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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Spicy, Cheesy, Black Bean + Sweet Potato Quesadillas

It’s funny- I  really don’t like foods that are too spicy.  Currently giving myself a lil pat on the back for successfully making a dish with some definite kick, that I can eat without, you know, crying. This is one you’ve got to share with friends. Have fun, sizzle sizzleee

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Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Makes about 4 quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 8 whole grain tortillas, 9 inch (I used these gluten free brown rice ones)
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, boiled and skin removed (save the skin to eat later)
  • 3/4 cup no-salt-added canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if using canned)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced tiny
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • oil for cooking (like unrefined coconut or olive oil)

Steps:

  1. Using a large frying pan, heat ~1 tsp. oil over medium and sauté onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms and red bell pepper and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a separate bowl when finished cooking
  2. In the meantime, using a large bowl, mash boiled skinless sweet potato with a fork with diced tomatos and add in nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder and mix well to combine. Stir in black beans, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  3. Using the same frying pan as before, heat and spread ~1 tsp of oil over medium heat. Place a tortilla flat on the frying pan and spread ~1/2 cup of sweet potato mixture evenly over the tortilla, then spread ~1/4-1/3 cup of sauteed onion vegetable mix on top of that so it looks kinda like this:20160124_123241
  4. Place another tortilla on top, flip after ~3 minutes of cooking (to flip I placed my plate on top of the second tortilla and flipped it into my plate and slid it from the plate back onto the frying pan)
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 4 sections.  Serve with salsa and guacamole.  I made avocado cream with 1 mashed avocado and the juice from 2 limes, mixed well.  So good! Go pats!

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Perfect Protein Pancakes | Light, Fluffy, Gluten Free, Vegan

Perfect Protein Pancakes

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As the sun comes, up he rises. He carefully places a tender kiss on her cheek, and makes his way to the kitchen.  While the pan is sizzling, the sweet smell of fresh pancakes tickle her nose.  She tip-toes to the kitchen and slowly hugs him from behind.  He laughs and squeezes her hand.  They take their plates to the back porch, watching the wind over the water while her legs lay over his.

Give love this national pancake weekend ❤ That is just one of my zillions of fantasies / ideas for a recipe video series one day.  I hope you try these. I have honestly never been so pleasantly surprised with a finished product.  Eggless and flour-less, I was expecting something dense. These are light, and cakey, like all famous pancakes should be.

Makes about 6 pancakes, serves 2-3. One serving (2 pancakes) has about 345 calories and 10 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked in 6 tablespoons water, (or try soaking in plant milk)
  • 2 perfectly ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup cooked white quinoa
  • 1 – 1 1/4 cup rolled oats, ground into flour
  • 4-5 dashes of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (I used dried) and 1/2 banana for topping

Steps

  1. Stir the chia seeds into water and allow it to sit until it forms a gel
  2. Grind oats into a flour
  3. Mash bananas in a large bowl
  4. Add quinoa, chia gel, oat flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and baking soda to the bowl. Mix until well combined
  5. Spread coconut oil over skillet on medium heat
  6. Form pancakes with 1/3 cup, place blueberries and sliced bananas on top of pancakes, and flip when ready to flip. It is ok to spread them so they are round but try not to squish / flatten them.
  7. Serve with maple syrup and hugs ❤

Nutrient Breakdown: Based on 1 dried blueberry and banana pancake without syrup

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Chicago Vegan Mania

I helped to establish a brand new group at Purdue University called Be Veg At Purdue by undertaking the role of treasurer and managing finances.  It is a challenging learning experience, and I absolutely love it!  Making new like-minded friends and coming together to make the world a better place ❤ Taking a van to Chicago Vegan Mania was our second event of the semester and it was INCREDIBLE!

chiveganmaniaaaWhat a dream come true!  There were professional presentations, talks, food demos, Q&A panels, food vendors and vegan people and products up that wazoo!!

The highlight of my day was attending Chef AJ’s Demo! She was a RIOT! What a comedian with singing and silliness!  Too much fun in the kitchen!  Not only was she entertaining, but she was brilliant.  I was presently suprised by her nutrition knowledge and expertise.  I highly recommend checking her out and watching her videos with Julieanna Hever, The Plant Based Dietitian.  Amazing source for truly healthy recipes that are also truly delicious!

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Robert Cheeke, Mike Vlasaty, and Karen Calabrese were all there too!  I am such a huge fan!  But was too caught up in all of the excitement to get to meet everybody.  It was way to exciting running around meeting people and stuffing myself with vegan junk food.  What a treat!  So glad the Be Veg At Purdue Club got me to be able to come to such a great event!  We hope to put on an event like this sometime in the future!  If you want to present at Purdue for an event like this, email me at k.reines1@gmail.com!

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P.S. I so would have overloaded this post with pictures if my phone wasn’t broken!  So much amazing foodporn, was seriously trippin about not having a camera :-/  Sorry loves!  Happy Eating Healthy! ❤ ❤ ❤

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