The Perfect Gluten Free Vegan Waffle!

The Perfect Gluten Free Vegan Waffle!

Gluten free and Vegan Waffles? Without sugar?

These words don’t often apply to waffles. I have seen pancakes, crepes, cakes even. But it seemed like waffles were never allowed to enter this sacred space.

My son has been for several years on a gluten free, dairy free and egg free diet due to food sensitivities. And he loves waffles, and I love waffles.

To say our earlier attempts resembled cardboard, I am afraid, would be insulting to cardboard. After months of trialing flour after flour, it was a completely random attempt that succeeded, and succeeded like crazy!

This recipe is almost paleo, though legumes aren’t often considered strictly paleo, and are the stars of this recipe.

If extraordinary waffles are the reason you haven’t hit an allergy elimination diet yet, look no further! Here’s your super anti-inflammatory waffle with a dose of optional protein

Recipe:

  • 1 cup Cassava Flour
  • 1 cup Garbanzo Fava Flour (this is a mix of garbanzo and fava bean flours, and is available as such in health food stores or Amazon)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional, I haven’t figured out what its role is yet, just seems to give a crispier texture so far)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tpsp Olive Oil
  • 1 scoop Marine Collagen (optional, to up your protein content if you want)
  • Water or Almond Milk
  • A Waffle Iron (not Belgian Waffle Iron): this is really important . This recipe will not work with a Belgian Waffle Iron, only with a simple (regular?) one.

Well, at this time, mix the dry ingredients well. Add the wet ingredients, and just mix with a spatula until well mixed and the consistency of thick pancake batter. This is also important. Too thin and this recipe won’t work. Remember, we don’t have eggs!

Oil your Waffle Iron (with ghee or avocado oil), let it heat and get it ready for waffling (Green LIght and all that). 

Pour Waffle, Wait for green light again, Remove Waffle! That’s it!

Note: That’s what my waffles look like 🙂 But this picture isn’t mine! Pic Credit: Adobe Stock

Are Gluten-Free diets Fads or Fact-based?

Are Gluten-Free diets Fads or Fact-based?

How important is it to got Gluten-Free?

Avoiding or eliminating Gluten is the elephant in the room in all conversations about using food to heal. People (practitioners and patients alike) dance about this topic, talk about how it would be a nice thing to try, or dismiss it as new agey woo-woo.

In the context of going Gluten Free, you might have heard the words

  • “fad”,
  • “unscientific”,
  • “trend” associated with it.

You may have also heard the terms

  • “celiac”,
  • “gluten sensitivity”,
  • “leaky gut”.

The current mainstream OPINION (and that, most likely, of your doctor) is that there is no conclusive evidence that a gluten free diet helps unless you have celiac disease. 

 

This is in fact not true! Actually, there is plenty of evidence that the ingestion of gluten HURTS or DAMAGES the intestinal barrier.

A gluten-free WHOLE FOODS diet transformed my son from laughing maniacally for hours every day to a more regulated and a calmer child.

If you search a research database for the impact of gluten on eczema, psoriasis, asthma or autism, you will find:

  1. a number of papers that claim that a gluten-free diet DOES NOT HELP and
  2. a number of studies that demonstrate the benefits of eating a gluten-free diet.

Who is right? We live in the age of conflicting information from coffee to low-carb to gluten. How are you supposed to know what is right?

I knew by trying it out.

Can going gluten-free really heal your child (eczema or autism symptoms)?

I have seen it and heard of it with dozens of families that have tried it out. I have seen the effect on reintroducing gluten and seeing dysregulation come back in less than a week. This is my favorite piece of evidence: empirical and practical evidence.

What about the papers? The conflicting information?

My way to parse through information like this is:

  1. critical analysis of the publication (check for controls, confounding factors, bias),
  2. search for empirical evidence, and
  3. compare with traditional food habits.

In the words of Sid Baker, renowned Autism doctor and researcher: (to paraphrase): “If you are sitting on two thorns, removing one thorn isn’t going to make you feel better.”

Have you heard the story of the elephant and the 5 blind men?

Every study you see is one part of that elephant, partly true, and significantly misleading. When the conditions of viewing that elephant change, the story also shifts.

The most common flaw in papers that diss gluten as a factor in anything is that the gluten-free diets they study are often so based in junk and devoid of nutrition (i.e., they have not controlled for replacing the gluten with a whole food diet), that observing any change becomes hard.

In this blog, we are talking about one path-breaking paper, which gives a bigger (and almost complete view) of the effect of American wheat on a subset of the American population.

“Effect of Gliadin on Permeability of Intestinal Biopsy Explants from Celiac Disease Patients and Patients with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.” Hollon et al.

Gliadin is the protein we usually mean when we say GLUTEN. This paper tested the response to gliadin exposure on 4 types of subjects: a) those with active celiac, b) celiac in remission, c) those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and d) healthy controls.

