When it comes to cooking, there are many dietary restrictions that will be encountered along the way. One restriction that is gaining some degree of notoriety in recent years is the need for a gluten free diet. Gluten is a substance that is commonly found in flour products. However, a decent sized portion of the population has a negative reaction to it. For these people, gluten free food isn’t just a choice, it is absolutely necessary. Therefore, it is crucial to learn the basics of gluten free cooking.
Gluten free cooking imposes many restrictions. It often makes it quite difficult to enjoy something the vast majority of us take for granted, eating out. The good news is that more and more restaurants are beginning to acknowledge this condition and offer gluten free products. It takes time, just as it did with low carb craze, for the demand for these products to make it worth the industries while to make adjustments in their way of preparing foods.
Finding new and tasty foods to cook every night without falling into a rut of cooking the same old foods can be difficult. Consider cooking gluten free foods a challenge rather than a chore, and you will find the process to be much more enjoyable. You might even find that you appreciate the meals you’ve worked hard to prepare even better!
Benefits of Eating Gluten Free
A gluten-free diet can help reduce chronic inflammation in those with celiac disease. Those with celiac disease often feel sluggish, tired or experience “brain fog”. Practicing a gluten free diet may help boost their energy levels and stop them from feeling so tired. Furthermore, in a study including 1,031 people with celiac disease, 66% of them complained of fatigue. After following a gluten-free diet, only 22% of people still experienced fatigue.
For those of you who are trying to lose weight, engaging in a gluten free diet can do that for you. This is because it eliminates many junk foods that add unwanted calories to the diet. These foods are often replaced by fruit, veggies and lean proteins.
Downsides of a Gluten Free Diet
Despite having a variety of health benefits, a gluten-free diet can have some negative effects. The cost of a gluten-free can be quite expensive. Gluten-free foods are approximately two and a half times more expensive than their regular counterparts. This is due to the fact that gluten-free foods cost manufacturers more money to make. For example, gluten-free foods must pass stricter testing and avoid becoming contaminated.
Another downside to a gluten-free diet is constipation. Gluten-free diets eliminate many popular sources of fiber like bread, bran and other wheat-based products. Eating a fiber-rich diet may help promote healthy bowel movements. In addition, many gluten-free substitutes for wheat-based products are low in fiber. This could be another reason why constipation is common when following a gluten-free diet. If you experience constipation on a gluten-free diet, eat more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, beans, lentils, Brussels sprouts and berries.
Here is a sample menu with delicious, gluten-free meals.
Feel free to swap meal suggestions according to your liking.
- Breakfast: Overnight chia seed pudding — 2 tbsp (28 grams) chia seeds, 1 cup (240 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract with sliced fruits of your choice. Let sit in a bowl or Mason jar overnight.
- Lunch: Chicken, lentil and veggie soup.
- Dinner: Steak tacos — steak, mushroom and spinach served in gluten-free corn tortillas.
- Breakfast: Omelet with veggies.
- Lunch: Quinoa salad with sliced tomatoes, cucumber, spinach and avocado.
- Dinner: Shrimp skewers served with a garden salad.
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries.
- Lunch: Tuna and boiled egg salad.
- Dinner: Chicken and broccoli stir-fry — chicken and broccoli sautéed in olive oil and gluten-free soy sauce or tamari. Served with a side of rice
- Breakfast: Gluten-free toast with avocado and an egg.
- Lunch: Leftovers from Wednesday’s dinner.
- Dinner: Garlic and butter shrimp served with a side salad.
- Breakfast: Banana berry smoothie — 1/2 medium banana, 1/2 cup (74 grams) mixed berries, 1/4 cup (59 ml) Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup (59 ml) milk.
- Lunch: Chicken salad wrap, using in a gluten-free wrap.
- Dinner: Baked salmon served with baked potatoes, broccoli, carrots and green beans.
Different Gluten Free Resources
There are many resources available for those who need to eat gluten free foods. Prepackaged foods that are designated for gluten free cooking are becoming increasingly popular. This means that those who once had no option but to create meals from scratch, now have a variety of options. For example, there are gluten free cookie and cake mixes. This is perfect for gluten free individuals to enjoy the finer things in life.
Changes are being made and resources are being shared through the Internet that help not only adults but also support for the parents of children who must have gluten free diets. Cooking for children in the best of circumstances is often difficult. It is even more difficult when there are excessive dietary restrictions. That is why it is so important to seek out the many resources and recipes that are available for gluten free cooking.
Have a sweet tooth while staying gluten free? We’ve got you covered. We found THE BEST gluten free baking kits. Our friend sales them at The Prepared Pantry! We LOVE the chocolate cupcakes, and even prefer them to the regular version. Let us know if you like them as much as we do!
If you want to pursue a gluten free diet but have no idea where to start, check out websites and blogs that provide more detail on a gluten free diet. You will probably be amazed at the wealth of information that is available.
Gluten free cooking does not have to be the chore that many of us think it is, and all gluten free food doesn’t taste like cardboard. Take the time to try gluten free recipes that abound and incorporate them into your cooking repertoire. You will be amazed at how wonderful you feel as well as how great the food tastes.