As gluten free and reduced gluten diets are becoming very popular, there has been an increase in gluten free products on the market, which makes the switch even easier! However, some of these products are just a substitute for unhealthy food choices. For example gluten free doughnuts that do not add any nutritional value and actually have the same calories and lack of nutrients as regular doughnuts! That is why it is important to know the benefits of reducing your gluten intake and replacing the gluten foods with healthier gluten free choices!
Gluten free diets were at first focused on individuals who did not tolerate or were allergic to Gluten. Gluten is a protein in flour which is created when two proteins, glutenin and gliadin, come into contact with water. It is found in wheat flour, as well as in trace amounts in foods such as oats, due to processing.
One of the best ways to reduce gluten in your diet is to eat less wheat products. This would mean removing baked goods, including bread. Often times these wheat products use refined flour, which is not whole grain and does not have the benefits of whole grains, such as fiber. Removing gluten products and replacing them with more whole grains, such as wild rice, quinoa, flax seed, chia seeds, and oats (gluten free certified) is a great start. These also pair well with fruits, legumes, and vegetables and make wonderful breakfasts and salads. Not only will you increase your fiber, you will be increasing vitamins and minerals!
One of the best parts about the popularity of gluten free foods is the increase in recipes! Often times these are variations on popular baked goods, with a healthy twist. Since wheat flour is a main ingredient in many baked goods, individuals will replace the wheat flour with flour substitutes. One of the most popular flour substitutes is almond meal/flour. Almond flour is actually lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein compared to wheat flour. It also contains unsaturated fat, calcium, and fiber. Another substitute you will find is gluten free flour mixes. These are usually created so you can replace flour one for one with gluten free flour. They are made with a mixture of gluten free flours, such as soy flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour and usually have more fiber compared to refined wheat flour.
One of the best parts about ABS Pancakes is that they are gluten free! It is made with coconut flour, as well as protein instead of wheat flour. This makes it lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein, as well as adds 6g of fiber per serving!
The key to reducing gluten is to replace them with healthier food choices. Finding whole grains that are more nutritious then wheat flour products, and also replacing gluten products with fruit and vegetables will change your diet dramatically! You will be eating more whole foods and getting the added benefits of increased vitamins and minerals. Also finding products like ABS Pancakes, which are not only gluten free but high in nutrients is key!
ABS Pancakes http://abspancakes.com
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.eatright.org