Have you heard the word on the street… about wheat? It seems like every food producer is falling over themselves to slap gluten-free stickers on packages.
I’m trying to fight the urge to review this trend in depth; but there’s a lot there with which I (and, frankly, science) disagree, so here’s my $0.02 anyway. Outside of the context of actual celiac disease, gluten-free seems to be this decade’s fat-free – an way to malign one food component for all our health woes & sell a few more packages, without bringing us any closer to the real, holistic shifts in our eating (more produce, less processed) that will make big differences.
So why, then, am I still writing about recipes that help cut down on the wheat we eat?
Well, it’s partly about variety. The more varied your diet, the better your odds of getting the full spectrum of nutrients you need while enjoying novel, delicious foods every day. But in the Standard American Diet (put that acronym together) wheat-flour-based foods account for roughly 20% of our caloric intake (from Google preview of Michael Pollan’s latest, Cooked). And it’s also partly about processing. We get a lot of our wheat in the form of highly processed flour, which goes into highly processed food of questionable nutritional value.
What does “less wheat” means? When I started following CSPI’s hybrid of the two diets in the OmniHeart Study that were found to reduce heart disease risk, it meant sticking to 2-3 servings of grain daily (equal to 1 slice of bread or ½ cup cereal per serving). For me, that means I switch things up with open-faced sandwiches, veggies pretending to be pastas, and easy but cereal-free breakfasts like warm chia banana peanut butter pudding (pictured above; hat tip to Samantha for the idea). This week’s less-wheat list includes recipes along those lines, which you can try at home:
- Chia breakfast pudding from Eating the Week (below)
- Paleo date walnut bread from Elana’s Pantry (here)
- Paleo pancakes from The Athlete’s Plate (here)
- Open-faced chicken sandwiches from Cooking Light (here)
- Thai cashew quinoa salad from Ambitious Kitchen (here)
- Portobello breakfast cups from Tortillas & Honey (here)
- Zucchini ribbon salad with mint and olives from Gourmande in the Kitchen (here)
Chia breakfast pudding
(1 serving, approx. 430 calories)
3 Tbs chia seeds
¾ cup almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
1 Tbs almond butter (or, again, whichever nut butter you like)
Ground cinnamon, to taste
Mix the chia seeds and milk in a microwavable bowl, and stir several times over 8-10 minutes (giving it time to set into a gel consistency).
Add the banana in small pieces, and microwave on high for 1 minute.
Add the almond butter and cinnamon, and mash everything around so the banana pieces get softened and mixed in. Enjoy!