Dr. Claudia Pillow discusses the benefits of a gluten-free diet based on eating more fresh raw vegetables, and shares one of her favorite recipes. Love pesto? This recipe is for you!
More and more people are interested in eating a more plant based diet, including celiacs and other people living a gluten-free lifestyle. Chronic inflammation is at the root of the interest. Many celiacs, and others with any autoimmune disease, battle low grade chronic inflammation due to a protective immune response of the body to destroy what it perceives as foreign harmful invaders. For celiacs on a gluten-free diet, the inflammation is not in the villi of the small intestine but in other tissues of the body. The foreign harmful invaders that trigger the immune system are diets high in acidic foods (most processed gluten-free foods contain potato, tapioca or corn starch, refined sugars and unhealthy oxidized fats); medications; and stress. To reduce chronic inflammation in the body it is important to eat alkaline foods- vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, basically fresh edible parts of plants. These foods also happen to be the basis of vegan and raw food diets. Summer time makes it easy to EAT MORE PLANTS. You can grow your own, shop at local farmer’s markets or join a local cooperative. Leafy greens and fresh herbs are two anti-inflammatory foods that fit perfect into summer mealtime without much fuss or fanfare but deliver powerhouse nutrition.
One of my favorite summer meals is this raw and vegan Green Pesto Sauce made with both spinach and basil and packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and plenty of phytonutrients, flavonoids that protect against cancer and chronic inflammation. You can whip up a batch in 5 minutes and use in your favorite recipe requiring pesto. Hail Merry® raw sunflower seeds are a delicious replacement for parmesan in traditional pesto recipes and the Chimayo Chili Pecans add a little spice on a hot summer day. See raw, vegan and gluten-free serving suggestions below.
- 4 small cloves garlic
- 4 cups firmly packed fresh organic baby spinach, washed well
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup raw organic olive oil
- 1/3 cup Hail Merry® Chimayo Chili Pecans or Lemon Thyme Pecans
- 1/4 cup Hail Merry® Sunflower Seeds- Salt N Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼-½ cup water
1. Place garlic in food processor and process until minced. Add remaining ingredients except the water and process to fine paste.
2. With the machine running add 1/4 cup of water. Continue to add water by the tablespoon until pesto becomes consistency of a creamy thick sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Use immediately or transfer to a glass container and top with a thin coat of olive oil to prevent the top of the pesto from discoloring.
Pesto will keep for 10 days in refrigerator.
Raw: Drizzle over sliced fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, thinly sliced zucchini and yellow summer squash, thin rings of orange peppers and chopped olives.
Vegan & Gluten-Free: Toss with your favorite gluten-free pasta, baked spaghetti squash, roasted baby potatoes, or grilled portabella mushrooms.