiber.

    The Health Benefits of Each Ingredient…

    Quinoa: Considered a "superfood," it's one of the most protein-rich foods AND is Gluten-FREE. It contains almost twice as much fiber as other grains as well as iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin (B2) and a high content of manganese. Contains powerful bioactive substances like quercetin and kaempferol—important molecules shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects.

    Scallions: If you harvest onions before their bulbs form, you get scallions. Just like their full-grown relative, scallions are packed with vitamins and minerals.

    The following are the most nutritional benefits of scallions (aka spring onions):

    • They're very low in calories, usually about 31 calories in 100 grams of fresh scallions.
    • They're rich in antioxidants that actually help the body repel toxins that enter your body. Antioxidants are necessary to help lower your risk of acquiring viruses, bacteria, etc., including those nasty infections considered fatal.
    • They contain high levels of dietary fiber. Actually, they contain more fiber than shallots and ripe onions. To compare, 100 grams of scallions provides about 2.6 grams of fiber—equivalent to about 7 percent of the daily recommended amount.
    • Contain thiosulfinates, although in smaller amounts than garlic but still important. In addition, they contain diallyl disulfide, propyl disulfide, and allyl disulfide—which, along with other thiosulfinates convert into allicin through their enzymatic reaction. When this occurs, cholesterol production is significantly reduced, especially within the liver cells. Allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by releasing nitric oxide in the blood to lower your blood pressure. Allicin also helps in blocking platelet clotting—cutting your risk of having coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular diseases.
    • Contain compounds known to prevent certain cancers. They contain vitamin A, C and K. Researchers believe scallions are among the richest in vitamin K content—172 percent of RDA in 100 grams. Vitamin K is essential to bone health as it promotes bone strength, repair and formation. Adequate vitamin K shows promise in helping to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

    NOTE:Scallions are not only healthy and delicious; each part is almost entirely edible except the roots.

    Kale: This is considered to be the "king" of vegetables with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory. It is high in beta-carotene, vitamins K, C, lutein, zeaxanthin and rich in calcium.

    Lime: This fruit deserves to be more in the limelight than lemon, in my opinion. The potential uses of lime go far beyond cocktails and fish dishes. The following are the top health benefits:

    • As natural health approaches become more and more popular in today's culture, lime will likely play an increasing role in the treatment that doctors recommend—scientists are researching ways to incorporate lime into medicines and herbal formulas because of their extraordinary health benefits.
    • Sickle cell anemia is a condition that causes the bone marrow to produce misshapen, sickle-shaped red blood cells. It can cause chronic fatigue as well as painful episodes, called crises. Crises cause severe pain in areas such as the chest, joints, or lower back. A study found that consuming lime juice reduced the severity of crises in children with sickle cell anemia.
    • Antioxidants keep your arteries healthy, and healthy arteries are essential for carrying blood from your heart to the organs of your body. A new study conducted on rabbits reveals some interesting results and human studies are scheduled to begin soon.
    • Lime peel and lime juice contain antioxidants that slow down the process of atherogenesis, the buildup of plaque on artery walls. Try getting more lime juice in your diet. When juicing, leave the peel on so you don't discard some of most beneficial part of the lime.
    • A recent study found that the kaffir lime, a bumpy-skinned lime grown in India and other regions of Southeast Asia, fights bacteria. One specific type of well-known bacteria this lime fights is E. coli, which causes food poisoning.
    • The antibacterial properties of kaffir lime extend to the skin, too. In a 2014 study, researchers found that essential oil from the kaffir lime could stop acne-causing bacteria. The oil also reduced scarring from acne and assisted in healing acne blemishes. This natural remedy is an option worth trying to improve your skin.
    • Lime's bacteria-fighting abilities also enable the fruit to fight cholera, according to one study. Bacteria that cause cholera often travel in food. In West Africa, where cholera outbreaks have happened in recent history, researchers found that feeding affected people lime juice with rice killed the dangerous bacteria.
    • The peel left behind after a few good squeezes can be used to create a powerful, pure oil. This oil is used in a number of ways, most popularly in flavoring food and adding a fresh fragrance to a variety of products. Try this recipe for an amazing lime-filled twist on hummus by placing the already squeezed lime peel into the hummus or even your guacamole.
    • Similar to other citrus fruits, lime offers a plethora of vitamins and minerals, including potassium. Potassium is important for maintaining nerve function and healthy blood pressure levels. The fruit is also linked to antioxidants and bioflavonoids that researchers believe could lower the likelihood of cancer.
    • The simplest way to use lime is to add it to your cooking.

