“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This quote has long been attributed to Hippocrates, and whether he said it or not, it really hits home these days. With each bite of food we take, we are either feeding or fighting disease and inflammation in our bodies. One of the most common triggers for many of us is gluten. But going gluten-free doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t mean you need to miss out on delicious, satisfying meals. I have plenty of ideas for you, but today I’m sharing three of my favorite gluten-free recipe ideas.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a storage protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. It is used to give foods structure and flavor, and also as a thickening agent.
Why go gluten-free?
While it’s not necessary for everyone, gluten is an irritant in the gut and can cause issues for many people – not just those diagnosed with celiac disease. In fact, 30% of our population is currently gluten-free, and 23% of those people choose to do so for health concerns and lifestyle choices.
What are some of the benefits of eating gluten-free?
- Reduce bloating
- Clear brain fog
- Improve autoimmune conditions
- Decrease anxiety and depression
What are some gluten-free recipe ideas?
Smoothies and smoothie bowls are quick and easy, and they are also naturally free from gluten. I prefer this plant-based shake powder full of dehydrated, raw plant powders, protein, and natural sweeteners. Mix with dairy-free milk, fresh greens, and frozen fruit for a nutrient-dense breakfast. Also, consider mixing with dairy-free yogurt (I prefer Kite Hill), and top with this homemade granola recipe:
- 1/2 c coconut oil
- 1/2 c raw, local honey
- 3 c gluten-free oats
- 1 c sliced almonds (or other nut/seed of your choice)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 t cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger (or your fave spice combo)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 c dried fruit
Mix all ingredients except for the dried fruit, spread over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 300oF for about 30 minutes, mixing half-way through. Remove from oven, add dried fruit, and allow to cool.
This recipe is super customizable and is a great gluten-free recipe that can be used as a cereal, snack, or on top of your yogurt or smoothie bowl.
Skip the sandwich, and you won’t miss the gluten. I promise! Besides avoiding gluten, skipping bread also replaces empty calories with nutrient-dense foods like fresh veggies and muscle-building protein. For that reason, I also prefer to avoid “imitation” products like gluten-free bread whenever possible. On the other hand, consider a green/garden salad topped with a clean protein such as pasture-raised chicken or beans, nuts, or seeds. This provides a fresh, easy meal filled with whole foods where you won’t miss the gluten. Alternatively, you could make yourself tuna salad, and instead of mixing it with mayonnaise, boost your intake of healthy fats by using 1/2 of an avocado, salt, and dill for flavoring. Add in some fresh celery or walnuts for a nice crunch.
Finally, it’s time for my all-time favorite gluten-free recipe idea: the grain bowl. Many people assume that eating gluten-free means eliminating all carbs, but that’s not true. (Thank god!) Here is my free-form recipe for the perfect grain bowl. It’s easy to throw together and a great way to use up ingredients you have lying around. Not only is it a great way to clean out the fridge, but it’s also a perfect use for leftovers. I’ll often make an extra-large serving of rice or chicken on the weekend and then use those ingredients in different ways throughout the week. This meal is in our regular rotation.
- Pick your grain. Brown jasmine rice is my favorite (look for it in the international foods aisle), but you could also use quinoa or a wild rice blend. I prefer to use whole-kernel grains to keep the fiber and protein intact. Cook according to the grain’s instructions (I love my pressure cooker for this).
- Choose a protein. You could use any meat (preferably pastured and organic), but tofu, beans, and hard-cooked eggs are also good options.
- Use whichever veggies you have on hand. I post below some of my favorite combinations.
- Add a topping. Keep it themed with your protein and veggie choices. My go-to is this amazingly easy lemon tahini dressing:
- 1 T each: tahini, honey, and lemon juice
- 3 T avocado oil
- Dash of salt
Here are some combinations to inspire you:
- Mediterranean: Quinoa, chicken, tofu or eggs, peppers, cucumber, lemon tahini dressing
- Fajita-style: Rice, black beans or grilled meat, sweet potato, corn, salsa, and sour cream (and don’t forget the avocado!)
- Asian: Rice, tofu, peas, fermented slaw, honey ginger white vinegar, and olive oil.
As you can see, grain bowls are such a versatile way to use whatever you have in the fridge without sacrificing flavor.
To sum up, gluten-free recipes can be easy and delicious. If you’ve never tried eliminating gluten (or any other food group), but you’re curious to see if you would benefit from it, download my free Food Discovery Journal. Above all, it will help you to start making the connection between what you eat and how you feel. You may be surprised (like I was) to learn just how powerful our food choices can be! For example, I hadn’t made the connection between my eczema and gluten until I started tracking what I was eating and the different symptoms I was experiencing. Now, I realize gluten was causing the dry patches on my chin and as a result of eliminating it completely, my skin is finally healing!
In addition to downloading my free journal, you may also enjoy reading more of my healthy living tips and tricks. To do that, click here!