Going gluten-free can definitely be overwhelming. If you're battling Celiac Disease, a gluten intolerance epidemic, or simply going gluten-free for dietary reasons, where (and who) will you turn to for answers?
If you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, your gastroentologist most likely found it in the bloodwork (or biopsy results). This means having ANY slight amounts of gluten, can cause some serious harm to your body. You can always turn back to your GI doctor for answers, because after all, he is the one who gave you some definite answers in the first place.
If you’re going gluten-free for dietary reasons, I have heard good things. Personally, I wouldn’t be gluten-free if I didn’t HAVE to be (mainly because I miss my delicious junk food), but it is definitely a healthier option. For dietary reasons, my list below will help you to keep an eye on the yummy gluten-free selections.
If you're like me, having similar syptoms to Celiac Disease, but testing negative for it, time and time again, it gets a little trickier. I found that I couldn't turn to my GI for answers because most likely, they were going to keep testing me until they found a medicine that worked. The medicines were expensive, the diagnosis' were mostly incorrect. There are always the options of naturopathy (which is undoubtedly expensive, in my opinion), which still does not give you the most concrete answers.
What did I do? I used the "trial and error" method. I kept a food journal, found the source of the pain, the hives, the reactions, and I went from there. I haven't been back to GI in over a year and I am currently (and comfortably), gluten and dairy-free. Check-ups every now and then are important, just to monitor inflammation, etc., but overall, my health has improved drastically.
But, I am not writing this post to tell you about my medical history. I’m writing this post because going gluten-free (in the beginning stages), is incredibly overwhelming.
I must admit, the first time I walked into the whole-foods store I was almost in tears. There were too many options, the prices were high and how would I know if this stuff actually tasted GOOD. Was I going to miss my macaroni and cheese, frozen pizzas and Doritos? Of course. However, I decided that continuing to eat those processed foods was only going to keep my body in a detrimental state.
So again, I was back to trial-and-error. It took me awhile to locate the perfect breads, pizzas, rolls, ice creams, etc. that were close to perfect to "the real thing," but, after being gluten-free (and now dairy-free), for almost two years, I know what to look for.
So with that, if you’re still reading this post (my fellow, gluten-free dieters), you must be interested to see: The List.
Well, here you go. Any questions, feel free to comment!
Trader Joes (located in East Liberty and Upper St. Clair) TJ’s has great selections for anybody: organic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free –you name it, they have it! And, they are super reasonable, highly accommodating. This is hands down, my favorite grocery store.
Community Market (general Pittsburgh area) Reasonable prices and their gluten-free selection continues to grow (and amaze me), each time that I am in the store. This is where I found my dream: gluten-free chicken fingers. Yum! Most of their items are located in a small frozen section. Just ask a clerk, they are super friendly!
Giant Eagle + Whole Foods (the obvious stores) Both have great selections and are continuing to grow.
Now, onto the food. ..
Amy's pizza (gluten and dairy-free): though this isn't the BEST pizza replication, it’s the best so far.
Crunch master crackers
Earth balance butter: gluten free/dairy free (soy free) and tastes like regular butter!
SILK milk and yogurt
Coconut milk, almond milk
Smuckers all natural peanut butter
Gluten-free rice cakes
UDI’s bread and bagels (they have cinnamon raisin now)
Rudy's bread is my second choice
‘Food for life’ English muffins
Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free bread mix (easy in oven or bread maker...I miss fresh baked French bread)
Bob’s red mill xanthium gum, hazelnut flour
BISQUICK gluten free baking mix (delicious)
Duncan Hines gluten-free brownie mix
Most salad dressings are gluten-free
SO delicious ice cream & novelties
I DO NOT recommend:
Bunnie’s Macaroni and Cheese (my first of many errors)
Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour (to each his own, I suppose, but I simply did not like this)
DAIYA soy cheese (not an accurate replication, by any means)
Potatoes are OK! No gluten here.
French Fries and chicken wings are OK if they are UNCOATED
If you are dairy-free, eggs are an animal product, NOT a dairy product
So with that, explore your gluten-free (and dairy-free) options, and feel free to share! I hope this was a helpful post – happy eating!