You may have heard of people going gluten-free recently, another food craze that can be a little hard to understand. The choice can be made for a multitude of reasons, but commonly it’s for an allergy, or just to eat healthier! For those of you that don’t know what gluten is, it is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, malts, and triticale. To put it simply: no bread, pasta, cakes, cookies…or even beer!
Now this may seem absolutely crazy to some of you, but there are actually a lot of benefits that come from going gluten-free. Although it is really hard to avoid foods that have flour in them, since so many of the things we love are made with it, it is possible! Many people that have a wheat allergy are forced to avoid related products, with fear of stomach cramping and other results. Other people simply eliminate the protein so that they can feel healthier and lose weight. We all know that limiting intake of breads, baked desserts, and pasta is good for weight loss, but it can still be very difficult.
When going gluten-free, you really have to stick with it and realize that there are so many other options to eat! One of the most common ways is through rice products. There are many types of cereal, crackers, and even pasta that are made with rice instead of flour. One of my favorites is Amy’s Gluten-free Macaroni and Cheese made with rice noodles. It is also possible to get a substantial meal with products like quinoa or wild rice.
If choosing to go gluten-free, it is important to make sure that you still get all of your nutrients. It is hard enough as it is to get enough fiber and carbohydrates into your diet from the usual sources. As long as you make sure to take a multivitamin and eat lots of fruit and vegetables, lean meat, and fish, you can easily sustain a healthy lifestyle and get all the nutrients that you need.
Going gluten-free has many benefits. You are more likely to consume more wholesome, fresh foods, and your sugar and fat intake will most likely reduce. It is a great option for a healthier life style or weight loss. However, it is a serious problem for some people that have an allergy to it, and the elimination of gluten should not be taken lightly. It is not a fad diet and anyone considering it should think very long and hard about why they are!
Here are some great gluten-free recipes to get you started:
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 cup sautéed red peppers (sauté in olive oil over medium heat until soft)
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and drain the can of chickpeas. Please drained chickpeas in a blender and add the red peppers, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin. Process until a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve with fresh vegetables, like carrots and cucumbers.
Brown Rice Krispies Treats
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bag marshmallows
6 cups brown rice cereal
½ cup raisins, optional
2 tablespoons sesame or sunflower seeds, optional
Spray a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Quickly stir in the marshmallows and cook until completely melted. Remove from the heat.
Stir in cereal and dried fruit and seeds if using until well coated and combined. Spray a rubber spatula or wooden spoon with nonstick cooking spray and press mixture evenly into pan. Cool and cut into 2 by 2 inch squares or use cookie cutter. Pack in air-tight container.
Eat and enjoy, guilt and gluten-free