As a DH sufferer myself (dermatitis herpetiformis), I truly appreciate the vast range of recipes for gluten-free pancakes, biscuits and bread etc. So, here instead, I’d like to share my essential naturally gluten free foods.
These are my core, staple, gluten-free go-to’s.
This is perhaps our most versatile, affordable and readily available starchy carbohydrate.
Here in the UK we are spoilt for varieties, each with its own unique taste, texture and ideal purpose.
Tasty, nutritious and exciting meals can be easily born from the humble spud – all entirely gluten free!
Mashed, crisped, chipped, fried, boiled, roast and baked. The options are endless..
In our daily required % terms, 100 grams of potato provides around 77 calories, 12% Potassium, 8% Dietary fibre, 4% Protein with Fats near 0%. There’s 32% Vitamin C, 4% Iron, 15% Vitamin B6 and 5% Magnesium.
I’ll be posting recipe ideas soon, including a few of my favourites; Garlic Peppers and Thyme Fried Baby Potatoes, Parsley Dauphinoise, Full English on a Crispy Potato Pancake and Chilli Hash with Poached Eggs.
I’m now officially making myself hungry :/
Until I became aware of my allergy to gluten, fruit was a thing of fiction.
Now, it plays an active part in my diet, offering convenient solutions to snaking and balanced nutrition.
As an active cyclist, I always have a stock of bananas. They offer a steady release of energy and can suppress the appetite well between meals. If out and about, rushing around, a banana or two can be a very useful bendy friend.
Non-citrus fresh fruits i.e. apples, pears, mango, melon etc. are also great sweet treats or fuel when on the go.
Personally, I struggle with citrus, but nutritionally I appreciate their oomph! Pineapple, orange, mandarin and the odd fresh lemon/lime do eek their way into my shopping basket from time to time. I really should eat more.
If fruit is a reluctant feature in your diet, maybe a good way to introduce it is with soft tinned fruits first?
TIP : Try to cook with fruits from time to time, poached pears and baked pineapple are things of real beauty – especially with a dab of fresh cream or drizzle of liquor!
As a 100% gluten free human I have come to realise that rice (in one form or another) often replaces wheat in GF alternatives or processed foods i.e. rice flour, ground rice, rice starch powder etc.
The most noticeable and helpful being commonly found in GF pastas, breads, pastries and biscuits.
As a direct food source, rice offers a really great store cupboard alternative to potatoes. Rustling up a simple, spicy Asian egg fried rice or adding rice to stews and soups, can really help boost mealtimes.
I’ve found over the years that South American and Asian recipes are often gluten free or easily converted too. Mexican chilli with long-grain or stir-fried veg with oriental fish and fragrant basmati, just two exquisite examples.
TIP : Stock several rice types to keep things interesting; nutty brown basmati, short-grain, american long, wild, jasmine or eat like a king with black rice as a treat!
Vegetables are all naturally gluten free, whoop! If it’s green, leafy or found in the supermarket vegetable section, you can guilt-free, fill your trunk.
After excluding all gluten, I think my relationship with vegetables has been my most noticeable culinary shift.
In my gluten-rich days, veg was usually relegated to something on the side (next to the fruit). It was the stuff I’d shuffle around to find the ‘food’ beneath, at best I’d much on it after the good-stuff had been devoured.
Today, veg is often the desirable centrepiece of my main meals.
Meat-free dinners with several veg and a GF gravy. Mixed veg in tomato based herby Italian sauces with GF pasta. Rich Indian bean curries with brown basmati rice are worshipped feasts. Who needs gluten? meh…
Tinned beans, black beans, haricot, butter, kidney, pinto and chickpeas are mandatory store cupboard inventory.
TIP : Try replacing meat with beans in stews, pasta dishes, curries, chillies and soups.
Gluten Free Alternatives
I know, these aren’t natural, but they are excusably essential.
Special Gluten Free products can get a bad rap. Sometimes with good reason!
Poor tasting, unpleasant textures or simply unnecessary alternatives do live on our supermarket shelves.
I plan to do some specific gluten free product reviews shortly. I’ll share details of quality and value but for now, I’m just going to list the special GF products I would really miss if they stopped making them.
Firstly, gluten free pasta. It cooks like regular pasta, comes in various shapes and I carry substantial stock! It’s affordable and whilst it doesn’t work quite so well cold, it can produce a fair 24hr old pasta salad.
Secondly, gluten free treats. Sweet or savoury there is some melt in the mouth cakes, pastries, biscuits and puddings that really hit the spot when the spot needs comfort. Again, not all brands but many are palatable.
Finally, bread. What can I say about gluten free bread? It ranges from simply strange to delicious but what tends to influence the quality is cost. A small GF artisan loaf can exceed £4 in the UK and that’s a lot for toast!
That just about wraps up my essential naturally gluten free foods. I hope it gives you food for thought (sorry).
Coming soon I’ll be posting my favourite recipes for quick, healthy, nutritious and tasty meals. I’ll also be reviewing common gluten free products for their quality and practical everyday value.
Being gluten free can be difficult at times. Changing our relationship with food rather than just allowing and disallowing products, that certainly helps me focus more on healthy options, nutrition, energy and exploration!
Trying fruits and vegetables you’ve never tasted before is great. Preparing foreign cuisine with unusual spices or alien flavours, can turn the restrictive gluten free diet into an exciting opportunity to broaden your pallet.
Whether your medically excluded from consuming gluten or considering it as a lifestyle choice, I hope the above helps widen your gluten free horizon a little. Give it a go! Worst case you find one or two gluten free recipes to add to your repertoire and you can then visit gluten free anytime you fancy it.
Enjoy! just not too much…