Healthy Pasta TASTE TEST + 4 Reasons Why I STILL Avoid Gluten

 

Pasta. What a delectable vehicle for vegetables!  Add your favorite beans, steamed veggies, and tomato sauce and BOOM! An impressive gourmet dinner.  While intact grains are the gold standard (grains in their whole form), whole grains, yes including their bran, germ, and endosperm, are milled into a fine flour to make whole grain pastas, breakfast cereals, and other “whole grain” products.  A few examples of legit whole intact grains would be steel cut oats, brown rice, quinoa, and millet.

wholegrains

How to tell if the product is WHOLE GRAIN?

  1. Whole grain stamp is on the package
  2. “100%” or “Whole” are used to describe it
  3. The first ingredient listed is a whole grain

refinedgrains

Refined grains are not only grains milled into a flour, but their grain was stripped of the nutrient and fiber containing bran and germ! Murder! Refined grains are white / light in color and examples include white bread, cookies, cakes, pretzels, white rice, regular pasta, and anything made with white flour. Darn!

Don’t fret too much! The recommendation is:

Make at least 1/2 of your grains whole grains.

Grains are an important part of a healthy balanced diet for fiber, iron,powerplategraphichirez magnesium, selenium, b vitamins, and lasting energy! Be sure to include them on your plate.

The Taste Test

Well before #1, my personal favorite is ZUCCHINILINI OF COURSE! Which is simply zucchini or summer squash, spirilized to look and feel like spaghetti. I like to mix it with pasta dishes to add bulk, flavor, color, and more veg of course!

#1 Nature’s Promise Whole Wheat Spaghetti: #1 in taste, texture, and nutritional profile. Contains gluten.

#2. Bionaturae Gluten Free Corn and Soy Spaghetti: Fabulous texture and taste and with 5g protein and 6% iron, this product is ok. Low in fiber :-/

#3. Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti: Quite sticky texture, but great flavor and elasticity.  Would go great with a sauce. However, low in fiber although whole grain. Brown rice is naturally low in fiber.

 

#4. Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Corn and Quinoa Spaghetti: Texture dry and kinda crunchy, but a good source of fiber at 16% daily value and 10% iron!

#5. Andean Dream Quinoa Gluten Free Spaghetti: Texture was definitely a little sandy.  But I must say with 6% calcium, 12% iron, and just barely a good source of fiber at 10% daily value, not bad.

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The Consensus:

The quinoa based gluten free products have a better nutritional profile, but are not as delicious as the lower fiber rice based ones.

Why I personally still avoid Gluten?

Do I go out of my way to avoid gluten?

No.  I still enjoy it in moderation. My mom makes homemade bread and pizza with gluten which I eat occasionally.  My diet is whole foods based, so I rarely purchase packaged products that might contain gluten.

Do I eat gluten every day?

No.  Maybe I eat a gluten containing meal or snack 3-4 times a week.  I am generally healthy and do not currently feel any reason to put more effort into seriously avoiding wheat, barley, rye, and foods containing gluten 100% of the time.

Why I make this personal choice:

  1. My sister has ulcerative colitis, which is similar to celiacs in that they are both autoimmune inflammatory intestinal disorders. With a genetic risk factor in my family, I try to not over load the gluten as a personal preventative measure.
  2. Studies linking gluten and autism spectrum disorders autism-and-nutrition-1. The GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet has been shown to help people with ADHD and autism, what else could it be linked to? I am ever curious and after reading such articles have trouble stomaching gluten (and of course would never recommend drinking milk).
  3. Naturopaths recommend avoiding gluten initially when trying to avoid inflammation with an “elimination diet,” along with dairy and other common inflammatory trigger foods. With this in mind, many people have success reversing adverse symptoms like rashes, IBS, fatigue, etc (SO MANY), once they remove gluten from their diet.  I grew up with canker sores, weird rashes, and eczema so, avoiding inflammation (and gluten) is in my best interest.
  4. Close friends with celiac disease so it is easier for everybody to find a gluten free delicious option!

While as you could see from the video, a gluten free diet is not recommended for the general public because it tends to have less nutrients. Be a savvy shopper and let me know if you have any questions! Enjoy those intact whole grains and plant yums! xx

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5 Recipes To Sneak In More Nutrients

5 RECIPES TO SNEAK IN MORE NUTRIENTS

Banana ice cream with persimmon pulp in a pear cone: YUM!
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  1. Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans (drained)
  • 1 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup cacao or carob powder
  • 2 Tbs flax ground
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • topping: 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts

Steps:

  1. Grind oatmeal in a food processor until smooth
  2. Add dates, black beans, and rest of ingredients (except topping) until smooth, adding in water or non-dairy milk if necessary to create a smooth, well blended consistency..
  3. Spread batter evenly over a greased 8×8 inch brownie pan
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 0-35 minutes, until desired ooeyness
  5. Serve with banana ice cream
  1. Chicken Wings: (Thank You PETA!)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water or non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup flour (any kind will work, even gluten free!)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into pieces
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (or buffalo or any hot sauce)

Steps

  1. Combine the water or non-dairy milk, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined
  2. Coat the cauliflower pieces with the slower mixture and place on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes (until cauliflower is cooked and breading looks crispy)
  3. Let cauliflower cool about 5 minutes and then fold them in a bowl with BBQ sauce
  4. Bake another 5-8 minutes on parchment paper.
  5. Serve with vegan ranch dressing and celery sticks.
  1. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 5 frozen bananas
  • 5 fresh kale leaves, destemmed
  • 7 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup vegan chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or whatever topping you like! (try with cocoa powder and peanut butter!)

Steps:

  1. Wait for bananas to be ripe, with brown spots, but not too mushy
  2. Peel and freeze 6 hours or over night
  3. Put greens in first so that they blend smoothly, put bananas on top and process until smooth and creamy. Takes about 5 minutes
  1. Spaghetti and Marinara (Thank You Compassionate Climber!)

Spaghetti:

  • 2-3 Zucchinis, peeled with a potato peeler or spiralized with a spiralizer

Marinara:

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tablespoon or more of Italian Seasoning (to taste)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 2-4 dates (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 2 oz (apx 1/3 cup) sun dried tomato

Blend in a high speed blender until smooth

  1. Overnight Muesli (Thank You Chef AJ!)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup quick or rolled oats
  • ½ cup liquid: (water, non-dairy milk, orange juice)
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 2 Tbs raisins
  • 1 apple, grated or chopped
  • optional: 1tsp vanilla and cinnamon

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix well and let sit in the fridge covered overnight.