September 2015: Gluten-Free Baking and Lifestyle with Suzanne Peters

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Entrepreneur and fearless baker extraordinaire Suzanne Peters spoke at our September meeting. Last time, she did a live demo of her popular coconut flour muffins. Today she shared her story and experiences with gluten-free baking, and how she deals with the challenges of being gluten-free.

Suzanne has been experimenting with gluten-free baking for over twenty years. At first, it was a difficult transition due to fond memories of her mother’s baked bread. But she always knew deep down that gluten was not good for her. When she first began, she acquired all kinds of flour, such as potato, soy, tapioca, and rice flour, but did not yet understand them.

In 2010, Suzanne read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell and became interested in fermenting. Gut and Psychology Syndrome was published that year and there was a lot of interest in the GAPS diet. Suzanne studied the GAPS-legal foods on the To Your Health website and got ideas for recipes. For example, lentils provided superior nutrition, so she tried sprouted lentil flour.

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Our meal had the usual nutrient-dense goodies, including a debut of Suzanne’s gluten-free onion bagels. They were perfectly chewy!

In addition to helpful websites, Suzanne was also motivated and mentored by friend and fellow real food entrepreneur Elaina Luther of Culture Club 101. When Suzanne’s GAPS-friendly pizza crust was a hit with Elaina’s customers, she began receiving regular orders for the savory lentil-based crust. Subsequent iterations of the pizza crust recipe resulted in a line of GAPS-friendly savory crackers.

Another hit product that was the result of ruthless experimentation against a deadline was Suzanne’s GAPS-friendly graham crackers. “I function best when my back is against the wall,” she said. The graham crackers went through 8 or 9 iterations and much helpful criticism from Elaina before they were offered at Culture Club 101.

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Karen’s GAPS apple and walnut stew and Suzanne’s gluten-free peach upside-down cake were unforgettable.

Suzanne had some great advice on navigating a gluten-free and GMO-free lifestyle:

  • “Whenever you’re trying to make something, the Internet is your friend,” Suzanne said. Using search terms like “real food”, “gluten free” will almost always yield the right results.
  • You can make a healthy version of any dessert. Suzanne has made faux Twinkies and moon pies with marshmallows made from real gelatin. Chocolate from Sunspire is great, sweetened with raw honey not heated over 110 degrees.
  • Conventional wheat must be avoided at any cost. All conventional wheat is sprayed with glyphosate, a.k.a. Monsanto’s Roundup, three days before harvest. Glyphosate destroys our ability to handle other environmental toxins. See this article on toxic wheat by the Healthy Home Economist for more information.
  • To find vendors that sell what you want, start by asking if they are certified organic. If not, ask if they have a California Department of Agriculture certification, which means that they do not spray pesticides. Also, find out whether they use compost or manure as fertilizer. The best is manure from pastured and grassfed operations; if the manure is from CAFOs (confined/concentrated animal feeding operation), it contains hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs.
  • When buying eggs, ask whether the chickens are fed soy or corn. This is important because any soy the chickens eat goes directly into the yolk. Find out whether the chickens are given organic feed and allowed to spend most of their time on grass or pasture.
  • Don’t just ask, “Do you spray?” Say, “When was the last time you sprayed?” Vendors do not expect that question and will usually answer automatically and truthfully. “And what did you spray?” is a good follow-up question.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Suzanne truly models a real food lifestyle and strives to infuse integrity into everything she does and creates in the kitchen. Her insistence on using only the highest quality ingredients has led to unexpected discoveries that have blessed countless people. Click here for a list of Suzanne’s yummy gluten-free products.

Holiday Baking Class

Want to learn more about gluten-free baking? Suzanne is teaching a holiday baking class! The evening will include gluten-free stuffing, a gluten-free bread to make the stuffing with, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, icing, dark chocolate cake, gingerbread, and other goodies as well as many tasting opportunities.

What: Gluten-Free Holiday Baking Class
Date: Monday, December 7, 2015
Time: 7:00-9:15pm
Location: Unity Church, 3053 E. Del Mar Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107
Cost: $35 before Thanksgiving; $40 after
How to Register: Email Suzanne or call 818-590-0062

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