Substitution Sunday: Gluten-Free Recommendations for Pasta, Snacks and More
Contrary to popular belief, food that is good for you can (and absolutely should) taste good. Whether you live a gluten-free lifestyle, or you’re looking to reduce the amount of bad carbs in your diet, this post is geared to give you the information and tools you need to make the best decisions for your body. Everyone’s body is different. For me personally, inflammatory foods can have a much stronger affect on my body.
As a reminder, always take advise from those of us in the non-medical field with a grain of salt, and consult a dietician and doctor for what’s best for you.
Today we’re going to take a dive into focusing on the difference between “good carbs” and “bad carbs.” You may have heard of this expression before, and it’s no secret that most weight-loss fads focus on low to no-carb diets.
Personally, I hate the word “diet” because it implies there is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Growing up, there were a lot of occasions where I felt like my body was my enemy. And the only solution was to settle for bland food that basically tasted like cardboard. If there is one thing I wish for you through reading this blog, it’s that you would feel empowered in the products you buy and the food that you put into your body.
My philosophy is to avoid deprivation, and to find all-natural real food that tastes good and can easily substitute a “bad carb.” So the changes you make to your eating habits begin through making tweaks. (It’ll make more sense when we get into my food recommendations below)
So what’s good and what’s bad?
“Good carbs” include
- Whole grains
“Bad carbs” include:
- Anything processed — processed food = no longer real food
- White flour, rice, pasta, bread, etc.
- Refined sugars (corn syrup, etc.)
If you’re anything like me, you’re like, “that’s all fine and dandy, but how am I supposed to actually start eating healthy stuff every day since I have a job and a life? Do I just never eat pasta again? Or bread? Or pizza?” Wrong. The answer lies in substitutions.
So let’s get into it!
Substituting Your White Rice, Pasta, Snacks, and More!
Where I Purchase:
- Thrive Market – Think of it as a Whole Foods meets Costco. You get wholesale prices for quality food and it’s delivered to your door! Click here to get 25% off your first order
- Amazon Pantry – Every once in a while I like to do a bulk Pantry order because sometimes there may be an item that’s cheaper than at the grocery store and I can stock up on my favorites
Gluten-Free Pasta and Quinoa
I’m not here to tell you that you “have to switch to gluten-free pasta because the refined flour is horrible for you” and that’s my only reasoning. Although yeah, it’s true, refined flour is really bad for your body. But I think if you’re anything like me, hearing the benefits that pasta made from vegetables has (I swear, you can’t even tell the difference) instead of what you’ve been eating, you’re more likely to want to switch.
- Ancient Harvest Pow! Pasta — My favorite by far. Their green lentil and black bean elbow pasta is my favorite. And they pack up to 25g of protein!
- Banza Chickpea Pasta — Another healthy dose of protein, this pasta is made primarily of chickpeas. They also have a ton of options – rotini, penne, shells… etc.
- Jovial Gluten-Free Pasta — Organic brown flour is the only flour I allow myself to have, and if you’re not really feeling the vegetable pastas, this one is a great option!
- Explore Cuisine — If you’re wanting to explore a lot of different ways to eat gluten-free pasta, this brand is definitely one I would recommend. They have green lentil, black bean, edamame, and more. (Because just because black bean pasta isn’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you won’t love lentil or chickpea)
- Thrive Market Sprouted Quinoa — Quinoa is a great source of essential amino acids, protein, iron, and dietary fiber, and this packet of quinoa is awesome.
Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking
One of the worst things I ever did to my body was put refined sugar and refined flour into it. The chemicals, processed foods, fillers, and high fructose corn syrup cause absolute havoc on the way the body functions. In everything you’re baking or cooking, I would recommend always looking at the label — if you don’t know what one of the ingredients is (or where it came from), it probably shouldn’t be going in your body.
- Nutiva Coconut Flour — Do yourself a big favor and start using coconut flour for baking. It does give things a slightly different taste, but if you use other flavors (like cacao powder or organic vanilla), you won’t notice the coconut taste.
- Nutiva Coconut Sugar — Probably the easiest switch for me was going from a refined white sugar to coconut sugar. Obviously it’s best to minimize sugars, but if you’re going to have it, it should be raw and unrefined.
- Thrive Market Cacao Powder — I’m a huge fan of cacao powder. Cacao powder contains more than 20 times the antioxidant power of blueberries, not to mention it’s also 4 times more powerful than dark chocolate. Check out my morning smoothie recipe featuring cacao powder here.
- Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil — Avocados are a great source of “good fat.” When I’m cooking in the kitchen, I like to use some kind of oil as a base, which used to be olive or canola oil. At this point I’ve gotten rid of both of those oils (I ditched vegetable a long time ago), and this is now my go-to.
- 4th & Heart Ghee Butter — Ghee butter is lactose-free as it’s made from clarified butter, so the impurities are gone. You can learn more about the benefits of ghee butter over butter in this article. If you have trouble digesting dairy, give this a try!
- Nutiva Organic Liquid Coconut Oil — When you’re baking, I highly recommend using coconut oil. This one by Nutiva is amazing because it stays in liquid form that has undergone minimal processing and has no fillers. (Which means you don’t have to melt your coconut oil first in order to use it for baking)
Related: 7 Uses for Coconut Oil
- Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers — These are delicious. I like for my chips or crackers to be as simple as possible so my spread or dip can speak for itself… Simple Mills ha tons of other flavors you can try too, like Rosemary, which is also amaze-balls.
- KIND Cinnamon Oat Granola Clusters — Rather than having 3 meals per day, I like to space them out into 5-6 small meals. So right around 11am, I have plain greek yogurt with fruit and granola. I love this granola because of its pure ingredients. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties, lowers your blood sugar and promotes good heart heath.
- Thrive Market Plantain Chips — The first time I ever ate plantains, an exchange student from Cuba made some for me from scratch… they were incredible. These aren’t quite the same, but they’re pretty darn close!
- Garden of Eatin’ Blue Corn Tortilla Chips — When I was eliminating anything with white flour, I realized I would need a substitute for my tortilla chips. These blue corn chips have simple ingredients, and they’re gluten-free. These are my favorite to use for homemade nachos or when I make my famous guacamole.
- Simply 7 Quinoa Chips — As I mentioned before, substitution is the key to changing your eating habits. These are the regular sea salt ones, but I also love the barbecue flavored quinoa chips by Simply 7 as well.
These are some of my recommendations to get you started. Obviously everyone’s body is different, so do some research of your own to figure out what is best for you. What are your favorite gluten-free indulgences? Leave us recommendations down below in the comments!