Healthy & Gluten Free

Author:     
Categories: Appetizers - Vegetables    

When you're new to reducing grains, yet still want to have some of the textures that grains offer, coating things with almond flour can be a great alternative. They also have their own inherent lovely nutty flavor. Almonds give a nice crunch factor for those that like lightly breaded things.

Almond breaded zucchini sticks on a plate
Image by: Will Folsom

Prep time: 15 to 30 minutes      Cook time: 12 minutes      Makes: 4 appetizer servings      Difficulty: Medium

Gluten free Dairy free

Use all organic ingredients.

Shopping Tips - what to look for to get the best gluten free, real ingredients for this recipe:

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be organic.

This reduces a number of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans. When you are required to eat gluten free, you will need to reduce all unnecessary stress on your stomach, so that it has a better chance of healing. Using organic fresh fruits and vegetables will go a long way to achieving this.

Each year a US report is created by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) listing the most and least pesticide contaminated common produce in the US. It is useful to know where to put your initial focus on what to buy organic and what can be lower on your priority list. I'd suggest that if a crop is not on the EWG "Clean 15" list on the below listed site, that you buy organic.

Consumer Reports has also published a report. They have a nice summary of residues on both conventional and organic produce. This is a good place to start if this is a new topic for you, and it gives good detail, but in a readable format.

They found that all organic produce has consistently been tested to show low or very low levels of residue. This can make you confident that organic is a good way to go. A link to their summary page on pesticide residues is linked below.

For anyone who really wants to dig into the full datasets of the EPA residue testing, they can find that at the bottom link below. This will include the most recent reported data.

Zucchini are not on the EWG "Clean 15" list (2018). They rank 28th out of 48 for contamination (labeled as summer squash on EWG listing). Zucchini and summer squash also have GM (genetically modified) versions on the market. They should only be purchased as organic.

Check out these 5 articles. The first 2 show this year's EWG report on pesticide contamination, and will be updated automatically based on the current year. The third article is the Consumer Reports summary page for pesticide residue on produce, including conventional and organic, and domestic and imported. The fourth article is the direct link to the EPA residue testing site, where you can do further research. The fifth article confirms that multiple varieties of zucchini and summer squash are GMOs:

You can make your own nut flour out of organic nuts.

Alternatively you can buy organic nut flour. It should also be labeled gluten free, as it is common for nut flours to be ground in facilities that grind gluten containg grains.

To make your own nut flour, use organic nuts. Put them into a spice, coffee, or nut grinder and grind until the desired texture. For use as a coating, such as on fish or veggies, a bit courser grind is fine. If used in baking, make it a bit finer. Note that if you keep grinding, it will turn into a butter, so don't over grind when you're making flour.

It's also not suitable to make and store nut flour, as it will spoil much quicker. It is simply wiser to store the whole nuts, and make the flour as needed. If you like to make these kinds of nut flours, then it's worth it to get a small grinder for this purpose. You don't want to actually use your coffee grinder that you make coffee in.

Buying organic greatly reduces the pesticide residues on nuts and seeds. Non organic nuts and seeds are also often treated with radiation, which is not done to organic nuts and seeds.

It is more difficult to find truly raw nuts and seeds in the US, unless you are buying directly from the grower. Several US laws require varying levels of heat treatment for nuts and seeds, both traditionally grown and organic. However, nuts and seeds can still be something good for most people.

To read more about almonds, check out this article on our site:

Check out this article to learn a bit more about nuts and seeds:

You want to find organic eggs, preferably direct from a farmer.

The best would be to buy them from an organic farmer, who truly allows the chickens to roam free. The highest quality eggs are produced from hens that eat a truly natural diet by picking at the ground. They should not be fed a grain based chicken feed. This is far too different than what they would eat in a truly natural environment.

There is just so much wrong with the way chickens are kept for the vast majority of farms in the US. This produces inferior food for us. Making the effort to find these kinds of eggs will pay off big time in your health.

You may be able to find these kinds of eggs at farmers markets, or small health food stores.

Watch out for a lot of gimmicky marketing in relation to eggs, such as Omega 3 eggs. These are from chickens fed grain based chicken feed, so will actually be harmful to you. There's even vegan fed chickens. This is just a really stupid gimmick. They are fed a grain based chicken feed, and fully prevented from being able to pick at natural ground (since they'd eat things not vegan). And if you're eating eggs, it's not vegan. If it sounds gimmicky, walk away.

