According to Science Magazine (September 27, 2002), gluten in grain is not fully broken down by the digestive enzymes normally present in the digestive track. However, what does break down gluten, is a bacterial enzyme – and this enzyme just happens to be in sourdough culture and fermentation.
But fermenting takes time. Which is why, these days, it has been replaced with the quick-rise, fast-buck, plastic-wrapped mush which they call bread. Our ancestors soaked or fermented their grains: now, speed is of the essence. On top of this, today’s wheat is a far cry from what it was 50 years ago. It has been cross-bred to make it hardier, shorter, and better-growing. It has been irradiated so it will keep. None of this has benefited us consumers: on the contrary.
Grains require careful preparation because they contain anti-nutrients which can cause health problems: phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, tannins, complex sugars and gluten can all cause allergies, digestive disorders, even mental illness.
Anti-nutrients are part of the seed’s system of preservation: they prevent sprouting until the conditions are right. Because plants need moisture, warmth, time and slight acidity in order to sprout. Proper preparation of grains imitates this, which is grains always used to be soaked or fermented.
This neutralized the phytic acid and the enzyme inhibitors. The vitamin content increased; tannins, complex sugars, and gluten were partially broken down into components that are more readily available for absorption .
And then there is coeliac disease. How is this different from gluten intolerance?
To develop coeliac disease a person must inherit the genetic predisposition, consume gluten, and have the disease activated. Activation triggers may include stress, trauma and possibly viral infections. This can cause permanent damage. Whereas Gluten Intolerance causes symptoms but only until it gets out of your system. Gluten intolerance is only that: an intolerance of the body’s inability to handle gluten. Whereas coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition that is triggered by consuming gluten .
Another idea altogether is that both the increased gluten intolerance and coeliac disease may be caused by the current unbridled use of antibiotics and antiseptics, as these destroy the healthy probiotics in our intestines. This can be helped by eating food with probiotics. Says Case Adams in his book ‘Probiotics’ . Probiotic food  often reduces the damage caused by the inflammatory response to gluten, as the enzymes it produces, break down gluten into non-toxic constituents.
If you live in the USA there may be yet another cause for your trouble: they drench the wheat fields there with Roundup several days before harvest, as this allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest ….. .
So what can you do other than hunt down the gluten-free aisle which may lack gluten, but not necessarily all the other rubbish?
There is no harm in trying properly fermented bread and see whether the symptoms disappear. Buy your bread from a local baker. Paying a bit more is worth it. Find a wholefood shop. And did you know that stale bread is much easier to digest than fresh? Because you have to chew it more, and produce saliva which helps it on its way.
And for natural coeliac disease remedies, see .
veg: celeriac, turnip, beet, broccoli, cabbage, calabrese, carrots, cauliflower, chard, fennel, kohlrabi, runner beans, salsify/scorzonera, spinach, tomatoes, Jerusalem/globe artichokes, brussels’, chicory, endive, swede, celery, corn salad, leek, peas/mange tout, courgettes, marrow, pumpkin/squash, (white) radish, rocket, spring onions, watercress, sweetcorn.
meat: rabbit, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, partridge, pheasant, wood pigeon, duck, venison, squirrel.
fish: crab, clam, cuttlefish, lobster, mackerel, mussels, scallop, sprats, cockles, black bream, gurnard, winkle, pollack, grey mullet, American signal crayfish (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jul/26/thames-american-signal-crayfish-bob-behind-the-scenes).
broad beans, land cress, round seeded peas, chinese leaves, corn salad, winter purslane, winter lettuce. For successful winter growing, most seeds need to be sown in late summer/early autumn: see .
Plant rhubarb sets; spring cabbage; garlic; autumn onion sets if the weather is good. The garlic has to be an autumn-planting variety. Don’t use your old cloves! Plant out spring cabbage and, in South England, cabbages and winter/spring lettuce.
For successful winter growing, most seeds need to be sown in late summer/early autumn: see http://www.verticalveg.org.uk/winter-growing-its-time-to-plan-and-sow/.
What else can you still do in the garden? See http://www.thompson-morgan.com/what-to-do-in-the-garden-in-september.
Don’t fall too easily for that flu jab! Here is a quote from the New Scientist of the 6th of January 2018: “Very recent observations suggest that past vaccinations may sometimes mean worse flu in years when the vaccine doesn’t match closely the circulating virus.” (p.30). Which is what I always suspected …. Look after your immune system and things won’t get too bad (See the Thought for July 2017 at https://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.com.
EASY GARLIC and LEMON BROCCOLI
450g broccoli separated into florets, 4tsp fresh lemon juice, 2tblsp water, 3tblsp butter, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 pinch salt, 1tsp black pepper.