    Rosemary: Credited for its ability to boost memory, improve mood, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, protect immune functions, stimulate circulation, detoxify, protect from bacterial infections, prevent premature aging, and heal skin conditions.

    Coconut Oil: Its health benefits too numerous to list but here are the ones helpful in detoxification:

    Improves blood cholesterol, loaded with saturated fats (raises HDL–good—cholesterol), increases energy, helps lower blood sugar, contains lauric acid known to kill bacteria-viruses- fungi, is a natural appetite suppressant, its fatty acids can boost brain function especially in those with dementia and Alzheimer's by providing the needed ketones (energy source for malfunctioning cells).

    Natural Sea Salt: Salt is essential for life and an important component in the human diet. Sodium is a nutrient that the body cannot manufacture but which is required for life itself. Sodium is easily absorbed and is active in the absorption of other nutrients in the small intestine. It helps regulate water balance, pH, and is important in nerve conduction.

    Black Pepper: Black pepper stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for the digestion of proteins and other food components in the stomach. When the body's production of hydrochloric acid is insufficient, food may sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, leading to heartburn, indigestion and a slow bowel transit time. Black pepper has demonstrated impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects–yet another way in which this wonderful seasoning promotes the health of the digestive tract. And not only does black pepper help you derive the most benefit from your food, the outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn.

    Garlic: The allicin in raw, crushed garlic has been shown to kill 23 types of bacteria, including salmonella and staphylococcus. Heated garlic gives off another compound, diallyldisulphideoxide, which has been shown to lower serum cholesterol by preventing clotting in the arteries. Vitamins in garlic, such as A, B, and C, stimulate the body to fight carcinogens and get rid of toxins, and may even aid in preventing certain types of cancer, such as stomach cancer. Garlic's sulfur compounds can regulate blood sugar metabolism, stimulate and detoxify the liver, and stimulate the blood circulation and the nervous system.

    Cumin: Cumin, a spice that originated in Egypt, has been a part of the cuisines of the Middle East and India for thousands of years. This little seed, a standard flavor in curries, is touted for its many medicinal properties, including:

    • Controls Diabetes—A study by researchers at Mysore University in India explored the potential anti-diabetic properties of cumin. In this study, published in 1998 in the journal Nutrition Research, the research team fed diabetes-induced rats a diet of 1.25 percent ground cumin for eight weeks with positive results. The rats experienced a reduction in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar—a condition common in diabetics—and glucosuria or glycosuria, in which the urine contains too much glucose. A review of scientific studies published in 2005 in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition confirmed that a number of spices, including cumin, might aid hypoglycemia. Consider using cumin for blood sugar control, I do.
    • Aids Digestion—although this flavorful spice has a long history as a treatment for indigestion in Indian households, medical research has just begun to suggest the benefits of cumin to the digestive system. A study on rats by researchers at Mysore University, published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research in 2004, found cumin useful for both dyspepsia and diarrhea. The spice appears to stimulate the liver to secrete more bile, which aids in the breakdown of fats and the absorption of nutrients, leading to healthier digestion. In the study, cumin increased bile secretion in the rats by 71 percent.
    • Contains Essential Minerals—cumin seed is a source of the essential mineral magnesium, which the body cannot produce, and therefore must get through diet. A tablespoon of cumin will give you six percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium for adults. Magnesium serves a host of functions, including promoting heart health, controlling blood pressure and aiding the absorption of calcium. Cumin is also an excellent source of the essential mineral iron, with just one tablespoon supplying 20 percent of the daily value. Your body needs iron to carry oxygen to all its cells.

    NOTE: I prefer, and suggest, you purchase organic cumin, as most spices are irradiated (treated with radioactive materials to extend shelf life). I also suggest purchasing cumin seeds instead of buying this spice already ground, since ground cumin loses its flavor more quickly than do whole seeds. Store your ground or whole-seed cumin in a cool, dry place to help it retain its nutrients. I grind my cumin and it stays fresh for about six months, while cumin seeds last about a year. Before you grind your cumin seeds, lightly roast them for a few minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit or in a hot skillet to release their aromatic oils.

    Carrots: Carrots are actually considered a vessel for Vitamin A— they contain a large amount of Vitamin A. Additionally, they're rich with Vitamin C, E, B6, K and many more.

