If you walk down any aisle of the grocery store, you’ll probably see the phrase “gluten-free” on many different labels. In fact, we’ve noticed the gluten-free label on things like rice (which is, and always has been, gluten-free). What does this tell us? This tells us that marketers know the gluten-free movement is an opportunity to sell more products. Actually, gluten-free sales have surpassed $5 billion annually.
Now, we don’t want to seem anti-consumerist. There are many people who suffer from an autoimmune disease called Celiac disease. In fact, close to 1% of the North American population is estimated to have Celiac; most of them undiagnosed. There are also many who are simply sensitive to gluten.
What is gluten? Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, spelt and barley. Of the gluten-containing grains, wheat is by far the most commonly consumed.
Those with sensitivities can feel bloated, have diarrhea or even bouts of depression. Gluten tends to attack the vitae of the small intestine, making those with allergies to gluten at risk of becoming very nutrient deficient. Studies have also shown that the proteins in gluten can bypass the gut and directly affect the brain.
So what do you do? There are many ways you can educate yourself on gluten, gluten sensitivity, and Celiac disease. We have many articles on our website that may help you get started.
Here are 5 ways to replace your gluten grains by using whole foods.
Have you recently been diagnosed as being unable to consume gluten? Or, are you interested in replacing your gluten grains to improve your gut health? Rather than eating processed, gluten-free products, try replacing your gluten with these 5 whole food and gluten-free alternatives.
1 – Explore Gluten-Free Grains
Do you know that there are quite a few whole grains that you can enjoy that are naturally gluten free? Explore new ways to savor: amaranth, buckwheat, rice (brown, white, wild), millet, quinoa, sorghum and teff. Corn and oatmeal are also naturally gluten-free but may be cross-contaminated with wheat. Ensure that these grains are labeled to indicate that they do not have gluten.
2 – Replace Your Bread
We’re not talking about switching one bread for a gluten-free version. Usually, gluten-free products are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients to make them as tasty as the real thing. There are, however, many ways to enjoy non-bread alternative. Think lettuce wraps, cauliflower flatbread, chia seed and oat cakes. You can easily add low carb gluten-free substitutes that are whole food based.
3 – Learn to Love Oats
Oats are generally a gluten-free grain. Sometimes, there can be cross-contamination from either processing or from the farmer’s fields. But, if you can purchase your oats gluten-free, there is so much you can make that will taste delicious. We like to blend our oats into flour and use in crepe or muffin recipes. Overnight oats are also a super way to start your morning.
4 – Get Your Carbs From Veggies
We can’t say it enough – you can eat delicious, healthy meals completely gluten-free without relying on gluten-free products. Just focus on veggies. Not only will you be adding a ton of nutrition and fiber, you’ll be eating low carb. We have a lot of suggestions on our website and cauliflower will soon become your new best friend. Try our cauliflower rice recipes today.
5 – Nuts and Seeds Are Your Best Friends
Chia seed puddings, all natural nut butters, walnuts, pumpkin seeds are delicious snacks that are also high in minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats and fiber. Adding nuts and seeds to your diet can give you sustainable energy to last throughout the day. No need to focus on crackers or store-bought granola bars. You’ll be lessening your sugar intake while eating more whole foods. Try our coconut bar recipe today.
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