The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 16, 2012

The problem with gluten

Not-So-Golden Waves of Grain:

By Lisa Shrewsberry
Lifestyles Editor

— When Raleigh Center Daniels residents, a sampling of some of the most discriminating palates this side of Bobby Flay’s test kitchen, crowded Chef Michele Koeniger’s demo table to congratulate her, she had to chuckle. “You outdid yourself this time,” they told her, patting her on the back as they exited. What they didn’t know, hadn’t hurt them. In fact, it may have helped them. The meal they’d just enjoyed was entirely gluten-free.

Koeniger has perfected gluten-free fare, constantly tweaking her recipes to comply with a rainbow of dietary restraints. Gluten is absolutely restricted in some residents’ diets; it is curtailed in others who have demonstrated an intolerance for it. “We offer gluten-free options for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Koeniger explains. “The dishes are similar to what we’re serving others. We don’t want to make the gluten-free patients feel like outcasts.”

Gluten is the collective term for the proteins of specific grains identified as harmful in particular to those with celiac disease, an inherited auto immune condition affecting digestion and proper nutrition. Gluten occurs naturally in all forms of wheat, but also in barley, rye and spelt, or hulled wheat. Even some traditionally safe grains are culprits by association from processing, says Dr. Janet Lintala, an expert on gluten intolerance and other auto immune driven digestive problems.

“Oats in this country are technically gluten-free, but where they are processed makes them contaminated with wheat. They have to be specified gluten-free.”

Dr. Lintala is the founder of the Autism Recovery Resource Center, PLLC, Beckley. Much of her work and research is in the area of gluten intolerance and the digestive problems linked to autism spectrum disorder in children. While she describes celiac disease as “an absolute intolerance to gluten,” resulting in serious conditions like intestinal distress and failure to thrive, there are others who have sensitivity to gluten as well as casein, the protein in milk, especially if they have what she and other experts classify as a “leaky gut,” or increased intestinal permeability.

“Up to 70 percent of those with autism may have this leaky gut and patients could be either allergic or sensitive to gluten or have gluten intolerance.” In these patients, describes Lintala, the breakdown of gluten and casein causes opiate-like effects, including severe constipation and cognitive issues.

Some doctors are choosing to take gluten away from patient diets, categorizing it as an inflammatory food. Heart physicians, health gurus and general practice physicians are reading studies and recognizing gluten as potentially health adverse.

In his book Wheat Belly, cardiologist William Davis, M.D. points out the extent to which wheat has been genetically modified for mass consumption in America. “It used to be four-foot tall amber waves of grain,” explains Lintala. “Now, it’s 18 inches tall, very stiff and heavily laden with grain.” While a formal study by no means, Lintala’s observation with patients who live here but go abroad to visit family is they report an ability to eat grain in their native countries, but not the grain processed here. “This is assumption,” clarifies Lintala, adding there is solid data to suggest a more widespread intolerance to gluten than that contained within the celiac disease population.

What she suggests for those who may suspect a level of gluten intolerance is to do their own informal study starting at home. “Do a trial where you eat gluten-free.” If there’s a noticeable difference in the way you feel, then maybe you’re onto something.

One warning: Lintala says if you suspect you or your child may have celiac disease, it isn’t a good idea to stop gluten before seeing a doctor for testing. “If gluten is removed from the diet beforehand, the initial testing may come up negative.”

 For more on gluten and gluten-free eating, call the Autism Recovery Center at 304-255- 2550 for books and information from their free lending library.

More Celiac Facts from the Celiac Disease Foundation,

Celiac Disease can appear at any time in a person’s life. In adults, the disease can be triggered for the first time after surgery, viral infection, severe emotional stress, pregnancy or childbirth. CD is a multi-system, multi-symptom disorder. Symptoms vary and are not always gastrointestinal (GI). GI symptoms can often mimic other bowel disorders.

n Infants, toddlers and young children with CD may often exhibit growth failure, vomiting, bloated abdomen, behavioral changes and failure to thrive.