    Asparagus: Its javelin-shape says a lot! I view this green as symbolism for your nutritional "weapon" for its age- and disease-fighting abilities. It's packed with health benefits including loaded with nutrients. It's a great source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as a good dose of chromium—a trace mineral known to enhance the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. Some of the most nutrient-rich benefits include:

    • This herbaceous plant—along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts—is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free-radicals. Eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers.
    • Asparagus, packed with antioxidants, ranks among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This, according to preliminary research, shows promise in its ability to slow the aging processes.

    NOTE: The most common type of asparagus is green, but you might see two others in supermarkets and restaurants: white, which is more delicate and difficult to harvest, and purple, which is smaller and fruitier in flavor. No matter the type you choose, asparagus is a tasty, versatile vegetable that can be cooked in myriad ways or enjoyed raw in salads.

  • Everyone has a favorite dessert; mine happens to be tiramisu. AND, although I’ve made dozens of low carb, sugar-free desserts over the years, I have a few favorites. This is my ultimate decadent dessert since the first time I tried it.

    Unfortunately, many American restaurants serve a version that is a wet soggy over-sweetened mess with little to no flavor. I know many people that go their entire lives not realizing that a “real” tiramisu has layers of slightly crunchy cookies or a moist dense cake drenched in a rich mascarpone cream with a strong hit of espresso and, depending on the chef, some Marsala wine, rum, liquor extract or other alcohol.

    My goal in our test kitchen at the Anti-Inflammatory Cooking Institute, was to take the classic dessert that is usually tasteless and just dusted lightly with cocoa powder and give it a makeover…SO…I added cocoa to the mascarpone and bourbon with the espresso—the result is a wonderfully light and tender gluten-free dessert that is utterly irresistible.

    I’ve served this for all occasions, including Easter and Passover, and my guests raved about it and still do every time we’re together or the subject arises in conversations.

    Spoiler Alert: This dessert can be habit-forming!

    What is Tiramisu?
    It’s a layered dessert made with lady fingers or a dense moist pound cake, espresso, and spiked mascarpone cheese.

    Tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian and the addition of espresso will certainly do that. Whether you pronounce it tihruh-mih-SOO in true Italian style or tih-ruh-mee-soo like I do, it’s a delicious and memorable way to end a meal...or serve on its own with your favorite coffee or tea!

    Some Historical Perspective
    Traditional Italian cuisine evolved from their amazingly talented home cooks, honed by years at the stove watching as older generations handed down treasured recipes. That said, the modern version of Tiramisu was created by pastry chefs in the town of Treviso, above Venice in the Veneto region of Italy as recently as the 1960s or 70s. There is some debate about exactly who was the first to think of putting the combination of ingredients together, but we are certainly grateful they did!

    Mascarpone on its own is luscious and rich, but I wanted something lighter—a combination of egg whites and whipped cream added to the mascarpone gives you a dessert that you can indulge in even after a heavy meal. I also love that you can assemble it up to a day in advance, giving you more freedom to focus on the rest of the menu on the day of your presentation.

    Use gluten-free ladyfingers easily found in better health stores and online; just insure they don’t include potato starch if you’re avoiding inflammation-causing nightshades. OR, you can use the recipe for my delicious moist pound cake posted previously in TotalHealth, see link below.

    If you have trouble with dark alcohols, it is likely the caramel coloring added after distillation to make them more attractive. For those with strong reactions, use a good rum or bourbon extract.

    • 1/2 cup heavy cream – well-chilled
    • 2 large eggs (use pasteurized eggs to avoid issues with consuming raw eggs), separated
    • 1/4 cup + 2 TB granulated natural sugar sweetener, divided (I used Lakanto™ original)
    • 1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone cheese – room temperature
    • 3 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 4 TB bourbon, Marsala wine, rum, coffee liqueur, espresso, or heavy cream (my favorite is rum)
    • Pinch cream of tartar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
    • 1 (5 to 7 oz) package of crunchy ladyfinger cookies (use gluten-free) OR my pound cake recipe cut into long strips

    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder—sifted
    Grated semisweet chocolate, optional

    Preparing the Cream Layers:

