Reintroducing Gluten? Why You Should Start with this Important Flour
Over the years I developed a high sensitivity to gluten, not to be confused with celiac disease. I know this because I had to get an actual medical test for it. It requires a scope going through the esophagus and a sample of your intestine is taken to test for celiac disease. The test came back negative. However, I did test high on a sensitivity test to the gluten protein, go figure. It was hard to understand why, since I had been eating wheat all my life, but when I hit forty, my body began rejecting it.
Eating breads, pasta, or anything containing gluten contributed to panic attacks and pain from inflammation all over my body. My stomach would bloat and I'd get irritable bowel syndrome any time I consumed it. In addition, wheat seemed to make my brain fog worse. It wasn't until I got rid of gluten that the panic attacks went away as well as the pain, especially on my feet, and it also alleviated the haze in my brain.
I've read so many theories and listened to experts in the field as to why this is happening. Some theorize that wheat is exposed to herbicides that kill your healthy gut bacteria, leaving you vulnerable to infection. Another links it to the bromine that is not only added to soda, citrus-flavored drinks and gatorades, but also to baked goods in the form of potassium bromate which both have been linked to an underperforming thyroid and thyroid cancer, respectively. One thing I was certain was that my body stopped tolerating processed wheat, and I only experienced immediate relief of symptoms when I got off it.
Also, people with a genetic MTHFR mutation, like myself, 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 those gluten products since detoxing my body became more challenging.
As my energy levels improved, I have gradually introduced wheat in small amounts, but I have found that the only wheat I can handle is Einkhorn flour, which is the only wheat still in its original unhybridized form (I'm linking the flour to the Amazon site, so you can see the picture, but I have found it at Whole Foods for half the price). I've tried commercial breads and every time I do, the symptoms on my hands and feet reimerge, I feel extremely tired, the bloating resurfaces, and I have difficulty concentrating, so I try to avoid it at all costs. Einkhorn flour is the only flour I use when the recipe calls for flour use. Besides, since now I'm focusing on weightloss, the less carbs I consume, the better the results.
I do realize that holidays make it more difficult to say no to those carbs, especially if you have a family and there's a call for homemade apple pie on say, the Fourth of July, for example. Rather than going out to eat, I would much rather make my foods from scratch, since I know what I will be putting into it.
Cooking with Einkhorn flour can be challenging. It has a very sticky texture, so I've had to modify how I roll it, because you end up with more of the goo on the rolling pin than on the surface . I usually place it between two parchment sheets and then use a rolling pin to roll it out if I'm making a pie during the holidays, for example. Last week, my family wanted morning flour tacos for breakfast, which I rarely make, and if I do, I'll use corn tortillas instead. Rather than go to a restaurant where I don't know what flour they are using or what preservatives go into making the tortillas, I prefer making them myself. I used the the parchment paper idea but thought of using a mexican tortilla press, and it worked great. The tortilla won't be as soft as traditional flour tortillas, but it beats using gluten-free flour, which I have yet to find a tasty one that is palatable for me, and my family won't give me grief over how bad it tastes.
Still, my goal is to avoid flour all together, but it's a nice little gluten-free hack if the recipe calls for it. Remember, that everyone is different, and if you have actual Hashimotos or Celiac, avoidance of all wheat products is the usual protocol. But, if you're in recovery and it's only an insensitivity and you would like to reintroduce flour, consider starting with Einkhorn flour. I've been limiting it to one-two times a month, but the best way to gauge how much you are willing to tolerate it is to see if the negative symptoms reimerge. That's usually a good indicator that you should avoid it altogether. You know your body best, so listen to it.
If you have found other flours that work well for people with gluten-free sensitivities, please feel free to share, as I'm always trying out alternative and healthy food sources. Thanks for reading!