Abdominal cramping, intestinal gas

Distention and bloating of the stomach

Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)

Steatorrhea — fatty stools

Anemia — unexplained, due to folic acid, B12 or iron deficiency (or all)

Unexplained weight loss with large appetite or weight gain


Dental enamel defects

Osteopenia, osteoporosis

Bone or joint pain

Fatigue, weakness and lack of energy

Infertility — male/female


Mouth ulcers

Delayed puberty

Tingling or numbness in hands or feet

Migraine headaches


Iron deficiency anemia

Early onset osteoporosis or osteopenia

Vitamin K deficiency associated with risk for hemorrhaging

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Central and peripheral nervous system disorders — usually due to unsuspected nutrient deficiencies

Pancreatic insufficiency

Intestinal lymphomas and other GI cancers (malignancies)

Gall bladder malfunction

Neurological manifestations

What those with Celiac Disease can eat:

Rice, corn (Maize), soy, potato, tapioca, beans, garfava, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, flax, nut flours, all natural, unprocessed fruits, all natural, unprocessed vegetables, natural, unprocessed beef, chicken or fish.

Items that CANNOT be eaten:

Brown rice syrup, breading and coating mixes, croutons, energy bars, flour or cereal products, imitation bacon, imitation seafood, marinades, panko, pastas, processed lunch meats (bologna, hot dogs, etc.), sauces, gravies, self-basting poultry, soy sauce or soy sauce solids, soup bases, stuffings, dressings, thickeners (roux), Communion wafers. Certain herbal supplements, drugs and over-the-counter medications, nutritional supplements, and vitamin & mineral supplements — anything that contains hydrolyzed vegetable protein.

Gluten Free

(GF) Recipes: Provided by Chef  Michele Koeniger

Gluten Free Flour Mix (can be substituted for flour in non GF recipes):

10 cups White Rice Flour (2 parts)

3-1/3 cups Potato Starch Flour (2/3 parts)

1-2/3 cup Tapioca Flour (1/3 part)

1. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Blend well.

2. Store in an airtight container in a dry cupboard.

Buttermilk Biscuit Mix:

2-1/2 cups Rice Flour

1-2/3 cups Potato Starch

3 tablespoons Baking Powder

2-1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda

2-1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 cup Sugar

1/2 cup dry Buttermilk Powder

3 Tablespoons Egg Substitute

1 cup Shortening

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the shortening. Blend well.

2. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until no lumps appear.

3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the biscuits (makes 8 biscuits):

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 - 1/4 cups of the biscuit mix, egg substitute, and 1/4 cup water. Blend well.

3. Gently roll out the dough, using some plain rice flour, so it doesn’t stick.

4. Cut with a biscuit cutter, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Lasagna with Chicken, Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach, and Feta Cheese (serves 6):

1 box Rice Pasta Lasagna Sheets, cooked, cooled, oiled & set aside

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil    

1 pound boneless Chicken Thighs, cut into thin strips

1 clove Garlic, minced

3/4 cup Onions, diced small

2 each Red Peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, & diced

2 cups frozen Spinach, thawed and chopped

1/2 teaspoon fresh Oregano Leaves    

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

2 jars (24 ounces each) Gluten Free Spaghetti Sauce (Barilla)    

1/3 cup 2% Milk

1-1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese

6 ounces Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup Feta Cheese

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the chicken for about

5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and onions and cook until they are soft.

3. Add the peppers, spinach, oregano, salt and pepper. Blend well and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the milk and ricotta cheese. Blend well. Add the cinnamon and blend again. Set aside.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13” X 9” X 2” baking dish with vegetable spray.

6. Pour half of a jar of sauce on the bottom and spread evenly. Lay 4 lasagna sheets

on top.

7. Pour the other half of the sauce on top and spread evenly. Evenly layer half the chicken mixture on next; then half of the ricotta mixture; then 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat another layer.

8. On the top layer, lay the last 4 lasagna sheets down, top with the last of the sauce.

Sprinkle all the cheeses evenly.

9. Cover with parchment paper and foil. Cook for about 45 minutes. Uncover and cook 15 minutes longer.        

Pollock en Papillote (serves 4):

4-5 ounce Pollock Loin

Lemon Juice

Salt and Pepper

Old Bay Seasoning

Dill Weed

2 Carrots, julienned

3 Mushrooms, sliced

1 small Zucchini, cut into strips

1 small Onion, cut into slices

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Take pieces of parchment paper large enough to encase the fish. Fold the paper in half. Starting at the bottom corner, cut the paper into a half of a heart so when you open it up it is the shape of a full heart.

3. Leaving the paper open, place the fish in the middle if the paper close to the fold.

Season with old bay, salt, pepper, dill weed and lemon juice.

4. Place the vegetables on top.

5. Fold the paper over top and starting from the bottom, make small folds all the way to the top until everything is closed in the package.

6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until everything is cooked.

7. Take a pair of scissors and snip an opening on top of the package.

8. Serve in the paper.


Aromatic Quinoa Vegetable Salad (Serves 4):

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 small Onion, small chopped

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 Red Bell Pepper, small diced

1/2 cup frozen Corn Kernels, thawed

6 each dried Apricots

1/2 cup Raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (save 1/2 cup liquid)

1/2 cup shredded Carrot

3/4 cup Quinoa    

1-1/2 teaspoon ground Curry

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1 - 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth

1/2 cup frozen Peas, thawed    

1 (14 ounce can) Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup toasted Pecans

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic

until they are translucent. About 5 minutes. Try not to burn them.

2. Add the bell pepper, corn, apricots, raisins with no liquid, carrot, quinoa, curry,

salt, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon and red pepper flakes. Stirring constantly, cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Add the half cup of reserved raisin liquid and vegetable broth. Reduce heat to

medium low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.    

4. Add the garbanzo beans and peas. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes or until it

is all hot.

5. Remove from heat, stir in the pecans, adjust seasonings and serve.    

Crème Brulee (serves 4):

1 cup Heavy Cream

1 cup Milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla

3 Egg yolks

1 egg

1/4 cup Sugar

Brown Sugar


Whip Cream

1. Combine heavy cream, milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.

2. Remove from heat.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, and 1/4 cup sugar. Beat with an

electric mixer on medium speed, for about 3 minutes.

4. Slowly add the milk mixture and mix well. Pour back into the saucepan and cook

until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

5. Pour into four ramekins and set in a larger baking dish. Pour water around the


6. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

7. Coat the top of the cooked custards with the brown sugar and caramelize with a


8. Garnish with berries and whip cream.

Mayonnaise (makes 3 cups):

1/2 teaspoon Sugar

1 - 1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/8 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika

1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard

3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

1 cup Water

1/4 cup GF Flour Mix

1/4 cup GF Liquid Egg Substitute

1 - 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

1. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, paprika, mustard and

vinegar. Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, pour in the water and slowly whisk in GF flour mixture,

trying not to form lumps. Add the GF liquid egg substitute and cook until the mixture become shiny and clear.

3. Remove from heat, letting cool a little bit. Pour into the bowl with the seasonings

and beat with an electric mixture.

4. Slowly add the vegetable oil while beating on medium speed. Beat until it becomes

smooth and thick.

5. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Apple Cake (serves 6):

Basic Cake Mix:

5 - 1/2 cup GF Flour Mix

8 teaspoons Baking Powder

2 teaspoons Baking Soda

4 teaspoons powdered Vanilla

2 - 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

2 teaspoons Salt

2 - 2/3 cups Sugar

2 Tablespoons Egg Substitute

1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together well.

2. Store in an airtight container in a dry cupboard.

4 Granny Smith Apples, diced

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

2 Tablespoons Butter

2 cups Basic Cake Mix

1/2 teaspoon ground Allspice

1 Egg plus 1 Egg White

1/3 cup Mayonnaise

2/3 cup Light Sour Cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and 8 inch square baking dish and set aside.

2. In a medium sauté pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and brown sugar.

Cook the apples until soft.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, allspice, egg substitute, mayo, and sour cream.

Beat with an electric mixer, on medium speed for about 1 minute.

4. Fold in the cooked apples and pour into the greased baking dish.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

6. Cool slightly. Dust powdered sugar on top and serve.