Tackling Gluten

 

Hello My Foodie Health Nuts!

So today I embarked on a journey that, for many people, is a lifelong path: going gluten-free. At first glance, this may not seem like a daunting task, however I was unaware of the multitude of gluten-based products I subconsciously consume on a daily basis. I went gluten-free using what I had at hand, rather than buying specialized gluten-free products, to illustrate substitutes that may be right in front of you.

Laid before you is the inside scoop of how I altered my diet for a day, saying no to the proteins in wheat, and yes to an alternative way.

Breakfast:

I thought I’d start the morning off on a high note with a warm bowl of cinnamon oatmeal…  I thought wrong.  See, although oats are considered a naturally gluten-free grain, they are grown, transported, and processed in a manner that is likely contaminated with wheat.

So, I moved on to my next thought: cereal.

But what cereal is gluten free? The first ingredient in most cereals involves wheat… and wheat leads to gluten.  However, I discovered a very popular brand of cereal is gluten-free: Cheerios! According to General Mill’s blog, Cheerios (Apple Cinnamon, Frosted, Original, Honey Nut, Multi Grain), are all made and processed using a mechanical sorting process that removes wheat and barley from the oats.

Gluten-free breakfest option! Go Cheerios! #cheerios #gluten-free #food4thought

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Lunch:

I thought I’d redeem myself with lunch, only to find myself in an even bigger hole than before. My typical lunch consists of a salad with marinated chicken and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Surprisingly, most dressings contain gluten as a thickening agent, so as a substitute to typical dressings, I whisked together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Now what’s glutinous about marinated chicken?  Well, most marinade sauces that are used to coat meat, in my case soy sauce, are traditionally made with wheat. Despite having the word “soy” in its title, almost all soy sauces contains wheat (I know, false advertising right?).  To tackle this set back, I pulled out my extra virgin olive oil again, and this time combined it with garlic and onion, to create a healthy gluten-free marinade.

No soy sauce, no problem. Stay gluten-free by making marinades with garlic rather than soy sauce!

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Dinner:

My normal menu for dinner is whole wheat pasta and vegetables.  Although I’m smooth sailing with the vegetables, pasta contains gluten. So instead of pasta, I went to her step-sisters, rice and quinoa. Plain rice and quinoa in all forms (white, brown, etc.) is gluten-free, so saying goodbye to pasta was never done so easily.

Forget pasta! Switch to rice or quinoa to stay gluten-free for you lunches and dinners! #food4thought #quinoa #rice

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And there you have it!  A healthy and delicious day, in an easy gluten-free way!

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Pillsbury Refurbished

Let’s face it, we are all guilty of driving to Walmart for the sole purpose of picking up that Pillsbury roll of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough.  Whether we were having a rough day, or simply considered it an essential to survive our weekly work load, we saw the doughboy and our hearts were sold.

The cookies may look, smell, and even taste promising, but the doughboy is deceiving.  If the package is turned to its back, you’ll notice the nutrition facts are far from reassuring.

The scariest part is most of the ingredients in Pillsbury’s recipe are ingredients we would normally turn to if attempting to recreate this guilty pleasure from scratch.

But we are doing it all wrong.

And here’s the three reasons why:

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  1. Enriched Bleached Flour

As a little science lesson to those who haven’t received their science Gen-Ed requirement, enriched wheat flour is contracted from a wheat kernel broken up into three parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm.

Enriched flour is made only from the endosperm in order to increase the flour’s shelf life. However, the bran and germ contain the most nutrients, so when the milling process removes them, U.S. law requires that niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and iron be added to “enrich” the flour.  Although the flour may have these nutrients, many other vitamins and minerals provided by the bran and germ aren’t included back in.

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2. Vegetable Oil and Butter

Although butter may add flavor and consistency, according to Livestrong.com, it also “adds a whopping 1,600 calories and 177 grams of fat for every cup you use while baking.”

3. Milk Chocolate Chips

Don’t hate me for this one. Although milk chocolate contains a portion of the original cocoa bean, it’s normally diluted with sugar and cream. It may taste great, but it’s not nearly as healthy as it could be.

Okay, so before you get discouraged, I have a plan

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Here are three easy substitutes to make your chocolate chip cookies a whole lot healthier:

  1. Substitute for Enriched Flour: Whole Wheat Flour/Oats

Adding oats to a chocolate chip cookie may seem absurd, but oats add fiber. And if the oat texture isn’t entirely your forte, use 100% WHOLE wheat flour (key here is whole wheat, NOT enriched). Whole wheat flour retains all the natural nutrients of the whole grain because it keeps all three parts of the grain.

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2. Substitute for Milk Chocolate Chips: DARK Chocolate Chips

Dark chocolate has more of the original cocoa bean incorporated in it than milk or semi-sweet chocolate, meaning it retains more antioxidants than its competitors. Dark chocolate also have less added sugar and fat.

3. Substitute for Butter and Oil: Bananas 

Bananas provide a healthy dose of carbs, and are filled with protein for an all-natural energy boost.

 

In this Word document, you’ll find that these cookies are a great nutritious alternative to the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe that we all love, without ridding it of flavor!  As an added bonus, these cookies are made with ingredients we can all find in our cabinets!