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Tag: spelt

The Wonders of Spelt

I’m in love with spelt.

In case you don’t know, spelt is an ancient cousin of wheat; that is, it’s related to wheat but its not the same as wheat. As you may have heard by now, wheat may not be right for everyone’s digestive tract, but luckily even some who can’t tolerate wheat may be able to tolerate spelt just fine.

And when that means you can enjoy things like bread, pretzels, and tortillas again, spelt is indeed a reason to celebrate.

Spelt is not like wheat in that it hasn’t been domesticated and hybridized for couple thousand years (or at least since the time of the Pharos in Egypt a lá the story of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors).

Spelt is also not the most heavily pesticided crop in the U.S., as wheat may be. And it has a more soluable gluten molecule than wheat does; in fact, it may be more easily digested and less allergenic than wheat may be.

Spelt is like wheat in that spelt flour often works well as a replacement for wheat in recipes for baked goods like pasta, pretzels, bread, and even matzah, a fact a number of enterprising companies have figured out.

If you are sensitive to wheat, how do you know if you can tolerate spelt?

Here are the ways I know of to figure this out:

  1. Take the MRT food sensitivity test. The MRT tests both wheat and spelt but it is not a definitive celiac test. That is a different test. The MRT is 94% accurate and assesses 120 foods and 30 additives and preservatives that are rampant in our food supply.
  2. Do Muscle Response Testing with a trained practitioner. Many alternative medicine practitioners are trained in Muscle Response Testing and can make an educated assessment. It may seem unscientific, though, and if this bothers you, you should consider the state-of-the-art MRT instead.
  3. Get tested for celiac disease. If this is positive, it is you may not be able to tolerate spelt after all. But, only 7% of the population is celiac, so it may just be more likely that you may be sensitive to wheat rather than to all gluten. Which may leave spelt available to you. In which case a happy dance may be in order.

Check out my next post for a delicious recipe for baking 100% spelt bread in a bread machine.

Wheat-free Banana Spelt Muffins

Many people may think they are sensitive to all gluten when in fact it is the wheat itself that causes them problems.

In America, our wheat crop is the most highly pesticided crop there is, and our wheat products are full of pesticide residue. Add to this the fact that today’s wheat strains are the result of so much hybridization and cross-breeding that the gluten protein does no longer resembles a gluten protein even from the last century. This makes it hard to determine just where the symptom-inducing sensitivity might lie.

I have found that people who are sensitive to wheat products often do just fine with spelt, an ancient cousin of wheat that has recently been rediscovered.

Like wheat, spelt is also in the gluten grain family but since it has not been as popular it has not been tinkered with the way wheat has. Spelt flour is a great one-to-one alternative for all-purpose wheat flour when baking, which is why I reached for it when I wanted to use up some bananas that had passed their prime.

These simple Banana Spelt Muffins are a delicious alternative to wheat-based muffins, and the recipe is eminently flexible to allow for almost any dietary restrictions. Enjoy!

Banana Spelt Muffins
Banana Spelt Muffins

Banana Spelt Muffins

Makes 12 muffins.

  • 2 overripe bananas, smashed well
  • 2 eggs or egg substitutes
  • ¼ cup melted organic butter or other oil
  • ½ cup organic sugar or other sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.). Can add more, if you like sweeter muffins.
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup spelt flour, coconut flour, or gluten-free flour mix of rice, tapioca, and potato flour
  • 1 tsp. aluminum-free baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup shelled walnuts, other nuts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, etc. (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place muffin liners in a cupcake tin, or grease well if not using liners.

In a medium bowl, puree bananas. Add melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, and mix well with a fork.

In a large bowl, blend together flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add bowl of bananas to the flour mixture and stir together until well-blended. Fold in walnuts, if using.

Scoop into muffin tins, filling each cup about half full. Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly.