Following on from my last post – What’s the problem with Wheat? I wanted to discuss the array of gluten free products that have flooded the supermarkets lately in a ploy to get you to spend huge amounts of your money on something that is usually dry, tasteless and really not that good for you. I’m not a fan of anything processed, and some of the ingredients appearing in these products are less than desirable.
Here’s a few of them listed for you:
- Vegetable Glycerine
- Caster Sugar
- Methyl Cellulose
- Dried Egg White
- Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose
- Locust Bean Gum
- Guar Gum
To summarise in one word – YUK!! I would go as far to say that eating commercial white wheat bread may be (marginally) better than regularly eating these ingredients. So what’s the alternative? I’ve compiled a list;
10 easy ways to live without wheat, and not compromise your health or your taste buds!
1. Chocolate brownies have got to be one of the most delicious treats you can make. I don’t know a child (or adult for that matter) that doesn’t love a brownie and they’re so easy to whip up when you’ve got friends popping over. My favourite recipe found here uses chickpea flour instead of wheat flour. Test it out – I’ve not had a complaint yet. Even Nick Pearcy on BBC Radio Oxford was loving them!
2. Pasta – It’s easy to switch from wheat to rice pasta. Some of the supermarket brands aren’t the most delicious. The best one I’ve found is Doves Farm Penne, Fusilli and Spaghetti. It’s made from just one ingredient – brown rice – and tastes exactly like the wheat variety – except without the ‘bloat factor’.
3. Tacos – If you’re anything like us, you’ll love Mexican food – a spicy chilli or fajitas with plenty of guacamole and salsa. Tortilla wraps are an absolute ‘no no’ when you go wheat free, but Taco’s and Nachos are made purely from corn. Kids love loading them with their favourite toppings and hearing the crunch as you bite in.
4. Pancakes have to be one of our favourite breakfasts (read more on the dangers of commercialised breakfast cereals here). When you make your own you choose what goes into them. We like using chickpea as well as coconut flour for dreamy light and fluffy pancakes.
5. Pizza is the one thing I used to miss the most when I gave up wheat. Not any more! I discovered this amazing recipe where you use a grated cauliflower to make the base before loading it with your favourite toppings. This is the healthiest pizza recipe you’ll find – no guilt included.
6. Snacking on the go can be challenging when you’re wheat free, as everything is bread or biscuit orientated. When you’re out-and-about think OATS. This nutrient packed grain is full of healthful fibre to keep you full (and regular if you know what I mean). My top in-the-handbag snacks are Nairn’s Gluten free oatcakes (Melissa’s favourite), GF Trek bars and flapjacks – Holland and Barrett stock a wide variety.
7. Cakes can be a big disappointment if you buy commercial wheat free ones; they tend to be dry and tasteless. If you think that baking a wheat free cake is difficult, think again. My favourite recipe uses almond flour and whole oranges which creates a deliciously light and moist sponge. I recently used it to bake Melissa’s 4th birthday cake. It’s also Nigella’s favourite cake recipe too, so it has to be a winner. Check out her recipe here – it’s the easiest cake you’ll make.
8. Quinoa is an ancient Peruvian grain which is naturally gluten free and contains all 12 essential amino acids as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals. It looks like cous cous and can be served as such with a vegetable tagine, stew or made up as a salad.
9. Granola is typically oat based. As you’ve probably read, I’m not a fan of commercial cereals but granola can be a delicious and healthy alternative. Here’s my favourite grain free granola recipe or No-la as Katie Folds my fellow grain free foodies loves to call it. In the winter switch to porridge, it’s wholesome and hearty and puts hairs on your chest (okay maybe not the hairs bit).
10. Bread has got to be the Nations one love; it certainly is Melissa’s. So I have to be constantly searching for a healthier option and sorry Genius bread – you just don’t cut it! I prefer Village Bakery Rye Sourdough, which uses a fermentation method that naturally reduces the gluten content. It is dark but moist and so passes the Melissa test. Also check out the grain free Focaccia recipe of my GF recipe page here. It is so simple and easy to make, plus you can load it with any topping you prefer, for example olives and rosemary or sage and onion; perfect for dipping in soup or slathered with hummus.
If you missed my article on ‘What’s the problem with Wheat?’ You can read it here. As you can see, there’s really no excuse for eating tasteless and expensive ‘gluten free’ or ‘wheat free’ products ever again. Have you got a favourite wheat free food or recipe? I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to leave comments below.
Visit Caroline's blog, My Daughter Won't Sleep, for more insightful posts on gluten free living.
Hello, I'm Caroline, a Mum, Nutritionist, Herbalist and blogger from Oxford, UK. This site connects my passion for natural remedies with my devotion to my daughter Melissa. I write about up-to-date research on a wide range of strategies for children’s health, sleep and well-being. My goal is the same as yours, to be a good parent with a happy healthy child.