VALIDATION: Peter Reinhart


 Gluten-free products, recipes, and cookbooks are everywhere these days, but most of them just sub high-carb starches like potato, corn, tapioca, and rice for wheat, rye, and barley. The cookbook above is different. You can’t read the subtitle very well here, but it says, “80 Low-carb Recipes that Offer Solutions for Celiac Disease, Diabetes, and Weight Loss.” It was written by Peter Reinhart and Denene Wallace.

Peter Reinhart is a world-class expert on bread and baking. Mario Batali called him the Leonardo da Vinci of bread. He has written nine books, including The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, which won the Book of the Year Award from both the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in 2002. He won the James Beard Award again in 2008 for Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads.

What happens when someone whose whole career is built on wheat finds himself overweight and gluten intolerant? Rather than dwelling on the negatives, Peter saw it as an opportunity to be a leader in what he predicts to be the next big thing. He was the featured speaker on an IACP Webinar recently titled, “Staying Ahead of the Wave: Two Baking Treads That Are About To Get Bigger.” The two trends were gluten-free and sugar-free, but it’s the addition of the word low-carb in the title that makes this especially noteworthy. My own experience in trying to pitch a book to a mainstream publisher was that saying “low carb” was the kiss of death. Even publicists for hire refused to talk to me. But Peter Reinhart’s status in the culinary world gave him the clout, the connections, and the track record to attract a publisher (Random House) with the deep pockets needed to produce the big, gorgeous book you see above.

Co-author, Denene Wallace, started baking after she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and gluten intolerance. Her doctor told her she would be on insulin for the rest of her life, but after changing her diet, she went from 5 insulin shots a day to none. Both Peter and Denene may come to agree with Dr. Richard Bernstein’s observation from The Diabetes Diet: “I am healthier today not in spite of having a potentially fatal illness, but because of it…It’s an odd twist of fate that I am likely much healthier today than I would have been had I not been a diabetic. The diet is why.” (Ironically, when I started this post, the lead story on aol’s Everyday Health featured a picture of a big bagel with a teaser line that said, “Who Should Eat This Bagel?” The link took you to an article titled, “Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Type II Diabetes.” This doesn’t surprise me anymore, but it still breaks my heart.)

I haven’t finished reading the book yet and I’m hoping to discover some new ideas. The authors use nut and seed flours, xanthan gum, and flax meal. (You may already know I’m not a fan of flax. Check this post for an alternative: For sweetening, they used Splenda and stevia. All of these are ingredients that are commonly used by low-carbers. But this post isn’t really about the recipes, even if they are excellent. What this new book brings to the table is validation. It is about having an insider with impeccable credentials in the culinary world promoting sugar-free, low-carb, gluten-free nutrition as a way to lose weight and cure diabetes and celiac’s disease that flies in the face of the USDA and ADA’s miserable guidelines. Perhaps we have at last found an advocate that the powers-that-be will listen to. I am thrilled that the message is getting out. I hope this book wins an IACP award this year, but this time I hope it wins in the Health and Nutrition category!

In his online talk, Peter also predicted that sprouting will become popular as a way to reduce the toxins and antinutrients in grains and beans while increasing the enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Although they are not currently widely available, he suggests two sources to help find them: To Your Health and Lindley Mills To Your Health sells sprouted grain, lentil, and bean flours. (The garbanzo flour is the lowest in carbs.) Lindley Mills has a sprouted wheat called Super Sprout. You have to call to find where to buy it. No nutrition info is given on this site.

Read more about the problem with Flax here:

(c) 2012 Judy Barnes Baker

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Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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11 years ago

This book looks really cool! Just recently I think I read about Emeril's daughters putting out a gluten-free cookbook. Yeah, I just googled it and found it on amazon, titled "The Gluten-Free Table: The Lagasse Girls Share Their Favorite Meals" – and sure enough, when you look at the recipes they all include things like "gluten-free baking mix" which of course is filled with the old potato starch and tapioca starch and rice flour, etc. I imagine they use sugar also.

And that's so typical of most gluten-free cookbooks. This one is really cool and definitely fills a niche as one of the commenters said, replying to someone who gave it a one-star review because it used "fatty" nut flours instead of rice, buckwheat, quinoa, etc!

11 years ago

awesome book, no junk carbs! Leave out the stevia if making the basic pizza crust…ruined it for us! I'll make without next time.