Have you recently found yourself sitting across the dinner table from a friend who is newly announcing themselves as gluten-free? If you have, you’re far from alone and that might even be you. Gluten-free has gone from a rarity to the new age ‘diet’.
This is part of my Savoir Flair series all about health, fitness and food!
Of course, it’s a necessity for people with Celiac disease or for those that it just doesn’t sit well with, but it’s a fine line between mistaking cutting out gluten as a way to improve health and lose weight; you can be just as healthy and fit whilst eating gluten, without the need to restrict the food consumed.
However, for those amongst us who do have an intolerance to gluten, finding the right foods and knowing what to eat can prove tricky. Also understanding why gluten can cause the reactions is important. This is your 101 guide to everything you need to know about gluten; from the best gluten-free recipes and which foods to stay clear of.
What is Gluten?
A combination of two proteins, typically found in wheat and cereal grains. It affects the elasticity of dough, i.e. the chewiness of your bread!
Why Do People go Gluten Free?
Gluten-free diets didn’t come about because it was seen as a healthier way of living. They arose because people got nasty reactions when they ate gluten. One of the most common signs of an intolerance to gluten is gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, cramps and uncomfortable flatulence ”“ all things we tend to want to avoid! The symptoms can be worsened and more severe with cases associated with Celiac disease ”“ it tends to be pretty easy to judge whether or not you have an intolerance depending on how our body reacts after eating food that contain it!
What are the main sources of Gluten?
The following foods are the typical every day foods that contain gluten which should be avoided if you have a gluten intolerance; (by no means is this a full list!)
Spelt Wheat Semolina
Bread Pasta Wheat Bran
Rye Couscous Einkorn
Cracked Wheat Bulgur Graham Flour
Beer Breaded and ‘crumbed’ foods
Sauces can also often contain gluten such as soy sauce, Teriyaki sauce, malt vinegar, salad dressings and marinades. Although it’s not a given, they are the typical culprits so if your intolerance is very strong, better to be safe than sorry.
The Greatest of Gluten-Free
These are the very best and yummiest of gluten-free food substitutes along with recipe inspiration for all times of the day! It’s good to remember that most restaurants and takeaways now offer gluten-free substitutes such as pizza bases and gluten-free pastas, and the taste can be just as good! Below are a few more creative ideas using foods that are free of gluten;
Despite what the name may suggest, buckwheat is actually closely related to the rhubarb family and doesn’t contain wheat. It’s an excellent gluten-free substitute for granolas and mueslis and gives a wonderful crunch and taste! Try out my Crunchy Apple and Cinnamon Buckwheat granola to kick start the day.
Using Quinoa as a base for porridge is a great way to get a delicious, warming bowl of goodness and energy, minus the gluten. It’s pretty much a straight forward replacement as far as cooking oats comes and can be made with regular milk, coconut milk or water (and many more!) Add cinnamon, cacao powder, berries and whatever else tickles your fancy to improve the taste and add some more health benefits! Protein and cinnamon quinoa porridge recipe here.
Even if you’re not gluten-free, subbing out wheat-based wraps for romaine lettuce is a delicious option! It turns fajita night into a gluten-free affair as well as make it less calorific and give more nutritional benefits. Win, win!
The Spiralizer has become a gluten-free kitchen staple. Turning vegetables across the world into delicious pastas and salads, it’s a fantastic way to avoid gluten-rich spaghettis as well as saving the waist line. A favourite is spiralizing courgettes (zucchinis) into long ribbons and adding a sauce of your choice, be it a vegetarian avocado dressing or a more filling bolognaise.
This forgotten vegetable has quickly come back into fashion by being used as pizza bases and rice dishes as a delicious gluten-free option. Here’s a recipe on how to get started with Cauliflower rice which can be used as the main dish itself or a side to a warming curry! If Pizza is more your thing then try my Cauliflower crust pizza recipe, topped with oozing mozzarella cheese and healthy Mediterranean vegetables! It’s a real crowd pleaser.
Regular flour is commonly used in everything from breads to pancakes to cookies and cakes. Using almond meal and coconut flour you can now create all the same things and make them gluten-free! The swap isn’t always a 1:1 ratio so baking with them can take a little getting used to but the result is something well worth waiting for! Try my chewy lemon and raspberry thumbprint cookies made with almond meal.
Living a gluten-free lifestyle can be very easy and enjoyable to do if you know where to look!
If you have any questions or tips you want to share with others, please feel free to comment below!
Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!