Last Wednesday I went to a workshop by the lovely Tania Hubbard, an inspiring Sunshine Coast woman who has spent the last 12 years managing her health with the help of a grain free diet.
From a young age Tania was plagued with health problems, including migraines, chronic fatigue and repeated bouts of pneumonia. It wasn’t until 2013 that she finally discovered the root of her problem was an intolerance to lectin, a protein found in grains. (Read more about lectin here)
Ever since then Tania has been on a mission to raise awareness about this condition. She began creating her own gluten free grain free recipes. She opened a popular gluten free café Husk and Honey in Nambour, (she has since passed on the reigns) and now has a highly successful business selling gluten free cake mixes and breads.
“My food isn’t just for coeliacs and those with grain intolerances. It’s for everyone and anyone who wants to enjoy nutritious and wholesome cooking that tastes great. Food has turned my life around and I thoroughly enjoy helping others on their path to healthy eating.”
Signs you may have an issue with gluten/grain intolerance include:
• brain fog • ear infections • migraines • depression • sleeplessness • cranky bum • urinary tract infections • bloating • irritated skin • fatigue
Tania’s workshop wisdom:
• Everyone has heard of the problems caused by gluten and wheat, but lectin intolerance is less well known. It has similar symptoms and has been linked with leaky gut. (The markers for lupus (an autoimmune condition) are also the same as for lectin intolerance).
• Labelling the way I eat (eg paleo, raw, vegan) diminishes me and my ability to think outside the box. I will not label the way I eat. The way I eat is not who I am… I eat to be well.
• My health is no one’s problem except mine.
• I don’t eat to be skinny, I eat to be well.
• Testing for allergies isn’t always conclusive.
• Cook everything from scratch, don’t over complicate it, plan ahead, cook in bulk and freeze. No matter how busy you are, you can do it.
• Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.
After being inspired by Tania I bought her recipe book and had a go at making her famous gluten free bread (it took her 2 years to perfect the recipe) – it tasted pretty darn good and was really quick and easy to make (no kneading as no yeast is used, more like making cake batter). Wheat free, sugar free, dairy free. When shopping for the ingredients I compared supermarket almond meal and arrowroot with the same products at my local healthfood store. The healthfood store was actually cheaper, and provided locally sourced products (therefore fresher).
•1 cup almond meal •2 tbsp chia seeds •30 mls water •¾ cup arrowroot (sifted) •1 tsp bicarb/baking soda (sifted) •2 tbsp apple cider vinegar •3 eggs •good pinch salt
Preheat oven to 175C. Soak chia seed in water whilst preparing dry mix. Stir to make sure seeds are in the water. Sift arrowroot and bicarb (baking soda) into bowl. Add almond meal and salt and mix well. Use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients to help break up lumps and distribute ingredients evenly. Add eggs, soaked chia seeds and apple cider vinegar. Combine everything well until there are no lumps (about 1 minute of whisking). Don’t be tempted to add any liquid – the mix is meant to be thick.
Pour mix into a baking tin lined with non-stick baking paper or a silicon bread mould lightly oiled with olive oil. Tania uses a spring form cake tin. Bake for 25 minutes until the bread is firm to the touch and bounces back when lightly pressed. The top will be golden in colour and firm to the touch. Remove bread from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack. Adjust cooking time to 45-50 minutes if cooking a double mix (large loaf).