Gluten Free Diabetic Sunday Brunch

This article was contributed by Dr. Claudia Pillow, specialist on celiac disease, and co-author along with her sister, Analise Roberts, of The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook. Their cookbook is contains recipes which are great for fighting inflammation, as it is based on a alkaline diet. However, this article is based on the gluten-free diet for diabetics. And be sure to check out the link below to her absolutely fantastic gluten free pancakes or waffles recipe, just one of their gluten free diabetic recipes.

Sunday Brunch for Gluten Free Diabetics

By Claudia Pillow, Ph.D.

Image: Claudia Pillow, Ph.D.One in 5 Americans is diabetic or pre-diabetic at a cost of $200 billion per year. An equal amount of Americans die from diabetes related complications as they do from all infectious diseases combined (approximately 250,000 per year for both).  Diabetes is the biggest public health threat facing America in the coming decade. Yet, it doesn’t make the national headlines like swine flu or HIV and therefore doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Currently there has been a shift in thinking about the cause of diabetes, from obesity to diet-induced inflammation due to an over stimulated immune system. This shift occurred for two reasons: 1. recent research has shown that obesity without inflammation doesn’t result in insulin resistance; and 2. not everyone with diabetes is overweight (1).

Eating the proper foods (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein) and not eating foods that spike insulin levels (processed foods, refined wheat, and sugar) are key steps to managing diabetes, even if taking drugs. Many people feel frustrated with what they perceive as limited food choices of a diabetic food plan. But in reality over half of our calories come from two foods, refined wheat and sugar. So when you replace the wheat and sugar in your diet with fresh foods and less common whole grains (such as buckwheat), you will discover a whole delicious world of foods that help you reduce the inflammation in your body that causes insulin resistance. In addition, wheat contains gluten, a protein known to cause inflammation in as many as one out of three people. Therefore, it is important to eat a gluten-free diet.

Sunday morning brunch favorites, such as low glycemic pancakes and waffles, seem to be one of the most sought after recipes by those wishing to manage their diabetes through proper gluten-free eating. The Buckwheat and Oat Pancakes recipe is a perfect solution- high in soluble fiber and plant proteins that help control both blood sugar and hunger, by keeping us feeling full longer.

Buckwheat is not a cereal grain but a fruit seed related to rhubarb and naturally gluten-free. Not only has buckwheat found to lower blood glucose levels but it is a rich source of magnesium, a mineral involved in the process of glucose and insulin secretion. Similar to oats, it is high in soluble fiber and a natural source of iron. In fact, a quarter cup buckwheat contains 6 grams of fiber, twice the amount found in oats.

Contrary to many resources, oats are also naturally gluten-free but, may become contaminated with wheat in the field or during the manufacturing process. Therefore, if you are gluten intolerant, it is important to buy oats certified gluten-free. Serve the pancakes with sautéed apples or pears, and up the fiber count to 9 grams per serving, 25% of a daily requirement of 35 grams of dietary fiber. Most of the fiber in apples and pears is in the skin, so buy organic seasonal varieties, and don’t peel before using. And apples contain flavonoids; compounds in foods that help neutralize inflammation in the body. An apple a day can keep the doctor away! And just for good measure, there is cinnamon, a spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties, in the sautéed apples. Live long, eat well, and make it gluten-free.

(1) University of California – San Diego (2007, November 7). Type 2 Diabetes: Inflammation, Not Obesity, Cause of Insulin Resistance. Science Daily. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from­ /releases/2007/11/071106133106.htm

Dr. Claudia Pillow is the coauthor of The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook: the Delicious Way to Strengthen Your Immune System and Neutralize Inflammation.

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