When you start on a restricted diet of any scale it’s easy to think, ‘What am I going to eat now?’
I used to get asked, ‘So what DO you eat?’ all the time. Many people, especially the ones who do not cook for themselves or rely on boxed or pre-made meals, think there simply is nothing left to eat when you cut out gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, sugar, malt or whatever the impairing ingredient. But there are many choices available and once you wrap your head around it, it’s easy and you will get to a point where you want the “free”, healthy stuff.
But the truth is this: If you want to succeed, you will have to start cooking for yourself. I’m sure in the big cities, there are plenty of specialty cafes and restaurants who do or will cater for special diets. If you have a high deposable income, then that may work for you. But for everyone else, here are some easy cook-at-home meal ideas that will keep you on track without feeling deprived.
Firstly, you need to shop. Even the smallest of supermarkets have a health food section these days. This is where you will find the gluten-free, yeast-free, wheat-free whatever you are restricting; you will find it in this section of the shop. Yes, the products are more expensive so just get over it now. And start reading ALL labels. Be careful because so much “processed” foods including flavoured potatoes chips have yeast extract, milk powder or wheat starch in mix. I eat plain, salted chips or natural corn chips only.
Here’s a list of musts for the pantry:
- Gluten-free pasta
- Organic gluten-free falafel mix
- Korma paste
- Gluten-free pappadums
- Coconut milk or cream
- Tamari sauce (wheat-free soya sauce)
- Tomato puree
- Tinned tomatoes
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pine nuts…..
- Seeds: Pumpkin, sesame, chia, sunflower…..
- Gluten-free crackers
- Corn chips
- Tahini paste
- Rice: Brown and basmati
- Organic, sulphur-free dried fruits
- Oils: Olive, vegetable, sesame
- Spices: cumin, Italian herbs, cinnamon…whatever your fancy
And a stocked fridge of:
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh spices: chilli, ginger, garlic
- sheep’s feta
- olive oil spread (must say dairy free)
- Gluten-free bread (if yeast is allowed)
- Free-range eggs
Now, with all that at your finger tips, here is a list of possible meals.
- Vegetable or chicken (free-range of course) korma (with coconut cream instead dairy) with rice and pappadums
- Pasta with a simply tomato and garlic sauce and salad
- Falafel balls and salad served with homemade hummus
- Dahl with rice and pappadums
- Quinoa salad with toasted seeds, nuts, dried fruits, salad greens/herbs and roast pumpkin
- Egg fried rice with vegetables and tamari (add meat if you wish)
- Pumpkin soup with coconut milk instead of dairy. Serve with gluten-free crackers.
- Potato and leek soup
- Pasta (spaghetti is best here) with oil, garlic and chilli
- Brown rice salad with cucumber, tomato, red onion, lemon, oregano, seeds, nuts and sheep’s feta
BONUS SNACK IDEA: Corn chips with homemade guacomole and/or hummus
So, there you have it. Ten easy meals that you can adapt as your own and add what you like. Experiment with flavours, textures and enjoy the process of creating a healthy lifestyle that may just change your life and certainly your health.
I will post some recipes in my recipe folder over the next few weeks. I do have some good ones but I mostly cook by experimentation. I do suggest getting at least one good cook book for more ideas.
Here are the main ones I use and recommend:
Cooking Without by Barbara Cousins
Cooking Without Made Easy by Barbara Cousins
Any questions? Feel free to ask me.