Happy Monday everyone!
I’ve been very interested in gluten-free foods lately. After reading a lot about nutrition and mental health this summer, I noticed a major theme, that was consistent across every article and book I perused. In short, a sensitivity or allergy to gluten, the protein found in wheat and related grains, can be strongly connected to depression, anxiety, and mood issues.
Of course, the effects of gluten on each individual are different. Some may have celiac disease, others may have a sensitivity to gluten that they might not notice, and still others may have no reaction to the protein. While allergies and sensitivities to gluten are thought to play a large role in the development of mental health issues, they can also play no role at all. The easiest way that someone with mood problems can identify if a gluten sensitivity contributes to his or her issues is to eliminate gluten-containing foods (usually for 30 days), observe how he or she feels, reintroduce these foods, and then observe any changes in how he or she feels. Tests are also available, but are not as affordable as an elimination diet.
[Note: Any type of experimentation with a gluten-free diet should be done in accordance with supervision and recommendations from a health care provider.]
The good news is that you can remove gluten from your diet (under the supervision of a health professional, of course!) and still get enough of the nutrients found in whole grains through other foods. That being said, foods with gluten should be mostly replaced with naturally gluten-free foods (produce, healthy fats, most proteins, and nuts/seeds), as opposed to highly processed gluten-free versions of crackers, breads, etc.
This leads me to today’s recipe. While I do not completely eliminate gluten, I enjoy experimenting with new gluten-free recipes.
Hence, this amazingly moist and delicious zucchini bread, using summer’s finest produce!
Gluten-free Zucchini Bread
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill but you can also make your own by pulsing almonds in a blender or food processor!)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 to 1 tsp grated ginger (depending on how much you like ginger)
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup shredded zucchini (leave the peel on, but squeeze out about half of the water)
- Shredded coconut for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients with a hand mixer or whisk (batter may be a little lumpy because of the banana- that’s ok!).
- Add the dry ingredients in batches, mixing/whisking the batter after each batch.
- Pour batter into a nonstick or greased loaf pan.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Use a toothpick to check your progress at about 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool before serving with shredded coconut.