Is it an allergy or a preference? I love it when restaurants ask this question.
For those of you who know me personally or follow my Instagram, you’ll notice that majority of what I cook and bake are gluten free. For me it’s neither an allergy or a preference. For my boyfriend, it’s an allergy. He experienced a range of symptoms for several months before he was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease almost two years ago.
We are grateful that it’s not severe. Certain cross-contamination’s are tolerable. By certain I mean 99% of the time. For example, if we go to a restaurant and they tell us that they fry their potatoes in the same oil as they fry other foods containing gluten, he’s okay. If the food is cooked using the same pots and pans as what’s used to prep and cook with gluten, he’s okay. See the pattern here?
Two years ago, it was hard (borderline impossible) to find gluten free ingredients at the markets let alone dining in restaurants. Grocery store visits became longer since I had to sift through the ingredient labels and Google ingredients I was not familiar with. It’s not as simple as just avoiding things with wheat. Fast forward two years, gluten free options are everywhere! I’m so happy to see this!
Let’s talk about bread. Gluten free bread is so expensive…just like any other specialty bread…and the loaf if so small. I was determined, determined I tell you, to bake my own. I even got a bread maker for Christmas in 2018 to attempt to bake my own. Let me tell you, I was not successful. I can bake all the other stuff, the muffins, the cakes, the cookies, but definitely not bread. It wasn’t bad, but it was just sad. It’s totally worth paying $7-8/loaf at that point. The ingredients that go into it…my gosh. I had an entire shelf dedicated to those ingredients! While I’m still confident I’ll nail it one day, we just opt to buy them right now. His favorite brands, hands down, are Schär and Canyon Bakehouse. The great thing is that they have quite a long lifespan in the fridge. Much longer than bread with gluten (i.e. my bread). So when it comes to bread, we always have 1-2 loaves of Schär or Canyon Bakehouse for sandwiches in the fridge along with a loaf of Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin for French toast. By the way, Trader Joe’s also has a great variety of gluten free items—they even have a list available for you on their website!
How about pasta? Do you love it? I love it! One of my favorite foods in the entire world! At first, I thought subbing gluten free would be terrible, but it turned out to be so easy! Barilla was one of my go-to brands for pasta prior to his diagnosis and they make a gluten free version of their pastas! BINGO! And truth be told, I actually like it much better than their gluten pastas—best part is…it’s easier to digest! I always have a few boxes of their gluten free spaghetti in the pantry. Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Fusilli is definitely a close second to Barilla.
Costco has added quite a few gluten free items to their warehouses including Banza gluten free pasta, Rao’s Marinara Sauce, Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers, and many Kirkland branded protein bars.
When it comes to baking, I highly recommend Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour and Almond Meal/Flour. Also, personally, I have not had much luck subbing gluten free ingredients into “regular” recipes. It always comes out way too dense and dry. Instead, I would Google the same recipe but with “gluten free” in the search. The about gluten free flour is that it needs a binder…something to help it retain moisture. If you are going to sub, then sub less gluten free flour (even if it’s a 1 to 1 flour). For example, if a regular recipe calls for 1 cup of all purpose flour then I would put 1 cup shy (i.e. maybe 3/4 cup) of 1 to 1 flour. Just speaking from experience—not a professional.
Now time for snacks! Hands down: Nature’s Bakery Gluten Free Fig Bars. I’ve only been able to find the Fig Bars on Thrive Market in a pack of 12. I have seen other Nature’s Bakery Gluten Free Blueberry/Pomegranate/Raspberry Bars at Target and Smart and Finals, but never the Fig Bars. Thrive Market branded apple sauce pouches are another big hit here. We’ve tried other brands such as Trader Joe’s and Costco Kirkland, but our favorite is Thrive Market. It’s smooth and not chunky or grainy.
Thrive Market became my go-to place to shop for gluten free items from the beginning. The app is so easy to use and the filtering algorithms are wonderful. They cater to a wide audience including paleo, Whole 30, vegan, etc. ”It’s a membership community […] offering healthy food and natural products […] at wholesale prices.” Each membership sponsors a free membership for low-income American families. They carry their own branded items along with many other brands (such as almost everything I mentioned on this post) such as Siete, Primal Kitchen, NuttZo, Safe Catch, Wholesome, Nutiva, Simply Organic, Simple Mills, New Primal, Califia Farms, Epic Provisions, Lotus Foods, Tessemae’s and so much more! By the way, this is not an ad. I love Thrive Market and I just really want you to know that! You can use the link above to save 25% off your first order, if you’re interested.
An easy go-to breakfast will be oats. This can be overnight oats (but it’s cold) or cups of oats such as RxBar Oats and Bob’s Red Mill’s Oatmeal Cups. Both are delicious, but the RxBar Oats contain more protein and they also sell them at Costco now!
Have I forgotten anything? Seeing how long this post is, any additions will have to be on another post…if I haven’t lost you already. Next time I will share some gluten free baking recipes with you!
In the meantime, thanks for tuning in and I hope you’re having a wonderful week!