Jane G says: “Help! I love sandwiches. Why shouldn’t we eat bread and what should we do instead?”
Just because you have omitted all grains, gluten, and flour from your diet doesn’t mean you are subscribing to an ascetic culinary life. Going gluten-free means expanding your food landscape to include an entirely new bounty of tasty options. Most of the time this includes developing a new appreciation for vegetables you may have once shrugged off as boring or ingredients you may have previously feared experimenting with. Choose to invite a sense of adventure into your kitchen as you allow your biochemistry to completely rewire how your mind and body receive the flavors (and benefits) of going gluten-free.
You can read my articles, watch my videos, or check out my books and cookbooks to help catch you up on the science behind why gluten-free is the healthier choice for most Americans. For now, though, I want to give you some simple tricks to making your gluten-free lifestyle approachable, enjoyable, and reliable.
Top 6 Hacks for Grain-Free Sandwiches:
Here are my top 6 health hacks for the gluten- and grain-free eater:
- Think outside the bun. When you think about it, a good sandwich has layers of flavor that make a dynamic combination. You don’t need bread to bring the flavor! Instead of bread, take all the delicious components of your favorite sandwich and pile them on a bed of leafy greens. The fiber and folate from your salad will satisfy you and actually energize you. Bread, on the other hand, usually leads to more cravings and sunken energy because of its effect on your blood sugar.
- Stuff it. What’s the number one ingredient most people find to be a luxury item when ordering a sandwich? If you guessed avocado, you are correct! Why keep avocado as a scant add-on when you can actually make it the star of your sandwich? Cut an avocado in half and scoop out about 2 tablespoons of avocado meat from each half and set aside. Stuff the two halves with your favorite chicken or egg salad. Place both halves on a bed of leafy greens. Garnish with scooped avocado and any other veggies you love. Drizzle with your favorite dressing and dig in.
- Reverse it! Make an inside-out sandwich by taking your favorite meat such as roast turkey and use your sliced meat as the bread. Spread your favorite homemade mayo or mustard on each 2-ounce slice of meat, top with crispy fresh greens, your favorite crunchy vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and your favorite toppings. Maybe you like tapenade or perhaps roasted red peppers. There are no rules when creating your own gluten-free feast!
- Just Roll with it. Once you start experimenting with gluten-free sandwiching, you will realize the magnitude of possibilities. To make a wrap, consider using Nori instead of tortilla. Simply take a sheet of Nori, smooth your favorite spread across it, then wrap your favorite fillings and roll it up.. You can easily pack this for a quick on-the-go lunch.
- Lettuce love our veggies! My all-time favorite hack is using simple lettuce such as Bibb in place of bread. The right lettuce will be juicy and moist so as you bite into it, you get a little crunch that screams fresh and healthy. A sturdy lettuce will hold your favorite protein such as my Cherry Tomato and Tofu Salad. In fact, I love this health hack so much I use it in several recipes in my new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook!
- Best thing since sliced bread? For those of you are actually looking for a piece of sliced bread, swap blood sugar-elevating, inflammatory, waist-thickening gluten flours for fiber- and nutrient-rich coconut flour. This low-carb, high-fiber flour can be used to make bread! Check out my favorite online market go-to Thrive Market to get amazing deals on coconut flour and other detox-friendly foods.
Thrive Market is an innovative online marketplace that offers healthy brands like Weleda, Dr. Bronner’s, Spectrum Naturals, Garden of Eatin’, Bob’s Red Mill, Nature’s Path, Eden Foods, Annie’s Homegrown, Earth’s Best, Seventh Generation, Garden of Life, Jason Naturals, and many more of the highest-quality premium brands and products to everyone at wholesale prices. One thing my patients and friends say over and over is that it’s hard to find healthy alternatives or the choices are too expensive. Well, I heard you! For a limited time, when you purchase.
My new cookbook, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook, you will receive a risk-free, free 2-month trial membership with Thrive Market and $20 off your first order.
It’s a winning combo – you get over 150 new recipes to try AND an online market to purchase all the healthy ingredients from and have them shipped direct to your door…including traditional sandwich alternatives!
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD.