Stars including Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, singer Miley Cyrus and tennis champion Novak Djokovic have all reportedly claimed to have benefited from ditching gluten and now scientists believe cutting it from your diet can reduce fatigue and boost energy levels. On the other hand, human beings generally have a lot to thank gluten for. It makes our bread light and springy, since it is able to trap steam and carbon dioxide as dough rises, and during baking.
A glance at internet searches over the years suggests that the rise of interest in gluten-free diets has little to do with a growing awareness of coeliac disease, and a lot to do with the popularity of “paleo” diets – the food movement that seeks to return humankind to the Stone Age, at least as far as diet is concerned.
It can be daunting to imagine sticking to the lifestyle change. Understandably, many fear they’ll miss their favourite foods or never feel fully satisfied post-dinner. But tons of foods that are naturally gluten free (hello, fruits and veggies) are inherently delicious. Even more, as awareness for dietary restrictions and allergies increases, the number of drool-worthy recipes available for these sensitivities also grows. A lot of what I eat is naturally gluten free and makes up a large proportion of my calories. Im fortunate not to have any known food allergies but I am aware of certain foods that can create discomfort and can make me bloat. As someone who loves to eat tasty foods and still have treats in moderation I can hand on heart say that you can still create tasty recipes for you and your family that are naturally gluten free and the ingredients can be picked up in your local shop. You might even be surprised to realise that a lot of everyday healthy foods are naturally gluten free.
You are probably thinking that foods like pizza, lasagne and peanut butter bars are off the gluten free menu, but think again. Let me set your heart on fire by introducing guilt free meals that wont break the calorie bank and provide tonnes more nutrition than regular varieties.
Get nutritional bang for buck in your breakfast by keeping simple ingredients in your cupboards like eggs, porridge oats (gluten free if needed) vegetables and frozen fruits. If you are a granola fan and you are craving a clean, on-the-go treat, try my delicious no-bake peanut butter protein bars instead. Simply, put 100g of porridge oats (gluten free if necessary) half tin of coconut milk, hand full of cashew nuts, one tablespoon butter, 2-3 dates, some fresh or frozen berries, one teaspoon of vanilla extract together in a bowl and mix well. Spread out into a baking tray and put them in the fridge to set overnight. Open the fridge in the morning and you’ll wake up to a bunch of yummy bars to enjoy for breakfast, pre- or post- workout, or simply as a snack at work or school.
Instead of dialling Dominos, dial in your physique with this recipe. This is an awesome recipe because it’s gluten-free, and also has a lot more nutritional value than a regular pizza. This recipe is also great because you’ll feel like your cheating when you are not, eat half the pizza for tea and pack the other half for lunch the next day and you’ll be the envy of your coworkers. This simple recipe involves 175 g of gluten free bread mix mixed with 1/4 pt of water and one teaspoon of oil. Add the mixed ingredients onto a baking tray for 10 minutes in a preheated oven of 200 degrees celsius. When cooled add a tin of chopped tomatoes and top with either cheddar or mozzarella cheese. Go wild and crazy with your favourite veggie and meat toppings!
Finally, If you’re also counting calories or managing macros the way you do your bank account, traditional lasagne is probably off the usual menu. This recipe, however, is a healthy way to satisfy your lasagne craving at only a fraction of the calories and carbs. Slices of courgettes stand in for the pasta sheets, while lean mince and low-fat cheeses offer all the protein you need without the excessive fat. The layers of fibrous veggies will leave you full and satisfied without that usual sluggish feeling that follows traditional lasagne. Oh, and this recipe is also packed with delicious herbs and spices. It makes an amazing meal for the whole family! Its so simple. Just brown off 500g of lean mince or turkey mince, an onion, carrot, and garlic clove. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and your favourite herbs and spices. In a separate pan make your white sauce by adding 3/4 pt of milk, 1/2 cooked onion, 30g of butter and 25 g of gluten free flour in a saucepan. Stir until smooth. Layer courgettes, mince and white sauce into an oven proof dish, sprinkling 40g of low fat grated cheese on top. Cook in the oven at 180 degree celsius until bubbling and cheese is melting. Serve with a large side salad.
Going Gluten free naturally can also prove beneficial for your pocket particularly when it comes to your foodshop. You can bulk cook and take leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables, they are cheaper and are actually higher in vitamins and minerals than some fresh produce as they are frozen at source. Buy basics like porridge oats. potatoes and rice in bulk also saving more money. It goes to show Gluten free can be economical, nutritious and delicious!