Stocking your kitchen with only gluten free ingredients is an excellent, worry free way to create deliciously easy meals without the risk of gluten contamination. In my home I am the only one with severe gluten sensitivity, but to avoid contamination, I cook 100% gluten free meals all the time and no one can tell the difference.
My gluten free meals are healthier because I use only pure products. Whenever possible I use certified organic ingredients, good fats and healthy sweeteners. I rarely use canned but I do recommend only buying in glass jars to avoid exposure to nasty BPAs. This is especially important when purchasing any canned tomato products.
When it comes to choosing gluten free sweeteners, yes, white sugar is gluten free, however why use bleached sugar when you can substitute it for nutritiously packed pure maple syrup. Maple syrup contains 54 antioxidants and in my opinion tastes far better then sugar.
Gluten free baking can be challenging when it comes to gluten free flours. Cup for cup, most gluten free flours are denser then regular baking flour, which can be especially difficult when following a recipe and substituting in gluten free flours. Figuring out the best quantities takes trial and error. This area has become most challenging for me and I am experimenting with recipes all the time. On the plus side, you end up using a lot less flour then usual.
There are spices on my list and you may wonder why? Spices are naturally gluten free but because of the manufacturing process, cross contamination is inevitable. The manufacturing lines are also used for wheat products and many spice mixes can contain gluten fillers. Most store bought spices for this reason are NOT gluten free. Remember, organic does not mean gluten free. If it does not state it’s gluten free, it is not safe to assume it is.
If you have a severe sensitivity to gluten or are celiac, it’s incredibly important to add gluten-free spices to your pantry. There are many excellent gluten free, organic, non-irradiated spices available online for the same prices as store bought spices, and in some cases I have found they are even less expensive.
If you don’t have access to gluten free spices, fresh herbs are just as wonderful. I believe including spices, fresh herbs and pure ingredients create the most delicious and nutritious gluten free meals.
Here is a basic list of healthy GLUTEN FREE SUBSTITUTIONS to replace ingredients that may have gluten
- Baking ~ use GF aluminum free baking powder, baking soda, yeast and I do not use xanthan gum because many people have developed sensitivity to it
- Canned ingredients ~ use only pure organic, meaning if you are using tomato sauce the ingredients should read only tomatoes and sea salt no other additives (sometimes there is no salt added)
- Cheese ~ use only high quality pure cheeses and check the ingredients, blue cheese is fine as well
- Chips ~ use organic paleo coconut or organic gluten free corn chips, organic gluten free sweet potato chips
- Chocolate ~ use pure cocoa powder, organic gluten free dark chocolate
- Coconut flakes ~ use unsweetened gluten free coconut flakes
- Dried fruit ~ use pure dried fruit, no oils or sugars added
- Flour ~ use Gluten-free flours such as rice, buckwheat, coconut, soy, corn, potato, quinoa, bean, chana (chick pea) gluten free oat (may be safe but many people may still have sensitivity to it)
- Nuts ~ use raw nuts or dry roasted
- Oils ~ use coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, sesame seed oil, avocado oil
- Pasta ~ use gluten-free pasta such as quinoa, organic corn, buckwheat, brown or white rice, bean thread noodles, harusame noodles, shirataki noodles, kelp noodles, soba noodles
- Salt ~ use pure sea salt or Himalayan salt
- Soy ~ sauce use GF tamari sauce
- Spices ~ use GF organic spices
- Stock ~ use GF stock, such as chicken, vegetable or beef or make your own, see our recipes
- Sugar ~ use unpasteurized honey, organic pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, molasses, stevia
- Thickeners ~ use corn starch, tapioca starch
- Tortillas ~ use organic corn tortillas or buckwheat tortillas
- Vinegar ~ use gluten free organic apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- Cold cuts ~ I do not recommend them because they are super salty with many unhealthy additives. If you decide to have some, I would recommend GF low sodium ham without nitrates