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The Story on Inflammation

Time Magazine published an article in February 2004. The title, “Inflammation: The Secret Killer.”  It discusses the surprising link between inflammation and asthma, heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. This topic fascinates me and is much too broad to cover in one little article. So I am just going to give you the basics here.

Let’s start with a definition. Inflammation: A basic way in which the body reacts to infection, irritation or other injury, the key feature being redness, warmth, swelling and pain. Inflammation is now recognized as a type of nonspecific immune response. Inflammation has now been linked to most chronic illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, systemic lupus, arthritis and even cancer.  How many times have you heard of someone going to the doctor and receiving a diagnosis only for the doctor to say, “I don’t really know why you got it?” The answer might be…INFLAMMATION! The answer might be that your body is working in overdrive to fight the gluten. After all, Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease too.

Why then is this effect not localized in the body? Because as soon as your body is introduced to a foreign protein, like gluten, specialized cells that are pre-stationed throughout the body alert the immune system to the presence of any bacteria that might have come along for the ride. Some of those cells, called mast cells, release chemicals called histamine that make nearby capillaries leaky. This allows small amounts of plasma to pour out, slowing down invading bacteria, and preparing the way for other faraway immune defenders to easily enter the site. Meanwhile, another group of cells called macrophages begin an immediate counterattack and release more chemicals, called cytokines, which signal for reinforcements. This process may be occurring in your body every time you eat gluten. Over time, your body may develop other diseases because this process is not localized in the body, it happens everywhere!

This research is one of the reasons why I encourage you to take gluten out of your diet, in order to stop this inflammatory response and stop your body from having to fight so hard. It is a lot of work for your body to go through these processes, especially if it happens every time you eat a piece of bread….so give your body a break…starting today.

Here is a recipe that you will not believe is gluten-free. It is a gluten-free banana carob muffin. I serve them for breakfast or as a snack. I just keep them in the freezer and warm them up for a few minutes in the toaster oven. Full of nutrients, with a side of fruit, it is the perfect meal to keep them energized for school or homework. These muffins were inspired by all the wonderful chefs in the blogsites that I keep up with. Unfortunately, I like to change things, so here is my latest creation. Tell me what you think.

GF Carob Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup very ripe mashed bananas
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup hot water + 1 T flaxseeds
½ cup sorghum flour
¼ cup tapioca flour
¼ cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
2/3 cup carob chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly spray 16 muffin tins with olive oil.
In large bowl combined wet ingredients.
In a small bowl whisk dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients into the banana mixture and beat until smooth. Add carob chips to the batter.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 15 to 18 minutes or so (a wooden pick inserted into the center should emerge clean).
Makes 12 muffins.

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