Nourishing your Body: Gluten-Free Living


This week starts off a series of posts written by friends, fellow L.E.A.N. Health Coaches, and children of friends.  There are a lot of ways to nourish your body through food.  Everywhere we turn there is a different “diet”, “meal plan”, or gimmick.  I wish I could say that one thing will work for everyone, but that simply isn’t true.  Some can’t eat dairy, some can’t consume animal products, some individuals are intolerant to gluten, and some are just looking for a way to be as healthy as possible in their busy lives.  Although there are a lot of gimmicks out there, there are also some really terrific focused diets that allow each person to find a personalized way to nourish their body, mind, and soul with food.

This first post comes from Norah.  Over the last year I have gotten to spend some time talking with this adventurous, thoughtful, and really really knowledgeable 7-year-old.  She wants to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up, and you know what?  I think she would be a terrific dolphin trainer!  When you ask Norah about herself she will tell you that she has already lost 8 teeth, likes brussel sprouts, and loves art and music classes.  Norah made the decision to go gluten-free several weeks ago and has really been pleased with the results.  Read below for more information on eating a gluten-free diet, the benefits and challenges Norah has experienced, and check out the recipe that has become one of her favorites.

Can you describe what it means to be gluten-free for those readers unfamiliar with it?

It means you can’t eat wheat.  Sometimes lots of artificial foods have hidden gluten in them.

What made you choose the gluten-free “diet” in particular? 

Well, I had dark circles under my eyes and bumpy skin on my arms and legs.  Also, my stomach felt yucky a lot.

What surprised you most about being gluten-free?

I started feeling better right away.  My circles went away and my skin is getting smoother.

What do you think would be most surprising to someone just starting out on a gluten-free diet?

I was surprised that my gluten free bread tasted better than my old whole wheat bread.

What are your favorite resources/sources of information on gluten-free (how did you learn about it)? 

I use an app called Fooducate for Allergies.  You can scan the barcode on foods and it tells you if there is gluten and how healthy the food is for you.  My mom uses an app called Dine GF to find restaurants.

Will you encourage your family to try a gluten-free diet? Why or why not?

I’ve talked to my Nana about it.  Her doctor thinks she should try to go gluten-free.

What steps do you take to make sure you are getting all of the proper nutrients and vitamins when eating a gluten-free diet? 

I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits.

What would you most like people to know about using a gluten-free diet to nourish your body and mind through food?

You don’t have to give up macaroni.  I love Annie’s rice pasta.

What are the biggest challenges in following the gluten-free “rules”?

I had to give up some foods I love.  Sometimes it is hard when other kids get a snack that I can’t have.  If you accidentally eat gluten, it can take awhile to get it out of your body and feel better.

What are the biggest rewards to using gluten-free to nourish your body and mind through food?

Feeling great!  Sometimes my mom treats me to a gluten free cupcake at Chocolate Moose.

Do you have a favorite healthy gluten-free recipe that you would like to share with everyone? 

My mom makes cauliflower pizza crust:
The Secret To Perfect Cauliflower Pizza Crust: A grain-free alternative to traditional pizza crust, that you can pick up with your hands!
Author: Detoxinista.com

Ingredients

  • 4 cups raw cauliflower rice (about one medium head)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅓ cup soft goat cheese (chevre)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. To make the cauliflower rice, pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice-like texture is achieved.
  3. Fill a large pot with about an inch of water, and bring it to a boil. Add the “rice” and cover; let it cook for about 4-5 minutes. Drain into a fine-mesh strainer.
  4. THIS IS THE SECRET: Once you’ve strained the rice, transfer it to a clean, thin dishtowel. Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then SQUEEZE all the excess moisture out! It’s amazing how much extra liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.
  5. In a large bowl, mix up your strained rice, beaten egg, goat cheese, and spices. (Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.) It won’t be like any pizza dough you’ve ever worked with, but don’t worry– it’ll hold together!
  6. Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper, or it will stick.) Keep the dough about ⅓” thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400F. The crust should be firm, and golden brown when finished.
  8. Now’s the time to add all your favorites– sauce, cheese, and any other toppings you like. Return the pizza to the 400F oven, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
  9. Slice and serve immediately!
  10. Time-Saving Tip: I recommend making a double-batch of cauliflower pizza crusts–make one for now, and save one for later. After baking the crusts, wrap up the extra pizza crust in foil, and FREEZE it for a quick “frozen pizza” to enjoy another night! All you need to do is add toppings and bake at 400F, until the cheese is hot and bubbly
Norah with a Gluten Free cupcake at Chocolate Moose

Norah with a Gluten Free cupcake at Chocolate Moose

Thanks to Norah and her mom, Julie, for kicking off our first post in this series.  As you can see, living gluten-free has really made a difference in Norah’s life.  Living gluten-free isn’t for everyone, but if you think it might help you or a family member take some time to learn more about it and talk with your healthcare provider.  After Norah’s ringing endorsement of gluten-free pasta I tried some this week and found out that there are a lot of gluten-free types available and they are pretty good.  Now to wrap up this post, check out Norah enjoying a gluten-free cupcake at the Chocolate Moose in downtown Greenville.  The Chocolate Moose serves gluten-free cupcakes every day of the week!