By Trilby Goouch
To ditch the wheat, to not ditch wheat…
Why be all or nothing? Rather than eliminating gluten all together (and consequently many of your favourite foods, try incorporating gluten-free eating, one meal at a time.
Let’s start with the basics: People tend to view gluten as a carbohydrate since it’s associated with our favourite carb-rich foods like pizza, pasta, cookies and cakes; yet gluten is simply a protein found in raw wheat, rye and barley.
Just like lactose, gluten allergies and sensitivities are relatively prevalent, which is where the gluten-free ‘trend’ got its momentum. People who went gluten free described a newfound sense of energy, vigour and weight loss; “I’m gluten free” became the new buzz phrase, even amongst those with no allergy to speak of.
There are conflicting views over gluten consumption. Some nutritional experts believe that gluten wrecks havoc on our blood-sugar levels, which contributes to those mid-day energy crashes and sugar cravings. Dr. Mark Hymann at The Huffington Post would go as far as saying that “the history of wheat parallels the history of chronic disease and obesity across the world.”
If you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, then gluten-free eating is a necessity.Yet some argue that gluten has been a staple in our diet for centuries, and is something to be enjoyed in moderation by those without an intolerance or allergy. Gluten-free eating has developed into a weight loss tool rather than a lifestyle based on nutritional health. Gluten-free foods are, to be frank, pretty devoid of flavour. To make up for the dry, often tasteless nature, companies inject their products with added sugar.
With such conflicting views over gluten consumption, it’s hard to find a definitive answer as to whether gluten-free is the right option for you. Start by incorporating gluten-free eating into your diet by making healthy gluten substitutions in your meals; avoid buying gluten free packaged goods for their poor nutritional value. Pick a meal of the day and make it your daily dose of gluten-free eating.
Breakfast: Replace a bowl of oatmeal with cooked quinoa
Lunch: Instead of a sandwich or wrap, make a salad and top with tuna, shaved turkey breast, smoked salmon or chickpeas; add ¼ sliced avocado (for a serving of healthy fats) and make a dijon dressing (1 tsp mustard + 2 tsp balsamic vinegar)
Snack: Replace peanut butter on toast with sliced apple and 1 tbsp of peanut butter
Dinner: Switch up of a bowl of pasta with spaghetti squash; microwave, scrape out the insides and serve with your favourite sautéed veggies and pasta sauce
Dessert: Replace a brownie with a cup of light hot chocolate made with 1% milk, or go all out and make a flourless chocolate cake
Brunch: 3 egg omelette with spinach, feta, and sundried tomato (adapted from Starbucks’ Spinach Feta Wrap!)
Lunch/Dinner: Cauliflower crusted pizza (this recipe can be adapted to your favourite pizza toppings-it uses chickpea flower, a high source of protein!)
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