The immortal words of The Terminator, aka Arnie Schwarzenegger, mean “see you next time”.
But does there have to be a next time when it comes to eating pasta or, more specifically, gluten?
Being wheat free is not the same as being gluten free, so you need to work out what it is that you wish to avoid, and why, and then make a plan.
When cutting ‘the carbs’, avoiding bread and pasta is often the key to losing those extra pounds, so replacing them with gluten free versions is not going to support you with weight loss – so if that’s your goal, you need a different approach.
So try replacing the pasta on your plate at supper with extra green vegetables and having salad at lunchtime. If you are one of my ‘plate spinners’ and do not have time to make your lunch in advance, try to add a bit more protein to a shop bought salad as this will help you to feel full and stop you reaching for the mid-afternoon biscuit tin.
Most supermarkets have single portions of chicken, turkey or prawns, and you can keep a tub of mixed seeds in your desk drawer such as the ones by Munchy Seeds to sprinkle on top your salads for a little extra vegetarian protein and an extra burst of flavour.
When it comes to breakfast, forget the TV adverts – you don’t have to reach for the cereal box. If you tend to be in a rush in the morning, you can hard boil a couple of eggs the night before or try a protein shake similar to the one mentioned in my January nutrition blog. For a slight change I have drained some tinned peaches (in fruit juice not syrup!) frozen them and each morning I add them to the frozen berries.
TOP TIP: If you are eating out, especially if it is at an event such as a Wedding you can be starving by the time you sit down, so try to have a little snack before you head out or pop a few nuts in your bag and have a quick nibble on these. This can be all it takes to stop you reaching for the bread basket out of sheer desperation. Failing this, have a glass of water as it will not only distract you but it is also well known that we often confuse hunger for thirst signals. Not to mention the fact that if you are at a party, drinking water will stop you falling over after too many glasses of wine!
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and spelt. If gluten is your issue, then start off simple and swap a gluten food product to a similar non gluten food such as pasta. Doves Farm do a good one. When looking for gluten free alternatives always check the ingredient list as sometimes a whole load of different things get added to replace the bouncy, stretchy properties of gluten which are not always healthy.
Once you have moved on from the transition phase of swapping your pasta and bread for a gluten-free variety, the best approach for the long-term is to step away from the grains and replace these ingredients with completely different foods altogether.
Arnie is not the only thing to come out of Hollywood; the latest A-Lister to grace our shores is the Spiralizer…. “The what?!” I hear you say. Basically it is a bit a like a pencil sharpener, and it creates spaghetti out of courgette or, in fact, any vegetable that you fancy. You can use your vegetable spaghetti raw, steamed or lightly pan-fried and ta-dah!! A truly nutritious alternative to pasta, and a great way of getting more veggies on your plate.
“Don’t panic Mr Mannering!” Not everything that comes out of LA has to be expensive. If you have time, you can use a vegetable peeler for larger ribbons (more papardelle) without any extra cost. Simple versions that resemble a pencil sharpener can be bought for as little as £6.99, which is great for starting out, and you can go for up-grade to a more robust version which range from £16 – £50. It’s definitely worth it, as you can make loads of “courghetti” really quickly.
So bring a little Hollywood into your kitchen – I bet you didn’t know that going wheat or gluten-free can be glamourous!