McDonald’s. Cinnabon. Subway. Applebees. Pf Changs. Starbucks. General Mills. Ruth’s Chris? Yes, they are all doing it. They are all serving you genetically modified wheat, corn, and soy products that are super inflammatory, super fattening, and super addictive.
Overpopulation is a real thing, and mass production of wheat, corn, soy, veggies, meat, and dairy has resulted in scientists finding ways to produce higher yielding crops and animal by-products. Grains, veggies, meat and dairy today, are not the same as they were years ago because of the need for faster production, higher yields, and more hormones and antibiotics to prevent the animals (living on top of each other, in cramped environments, eating low quality diets) from getting sick! So what is the answer? Eat organic, right? Well let me uncover a truth that makes me cringe.
I had gone to a doctor for a food intolerance test a few months ago, which came back stating I have a mild allergy to wheat. It can either be the way the wheat sugar breaks down, from the gut irritating gluten molecule, or perhaps just consuming non-organic GMO wheat (bleached, enriched, sprayed with pesticide, etc), that my body does not agree with; although, for the record, I don’t notice any issues when I eat 1 piece of sprouted Ezekial bread a day.
The way the allergy is expressed in my body is in light eczema or skin rashes on my elbows, abdominal pain and bloating, yeast infections, and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. I know this because I have gone months, completely free of wheat, then I eat a ton of it one day (usually after a competition, photo shoot, weight-loss challenge, or whatever reason I choose to cut it out of my diet), and bam! the issues come up only to disappear once I clean up the diet. So, I have decided to go organic, and nearly wheat- and gluten-free in my every day, except, as before mentioned, an occasional piece of sprouted Ezekial bread, or the random naughty I consume here and there.
Problem is, I’ve been noticing several iffy ingredients in “organic” “gluten-free” and even regular store-bought foods. One of which being cellulose. I’ve always known cellulose to be a fiber that functions to support and provide structure to plants; being so, it can be labeled vegan, and in essence, labeled organic as well. Cellulose = plants = a-ok, right? So wrong. At least that is what my first instinct is telling me upon further research. I’m telling you, ignorance is bliss, but then again those issues I mentioned above are far from. Truth exposed, I now have a choice.
The cellulose that food companies use, comes from 75-85% recycled fibers, including newspaper, cardboard, cotton, straw, wood sawdust, and corn husk. This cellulose can then be turned into cellophane, rayon, home insulation, adhesives, binders, and even gums and stabilizers in processed foods. When you remove fat from a food product like dairy, or have a gluten-free grain product like brown rice, adding cellulose gum can thicken and bind the molecules to create a creamy, or chewy end result. So when people say that some packaged brown rice breads tastes like cardboard, their taste buds are spot on. Not only is the thought of eating recycled paper and junk fiber revolting, but the stuff is 100% indigestible by the human body, so they call it an insoluble fiber. Hmmm… not buying it. Enter another auto-immune disorder. ugh…
Now, if you’re looking for a good gluten-free bread without recycled paper and wood pulp, errr I meant cellulose, check out Grind Stone Bakery, Manna Organic Bakery, and Rudi’s Bakery (not to be confused with Udi’s which is loaded with crap). They do contain xanthan gum, but I’ve yet to make my mind up on this binder. If at the market you come across a gluten-free bread that isn’t listed here, check out the ingredients and get back to me for an honorable mention!
Now, let’s forget about store-bought bread and cheap fillers for a minute, and focus on this yummy endive apple salad! This recipe is inspired by the endive salad I enjoyed at The Little Next Door last week. Theirs contains, of course, endive and apples, but also candied walnuts and a walnut dressing. I had some raw walnuts on hand so I threw them in, and I added shallots as well. Loving my garliky-tahini dressing, but wanting to keep it light, I replaced the balsamic vinegar for white and red wine vinegars, and used a little xylitol to sweeten. This salad is divine, and definitely got my mind off cellulose!
Endive Apple Salad with Dijon Wine Vinaigrette
Dijon Wine Vinaigrette
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp raw tahini
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
ground Himalayan salt and peppercorn, to taste
Endive Apple Salad
2 Belgian endives, sliced to 1/2″ threads, lengthwise
1 organic Fuji apple, julienne-cut or grated
1 small organic shallot, finely diced
10 walnut pieces
Combine dressing ingredients, shake or mix well. Place in refrigerator to chill.
Toss salad ingredients together and evenly distribute between two plates. Drizzle with Dijon-wine vinaigrette. Serve immediately.