A few weeks ago, I received Danielle Walker’s new cookbook, “Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great.” I’ve seen Danielle’s website before, and even referred a few people to her grain-free baked goods recipes. I had heard that she had a flair for recreating Paleo-compliant breads, cakes, crackers, and various desserts. I don’t really spend a lot of time baking, but I know for people who miss those foods or plan to entertain, having a reliable source for recipes is helpful. So I continued to recommend Danielle’s blog without a second thought.
However, the first time I really noticed Danielle was when she shared her health transformation story on her blog. I had no idea that Danielle had been so sick, and I really respected her for being able to use nutrition and diet changes to conquer an illness that most would just allow to take over their lives. I’ve seen many patients during my hospital internship who suffered from GI diseases like ulcerative colitis, and most of those patients were allowing the doctors to pump them full of drugs and remove huge portions of their digestive tract. They were resigned to spend the rest of their lives in and out of hospitals, defecating from a hole coming out of their abdomen, and even dying from the long-term complications of the disease. It amazed me that diet and nutrition had never even been considered in these patients’ care plans, and it inspired me to focus on autoimmune and gastrointestinal disease in my next internship.
As a future dietitian (only a few months away!), I recognize that I’ll come across many patients with serious illnesses who could greatly benefit from a grain-free diet but who are unwilling to completely eliminate their favorite foods from their diet. I completely understand this sentiment, and I feel that it’s reasonable to want the freedom to enjoy treats and desserts occasionally while still adhering to a health-promoting diet.
That’s why Danielle’s new cookbook is such a great resource. There are numerous recipes within the book for commonly grain-rich foods like waffles, muffins, granola, chips, pasta, sandwich bread, hamburger buns, cake, and pie crust – and all of them are completely gluten- and grain-free. I’m not suggesting that people should be eating waffles every morning for breakfast; however, I also can’t say that someone with a digestive illness should never be allowed to eat a waffle again. So Danielle’s book is a must-have for anyone dealing with digestive distress who wants to return to eating a more normal, enjoyable diet without exacerbating their symptoms. It’s even a great book for people who have no trouble digesting grains but simply want recipes that are more health supportive than the standard white-flour containing recipes that fill most cookbooks.
I thought if I was going to recommend the book, I should try cooking one of the recipes. We had a few zucchinis in the fridge, so I decided to try the Zucchini Bread, one of the recipes from the “Muffins, Loaves, and Morning Cakes” recipe section. I gathered the ingredients (there were only 9 of them!) and spent about 15 minutes mixing the batter as instructed. I popped the mix in the oven, and about 40 minutes later, the loaf was ready!
I let it cool, and cut my first slice. I’m no baker, and frequently screw up my attempts at Paleo baked goods, but this loaf turned out beautifully. And while the look of the zucchini bread was impressive, the taste was even more amazing. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that the bread only lasted a couple of days in my parents’ fridge, but I feel less guilty considering how healthy the ingredients were! (Now you see why I never bake – I have no self control when it comes to delicious food!)
I was really happy with how the bread turned out, and am glad that I have the cookbook on hand for future use for parties and special occasions. I don’t plan on making a weekly loaf of zucchini bread, but at least I now have a go-to resource for holidays and potlucks when I want to cook something delicious but still Paleo-friendly. I find that these types of treats are excellent gateway foods that are great for convincing friends and family to try eating Paleo, and reassuring them that they can still enjoy their food even while eating grain-free.
Danielle’s book is available on Amazon now, so make sure you pick up your copy for your next barbecue, birthday party, or family reunion!