Gluten free – fad or cure? by Liesel Fuchs

In the second of a series of healthy eating articles for, Swedish mum Lisa Fuchs explains why grains could be ruining your life.

By Lisa Fuchs

Recent studies at the Mayo Clinic, have come up with interesting results;

“Celiac disease, an immune reaction to eating the protein gluten, is far more than an occasional tummy upset. Mayo Clinic research suggests the disease is becoming a major public health issue. Although the cause is unknown, celiac disease is four times more common now than 60 years ago, and affects about one in 100 people.” (source)

Having Celiac disease means not being able to digest grains such as wheat, rye and barley. There is no cure for this condition except to eliminate food containing these grains. The symptoms vary greatly and most people with celiac experience few or no digestive symptoms (source). Maybe this is the reason why the majority of those who have Celiac disease are actually unaware of it?

This is something we experienced in my family. My daughter had digestive problems – but also plenty of other symptoms – since she was born. As a baby she had a bloated belly and threw up several times a day. Later, tantrums, slow development, growth problems and difficulties at school became part of our life. She was (falsely) diagnosed with lactose intolerance, with dyslexia and with dyscalculia. She had speech development problems and cognitive problems – as in difficulties understanding normal communications.

And through all these years, whenever we asked what was wrong, we heard an abundance of explanations from doctors, yarying from “ah, but she is so cute” to “it is your own fault trying to bring up a child in a multilingual environment”.

All of this until one day two years ago. Inspired by a friend in the States, we decided to change our diets to what is often referred to as the “Paleo” or “Primal” diet. Among other changes you also eliminate all grains from your diet. We were looking for better health generally but were quickly surprised by the improvements in our daughter.

Not only did her stomach calm down, but also she herself became calmer. No more tantrums. Her school results improved beyond what we thought was possible, and she started growing like a normal child. Today – nobody will ever guess the problems she used to have.

Now, there is no need for panic. 1% of the population is still a relatively small part. Even so – if you, or your child, have health problems that nobody so far has been able to explain, maybe it is time to get tested for Celiac? At least ask your doctor about it.

And if you think giving up on grains would be a problem when it comes to getting enough fibre – think again! One slice of rye bread has the same amount of fibre as one carrot. A cup of boiled broccoli has more than double the amount and so does one apple. Don’t worry – you’ll be fine!


Recipe for grain-free crackers

To get you started, here is an easy recipe for making grain-free crackers.

With a small mixer or grinder, grind 100 ml (0.4 cup) sunflower seeds to powder.

Add 100 ml (0.4 cup) sesame seeds (black or white or both) to the grinder and grind a bit more – but not completely to powder. Empty into a bowl.

Add 2 tbsp. water, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Stir to a dough.

With two sheets of parchment paper – one under and one over – roll the dough thin on a baking tray.

Cut to squares, using a knife or a pizza slicer, before placing in the oven.

Turn oven on to 130 C (270 F) and set a timer to 30 minutes.

Once time is up – turn oven off, open up a crack (wooden spoon in the door opening) and let cool down completely before taking the crackers out and breaking them apart.

Lisa Fuchs is the author of “Delicious grain free baking”. She also writes about healthy and creative baking, under the name Liesel on her blog:

You will not find sugar or gluten in any of her recipes and most of them are also lactose free.



Article and Food photography by Liesel Fuchs: @liesel_at_home

This post first appeared in the Luxembourg Wort English –