Updated: Mar 21
In 2022, I want to focus on nourishing foods and healthy habits that we can ADD to our day vs. foods and habits we have to remove, which can lead to a very negative and restrictive mindset.
Over the month, I’ve challenged you to add a green vegetable to your diet everyday and add the “Forks Down” mindful eating habit. Continuing on the theme of adding nourishing foods and healthy habits, your challenge for the next 2 weeks is to ADD more gluten-free foods into your diet.
What comes to mind when you think of gluten? Pasta? Bread? Carbs? A diet?
Gluten can be all of those things, but more specifically it refers to proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten acts as a glue that holds foods together, and is found in many unexpected foods like packaged meat products, condiments, salad dressings, soups, cereals and crackers.
Most people suffer from gluten sensitivity: undigested gluten passes into the cells of the gut causing symptoms like bloating, gas, joint pain, headaches, poor concentration, and fatigue. Many people just get used to feeling this way after they eat and don’t attribute these symptoms to gluten until they take a break from gluten for a period of time.
Adding gluten-free foods (in place of foods with gluten) can improve symptoms of gluten sensitivity, and despite what many people think, there are a variety of healthy gluten-free foods to choose from:
If you like to bake, substituting almond flour or coconut flour are great choices, and are also a source of healthy fats. Check out my recipe for Gluten-Free Almond Breakfast Cookies. Recipes that use coconut flour often require eggs, which means the cookies, muffins or loaf that you’re baking is going to be loaded with healthy fats and protein giving you a satisfying, nourishing snack without the symptoms.
Eat vegetables! White and sweet potatoes are excellent gluten-free choices and a source of fibre. I love roasting squash and root vegetables. One of my favourite recipes is a Roasted Cherry Tomato Spaghetti Squash Pasta (recipe provided below).
Gluten-free grains like brown, wild or black rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and gluten-free oats are all excellent choices.
If you like granola, try my Grain-Free Granola made with just nuts and seeds!
Roasted Cherry Tomato Spaghetti Squash Pasta
Makes 4-6 Servings
One spaghetti squash*
2 tbsp. Organic extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Rule the Roost Chicken Sausages from Farm Boy or PC Free From Pork Sausages or Feta & Spinach Chicken Sausages from Costco (optional for vegetarian)
½ cup of fresh basil or arugula julienned
¾ cup goat of feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup sliced kalamata olives
For the sauce:
2, 500g pints of cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp. Organic extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes (adjust according to your taste)
½ tsp. Sea or pink himalayan salt
Fresh ground pepper
*If short on time, can also use brown rice, chickpea, black bean or quinoa pasta noodles
For the Spaghetti Squash
Preheat oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a large very sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. After cutting the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and discard. Brush each half with 1 tsp of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet (no need to grease the parchment or add water) and bake for 35-40 minutes or until squash can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven, flip squash and let it cool for about 15 minutes. Using a fork, shred the squash into strands.
For the Roasted Tomato Sauce (can be roasted along with the squash to save time)
In a medium size bowl combine all the ingredients required for the tomato sauce and mix together well.
Pour sauce mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes.
While squash and tomatoes are roasting, de-case sausages and heat a frying pan on medium heat. Cook sausages until done (break up into small pieces while cooking).
When squash is done roasting, scrape the flesh with a fork to make long “noodle” strands. Transfer squash to bowls, and top with roasted tomato sauce, sausages, goat cheese, olives and fresh basil. Enjoy!