An Embarrasing Confession, The Next Step, and Help From GNOWFGLINS

A few days ago I took some time to briefly talk about some of the options for traditional preparation of grains, mostly as it pertains to bread. The post on Baked Ricotta with Sourdough was a hint of what might be possible even if you experience intolerance with grains and gluten. I think it’s important to mention it here in more detail and share with you some of my own personal experiences.

My Real Food Journey

Now if you’re starting out with whole foods, the idea of soaking beans (or flour for that matter) overnight and cooking them for an hour may seem intimidating because, up until very recently, you thought that they really only came in a can. And in all fairness, there is a world of possibilities and techniques for cooking everything.

With so many possibilities, some of you may feel intimidated by the process or overwhelmed with the information that is now made available to you by the Internet and libraries. I’m going to attempt to make your real food journey less scary. I use the word journey because I do feel that the world of real food is a journey. Small changes lead to a desire to learn more and to make further changes and this is how the journey starts.

My Uncomfortable and Embarrassing Story

Here’s my story and the roots of my journey into learning about grains and gluten free options began.

Warning: This might get uncomfortable for some of you. Just saying.

At 24, I experienced some digestion issues that were so severe that I found it challenging to live my life, eat out, or even BE out in public.  When I say out in public, I mean go to a friends house for dinner, go to the pub or even ride the bus. Yes, riding public transit was extremely terrifying.

My gas was so bad that it would trigger gag reflexes. Don’t get me wrong a little gas, meh, whatever. But imagine being stuck on a bus with 50 people, wrapped in a green gas of toxic butt fumes? Everyone is looking at you. The nearest exit still 2 blocks away.

Not fun.

Or, the time I met my aunt for lunch at an Indian restaurant, and I proceeded to use the bathroom 5 times during the course of an hour lunch. She kept asking, “Are you alright?” I would respond with, “Of course. Why do you ask?” I had gotten to the point where I thought this was normal.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. These types of situations were daily occurrences. All of them embarrassing and none of them good for developing relationships, if you know what I’m saying.

The Root of the Problem

As it turns out my intolerance and side effects were related to 2 major factors. The first, which actually caused most of the side effects and discomfort, came from STRESS. I was lucky to have a specialist who had been in the field for at least 4 decades and believed that most gut issues were in fact related to stress. Especially in my case since most of my tests were coming back negative. He even had his patients keep a notebook on hand to write down what they were feeling, thinking or what the causes of stress were, when stomach problems or attacks occurred.

The second major factor was from REFINED FLOUR.

Some Retrospection

Dealing with those 2 factors with the knowledge I have now would have saved me a world of ongoing embarrassment and pain. Stress aside, simply choosing ancient grains such as Kamut and Spelt and other whole grain products was enough to significantly decrease and then eliminate the terrible effects I was experiencing from eating grains.

I spent 2 years learning how to cook and bake with gluten free flours and substitutes. This was a decade ago and the resources were not nearly as good as they are now. How much simpler things would have been if I had known I could eat real sourdough or just use a different wheat strain or use sprouted flour (basically grain that has sprouted and has become a young plant instead of a grain) in my baking.

You’ll be relieved to know that you can now stand beside me on a bus without any repercussions!

A Wake Up

I have become fascinated with the fact that gluten intolerance is so common that restaurants specifically cater to this group of people. This is no small thing. We got problems people!

But what if traditional ways of cooking grains, seeds, legumes, beans and nuts was enough to “cure” the hundreds of thousands of people out there like me? (not Celiacs, just to be clear) That would be some pretty powerful information, wouldn’t you say?

The process of properly soaked grains and such came into my awareness about a year ago. I wasn’t ready to assimilate the information just yet and decided to take the lazy man’s way out and just buy sprouted flour. This can be expensive, but luckily it’s just me and my husband and we don’t do a lot of baking.

Now that we’re ready to grow and continue our learning I decided to embark on an exciting e course. I figure not only will it save me money because I don’t have to buy expensive sprouted flour, but what I’m learning is that it will also help with digestion, absorption of nutrients and as a result, better nutrition. Bonus!

The Next Step

Who out there has heard of GNOWFGLINS? Weird name, cool site. Oh and for all you crunchy lovers, it is that too! If you don’t know Wardeh, stay tuned for a live interview to be posted on Tuesday. I’ve been following GNOWFGLINS for just over a year, hanging out on the sidelines, learning, observing and implementing some of the things she has shared. But it wasn’t until last month that I took the plunge and decided that I could really benefit from her course.

Why now? I was just ready for it. I had gone as far as I wanted on my own and wanted to learn the easy way. Why hash it out alone when someone’s already done all the work and packaged it in an easy to use format? Let’s not repeat gluten free baking a decade ago at the age of 24. One word! Scary.

Lesson learned.

