Article by Organic Liaison Health Director Deborah Klein, M.S., R.D., registered dietitian and program expert. Need Deborah’s professional advice? Ask her questions related to nutrition, fitness and weight loss at Phitter.com. Or visit our Health Director page.
If you are feeling bloated and tired of your typical carb choices, or if you just want to add some variety to your nutrient intake, going gluten free is a great change. You don’t have to go exclusively gluten free, especially if you don’t have celiac disease or a significant gluten intolerance or allergy. Just have a couple gluten-free meals throughout the week to give your body a taste of something new (and healthy)! Luckily, it’s easy to find gluten-free alternatives.
To eat gluten free, substitute your gluten grains (barley, rye, oat, and wheat), with any of the following: brown/wild rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, polenta, yams, butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, winter squash, green peas, corn, or organic potatoes with skin. Eat fruit, gluten-free breads, brown rice cakes, or gluten-free cereals as your carbohydrate source in place of gluten items. Try gluten-free cereals like Puffins (corn based), puffed millet or quinoa flakes. (To increase your fiber intake, add 1-2 tbsp of ground flaxseeds to your cereal bowl.)
An added benefit of eating certain gluten-free foods is that they can help with weight loss. Research shows that a gluten-free diet helps reduce ghrelin hormone production, which, in turn, reduces feelings of hunger. So when you substitute whole grain pasta with gluten-free alternatives (e.g. a yam or some green peas), you could help your body feel more satisfied.
Here are some staple gluten-free foods to stock up on for lean and healthy eating.
Gluten-Free Shopping List
1. Fresh/Frozen Organic Fruit
2. Organic Low-Fat Yogurt & Milk
3. Gluten-Free Cereals (Puffins, Quinoa Flakes)
4. Gluten-Free Crackers and/or Rice Cakes
5. Gluten-Free Bread
6. Brown or Wild Rice
7. Quinoa Pasta
8. Fresh/Frozen Organic Starchy Vegetables (yams, sweet potatoes, baked potato with skin, winter squash, green peas, corn, edamame, and lima beans)
9. Fresh/Frozen Organic Vegetables (for added fiber and nutrients, not a main fuel source; add fruit or starch/protein for a balanced meal)
10. Bottled Organic Low Sodium Pasta Sauce and Canned Tomato Paste
11. Millet, Amaranth, Buckwheat
12. Corn or Brown Rice Tortillas
13. Boxed Soups (Imagine or Pacific Natural Foods Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, or Carrot-Ginger Soup; 1 cup soup is equivalent in carbohydrates to a slice of bread, ½ cup pasta, 1/3 cup rice)
14. Organic Omega-3 Eggs
15. Canned Tuna Packed in Water
16. Low-Fat Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta Cheese
17. Kefir Drink (a yogurt drink and great quick snack, providing carbs, protein, and fat)
18. Canned Beans and Bean Based Soups (black, pinto, kidney, lentils, vegetarian chili; count as carbohydrates and protein)
19. Fresh/Frozen Organic Chicken/Turkey/Lean Beef/Wild Fish
20. Edamame (balanced snack, containing carbs, fiber, protein and fat)
21. Organic All-Natural Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
22. Raw and Roasted Nuts/Seeds (provide protein, fat and fiber, e.g. almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, soy nuts, pistachios, sunflower/pumpkin seeds)
23. Shelled Hemp Seed (great for protein and omega-3’s; 2 tbsp equivalent to 11 g protein)
24. Ground Flaxseeds (for omega-3’s and essential fatty acids)
25. Organic Avocado/Guacamole (great monounsaturated fat for increasing good cholesterol)
26. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Expeller Pressed (another great unsaturated fat)
27. Seasonings/Condiments (fresh garlic, onions, salsa, and Dijon mustard; lemon-pepper, garlic, onion powder; chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, nutmeg, and turmeric)
For more organic gluten-free dish ideas, check out the Organic Liaison Recipe Collection, where you’ll find a variety of optimally balanced dishes and meals.
Reference: Scand J. Gastroenterol. 2005 April; 40(4): 430-436.