Gluten is everywhere. It’s in all of our favorite comfort foods, the thickening agent in soups and stews, and heck, it’s even in condiments like ketchup.
This is why it can feel like the guillotine, chopping your culinary world to bits when gluten shows up as a main character in your food sensitivity test results.
Except, She’s not the main character anymore, she’s the villain, and not the one we love to hate either. Suddenly, you’re faced with a gluten-free future, but the trouble is, you don’t know where to start.
Contrary to popular belief, finding out that you’re gluten-intolerant, or even allergic, doesn’t have to mean a culinary death sentence. With some simple replacements, you can regain the joy and comfort you found at the dinner table, with the added benefit of getting to play in the kitchen.
In this blog, we’re diving into the world of gluten-free replacements. Ready?
The problem with gluten.
Did you know that gluten sensitivity is actually very common? It affects about 6% of the national population. In fact, many people with gluten sensitivity may not even realize they have it, because the symptoms can be subtle and easily attributed to other causes. This is why it’s essential to be aware of the symptoms and get tested if you suspect you may have a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten.
But, what is gluten, and why is it in so many random foods? Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley, and rye. It’s what gives bread its elasticity and helps it rise, which is why it’s often used in baked goods and other processed foods. For most people, gluten is harmless and even beneficial, but for those with a sensitivity or intolerance, it can cause a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms.
Gluten is the unwanted guest that just won’t leave our favorite comfort foods alone. It’s like that problematic ex who always shows up uninvited, wreaking havoc on our digestive systems and leaving us feeling less than our best.
But fear not, gluten-sensitive friends! Thanks to the rise of the gluten-free movement, we now have a whole host of satisfying and delicious alternatives to our favorite gluten-laden foods. From pizza and pasta to baked goods and even beer, there’s a gluten-free option for every craving. So let’s raise a glass (of gluten-free beer, of course) to a world of delicious, comfortable eating without the discomfort of gluten.
The best gluten-free pasta.
Did you know that regular grocery stores now sell gluten-free pastas? Yes! No more having to visit specialty stores, no more having to make your own pasta from scratch. Getting your hands on those gluten-free spirals of joy is just as convenient as buying regular, old-fashioned pasta.
Here are some of our favorites:
Lentil pasta: Bean-based pasta? Yes, yes indeed. Lentil pasta is a powerhouse of nutrition and taste. It’s gluten-free, protein-packed, and fiber-rich. Plus, it’s versatile enough to go with any sauce or topping you can imagine.
Chickpea flour pasta: Chickpea flour has been used for centuries as a thickening agent, flour replacement, and more recently, as a nutritious alternative to wheat in pasta recipes. One of the biggest benefits of chickpea pasta is its high protein content. Like lentil pasta, it contains up to 3 times more protein per serving than traditional pasta. This makes it an excellent choice for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone looking to increase their protein intake.
In addition to protein, chickpea pasta is also a good source of fiber. This helps to support digestive health and can even help to lower cholesterol levels.
Brown rice pasta: One of the biggest benefits of brown rice pasta is that it’s easier to digest than wheat-based pasta. This means you’ll be less likely to experience bloating, gas, and other uncomfortable symptoms after eating it. Brown rice pasta is a great source of complex carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy throughout the day.
It’s also rich in fiber, which helps to support digestive health and keep you feeling full and satisfied.
But perhaps the best thing about brown rice pasta is its taste and texture. It has a delicious nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with a variety of sauces and toppings, and its texture is just as satisfying as traditional pasta. This is a great one for baked pasta dishes.
Drool-worthy gluten-free pizza dough alternatives.
We’re not going to sugarcoat it, if you are a chewy pizza crust lover, finding a gluten-free option that has that same texture is going to be really difficult unless you make it yourself. For us chewy pizza lovers, there is one recipe that we tested that stood out more than others.
For the rest of us, here are some great flour alternatives for your next gluten-free pizza night.
Cauliflower crust pizza dough: This one is made from finely grated cauliflower, eggs, and cheese. This low-carb option is a great way to sneak more vegetables into your diet and is naturally gluten-free. We’re not going to lie, this one isn’t very filling, so definitely pile on those toppings and serve it with an extra side.
Almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour: Another great option is gluten-free pizza dough made from a blend of alternative flours. These flours are not only gluten-free but also low-carb and high in protein, making them a healthy alternative to traditional pizza dough.
Gluten-free bread mix: For a more classic taste and texture, try using this as a pizza dough substitute. Simply prepare the bread mix according to the package instructions, then shape it into a pizza crust and add your favorite toppings.
No matter which gluten-free pizza dough alternative you choose, the most important thing is to have fun experimenting with different flavors and toppings until you find the perfect combination that satisfies your cravings and dietary needs.
Other comfort foods made gluten-free.
Pizza may be the king of comfort foods, but there are plenty of other classic dishes that can be made gluten-free without sacrificing flavor or texture.
Take mac and cheese, for example. This childhood favorite can easily be made gluten-free by swapping out traditional pasta for a gluten-free alternative, such as brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta. To make the cheese sauce, use gluten-free flour alternatives like coconut flour or almond flour as a thickener instead of wheat flour.
Bread is another comfort food that can be made gluten-free with the right flour alternatives. Almond flour, coconut flour, and oat flour are all great options for gluten-free bread. Almond flour is high in protein and healthy fats, while coconut flour is low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber. Oat flour is a good source of fiber and also contains protein and healthy fats.
For those with a sweet tooth, pancakes can also be made gluten-free with the use of alternative flours. Buckwheat flour is a popular choice for gluten-free pancakes, as it has a nutty flavor and is high in protein and fiber. Almond flour and coconut flour are also great options for gluten-free pancakes, providing a light and fluffy texture.
It’s important to note that different types of gluten-free flour alternatives can have unique textures, flavors, and nutritional benefits. Coconut flour, for example, is highly absorbent and can create a dense, moist texture in baked goods. Almond flour, on the other hand, has a more subtle flavor and can create a light and airy texture.
It’s a door, not a coffin.
Finding out that you are gluten-sensitive or gluten intolerant shouldn’t feel like a funeral for your favorite foods.
Instead, look at it as a door to untapped possibilities and adventures waiting for you in the kitchen.
If you suspect that gluten is the culprit behind your tummy-woes and unrelenting symptoms, you need to take a food sensitivity test. Get the answers you need, ask your doctor about our Bloodprint panels at your next visit.
Remember, the power of knowing is better than the anxiety of guessing.