I had no idea what I was in for. Her site and sales page on her eCourse can not prepare you adequately for what you will find behind the members only site. The only reason it’s not overwhelming is because it’s laid out so well. The information is almost endless. Most $100 and $200 dollar courses educate the student for 1-2 months. And to be quite frank, I feel that’s really good value. But are you ready? Wait for it. This is a 15 week course!

The course outline is simple and I can take each module at my own pace. I can’t tell you how much of a relief this is. Life can get pretty hectic and since you already know stress management isn’t really my forte, it is so nice to know that I can get to the information when I want. However, that being said, the course out line is paced pretty well and a month after joining I’m exactly 4 weeks into the program. You could rush through it in 8 weeks if you really wanted to but the layout is timed perfectly.

Here’s what I’ve learned in 4 weeks:

  • Forms and storage of whole grains and the historical perspective
  • How to soak and cook whole grains
  • How to soak and dehydrate nuts
  • How to convert my favorite recipes to use soaked flours and nuts (This is what I really wanted to know and this part is priceless)
  • How to make soaked pancakes, biscuits, pasta and muffins
  • How to properly soak beans
  • At least 20 or so recipes to implement what I’ve learned along with a ton of resources, links and websites to help with the ins and out of what to buy.
  • A forum and a community to help, share and learn from. (also, priceless)

Oh and I just have to say, I didn’t think that I would learn to make soaked pasta. That is so cool. I’m kinda into making my own pasta right know but haven’t because the price of my sprouted flour. Now I know how to do this with regular flour (not bleached all purpose) and I’m pretty excited.

But what about you gourmet foodies?

Those of you that follow my blog know that what really floats this girls boat is gourmet real food. I don’t want steamed veggies and grilled meat. Blah. So boring. The restaurant biz has ruined me. I can’t wait to make a Meyer Lemon Ricotta Ravioli with a Spring Pea Cream or a maybe even dessert pasta, like a Dark Chocolate Linguini with fresh Raspberries and Mascarpone. Don’t even get me started on pancakes and muffins….yum.

But now I can infuse all of the fantastic things I’m learning and use them to take my gourmet meals to new levels of pleasure.


Before I go on, I have to say this one thing. I love that she doesn’t whip out any fancy tools for any thing. Sure Wardeh could probably use a food processor or a pasta maker, but she doesn’t. Everything is made by hand with love and it just goes to show you how easy and inexpensive it can really be. No fancy tools required. Love that!

So what’s still coming?

Sprouting beans and grains (the right way), skillet dinners, naturally fermented (helps develop proper gut health) or pickled food, kefir: water and dairy, homemade soft cheeses, sourdough and more. Not to mention free member webinars and weekly videos. Sick right? Love it! I can see why students that sign up for the eCourse stay on as long term members.

Did I mention that this is actually only the first part of an entire series? Fundamentals I.

There’s still fundamentals II, and an entire program for Sourdough, Cultured Dairy and Cheeses and Lacto-Fermentation. Each complete in there own right with 20 odd recipes. So that 15 week course I was talking about before was actually just for the Fundamentals I course. There are 4 more courses included too! Seriously nutso! All of this for as little as 8 dollars a month! For less than what I pay for 1 lunch on the fly I get all this. Sorry Wardeh, that’s nuts! But I’m not complaining.

What I Love Most About This eCourse

The parts I love the most are the why’s (why I should soak or dehydrate or sprout) that are given and the videos. Wardeh has a great natural disposition and an easy to follow teaching style. All the video content is available in PDF or audio format, but there’s also the option to learn by watching it on video. I prefer to learn by watching. I’m a visual person. But she provides options no matter what your learning style is. The PDFs are the perfect reference if you forget something and don’t want to watch the whole video over again to get an ingredient amount or a refresher. I have them all saved and I don’t even need the internet to review the course content as I write this. Oh and value, value, value!

How To Get Started

So, if you’re ready to get started with the GNOWFGLINS eCourse, or you just want to find out more, then click here to be taken to the page, and then click on the link to Unlimited Online Classes. Wardeh also offers flexible pricing options so you can try it out for 1 month or get the whole year for a discount. Check it out right here.


I’m sharing this with Monday Mania, My Meatless MondaysSlightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, A Little Birdie Told Me, Fat Tuesday, This Chick Cooks, Allergy Free Wednesday, Tasty Alternative, Whole New Mom, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday,  Real Food Wednesday Friday Food Flicks, Fight Back Friday, Foodie Friday.

19 Responses to An Embarrasing Confession, The Next Step, and Help From GNOWFGLINS

  1. Koko April 13, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    This is fascinating! I’m super intrigued by that course. I have had so many digestive issues stemming from a major surgery I had involving my appendix and intestines….ever since then it’s just been tough to eat. I’ve tried many different diets and my naturopath really helped me out when every single test in the book was coming back negative. I wish everyone knew about these techniques and how they can solve so many issues!

