Last year I looked at different ways to change my eating habits which included a brief stint eating raw (My Raw Food Experiment). I don’t eat badly but I was curious to see if an extreme diet would deliver something miraculous (clear skin, racehorse metabolism etc.). It didn’t, but I’m glad I tried eating raw as it introduced me to wonderful recipes such as Cauliflower Rice and Raw Chocolate & Walnut Brownies. Overall though, the best thing I learned was that I prefer applying heat to my food.
The one dietary change I did make last year that I’ve maintained and experienced some health benefits from was lowering my gluten and refined sugar intake. I’m not coeliac nor a sugar hater so I haven’t banished either completely from my diet, but I’ve been conscious to treat them more as foods to eat in moderation rather than casually. So instead of munching on Jatz crackers, I’ll opt for rice versions or make my own gluten free ones.
You may rightly ask, is there really any point in eliminating food that we’ve clearly thrived on over the last few centuries? We’re alive right? A Paleo convert will probably rattle off all the reasons why we should step (waaaay) back in time diet-wise, but I’m not so sure going all caveman is the answer either. What I do believe is that the 21st Century diet isn’t doing the modern human much favours. There’s nothing wrong with gluten or sugar for most part; it’s just that I think we’re eating too much of it, hidden or otherwise.
To be honest, eliminating gluten and sugar hasn’t had any startlingly obvious benefits but as Type 2 diabetes runs in my family, I’ll stick to it. I’m better off modifying my eating habits now than when it’s potentially too late and/or too hard! What I can say is that I no longer get that horrible stomach bloating after eating. I never realised that it was largely due to gluten, in my case anyway. If I eat even a small amount of white bread now, I really notice the gassiness build up.
I did initially miss eating bread but I’ve since found a lot of alternative ways to get my carb fix. Commercially made gluten free breads aren’t all bad but I much prefer making things like gluten free waffles. Another wonderful lunch option is buckwheat crepes, which are called galettes in France. Galettes are made with both buckwheat and wheat flour so not gluten free, but it wasn’t hard to modify David Lebovitz’s recipe by substitution. Any gluten free flour can be used but I chose a combination of quinoa and sorghum.
The crepes were easy to make and turned out nicely. As there’s no gluten, the crepes are a little more fragile but as long as you handle them gently, they won’t disintegrate that easily either. I’m not the biggest fan of quinoa’s flavour (sometimes I like it, other times I don’t…), but in these crepes, the taste was pretty neutral and by the time I filled them with ham, cheese and spinach, I wouldn’t have been able to tell it had alternative flours in it at all!
Buckwheat and Quinoa Crepes
90g quinoa flakes or flour (mill flakes into flour by blitzing in Thermomix on Speed 9 for 20 seconds)
15g sorghum flour or other gluten free flour of choice
70g buckwheat flour
80g melted butter (or vegan margarine – you can melt in TMX on Speed 3 on 50C for 30 seconds, prior to adding all other ingredients)
500g (2 cups) milk (hi-low milk is fine if reduced fat option preferred)
3 large eggs 1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
To Make: Make quinoa flour as described above if only flakes available. Melt butter in microwave or in TMX as described above. Place all ingredients in the Thermomix and blitz on Speed 5 for 15 seconds until well combined. Transfer mixture to a sealed container and allow to rest in fridge overnight. If in a rush, let it rest for as long as you can. Heat up crepe pan or similar non-stick pan to medium/high heat and pour a small ladle of mixture, spreading out with a crepe batter spreader. If you don’t have one of these contraptions, spread out as thinly as you can once ladled and smooth out with a palette. Crepes don’t take long to cook. Once the surface appears dry and the bottom is golden, flip over carefully with a palette and allow other side to get golden. Crepes are lovely served fresh of course but can be frozen between layers of baking paper and in a sealable, flat container. Allow to defrost at room temperature.