This amazing post was written by Caitlin Iles, a Holistic Culinary Nutritionist and Yoga teacher who focuses on healing the body through the latest nutrition research and time-tested, evolution-based dietary concepts. She shares recipes and inspiration at www.caitliniles.ca or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
There are few foods as universally beloved as pizza. Crispy crust, delicious toppings all in an easily consumed, hand-held package. It can be tough when you decide to go gluten-free to reconcile with the fact that you will never have that favorite pizza from that little place down the street again.
However, as gluten-free eating becomes ever more popular many people are taking to their kitchens to create delicious gluten-free alternatives. Below I’ve outlined why you want to avoid conventional pizza crusts and included links to some of my favorite recipes guaranteed to suit whatever style you’re craving.
Why You Should Switch to Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
Traditionally pizza crust is made using refined white flour as the base ingredient. This flour contains a protein called gluten that can cause an inflammatory response in the body, especially in the digestive tract leading to a host of chronic health issues.
There are very few compelling arguments (none that I’ve ever found to be honest) for eating wheat, but in my experience personally and professionally, I’ve found that a large amount of niggling little health issues can easily be managed by making simple dietary switches, such as removing gluten and all products containing it, such as pizza crusts, from the diet.
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Little things such as joint aches and pains, eczema, acne, water retention, and the dreaded spare tire around the midsection can all be associated with a wheat allergy or intolerance. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest issues below.
Blood Sugar Imbalances
Wheat and other refined carbs cause cyclic blood sugar highs and lows, which lead to weight gain, energy crashes, and a constantly insatiable appetite.
These blood sugar spikes can eventually cause our bodies to become insulin resistant and set the stage for Type 2 Diabetes, which is associated with many serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
Digestive & Neurological Issues
Wheat contains a protein called gliadin that has opiate-like effects in the body, literally making it addictive! This may cause insatiable cravings, nausea, nervousness, anxiety, headaches, and/or paranoia if you go longer than about 8 hours without it.
Wheat provokes the formation of small LDL (cholesterol) particles, which are strongly associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
It can contribute to chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases by increasing intestinal permeability and initiating a pro-inflammatory immune response. See this study for more information.
Intestinal permeability is associated with inflammatory conditions throughout the body such as acne, arthritis, and psychological imbalances to name but a few.
Grains also contain phytates, which disturb digestion and block iron and zinc absorption, and lectins, which are indigestible (wheat germ agglutinin) and can damage the digestive tract causing inflammation.
You may think that if you don’t suffer from digestive issues then you’re not sensitive to gluten or the other harmful proteins in wheat, but many people have no gastrointestinal symptoms whatsoever.
If you have neurological issues, inflamed skin, heart disease, an autoimmune condition, stubborn weight gain, or you just don’t feel as healthy as you should it is worth checking to see if gluten may be the case.
Luckily there are so many delicious options out there that you won’t have to feel deprived when you make the switch. Here are some of my favorite GF pizza crust recipes to help you make your transition easy and delicious!
Best Traditional Pizza Crust
If you’re looking for a pizza crust that is as close to traditional as possible, then Dana’s recipe over at the Minimalist Baker is a must try! It is a little higher on the carb-end of the spectrum so it is less of a “healthy” option and more a yummy indulgence for when you really want that traditional pizza vibe.
This is another option from Izzy at She Likes Food that tastes great and uses a premade GF flour blend (Bob’s Red Mill) and you can make it in under 30 minutes!
Best Grain Free Crust
This crust created by Meghan Telpner is protein-packed, so it will prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes, crispy, chewy, and you can jazz it up with your favorite herbs and spices. It makes use of chickpea and almond flour to give it a great texture and hold up to all your favorite sauces and toppings.
Best Cauliflower Crust with Cheese
Cauliflower pizza crust has taken the health food world by storm and this cheesy crust by Michelle at The Lucky Penny Blog doesn’t disappoint. Because you’re using cauliflower instead of grains and legumes it’s much better on your blood sugar balance and contains a serving of veggies right in the crust! For those of you who don’t do cow dairy this cauliflower crust is made with goat cheese over at the Detoxinista’s blog.
Best Cauliflower Crust without Cheese
This crust, created by Sonia at The Healthy Foodie, uses a cauliflower base, so it has the same health benefits as above, but also makes use of coconut and almond flour to create a heartier texture without the cheese. There’s also some nutritional yeast in there for an extra kick of flavor!
With these recipes you’ll have your delicious pizza crust cravings covered all while keeping your body healthy and happy. Enjoy!
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