So what is Gluten? It seems to be one of the biggest diets to follow yet so many really don’t know what gluten is?
Let me quickly explain it for you, gluten is a mixture of two proteins ( gliadin and a glutenin) which is found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is responsible for bringing elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keeping it’s shape and often leaves a chewy texture.
So gluten isn’t necessary bad, but some people are gluten intolerant, meaning their bodies produce abnormal immune response when it breaks it down.
Some examples of this include symptoms of diarrhea, fatigue, bloating and joint pain, but doesn’t damage the intestine, whereas with celiac disease it does. Additionally with celiac disease, when one eats gluten it stops them from absorbing vital nutrients plus it can cause medical complications too.
So where exactly is gluten found?
Here is a Food List of items Containing Gluten ( This is all I know, But there are heaps more)
- White flour
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Durum flour
- Graham Flour
- Tritical Flour
- Kamut Flour
- Spelt Flour
- Wheat Germ
- Wheat Bran
- Soup Broth
- Bouillon cubes
- Fried Food
- Imitation Fish
- Cous Cous
- Flour Tortillas
- Sauces (soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, BBQ Sauce)
- Lunch Meats
- Hot Dogs
- Modified Food Starch
- Seasoned Chips
- Seasoned Snack Foods
- Seasoned Rice
- Pasta Mixes
- Seasoning Packets
- Natural Flavouring
- Hard Candies
- Chocolate (because of cross-contamination)
- Some Ice-Cream
- Some Flavoured Yoghurt
- Sour cream
- beverages like sports drinks and Ice Tea Mixes
- Vinegar (malt, white wine and all vinegars)
- French Fries (cross-contamination)
- Baking Powder
- Caramel Colouring
Food List of Gluten Free Items:
- Fresh Fruit
- Fresh Vegetables
- Fresh Meats, Poultry and Fish
- Nuts and Seeds
- Beans and Legumes
- Fresh plain Milk, butter, plain yoghurt and many cheeses
- Oils ( as long as they are not cross-contaminated with gluten)
- Fresh Herbs and Spices
- Unflavoured Coffee and Black and Green Tea (some flavoured teas may contain gluten)
- Soft Drink and 100% Fruit Juice
- Gluten- Free Grains (Quinoa, Rice, Amaranth, Buckwheat, Arrowroot, Flaxseed Meal, Rice Flour, Soy Flour, Potato Flour, Chickpea Flour, Millet, Tapioca, Teff and Sorghum)
As you can see the best way to eat a gluten free diet is to eat natural ingredients and produce. Personally I avoid “gluten-Free” pre-packaged items because they end up being just us unhealthy. Alternatively opt for a more natural ingredients. When you feel like cookies or cakes bake them from scratch, you’ll enjoy it more and feel better…Try my gluten free recipe book for amazing gluten free recipes. There’s everything from breakfast, to snacks, lunch and dinner…Not to mention heaps of dessert recipes too!
Below are is a sample 1500 calorie Gluten Free meal plan from my gluten free recipe cook book…Try them out!
Gluten Free Breakfast: Strawberry Quinoa Porridge
Serves 1 (213 Calories*)
* By using unsweetened almond milk, 100g Frozen strawberries and 90% stevia extract
- 1/4 cup dry quinoa
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk (high calorie)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup (100g) frozen strawberries*
- pinch of salt
- natural sweetener like stevia to taste
* For a complete sugar free and fructose free option swap strawberries for cinnamon (low calorie) or coconut flakes (high calorie)
- Add quinoa and water to a pot and bring to boil
- continuously stir quinoa as it cooks
- while quinoa is cooking you can microwave the strawberry (if frozen) by adding 2 tbsp. water to a microwave proof bowl and warm up, alternatively you can heat them on the stove top
- once the quinoa is cooked you can add the additional milk, strawberry mixture and natural sweetener and then serve! It’s that simple, not to mention delicious!
To speed up this process, I usually pre-cook the quinoa the night below, you can even make bulk quinoa and freeze them in portion sizes. 1/4 dry quinoa, makes 3/4 cup cooked.
