Living without doesn’t mean going without

By Shirley Plant

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, wheat, gluten, eggs, sugar, and the list goes on. Eggs and toast for breakfast are no longer possible and that sugary treat you usually buy yourself 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.

Substitutes are foods that work in place of another food item. Rice milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk are great alternatives for dairy milk. Instead of whole wheat flour in your muffins try using rice, chickpea, millet, almond or chickpea flour, all of which are gluten free.

On cold winter mornings try making hot quinoa or buckwheat cereal topped with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, or scramble some tofu with cut up vegetables instead of scrambled eggs. With summer approaching make healthy vegetable smoothies or sweet potato muffins for quick morning getaways.

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.

Trying to replace eggs in baking can be tricky as it depends 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 an egg can be easily substituted with a banana, applesauce or with flaxseed. Simply bring 1 tbsp flaxseed in a cup of water to a boil, cool and then put in the fridge to congeal. 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.

If you are trying to lower your sugar intake, try sweetening with stevia, a plant that has been used for hundreds of years in South America as a sweetener. Fruit works well in muffins and breads instead of white refined sugar.

A little maple syrup, agave or honey works well too, but they are no different than white sugar: they all break down into fructose in the body. You do get some additional properties from them that of course white sugar does not have. Using fruit in baked goods gives you the goodness of the fibre and vitamins in your food instead of just empty calories with white sugar.

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 are providing you with essential vitamins and minerals.

Try to get back to cooking with fresh ingredients. Perhaps dedicate a day for home baking, cooking and freezing so that you will always have healthy foods on hand for those busy nights.

Try this healthy but decadent recipe. I eat it for breakfast or a snack, or sometimes I freeze it and eat it like ice cream.

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.

  • Chocolate Banana Hemp Yogurt
  • ¾ cup shelled hempseeds
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¾ cup coconut milk

Mix all ingredients in a food processor for at least 10 minutes to break up the hempseeds. Dish into small containers and freeze or 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.



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