Let’s face it. The gluten-free diet is not high in fiber. Most of our commercial products and baking mixes are filled with empty white flours and starches. Think rice flour, cornstarch and tapioca starch. These ingredients sit like lead in our bodies, making us feel sluggish inside and out.
With our digestive systems already slightly more fragile, many doctors don’t recommend fiber supplements. And, truthfully, who wants to be dependent on supplements?
Nonetheless, many of you (myself included) complain about not getting enough fiber in your diets. So here are a few suggestions. The simple and most natural way to increase fiber intake is to avoid processed products and eat a lot more single-ingredient whole foods. This means upping your intake of fresh vegetables and fruit. Specifically, eat more green salads! And if you can tolerate them, eat legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas) and add a handful of nuts or seeds to your daily diet. They’re all loaded with fiber.
Besides the simple foods, manufacturers are getting the message, too, and adding high fiber ancient grains like amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa and teff to breads and baking blends. Be sure to read the nutritional panels, however. Sometimes a package calls out “Whole Grain” and the product contains less than 1 gram of fiber per serving. That’s no help.
Gluten-free pasta is getting a makeover, too. Many brands are adding bean flour or ancient grains to their traditional gluten-free pasta and others are making pasta completely from bean flour. The latter are amazingly high in protein and fiber. It’s worth giving spiralized veggies like zucchini, squash, and sweet potato a try. Pasta made from fresh veggies are naturally high in fiber and lower in carbs.
Speaking of veggies, did you know that cauliflower is the new kale? We wrote an entire article on this subject for the April/May 2018 issue of the magazine. Check out the recipes for awesome Cauliflower Pizza, Barbecue Cauliflower Sliders and Cauliflower Fritters. Or try my favorite, Cauliflower Pizza with Greek Toppings.
It’s simple to add fiber to your baking as well. Use flour blends that contain gluten-free ancient grains like buckwheat, millet, teff and amaranth. They’re rich in fiber and protein. Here’s a chart to help you with substitutions.
It’s not difficult to add fiber to your gluten-free diet these days with so many options in our pantries.