No, your bread doesn't have to taste like "cardboard." No, you don't have to say goodbye to pizza forever.
Going gluten free doesn't mean that your once favorite foods will now taste bad because of alternatives...nor should they! There are a bazillion and a half naturally gluten-free foods that taste and function as excellent swaps for their gluten containing counterparts. And while they may be a bit different than what you're used to, I promise you'll love them.
But before we get to what gluten is not, let's get into what it is. Jimmy Kimmel asked "what is gluten?" to his fans a couple years ago, and while funny, their responses are also a good reminder to know what you're getting into before you get into it. Check out what I mean...
Gluten is the matrix that forms when two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, come together. Gluten is found in grains like barley, rye, and wheat (including varieties like farro, spelt, durum, and semolina) and also includes foods made with those ingredients. Obviously, you're probably thinking foods like bread, tortillas and pastries contain gluten. Traditionally, they do. But gluten is also found in foods you wouldn't typically think of - and really need to read the food label for - like soy sauce, beer, salad dressing, and energy bars.
So where are your safe zones if you're trying to avoid gluten for reasons like celiac disease or gluten sensitivity?
See this resource online and know that vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, meats, and fish in their whole food form (i.e. not with seasonings, marinades, etc.) are the safest bets. Then, check out these 5 (Naturally) Gluten-Free Food Swaps.
1) Swap BroccoLeaf For A Flour Tortilla.
The next time you make a burrito or wrap, swap in a sturdy BroccoLeaf or a large collard green instead of your flour tortilla. You'll have a naturally gluten-free option, plus you'll be able to get some vitamin A, C, and K in the BroccoLeaf that you wouldn't have found in the tortilla. Watch me make my BroccoLeaf wrap here!
2) Consider a Cauliflower Pizza Crust.
Swap your white flour pizza crust AND your whole wheat pizza crust (yes, even whole wheat contains gluten) for a gluten-free pizza crust made with cauliflower. I love this recipe from Nutrition Stripped!
3) Try Sweet Potato or Zucchini Noodles ("Zoodles").
Forget the noodles made with white or wheat flour! Find naturally gluten-free noodles ready to prep and ready to eat by Veggie Noodle Co. in the produce section of your natural grocery store, or spiral them on your own with a Spiralizer. Add pesto, EVOO and spices, and/or citrus juices over top for fun, versatile flavor.
4) Get a Good Pulse on Gluten-Free Flours.
When mashed or ground, pulses (dry peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas) substitute as an excellent gluten-free flour alternative adding heartiness and texture to gluten-free cookies, gluten-free breads, and gluten-free no bake bites. Just check out these recipe for Chickpea Flour Banana Bread and Chickpea Superfood Cookie Dough Balls...yum! That's how you GFTYS (gluten-free treat yo self).
5) Create It & Crepe It with Coconut!
Raw coconut meat, coconut water, and coconut oil come together to make this Coconut Wrap by Sunfood Superfoods. Fill one wrap with with almond or peanut butter, sliced strawberries, and hemp seeds, then fry in a little bit of coconut oil. Pancakes, say what? This gluten-free crepe will have you forgetting all about gluten!
Which of these gluten-free ideas will you try first? Do you have any other naturally gluten-free food swaps you want people to know about? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. I love hearing what you have to say!