Gluten-Free Diet: What To Eat & Avoid In A Gluten-Free Diet| 14 Gluten-Free Recipes
What is a gluten-free diet? How does one manage to avoid consuming gluten? And what to eat to lead a healthy lifestyle that is free of gluten? These are some of the complex questions that don’t have complicated answers, for all you have to do is alter your diet with these tips.
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There are a lot of people who are confused by the phrase ‘gluten-free’ since it has only been popularised in recent decades. Gluten is a specific set of proteins that are found in abundance in some whole-grains. Whole grains such as wheat, rye, and barley are naturally gluten-loaded, though not a trace of it is found in meat or eggs. While it may not be a matter of any concern among the general public, for those who are suffering from gluten intolerance, also called Celiac disease, consumption of food that contains gluten can cause indigestion, abdominal pains, fatigue, and headaches.
Furthermore, a low-gluten diet can prove to be a great way of cutting-down carbs and can aid in weight-loss. This second reason is why most people opt to go on a low-gluten or a completely gluten-free diet these days.
If you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease, then you must be used to buying products with the ‘gluten-free’ tag. But if you are new to following the gluten-free diet, and are looking for options to grains that contain gluten, then this list will help you start off.
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What You Should Avoid?
As mentioned, most of the ingredients that are loaded with gluten comprise of whole-grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. So it is very much advised for you to avoid bread, or any other wheat-based products such as bagels, muffins, chapatis, and even pizza. Yes, we know, a gluten-free diet seems to be lacking taste, but wait till we list out the things that are available for a person suffering from gluten intolerance, for there are a lot of alternatives for these dishes.
Benefits Of A Gluten-Free Diet
The gluten-free diet came into the public’s eye as an alternative for people who are suffering from Celiac disease, or severe gluten-intolerance. However, it turned out that the cutting down of gluten, or a low-gluten diet, can have many more benefits associated with its incorporation, thus contributing to its rising popularity. Now a lot of people are going gluten-free as they consider it a healthier option. Here are some benefits linked with a low-gluten, or gluten-free diet:
- Promotes Digestive Health.
- Removes processed foods from the diet such as desserts and bread.
- Aids in a healthier way of weight-loss.
- Promotes a healthy cholesterol level.
- It improves cardiovascular health.
- Is anti-oxidant rich.
Take A Look Inside A Gluten-Free world
By our explanation of it, you might be thinking of a gluten-free diet as some sort of tasteless mix of food, however, the world of food is not just limited to a handful of items, there can be a dozen alternatives for a single gluten-rich product. Let’s take a not of ingredients that are free of gluten yet rich with nutrients.
1. Fruits And Vegetables
If you are gluten-intolerant, then you don’t have to worry about cutting down your veggies and fruit consumption, for all of them are free of gluten. In fact, starch, a compound most commonly found most vegetables, is usually used in the making of a gluten-free food item, as it helps in the processing and provides them with a sweet taste, thus compensating for the taste lost due to the removal of grains. Fruits such as banana, apples, peaches, and other citrus fruits like lemon and oranges are can also be considered as a part of your gluten-free diet.
Though we are aware that there are some whole-grains that are filled with gluten, there are other grains though, which can be eaten as an alternative and can easily be a part of a healthy diet free of gluten. Grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, oats, and millets are a few examples of gluten-free grains. On the other hand, the other commonly consumed gluten-free grain is none other than rice, which is, to say the least, the heart and soul of a gluten-free diet.
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3. Fresh Dairy Products
Milk and its derivatives can be a nutritious part of a gluten-free diet. Needless to say, they are loaded with calcium, and protein, both of which help in the overall body development by aiding in the production of muscle tissues and improving bone density. Some of the dairy products that can prove to be quite beneficial for a gluten-free diet include milk, cheese, curd, and cream, all of which are linked to a person’s healthy appetite.
Also Read: Benefits Of Paneer
4. Other Protein Ingredients
If you are looking for other protein-rich ingredients apart from the dairy, then you are in luck, for most of these protein foods are free of gluten. One of the basic examples of gluten-free protein-rich food is chicken, which, in just a single serving, can provide you with an adequate amount of protein intake. Other such items include nuts, legumes such as beans and peas, and seafood, which can also provide you with a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Healthy Fats
Fats are an important part of a diet, especially if the diet excludes wheat and other gluten-loaded ingredients. The consumption of fat is directly linked with the energy created by the digestive system, which helps you cope with your daily tasks. Some of the fat-rich ingredients that can be a part of an efficient gluten-free diet include ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, and other vegetable and seed oil, which includes sesame and sunflower.
6. Other Liquids
The thing with beverages is that most of them tend to be wheat and gluten-free, however, avoiding malt beverages is a must. Other beverages such as coffee, tea, pure fruit juices, and lemonade, all can play a big role in your diet that lacks gluten.
A Gluten-Free Breakfast
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. It must be filling and nutritional enough so that your day can start with a positive mood. However, though the options for the gluten-free items are limited, they are still healthy and tasteful at the same time. Here are some of those nutritious items that you can have first thing in the morning.
