Wheat is a nasty horrid irritant from start to finish!
A common mistake eczema sufferers make when it comes to sorting out their wheat allergies is that they believe if they swap their wheat based bread for another brand this is a real solution.
In truth this is a huge waste of time and money. This is not a solution nor is upgrading to an organic brand. White flour regardless of its packaging is all the same, no matter how it’s marketed or what its brand name is.
The reality is that individuals who suffer from eczema have intolerances and allergies to the gluten and the proteins contained in white flour. Bread made from white flour is in most cases processed rubbish. Loaves of mass produced bread designed by supermarkets to stay fresh for weeks at a time, laden in sugar, salt and trans-fats.
Sprayed with pesticides and toxic chemicals at the plant stage and bleached white with most of its nutrients stripped away; i.e. the outer bran and inner germ, more than half the B vitamins, folic acid, zinc, copper, calcium etc have been stripped away. It’s this destructive process that causes so many digestive issues in a lot of people.
Also just like sugar, wheat can be found in many other products sitting on our supermarket shelves and in foods used as a bulking agent. Products like baking powder, breakfast cereals, breadcrumb coatings, bottled sauces of all kinds, cheese spread/dips, curry powders, Horseradish creams, Instant hot drinks, monosodium glutamate, noodles, ready meals, crackers, rusk, salad dressings, sauces and gravies, semolina and sausages which use a substantial amount of wheat-based rusk. Eczema sufferers should also avoid corn, polenta (cornmeal) and most commercial breakfast cereals as they’re rich in irritating chemicals called salicylates.
So where does this leave you – well you could go on a bread-free diet and avoid bread altogether. But, this could lead to new problems like constipation. A more agreeable alternative would be to try and incorporate non-wheat based flours into your diet. Flours that have been eaten since the ancient times like Teff in Ethiopia and Cassava in South America. These flours are designed to be cooked as flat breads; i.e. unleavened breads. Or you could use a combination of flours, like rice flour, tapioca flour and a few others to create a flour blend that will help mimic the taste, smell and texture of regular bread. Click here to see list of alternatives to wheat.
Oats do not contain gluten!
These flours are made from grains and NOT wheat and some are even made from nuts or plants and are generally speaking safe. However you should still test each one on yourself individually before creating a loaf using a blend of flours that could cause you to suffer a flare up and leave you unable to say which flour was specifically causing you the issue. Those following a wheat-free diet tend to be able to eat and be fine with rice, oats, corn, rye and barley. Introducing a new flour alternative into your diet has to be done with care. If it’s successful then this opens up a new world of foods such as pizza bases, breads, toast, sandwiches, pancakes and cake treats etc.
Oats do not contain the protein that affects those with a wheat allergy. As a result, pure oatcakes and crackers should be fine for anyone with a wheat allergy. Wheat-free cakes and biscuits are easier to find (and make), especially if you are using eggs. However you may find you have issues with eggs because of the proteins in the egg whites or even the egg yolks. Test eggs out on yourself before you start using them in breads or other recipes. Test the whites and yolks separately. Dillon isn’t good with whites and neither am I. Also you can use oats or millet flakes in combination with some of the finer flours.
Gluten-free flour blends contain combinations of flours like buckwheat, chickpea (gram), chestnut flour corn/maize, millet, potato, rice soya and tapioca flour. These flours are not always easy to use as they lack the elasticity of gluten. As a result, bread may rise (thanks to yeast or raising agents) but promptly fall again to produce rather heavy loaves. If you are looking for baking helpers, use gluten-free baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. Ora seaweed extract called Agar Agar used to act as a rising/binding agent.
100% rye, oat or pumpernickel bread are good alternatives. Make sure you are buying something that is 100% wheat free. Check the packaging or ask someone as they tend to bulk out most things with white flour. Record your observations and detail it as much as you can. Also, please note going wheat-free for a few months gives the digestive tract time to repair and you might find that you are better able to tolerate wheat after having a break from it. Emptying your system out and restarting again isn’t a bad idea or a bad place to start.