Gluten Free Morning Snack: Veggie Sticks and Hummus
serves 1 (265 cal)
- Crunchy Fresh Carrot Sticks
- Crunchy Fresh Cucumber sticks (deseeded)
- Crunchy Fresh Capsicum Sticks
- Crunchy Fresh Celery Sticks
- 2 tbsp. Homemade hummus
Homemade hummus ingredients:
- 1 can fresh organic chickpeas*
- 1/4 cup lemon juice ( roundly the juice of a whole lemon)
- 1/4 cup tahini sauce
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 minced garlic (or garlic powder)
- 1/2-1 tsp. salt (depending on preference)
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 2-3tbsp. water
* for a low calorie alternative you can replace chickpeas with cannelleni beans and reduce the amount of oil.
- add Tahini and lemon juice in the food processor and blend for 1 minute, scrap the sides and blend for an extra 30 seconds to make the hummus really creamy
- Now add the olive oil, garlic, cumin and salt to the whipped tahini and processor for another 30 second, scrap the sides of the bowl and process for another 30 seconds
- open the can of chickpeas and rinse well with water and then drain, now add 1/2 the amount into the food process or and mix well for 1 minute with the rest of the mixture, scrap the sides down and blend for another minute
- now add the rest of the chickpeas and repeat step from above.
- now blend for an additional 2 minutes, and add about 2 tbsp. of water to make it really smooth and creamy.
Hummus stores in the fridge for 1 whole week! Alternatively Hummus stores well in the freezer too, so you can pre-portion your hummus and freeze it.
Gluten Free Lunch: Southwestern Black Bean Salad
serves 1 (228 calories as is or 342 calories with 1/2 cup cooked quinoa)
- 60g can black beans
- 50g cherry tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup corn (I used frozen, thawed)
- 1/4 large orange bell pepper, diced
- 20g red onion, finely diced
- 2 tbsp. jalapeños (optional)
- 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro
- 1/4 avocado
- Juice of 1 orange
- juice of 1 1/2 limes
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. stevia granules
- Pinch of Salt and pepper
- open the black beans and rinse well under water, add 60g into a medium size bowl
- diced 50g of cherry tomatoes and to your bowl
- now add your thawed corn, capsicum and red onion to the bowel
- add your chopped cilantro, mix everything well in a bowel
- mix your dressing into a smaller separate bowl
- Add as much dressing as you desire
- Add sliced avocado on top!
- Serve with some gluten free corn chips, have it 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, or simple enjoy it’s own!
This salad makes a great, healthy take-along lunch!
Gluten Free Afternoon Snack: Mixed Trail Mix
serve 1 (300 calories)
- 12 almonds
- 10g toasted sunflower seeds
- 10g toasted pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp. goji berries
- 1 tbsp. cocoa nibs
Gluten Free Dinner: Gluten Free Paella
serves 1 ( 251 calories without any meat or fish)
- 1/4 cup cooked Basmati rice
- 60g brown lentils (tin lentils is fine)
- 100g capsicum
- 1/2 brown onion
- 1/2 tin tomatoes
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- chilli (as much as desired, optional)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Add fish, shrimp, chicken, or Gluten free sausages to this dish if you like!
- If you don’t already have rice prepared, put rice on to cook. Follow instructions on packet
- Sauté capsicum and onion in olive oil
- Add chopped tinned tomatoes once the capsicum mixture is cooked
- now add the lentils and cooked rice
- Add the seasoning and cook till the mixture looks absorbed and thick
Gluten Free Dessert: 1 Minute Single Serve Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin
serves 1 (317 calories or 191 calories with unsweetened applesauce instead of oil)
- 3 tbsp coconut flour (30g)
- 1/4 tsp gluten free baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil*
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp unsweetened almond milk **
- 1 tbsp no calorie granulated Stevia***
- Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and then add wet ingredients
- put bowel in the microwave and cook anywhere between 90 seconds and 120 seconds.
- serve in a bowl and enjoy!
This entire meal plan is quick to make, easy to take to work or to travel with and it’s all completely family friendly. Most importantly it is completely gluten free and healthy. To increase serve size simple double or quadruple the recipes!
What are some of your favourite gluten free recipes? I’d love to hear your suggestions!