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Resolving Food Sensitivities With Good Taste

By Debbie Johnson

Nearly 60 percent of the population has some degree of celiac disease, or gluten intolerance. Meanwhile, diabetes is becoming more and more prevalent, especially among children. Now doctors are also diagnosing both diseases in many people, finding a link between celiac disease and type I diabetes. Recent findings show that at least 10 percent of people with diabetes of any type also have celiac disease. With the way most people eat today, it’s not surprising.

Because of the link with diabetes, it’s not a great idea for people with celiac disease to eat high-glycemic foods. If you read the labels on the gluten-free prepared foods available, you’ll discover they’re loaded with starch, which breaks down into sugar. That can be too much for someone at risk for diabetes.

I’ve noticed that progressive doctors, like Dr. Raj Patel in the San Francisco Bay Area, are healing everything from ADD to autism with gluten-free and sugar-free combined diets. Using a diet of allergen-free foods plus a few specific supplements can help so many conditions. Letting go of sugar may be a factor, too. It’s my humble opinion that anyone who eats both gluten-free and lowglycemic will be healthier and happier. I’ve seen it in myself and in the many people who have called to thank me for my gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, lowglycemic, allergy-friendly cookbook.

Can you imagine what a mostly GF/LG diet can do for those of us who are not at risk, but just unwell? I do not have celiac disease and I’m not diabetic, but I always wanted to eat as healthy as possible, so I simply cut out wheat a long time ago as a staple in my life. I almost never eat it anymore, and have only gluten-free grains in my home. I have worked for decades to come up with fun, delicious and, most important, satisfying ways to eat healthy food. I enjoy the creative process of developing recipes that thrill the palate but keep people healthy or make them healthier.

The recipes I’ve developed for my own use and my former restaurant are very alkaline, as well. Several books are available on the subject of alkaline foods, which also increase health. One is entitled Alkalize or Die. Not my favorite way of putting things, but that certainly says it all!

A definite plus: Even my menopausal symptoms are better without gluten or any kind of refined sugar. I don’t know anyone who has 100 percent perfect health, but I do know people who are very healthy and have lots of energy by eating low-glycemic and gluten-free.

Okay, so what to do about a family with several different kinds of allergies or health conditions? You don’t want to make five different meals, no doubt! And you don’t have to. All you need is a base that’s friendly to everyone— vegetables! Then add sauces and other fun and crunchy stuff.

Golden Chalice Pesto Un-Pasta

I used to love pasta, but since eating “un-pasta” for so long, it doesn’t even appeal to me anymore! Now I love vegetables in their most flavorful outfits. Our guests at The Golden Chalice loved this dish, too. Serves: 2 people.


  • 1 medium organic spaghetti squash

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced organic red onion

  • 1/2 cup julienne (cut into thin strips) organic red bell pepper

  • 2 tbs. unsalted ghee or virgin coconut oil

  • 1 cup organic zucchini slices, julienne

  • 3 tbs. organic classic pesto sauce (see recipe below)


  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and clean out the seeds. (If you don’t have a sharp enough knife to do this, simply bake whole and clean out the seeds after baking.

  2. Drizzle one tablespoon of unsalted ghee on each half (or grapeseed oil, if vegan). Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or more, depending on whether or not you like your un-pasta “al dente”—a little more chewy. (The longer you cook it, the more tender it will get.) Scoop out two cups of squash, which should now look somewhat like spaghetti. It’s easier to keep in strands using a fork to take out.

  3. Sauté onion and pepper in grapeseed oil or organic unsalted ghee.

  4. Add zucchini to above and continue to sauté.

  5. Add spaghetti squash and pesto sauce and blend in well.

Success Secret: On all amounts and measurements in this or any recipe, please adjust to your personal taste.

* Organic Classic Pesto Sauce:

Use a blender to combine the following:

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh, washed organic basil leaves

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup shredded organic Parmesan cheese (vegans may substitute vegan non-cheese or simply use added salt)

  • 1/2 tsp. Himalayan crystal or Celtic salt

  • 1/4 cup organic cold-pressed, virgin olive oil


These alterations are the key to meeting different eating needs.

  1. Top with toasted or sprouted pine nuts (soak for at least four hours, then rinse) and grated Pecorino Romano cheese (from sheep) or organic goat feta cheese just before serving.

  2. For meat or seafood lovers, you may want to add sliced grilled or sautéed organic chicken or shrimp. Have cayenne or crushed red peppers available as condiments for certain friends who love it hot!

  3. If you are in a hurry or do not like squash, feel free to use exclusively julienne vegetables, such as zucchini, red and yellow bell peppers, onions, etc., for the base instead of spaghetti squash.

  4. For vegans and dairy-free diners, add sprouted nuts and seeds or another protein of choice. Use nutritional yeast or almond cheese, available in health stores, in place of cheese.

What about dessert? That’s the hardest thing to get good at with GF/LG and allergy-oriented households. Think fruit and stevia. Stevia is known to be good for the pancreas, particularly in its more natural forms, such as powdered leaf or whole-leaf liquid extract. Then add whipped cream or cashew cream, or even coconut milk (which is very thick and creamy, and available at health stores).

But if you have a special occasion that calls for a cake, the Golden Chalice Carrot Cake is sure to satisfy.