The goss on gluten:why it hurts & how to stop it PLUS Pecan Slice Recipe

by Polly N on August 9, 2013

Following on from one of my most popular posts to date on the effects of inflammation, today I want to address gluten sensitivity. Yes, this little protein causes a lot of health problems so let’s look at why it is so troublesome! Oh and I’m also sharing a recipe for Chocolate Salted Caramel Pecan Slice so stick around til the end of the post for the recipe.

pecan slice

What is gluten?

Gluten is the protein found in wheat and it’s relatives, rye, barley and kamut. It is found in many of our “everyday” foods if you’re eating a SUK diet (Standard UK diet) suitably named don’t you think?! Gluten sensitivity can manifest in lots of painful ways such as:

  • bloating
  • gas
  • cramps
  • diarrhea
  • skin rashes & blotchiness
  • fatigue
  • achey joints

For some people, who are very sensitive with very compromised immune systems, it can cause or be the catalyst to developing more serious disease in the future such as osteoporosis, celiac disease, systemic inflammation, anaemia and malnourishment….yes that sounds extreme doesn’t it! But for some people, it really is this debilitating.

How do you know if you’re gluten intolerant?

There are blood tests for this however they’re not always accurate. The best way to really test whether you are sensitive is to abstain from eating any foods that contain gluten and see how you feel. Keep a notebook or food diary to record how you feel when you eat certain foods. Yes I know this is really boring but if you want to know for sure, this is the most effective and reliable test.

The problems with wheat

1. These days “whole wheat” products are touted as better alternatives but actually, there really isn’t a whole lot in it. Unfortunately, these days, wheat is not what is once was. Today, wheat is grown in mineral-depleted soil and heavily sprayed with chemicals. Although these chemicals have been deemed “safe”, I must urge you to be conscious about your food, where it’s from and what it has been treated with as you want to reduce the amount of toxins that we have in our body.

2. Wheat is often stored for many months before being used, meaning that it it sat in giant silos where it is often contaminated with moulds and fungi which can take hold and when consumed, act as an energy drain on our body.

Here’s what my friend Dr Axe says about gluten

“1 in 200 people have celiac disease and because of its genetic component, it’s likely that the incidence of the disease will continue to climb as it is passed down through the generations. That is, unless something is done to change the diet in the family tree.”

What are the alternatives?

There are quite a few ways to find replacements for your gluten-filled products. Here I introduce you to sprouted bread, and below we’re making Chocolate Salted Caramel Pecan Slice in our very own kitchen with raw ingredients free from eggs, milk, processed sugar and flour.

Best Grain Alternatives:

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Soba noodles (made from buckwheat)*
  • Starchy veggies; squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin


 Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Pecan Slice


  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1 cup raisins
  • pinch pink himalayan salt
  • 3 tbl coconut oil (coconut butter melted)


Place the pecans in the food processor and whizz until nuts broken down into small pieces but still slightly chunky. Add the salt and raisins and whizz again. Finally add the coconut oil and whizz for a final time. The mixture should become chunky and press together when you squeeze it between your thumb and finger. Pour the ingredients into a baking paper lined tin and press down flat. Place in fridge to set while making filling.


  • 5 cups pecans
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbl  maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbl vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pink himalayan salt


Place pecans in a food processor and whizz until broken down and very fine. Add the remaining ingredients and whizz again. If the mixture is sticking in your food processor add a little more water and whizz again until you’ve reached a creamy smooth texture. Pour the mixture out into the tin and make flat and even using a spatula.

Basic Chocolate Topping

½ cup raw cacao butter
½ cup raw cacao powder
4 tablespoons of liquid sweetener (raw honey, maple syrup)
Pinch of sea salt

Melt the cacao butter over a bowl of warm water. Combine all ingredients until smooth. Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer, sprinkle over your choice of toppings as suggested below and place in the fridge to set.


I used:

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • Handful coconut chips
  • Chopped pecans
  • Handful goji berries

Other sub ideas:

Consume with 2-3 days or freeze to enjoy later.

Do you have a gluten sensitivity? Tell me in the comments below how you over come it.

p.s. when you make the pecan slice, don’t forget to tag Polly’s Path on facebook and #pollyspath on Instagram. I LOVE seeing you make my recipes.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cucumber Smoothie August 30, 2013 at 5:06 am

My partner cut gluten out after 3 or 4 months of severe fatigue and minor depression. The difference it’s made has been really incredible, if you have any of the side affects polly discusses above, you seriously need to consider cutting the gluten.


Aimee September 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Doctor’s laughed at me when I said I thought my sciatica and persistent back pain were linked to food – they told me ‘that’s just not possible’! For over two years I lived in agony; I also had several panic attacks because some mornings I was in so much pain I couldn’t get out of bed, and still no one could tell me what was wrong with me. It was also making me severely depressed. BUT then I spoke to a nutritionist instead of a doctor, and he advised me to eat raw, then try re-introducing certain food groups to see where the problems might be. All my pain disappeared within 3 days, and I felt like what I imagine a ‘normal’ 21 year old woman feels like for the first time. And surprise surprise, gluten was the culprit. I’ve read a lot about gluten since then, and it seems the problems it causes are very diverse and with varying degrees of severity, so much so that a large number of people may have an intolerance without really knowing it. It might be what causes that persistent niggle that you can’t seem to shake! I think everyone should have a go at eliminating gluten just to see what it might do for them, because I honestly feel like I’ve got my life back. Thank you Polly for bringing this issue up! X


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