Gluten-Free doesn't Have to Mean Happy-Free with this Delicious Grainless Pizza

When I found out I had to give up gluten, I only had one word to describe what I was feeling: Dread.

Not only did I dislike the idea, I HATED it! Dear. God. No. Those three words were probably my next thought. Then came the bargaining with the almighty. Why can't it be something I don't like- like brussel sprouts, sardines or oysters, for example? What if I cut down to only once a week? But I like my pastas, breads, the occasional soft and fluffy, sugary donuts and tacos with their chewy cheesy fillings stuffed in the middle. How am I going to get through a day of errands, mommy-ing, and laundry, if I have to give up finger-licking, MSG-loaded, cheesy flavored chips with enriched white flour and spicy goodness? I just. Can’t. That’s happiness in a bag! Hello? God? Are you listening? No response. Which led me to believe he was probably rolling his eyes, or maybe just simply holding back full fledged laughter. When it comes to me, he has a huge sense of humor that way. 

UGH! What am I gonna eat now?! I had tried gluten-free products and saw no point to life if everything was going to taste like shipping cardboard with chick peas from now on, but after about a year of rationalizations, and the brain fog still not lifting, and the inflammatory pain still feeling like shards dug through my feet with every step I took, I realized that enough was enough and decided that I needed to take some serious steps to giving up the very thing that was making things worse. I had to give up gluten, but now I was going to embark on a mission to find gluten-free recipes that wouldn’t necessarily mean happy-free while eating them. And here's why: First, the technical stuff!

The Technical Stuff

Gluten is found in all those delicious bread products like cookies, crackers, doughnuts, biscuits and even flour tortillas. But what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a protein composite that acts as a glue for holding flour together. It plays a key role in the leavening process, which allows bread to rise when mixed with wheat and yeast. [i] According to Dr. David Perlmutter, neurologist and author of the book Grain Brain, while only a small population of people have Celiac disease, an actual allergic reaction to gluten, there is a large majority of the population suffering from gluten insensitivity, and he cautions that the brain is at great risk for gluten sensitivity. While some may experience symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and intestinal issues, others may experience inflammation, brain fog, migraines, and depression. He attributes today’s problems with gluten to modern hybridization and bioengineering techniques with the way wheat is manufactured (p.63). He also asserts that some people's bodies lack the right enzymes to digest ingredients in foods (p.51).

People with a genetic MTHFR mutation lack the enzyme needed to break down folic acid (see Are you a Mutant?), and since most bread products and grains are fortified or enriched with folic acid, I noticed an increased sensitivity to gluten products as I got older and could no longer tolerate it. Genetic testing can be quite costly, and I have found that the most affordable way to find out if you are gluten sensitive is to try a gluten elimination diet for two weeks. Assess how you feel during this time. Did the dark cloud over your head go away and could you think clearer? Was the pain and bloating gone? Did you feel a slight boost in energy? Those were improvements I felt when I made the firm decision that I could no longer live in pain, or feel like I was walking through a dark haze. Because it largely affected my ability to think and write, not to mention that my family needed me, I had to go nuclear and eliminate it.

I do miss certain foods, however, like pizza and breads, but I have found great substitutes like Einkhorn flour, an ancient single grain that hasn’t been altered genetically, and is still in its original state.[ii] I will say that it still contains gluten, so if you're really intolerant or have Celiac disease, it might be a good idea to stay away from this too. I've noticed that I don’t feel all the negative side effects like the bloating that I get from today’s wheat. But I like to reserve eating this only on special holidays or occasions. However, my goal was to go completely bread-less and eat more healthy fats and lean proteins. But, occasionally, I do crave one of my favorite indulgences like: PIZZA!

First off, let me start by saying that pizza is so yummy, it should be its own food group- kidding- and, it’s one of the things I miss eating most of all.

After researching ways to a make better bread-less pizza, I adapted a recipe from a well-known weight loss expert and author mostly known for his books on weight loss, Dr. Eric Berg. It is a cauliflower pizza made with mozzarella cheese and it is absolutely delicious. I tweaked with the recipe by adding some seasonings, so I hope you enjoy the taste.


The Recipe to Breadless Pizza


Ingredients:

2 cups grated cauliflower 




2 cups shredded mozzarella organic cheese

2 eggs

2 tsp Italian seasoning

½-1 cup organic pizza sauce (I use Newman’s organic garlic spaghetti sauce, and since I like my pizza saucy, I used the 1 cup)

Your own toppings (for this recipe, I used black olives, no nitrate pepperoni slices, fresh chives, 4 basil leaves, fresh sweet tomatoes, onions)




Since I like to grow my own herbs
in containers, I like to use my
own fresh basil & chives










Directions:

Preheat oven 450 degrees

1. Mix the grated cauliflower, cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, and 1½ cups of mozzarella together until it forms a dough-y paste.





2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a round pizza pan or stone pizza plate and pour the paste over the sheet, flattening and shaping a circular shape on the sheet, until it resembles a round and flat pizza dough.



 

3. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Then, pull out of the oven again to add the rest of the ingredients.


4. Pour pizza sauce, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on the baked pizza and add your own favorite toppings. Then place back in the oven and cook for 7-9 minutes more. Be sure to keep an eye on the pizza, because it will quickly brown and crisp once it’s in there the second time.




The finished product, YUM! I can't
believe there is no bread in this pizza.


___________


i Perlmutter, David, MD, Grain Brain (New York: Little Brown and Company, 2013)


ii http://www.einkorn.com/einkorn-history/

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