The Facts on Gluten-Free Living

  • Story and Copy: Sheila Sheridan
  • Cupcakes & cookies: Bunnies Cakes
  • MAKE-UP ARTIST: Christina Alyssa

It started as a challenge from a friend: 30 days without gluten, sugar, dairy, or alcohol. Not one to back down from a challenge, I accepted. What it meant? 30 days without delicious sandwiches, cupcakes, cookies, candy, pastries, waffles, or anything fried. This was a big deal for a sweet tooth lover like me, so I won’t sugar coat this–the first week felt like torture. But toward the end of the 30-day challenge, I started to feel different. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have stomach pains or feel tired after eating. I felt more focused, and my thoughts were clear. Not truly understanding why I felt better, I credited it to a decrease in sugar consumption and moved back to my normal eating habits. But soon, those old pains returned.

Fast forward a year and a few doctor visits later, I was diagnosed with gluten and dairy intolerance. After a few failed attempts in the kitchen, I slowly learned how to make and find delicious gluten-free treats to adapt to my new lifestyle. Read more to find out what I’ve learned through this process and a recipe my friends and I swear by!

The Basics:

What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein composite found mainly in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s important to note, however, that gluten and wheat aren’t interchangeable terms. Because something is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily make it healthier or lower in calories. (Note: Gluten is only one of the components of wheat that can cause problems. “Gluten-free” might be more accurately called “wheat/barley/rye free”.)

What are the benefits of gluten-free living?
Eating gluten-free foods can result in increased energy levels, decreases in brain fog, and freedom from intestinal issues and pain. 

What can’t I eat?
Kiss wheat, barely, or rye-related products such as breads, pastas, cookies, cakes, pastries, and beer adios. Gluten is also hidden in not so obvious foods such as salad dressings, soy sauce, broth, and even some deli meats. 

What can I eat?
There are many new alternatives available that make eating gluten-free more accessible (thank you Whole Foods!). If you walk down the grocery aisles, you’ll notice all the new gluten-free tags and labels that highlight alternatives to your favorite foods and sweets. For example, many recipes replace all-purpose flour with alternatives such as coconut or almond flour. Think fresh fruits, veggies, meats, fish, and most dairy products.

*The information on gluten was approved by Dr. David J. Clark, DC | Functional Neurologist 

Now that we have a better grasp on what gluten-free means, it’s time to talk recipes. Below is a recipe for a delicious and easy gluten-free banana bread sure to be a crowd favorite whether or not you subscribe to a gluten-free lifestyle.

Gluten-Free Banana Bread

(Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 45 minutes.  Yield: 1 Loaf)

1/3 c. coconut oil, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
4 large eggs
2 tbsp. coconut milk
1 tbsp. applesauce (unsweetened)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. coconut flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
3 large ripe bananas
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. almond butter
1/3 c. dairy-free chocolate chips
Optional add in: 1 tablespoon flaxseed

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease the sides and bottoms of an 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pan, then line with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all ingredients in a stand mixer on high setting until blended.
  4. Pour batter into a loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with chocolate chips before serving and enjoy!

Share your thoughts on gluten-free living in the comments section or tweet us @TheEverygirl_!