When I was originally diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2006 it was pretty slim pickings in the gluten-free foods department. I understood what gluten was doing to my body, but I was completely flabbergasted as to how I was going to give my pantry a complete makeover and switch all my products overnight and not feel deprived.
The Westerly Market in Manhattan, at the time had an abundance of gluten-free products. They were known for that, so that’s where I went. I remember standing in the narrow tiny aisle thinking O-M-G. There were so many options, and I was so new to this diet I felt overwhelmed. What was I even looking at, which products were the best, which tasted better, which had better ingredients. I didn’t have a guide so I had to experiment all on my own. It was both fearful and exciting!
I even remember to this day just how HEAVY those bags were walking down the streets of Manhattan as if I had so much weight on my shoulders. And in a way I did, not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well. As we all know it is damn hard to create a shift that big and not get overwhelmed by it. And If you are feeling this way, don’t sweat it! It’s natural. : )
Side note: Bread Story:
I held off on gluten-free bread. I had heard that gluten-free bread was disgusting, and that finding a suitable bread option in the gluten-free department was going to be hard. So I did everything in between and left the bread out. I didn’t need bread anyways! So I gave up sandwiches. I’ll tell you, I didn’t try gluten-free bread for a couple of years! Can you believe the silliness? I finally did when Katz Gluten-Free sent me a huge box of their products to review on my blog way back when. I remember thinking, oh no, I’m going to have to try gluten-bread and it’s going to be gross and how am I going to write about it on my blog (blogspot at the time). But I was instead BLOWN AWAY. I couldn’t believe how delicious this bread was, how it tasted just like the original spongy bread I was so used to and actually missed. Katz Bread completely changed my view on gluten-free bread being bad. It’s just simply not true!
Like any product you try, food tasting is the same across the board when the wheat and gluten is removed. It’s NOT going to taste the way it used to, the texture WILL be different, you WILL have to taste all kinds of products until you find the one your palate and body loves, and the entire experience WONT feel the same as it did before. But not in a bad way.
One of the most important things I learned is that not all gluten-free foods are created equal. This goes for ingredients AND quality AND taste! What your Celiac sister may love, you may hate. But that goes with everything in life, it’s why God gave us the ability to make our own decisions and form our own opinions.
The same goes for regular wheat non-gluten products. Some are just plain nasty.
The exciting part of this journey is that you are creating your life, you are building your future, you are taking care of your body – even if it’s hard throughout the entire process. But it does get easier, you get savvier and you will learn to notice the difference between what works and what doesn’t. When your body says “YES!!! Give me some more please!! to when your body says “NOOOOOO nasty, vile disgusting!”.
I’ll tell you that there are some gluten-free products out there – actually quite a lot!! that are so above and beyond delicious that most cannot believe they are gluten-free. And then there are many products that are naturally gluten-free that are just plain amazing! But like dating, there are also a LOT of gluten-free toads. Make it your mission, the quest that you owe to yourself to jump in and find what works best for your body in taste and quality so you can live your best life.
As a side note – In the last three years I have drastically reduced the amount of food from a box that I eat. In fact, 80% of what I eat is made from scratch. This has been a personal choice driven by medical reasons and instead I stick to a clean diet. However, there are those times when even I am in a pinch! So if that is you, or you need a bit of guidance, or are new to the gluten-free lifestyle, or just want to try something new, I have compiled a list of my “over the years” favorite gluten-free products! #Legworkdone
Lavender Cake Mix:
Wholesome Chow – Organic Gluten-Free Lavender Chocolate Cake Mix
Pumpkin Spice Cake Mix:
My Grandpa’s Farm Organic Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Cake Mix
King Arthur Cookie Mix
King Arthur Gluten-Free Brownie Mix
Carrot Cake Mix:
My Grandpa’s Farm Organic Carrot Cake Mix
Alternative Flours & Thickeners:
All Purpose Flour Mix
Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
Otto’s Cassava Flour
Organic Gemini Tigernut Flour
Bob’s Red Mill Aluminum Free Gluten-Free Baking Powder
Bob’s Red Mill Premium Xanthan Gum
Bob’s Red Mill Arrowroot Starch
**There are a bunch of other Gluten-Free flours I love and bake with, but they were not available online.
Other Baking Needs:
Nu Naturals Liquid Pure Stevia, Alcohol Free
Chatfield’s 100% unsweetened Carob powder
Hershey’s – unsweetened 100% Cacao powder
Chocolate Baking Chips:
Enjoy Life Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Baking Chips
Sweets and treats
Pure Genius Protein Brownies & Blondies
Kininninick Gluten-Free Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
Dairy Alternative Ice Cream:
So Delicious Gluten-Free Coconut based Ice Cream
Dairy Alternative Sorbet:
Sharon’s Coconut Sorbet – Chocolate
Breads, Bagels, Pasta’s and More
Foods For Life – Brown Rice
Snacks: Crackers, Chips, Pretzels & More
Once Again Cashew Butter
I adore this brand for all nut butters including: Almond and Peanut. I also love this brand for Seed butters like Sunflower and Tahini. I prefer the sugar-free and salt-free versions.
Sunbutter Sunflower Seed Butter
Ziggy Marley Organic Coconut Butter
Absolutely Gluten-Free Flatbread-original
Lundberg Brown Rice Cakes
Mary’s Gone Crackers – original
Crunch Master Multi-Seed Crackers-original
Orgran Buckwheat Crispbread
Le Pain Des Fleurs Buckwheat Crisps
Doctor in the Kitchen Flackers Flaxseed Rosemary Crackers
Simply 7 – Lentil Chips
Ziggy Marley Coconut Oil
Non-Dairy Milk Alternative:
So Delicious – Coconut Milk Unsweetened
So Delicious – Coconut Milk Regular
Good Karma – Flax Milk Unsweetened
So Delicious – Lite Coconut Culinary Milk
So Delicious – Full Fat Coconut Culinary Milk
Organic Gemini – Tigernut Milk – Unsweetened
Suzie’s – Quinoa Milk – Unsweetened
(**I usually make my non dairy milks (tigernut, hemp, gluten-free oat, quinoa, pumpkin seed) from scratch with the exception of coconut milk and flaxseed milk, but on the off chance that I need to buy them, the brands above are the ones I support.)
Non-Dairy Yogurt Alternative:
Anita’s Creamline Coconut Yogurt
Spanglers Peppermint Gluten-Free Candy Canes
Orgran Molasses Black Licorice
**Some Affiliate links were used for this post
Love & Gluten-Free,