Living without, doesn’t mean going without
For those of you with food allergies or Celiac disease it must sometimes feel like you are living without most of the time. No more dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, sugar and the list goes on. Eggs and toast for breakfast are no longer possible and that sugary treat you usually buy yourself mid afternoon to curb your low energy is not an option anymore.
Guess what? Those days of going without are long gone. I am here to tell you there are lots of options now offered in pre packaged form or to make at home for yourself and your family.
Substitutes are foods that work in place of another food item. Foods like rice milk, almond milk, soy or hemp milk are great alternatives for dairy milk. Instead of whole wheat flour in your muffins try using rice, chickpea, millet or sorghum flour, all of which are gluten free.
On cold winter mornings try making hot quinoa or buckwheat cereal topped with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, or scramble some tofu with cut up vegetables instead of scrambled eggs. Gluten free pastas are now available in grains such as quinoa, corn and rice. Topped with your favourite pesto or tomato sauce you will never know it isn’t wheat pasta.
Trying to replace eggs in baking can be tricky. It depends what job the eggs are doing in the recipe. Are they a binder or a leavener, or are they providing moisture? Baking cookies or muffins that call for an egg can be easily substituted with flaxseed. Simply bring 1 tablespoon flaxseed in a cup of water to a boil, cool and then put in the fridge to congeal. If you are trying to replace eggs in a meringue, it’s simply not going to work unless you want to try duck or quail eggs. An egg is an egg after all.
If you are trying to lower your sugar intake, try sweetening with stevia, a plant that has been used for hundreds of years in South America as a sweetener. Fruit works well in muffins and breads instead of white refined sugar.
A little maple syrup or honey works well to, but they are no different than white sugar, they all break down into fructose in the body. You do get some additional properties from maple syrup and honey that of course white sugar does not have. Using fruit in baked goods gives you the goodness of the fibre and vitamins in your food instead of just calories with white sugar.
Gluten Free diets are all the rage these days, but I urge you to make sure you are in fact Celiac or gluten intolerant before you deny yourself certain foods that are providing you with essential vitamins and minerals.
Remember to always read the labels of pre- packaged foods as many are filled with unhealthy fillers. Try to get back to cooking with fresh ingredients. Perhaps dedicate a day for home baking or cooking and freezing so that you will always have healthy foods on hand for those busy nights. It will do your body good to return to what Mother Nature intended us to eat.
Submitted by- Shirley Plant, nutritionist and author of “ Finally... Food I Can Eat” a dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies.