Buckwheat Flower
Buckwheat FlowerK.G.Kirailla/CC

Some twenty odd years ago, I had a room-mate who suffered from celiac disease.  Way back then, no one even had even heard of celiac disease, let alone knew what it was.  Unfortunately, this is no longer true.  The rise in the number of people afflicted with celiac disease is astronomical.  While a decade ago, gluten-intolerance levels were at 1 in every 2,500 people, today’s calculations put the number at 1 in every 133 people.    How can we understand why this is happening, and what can be done to prevent the dreaded gluten-free diet?

  1. Recent developments and modern science have done much to change the foods that we eat.  Modern wheat no longer resembles the traditional varieties of wheat.  This is due in a large part to genetic engineering.  In developing a wheat which would have a greater yield and be more resilient to pests, scientists have also, apparently, developed a wheat that is impossible for a growing number of humans to digest.
  2. Modern day preparation methods also play a role in the rise of celiac disease.  Grains were often fermented before baking.  This fermentation process would serve a function of helping in human digestion.  Researchers have learned that the primary culprit in celiac disease is a certain peptide strand in the gluten molecule.  The gluten itself is not the issue, it is the peptide in the gluten that is causing the problems.   The long, slow ferments, necessary for making traditional sourdough bread, severs the bonds of this particular peptide strand while leaving enough of the remaining gluten proteins intact to achieve a pleasant rise (without gluten, bread doesn’t rise at all).

While in some cases, celiac disease is quickly and easily diagnosed, other times it is it can go undiagnosed for a long period of time.  Many auto-immune disorders, specifically, autoimmune liver disease, thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes and Addison’s disease, can be an indicator of celiac disease.  If you suffer from any kind of digestive disorder, frequent sinus infections, environmental allergies, lactose intolerance, candida, alopecia (female hair loss), bloating, skin conditions, or just “flu-ey” all the time,  you might find significant health improvements, solely by eliminating, or cutting back on your wheat consumption.  The above conditions might be indicative of a slight allergy or just a sensitivity to wheat.  A little bit of caution and prevention can go a long way in preventing a full blown gluten-intolerance.

Take a moment to think about how much wheat you eat.  Many people eat wheat every single day.  Many people eat wheat at every meal.  Some people eat wheat at every meal and in their snack foods as well.  If you fall into any of the above categories, than you might just be eating too much wheat.  And yes, whole wheat is also wheat.  (The exception of course being, if the wheat is a fermented, whole grain wheat, that has not been genetically engineered.)  I often recommend that people go off of wheat for as little as two weeks to notice how different they feel.  The results are miraculous.  People report an energy boost, weight loss, and improved health.

Once you are aware of how much wheat you eat, begin by slowly reducing the amounts.  Try wheat-free meals, or even wheat free days.  Use spelt flour as a wonderful alternative to wheat and choose a sourdough rye bread over your normal bread choice.  Focus meals around other whole grains, examples of which include; oatmeal, barley, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, and rice.

Buckwheat, also known as kasha is a wonderful alternative to wheat.  When toasted, buckwheat becomes one of the few alkalizing grains.  Buckwheat contains rutin, useful in strengthening capillaries and blood vessels, it inhibits hemorrhages, reduces blood pressure, and increases circulation to the hands and feet.  Rutin is also an antidote against radiation.

The earthy flavors of the buckwheat and the mushrooms blend nicely in this dish. Add a salad on the side and you have a whole meal.


Buckwheat (Kasha)

  1. olive oil
  2. 2 cups buckwheat
  3. 4 cups water
  4. Atlantic grey sea salt


  1. olive oil
  2. 1 onion, halved and then sliced into thin strips
  3. 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  4. 1 package button mushrooms or porcini mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
  5. 1 sprig fresh thyme
  6. Atlantic grey sea salt
  7. pepper

Heat the olive oil in a pot and saute the buckwheat 2-3 minutes, until it browns, being careful not to let it burn. Add the water and the salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, approximately 10-15 minutes. Remove from the flame and fluff with a fork.

Prepare the mushrooms while the buckwheat is cooking. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onions and stir for 1 minute. Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper,  and saute over a low flame until the mushrooms become slightly limp, about 5 minutes.

Place the buckwheat on a serving platter and top with the mushrooms. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and a Healthy-Cooking Instructor.