I never wanted to be a gluten-snob. The Delhi wedding madness left me feeling drained out and unhealthy. I decided to give gluten-free a chance, if only to consume lesser calories. One week later, I felt less bloated. Gluten-free food is recommended for some, but for the others like me, it’s just another page in the book of simple healthy eating. Being gluten free is great if it helps me eliminate processed food such as pasta, bread, processed cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, breaded foods, fruit fillings and puddings, hot dogs, ice cream and burgers.
Like all things in life, gluten free diets need to be taken with a pinch of salt (unless you are medically required to go off-gluten). I still love my vodka and my roasted nuts, and wheat containing items in an unprocessed form (like a good quality home-style bread) and am aware that a gluten-free cake is still a cake 🙂
The following items can be consumed liberally on your Gluten Free Diet. You’ll agree that this is a pretty healthy list to aspire to!
- Healthy fat: extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, organic butter, ghee, almond milk, avocados, coconuts, olives, nuts and nut butters, cheese (except for blue cheeses), and seeds (flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds).
- Protein: whole eggs; wild fish (salmon, black cod, mahi mahi, grouper,herring, trout, sardines); shellfish and molluscs (shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels, clams, oysters); grass-fed meat, fowl, poultry, and pork (beef, lamb, liver, bison, chicken, turkey, duck, ostrich, veal); wild game.
- Vegetables: leafy greens and lettuces, collards, spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sauerkraut, artichoke, alfalfa sprouts, green beans, celery, pok choy, radishes, watercress, turnip, asparagus, garlic, leek, fennel, shallots, scallions, ginger, parsley, water chestnuts.
- Low-sugar Fruit: avocado, bell peppers, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, eggplant, lemons, limes.
- Herbs, Seasonings, and Condiments: You can go wild here as long as you watch labels. Kiss ketchup and chutney goodbye but enjoy mustard, horseradish, tapenade, and salsa if they are free of gluten, wheat, soy, and sugar. There are virtually no restrictions on herbs and seasonings; be mindful of packaged products, however, that were made at plants that process wheat and soy.
The following can be used in moderation (“moderation” means eating small amounts of these ingredients once a day or, ideally, just a couple times weekly):
- Non-gluten grains: amaranth, buckwheat, rice (brown, white, wild), millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff. (A note about oats: although oats do not naturally contain gluten, they are frequently contaminated with gluten because they are processed at mills that also handle wheat; avoid them unless they come with a guarantee that they are gluten-free.) When non-gluten grains are processed for human consumption (e.g., milling whole oats and preparing rice for packaging), their physical structure changes, and this increases the risk of an inflammatory reaction. For this reason, we limit these foods.
- Legumes (beans, lentils, peas). Exception: you can have hummus (made from chickpeas).
- Carrots and parsnips.
- Whole sweet fruit: berries are best; be extra cautious of sugary fruits such as apricots, mangos, melons, papaya, prunes, and pineapple.
- Cow’s milk and cream: use sparingly in recipes, coffee, and tea.
- Cottage cheese, yogurt: use sparingly in recipes or as a topping.
- Sweeteners: natural stevia and chocolate (choose dark chocolate that’s at least 70 percent or more cocoa).
- Wine: one glass a day if you so choose, preferably red.
(Source of food list: http://www.drperlmutter.com)
Gluten free dark chocolate cake:
400 grams dark chocolate, chopped
100 grams butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
Sifted cocoa powder or powdered sugar/sprinkle diced figs and cranberries (in photo)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Lubricate the bottom of a 9-inch Springform pan with butter
- Heat the chocolate and butter mix in a bowl in a microwave until smooth. Mix well and be careful to not let the mix cool too much.
- Use an electric mixer and beat the eggs until frothy; add the sugar and beat it all again until the mixture is thick.
- Slowly pour about half of the warm chocolate into the egg-sugar mixture and mix gently with a spoon. Add the vanilla. Add the cocoa and the almond flour into the mix gently.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for about 45 minutes. Be sure to check at the 30 minute mark. Remove the cake from the pan and serve at room temperature. Garnish with diced figs and cranberries, or the fruit of your choice.