In the book “Living Well with Autoimmune Disease,” author Mary J. Shomon writes that the incidence of Irritable Bowel Disease, of which Celiac is an example, has been reported to be highest among the American Jewish Population. I was even able to find a Jewish Celiacs Newsletter at jewishceliacs.com. Celiac Disease is more common among people of Ashkenazi descent than from Eastern or Central Europe.
In the book, “Eating Right for Your Blood Type,” author Peter D’Adamo suggests that Jewish American diet of bread, rolls, pastries, bagels, bagels and more bagels, oh, and don’t forget the rye bread, is NOT very good for the Eastern European blood type. In his book, he recommends a diet free from wheat. The connection seems very relevant to me, especially in light of a recent statistic that 1 in 133 people are Celiac but only 3% are diagnosed. Just because you do not have any of the signs, does not mean that you do not have the disease. I have a friend who decided to get off gluten just to see what would happen. He is amazed at how much better he feels.
But going gluten free can be a real challenge for Jews, especially those who enjoy traditional meals and foods. Let’s see, there are bagels for Sunday Brunch, Matzoh Ball Soup and Challah for Shabbat, Blintzes for Shavuot, matzoh, matzoh and more matzoh for Passover, even some Potato Latkes have wheat in them and who can’t pass up a good corned beef on rye? The Jewish diet is laden with gluten. Who in their right mind would be willing to give all this up? It is so much easier to take a pill! And I agree, it is so much easier to take a pill….have your cake and eat it too! But the problem is, what is ‘that pill’ doing to the rest of your body and what is the gluten that you keep ingesting doing to the rest of your body?
It was an easy decision for me. I did not want to feel old at the age of 40, but I did. I had no energy, every joint in my body ached, I was having menstrual problems, I was a mess, at 40! Now I have NO aches and pains and I am growing a baby inside of me….yeah for my body! No bagel, cake or bread is worth it, believe me. I admit, my bagels are no comparison to what you are probably used to…my cake might not be as moist as the name brand…but it is close and sure…it’s difficult to braid the challah that I make, but these are all a compromise for my health and the health of my family….totally worth it!
Here is the best challah I have been able to come up with so far….please let me know if you have any suggestions. Although it doesn’t braid well or pull apart, it does make excellent French Toast.
Lisa’s Gluten Free Challah
1 ½ cups brown rice flour
1 cup white rice flour
½ cup potato starch
½ cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup arrowroot
1 T xanthan gum
1 ½ t salt
3 T organic sugar + 1 tsp
1 T egg substitute
1 T yeast
4 T olive oil
1 t apple cider vinegar
1 ¼ cup warm water
Whisk together dry ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
Add yeast to warm water with 1 tsp sugar and proof for 5 minutes.
In a stand up mixer, blend eggs, oil, cider and yeast mixture.
Slowly blend together dry ingredients.
Place dough on a well oiled baking sheet in an oval shaped loaf.
Cover with oiled plastic and let rise in a warmed oven for 1 hour.
Warm oven by turning it on to 200 degrees and then turn it off.
Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.
Makes 1 loaf.