our favorite gluten-free swaps
By sarah levy | April 29, 2015, 4:26 pm
Going gluten free – it’s really having its moment now, isn’t it? We’re not quick to buy into the newest health fad – as you may have heard us say once or a million times, we keep our philosophy simple by eating real food – but there are certainly health benefits to eliminating gluten from your diet.
One of the best parts about going gluten free – whether temporarily or long-term – is that it automatically removes many processed foods from your diet. Of course there are ways around this – if you replace gluten-laden processed food with gluten-free processed foods, you’re still left with the common denominator of processed food. But the necessary habit of checking labels filters out many processed foods while often prompting people to ditch food that comes in packages entirely and simply eat real food.
And while we don’t advocate going gluten-free as some miraculous health hack, we recognize that we feel lighter, cleaner and a bit more energized when we consciously eliminate gluten. Whether you’re gluten-intolerant or simply looking to lighten up your eats for a week, here are a few of our favorite gluten-free swaps.
ditch: wheat bread
swap: millet bread
In the low-carb craze of the 90s, all breads were demonized. Then, it seems we all came around to the concept that carbs were not actually manifestations of Satan so long as they came in whole wheat form. Now, in the ‘Wheat Belly’/Paleo/Gwenyth-went-gluten-free-so-I-will-too era, even whole wheat breads are back on the blacklist. We’re not onboard with anything that resembles a health fad, but there are lots of sketchy ingredients that sneak their way into “whole wheat” bread – along with lots of preservatives that keep them “fresh” way longer than what nature intended. Even when we’re not steering clear of gluten, we opt for this millet bread for its simple ingredient list and the fact that we think it’s more delicious than most wheat breads. Plus, it’s sold frozen which means that if sold fresh it would have a short shelf life (which means that, ding ding ding, we’re looking at real food).
ditch: semolina or whole wheat pasta
swap: bean-based pasta
We get it – giving up pasta is no fun (and if you’re Italian, sacrilegious). But how about upgrading your pasta instead of nixing it all together? We’re in love with these bean-based pastas by Explore Asian. These pastas have two ingredients (!): the bean used and water. And they have over 20 times the protein of wheat pasta per serving. Our number one pick is the mung bean fettucini for its versatility, but second place goes to the black bean spaghetti. Want to whip up an easy protein-packed pasta dish? Try our recipe for Spicy Tahini Black Bean Pasta.
ditch: crackers and chips
Worry not – gluten-free eating is not a no-snack zone. While it’s best to opt for fresh fruit, vegetables and raw nuts for snacks, we know that veggies can’t always take the place of snack foods like chips and crackers. Note that while plain potato chips are often gluten free, most flavored chips are not. Our swap? Popcorn – and we’re not talking microwave popcorn. Making your own is too easy to opt for unnecessary preservatives. Simply heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a pot (with a lid) over medium heat. When the oil is hot (you can test a few kernals – when they pop, the oil is ready), add three tablespoons of popcorn and cover with a tilted lid. When the popping slows, your snack is ready! Sprinkle with truffle salt, nutritional yeast or sea salt and honey (for a homemade kettle corn).
ditch: cooking spray
swap: healthy oils
Gluten in cooking spray? Sneaky, we know. Flour is added to many cooking sprays – especially those designated for baking – to prevent food from sticking. Instead of getting your daily dose of healthy fats from an aerosol can, opt for oil in its non-spray form. Our favorite picks for healthy oils are olive oil for dressings, sauces and low-heat cooking and coconut oil for high-heat cooking.
ditch: soy sauce
swap: braggs liquid aminos
Fresh fish, rice, seaweed and lots of gut-friendly ginger – sushi sounds like it’d be a gluten-free goldmine, but soy sauce contains wheat as a thickener. Instead, opt for Braggs Liquid Aminos. If you’re looking for a gluten-free and soy-free soy sauce alternative, seek out coconut aminos. Another sneaky sushi gluten source? California rolls made with imitation crab meat. Stick to fresh, un-fried fish, and you should be in the clear.Leave a comment...