There’s no doubt about it, we in the Western world love our starchy carbs. We load up on toast and wheaty cereal for breakfast, we grab a sandwich at lunch and even if we don’t finish our day with a huge plate full of pasta we usually have a big ol’ slab of bread and butter at the side of our plate. While this may be fine for those of us who can process gluten efficiently, for those who suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac disease it can be a nauseating nightmare. The trouble is that in European influenced cultures like the US and Australia, the cereal dependent diet is virtually unavoidable. Yet, if you’re prepared to step outside of your comfort zone there are a range of cuisines that offer a range of healthy and delicious alternatives that make dining a beautiful and bloating free experience.
You don’t even have to travel the world to sample some of these wonderful and nutritious cuisines. Just take a walk down your local high street and you’re bound to find one of the following…
Whether you’re gluten intolerant, vegan or just a fussy eater, you’ll find plenty of options when you seek out delicious Chinese food. While there are a lot of Americanized dishes that use flour based batters and huge amounts of saturated fat and sugar (we’re looking at you, sweet ‘n’ sour chicken!), most Chinese cuisine is plant based and most Chinese restaurants have gluten free soy sauce. Moreover, traditional Chinese foods is very low in the sodium which can exacerbate the bloating that many gluten intolerant people experience compared to the greasier MSG saturated Chinese takeouts.
You might think that you need a high spice tolerance for mexican food but most Mexican and Latin American restaurants will cater for those who prefer milder tastes. The beauty of Mexican food is in its versatility. While some recipes use wheat flour tortillas these can easily be swapped for corn wraps. If you don’t eat meat, there are usually many different bean based dishes to load you with healthy fibrous plant based protein, and if you don’t do dairy, there are plenty of cheese free options too.
Indian food is a broad church with different regions specializing in different variants of the cuisine, but as with Mexican food, the beauty is its versatility. Some variants of Indian cuisine are exclusively vegetarian, using chickpeas and lentils or paneer (Indian cheese) as its protein sources while others use chicken and lamb (but rarely beef). While there are many wheaty options to tempt the gluten tolerant these are usually side dishes like naan bread and samosas. If you have a hankering for a starchy side, try onion or mushroom bhajis. These are made with gram flour from chickpeas and give the taste and texture of wheat flour without the nasty side effects.
Wherever you are in the world, don’t let your gluten intolerance prevent you from eating delicious and nutritious foods from across the globe.
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