Diet Restriction Substitutions ~While speaking with a dear friend I realized that not everyone requiring a specialized diet really understand the substitutions they need to make an old recipe suit their new needs. I have been thinking about writing this article for a long time and decided this was a sign to get it done. Please feel free to add any of your own findings or ideas in the comments section!
Diet Restriction Substitutions
Finding ways to cook and bake to suit your allergies can be exhausting. I’ve come across a few tips and tricks that may be helpful in the kitchen the next time you aim to make your favorite recipe ‘allergy-friendly’.
Whether you’re vegan or just allergic to eggs, there are plenty of egg substitutes for you to try.
A whole egg is equal to about ¼ cup of liquid, so when you substitute, you want to try to substitute in an equal amount. The two most common egg substitutes are flax and chia eggs. In order to make these you want to mix one tablespoon of freshly ground flax or chia seeds with three tablespoons of water. Let the mixture stand for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes a thick, sticky substance, and use in recipes in place of eggs.
Another good substitute is the chickpea ‘egg’. To make it, you mix ¼ cup of chickpea (or garbanzo bean) flour with ¼ cup of water. You then use it in recipes like this one in place of eggs.
These substitutes generally work best when replacing one or two eggs, as in a cookie or muffin recipe. Trying to replace more than two eggs in a recipe can become problematic and result in a lower quality end product.
There are many alternative milks on the market today, making it quite easy for anyone with an allergy to find a suitable replacement.
Add ¼ cup of raw hemp seeds to three cups of water, ¼ teaspoon of sea salt, and one date, and blend it all until smooth and well-combined. Strain the milk using a nut milk bag and pour it into a glass container (usually an old apple juice bottle), and store it in the fridge. It usually keeps for about 4-6 days.
Quick Almond Milk: Almond milk is probably the most popular alternative milk available right now. It’s smooth and creamy, and it tastes delicious! If you make your own, you know that soaking the almonds is an important step in getting the milk to be as creamy and (more importantly) digestible as possible. Just add one tablespoon of raw almond butter to one cup of water and blend until smooth and creamy.
Unlike the watery variety you find in stores, thicken it with a splash of vanilla extract, which you can add to any of the above substitutes as well.
Baking gluten-free can be extremely tricky, depending on the recipe. Most recipes call for four or five different flours and/or starches from roots such as tapioca and potato, and they often include the addition of either xanthan or guar gum. Personally, I don’t tolerate any of these high glycemic ingredients. Flours to bake with are oat, buckwheat, chickpea, and coconut.
Three parts oat flour to 1 part buckwheat flour yields delicious baked goods. You can even use all buckwheat flour, but it tends to have a strong taste that may not be as palatable as the combination.
Chickpea flour can also stand on its own in flatbread recipes like socca, but, again, it has a distinct taste that does not lend itself well to sweet treats like cookies and cakes.
Coconut flour is extremely absorbent, and you only need about ¼ cup of coconut flour for every one cup of wheat-based flour. Coconut flour almost always needs to be paired with eggs in order for baked goods to bind together. Egg substitutes have not been found to be as effective, so if you have an egg allergy, this may be something to consider.
In order to cut down a bit on calories and sugar grams and Stevia is a great substitute for sugar.
I find that using stevia in combination with another natural sugar is the best way to avoid the bitter aftertaste that can result from using the herb as the sole source of sweetness!
In order to substitute stevia in recipes, use ¼ teaspoon of either the powdered or liquid extract in place of ¼ cup of sugar. The powdered stevia extract the best, as it has no additional ingredients, it’s just pure stevia.
This one is for you Donna!
You may also be interested in 7 Alternatives to White Sugar.
This article is part of the Tips That Help in the Kitchen Series, Tip Friday.
Inspired by My Life With Food Allergies who did the research.