Whether you’re just starting off in the Sensitive game; recently been diagnosed with systemic inflammation and prescribed an elimination or strict diet. Or, whether you’re an old hat and living comfortably with celiacs under your roof, there are 5 ingredients to keep in your cupboard that makes meal time easier and tastier! These simple staples can make a meal no matter how desperate the crisper looks. These are the 5 ingredients I simply can’t do without.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast made from a carbohydrate. It’s gluten-free and vegan (so no dairy), and it’s incredibly flavorful and nutritious. I use this on just about anything. Popcorn is transformed and is a great way to get a whole lot of B vitamins into your kids! The greatest trick of nutritional yeast is I replace it like I would parmesan cheese. Not necessarily sprinkled on top, but adding a sharp savoriness to any dish – as I did in my vegan pesto recipe by combining nutritional yeast and lemon zest. It’s great on roasted protein and veggies and adds depth of flavor to mash potato. I have a mix that is celtic sea salt, ground black pepper and nutritional yeast, it’s my home made season salt.
It stands to reason for someone living dairy-free that they would have this item in the fridge for toast or sandwiches, but this is also a game-changer to cream a sauce, to saute mushrooms, or to finish a casserole. For any non Asian inspired meal, I will often partner olive oil with dairy free butter to roasted vegetables and add a TBS when cooking quinoa. Also- baking! Baked goods are elevated with the inclusion of butteresque fats. My favorite brand is Earth Balance however there are simple recipes to make your own which I’m looking into as I don’t like the inclusion of canola oil, colors or preservatives. For starting out though- Earth Balance is a good start.
This stuff is the BOMB! It’s made from the aged sap of coconut blossoms and salt (albeit approximately half the salt in soy sauce). It naturally contains an array of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. I use this anytime I would use soy sauce. Soy sauce almost always contains gluten – shocking I know but wheat is often the first ingredient in soy sauce! There is also the issue of soy. Soy remains one of the top dietary allergens and a definite food to avoid on the anti-inflammatory diet. If I am making a stir fry, for example, I would switch out the quantity of soy sauce with coconut aminos and add sesame oil, and fresh ginger. I may also use GF fish sauce if cooking Thai unless it’s a vegan dish. Lemongrass, ginger, turmeric and cilantro elevate most East and South East Asian inspired foods, so you really don’t need soy sauce at all.
Stay with me, yes, I included the simplest of citrus. But this ball of bitter adds balance to pretty much any meal I can think of. If you’ve never read the book or seen the Netflix special Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat go and get it from the library immediately (go ahead…I’ll wait)! She discusses balancing food with these 4 elementals and the chapter on acid changed my life. Too much salt in your dish? Add acid. Too spicy? Add sugar (coconut sugar) and citrus. Too heavy? Lighten it with acid. A little bland? Give a squeeze of lemon. I use a little zest in just about every baked good, it adds an element of freshness and touch of seasonality. Besides, lemons are about as healthy as you can get. Bitter to aid digestion, alkalizing and free radical scavenging. My crisper might be empty, but I guarantee you’ll find a lemon.
Sorghum is actually a grass native to Australia, Africa and parts of Asia. Sorghum flour is stone-ground whole grain of the grass. It is naturally gluten-free and has a nutty, sweet flavor. It’s denser than GF flour or rice flour but bakes fluffy like regular flour. It also has a lower glycemic load than GF and rice flour which makes it a winner. When cooking with buckwheat I will often mix with sorghum, as buckwheat tends to be heavy and intense. For coating and frying rice flour is definitely a better choice and makes an unbelievable crust on fried chicken. Sorghum though is always stacked in my cupboard for a quick batch of muffins or pancakes.