I never thought I’d be the one looking for gluten free everything. While I try to eat and cook healthy/organic for my family on the regular, we recently found out my husband has been gluten intolerant his whole life (he had a genetic test done for Celiac Disease). It explains a lot. Like the times he’d get all stuffy nosed after pizza, we attributed it to dairy but that was confusing because plain milk never gave him those issues. Or the time his digestion was way off after eating more bread than he was used to. As a family, we are now going gluten free. It can’t do us any harm eating gluten free meals and it certainly saves me having to cook two different dishes at dinner!! Since we’ve started this new gluten diet, he’s been feeling so much better and I’m glad that we’ve now got to the bottom of his illness. Although I do feel bad for not realizing sooner!
Going gluten free really hasn’t been as hard as I thought! Because I’m crazy about reading ingredients at the grocery store, I didn’t bring home the processed gluten free breads out there. Instead, I’ve found easy ways to eat fresh and still cook vegetarian food without having wheat and flour laden foods on the plate.
Here is what I’m learning about being gluten free:
1. You can still eat pizza and have it taste delicious. I’m loving the Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower crusts for the whole family! Both my kids chowed down when we made it. I’ve also made a good organic quinoa flour crust my friend Kristen taught me how to make…Food Network does it the same as she showed me here. My local grocery store Jimbos sells a nice organic rice flour crust also by Rustic Crust. (we like the herb one)
Plus a lot of pizza places now do gluten free crust as well. If you live in SoCal we like Flippin’ Pizza, NaPizza (farm fresh ingredients!), Blue Ribbon, Blaze and Urban Pi (love that they are organic too) just to name a few.
2. Indian food is perfect. Good ol home cookin’. From daals and basmati rice, spiced vegetables, chickpea based “bread”, mung bean pancakes, rice dosa, (recipes linked), there’s so much more to indian food than gluten filled naan bread!
3. Salad instead of bread is the way to go. While I’m used to making falafel pitas, instead of the pita bread, we ate the patties on top of salad with tahini sauce and it was delicious. Replacing the bread in wraps or sandwiches with a salad is not only gluten free, but great for reducing unnecessary carbs.
4. Mex is best. I love SoCal for a number of reasons and amazing Mexican food is definitely one of them. Between tacos, tortilla soup, rice and beans, guacamole and corn tortillas, the options are divine.
5. Try recipes and have fun. Sometimes when eliminating a food it can be hard to know what to make for dinner and stress can creep in. I tried this delicious coconut curry recipe last night and it was fun to cook something new plus was a big hit.
Gluten doesn’t necessarily affect everyone, but it is important to me to eat bread that is fresh and healthy if I do. Most wheat products out there are so processed that the benefits of wheat are almost mitigated with additives. Some people I know are only affected with symptoms when they eat bread in the USA and then when they go abroad like to France or Italy, they can enjoy baguettes and pasta without any tummy troubles. I found this interesting fact…Around 60 percent of U.S. wheat production is of the hard red wheat variety; just 23 percent consists of soft wheat [source: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center]. In Europe, the principal strains of wheat are generally of the soft variety.
So what’s the difference between the two?
Amongst other things, part of the difference lies in gluten. Hard wheat has more gluten than soft wheat, and the gluten it contains is stronger than gluten found in soft wheat. Soft wheat gluten is easier to digest.
So far, it’s feeling great for not only my hubby but for me to reduce how much gluten we eat (I admit I love carbs). It also opens the doors to healthier options for my kids since so often especially in a vegetarian lifestyle, it’s easy to resort to bread, (even roti), and of course my daughter’s favorite-pasta as the main part of their plate!
Comment below if you have tried being gluten free too and anything you’ve been noticing, would love to hear.