    • In a well-chilled bowl, using the whisk attachment of your standing mixer, whip the cream until you reach firm peaks. Set aside. Wash the whisk attachment in hot soapy water and dry.
    • In another bowl, using the paddle attachment of your standing mixer, beat the egg yolks with ¼ cup of the natural sugar substitute until light and fluffy and the sweetener has dissolved. Pinch a little of the mixture between your fingers to see if you can still feel the granules. If you can, keep beating.
    • Add the mascarpone, 3 TB of cocoa powder, and bourbon or choice of liqueur. Beat until light and smooth.
    • Using a large flexible spatula, fold half of the whipped cream into the beaten egg yolk mixture, lightening it. Add remaining whipped cream and fold-in until completely integrated and no streaks remain. Set aside.
    • In a clean bowl, using the whisk attachment of your standing mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high until foamy and peaks are just starting to develop. Add the pinch of cream of tartar, pinch of salt, and remaining 2 TB of granulated sugar substitute. Continue beating on high speed until you reach firm peaks—whites will stand up when the beaters are lifted and the tips of the peaks will bend over.
    • Using a flexible spatula, fold half of the beaten egg whites into the mascarpone-cream mixture until combined but a few streaks still remain. Fold in remaining egg whites and keep folding until fully incorporated and there are no streaks remaining.

    Assembling the Tiramisu:

    • Lightly butter a 9-inch square glass, ceramic baking dish or individual ramekins. Set aside.
    • Pour the espresso into a shallow bowl. Dip half of the cookies into the espresso on both sides and arrange in prepared baking dish, covering the bottom.
    • Spread half of the mascarpone-cream mixture over the top, smoothing into an even layer with an offset spatula.
    • Dip the remaining cookies in the espresso on both sides and arrange them over the top of the mascarpone-cream mixture. Spread the remaining cream over the top and smooth.
    • Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Just before serving remove and discard the plastic wrap.
    • Sift the remaining ¼ cup of cocoa powder evenly over the top of the dish. Add a sprinkling of grated chocolate if desired. Take the extra few seconds to sift the amount of cocoa powder called for in the recipe with a sifter or a fine mesh strainer. You can sift it onto a piece of wax or parchment paper before adding it to the other ingredients or you can even sift it right into the bowl and/or on top of the dessert.
    • Cut into squares and serve immediately. Store any leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to two days.

    Dr. Gloria’s Kitchen Notes:
    The Tiramisu can be held in the refrigerator, covered, up to 2 days ahead. It is best when it has been chilled overnight.

    When I can’t find store-bought gluten-free ladyfingers I use my own recipe for my gluten-free pound cake, previously featured in TotalHealth, CLICK Coconut Flour Bread French Toast Recipes for the recipe.

  • In many older detective stories, the punch line famously is, "the butler did it." In the minds of many contemporary Americans, gluten is the "butler." Increasingly, when individuals experience symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and gastrointestinal distress, including gas, bloating and diarrhea, gluten is called out as the culprit. The passage of partially digested or undigested gluten through the intestines and the gut barrier may also contribute to additional symptoms not limited to those involving the development of food sensitivities and intolerances. The answer in this paradigm is to avoid all gluten-containing foods, such as wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt. The problem with this paradigm is that other than for a quite small percentage of the populace, there is little evidence that gluten per se is the culprit or that gluten avoidance will solve all or even most gluten-associated issues. This topic often leads to heated debates. Readers should be aware that the gluten-as-villain story has quite serious skeptics.1,2

    Who Reacts to Gluten?
    Gluten, a protein, is a large, complex molecule that contains thousands of folded amino acid sequences composed of globulans, albumins, glutenin and gliadin, with the gliadin fraction believed to cause most of the symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity. Gluten's exceptionally rich proline content contributes to resistance to digestion. When this big ball of peptides is insufficiently broken down, amino acid bonds within each molecule remain resulting in a partially-degraded protein that can lead to an array of symptoms. Some authorities suggest that if gluten is a sufficiently rich component of the diet (a rare situation), it will lead to reactions even in those otherwise tolerant as a result of these difficulties in digestion.

