If you are trying to avoid gluten, firstly you need to make sure that you are checking the ingredients on any processed foods that you buy. It’s surprising sometimes what has gluten in, like soya sauce or flavoured crisps, particularly those with certain vinegars.
Then it’s about working out what foods you can use to substitute for particular foods that you can’t eat. The easiest option is to just eat home cooked food, cooked from scratch, but sometimes that isn’t possible and sometimes even then you might just fancy something.
Eating healthily is a lifestyle choice, not just something to do for a bounded period of time as a ‘diet’. The more you can incorporate your healthy eating into your life the better. And the more that you can find and make food that keeps you eating healthily whilst also feeling like you’re enjoying and ‘treating’ yourself, the more likely you are to stick to it.
Here are a few suggestions for you to consider to substitute non gluten items.
Pimp Up Your Salad
Many people (including my husband) say that they can ‘take or leave’ a salad. I say they haven’t had a good one yet (ok, I admit, maybe I’m a bit of a salad fan!).
Clearly croutons are out but you can use alternatives like nuts and seeds to add interest and crunch to your salad. I often have sunflower seeds on my salads. And then you can use salad dressing, just plain old olive oil or better still olive oil with some apple cider vinegar or maybe you’re up to making some mayonnaise. It’s easy and here is the main recipe I use for mayonnaise.
How to Substitute for Pasta
Whilst you can buy gluten free pasta I wouldn’t suggest buying that unless you really have to! Instead, try substituting pasta with ‘courgetti’. Buy a spiralyzer and make noodles out of courgette (zucchini for US readers!). You can use aubergine (eggplant for US readers), spaghetti squash, rice noodles or polenta in your pasta dishes.
What To Do About Sandwiches
The UK lunch diet seems to consist of sandwiches, sandwiches and yet more sandwiches! What to do if you can’t eat gluten? One option is to buy or make gluten free bread. The latter is much more palatable, in my experience! These are the two main recipes I use.
You can also try using lettuce leaves to wrap your sandwich ingredients, corn tortilla shells (make sure they are organic and GM free) or brown rice tortillas.
You Don’t Have to Give up Pizza
You can buy gluten free pizza bases and add your own toppings. There are recipes for using cauliflower to make a pizza base. If you are in the UK Pizza Express and Prezzo, and many other restaurants, do great gluten free pizzas so you don’t need to miss out.
What About Flour
Doves Farm do a great range of gluten free flour, and they have some great recipes on their website too. Anything breaded is usually a no no in a restaurant but at home you can make them yourself using gluten free flour.
There are also recipes that substitute flour with ground almonds or coconut flour or rice flour. If you can find a recipe for a gluten free version of something that you really want to eat then that can help you to eat what you want without compromising your diet, gut and immune system.
It’s About Being Smart with What you Choose To Eat
So, avoiding gluten isn’t about not being able to eat what you want to eat. It’s about being smart about what you eat and what’s in the food that you choose. And as I’ve said already, it’s much easier if you make your food from scratch yourself so that you can avoid what you don’t want to eat and in particular gluten.
One of my favourite gluten free cake recipes is this recipe for chocolate brownies; full of super foods.
What are your favourite gluten free recipes? Please share your links in the comments.