• Sally Miller, N. E.

Going gluten-free responsibly

Depending on processed foods to stick to diet is counter-productive

In April of 2017, I wrote an article on the benefits of choosing to not eat gluten containing foods.

My job as a writer for the culinary team at the Charleston Gazette-Mail is to bring you recipes that provide you with new ideas for plant-based, gluten-free healthy food. My job as a Nutritional Educator is to bring you information about your best nutritional choices for a healthier you.

I still have the same opinion now as I did then with one slight variation. Eat gluten free, but don't eat gluten free foods.

There has been some confusion as to what it means to be on a gluten-free diet. I want to share some additional information about the ingredients in processed gluten-free foods.

Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of individuals have benefited from reworking their diet to be gluten-free, including those with Celiac disease, as well as the gluten-sensitivity linked to various illness.

Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease require extensive medical testing to determine a diagnosis. However, there are also people who feel better when reducing or eliminating gluten containing foods from their diets. If so, be a responsible eliminator.

Some people choose to do without eating grains that contain gluten in order to lose weight. Consuming gluten-free processed foods can do just the opposite. Not all gluten-free products are good for you. In fact, many people make some common, health-harmful mistakes when trying to make their diet gluten-free by buying primarily gluten-free processed foods.

Processed gluten-free foods are not good for you, despite the lack of gluten. These foods usually contain added refined sugars, heated oils such as canola, soy and cottonseed, salt and preservatives. Tapioca, rice, potato, corn and soy are starchy flours, high in carbohydrates while devoid of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. While used alone, as many gluten-free flour makers do, these flours and starches make seemingly healthy foods, unhealthy - full of empty calories.

The combination of starchy, sugary ingredients will spike your blood sugar - sometimes even more than refined sugar. High insulin levels follow, which blocks mobilization of fat and encourages inflammation so you will actually gain weight, instead of losing it.

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you will have to purchase convenient gluten-free replacements. Try to make most of your own foods and follow the suggestions below for new ideas.

Try these easy bread replacement recipes and visit my blog for additional recipes that will help you replace crackers and sweets.

So what to do? Here are a few ideas:

  • Stick with whole, clean, unprocessed gluten-free foods. Examples include vegetables and fruits, beans, seeds, lentils and nuts.

  • Bake or buy foods with nutrient-rich substitute flours, such as coconut, almond/nut, chia/flax, buckwheat, garbanzo, gluten-free oat, quinoa, teff, sorghum, psyllium husk powder, amaranth or millet.

  • Choose the gluten-free pasta that are made from beans or lentils, or make your own spiralized vegetable pasta ( see post on "Zoodles"), or bake and string butternut squash.

  • Rice and rice products contain inorganic arsenic. Be careful with your selections and use one of the other flours listed above instead.

  • Use butter or leaf lettuce, or collard greens for a wrap or tortilla.

  • Make your own.

  • Buy coconut, teff or almond wraps for sandwiches.

When I began eating healthier, bread was one of the foods on my hit list. I had been eating bread with almost every meal, and I needed to make room for more fresh vegetables, fruits and greens. More nutrition and less grains was my goal. I created new ways of looking at bread and developed substitutes that were more healthful.

It worked, but over time, I still wanted a slice of toast or a sandwich with some good bread. I tried the gluten-free breads, but I found very little satisfaction from them and constantly searched for the ideal bread substitute.

Here they are. The ideal baked breads without gluten, yeast, eggs, starchy flour and no kneading! The recipes are easy enough to put together in 10 minutes. They are sliceable, spreadable and delicious. You can serve them with a number of spreads, toast them or serve them as a hearty slice next to your salad or soup.

The seed bread looks beautiful on the tables as well. Serve up some of this gluten-free bread and be proud to be a responsible eliminator.


Ideal Gluten Free Baked Breads

Choose all organic, non GMO ingredients where possible.

Coconut flour toasting bread

Makes 1 smaller loaf. In order to have larger pieces of bread you may want to double this recipe)


½ cup coconut flour

1 ¼ cup almond flour

¼ cup ground chia seeds or flaxseeds

5 substitute flax eggs or egg replacement

4 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 tablespoon unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon baking soda


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 7.5 inch x 3/5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.

Blend all dry ingredients in a bowl and all wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Stir until totally combined.

Pour into loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes and lift out of pan. Remove paper as you flip onto a baking rack to cool.

Slice and freeze each slice individually for longer storage or refrigerate and use within 1 week.

Quinoa Seed Bread

Makes 1 large loaf


1 cup sunflower seeds

½ cup flaxseeds

½ cup slivered almonds or hazelnuts (optional)

1 cup quinoa flakes or 1 ½ cups gluten free rolled oats

2 tablespoons chia seeds

3 tablespoons psyllium seed husk powder or 4 tablespoons psyllium husks

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil or ghee

1 ½ cups warm water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 7.5 inch x 3/5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.

Blend all dry ingredients in a bowl and all wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Mix together very well until dough becomes very thick. (If the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable).

Pour into loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan by lifting paper after cooling for 10 minutes. Place loaf upside down (remove paper) on a baking sheet and return to the oven for another 30-40 minutes.

Let cool before slicing.

Slice and freeze each slice individually for longer storage or refrigerate and use within 1 week.


1. There is no substitute for the psyllium husks. It can be found online or at your local health food store.

2. Eliminate the nuts if you have nut allergy. You could replace with chopped pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds or sesame seeds. Substitute the almond flour with buckwheat flour in the toasting bread.

3. You can use ground flax seeds instead of whole, but you are going to need to add more water as the ground flax is highly absorbent.

4. If you have a flexible loaf pan, that works great. If not, make sure you use the parchment paper for easy removal.

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