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A gluten free diet means excluding any food which contains gluten.
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
Those who must follow a gluten free diet very strictly may do so because they are sufferers of coeliac disease.
But one of the big things that pose a problem for those adhering to a gluten free diet are the staple cupboard foods.
What options are there for gluten free pasta, gluten free rice, and gluten free noodles?
Noodles are typically made from flour, and are usually made from whatever the staple food is in the area.
China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and many other Asian countries have their own particular relationship with the humble noodle.
Often there is a rich tradition and deep cultural relationship with noodles, sometimes highly specific to the region.
While it can feel difficult to give up this delicious dish base, there are several options for your Asian style noodle dishes that do not involve gluten.
Try Clearspring Organic Gluten Free 100% Brown Rice Noodles.
These versatile noodles work well in a range of dishes: from Asian noodle salads to hot and sour spicy soups.
These noodles are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and made from very high quality brown rice – but without any gluten components.
If you are looking for a lighter option, try Eat Water Slim Noodles.
These noodles are carb free as well as gluten free and wheat free.
Made from an organic recipe, these noodle alternatives will leave you satisfied without the heaviness one may associate with eating gluten rich foods.
The special ingredient is konjac flour, which is a plant derived flour, made from glucomannan, an Asian herb. When glucomannan is digested, it expands, creating that feeling of fullness without the calories*.
The best thing about these type of noodles is that they can be cooked in just one minute. The perfect easy addition to your gluten free store cupboard!
Thankfully, there are a lot of gluten free pasta alternatives.
For an alternative that barely seems different at all, try Orgran Gluten Free Rice Spirals (they’re just like fusilli) or Amisa Organic Corn and Rice Spaghetti which is just like… spaghetti!
Eat Water Slim Pasta Fettucine is another pasta alternative.
This gluten free and wheat free pasta is made from that same konjac flour, and is organic, sugar free and carb free.
Ready in just two minutes, it goes brilliantly with a meaty ragu style sauce, and a sprinkling of grated parmigiana cheese on top.
Another Eat Water product is Eat Water Slim Pasta Penne.
This contains no water, and the texture is quiet al dente, so not too far away from the consistency of traditional pasta.
Try this penne with a chunky tuna topping, or with spicy sausage and courgette sauce.
Finding gluten free rice can be very tricky, but here again our friend konjac flour rises to the challenge!
Holland and Barrett Natural Diet Organic Konjac Rice is a rice substitute which is very low in calories and carbohydrates. In addition it is fat free, sugar free, wheat free – and most importantly, gluten free.
Eat Water Slim Rice is also made from the trusty konjac flour.
*Glucomannan in the context of an energy-restricted diet contributes to weight loss. This beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 3 g of glucomannan in three doses of 1 g each, together with 1-2 glasses of water, before meals and in the context of an energy-restricted diet.
Luckily, many foods are naturally gluten free.
Fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, cheese and eggs are all completely gluten free.
There are also many naturally gluten free grains and cereals.
Quinoa, corn, tapioca, buckwheat and polenta are all gluten free (but be sure to check the label in case they are made in a factory where cross contamination might be possible.)
So: a bit more about this mysterious konjac. Where does it come from and what exactly is it?
Konjac is a plant grown mostly in Eastern Asia. Known locally as “elephant yam,” konjac is a herb.
The konjac has a “corm”, a tuber like part of the stem which grows underground, very much like ginger.
Konjac flour and konjac jelly are historic foods in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. In Japan, konjac is used to make konnyaku – noodle-like strips of konjac which act as a noodle replacement.