I’ve called this WTF Risotto as it’s the same reaction I find people have when they first see a beautiful Romanesco cauliflower and also when I say I know longer eat grains. Most people don’t actually say it out loud but I see that look in their eyes.. ‘oh she’s becoming one of those people… first gluten, now grains.. what’s next meat, cabbage, water!! ‘ hmmm..you get the picture. #100 because it’s also my 100th post.
Funnily enough I don’t choose not to eating certain food types for ‘fun’ (although I do have a lot of fun with my food). There are many, many more things I’d rather spend time doing than not eating a food type for the sake of it. I mean come on. What I am interested in is staying well and for me primarily that means looking after my brain.
Q, Your brain but what does that have to do with food?
A. lot more than you’d think. Did you know there are more brain cells in your gut (the enteric nervous system or second brain) than your spinal cord? Over 100 million neurons exist in your gut!
Many people choose not to eat grains as part of the Paleo diet or due to chronic auto immune disease and have found it highly beneficial.
But is it for just for people who follow a Paleo diet or have an auto immune disease. Increasingly the evidence is no.
Dr Perlmutter, an American Neurologist makes some very convincing arguments as to why should all eat grain free in his New York Times best seller, Grain Brain. Setting out the evidence linking a modern western diet and life style with brain disorders and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Diabetes, Cancer, Schizophrenia, Epilepsy, Depression, ADHD, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
Many of us can have a direct reaction to gluten and grains in our brain but be blissfully unaware or until it is in some cases to late. The brian (tissue) has no pain receptors so it’s unable to feel pain. It’s a sad and sobering fact that Dementia is now the leading cause of death in women in the UK.
Dr Perlmutter is not alone in his research and claims and more and more evidence is supporting the links between Neurological disease and diet. See this recent article in the New York Times Can Celiac’s Disease Affect the Brain but many believe it is not just people with Celiac disease silent or diagnosed.
Another leading expert in the field is Professor Dr Marios Hadjivassiliou who continues to research gluten sensitivity and its impact on the brain and published an article in the Lancet as far back as 1996 stating “gluten sensitivity can be primarily at times, exclusively a neurological disease”. Dr Hadjivassiliou runs a gluten sensitivity/neurology and ataxia clinic in Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. I have been to the clinic as a patient and met with Dr Hadjivassiliou and it’s a great resource that we are privileged to have here in the UK.
I stopped eating grains on the advice of a Functional Doctor. At first the thought of not eating grains seemed a bit of a bind and I was reluctant to stop without understanding the science behind it, but after researching the evidence I realised it was literally a no brainer.
Eating grain free and taking B vitamin supplements (as I’m unable to absorb B vitamins properly) has finally left me free of any neurological symptoms or pain from nerve damage. And what’s more rice made from cauliflower, is delicious and you feel great after eating it, I’ve also had great fun with my sprializer see Lunch To Go Rainbow Italia , Quick Fix Heaven On A Plate Zucchini Pasta , Aubergine ‘Pasta’ alla Norma and here and feel better than I did in my 20’s.
I’ve also found some great ideas and support from the Paleo community and many brilliant blogs and books. Here are a few of my favourite’s.
This risotto is packed full of Italian flavours but without the rice, in stead I used this beautiful Romanesco cauliflower but it will also work just as well with a regular cauliflower.
Serves 2 as a main meal
- Butter (ideally organic from grass fed cows)
- 1 cup, 150g x button mushrooms (ideally organic) sliced in to fine strips
- 2 x cloves of garlic, crushed or grated
- 50g, 1.76 ounces of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- Romanesco or regular cauliflower (ideally organic)
- 1 x table spoon of organic apple cider vinegar
- 1 x spring onion cut into .5cm strips
- 1/2 cup,75g, of frozen petit pois (ideally organic)
- 75g, 2.64 ounces, of goats cheese diced into .5cm cubes (ideally organic)
- Maldon or good quality sea salt and Pepper
- 2 x organic walnut pieces.
- Blitz the head of your cauliflower in a food mixer or cut by hand to make fine grains.
- Gently heat a knob of butter in a large pan that has a lid, watch carefully and immediately add the garlic and buttons and parsley once the butter begins to melt and keep on a low heat gently stirring for 5 to 8 mins.
- Then add your cauliflower rice, cider vinegar, peas, and spring onion. Keep stirring on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes before turning off the heat, adding a generous knob of butter and putting on the pan lid.
- Leave for a couple more minutes, before stirring the melted butter through, seasoning with salt and pepper and sprinkling with the goats cheese and walnuts.
Notes: This risotto is best enjoyed immediately but cauliflower rice (on its own) freezes very well for future dishes.