We, as a nation, are highly dependent upon some basic foods that, frankly, aren’t very beneficial for us. This blog focuses on using whole natural, plant-based foods to make dishes that are tasty and nutritious. I call it “Only the good stuff” because I want all of the ingredients in a recipe to be beneficial. The subtitle could have been “None of the bad/sad” because I’m intentionally leaving out those foods that, though common parts of the American diet, are not good for us. For some of us, gluten and casein aren’t just “not great” options, but they actually impair our function and enjoyment of life.
The commonly accepted “four food groups” feature: Meat Dairy Grains Fruits and vegetables
To take on a gluten and casein-free diet means ignoring essentially one half of the food groups that make up a significant portion of the American diet.
If, for health reasons, you chose to also eliminate all animal products (meat) from your diet, you have now made yourself a real “freak” in American culture! Many would think a person can’t survive eating this way. The truth is, a person can survive exceptionally well by eliminating these harmful foods. Eliminating dairy eliminates many mucous-related problems (allergies, asthma, etc.). Eliminating gluten-containing grains eliminates many other health and emotional concerns. And, of course, eliminating meat from your diet lowers your incidence of many common degenerative diseases. And whatever benefit might be thought to be obtained from these foods (calcium, protein, fiber), can be more successfully and healthfully obtained from their alternatives in the realm of fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and gluten-free grains.
When you begin to feel like you really cannot survive without meat, dairy and wheat (perhaps you’ve just tried to order a meal out at a common franchise restaurant) be sure to visit an Asian restaurant and you’ll be pleasantly treated to gluten-free grains and noodles and a plethora of tasty vegetarian dishes. Yes- to attempt to eat as you’ve always eaten, American-style, would be very hard. But endeavoring into a gluten and casein-free (and possibly plant-based) diet will open your eyes to a new world of unexplored foods.
Now, this does not mean you will never be able to have “burgers and fries”, pizza or even “ice cream”. There are alternatives to traditional gluten and casein-containing foods (already prepared for your purchase or recipes to make from scratch), but I think as you begin to sample the alternatives you’ll be pleasantly pleased. “Mac and cheese” and other standard American fare won’t seem such a critical part of your diet anymore (By the way- sample my “mac and cheese” recipe- I think your kids will love it!)