I’ve been experimenting with Gluten Free Options for the last 18 months, since learning that my son and I are sensitive. Perfect Supplements is hosting a Healthy Habits Challenge starting next week, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to compile a list of some of our favorite Gluten Free and Low Carb options.
Might as well start with the obvious … vegetables! Stock up on all your favorites, including Avocados and Olives; we believe our bodies thrive with healthy fats, and these healthy fat vegetables are delicious ways to enjoy them.
If you are reducing carbs, you will want to be mindful of your consumption of starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn (more of a grain, really), and peas (a legume).
Vegetables offer wonderful, nutrient dense substitutes for high carb foods such as pasta, rice and potatoes. Spaghetti Squash can act as a substitute for pasta, and Cauliflower for mashed potatoes and rice. You can find simple recipes online. Our friend Jamie created this Loaded Cauliflower Casserole … yum!
Veggie Carb Count – This is a very helpful list of the carbohydrates found in vegetables.
Hummus – Goes great with raw veggies, and adds protein and healthy fat. Look for brands (like Cedar’s) that avoid highly-processed soybean oil.
Grass-Fed Meat and Dairy, Eggs from Pastured Hens, and Wild-Caught Fish
We believe in the health benefits of healthy fats from healthy animal products. The key here is healthy animals, which means, not the ones raised for your typical, industrial meat and dairy products that you find at your typical grocery.
Preferably, you can find some nice local farmers. This may take a little effort, but, the Weston A Price Foundation is dedicated to helping people find local, healthy food options. Check out this list of Local Weston A Price Chapters for a chapter near you. Local Food Co-ops, Farmers’ Markets and Health Food Stores are also a good resource.
If you are reducing carbs, you are going to want to increase your healthy fats in order to feel satisfied. So let’s enjoy those Healthy Egg Yolks and Full Fat Dairy! Woo hoo – bring on the Real Whip Cream and Butter! If you still believe the lie that these foods will kill you, please read this informative article over at AuthorityNutrition.com – Top 5 Artery Clogging Foods That Can Save Your Life.
Grass-fed butter is nationally available from Organic Valley and Kelly Gold. Cheeses imported from Europe are usually from pastured animals.
Nuts, Seeds and Nut Butters
Mmm – mmm, gotta love the nut butters. Make everything taste better. Apples and PB, Celery and PB, Dark Chocolate and PB = yum, yum, yum! Organic, 100% Peanut Butter (no added sugar or oils) is a staple in our house.
Nuts are loaded with healthy fats and low in net carbs. A 1/4 cup serving of walnuts includes only 4 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber, and 1 gram of sugar.
Chia Seeds – I heart Chia Seeds. Zero net carbs (all fiber). Just 1 Tblsp supplies 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of those healthy Omega 3 (ALA) fats. Because I don’t consume a lot of meat and dairy (sensitive), these little gems are great for boosting my protein amounts. I enjoy them mixed in tea, smoothies, and coconut milk. You can also toss them on your salad.
Coconut – I hope you love coconut as much as I do! This is another staple of mine. Coconut milk, coconut shreds, and Perfect Coconut Oil. A great addition to a low carb diet because it supplies sweetness without sugar (3T of unsweetened shredded has < 1 gram of sugar, and only 2 grams of net carbs). Native Forest (canned) Unsweetened Coconut Milk is super creamy and delicious! An amazing substitute for dairy creamer if you can’t find a reputable source for grass-fed cream in your area.
We love fruit, especially local and seasonal, mmmm, can you taste that fresh sweet watermelon in August? Nectar of the Gods. But I digress. If you are counting carbs, you’ll need to pay attention to your fruit consumption. Here’s a list to help you choose the lower carb fruit varieties (scroll down to the section labeled “The Lowest Carb Fruits” to find the list).
Gluten Free Grain Alternatives
Going Gluten Free is particularly tricky when it comes to bread, muffins, and baked goods. Add in low carb and forget about it! But I do have a few recommendations.
Pure Wraps – A tortilla alternative made with only 2 ingredients, coconut and salt. These are perfect for wrapping around sandwich fillings such as BLT or tuna salad.
Simple Mills – Amazing GF muffins! The Chocolate flavor tastes like chocolate cake (I add an extra tablespoon of butter for added moistness). If your kids need to go gluten free, these are a life saver! Made with almond flour and sweetened with coconut nectar. The bag says they make 9, but I make slightly smaller ones so I get 10. One muffin has a net carb of 11 grams, and 6 grams of sugar.
Pamela’s – GF bread mix is the best I’ve tasted. The bread can be made in a bread machine. Even non GF people love this bread. If you are reducing carbs, slice thin, or skip it if the temptation to overindulge is too much.
Glutino – My favorite brand for GF crackers.
Quinoa – If you are looking for a whole grain to upgrade your rice, couscous, or small pasta in salads, try quinoa. Still a grain, so still pretty high in carbs, but, it has the added benefit of a decent amount of protein.
Corn Tortillas – A simple GF option, but you will need to watch your serving size if reducing carbs.
Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour – If you enjoy baking as much as I do, and want to experiment with a GF lower carb flour, try this one. Much lighter than any other almond flour / meal that I’ve tried. Great in pancakes and cookies. I’ll share a few recipes soon.
Snacks / Treats
Raw Cacao / Dark Chocolate – 1T of raw cacao powder has just 2 grams of net carbs and 0 sugar, and it also provides protein, iron, and calcium. 2T of Sunspire Organic Chocolate Chips have 6 grams of net carbs and 5 grams of sugar.
Popcorn – Pop your own and add a mix of butter and coconut oil over the top, or try some nutritional yeast for a “cheesy” flavor. Only 15 net carbs in a 3 cup serving.
Stevia – Much sweeter than sugar, this is a good alternative for sweetening drinks, but does not replace well in baking. I like Wholesome Sweeteners Brand.
Erythritol – A sugar alcohol that I’ve experimented a bit with replacing sugar in baking. I will share a recipe on the blog shortly. But it is pricey. I like Wholesome Sweeteners Brand.
If you have trouble keeping up your protein amounts because of food sensitivities (like me), you might want to consider a Protein Powder. Perfect Supplements provides three great options for any diet. We have Perfect Plant Protein (great for vegans), natural or vanilla flavor, Vanilla Goatein (from Goat’s milk), and Unflavored Great Lakes Gelatin. I like the vanilla flavors because they are pre-sweetened with just the right amount of stevia.
Please share your Gluten Free and Low Carb Favorites with us in the comments.