    • beyondthepeel April 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      Koko, Wardeh’s family has had some interesting digestive problems as well. They were on a vegan diet, then whole foods, and now traditionally prepared foods. It really is amazing all of the changes that come about by eating these kinds of foods and preparing them properly. Definitely check out the course. There’s so much practical information.

  2. inspirededibles April 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    Thanks for
    sharing this France. It’s true that we’ve seen an epidemic rise in gastric
    distress and wheat/gluten intolerance over the past four decades. Part of this
    has to do with new (cheaper) hybrids of wheat that have been developed over the
    past 40 years that is directly impacting our health.  But not to be underestimated is your first
    point about the over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system; aka:
    STRESS. Our bodies were created to adapt to temporary fight or flight
    situations, not the condition of chronic stress that many of us are living
    under.  One of the first things that
    shuts down when one is fleeing a saber-toothed tiger is digestion.

    • beyondthepeel April 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      That’s interesting. I have several friends that our having a problem reproducing but they’re so stressed out that this just rings so true! Its great to have your insight since you have day to day interactions with your clients and you expertise in nutrition sheds some light on the topic.

  3. Joanne April 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Though I don’t explicitly have celiac’s I definitely truly believe I have a gluten sensitivity so I really try to limit my consumption of it, specifically in “white” products. eating barley and wheat berries don’t seem to trigger any kind of reaction, so I don’t really worry about eating them.  Such a great informative post!

    • beyondthepeel April 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

      I don’t consider myself to have gluten allergies. If i eat a white pasta or a sandwich made from regular bread from time to time (once a month) I don’t usually suffer. If I eat that way for several days it’s brutal. I spent the last 3 days in Quebec eating all kinds of nasty refined products and my guts are in a terrible state. But like you, barley, wheat berries don’t seem to cause me a problem. I think that’s the real reason it took me so long to get into the proper soaking of grains. But I’m glad I’m learning it now.

  4. Amber H April 15, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    Oh France…

    Thank you, thank you for this post!  From one (pre) farty girl to another…I totally get it.  As someone with Crohn’s disease I lived in a world of bloat and terrible digestion.  My journey started 8 years ago.  Cutting gluten really helped me (along with soy, cane-sugar, and all forms of dairy) and along with herbs and supplements, I lived medication free.  But giving up the foods I ate on a regular basis was so difficult, it was a HUGE sacrifice, but you know how awful it is to live with that miserable gas, so doing anything to heal and improve is worth it.  But honestly, thank you for sharing, thank you for your candor.  This is why I love your blog!

    I can’t agree more about soaking and sprouting.  WORLD of difference.  And I have heard of Gnowfglings!  Thanks for this great information.  I’ll be looking more into the eCourse.  

    Okay lovely lady, you have a great rest of your weekend.  And thanks again for this honest and informative post.  


    • beyondthepeel April 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      I don’t think most people realize how restricting something like this can be. All social activities become a series of decision based on symptoms from the previous 4 hours, which is rarely an indication to what the next 4 hours will hold. Thank you fro your honesty Amber.

  5. Jillbrock April 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Thanks,  I love cooking with whole grains and really believe that white flour has more influence on poor health and weight gain than practically anything else we eat.

  6. Miz Helen April 21, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

     Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing your great post with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. Jenn Erickson April 24, 2012 at 2:33 am #

    I’m off to check out gnowfglins.  Your personal story definitely gave me a lot to think about.  As I sit here writing, my tummy is rumbling, gurgling, and brewing (as per usual).  I definitely need to think about making some changes to my diet.

    • beyondthepeel April 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Jenn, its worth looking in to. Honestly, I rarely have any problems any more. And I don’t eat perfectly. But I think if one eats traditional whole foods most of the time, the the digestive system can take care of the occasional mishap. Kind of like what Wardeh was saying about her daughter.

  8. Dani May 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Bless you for writing about such a personal issue–mine was less obvious to others, but suffice to say I had some intestinal difficulties (not to mention difficult “lady time” every month) before I learned to properly treat my grains. I am much more “regular” now, in every bodily sense of the word!

    I am so glad to hear that you are taking Wardeh’s Fundamentals course; I took it when it first came out–and I still refer back to those basics on a weekly basis. I make the soaked muffins by the double-batch now, and freeze half. I am re-inspired by your enthusiasm to make some soaked pasta sometime this week. We haven’t eaten canned or otherwise unsoaked beans or rice (or oatmeal…) in our house since I took the course… sheesh, has it been two years already? The format of one lesson a week worked so well for me, and gave me strength to approach my Nourishing Traditions book with a little less trepidation, and skillet meals have become the norm instead of the exception at our house! I also had a rather robust culture of water kefir crystals, and believe I supplied about 15-20 people taking the course with their own starter set, at that time!

    And I absolutely second you on the forums being priceless. I know Wardeh has gotten a lot more technologically savvy since the course first started, and I got lost once trying to get back into them (that’s what happens when I don’t keep up!), but the helps and recipes and ideas from the other students are every bit as valuable as the courses themselves. 


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