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, gluten, eggs, sugar and the list goes on. Eggs and toast for breakfast are no longer possible and that sugary treat you buy 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.
I am living proof that life doesn't end with food allergies. Diagnosed at age twenty with multiple food sensitivities and chronic fatigue syndrome I was at a loss as to what to eat. For years I ate the same thing over and over until one day I got fed up and started to experiment with food substitutions and creating new recipes. Before I knew it I had recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts that were healthy and tasted great. Soon I had put together a cookbook called, Finally... Food I Can Eat to share with others who were dealing with multiple food restrictions.
There are many substitutes that work well when replacing certain foods. For example, if you can no longer have dairy milk, try the many alternatives like rice, almond, soy, coconut, or hemp milk.
If you are celiac or gluten intolerant simply replace whole wheat flour with brown rice, chickpea, millet, almond or sorghum flour, all of which are gluten free.
On winter mornings try hot quinoa or buckwheat cereal topped with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, or scramble some organic tofu with cut up vegetables in place of scrambled eggs. With summer approaching make healthy vegetable smoothies or sweet potato muffins for quick morning getaways. My favourite run and dash breakfast is pumpkin seed breakfast cookies which are full of hempseeds, apples, fresh ginger and nuts.
Gluten free pastas are now available in grains such as quinoa, corn, amaranth and rice. Topped with your favourite pesto or tomato sauce you will never know it isn’t wheat pasta. Many people are using a spiralizer and making their own vegetable noodles with zucchini.
Replacing eggs in baking can be tricky as it depends on what job the eggs are fulfilling in the recipe. Are they a binder or a leavener, or are they providing moisture? Baking cookies or muffins that call for one egg can be easily substituted with a banana, applesauce, a flaxseed or chia seed gel. 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.
Lowering your sugar intake is a great idea as sugar suppresses the immune system and we now know that sugar is the #1 food that causes inflammation in the body. Sweetening with stevia, a plant that comes from South America is one option or using bananas, applesauce, or dates when baking muffins, breads or cookies is another sweetening option. Using fruit in baked goods gives you the goodness of the fibre and vitamins in your food instead of empty calories. Honey and maple syrup work well in baking and provide added minerals that sugar does, but realize that they are still sugar and like white sugar break down into fructose in the body.
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 may be providing you with essential vitamins and minerals.
Remember to always read the labels of pre- packaged gluten free foods as many are filled with unhealthy fillers. Just because it's gluten- free doesn't mean it's healthy.
Try to dedicate a day for baking, cooking and freezing so that you will have healthy meals and snacks on hand for those busy nights.
Incorporating more whole foods and returning to what Mother Nature intended us to eat is always a healthier option for our bodies.
Try this healthy, but decadent Cocoa Banana Hemp Recipe
Hempseeds contain essential fatty acids which our body needs as well as containing zinc, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, B, magnesium, manganese and fibre. Coconut milk contains healthy or ‘good’ fat, so enjoy!
¾ cup shelled hempseeds
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp cocoa powder
¾ cup coconut milk
Mix all ingredients in a food processor for at least 5 minutes to break up the hempseeds. Dish into small containers and refrigerate for a few hours, or if you are like me you will simply eat it out of the food processor with a very large spoon!
***Always remember to read labels, especially if you have a serious or anaphylactic allergy to a food like nuts. Also you may wish to contact the company to see if they have a dedicated production line so there is no cross contamination if your allergies are serious