Stir 2tsp lemon juice into the water, add the broccoli. Cover and steam until the broccoli is bright green and tender, 10-15 mins. Meanwhile, sauté the garlic in the butter, add salt. Drain the water from the cooked broccoli, sprinkle with 2 more tsp lemon juice and the garlic. Season.
200g uncooked lentils or ab. 500g cooked, 1 large onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tin tomatoes (or 2 large fresh ones), 5 tblsp oil, 1tsp cumin seeds, 1tsp coriander seeds, 1/4tsp turmeric, cardamom, 1l water.
For the vegetables: 300g carrots, turnips or runner beans, maybe some spinach or broccoli.
Cook the spices dry in a thick bottomed pan for 2 mins, stirring regularly. Put in a pestle and mortar: crush. Slice the onion, crush the garlic and sauté in the oil, covered, for 5 mins. Add spices and cook for another 2 mins. Add lentils, 3/4 of the water and most of the chopped veg: add tomatoes and spinach a bit later. Cover and simmer gently for 1/2 hr. Check and stir regularly. Add more spices if you like. If it looks like drying out, add a little more water.
MARINATED MACKEREL (or any fish I suppose)
Mackerel fillets for 2, juice of half a lime, coriander leaves, freshly ground pepper, butter/oil.
Cut the mackerel into a few large bits, cover with lime juice, half of the coriander and the pepper. Let stand for an hour or more, stirring every so often. Cook as normal, strew with the rest of the coriander. Lovely!
BRAISED FENNEL for 2
1 large, 2 medium or 3 very small fennel bulbs; 2tblsp fat, 120ml chicken stock, 1/2tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1tsp fennel seeds.
Cut stalks and fronds from the fennel, leaving only the bulb(s). Save those for salads or garnish. Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise, and except for very small ones, cut in half again. For large bulbs, cut in half lengthwise and then cut each half in four wedges lengthwise. Melt fat, add fennel in one layer, and brown for 8 mins each side (or until each side is lightly browned). Add stock, cover and simmer for 15 mins. Drain, put on plates. Spoon lemon juice evenly over the fennel and sprinkle with seeds.
COURGETTE CURRY SOUP
450g courgettes, 500ml water/stock, 1 diced onion, 1 tblsp butter, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tblsp curry powder, sour cream/yoghurt, chopped chives, salt, pepper.
Sauté the onion in butter till soft, chop the courgettes, add and sauté till soft. Add stock/water, cayenne, curry powder. Simmer 10 mins, blend. Add cream/yoghurt, salt and pepper. Top with chives.
ROAST CAULIFLOWER WITH CUMIN, CORIANDER and ALMONDS
1 cauliflower broken into florets, sea salt, olive oil, butter, 2tsp cumin seeds, 2tsp coriander seeds, 1-2 dried red chillies, a handful of blanched almonds, smashed; zest and juice of 1 lemon.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Blanch cauli in salted boiling water for 2 mins, drain, let steam dry. Mix in plenty of oil and butter. Grind spices and chillies with a pinch of salt, mix with almonds and toast in a hot, dry pan. After 2 mins, add the cauli. When it gets a bit coloured, add the lemon zest and juice, mix. Fry for a minute, put into the oven for 15 mins to crisp up.
PEANUTTY VEG FOR ONE
150g vegetables like carrot, raw beet, celeriac, Florence fennel; 1/2tblsp peanut butter; 1 smallish onion; 1 clove garlic; butter; chilli/cayenne pepper; salt.
Sauté the sliced onion, vegetables and garlic in plenty of butter for a while. Add some water, cover and simmer very gently till done to your liking. Put the peanut butter in a bowl and loosen with a bit of the hot liquid. Add to the veg, along with lots of red pepper and salt. Serve.
SWISS CHARD and SESAME STIR FRY, sidedish.
400g chard, 2 onions, olive oil, 1 heaped tblsp toasted sesame seeds, 1-2tblsp balsamic vinegar, 1 heaped tblsp chopped coriander leaves or crushed seeds.
Chop the onions in half and slice. Chop chard into strips, dry thoroughly. Heat wok or heavy pan – without oil! – and toast the seeds until they start to pop, put aside. Heat oil in the wok, add onion. Stir fry for 5 mins, until soft. Add the chard and stir fry for 3-4 mins, until wilted. Turn off the heat. Add vinegar, coriander and sesame seeds, mix. Serve immediately.
For more September recipes, see other years.
Next month: changing habits.
 see the Thought for April 2017 at https://thoughtforfood-aw.blogspot.com.