An Interview with Chef Lauren about Gluten and Dairy
What is bad about gluten and dairy?
They are both very allergenic, and in the top 8 most common allergen list. Gluten is a protein in wheat(wheat and white flour), barley, rye, spelt, and can get into oats that are not labeled gluten-free from cross contamination in either fields, trucks or factory equipment! So, gluten-free Oats do not contain gluten, but they do have a similar component called Avenin which 1% of people with Celiac Disease may have difficulty digesting.
Wheat in the U.S. has been hybridized many times within the past 75 years, changing its height from 6 feet to 18 inches and concentrating its gluten content. It is also slated to become a GMO crop in 2013. Studies are being released that show a correlation between GMO’s and dysbiosis, tumors and cancer! Check out http://www.nongmoproject.org to learn more.
Let’s think about dairy for a moment. What other species drinks milk, and consumes products made from that milk, that is from another species? None. Cows are not meant to eat corn, it causes diabetes, E-Coli, a deadly bacteria, and they are given lots of antibiotics and growth hormones, none of which are healthy for them or for humans to eat. If you choose to have dairy, I highly recommend your consider organic and raw. Many people are sensitive to dairy and just don’t realize it. All my congestion disappeared 6 weeks after I stopped eating it completely and I could breathe more clearly than I ever had in over 30 years! Symptoms can manifest in many ways or it may be you are in the 25% of people without any symptoms. A few typical symptoms can be skin rashes, acne, congestion, gastrointestinal upset(diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating) just to name a few. Naturopathic doctors specialize in this and you can find a certified one on http://www.naturopathic.org or in Ca http://www.calnd.org
Also, a majority of Americans are also suffering from Diabetes, hypoglycemia and sugar related discomfort. We use a variety of low glycemic, natural sweeteners as alternatives to white sugar in class. My classes can be helpful for people with hypoglycemia or Diabetes and everyone else because we are now learning that sugar is one of the main causes or triggers of disease.
What are the benefits of excluding them from our diets? (Including your personal experiences)
Improved health and well-being. Food allergies and sensitivities can manifest several ways including displaying no symptoms to skin rashes, gastrointestinal discomfort, behavioral problems, psychological problems, brain fog, aches and pains and many more health issues.
It was hard for me at first to remove gluten and dairy because I am a chef and lived in Europe where I really enjoyed lots of both in the most delicious dishes. After many years of trying alternative ingredients I have found a healthy, delicious way to make all the food I’ve always loved and enjoyed, with healthful ingredients, and am so excited to share it with you! My next 6 week series is a culinary adventure without any jet lag or long TSA lines: “Loose Weight, Feel Great!” Lauren also teaches classes each month for Adults, and Kid’s and Teen Camps all summer long at, see her schedule at http://newleafwestside.eventbrite.com! And, I offer private cooking classes, and private chef services, consultations via Skype. I am here to help give you the tools and information you need to feel great and Thrive into the life you desire!
How did you get involved in gluten-free, dairy-free cooking? Do you have an allergy?
As a Pastry Chef I had increased stomach aches, migraines, congestion, anxiety and felt exhausted despite getting plenty of sleep, and was achy and cranky. I was diagnosed with sensitivity to gluten and dairy 14 years ago. A study released last year showed that 50% of people with gluten sensitivity also have a dairy sensitivity. Even a few molecules, not even a good bite, of gluten can make me, and anyone, so sick I’m in bed for 2 weeks! Several studies show correlations between gluten sensitive people and a plethora of health issues and diseases. If you continue to eat food that you are sensitive to it can create antibodies that do intestinal and immune damage that can lead to terribly painful and debilitating conditions and even autoimmune diseases such as MS, RA and many more.
Is a gluten free lifestyle more expensive?
It use to be much more expensive and hard to find. Now it is much more available, although it is still difficult to find healthy gluten-free/dairy-free alternatives. I have a Gluten-free, Dairy-free, low glycemic-index cookie company, “Lauren’s Kitchen Skinny Dunkers Biscotti,” and the price of my ingredients are higher than the cheap white flour and sugar type ingredients because they are all organic, much higher quality and more healthful. I say you pay now for better food or you pay later for medical bills! The good news is that the prices are coming down and some things are comparable. The best gluten free section in the grocery stores is the produce and butcher! We need to eat real, whole food and only use the packaged food as a treat. Most of the gluten free packaged food is junk food.
What level of cooking is your course? Would an inexperienced cook struggle?
I teach at whatever level people are at from beginner to advanced. I go around to all the cooking stations and give demos of kitchen skills and lots of tips. I also often will do demos for the entire class. We use a fun variety of kitchen equipment and I always give alternative ways to do things without fancy equipment. My classes are a great place for learning or improving your cooking! My students always say they learn something new every class, even people who have taken my classes for a few years.
Since you’ll be cooking many meals of different cultures what kind of ingredients will you be using?
Are they difficult to find in the local grocery store if I were to replicate the same dish? My cookbook and my blog, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem, have recipes using familiar and easy to find ingredients and no weird ingredients like xanthan gum. My cooking is very unique because it is high in protein, fiber, nutrition and tastes like regular gourmet food that everyone will enjoy whether they have food sensitivities or not.
Are these meals suitable for family dinners? Parties? Or a date? All!
A lot of people assume healthy cooking is very time consuming. Can you estimate the average prep and cook time is for these meals? We make meals that take 20 minutes-1 1/2 hours. I often will teach classes where we make one main dish like Meatloaf and we make several meals for the week from one main ingredient dish.
