They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem…. and so I confess: I am a true carb & gluten addict. Sometimes, it may get ugly, and my trainer has had more than one intervention. But I still believe that carbs of all kinds are truly my friends 🙂
Ladies, it seems many of you are stronger than I!!! I have receieved requests from MANY of you asking for my favourite gluten free recipes, and I have to admit that this is not exactly my area of expertise…. so I have something BETTER than what I could give you myself. I’ve brought in the REAL EXPERTS!! Hillary Monroe is a registered dietian & obviously a KILLER chef. I’m so excited to share with you a few of her gluten-free tips & a couple of my FAVOURITE recipes that she’s created. They’re so delicious they even made ME second guess by gluten-loading life… and it takes a LOT to do that!!
Gluten-free foods and gluten free eating are becoming more and more accessible –not to mention a big business with dedicated grocery store aisles and menu sections. The whole idea is to eliminate your consumption of gluten. But wait – what is gluten? Why should this be eliminated?
Let’s clear up any confusion – gluten is a storage protein found in wheat, barley, rye and even some oat products. It occurs naturally, giving dough its sticky texture and providing firmness to baked goods. Many people can digest gluten easily, but for others, it causes quite a problem.
So why would people eliminate this from their diet? The biggest and most important reason is if you have an immune-mediated wheat allergy or Celiac disease. If you have been diagnosed, you must follow a strict gluten-free diet, as gluten triggers harmful reactions in your body and specifically your intestines.
If you’re following a gluten-free diet, either by necessity or choice, your best bet is to choose minimally processed foods that are naturally gluten-free. Gluten-free products are not only expensive but have added ingredients to mimic what has been taken away with the elimination of gluten. That said, many foods are naturally gluten-free. Here are some easy recipes that are not only gluten-free but nutrient-dense and satisfying:
Quinoa salad: Super simple and super refreshing. Quinoa, naturally gluten-free, is an ancient grain that is in fact the only grain that can be called a complete protein. This salad is not only satisfying but also refreshing during these hot summer days.
•1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed – with 1 ¾ cup water for cooking
•1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
•1 avocado, chopped into chunks
•Handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
•1/2 red onion, diced
•1 small clove garlic, minced
•Handful cilantro, chopped finely
•Juice from 1 lime
•1/2 tsp. cumin
•1 tbsp. olive oil
•½ jalapeño, minced (optional)
•salt and pepper to taste
Combine the quinoa and water, stir once, cover with a lid, and simmer for 20-25 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing by combining the lime juice, oil, cumin, salt, and whisk. When the quinoa is done, fluff with fork, add remaining ingredients and pour dressing over top.
Popcorn: Can you believe popcorn is not only naturally gluten-free but also a whole grain?! Well, it is and with popcorn the sky is the limit with toppings and flavorings, making this the ultimate gluten-free snack.
I recommend air popping if possible. Lightly spritz with olive or coconut oil and then sprinkle any number of seasonings for whatever mood you’re in:
•Sweet side: cinnamon and sugar (1 tablespoon sugar to 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
•Italiano: Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, garlic powder and a shake of red pepper flake
•South of the boarder – chili or taco seasoning mix
These recipes, while gluten-free, also are very low in calories. A lot of gluten-free products and substitutes on the market can tend to be just as high or higher in calories than their gluten counterparts. When using substitutes it might be a good idea to use a calorie tool like Everyday Health’s My Calorie Counter, which also has access to groups where you can share and read about others experiences with a similar diet.
Gluten-free eating can be easy when you aim for whole foods. While these are only two examples of gluten-free options, I hope you take a minute and think about what else might easily fit into your diet.
Hillary Monroe, MS RD LDN, Registered Dietitian and writer for Everyday Health Calorie Counter