Nuture My Gut’s Ester Perez on Gluten-Free Cooking

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After having a play date with one of my daughter’s friends from school, both my daughter and my husband came home telling me about all the amazing food they had at her house! I had to get to the bottom of this!

I found out that Ester Perez was the genius behind all the amazing food that was both delicious and healthy! She now has a website called Nurture My Gut sharing all her fantastic recipes and knowledge of eating in a way to nurture your body.

In fact, I recently went to her son’s birthday party, and couldn’t believe how delicious the birthday cake she made was! Check out my interview with Ester below:

Explain your cooking and baking and why it’s so good for us

I make gluten free food that is nourishing to the gut (digestive system), hence my blog’s name “Nurture My Gut”.  I cook with grain free or sprouted gluten free flours, use unrefined sugars and make homemade fermented foods.  

I love grain free baking.  I use almond and coconut flour which are much easier to break down and assimilate because they are made up of  single sugars.  The gut has less work to do and one can assimilate nutrients better.  Sprouted gluten free flours are easier to digest because the starches in the grains are broken down during the sprouting process.  The body now digest’s the grains as a vegetable, not a starch, again leaving less work for the gut.     

Fermented foods are full of beneficial bacteria and extremely healing to the gut.  My personal favorite is coconut kefir pudding (pictured).  It does wonders to the body.  It improves digestion, reduces sugar cravings, is full of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, cleansing to the liver which in turn increases energy and clears the complexion.  ?

What inspired you to start cooking this way?  

I began making gluten free foods back in 2009 after discovering that my son Jojo was gluten intolerant.  Gluten triggered severe eczema and fungal infections all over his body.  I felt partly responsible because I was breastfeeding him.  I intuitively felt something I was eating was causing his skin reactions.   

When he was 5 months old, I opted to try an elimination diet that was plant based.  For three days I ate primarily freshly extracted green juices,  homemade fruit smoothies, raw nuts, raw seeds, raw vegetable soups, fresh coconut and some cooked quinoa.  On the third day, he completely cleared up.  I was amazed at how powerful and healing food can be, even through breast milk.  With guidance from my pediatrician, I added back in a protein or a grain every three days. We found out gluten triggered his outbreaks.  I have not made gluten in my home ever since!

How did you learn?  

I was not satisfied with the texture and nutritional value of the gluten free foods on the market so I decided to make my own.  

I took cooking classes, researched YouTube for recipes, read other recipe blogs, borrowed cookbooks from the local library, researched nutritional and healing books, and experimented on my own.  My cooking is a combination of everything I have learned.  From healing foods to fun gluten free recipes and everything in between.  

How were you cooking before and why did you need to change?  

Before going gluten free, I was not cooking “that bad.” I had been educating myself for years on healthier cooking.  It was just not the right diet for my body or my son’s.  I was cooking organic food and juicing; but, I was adding way too much natural sweeteners to my food. Due to my sensitivity to candida overgrowth, I was sick a lot!     

Now, I use natural sweeteners in moderation and reserve treats for special occasions.  I also learned about stevia, which is zero glycemic and use that a lot in my home cooking.  Due to my son’s gluten intolerance, we went gluten free and his eczema cleared up.  Adding the fermented foods got rid of all fungal infections!  Even though I still try to buy organic whenever possible, I try to make most things from scratch.  

I also make sure we eat alkalizing green vegetables every day, whether its in a green juice, a smoothie, raw or cooked with dinner.  Now I feel we “eat to live” not “live to eat” and we hardly get sick.  

How do people respond to your food?  

Most people cannot even tell that my food is gluten free and are pleasantly surprised when I reveal the ingredients.  They love to hear about the nutritional benefits, how it’s cooked and often times ask for the recipes.   

What are the benefits of cooking/eating this way?

Eating this way strengthens the immune system.  Seventy percent of the immune system is housed in the gastro-intestinal tract, therefore, eating foods that nourish the gut and increase beneficial gut flora are a HUGE asset to our immune system.      

This way of cooking has helped countless of individuals eliminate or control symptoms that have been linked to gut related disorders.  In our family, this way of eating cleared up eczema, asthma, fungal infections, candida overgrowth, eliminated stomach aches and improved mood and energy.    

When did you start your website?

I started my website in April 2013. 

What kind of response are you getting to it?  

I am getting a very positive response to the recipes, nutritional information, and the food photography.  Statistically, in just a few months I went from single digit visitors per day, to 450+ visitors a day.  I am predicting 1,000+ visitors per day by August.  And 5,000+ per day by January.  Sharing deliciously healing food seems to be growing in demand, and I am really happy to be a part of this movement.   

What is your goal with your website and your business?  

To educate as many people as possible on how to make gluten free food that is utterly delicious and nutritious.  My goal is to publish several gluten free e-books, coach people by phone and teach gluten free cooking classes online and in person.   

I am currently self-publishing my first e-book of my 30 best grain free recipes.  This e-book includes my Fabulous Grain Free Sandwich Bread, Grain Free Birthday Cupcakes and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  This cookbook has been a 2 year labor of love that I am very excited to share with others.   

Anything else you’d like to add….  

When it comes to healing the gut, I have learned that everyone’s recovery will be individual.   What works for one person may not work for the other.  I encourage people who have a gut related problem to get support from a Doctor, Homeopath or a Holistic Health Coach well educated in nutrition and specializing in your specific issue.    Remember, every day is an opportunity to “Nurture Your Gut.” 

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