Are you gluten-free? Know someone who is?
Audrey Barron, Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe, tells us that the gluten-free lifestyle is becoming more popular by the day. Studies show that between 5% and 10% of all people in the US may suffer from a gluten sensitivity of some form. Audrey shares just a few ways someone with gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance might experience symptoms:
Diarrhea and/or constipation (or going back and forth between the two)
Depression and anxiety
Joint and muscle pain
Audrey also says:
These are just a few of the symptoms one might experience. It’s safe to say that when someone who is sensitive or allergic to gluten, their life can change for the better when they stop consuming it. I was one of those people. My life changed overnight after I stopped eating gluten. I immediately felt happier, had more energy and had much less abdominal pain. It’s one of the reasons I opened a 100% gluten-free eatery!
If you are looking into gluten-free living and are concerned about affording this new lifestyle; it doesn’t have to be so expensive! Here are my 5 best tips for making gluten-free affordable AND healthful.
Stay away from the processed gluten-free foods! I recommend this for multiple reasons. Processed food is almost always going to be more expensive than you making it yourself. Are you craving chocolate chip cookies? Find a great recipe online and then make them yourself at home! With processed food, you are paying for someone else to make the food for you and then package it and market it and so on.
Get your booty into the kitchen! When you cook your own food, YOU control the ingredients. You control the quality of what you are eating and you control the cost. You are worth the time it takes to create a healthy meal for yourself, my friend. Your body and your future self will thank you.
Buy your grains and legumes in bulk (they are great substitutes for pasta). Your local health food store should have bulk bins for your grains and legumes and this option is going to be cheaper than packaged. You can buy only what you need and you’re not paying for labeling, marketing, etc. You can use grains like gluten-free oats to make your own breads, which you will see in my recipes below.
Make your own veggie noodles! Okay, this sounds time consuming, I know. But spiralizing veggies like zucchini really can be very quick and easy and so much more affordable than the packaged gluten-free pastas. And they are way less calories too and I would venture to say – more fresh and healthful. Just Google “spiralizer” and you’ll find the kitchen tool you need. You can also just use a veggie peeler.
When you do go with boxed gluten-free pasta – purchase the box that uses the least amount of ingredients (I love 100% lentil pasta). When you get home, instead of adding a bottled sauce, make your own (I give you a yummy and easy recipe below)! Then add tons of veggies like steamed broccoli, peas, carrots and even greens. This helps you get more life out of your past and more veggies into your diet – win-win!
Chef Audrey’s 9 Veggie Gluten-free Pasta
I prefer to make fresh veggie noodles for my pasta dishes, but when I’m in a pinch this dish works every time with my family. It’s quick and easy and even though we are eating boxed “pasta”, it’s made with 100% lentils and tons of veggies. It’s full of fiber, color and flavor. Adults and kiddos will love it.
4 cups of lentil gluten-free pasta (I prefer penne)
2 cups steamed broccoli, cut into small pieces
1 cup fresh or peas or frozen and quickly steamed
1 cup steamed carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly shredded collards
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ large yellow onion
½ large red bell pepper
1 cup steamed sweet potato
2 large tomatoes, diced
5 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ tablespoon thyme
½ tablespoon oregano
To make your sauce, start with your olive oil over medium heat and add your onion, garlic, salt, thyme and oregano and allow to sautee for about 2 minutes.
Ad your red pepper and allow to sautee for another minute or so until the pepper pieces are tender.
Now add your diced tomato and sweet potato. Stir, turn to low, put the lid on your pan and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
While your pasta sauce is simmering, boil your water for your pasta. When it’s ready, add your pasta to cook. I like to steam my broccoli, carrot and peas while the pasta cooks in my steamer/strainer pot that fits over my pasta pot. It’s a great time saver!
While your pasta is cooking, add your sauce to your blender and blend for about 20 seconds to create a creamy sauce that’s still a little chunky.
Strain your pasta and put back into your pan with your sauce and all of your steamed veggies. Add your collards to the pan and they will quickly wilt.
Serve hot and enjoy this deliciously fresh and filling meal with the ones you love.
Chef Audrey’s Gluten-free Banana Rosemary Bread
Makes 6 small loaves
I’ve been making these for years at our house. It’s so quick and easy and just happens to be gluten-free. They take 10 minutes to make and 25 minutes to bake. I really love this recipe because the bread can be eating as a savory bread or a sweet treat ~ it’s the perfect blend of both. So make it as a treat or even for your open faced sandwiches and toasts.
4 cups gluten-free certified oats
4 tablespoons flax seeds
4 tablespoons chia seeds
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
Turn your oven to 375 to preheat.
I like to use a mini bread loaf pan – similar to a muffin pan but with rectangle shapes. They make the cutest little bread loaves J Oil your bread loaf pan (or muffin pan depending on what you’ll be using)
Add your oats to your food processor and process until you have a course powder
Add your flax and chia and process again until well combined (about 30 seconds)
Add your baking soda, salt and rosemary and quickly pulse
Blend your bananas and water in your blender for about 30 seconds until liquid then add to your dry ingredients in the food processor and process until a dough forms.
Add your dough evenly into six compartments in your pan (about ¼ cup of dough in each)
Bake for approximately 25 minutes. You will start to smell the bread and see the top starting to brown – this means the bread is almost ready!
Serve with your favorite topping. I love it with fresh avocado or my raw chia strawberry jam!
Would you like to take a class with me? Check out our class lineup and more about Ezra’s Café at
Want to follow me (Chef Audrey) to see what I’m up to at home, behind the scenes at the café and at our farm? Find me at @GaiaChef or www.gaiachef.com.