If you’ve been a follower of the blog, then you would know that I am highly allergic to anything gluten. I’ve had severe reactions to anything containing wheat or flour. You can read my journey to a gluten free lifestyle here, here, here and here.
As someone who is slightly addicted to bread, it came as a shock that not only would I never be able to eat regular bread again – Hawaiian rolls are AMAZING, but, I would have to change my eating habits and had to clear out my pantry of anything that contained gluten.
I know some people don’t believe in the whole gluten phenomenon, but, as someone who has a hole in their intestines lining, and who has suffered for 10 years with a number of illnesses, I am a proud gluten free girl who annoys her friends about what they eat to no end. One of my closest friends is instrumental to me making the switch to a gluten free lifestyle. You can check out my interview with her here.
I have compiled a list of 14 of my favorite must have gluten free staples that are always in my kitchen.
Almonds are used daily in my household. I sprinkle some on my oatmeal every morning, and they are one of the snacks you’ll find in either my lunch and hand bag, car, or my pockets. They make for easy to carry around snacks and are also a great source of energy. Almonds contain, protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamin E & B, magnesium, and calcium.
I could eat these every day, and the only reasons I don’t, is because I either forget to buy them, or when I do remember to pick some up, they all ripe at the same time, and some end up going bad and I have to throw them out. When I do have them however, I eat one every single morning and sometimes I eat two, if I know they are going to go bad soon. I think these are the best thing since slice bread!! They are so good!!!!
Avocados are an excellent source of nutrition, as they contain tons of good healthy fats. I used avocados in my hair, on my face, with my salad and eat them with my toast.
Avocados contain vitamin K, C, E, B5 & B6, potassium, folate and are loaded with fiber.
I am really bad about eating bananas. I am extremely picky about bananas, as if they start to get brown, I won’t eat them (weird, I know). I try to eat a banana once a day, but that is hardly the case. Like almonds, they are an easy snack to carry around with you – maybe not leave it in your car. They are a great source of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C & B6, and manganese.
I grew up on beets. My mom had them on our plates every Sunday. When I started my gluten free journey, I rediscovered beets, and haven’t looked back since. If there are any leftovers after dinner on Sunday, I’ll throw them in a container in the fridge and snack on them during the week.
Beets are rich in folate, fiber, and potassium. Beets are good for fighting inflammation – something I fight with, since I have a leaky gut. It also helps lower your blood pressure, and can help give you that extra stamina boost when you need a quick pick me up.
- Bell Peppers.
These are some of my favorite cooking ingredients! I try to use them in everything, and it is one thing you will always find in my fridge. When I’m cooking with them, I must admit that more of the peppers go in my mouth than in the pot. They also make a great snacking option, and are extremely delicious if you have something to dip them in.
Bell peppers contain vitamin A & C. They also contain antioxidants that help with age-related diseases, inflammation, and help prevent cell damage. They also help support immune functions. With all those benefits, these should be a staple in everyone’s fridge.
I use berries every day! I use raspberries, blackberries and blueberries on my oatmeal every morning, and I use strawberries in my green smoothies each day. I also snack on them periodically throughout the day. Raspberries contain a ton of fiber – which is needed for anyone who leads a gluten free lifestyle or suffer from celiac disease. The fiber is raspberries can aid in weight loss, helps with disease prevention, and can be soothing for the digestive tract, something I really appreciate.
Coconut seems to be latest craze these days!! My newest obsession is the coconut frozen bar. DELICIOUS!!!! Coconut has been a part of my life ever since I was in diapers. My mom used to have my brother and I grate coconuts for cooking. Of course we would sneakily end up eating a quarter of the coconut. I have coconut everything at home – coconut flour, milk, and bars – just to name a few. Coconut oil is my favorite oil to cook with and the wonderful thing is that I also use it in my hair and on my skin.
The benefits of coconuts include the development of healthy bones and teeth. Coconut oil allows for healthy and lustrous hair, it also helps with eczema and psoriasis. Coconut contains calcium, potassium, magnesium and a healthy serving of electrolytes.
My roommate hates eggs – which is astounding to me! How does someone not like eggs! I eat eggs at least 5 mornings a week.
Eggs contain vitamins A, B2, B5, B6, B12, D, E, & K, folate, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and zinc. This list alone should have every one eating one egg a day. Eggs promotes healthy hair and nails. Eggs are also good for eye, brain and cardiovascular health.
My new thing now is to use honey on my avocados, which allows for a delicious snack. If you are trying to limit the use of sugar like I am, honey is an awesome alternative. Preferably raw natural honey.
Honey is great for wounds and burns (sorry – the nurse in me couldn’t help but mention that first). Honey is also excellent for the skin. I use it regularly as a facemask, and it leaves it feeling hydrated and moisturized.
Honey also helps with throat irritation. Whenever I have a sore throat, I swallow a spoonful of honey with a few drops of lime juice; and the sweet and sour combination, usually sooths my throat for a few hours at a time. Honey has numerous health benefits, too many to list.
This is always in in my pantry, and I am that girl that will make a 10 pm store run to go and get oats if I run out. I have a bowl at least 5 mornings a week. It’s a really quick fix for mornings when I have to be at the hospital at 6:30 in the morning.
Oats contains high levels of fiber and protein and low levels of fats. It stabilizes blood sugar and helps protects against heart disease. It is also delicious and blessedly gluten free!!
Plantains are AH-MA-ZING!!!!! They are my absolute favorite, and I am forever picking them up out of my friend’s plates whenever we eat out. I eat them fried, boiled, chips style – absolutely love them. They also have a decent amount of vitamin A, C and potassium. But, I mostly eat them because they are yummy and delicious!!
Of course rice made the list, I am from the Caribbean for crying out loud! Whenever I am asked where I want to eat, my standard response is “wherever serves rice”. I prefer white rice over brown rice – yes, I know brown rice is better for you, to each their own – white rice rules!!!
Most of the nutrients is in brown rice, it is rich in protein, minerals, magnesium, vitamin B, selenium and fiber. White rice retains little of its nutrients – but, I don’t care – white rice still rules.
- Sweet Potatoes.
Whenever people tell me that they dislike sweet potatoes, I end the conversation as I refuse to deal with such negativity in my life!! (Okay – I’m kidding – but seriously, how do you not like sweet potatoes?!) I absolutely love sweet potato fries sprinkle with loads of cinnamon. (Yes, I will pay the extra $2 to substitute it for my regular fries).
Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber, vitamin A & C. It is really good for people who suffer from inflammation such as myself, so this is really gentle on the stomach.
Again, I am from the Caribbean and spent ten years living in Jamaica – so I have become a spice know-it-all. (I really don’t – but I like to think I am). I cook with a lot of spices, but my favorite spice is Paprika! I put it in almost everything, even if it doesn’t call for it.
The three most health benefitting spices are:
- Cinnamon – has high antioxidants levels.
- Nutmeg – high anti-inflammatory agents.
- Turmeric – also anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. It also helps protect against cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease.
The biggest challenge with going gluten free is that it can be extremely expensive. When I just started my journey, I bought a lot of things that thought I would need, but ended up never using. I did my research and surprisingly it is really not as expensive as one would think. I could a lot, so most of my meals I am able to eat two or three times, which helps budget wise.
The important thing about going gluten free is to always have some of the staples mentioned above in your fridge or pantry that are easy to prepare. That saves you from always having to constantly run to the store to pick up items. It takes a while to get the whole gluten free thing down, trust me, I know, I am still learning!