I share a lot of quick tips on my social media whether it’s in a quick story or in recipes on my blog. Oftentimes I’ll share something that’s grain-free or gluten-free but I don’t always have the chance to give context behind why that’s a positive so I wanted to write a quick blog post to share my thoughts on grain-free and gluten-free :)
While I don’t have a gluten intolerance (I’ve checked to see if I have a gluten allergy) which is called celiac disease. I’ve even checked to see if I have a gluten intolerance and I actually don’t have either BUT I do think that overall eating a gluten-free diet is healthier. This doesn’t mean that I find every gluten-free snack healthy. In fact, a lot of gluten-free snacks are replaced with rice and there’s actually been situations where people are getting arsenic from eating too much rice. I think overall eating gluten-free is a good idea especially when it’s a healthy replacement but let’s get into an example:
I think that eating gluten-free pasta is the easiest replacement ever. I prefer gluten-free pastas like lentil, chickpea, etc. because they have more protein, fiber, and I like the taste more… there’s just no reason not to make the swap in my opinion. However, if Ii’m at a restaurant where there’s gluten-free bread AND sprouted organic whole wheat bread to choose from but the gluten-free bread is processed with a lot of chemicals, I would rather the wheat bread! And when there are amazing gluten-free options, I’m always going to take that instead. Basically – when there’s a healthy gluten-free option where you wouldn’t even notice a difference in taste, I’ll always choose it!
It’s kind of the same for grains: Being a plant-based eater it’s easy to overeat grains and while they aren’t bad in moderation, they can cause inflammation when eaten in excess. My thought process here is that there are certain grains I always eat – quinoa, gluten-free oats, and any grain that you can’t really find a replacement for (like I’m not going to substitute cauliflower rice for oatmeal – that’s just NOT going to be a good swap). But when I can find a great alternative for grain-free that I love them, I’m all about it. Simple Mills, Hu Kitchen, and Siete, all make really amazing grain-free options. You can literally find pretzels made of butternut squash or cheese puffs made from brussels sprouts! These traditional snack foods – that we expect to contain gluten and dairy – you can find a healthy alternative to!
I also tried a new pancake option called Cooggies – I haven’t had pancakes with white flour in years. I make my own pancakes using oats but I tried Cooggies because I don’t always want to overeat the same ingredients. While my oat pancakes are amazing, I like that Coogies is a grain-free, gluten-free brand that uses ingredients like butternut squash, coconut flour and tapioca fou in their batter. I love to give myself this alternative to my own recipe :)
Bread is the one thing I find very difficult to replace grains with. There are some gluten-free brands. Finding a good organic, grain-free, gluten-free bread can be hard. Sometimes I really miss Erewhon in LA, that was my fav grocery store and they had the most amazing alternative breads but when I’m not at an alternative grocery store like that it can be really hard to find good, clean breads. The one brand I find to be the easiest is Ezekiel because it’s organic and sprouted but it does have wheat. So bread is definitely a difficult one. Save your grains (or gluten) for bread. Don’t overeat bread but enjoy it in moderation.
My overall advice on this topic is to avoid gluten when it’s easily replaceable with healthy alternatives. Here’s a quick cheat sheet:
- Pasta 🍝 – no brainer to replace with chickpea, lentil, etc. pastas
- Crackers – no reason you need grains or gluten in them when there are brands like Simple Mills, Hu Kitchen, and Siete
- Pancakes 🥞 – you don’t always have to eat them gluten-free but it’s so easy and there are so many flours you could try: almond, oat, coconut, cassava, arrowroot starch, tapioca. Check out my own recipe or look into purchasing Cooggies!
- Baked goods 🧁 – so easy to go grain and gluten-free, there are tons of recipes everywhere
- Bread 🍞 – save your gluten for bread 😝 (unless you have an alternative market that provides you with amazing gluten-free options!)