Part of their conclusion states that :

“gliadin exposure induces an increase in intestinal permeability in all individuals regardless of whether they have celiac disease.”

Given the fact that intestinal permeability is strongly suspected to be increased in children with Autism,  people with eczema, asthma and other inflammatory diseases, this is HUGE revelation. It would follow that trialing a period of no gluten would be good sense. [Check references below].

  • Try a reintroduction after this period of staying off gluten. Assess your symptoms, remember effects can be, and are often delayed.

 

How do I trial this for my child?

  • A 4-6 month trial of a gluten-free whole foods diet followed by a reintroduction is usually a great idea when dealing with chronic disease or dysfunction.
  • Remember that a gluten-free diet that is processed and refined may offer no great improvement over a gluten based diet.
  • Casein protein (from dairy) often cross reacts with dairy. If you don’t see improvements, think about the number of thorns you may be sitting on (it often takes a removal of gluten, dairy and sugar to see a significant effect, though sometimes just gluten may do the trick).
  • The best improvements that I have seen have typically been found with a gluten, casein and sugar free whole foods diet.
  • Remember that in order to assess the impact of being gluten-free, you need to be COMPLETELY gluten-free. 95% gluten-free is like 0% gluten-free in this context.  

There are a 100 other questions about gluten and the gluten-free movement that must pop up.

Why is gluten inflammatory? How could our ancestors so easily eat it? And so on … My colleague Deepa and I have brought answers to you in our very first podcast titled:  “gluten free living: myth, fad, or science?”

 

REFERENCES:

1. “Effect of Gliadin on Permeability of Intestinal Biopsy Explants from Celiac Disease Patients and Patients with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.” Hollon et al. 2014

2. "Alterations of the intestinal barrier in patients with autism spectrum disorders and in their first-degree relatives." de Magistris et al.  2010

3. "Increased intestinal permeability in atopic eczema." Pike et al. 1986

4. "Intestinal permeability is increased in bronchial asthma." Hijazi et al. 2004.

Allergies: Take the long cut via Functional Nutrition- 1

Allergies: Take the long cut via Functional Nutrition- 1

You have heard this:The functional nutrition approach to allergies tells us that the way to achieve victory in the long term is by hitting it at the root (literally).

However, when an allergy sufferer wants to kick allergies, they want it NOW. In fact, they want it yesterday. The misery of staying with a runny nose, watery eyes, unable to breath at times is so overwhelming that good health is really not as much as a priority as comfort. I get that, I am like that, in fact, with headaches. A short cut isn’t unfortunately always the best cut, for any chronic health affliction.

Chronic: Persisting for a long time or constantly recurring

Acute: Of short duration but typically severe

Quick fixes (pill popping, fad diets, etc.) are designed for acute conditions. When a condition repeats every year, it needs root-cause remedies. This is the learning that functional nutrition imparts for all chronic conditions.

The number 1 influencer of your immunity is your gut health, and I include the microbes living in your large intestine. Did you know that a vast signaling network has been discovered between bacteria living in your gut, on your skin, in your nose, etc.
Disruption of this signaling by antibiotics, hand sanitizers, eating diets with refined foods, high in sugar, serve to either under-feed bacteria, feed the wrong bacteria, or feed them in the wrong place, all of which lead to chronic health conditions.

Check out this article for more information on bacterial signaling and the immune system.

5 things you can do to optimize your child’s microbiome (to heal your allergies of course):

  1. Feed the bugs. There are schools of thought that say that prebiotics, the food that bugs eat are more important than probiotics. These predominantly include soluble fiber.Have your root vegetables and rotate them. Eat whole grains and legumes, and alternate them.
  2. Eat a diverse diet. You may have noticed the emphasis on rotating grains and vegetables in the previous point. This is because we have a dazzling variety of bacteria in our gut and they all eat different food.
  3. Serve your family ferments every day. Food is of no use if there is no one to feed. Every traditional 

    culture has a history of a variety of fermented foods. Sauerkraut, buttermilk, and a variety of fermented vegetables exist. Buy them raw, or better yet, make them at home.  Store bought brands are often pasteurized (killing all the bacteria), or have very low bacterial counts.

  4. Encourage your child to play in the (organic) dirt.
  5. Look at alternatives to antibiotics. Don’t get me wrong here. If your child is sick and needs antibiotics, by all means, don’t avoid them like the plague! But most conditions that necessitate antibiotics are preventable, or can be treated through gentler means, eg. ear infections. In fact, points 1-4 will actually make point 5 easier.

A healthy immune system is like a healthy plant. You need to water the soil, provide it nutrients so there are no weeds, but not make it sterile. You need the earthworms, and the naturally occurring symbiotic organisms to help your plant grow. And it takes time.

Check out my previous blog on bacteria, ear infections, and signs of a disturbed microbiome here