When I started eating gluten-free, I felt completely lost. I felt like I just gave up all my favourite foods like bagels, tortillas, BLT sandwiches…and cookies!!!
To help make the transition into a gluten-free lifestyle easier, I’m going to share a few simple swaps that I’ve learned over the years.
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you decide to buy gluten-free products, such as gluten-free bread, etc. When I became gluten-free, I was already following the Atkins diet. After that, I transitioned into the Paleo diet. At first, I avoided gluten-free bread because it had carbs, but then I avoided it because it wasn’t considered Paleo.
I drove myself crazy.
If you want to eat bread once in awhile, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, give yourself permission to keep a loaf of gluten-free bread in the freezer for those times when you’re craving a sandwich.
Easy Gluten-Free Swaps:
Bread –> turn your sandwich into a wrap by using large, flexible lettuce leaves.
Bagels –> try my meat bagels (recipe here). Some people like using avocado as a bun. To do this, simply cut the avocado in half and remove the skin.
Croutons –> cut potatoes or sweet potatoes into cubes. Season them with parsley, garlic, salt and pepper and then roast. This makes great croutons and can be served warm or cold.
Flour to thicken a recipe –> for use in stews, sauces or any other recipe that is basically gluten-free except for flour that is used as a thickening agent. Instead of flour, use arrowroot starch (also known as arrowroot flour) or tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour) to thicken stews, sauces, etc. Use an equal amount of arrowroot starch in place of flour. (For example, if the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of flour, use 2 tablespoons of arrowroot starch instead.) Whisk a small amount of water into the arrowroot starch and continue to whisk until no clumps remain. Slowly, add the arrowroot mixture to the recipe until a desired thickness is achieved. Furthermore, while arrowroot starch is great to use to thicken stews, sauces, etc., it shouldn’t be used to dredge meat.
A few dairy-free swaps since most people who have issues with gluten also have issues with dairy:
Butter –> use ghee or coconut oil
Heavy cream/milk –> when a recipe calls for heavy cream or milk, I usually use coconut milk or almond milk, but it depends on the recipe. For example, if you are making quiche, the coconut milk will just taste too weird but almond milk will work.
Cheese –> many varieties of dairy-free cheese are now available at grocery stores. However, you can also search for “vegan cheese recipe,” and you’ll find plenty of recipes online that use cashews to make dairy-free cheese. I have a great dairy-free nacho cheese recipe from the Ditch the Wheat cookbook here.