Aviava Kanoff, author of Gluten Free Around the World, takes you on a journey throughout the world and shares how other countries have taken the gluten-free diet to a completely different level.
Find out all of the health benefits of following a gluten-free diet and learn how delicious it can actually be.
RadioMD Presents:Wellness for Life Radio | Original Air Date: Friday, January 30, 2015
Host: Susanne Bennett, DC
Guest: Aviva Kanoff
Dr. Susanne: My next guest has been referred to as the Indiana Jones of cooking. Judging from her latest book Gluten-Free Around the World, I can see why. She joins me today to share the health benefits of following a gluten free diet and her journeys across the globe that brought her to this realization. Welcome to the show, Aviva Kanoff.
Aviva: Thank you so much for having me.
Dr. Susanne: Thank you. So what happened? What made you do a book about gluten-free around the world? What I mean by that is, gosh, you have some amazing recipes from different, very exotic, places. How did you put this together?
Aviva: Actually, my first cookbook was The No Potato Passover. By default, a lot of the recipes were gluten-free. The publisher called and said: “You have such a wonderful cookbook. Would you be interested in turning it in to a gluten-free cookbook after Passover, because most of the recipes are gluten free?” I thought that was a wonderful idea. I did the market research for gluten-free cookbooks on the market and I noticed that a lot of them had title like “Living with your Disease” and all kinds of other non-appetizing titles. They didn’t really have a lot of pictures. This was back in 2012. I said that I wanted to make something really beautiful and unique for those people that are following a gluten-free diet. Why should they have to settle for these non-beautiful, creative cookbooks? I love travelling; it’s one of my passions. I decided to go to the countries that have mainly gluten-free diets and really study there.
Dr. Susanne: I’d like to know which countries did you find that were intrinsically gluten-free? I’m Korean, Aviva. Now days, because of modern times, there are MacDonald’s even right in Seoul and various cities in Korea. But the majority of our food was really rice based with lots of vegetables, a little bit of meat, and fish. What countries did you travel to that were gluten-free?
Aviva: I spent 3 months in South East Asia. In that part of the region, as I’m sure you know, they don’t even grow wheat in that part of the continent. Everything is really rice based and rice is gluten-free. Even when you’re eating pasta, spring rolls, or all these other foods that you would assume have gluten in them, they are intrinsically gluten-free. As opposed to France. I’m not trying to make a baguette gluten-free. I’m not a big proponent of that. By going to countries that are already gluten-free you don’t have to do a lot of substitutions.
Dr. Susanne: By South East Asia, you’re talking about Thailand, Vietnam, where else?
Aviva: I was in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Bali. I was in Seoul, actually, for 2 days.
Dr. Susanne: No kidding? Yay! So obviously those are the areas that everyone can go to these restaurants. There are a lot of these restaurants available now: Thai restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, Korean restaurants. When you go to a Korean restaurant the majority of it is gluten-free. Where else did you go? Where else did you travel?
Aviva: The first unknown (4:03) was India. Most of their diet is non-gluten-free. I tell people that mostly the only bread that they eat and the wheat that they use are really used for utensils. It’s not really found in the dishes themselves, in the curries.
Dr. Susanne: Explain ‘as utensils.’ What do you mean by that?
Aviva: In the US we are accustomed to eating with forks and knives and spoons. If you were served a curry dish, you would likely be served with a spoon in a restaurant or in your home. In India that is not the custom. They use naan (or poppy rolls), their bread, to scoop up their curry.
Dr. Susanne: Got it. I totally understand. Basically, these countries eat with their fingers. Morocco is the same way. In India restaurants there’s this pancake type of crispy tortilla that’s hot. That is actually made of mung bean everyone. That’s gluten free. Do you know which one I’m talking about?
Aviva: You know, I don’t remember seeing that there. I was up in northern India and the west. It could be a southern Indian dish.
Dr. Susanne: Right. The Indian restaurant that I always frequent in Los Angeles always has naan bread and then they always give these little crispy tortillas that are made out of mung bean, so that’s something you can have that’s gluten free. Where else have you gone? The photos, did you take the photos? They are incredible.
Aviva: Yes, I did.
Dr. Susanne: I love the photos in your book. So colorful, they’re real. I feel like it’s something I can find right on my plate if I were to go to these countries, or even the restaurants we go to here in America. What other countries did you go to?
Aviva: I spent a lot of time in Europe; I love Europe. I was all over Western Europe. I was in Israel and I was in Ecuador. In Ecuador as well, most of their diet is rice and plantains and meat or chicken. For people that are vegetarians, I would find that more challenging in Ecuador than being gluten-free. Their breakfast has meat, lunch, dinner; basically it’s always just rice beans and meat. A gluten free person is totally in the clear.
Dr. Susanne: Now days there are so many gluten-free products out there. One of the things you provide in your book, you talk about which gluten-free products to buy, like Tamari soy sauce. I use that.
Aviva:Like you said, there are so many gluten-free products on the market it can be overwhelming for people. Especially if they are new to gluten free or recently diagnosed. They are kind of overwhelmed by how many products are out there. I felt it was nice to give them some of my favorites so when they go to the store it’s a bit of a user’s guide.
Dr. Susanne: When you were travelling, was there one specific place that really surprised you in the way they ate their food? Different from the way we have our food cooked, and everything?
Aviva: Not really the cooking. I love to try new cuisines and new recipes, obviously. I was kind of familiar with the foods I was going to be presented with. But when it came to the markets, I remember being in Thailand. In that part of the world, in the market there, I don’t think I recognized 8 of the 10 fruits that were available.
Dr. Susanne: 8 out of the 10 fruits? What were they called?
Aviva: They had so many things there that looked like the lichee nut, the lychee fruit, all kinds of dragon fruit; I couldn’t even pronounce the names. That, to me, was the most intriguing part of the trip.
Dr. Susanne: Did you get to eat them?
Dr. Susanne: Were they tasty?
Aviva: Some of them. I felt that some of the dragon fruit was a little bland. They have white flesh with black seeds. It looks beautiful on the outside. They have beautiful colors, purples and pinks; they were beautiful to look at. They had so many fresh juices there. That’s another thing about traveling; mostly everything is organic and natural. People grow this stuff in their back yards.
Dr. Susanne: I love that. Thank you so much, Aviva. I really love all of your information. What’s great is that the book is filled with recipes, gluten-free recipes from all around the world. Thank you. Go to my show page, Wellness for Life on RadioMD and you’ll be able to find information about the book. Until next time, this is Dr. Susanne sharing ultimate strategies for health and wellness right here on RadioMD. Stay well.