“…Tea, a drink with jam and bread…” One of the most common questions people ask me is “Don’t you miss bread?” or “How do you live without it?”. When I first cut gluten out of my diet, I did miss it! A lot! I would say for the first 9 months, I would stick to a gluten free diet for a few days, maybe a week at a time, but then I would inevitably fall off the wagon. I repeated this cycle countless times my first year of being “gluten free”, and it was only because I knew the stuff wasn’t good for my body that I finally had the will power to permanently ditch it. My determination to finally feel good so I could get the most out of my life (because really, you can only do that if you feel good!) kept me climbing back on that gluten free wagon. I would say at about the 9-month mark, I turned a corner. I craved it less, I became more dedicated, and I stopped my gluten free yo-yo diet.
So back to the question “Do you miss bread?”. At first, yes, (hence the cycle I just mentioned) so much so that for the next couple of years, I became obsessed with creating foods that resembled my gluten filled favorites. This helped me transition I believe. But…those breads and baked goods I was cooking up were filled with sugar and gluten free grains, which also have a high glycemic index and can be quite processed.
It wasn’t until I started caring more about the quality of food I was putting in my body and what that food could do for me that I really began to feel awesome. I focused on all of those whole foods that I could eat in their natural package – fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and high quality eggs, lean meats, and fish. Think this way of eating sounds restricting? Heck no!! A whole new world opened up to me and I finally started feeling REALLY good.
Considering that I don’t really eat eat bread (outside of those yummy paleo treats like banana nut muffins), you might find it strange that I would make jam because after all, isn’t jam made for spreading on bread? While it’s true that I don’t have my jam with bread, I can still find many ways to enjoy it. Think of jam as another condiment to make all of those whole foods taste good. Just a few things to spread this jam on:
- A slice of banana with nut butter
- A stick of celery with nut butter
- A slice of turkey, and then roll it up
- Stir into plain Greek yogurt
- Add to smoothies
- Blend with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a sweet salad dressing
- Spread on a piece of chicken or fish and bake
How do you enjoy homemade jam? Please share!
This recipe is seriously the easiest recipe I’ve ever posted. Almost no prep time, no cook or bake time, and made with only 3 healthy whole food ingredients. It’s berry season, and large cartons of organic berries are on sale at the grocery. I chose strawberries because they are my kids’ favorite berry but a pound of any berry would work in this recipe. After washing and trimming the tops off of the strawberries, I added them to the Vitamix.
Next, to thicken the jam, I added a couple tablespoons of chia seeds to the Vitamix. I love these little energy packed guys and find myself throwing them into something new every day. Chia seeds provide so much soluble fiber – good for your cholesterol levels, your heart, your digestion, and your gut environment – so go ahead and sprinkle them on anything you can think of!
I drizzled a couple tablespoons of honey (although you could substitute a dropper of liquid stevia to avoid the natural sugar) to sweeten the jam. Depending on the level of your sweet tooth, you may want to add more or less honey. The last step is to blend the three ingredients for at least 30 seconds. I stored it in the fridge overnight to let those chia seeds plump up so the concoction thickens like jam. And that’s it folks – healthy homemade jam doesn’t get much easier than that!
- 1 pound strawberries
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Wash and trim the tops off the strawberries.
- Combine strawberries, chia seeds, and honey in the blender, and blend for at least 30 seconds.
- Pour into a glass container, and store in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Let me tell you about jicama. Like cauliflower, jicama is wonderful to use in recipes because it’s so versatile. First of all, what exactly is jicama?? Jicama is a sweet, root vegetable or tuber, sometimes called the “Mexican potato” and looks similar to a turnip or radish. It is technically a legume but because it is not the seed but the root, it does not have the anti-nutrients or carbohydrates of beans. Its crisp white flesh can be eaten raw and is often added to salads, slaws, and garnishes, as it lends a refreshing taste and crunchy texture. Kind of reminds me of a water chestnut. Besides being so versatile in recipes, I love that jicama is mainly fiber, so it’s very low in calories (40 calories for a cup!), and because it is a veggie, you know it is packed with good nutrients too – especially vitamin C.
I don’t really eat many beans or legumes. Peanut butter is my one weakness, I will admit. I find beans difficult to digest and not a good protein source for my body. Plus, being little seeds, they contain anti-nutrients that wreak havoc on my gut. If you do choose to eat beans, soaking them overnight and slow cooking them throughout the day will help get rid of those anti-nutrients as well as make them easier to digest.
Besides peanut butter, I must also admit that chickpeas in the form of hummus have been know to be a weakness of mine – such a creamy and tasty snack – and you know how I feel about creamy foods. They’re my favorites. I’ve tried to substitute other fibrous foods for chickpeas in making homemade hummus like sweet potatoes and beets, but I think this jicama hummus will be my new go-to recipe. It most closely resembles the real deal.
I started by washing and peeling the jicama. It was so slippery that I found it difficult, and the end result wasn’t all that pretty. But, the peel is gone and that is what I wanted.
Next, I chopped the jicama into chunks and placed it in my food processor. I processed until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides several times.
I added the juice of a lemon and an avocado, peel removed and cut into chunks. The avocado brings the creaminess lacking in the jicama by itself, and the lemon cuts the sweet taste of the jicama while also helping the avocado stay a pretty green.
I processed until smooth and wow – what a brilliant green color resulted!
Next, I added garlic. I am a garlic girl, so I added a bunch of it. Garlic may make your mouth taste bad afterwards, but the good it does for your body is worth it. The sulfur compounds in garlic are needed for the liver detoxification process, and the sulfer compound allicin, which is responsible for the strong smell and flavor of garlic, is one of the most potent antioxidants. Plus, garlic is a known antibiotic and cancer fighter, especially when eaten raw.