    There is a spectrum of gluten-related disorders, including celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy, the latter affecting only on the order of 0.1 percent of individuals in Westernized countries.3,4 Non-celiac gluten intolerance involves heightened immunologic reaction to gluten in genetically susceptible people whereas celiac disease involves a complex autoimmune response in the small intestine to gluten ingestion.5,6 The estimated prevalence of celiac disease is approximately one percent of the populace.7

    This is where things start to become very interesting in ways that suggest that the "gluten did it" scenario may be a bit misleading. As summarized in a fine article a few years back in the New York Times, "roughly 30 percent of people with European ancestry carry predisposing genes, for example. Yet more than 95 percent of the carriers tolerate gluten just fine. So while these genes (plus gluten) are necessary to produce the disease, they're evidently insufficient to cause it."8

    This observation becomes more intriguing in light of recent blood serum studies. In one, an examination of 9,133 frozen blood samples taken from US Air Force recruits between 1948 and 1954 for the antibody that people with celiac disease produce in reaction to gluten found that only about one in seven hundred tested positive, or 0.2 percent. This was compared to rates of celiac disease among 12,768 people who either had similar years of birth (i.e. were born around 1930) or who were of a similar age to the original donors at the time of sampling (i.e. young adults today). The rates of celiac disease were 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent respectively, or a 4 to 4.5-fold increase. In other words, in populations that genetically were virtually identical, celiac rates had increased more than 400 percent in a mere 50 years.9 Another study that analyzed blood serum from more than 3,500 Americans who had been followed since 1974 found that by 1989 the prevalence of celiac disease in this cohort had doubled.10

    More recent studies have confirmed the rising risk of developing celiac among otherwise similar groups in the past. So have cross-national comparative studies. The populations in adjacent Russian Karelia and Finland are equally exposed to grain products and share partly the same ancestry, but live in completely different socioeconomic environments. The two study populations are culturally, linguistically and genetically related with predisposing gene variants are similarly prevalent in both groups. Examination of 5,500 subjects yielded a prevalence of roughly one in 100 among Finnish children whereas the same diagnostic methods indicated only one in 500 among their Russian counterparts.11

    More Intrigue
    In line with a number of studies looking at the prevalence of asthma and other forms of autoimmune disease, the Finnish/ Russian data suggest modern sanitary and dietary practices are leading to poorer health in unexpected ways. For instance, three of four Russian Karelian children harbored Helicobacter pylori in comparison with one in 20 Finnish children. H. pylori can cause ulcers and stomach cancer, but mounting evidence suggests that exposure also reduces the incidence of asthma. The author of the New York Times article mentioned above notes that one author of the Finnish study suspects that Russian Karelians' microbial wealth (exposure to a much larger variety of microbes compared to more Westernized and metropolitan populations) protects them from autoimmune and allergic diseases by strengthening the arm of the immune system that guards against such illnesses. Similarly, Yolanda Sanz, a researcher at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology in Valencia, Spain, makes a compelling case for the importance of intestinal microbes. "Years ago, Dr. Sanz noted that a group of bacteria native to the intestine known as bifidobacteria were relatively depleted in children with celiac disease compared with healthy controls. Other microbes, including native E. coli strains, were overly abundant and oddly virulent."

    Quite a number of authors have noted a possible role for longer breast-feeding of infants in helping to confirm bifidobacteria in a more dominant role in the large intestine in children and later life as well as controlling E. coli growth. Other changes in Western practices similarly may influence the role of foodstuffs. For example, a study published in 2011 found that a specially fermented wheat flour-derived product did not lead to any sort of toxic reaction after being given to celiac patients for 60 days. This is in line with research indicating that the manufacture of wheat and rye breads or pasta with durum flours by using selected sourdough lactobacilli markedly decreases the toxicity of gluten. In Western countries, cereal baked goods typically are manufactured by fast processes. As noted by researchers, this avoids the traditional long fermentation by sourdough—a cocktail of acidifying and proteolytic lactic acid bacteria—and has replaced fermentation with chemical and baker's yeast leavening agents. Under these conditions, cereal components are not degraded during manufacture.12

    Again, a number of researchers have uncovered evidence that keeping bifidobacteria and lactobacilli at sufficiently high levels in the appropriate areas of the intestines strongly influences tendencies toward autoimmune diseases.

    Other Contributors to the Modern Gluten Intolerance

    Gluten has been in the human food chain for thousands of years, yet gluten intolerance has become widespread in recent decades. Along with some items already mentioned, here is an extended list of possible culprits:

