My husband and I love to make our own soups as it’s a fast, cheap, one pot dish and one of the quickest ways to get an immediate boost full of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Last night I made us a spicy butternut squash soup and as an accompaniment made a courgette and walnut bread.
I have never been a massive “bread” fan, so giving up gluten for me all those months ago was not an issue at all. The times I’d had bread in the past it would send my blood sugars sky-high (white, brown, whole grain- you name it) and I’d feel heavy, deflated, suffer from headaches and be incredible bloated for days afterwards (how lucky is my husband!). That being said, I do understand the comfort that bread gives, that “stodgyness” that so many people crave and desire and also the versatility and practicality of it when you are in a rush and just want toast / a sandwich. However, there is nothing healthy about gluten or bread and no benefits will come of eating it. Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not essential. We do need glucose for energy but this can be obtained from fruits, vegetables and animal proteins. Limiting carbohydrates (avoiding gluten and other grains) is a safe and effective way to lose weight, improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugars, insulin resistance and other metabolic problems.
So to practise what I preach I did some experimenting with a gluten / grain free bread and thought I’d share it with you all. This is as close to being called a “healthy bread” as you will get and deserves a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, it’s light with a crust, packed with flavor, fluffy and has only 5 key ingredients.
What you need:
To make 1 large loaf
1 large courgette
1/2 cup walnuts
4 cups ground almonds
2tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp raw honey
1 loaf tin
Mixer / blender
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease a loaf tin (mine was about 10” x 5”)
- Peel the skin off your courgette (unless you want green bread of course) and place courgette in to blender to be grated (or grate by hand)
- In to a stand mixer (I use the KitchenAid) place all your wet ingredients other than the courgette. Beat for 2 minutes until frothy
- Add in courgette and beat for another 1 minute until fully mixed
- Slowly add in the dry ingredients and keep beating until all the mixture is fully combined
- Spoon the batter in to your loaf tin, add a few more walnuts to the top and some of your sliced courgette skin (if you wish) and place in to the oven
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until a sharp knife or toothpick comes out of the center clean
- Allow to cool completely before serving
Suitable for: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian, Paleo
Why gluten should be avoided:
ANTI-NUTRIENTS: Gluten is a poor source of bioavailable nutrients due to it’s mineral-binding phytic acid, gut-irritating lectins and other anti-nutrients
DISEASE: Gluten has been strongly linked to heart disease and can act as a catalyst for some cancers
DIGESTION: Gluten is very hard to digest and can cause damage to your gut lining, whether you experience gastrointestinal symptoms or not. Some of the most common conditions and symptoms associate with gluten are:
*Gastrointestinal issues such as IBS, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heartburn, gluten intolerance and celiac disease.
*Autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, multiple sclerosis
*Skin problems – including eczema, acne and hives
*Mental health – including depression, ADHD, autism, anxiety and schizophrenia
*HORMONE DISRUPTOR AND PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) – Gluten and the pesticides that are sprayed on it can act as hormone disruptors which interfere with the functioning of the endocrine or hormone system. I for one having been diagnosed with PCOS 3 yrs ago have since giving up gluten (and dairy) had regular periods- which I had never had before
HIGH CARBOHYDRATE: Carbohydrates offer a quick source of NON lasting energy. As soon as gluten is consumed it is broken down in to sugars. To get this sugar out of your blood, your pancreas produces insulin (unless you are Type 1 diabetic like me and have to manually work out how much to give yourself). However, because a lot of people are sedentary at work or not physically active after they have eaten, your cells only burn a little amount to get the energy they need. The rest is mostly stored as triglycerides, or FAT- most commonly around your waist, hips, thighs arms and your cheeks!
Would you give up gluten? or have to given up gluten? Would love to hear your thoughts!