So its been two months since I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I have been gluten free for two months and its not been without its challenges. You do not realize how much wheat/gluten is in well…almost everything. In medication? Yep. Hair & makeup products? Uh huh. In almost all chicken & beef stock on the market? Of course. Chocolate? Condiments? Soup? Spice? A resounding yes. So while I creep around the supermarket checking the backs of EVERYTHING I buy, I have found some great GF goodies.
Here’s my list of the best GF supermarket finds.
Presidents Choice fresh baked goods:
Its very rare to find any Gluten Free fresh baked items. They are almost always frozen. However Loblaws has stepped it up to produce a line of GF baked goods that are fan-tastic. They have muffins, cookies, brownies and breads. I recommend all of their fresh baked items and especially love their lemon poppyseed bread and two bite brownies.
Dear Chex, I love you. I give major pat on the back to the Chex peeps for making the majority of their products GF. In Canada we only have two flavors (plain & honey) however in the US they have six yes SIX kinds of GF chex; chocolate, honey nut, maple, apple cinnamon, corn and rice. YUM. I will now get anyone I know visiting the US to bring me back some boxes of Chex. A note to other cereal producers (I am looking at you Kellogs and General Mills) please take a look at your cereals and eliminate any unnecessary gluten! Why do corn flakes need wheat in them? Come on! If Chex can do it, you can too.
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce from the US:
Lea & Perrin’s in Canada and the UK are not gluten free, however the product produced in the US is! As I am married to an Englishman, this is in a lot of our meals. It was a godsend to get a couple bottles of the US version. (Thanks in-laws for being my food mules!)
I can truthfully say that when cooked properly + covered in a yummy sauce, rice pasta pretty much tastes exactly the same as wheat.
*Edit* Quinoa/Amaranth/Brown Rice Pasta: Even better than rice pasta, this pasta cooks to el dente perfectly! The one we have is TruRoots from Costco, and its great. You will honestly not miss wheat pasta with this option. To warn you, its very starchy and the pasta water turns white like milk (weird!)
These gems are so yummy I rarely miss the wheat versions. A bonus is that none of my friends hold up their noses to them when I serve them with cheese at parties. Everyone loves the salty goodness of rice crackers.
Fresh Corn Tortillas:
GF sandwich bread is iffy at best, and frankly in my eyes not worth the cost. Corn Tortillas however are a great alternative. You can make breakfast wraps, lunch wraps, fajitas, tacos. You can even use them as a mini pizza crust, you can fry them in a pan and add bacon & eggs on top for a sort of breakfast nachos. You can even fry or bake them and sprinkle cinnamon & sugar for a sweet crispy treat. Keep a stash in your freezer and you will never go hungry.
What you don’t see on my list is regular bread. That’s because gluten free bread is well…different, and I am not yet desperate enough to succumb to its weird texture and taste. I have found some good nut and seed breads that are more of a cake, but a light fluffy French bread? Hahaha NO. I still walk past my neighborhood bakery every morning and cry a little inside. To me it’s not worth eating gluten free bread when I can still remember what a warm baguette tastes like.
What are my neighborhood picks for Gluten Free?
- Cashew cookies & Nutella latte at Cafe con Leche.
- Portuguese BBQ at chicken at Cantanhede O Bairradino
- Brunch at the Wippoorwill (pic of menu above)
- Fresh corn tortillas & nacho chips from La Tortilleria.
- Bread & treats from Bunners.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Celiac or a gluten intolerance, here is my advice. Don’t let it rule your life and ruin your love of food. All the advice I was given said to eat simple basic food, and to not eat out. One of the reasons I live in downtown Toronto is to be able to grab a coffee & a snack while walking the dog and to eat the most sacred of hipster meals; brunch. I enjoy food trucks and niche restaurants and 1/2 price wing nights with my friends. To give up those things would be giving up a lot of happiness, and I wont let my inability to eat gluten run my life. If you put in your research and ask a lot of questions, you can eat out. Especially in small restaurants where the chef knows everything about the food they’re serving. You may have to cut out big chain restaurants (but that’s probably a good thing!) Get to know your neighborhood, and the great things it can offer you. If you live in a major city, I can guarantee that the most hipster coffee shop in your town will have a gluten free baked good. Does being gluten free suck? Absolutely, but I am dealing with it, and so can you.