    • Changes in baking techniques; to speed processing and reduce costs, modern breads almost never are fully yeast-raised as in the past, a process that makes gluten more digestible; similarly, the long steaming of wheat and rye breads typical of Central and Eastern Europe makes breads more digestible
    • Changes in the gluten content of wheat—since the 1950s the USDA, without public notice, has been involved in wheat breeding to increase gluten content
    • Novel processing techniques when using gluten-derived compounds in foodstuffs, such as deamidation involving removing an amino group (NH2); this makes the peptides more soluble and smaller, but also increases their chances of breaching the gut lumen and activating immune responses
    • Changes in refrigeration and storage, which, in turn, change our gut bacteria and lead to novel intolerance reactions to foods
    • Reduced breast-feeding and altered feeding and weaning practices; changes in infant formulas; suspected changes in mother's milk itself at the populace at large becomes more prone to overweight and obesity plus the foods consumed by mothers change
    • C-sections becoming more common, which tends to alter the bacteria babies inherit (or do not inherit) from the mother via the birth canal
    • Reduced exposure to various dusts and other challenges from the natural world that help train the developing immune system and reduce autoimmune overreactions
    • GMOs and the chemicals linked to these are ubiquitous in the food supply

    Although, as indicated above, heightened sensitivity to gluten extends back several decades, GMOs may be true game-changers for future generations. According to Jeffrey Smith and the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), a "possible environmental trigger [for gluten intolerance] may be the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to the American food supply, which occurred in the mid-1990s," describing the nine GM crops currently on the market. In soy, corn, cotton (oil), canola (oil), sugar from sugar beets, zucchini, yellow squash, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa, "Bt-toxin, glyphosate, and other components of GMOs, are linked to five conditions that may either initiate or exacerbate gluten-related disorders." It's the Bt-toxin in genetically modified foods that kills insects by "puncturing holes in their cells." The toxin is present in ‘every kernel' of Bt-corn and survives human digestion, with a 2012 study confirming that it punctures holes in human cells as well.

    According to an IRT report, GMO-related damage is linked to five different areas: intestinal permeability, imbalanced gut bacteria, immune activation and allergic response, impaired digestion, and damage to the intestinal wall. The IRT release also indicated that glyphosate, a weed killer sold under the brand name 'Roundup,' was found to have a negative effect on intestinal bacteria. GMO crops contain high levels of this toxin at harvest. "Even with minimal exposure, glyphosate can significantly reduce the population of beneficial gut bacteria and promote the overgrowth of harmful strains."13,14

    Sometimes the Villains Aren't Bad Guys and How To Promote the Good Guys
    A word of caution is in order regarding gut bacteria. Just as gluten may not be the primary actor in its own drama, so, too, are some "bad" bacteria not so bad after all. Above, the case of H. pylori was presented as perhaps not quite as black-and-white as normally argued. Another example is E. coli. Which E. coli? Recent research has uncovered that small molecules produced by the microbiota and related to indole extend healthspan in geriatric worms, flies, and mice.15 According to the authors of this research, the term "healthspan" describes the length of time a human or animal, while aging, can stay active and resist stress. In this research, the focus is on whether the animals live healthier, but not necessarily longer. The study identified indole and related molecules as compounds released by E. coli bacteria. Indoles may be keeping the intestinal barrier intact and/or limiting systemic inflammatory effects. Moreover, there are specialty E. coli strains that are well-researched as excellent probiotics useful in treating a number of gastro-intestinal disorders and even helping to maintain remission in patients with ulcerative colitis.16,17 The trick is to encourage the presence of the right E. coli to limit the growth of the wrong E. coli.

    What about daily foods that boost good gut microbiome, including diversity in the gut? It is important to be able to promote gut health via daily food habits rather than relying on prebiotic supplements alone. Here are some everyday choices according to a 2016 survey conducted in Europe:18

    Good foods for boosting the gut microbiome

    • Fruit and vegetables
    • Yogurt
    • Coffee
    • Tea
    • Red wine
    Bad habits that hurt the microbial ecosystem
    • A high-calorie diet
    • A high-carbohydrate diet
    • Sugar-sweetened beverages
    • Frequent snacks

    Medications have the biggest influence on gut microbiome diversity. Antibiotics, proton-pump inhibitors and metformin (a common diabetes drug) all are linked to lower microbiome diversity.

    Blaming gluten for GI-tract issues, allergies and even weight gain is akin to the pharmaceutical world's "magic bullet" approach once encapsulated as "one disease, one drug." In reality, in the modern Western world a host of changes have taken place in food growing and processing along with changes in personal habits and some of these changes have led to an otherwise and previously relatively innocuous protein, gluten, becoming a source of health issues. Eliminating gluten from the diet (along with wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt) is not the answer to environmental mistakes, such as the growing prevalence of poor bread-making practices and the use of GMOs. A better approach is to learn the nature of the non-health- promoting practices and then to find alternatives.


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