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India is a land of festivals, and all festivals are incomplete without delicious food and sweets. But we can celebrate festivals with healthy, gluten-free sweets that have less sugar and less ghee too. Eating without restriction but with portion control is important to stay healthy and fit in the festive season.

It has been observed that many people have developed gluten allergy, insulin resistance, and some autoimmune disorders due to decreasing immunity. Among these gluten allergy is most commonly seen these days. Let’s understand more about gluten.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in many grains like wheat, barley, rye, bread, pasta, and cereal.

Why are people allergic to gluten?

 Studies have shown that some people develop antibodies against this protein found in wheat. They develop inflammation and it damages the intestinal tract and disturbs the gut health, causing bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea while consuming food that has gluten. So consuming gluten-free food is compulsory for them.

Now wondering what a gluten-free food is, here is the list:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Sorghum
  • Sabudana ( tapioca)
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Veggies
  • Fruits
  • Dals
  • Legumes
  • Dairy products like :
  • Milk
  • Butter and ghee
  • Cheese
  • Cream
  • Cottage cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Soy foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame

Look out for labels and see the list of ingredients and food additives that may indicate that an item contains gluten.

  • Modified food starch
  • Modified maltodextrin
  • Malt-based ingredients like malt vinegar, malt
    extract, and malt syrup
  • Gluten stabilizer
  • Soy sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Wheat protein
  • Wheat flour

Why gluten-free is necessary for a few people?

Studies show that going gluten-free helps with weight loss too. People with gluten allergies need to avoid gluten for easy digestion & absorption of nutrients.

A few symptoms that may indicate gluten allergy are –

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Excessive bloating
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Stomach ache
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained mood changes
  • Lack of ability to think clearly
  • Brain fog
  • Indigestion

Now that the gluten-free food need is established, let us see how we can make our festival food and sweets gluten-free. The simplest way is to make use of millets. Millets are the most versatile and easy to cook and can be the best replacement for wheat and whole wheat.

Let’s see some gluten-free Indian festival food list:

  • Jowar sheera
  • Nachni sheera
  • Nachni porridge
  • Makhana kheer
  • Gajar ka halwa
  • Anjeer ka halwa
  • Millet cakes
  • Millet laddoo
  • Nachni ki gulpapdi
  • Icecreams
  • Kopra Pak
  • Jaggery pancake

A Gluten-free traditional Indian recipe:

Phirni is a north Indian rice pudding made with rose, cardamom, and saffron, along with rice. It is similar to payasam and kheer but the texture of Phirni is unique. Made with little velvety basmati rice grains and the richness of saffron and rose. You can substitute sugar with jaggery to make it healthier and to give a caramel color and flavor.

All you need is:

  • 60 gms rice/ basmati rice
  • 400 ml milk
  • 7 -8 tablespoon jaggery powder
  • 4 -5 green cardamom pods
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 2 spoon rose petals
  • Caramelized / honey-coated nuts for garnish
  • Dried baby roses for garnish ( optional )

Let’s see how you make it:

  1. Rinse the rice and soak it.
  2. Then grind the rice into a coarse paste in a blender or food processor, and add water if needed. Keep aside.
  3. Heat the milk in a saucepan.
  4. Reduce the heat and gradually add the ground rice, stirring constantly till the rice is cooked.
  5. Now add jaggery and stir it till it dissolves and gets you a caramel color.
  6. Add cardamom and saffron and mix well.
  7. Garnish with caramelized nuts and rose petals and refrigerate it and then serve cold.