I added a few tablespoons tahini to achieve the robust flavor of traditional hummus, and processed until smooth and creamy. Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds.
Lastly, while the hummus was processing, I drizzled in the olive oil and gradually added the sea salt and cumin. A little drizzle of olive oil for garnish and a sprinkle of paprika, and voila! I dipped cucumber slices in the jicama hummus, but any chopped veggie or gluten free chip would be delicious. I also plan to use this hummus as a spread and condiment with our dinner.
- 1 jicama
- 1 lemon
- 1 avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- paprika and olive oil for garnish
- Wash and peel jicama, and cut into chunks.
- Place jicama chunks in a food processor, and process until smooth.
- Add juice from the lemon and the avocado, and process until smooth and creamy.
- Add minced garlic and tahini, and process until smooth.
- While processing, drizzle in olive oil, and sprinkle in sea salt and cumin.
- Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of paprika before serving.
I love avocados and I love grapefruit, so when I saw a recipe for grapefruit guacamole in a recent Living Without magazine, I naturally decided to try my own version. Making guacamole is something my whole family does regularly because it is so darn easy. To shake things up, we are always looking for ways to experiment with our guacamole. This time, adding grapefruit segments was the new twist.
Every guacamole starts out the same way – with perfectly ripe avocados. I used two of them in this recipe. In a medium sized bowl, I mashed the avocados with the juice of a lime, sea salt, and a minced clove of garlic. Next I chopped white onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and pecans and added them to the bowl. A local restaurant by Rob’s work that is a favorite of our family includes chopped pecans in their guacamole, so for years we have too.
If ever there is a food I crave with intensity, it is grapefruit. When I was pregnant – watch out. I ate them nonstop every night. My son is now almost as big of a grapefruit fan as I am. To add the grapefruit segments to the guacamole, I started by cutting the grapefruit in half. I ran a small knife around each segment to loosen each one from the peel and membrane. I tried to remove as many seeds as possible while segmenting the grapefruit. Using a grapefruit spoon, I gently scooped out each segment and folded them into the guacamole. I squeezed a couple of spoonfuls of grapefruit juice out of the remaining grapefruit and added the juice to the guacamole as well.
Guacamole can be eaten in so many ways! Of course there is the typical chip and dip appetizer, or try slicing crisp veggies to use for dipping like radishes, cucumbers, or celery. My family likes to use guacamole as a condiment, and spread it on wraps, sandwiches, or burgers. One of my favorites is to top a couple of scrambled pasture raised eggs with a scoop of guac. Let me know your favorite way to eat guacamole!
- 2 avocados
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 small jalapeno, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoon chopped pecans
- 1 grapefruit
- In a medium bowl, mash together avocados, lime juice, garlic, and sea salt.
- Add onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and pecans.
- Cut the grapefruit in half.
- Using a small knife, remove segments from the grapefruit and gently fold in the guacamole.
- Squeeze two spoonfuls of juice from the remaining grapefruit and stir into the guacamole.
- Serve with your favorite chip or sliced veggies, or use as a condiment on a wrap, burger, or sandwich.
Hummus might be the perfect condiment. It’s flavorful, filling, and can be spread on just about anything. When I first changed my way of eating, I searched for these really delicious but really complicated recipes that would resemble my gluten containing favorite meals. I ended up spending a lot of time in the kitchen with a less than satisfactory meal as a result. In more recent years, I have grown to love a more simple way of eating, focusing on those naturally gluten free foods – fruits, veggies, and a healthy protein source. Condiments have become my best friend in the kitchen, as I can take a basic blend of vegetables and a piece of chicken or a couple of eggs, and make them taste great without a lot of fuss or time dealing with a long list of ingredients and instructions.
Hummus is one of my favorite condiments. It’s super easy to make your own – it takes less than 10 minutes to whip up a batch – and you can personalize the flavor by adding whatever spices fit your mood. Hummus is also really high in fiber, as it’s made with chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans. The insoluble fiber in beans is excellent for weight loss, as it fills you up and keeps your bowels moving along nicely. In fact, they actually promote the health of your colon cells, lowering your risk for colon cancer. Beans also take your body a while to break down, so the nutrients absorb slowly, which helps to stabilize your blood sugar. Chickpeas provide lots of good phytonutrients, manganese, iron, tryptophan, and B vitamins, and they help the good guys – those friendly bacteria – in your gut flourish.
Also because of the high fiber content in garbanzo beans, they work as an appetite regulator or even a suppressant. A study done in Australia showed that the participants were more satisfied when chickpeas were added to their diet, and they ended up eating less food throughout the day, especially cutting down on the processed foods in their diet. So garbanzo beans help you feel fuller longer, which means you eat less, which means you lose weight.
This lemon and garlic hemp hummus is not only made with these satisfying little chickpeas, but it’s also made with hemp hearts that add another boost of protein, omega 3 fats, and fiber. Hemp seeds are known to be one of those energizing superfoods. The tangy lemon and garlic together make it a tasty condiment to use on just about anything. Some ways to use this hummus:
- Use as a spread in place of mayonnaise in a sandwich or wrap
- Use in place of mayonnaise in a chicken, egg, or tuna salad
- Use in place of mayonnaise in deviled eggs
- Toss with gluten free pasta or spaghetti squash instead of tomato sauce
- Spread on your pizza instead of tomato sauce
- Spread on a piece of chicken or fish, top with herbs and spices, and then bake
- Use as a dip for vegetable kabobs
- Use as a base for homemade salad dressings
- Add to scrambled eggs or omelets before cooking
- Spread on an avocado or grilled portobella mushroom
- 1 can chickpeas or 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- ⅓ cup hemp hearts
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- zest of a lemon
- juice of a lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth.
- Add a little water if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Optional: garnish with additional hemp hearts and lemon zest.