Guide To Going Gluten Free
While we’ve known that going gluten-free is essential for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, more and more research is revealing the benefits of taking gluten out of your diet even if you don’t fall into these categories. Recent research indicates a strong connection between gluten consumption and inflammation in the body. This is problematic, as inflammation is the root of so many issues in the body, ranging from migraines and diabetes to Alzheimer’s and ADHD (and many things in between!). Years ago I was looking for healthy products that were gluten-free and just wasn’t finding any in stores that weren’t loaded with bad-for-you ingredients like refined sugar and refined flours. This spurred me to not only create my own product line, Purely Elizabeth, but to make really delicious and satisfying recipes without gluten. I started discovering so many good-for-you ingredients like ancient grains and seeds that are such nutrition powerhouses that still leave you feeling satisfied. Quinoa can be an excellent replacement for white rice; there are so many great pastas made with ingredients like almond flour and quinoa flour, and even simply spiralizing vegetables can be such a tasty and much healthier option for pasta.
What to eat when you’ve gone gluten free:
Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or simply want to avoid gluten, there is a healthy way and a not so healthy way to go gluten-free. Be careful not to fall into the nineties “fat-free” trap (i.e. because something is labeled gluten-free it’s a free for all to eat it!). There are still so many gluten-free products on the market that are loaded with refined sugars, flours and other bad for you ingredients…so be sure to be a label reader! Forget about feeling deprived on a gluten-free diet; instead, think about adding in foods that are naturally gluten-free and nutrient-rich.
Foods that are naturally gluten- free + nutrient rich:
Fruits and Vegetables (especially leafy greens like kale, swiss chard, bok choy)
Seeds (chia, hemp, flax)
Legumes (beans, lentils)
Fish, Meat, and Poultry
Healthy Oils (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil)
Grains (amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, teff, kaniwa, brown rice, sorghum)
Non-Grain Flours (coconut, almond)
Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Be careful when consuming the following:
The below often contain wheat. Look for those labeled gluten-free (and I’ve included a few of my favorites).
Beer Swap for one made with Sorghum or Brown Rice
Cereal Swap for one made with ancient grains
Salad Dressings Swap for one made without wheat
Sauces, including soy sauce Swap for one made without wheat
A few gluten-free recipes:
Grilled Eggplant with Feta, Romesco and Mint
When I moved to Boulder, Colorado, one of the first restaurants I visited was Oak at Fourteenth. They have an incredible menu but one of the dishes in particular stood out— their grilled eggplant. The following recipe is my take on their dish. It is pretty much out of this world.
2 medium red bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
1 yellow onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup raw almonds
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp honey
1½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Himalayan salt
2 eggplants, sliced lengthwise ¼” thick
2 oz feta
½ cup basil, chiffonade
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the peppers, onion, and garlic on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven. Remove garlic after about 30 minutes. Continue roasting peppers and onions for another 15 minutes.
When vegetables are done cooking, place them and the rest of the romesco ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until well combined, leaving some texture to the sauce. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, coat eggplant in olive oil. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Place sliced eggplant on grill and cook for 5 minutes each side. When eggplant is done, assemble each slice with a smear of romesco sauce, crumbled feta, and basil.
Spaghetti Squash with Tomato, Spinach, Garlic and Pine Nuts
It was only a few years ago that I first discovered spaghetti squash. Where has this vegetable been my whole life?! If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, you must. It’s super easy to make and is a fabulous substitute for the more carb-heavy pasta. Spaghetti squash is high in both fiber and vitamin A and low in calories. You and your waistline will thank me.
1 spaghetti squash
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pints grape tomatoes
4 cups of spinach
toasted pine nuts, optional
Parmesan cheese, optional
Himalayan sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and discard seeds. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast for 30–45 minutes. On another parchment-lined baking sheet, spread tomatoes and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Roast for 15–20 minutes. When squash is finished cooking, allow to cool then, using a fork, scrape the squash to get long spaghetti-like strands. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, add garlic, and stir until fragrant. Turn down heat to low and add tomatoes, spinach, and squash and continue to sauté 3–5 minutes. Season with Himalayan sea salt to taste. Serve with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese on top.
*Featured image is a cauliflower pizza, you can find the recipe here.