Do you have any suggestions or tips for busy households that find it difficult to find time to cook gluten-free meals everyday?
It does not take any more time to use a different flour and alternative milk, it is a mindset and choice that one needs to be open to trying. So many of my students tell me that they cook separate meals at home to meet everyones needs. I think this is unnecessary and ridiculous because the recipes I teach are so healthy and delicious that they are good enough for the whole family. Many people who think they do not have any food sensitivities or allergies are the one’s who are in the 25% of people who are asymptomatic. A recent study showed that people can have autoimmune antibodies in their blood up to 10 years before they have any symptoms! Think about that for a minute, you could have food sensitivities and feel fine but be ruining your future health.
So, Come learn to cook your favorite dishes with a new variety of ingredients that will help you to feel great. If you live too far away, buy my cookbook, Biscotti and a Skype session! By the way, many people loose weight when they cook and eat from my cookbook and classes! So whether you have gluten or dairy or other sensitivities or not, come join us for a really fun time and learn to cook fabulous food that you can share with everyone! I always have vegetarian and vegan options while avoiding the top 8 allergenic foods as well. See Chef Lauren’s Cooking Class Schedule on this Blog http://nowheatnodairynoproblem.com/author-eventscookbook-signings/. Buy my products at http://nowheatnodairynoproblem.com/cookbook-orders/
Be Well and Thrive with Many Blessings, Chef Lauren
10 Sources of Hidden Gluten!
1. Body and beauty products & Haircare/hair color/bleach!
Lipstick, toothpaste, body lotion, shampoo, hair color soap, conditioner, baby powder and sunscreen can all contain gluten. Because of this, I stick with beauty brands that are committed to offering both gluten-free and toxin-free products! You can look them up on www.ewg.org
Be sure to read labels and know the various names of wheat like the botanical name, Triticum Vulgare(wheat germ oil)! England and EU label wheat as Triticum! If you don’t know what something is on a label, look it up.
My favorites include:
You can find these at health food stores, Pharmaca and www.ThriveMarket.com
Acure(body soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, facial products)
Mineral Fusion for hair and make-up
My Chelle or Acure for facial products
Babo Baby or Goddess Garden or Badger Sunscreen
Top Chic Permanent hair color (not semi or demi or any other) by Goldwell
2. Medications, supplements and herbal formulas
Many of these have fillers like dextrin, which can come from corn or wheat. There are several websites, such as http://glutenfreedrugs.com/ that list gluten-free medications. If you are taking thyroid, be sure it is Westhroid and Levothyroxine if needed which are the least allergenic of all of them. Synthroid contains gluten and doesn’t convert as well as Westhroid(natural) in most people!
3. Play-Doh and paints
Play-Doh is made from wheat flour, salt and water, and many paints also have wheat-derived ingredients. I make my own play dough with gluten-free oat flour. I use only No VOC paints in our house.
4. Sauces and condiments
Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, tomato sauce, gravy and salad dressings can all contain gluten. Distilled vinegar begins with grain! They cannot distill 100% of the gluten out, so look for ones that use apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar instead of distilled vinegar or white vinegar! Or, make your own!
5. Scrambled eggs
Some restaurants add pancake batter to make eggs, or buy packaged egg products that already contain batter in order to make the eggs fluffier. The chef & foodservice staff, may be unaware they’re using a product that contains wheat or gluten, so make sure to ask questions!
6. Stamps and envelopes
The adhesive that makes stamps and envelopes stick can come from gluten. I always use a wet paper towel to dampen the envelope seal or better yet, use self adhesive kind. Many glues are also made from gluten!
7. Luncheon meats, imitation crab and vegan meat substitutes, soy sauce
Wheat can be used as a filler in luncheon meats, and of course most meat jerky contains soy sauce. The “crab meat” used in many sushi rolls, like California rolls, is imitation crabmeat and contains wheat as a stabilizer. Many vegan “meats” and veggie burgers are either made from wheat or contain one of the these ingredients listed below.
Other hidden sources of gluten:
- Artificial color
- Baking powder
- Caramel color/flavoring
- Citric acid (can be fermented from wheat, corn, molasses or beets)
- Fat replacers
- Food starch
- Glucose syrup
- Modified food starch
- Natural juices
- Wheat starch
Beer contains gluten, of course, but distilled liquors such as vodka can also be made from wheat or rye or barley. Depending on your sensitivity, you may need to steer clear of these. I recommend eliminating alcohol entirely during the first 30 days on any of my programs or until your symptoms have resolved. However, if you have eliminated your symptoms and want to enjoy alcohol occasionally, I usually stick with tequila, potato vodka, GF Rum or Organic/No Sulfites added wine and gluten-free beer made from Sorghum. Do not drink gluten-free beers that the gluten has been “removed”, b/c it’s still there and only a molecule can trigger antibody production which take 6 weeks to clear the system/blood stream! Check out a full list of gluten-free alcohol and foods on www.celiac.com
9. Mashed potatoes & Soups
Flour is sometimes added to thicken mashed potatoes. Often flour is added to thicken soups!
- Sprouted Bread
All bread, sprouted or not, that contains gluten(wheat in all forms both modern and ancient, Rye, Barley, Spelt, Kamut, and any oats that are not certified gluten-free can be contaminated with gluten.
You must read the ingredients! Licorice and many other solid candies are made from wheat flour. Wheat and gluten have many names they can be labeled as such as the botanical name Triticum or Triticum Vulgare(wheat germ oil)!
For GIG’s Certified GF Brands go to https://www.gluten.net/temp-certified-products/