Known in the gluten-free world for her bestselling cookbook and regular TV appearances (she was just on The Dr. Oz Show!), Kathy Smart is one Canadian who’s embraced the GF lifestyle wholly. As a teacher, chef and nutritionist, she helps people struggling to lose weight eat in a more healthful way. We recently spoke with Kathy, who was awarded the 2012 National Canadian Health Activist award, about her passion for GF recipes and what made her to change her eating habits more than two decades ago:
Q: Can you tell us about why you decided to go gluten-free?
A: I decided to go gluten-free as I was diagnosed as a celiac at age 12 after being very ill for years as a child. My mother never gave up on trying to find an answer as to why her little girl was so sick and no one could find out why! That was 22 years ago!
Q: Why should people, even those without a gluten allergy, consider this lifestyle?
A: They should go gluten-free as many individuals have gluten intolerance — the body’s inability to digest the protein gluten. Individuals that have unexplained weight gain, low iron, brain fog, skin rashes, digestive disturbances and fatigue benefit from elimination wheat and gluten.
Q: What are the health benefits of a gluten-free diet versus one with it?
A: A healthy gluten-free diet is a way of eating that is closer to nature. Less pre-packaged foods, prepared meals and food in it’s most natural state. Think fresh fruits, fresh veggies, nuts, seeds, fresh meats and legumes — all foods that are naturally gluten-free!
Q: Which basic foods should someone going gluten-free avoid?
A: Wheat, wheat flour, whole wheat breads, pastas and pre packaged foods.
Q: Through your speaking and teaching engagements what have you found are the most common misconceptions about a gluten-free diet?
A: That it’s difficult and will not taste good. I believe, and know to be true, that gluten-free foods can be delicious and tasty and so easy to make and prepare.
Q: What feedback do you hear the most from people who have decided to eliminate wheat and gluten from their diets?
A: The feedback I hear most often is, “I cannot believe how amazing I feel…I didn’t know I could feel this good!” I absolutely love hearing that. When people change their food they can change their life — one healthy bite at a time!
Q: What are a few of your gluten free staples?
A: Quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds, amaranth, coconut flour, buckwheat, chickpeas, almonds and a personal favourite — sweetening foods with pure Canadian maple syrup!
Gluten-free protein pancake recipe
My favourite meal of all time is pancakes! My mother has been making these for me ever since I can remember! These freeze so well and can be popped into the toaster for those rushed mornings.
1/2 cup cottage cheese (2%)
1/2 cup oatmeal (quick cooking)
2 whole organic eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons coconut oil
1. Add all of the above ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
2. Heat olive oil cooking spray on medium heat onto a non stick frying pan.
3. Pour half of the pancake batter onto the heated frying pan.
4. Allow to cook on medium heat.
5. When you start to see bubbles forming at the top of the pancake, flip pancake over.
6. Allow to cook on the other side.
Calories From Fat: 17
Total Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 2.3 mg
Sodium: 341.8 mg
Potassium: 236.7 mg
Carbohydrates: 16.5 g
Fibre: 2.4 g
Sugar: 2.5 g
Protein: 17 g
*Calculated from recipe ingredients per 2 pancakes
Makes four 4-inch pancakes