Best of Both Worlds: Gluten-Free and Mediterranean Lifestyle

Is anyone familiar with the gluten-free diet? It is a diet where you eat foods that do not contain gluten, an ingredient commonly found in bread or wheat products. People either choose this diet for health benefits or may have Celiac disease and become sick if they consume gluten. I can recall making my friend gluten-free cupcakes for his birthday and trying to imagine a life without ever eating wheat. But luckily, as more and more companies are providing gluten-free recipes and meals it has become easier to live a gluten-free life.

After a bit of research on I’ve discovered that a Mediterranean diet is encouraged for people that are gluten-free. Carol Fenster, author of ten different gluten-free cookbooks, likes the Mediterranean diet because some gluten-free foods aren’t prepared safely and may not provide your body the nutrients it needs. She favors the Mediterranean diet because it emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, legumes, and fish—and discourages highly-processed foods and meats. Here are a few tips Fenster has for gluten-free people following a Mediterranean diet.

Tips for Our Non-Wheat Eaters

1. Eat the rainbow, but beware of sauces, thickeners, and toppings:

Fenster encourages people to maximize nutrient intake with a variety of colorful veggies like purple cabbage, eggplant, red bell peppers, squash or kale. Eating vegetables like these are great but you should avoid sauces on vegetables because they are usually thickened, meaning it may contain wheat. An alternative is potato starch or sweet rice flour for a good gluten-free thickener.

She also encourages gluten-free toppings on veggies like gluten-free bread crumbs. Color fruits like berries, cherries, mango, and kiwi are good choices for toppings and cornstarch is an awesome thickener for dessert sauces.

Gluten Free Pasta

Gluten Free Pasta

2. Opt for gluten-free whole grains:

One great way to get a healthy amount of whole grain for gluten-free eaters is cooking whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, or sorghum (all of which are names I’ve never heard of) and then putting them in the fridge. In the morning heat up the whole grain and top it off with honey and cinnamon for a quick breakfast. Another suggestion is eating a whole grain salad like wild rice salad. You can even add cooked shrimp to make it more filling.

Oatmeal is another good choice for whole grain meals, just read the label to make sure the oats are grown and processed under gluten-free conditions. The Whole Grains Council recommends 3-5 daily servings of whole grains, and these are great ways to make sure you’re eating a healthy amount!

3. Load up on beans and legumes:

As stated by Fenster:

“Beans and legumes are among the healthiest foods on earth and especially good for gluten-free people because of their fiber, B-vitamins, and protein.”

Beans and legumes are great because they are low in fat, sodium, and are very inexpensive. They only need to be rinsed thoroughly to remove excess sodium and can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, or side dishes.

4. Choose baked goods wisely or be the baker:

It is good to seek whole grain, gluten-free breads in bakers or make homemade versions of the baked goods using healthier gluten-free flours like amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, etc. “Being the baker” gives greater control over the fat, sugar, and sodium content in food and makes you feel better about making your own foods as well!

Olive Oil

Olive Oil!

5. Use olive oil instead of butter:

We all know Mediterranean dieters love olive oil, and it is great for gluten-free eaters too. Use olive oil to make salad dressings or toss it with veggies before roasting or sauteing them. Olive oil keeps veggies from drying out in the hot oven and it contributes to the final flavor.

Carol Fenster says:

“Following the Mediterranean diet while avoiding gluten can be extremely healthy. It all depends on the choices we make, so always opt for the most nutritious, safe choice for maximum health.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, we’ll be posting gluten-free Mediterranean recipes tomorrow! Are there any gluten-free dieters who like the Mediterranean diet? Or are you just interested in combining these diets in general? Let us know and please enjoy this beautiful day!


One thought on “Best of Both Worlds: Gluten-Free and Mediterranean Lifestyle

  1. Pingback: Gluten-Free Recipe Conversions – Strategies for Substitutions | The Rambling Epicure

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