Gluten-Free doesn't Have to Mean Happy-Free with this Delicious Grainless Pizza
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 digging their way into 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 StuffGluten 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.¹ 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 I needed to keep up with the demands of taking care of my family, so 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 Einkorn flour, an ancient single grain that hasn’t been altered genetically, and is still in its original state.² 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
2 cups grated cauliflower
2 cups shredded mozzarella organic cheese
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
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.
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.
- Perlmutter, David, MD, Grain Brain (New York: Little Brown and Company, 2013)