1. Sweetened Fruit Filled Oatmeal
Oats are a grain full of nutrients and free of gluten. It is safe to say that when you think of a healthy breakfast, oats might just be the first thing that comes to your mind. Moreover, the addition of fruits such as banana or apples to your oatmeal would also help in increasing the nutritional value of your breakfast without affecting its absolutely nil gluten level.
Lassi can be a beneficial beverage that you can add to your list of an early morning meal plan. It is rich in calcium, and not to mention its sweet taste that effectively satisfies the sweet tooth. Some of its variants include Mango lassi and kesar (saffron) lassi.
3. Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is a grain-free of gluten and full of other nutrients such as protein and fibers. Quinoa salad, made by mixing quinoa and other vegetables is not only negligible in gluten content, but it is also high in protein and other nutrients that’ll put you in the right mood at the start of your day.
4. Quick Rice Dosa
This could, in fact, be considered as the simplest recipe out of the list, for all you have to do is prepare some rice batter, and then heat the pan with a few teaspoons of olive oil. Some other example of such breakfast item includes quick oat dosa, which is based on an oat batter.
Gram flour is lentil-based flour that can be both highly nutritious and protein-rich at the same time, and one of the popular dishes that use a gram flour batter is pakodas. You add to the mix a few potatoes and chucks of cottage cheese and fry them, all you’ll get are some tasty fried aloo and paneer pakodas, which might just be the most delicious breakfast that you’ve ever had.
Poha is, in fact, an all-time favorite breakfast recipe that is quite rich in iron and vitamin C apart from being absolutely free of gluten. Moreover, the presence of vitamin C in a bowlful of poha is responsible for increase the rate of iron absorption in the body, which gives it a healthy balance of nutrients. Adding green peas and other legumes may help you increase the nutritional value of your meal.
A Gluten-Free Lunch/Dinner
A mid-days and a night’s meal, just like the one before, is supposed to have all the necessary qualities of a balanced diet. As an important part of a diet that lacks gluten, your meal for your lunch should be full of protein and must be filled with an adequate amount of carbs, which helps in reviving the body of its depleted energy. Here are some gluten-free ideas for your lunch:
7. Ragi Roti
Leave behind the atta (wheat) based chapatis for this piece of gluten-free bread made out of ragi. It is high on protein with just the right dosage of carbs that’ll keep you up on your toes until the day’s end. Mixed along with carrots and other mild spices, you can have this bread with any cooked curry recipe of your choice.
8. Soybean Khichdi
Soybean is a gluten-free favorite, which is enjoyed year long and can be quite enriching when you take into account its protein content. This wholesome recipe, which is a mix of other healthy veggies cooked alongside a handful of soybeans and green peas, is a great way to cover your daily roughage intake.
9. Brown Rice Based Recipes
Brown rice is the perfect alternative for other carbs-loaded gluten products. It has nil-percentage of gluten content, it is high on carbs, and most of all, the dishes which are made up of brown rice as an ingredient tastes good none the less. An average brown rice recipe takes only half an hour to get ready, but on the other hand, its consumption can keep you full and energized for the whole day.
10. Chana Masala
Chana masala would surely go well with ragi roti, for both of them can perfectly blend in together, and would still be considered free of gluten. Chana masala is made up by cooking a handful of chickpea, that’ll provide with an adequate amount of protein, in a paste with mild spices and herbs to furthermore enhance its taste.
11. Mixed Vegetable Curry
A mixture of vegetables that takes about half an hour to prepare and includes ingredients such as tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), which are all together cooked in other to make this gluten-free delicacy. Providing your body with the adequate amount of roughage, this dish claims to be both tasty as well as healthy.
Well, the dishes mentioned above could be quite beneficial when consumed as a mid-day meal, or lunch. For dinner, things are quite different because as the last meal of the day, you must note that it should be much lighter and must always consume it in a small quantity. Here are some gluten-free suggestions for your dinner:
12. Green Pea Buckwheat Rice
Green peas, buckwheat, and rice, when this holy trio of ingredients comes into play, there is no doubt that its nutritional content is far greater than most of your other meal options, even those which contain gluten tend to be lagging behind on their nutritional content.
13. Meat And Seafood Based Recipes
Meat and seafood are two of the most nutritious ingredients of a gluten-free diet. Moreover, it is clear that if meat, however thoroughly cooked, is added as an ingredient in a dish, then it is self-evident that the protein content of that meal becomes quite high. Furthermore, when it comes to seafood, their concentration of healthy omega-3 fatty acids keeps them from lagging behind in the health quotient.
14. Simple Vegetable Salad
This is by far one of the lightest meals that one can consume. Irrespective of its light nature, it is quite high in vegetable fibers and other nutrients, considering that they are perfectly put together in appropriate proportions.
Now that we have taken you through the diet which lacks gluten and is full of taste and spice, it must be very clear to you that a gluten-free lifestyle is not much different from the one that is loaded with gluten. However, being gluten intolerant means that you’ll have to keep in mind and avoid the grains that are particularly rich in gluten, as it might have adverse effects on your health, but in the end, if there is any benefit of living in the modern world, it is the fact that there is a solution for all of your problems.