Here's a nice article about real, free range chickens:

You want to find unrefined salt, with no additives. It should say unrefined on the label. If it is refined, it will simply say salt. Refined salt does not need to list the chemicals used in the refining process, but the word "refined" will tell you that something was used (and most are toxic).

Look for unrefined sea salt, Himalayan salt, or various gourmet hand crafted salt.

Good sea salt should be unrefined, and will not be pure white.

There is also Himalayan salt that many consider a healthy source of salt. It is generally unrefined. There is some debate as to the quality, and the exact makeup of the other minerals found in it. If you find a source of it you like, then go ahead and use it. It's largest benefit is that it does not have added chemicals, and has a wide range of other minerals. If you want the other minerals, then this is a good option.

There are a number of different gourmet salts that are hand crafted via evaporation that are nice quality. With some investigating, you can find very clean, uncontaminated sources.

For additional reading on salt, check out this article on our site:

Fresh herbs and spices should be 100% certified organic.

This reduces a number of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans. When you are required to eat gluten free, you will need to reduce all unnecessary stress on your stomach, so that it has a better chance of healing. Using organic fresh fruits and vegetables will go a long way to achieving this.

Consumer Reports has also published a report. They have a nice summary of residues on both conventional and organic produce. This is a good place to start if this is a new topic for you, and it gives good detail, but in a readable format.

They found that all organic produce has consistently been tested to show low or very low levels of residue. This can make you confident that organic is a good way to go. A link to their summary page on pesticide residues is linked below.

Testing specifically on fresh and dried herbs and spices is more limited, and has not been done as consistently as other produce. Some of the testing that has been done, mostly on conventionally grown herbs and spices, is showing much higher pesticide residues than on other common fresh produce. For this reason, all fresh and dried spices and herbs should only be purchased as 100% certified organic.

A good option is also to grown you own herbs. Many herbs can be easily grown in small pots, even if just on your window sill in your kitchen. It is then possible to completely control what goes on them and into the soil.

Check out these 4 articles. The first is the Consumer Report on pesticide residues in general. The second article explains what the different versions of organic labeling mean. The third article is the USDA report on pesticide residues on organic produce. The fourth article is a pesticide report specifically on fresh and dried herbs and spices, in a limited market in the US:

You want to buy 100% certified organic spices, with no additional additives, and labeled to state that no anti-caking agents or additives have been used.

100% organic certified products will contain no GM substances, and will not be irradiated. Without anti-caking agents, they can stick together. This is easily solved by stirring with a clean tool prior to using, if it has clumped together.

Note that when it says only Organic, it can contain small amounts of synthetic and GM substances (up to 5%). Many chemicals used in spices are not required to be labeled, thus you want 100% Certified Organic, and statements noting no additional additives used.

Spices should be used up within about 6 months. Any older and they can spoil, and will lose any benefits, and the flavor will fade.

To read more about spices and anti-caking agents, check out these 2 articles on our site:

Check out these other 2 articles on buying good spices and what the term Organic means:

Ingredients:
1 large Zucchini, sliced into circles, or cut into strips like fries
1 cup Fresh ground almond flour
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Sea salt
1 teaspoon Fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Fresh ground black pepper
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 450° F (230° C). Place rack in the middle.
  • Line a baking sheet with wax or oven paper and set aside.
  • In a small bowl lightly beat the egg.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the almond flour, sea salt, garlic, thyme and black pepper.
  • Dip the zucchini slices into the egg and let the extra drip off. Drop slices into the almond flour mixture, and flip to coat.
  • Place the slices onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 6 minutes per side, for a total of about 12 minutes, until crispy.
  • Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Gluten free quick start booklet on top of meal preparation
10 Steps to Healthy
Gluten Free Eating
 
The free 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular member only tips to get you started on the road to healthy gluten free living.
Gluten free quick start booklet on top of meal preparation
10 Steps to Healthy
Gluten Free Eating
 
The free 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular member only tips to get you started on the road to healthy gluten free living.
Gluten free quick start booklet on top of meal preparation
10 Steps to Healthy
Gluten Free Eating
 
The free 10 Step Guide is packed full of tips, tricks, recipes and regular member only tips to get you started on the road to healthy gluten free living.