Changing your diet can be tough. Maybe you’re going paleo, vegan, gluten-free, or whole food. Maybe you’re doing it for health reasons, for ethical reasons, or because you just need to mix it up. Regardless of the how and why, dietary changes are challenging.
After all, you’ve eaten one way, day in and day out, for years. Maybe decades! I’m vegetarian and gluten-free, so it’s fair to say that I eat very differently than I did ten – or even five! – years ago. I had to learn how to cook new foods, develop new taste buds, and adjust to a different version of Thanksgiving. It’s not easy to switch the way you shop, cook, and eat.
But if you stick with it, big dietary changes will simply become the way you eat. Over time, it becomes the new normal. And if you’ve done it right, it’ll be the new and very delicious normal.
Making dietary changes shouldn’t be about what you’re giving up. Because, hey, this mouth-watering dish is gluten-free and vegetarian.
Holy yum. (Click through for the recipe!)
Regardless of how and why you’re mixing up your diet, here are some simple suggestions for the transition:
1) Focus on what you can have, not what you can’t. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the things you’re ‘giving up.’ For me, this was especially true about going gluten-free. Oh, how I mourned the loss of bread and pasta and baked goods! But there are so many things that I can still enjoy, like quinoa, rice, millet, and gluten-free bread. Consider this change an opportunity to try new recipes and find new favorite foods!
2) Read cookbooks and blogs. You’ve got to learn how to cook all over again. Going paleo? Time for some decent veggie recipes. Switching to vegetarianism? Better figure out how to make yummy tofu (side note: here’s my Perfect Baked Tofu recipe). Make cooking delicious meals a hobby, not a chore. Borrow cookbooks from friends or check books out of the library. And, of course, blogs are your best friend! I love food blogs because I get a ton of unique ideas and advice from real people.
3) Create shopping lists. The grocery store can feel like an unfamiliar, mysterious place if you’re loading up on new foods and giving up old favorites. A shopping list ensures you come home with stuff you can actually eat instead of just a random mish-mosh. It will help control your budget, too.
4) Yes, you can still eat out – you just have to plan ahead. Check out online menus to find restaurants that you can eat at (many have gluten-free or vegetarian menus). And many restaurants are more than happy to make modifications for you, if you ask nicely and tip well! But just to be safe, always have snacks on hand. This way, you’ll never get caught in a hungry pinch.
This ‘macaroni’ and cheese recipe is a new favorite. I was browsing cooking websites and saw so many mouthwatering photos of baked mac with breadcrumbs on top. My gut reaction was, "Ugh, I wish I could eat that!" But then I began scheming on how to create a gluten-free version. And you know what? This version isn’t the same, but it’s just as good!
Not only does my macaroni and cheese feature an AMAZING cheese sauce, but you get a dose of veggies because I used cauliflower instead of pasta. I hope you enjoy it!
Gluten-Free Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Ingredients (makes four servings):
- 1 head of cauliflower, washed and all big stem pieces trimmed away
- 2 tablespoons of butter (I used Earth Balance; coconut oil may work well, too!)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup milk (I used soy milk)
- 2 cups thoroughly chopped sharp cheddar + 1/4 cup thoroughly chopped sharp cheddar (I used a block of Cabot Extra Sharp)
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup chopped baby spinach
- 4 pieces of Udi’s whole grain brad
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cast iron skillet or a 9 X 9 casserole dish.
- Steam the chopped cauliflower for 10 minutes, or until slightly tender. Add chopped spinach to the top of cauliflower and steam for another minute or two until spinach wilts.
- In a pot on the stovetop, cook butter, milk, and cornstarch on medium high until it thickens. Stir constantly. Should take about 5 minutes.
- Add cheese, spices, and mustard to milk mix. Continue to stir until cheese completely melts.
- Put four pieces of Udi’s into toast and toast to golden brown.
- In a large bowl, combine cauliflower and cheese sauce. Mix and pour into skillet/casserole dish. Chop the toast and sprinkle on top. Add 1/4 cup of chopped cheese to the toast.
- Cook for fifteen minutes. Remove and let stand for five minutes before serving.
I had this mac and cheese for breakfast one morning with two over-easy eggs on top. It was DIVINE. Mac and cheese. It’s what’s for breakfast!
Learn more about living gluten free! Visit Udi’s Gluten Free Community This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.
What is your story behind your dietary change, if you’ve made one?