Your health practitioner diagnosed you with gluten sensitivity or Coeliac disease. It’s time to go on a gluten-free diet. Take it easy, it’s not the end of the world. Eating gluten-free isn’t all that difficult. Here are seven yummy gluten-free foods you should be trying out.
. If you’re from the East side of the world, you’re very familiar with rice as a staple food. Do you know what a rikishi is? It’s a Japanese term meaning professional sumo wrestler. These amazing athletes gain enormous size and weight by eating a lot of rice. If you’re going on a gluten-free diet, you may want to try rice in exchange for bread. I’m not telling you to eat as much as a rikishi, okay? A cup of rice is enough to give your carbohydrate craving (rice is basically made up of complex carbohydrates) a resounding burp. There are several varieties of rice to choose from, more than 40,000 worldwide. You think you can handle that many? Try these and choose your favourite – brown rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, red rice, wild rice or black sticky rice.
This ancient staple food of the Aztecs is usually available in health food shops. In its raw form, Amaranth has many nutrients. Sadly for us humans, we can’t digest the raw form. We have to cook (like boiling) it. Amaranth is gluten-free and rich in proteins, especially lysine. Lysine is an amino acid which is mostly absent from other grains. In addition, amaranth is the only grain documented to contain vitamin C. As if this wasn’t enough, you can also expect high levels of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium in amaranth. It’s no wonder the Aztec people were very artistic and ahead of their time. Just take a quick look at their sculptures and buildings.
. Relax. Despite what the name suggests, this food alternative doesn’t contain gluten (unlike wheat which does contain gluten). It’s actually a seed and not a grain. Buckwheat is rich in zinc, iron && selenium as well as the antioxidant rutin. China and Russia are in a tie when it comes to buckwheat production. Thanks to them both we have plenty of buckwheat.
Do you like to drink beer without the fear of gluten (yes, most beers contain gluten)? Enter, buckwheat. Beers brewed with malted barley and wheat will contain gluten. Those brewed with buckwheat are safe for you. How will you know? Ask the bartender, before you drink.
The UN FAO (United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization) declared 2013 “The International Year of Quinoa”. So what? Well… it may mean nothing to you, but for people with gluten sensitivity, being aware of quinoa as a healthy substitute is a big deal. This nutrient-rich food from Bolivia is still quite unfamiliar to a lot of people. Like amaranth, quinoa is also rich in the amino acid lysine. Furthermore, quinoa has greater amounts of isoleucine (another important amino acid). Isoleucine and lysine are considered the limiting amino acids among grains. It’s because of these two that quinoa is regarded as a complete protein source. Oh, by the way, it’s also rich in heart healthy fats (like oleic acid) and tocopherols (relatives of vitamin E, an antioxidant). On top of all that, it does taste great. Hmm… it’s perfect to dedicate a whole year to quinoa. I know we’ll be seeing a lot more of this grain in the coming years.
We may share a few more characteristics with birds than you think. We (us and birds) both like the taste of millet. Millet is the prime ingredient in bird seed. This fascinating alternative to common grains is known for having high levels of magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. Magnesium reduces high blood pressure and minimizes your risk for heart diseases. Phosphorus is a vital part of your bone and the compound ATP (adenosine triphosphate), more commonly referred to as the energy currency of your body. Manganese is needed to have normal brain and nerve functions. These are just a few of the many health benefits of millet. A third of the world’s population eats millet, shouldn’t you be?
Fruits and vegetables.
Do you like fruits and vegetables? You’re in luck. Almost all fresh fruits and vegetables sold on the market are gluten-free. Just a minor warning though, be careful of canned fruits and vegetables. Some of them may have been repackaged with products that contain gluten. Please read the label carefully or ask the store clerk. Some packaged frozen fruits and vegetables (with several ingredients and used as side dishes) can also contain gluten. This could result from gluten cross contamination, which could happen during the packaging process. The more ingredients they put in there, the greater your chances of encountering gluten. In addition to reading the label, you can also contact the manufacturer. He’s just a phone call or an email away.
Are you usually in a hurry in the morning going to work? I’m figuring you don’t have enough time to prepare your breakfast then? Smoothies could be the answer you’re looking for. They can be prepared the night before and placed in your fridge for easy blending (yes, you need a blender for best results) the following morning. These great day starters can have yogurt, coconut milk or coconut cream, milk or non-dairy milk and fruit as its foundation. You can virtually add anything you like into the mix. Your creativity is required to maximize its advantages. Spirulina, protein powders, greens (in powder form), cacao and flax seeds are some examples you can add to your delicious smoothies. Just make sure you check for gluten in the ingredients of processed products like protein powders. Smoothies will boost your energy levels and provide you with vitamins and minerals.
Note: The gluten-free foods mentioned above are suitable for people who don’t like to cook that much or don’t have time to cook. They’re not actual recipes. In addition, they’re also very easy to prepare! Being sensitive to gluten doesn’t mean you have to ruin your appetite. Click here for clues to whether you have a gluten sensitivity.