Going gluten-free has become a widely popular diet trend over the past few years. Gluten-free products now line the aisles of supermarket stores, and plenty of those options are now available in local restaurants. The diet trend seemed to hit the waves as many people began to discover that they, in fact, had a gluten intolerance. With that, several people ended up jumping on board to their new way of life – one without gluten. But what does going gluten-free exactly mean, and how does it affect your body? I’m here to break down the facts of the gluten-free diet and the people who need it.
What is Gluten Intolerance?
Gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease, is a digestive disorder resulting from an immune reaction to a gluten protein found in wheat, rye, and oats. This involves inflammation and destruction of the inner lining of the small intestine. While symptoms vary, such as fatigue, abdominal cramps, and nausea, many people are not diagnosed until later in life. Long-term effects of this disease can even lead to malnutrition and anemia.
Those who are diagnosed with celiac disease are put on a strict gluten-free diet, as that is currently the only treatment for this disease. Those who choose or have been advised to follow a gluten-free diet should avoid eating foods made from wheat, oats, rye, bran, enriched flour, and barley. The variety of gluten can commonly be found in bread, cereal, pasta, crackers, cookies, cake, and more. Also remember that some alcohol, such as beer, is made from wheat as well. It is best to read food labels carefully and check with the restaurants when ordering your food. Just because something claims to be gluten-free, doesn’t mean it is 100% absent of gluten ingredients.
If you are following a gluten-free diet, sometimes it is best to just whip up your own food, that way you know exactly what is going in them. My cookbook, Food for Life, is full of healthy and delicious recipes that are made just for those that are living a gluten-free lifestyle. I provide plenty of gluten-free options for a variety of dishes from dinner to dessert. These recipes prove that just because you must eat gluten-free food, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the amazing treats that are available to others. My breakfast muffins and homemade spaghetti and meatballs recipes prove just that!
Cinnamon, Carrot, and Maca Muffins
These breakfast muffins will give you your morning boost as they are made with maca powder, one of the world’s natural superfoods. The maca root benefits hormone balance, energy, mood, and the immune system. What more could you want in a morning muffin?
Get your morning fix by making these delicious muffins ahead of time!
CINNAMON, CARROT, AND MACA MUFFINS
- 1 cup cup-for-cup replacement gluten-free flour blend, such as Steve’s GF Cake Flour
- 2 tsp maca powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 3/4 tsp ground baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and still warm
- 1/2 cup liquid honey
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 10 cups of a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or grease them with cooking spray.
- Sift the gluten-free flour blend, maca, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs, then gradually pour in the warm melted butter and whisk to combine. Add the honey and whisk until the ingredients are blended. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and whisk to combine.
- Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add the carrots and stir briefly to combine, then add the raisins and walnuts and stir until well blended and the batter has a loose consistency. (At this point, the batter may be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator overnight. Allow the batter to come to room temperature before baking fresh in the morning.)
- Fill the muffin cups to ¼ inch from the top (these muffins don’t rise very much) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Remove the muffin pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Release the muffins by running a small metal spatula or knife along the inside edge of each muffin cup, then place the muffins on the rack to cool completely.
- The muffins will keep, wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Who says you can’t have spaghetti when you’re gluten-free? My recipe gives you the option to swap out the traditional spaghetti with a gluten-free option to make sure even the pickiest gluten-free eaters have a little fun with their meal.
SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS
- 2 pounds ground beef, turkey, or lamb, or a combination of beef and lamb
- 2 tbsp dried dulse flakes
- 2 tbsp golden flax meal
- 1 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups red uauce
- cooked gluten-free spaghetti
- grated Parmesan cheese
- red pepper flakes
- In a large bowl, combine the beef, dulse, flax meal, parsley (if using), Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper; wearing disposable gloves or using clean hands, mix very well to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Form the mixture into about 24 equal-size balls measuring about 1½ inches each. Place them on a plate as they are formed. Set aside.
- In a large wide sauté pan (10 to 12 inches wide) rather than a saucepan (so the meatballs will easily fit without crowding), bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, gently add the meatballs to the sauce and lightly stir so the meatballs get coated in the sauce. Return to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve the meatballs and sauce over spaghetti, with or without cheese and red pepper flakes .sprinkled on top.