Happy Sunday everyone! I just got back from the grocery store and felt inspired to write a blog post about food. To put it more precisely, I'm going to tell you about the foods I eat.
I follow a gluten-free diet in addition to being severely allergic to peanuts and nuts, shellfish, and chickpeas. I can imagine what you're thinking... if I can't eat wheat, legumes, or sushi, what DO I eat? And how do I manage to order anything at restaurants?
It's quite simple: I substitute.
Just because I'm gluten-free doesn't mean I can't enjoy bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, or cake. It just means that said bread, pasta, crackers, cookies and cake must be made with rice, bean, quinoa, or potato-based flours. Yes, they might not taste the same as the real thing, but they actually taste better to me because I won't feel sick afterwards like I would with a wheat-based product.
Over the past year and a bit that I have been gluten-free, I have tried many different grocery-store brands that boast to be amazing. Some are true to their word and others leave much to be desired. Here are a few of my favourite gluten-free products that taste real, NOT cardboard-y:
Kinnikinnick Foods whole grain bread. You buy it frozen and defrost it slice by slice as needed. Taste and consistency-wise, it's by far the best I've had and it holds together quite well for a gluten-free alternative. Even Roger says it's good!
Glutino Pretzel Twists. These are addictive! So buttery and yummy. Never in a million years would I have suspected they were gluten-free.
Mary's Crackers. These seed-based crackers are the perfect compliment for any dip. They are also really yummy with chicken salad and cheese for lunch.
Enjoy Life Granola. Believe it or not, this product is free of wheat, gluten, milk, peanuts, nuts, mustard, sulphites, egg, soy, fish, crustaceans, shellfish, and sesame. I felt like I was in heaven when I read the label. It's expensive, so I only bought it once, but it was divine with fruit and yogurt as a treat.
Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free Flour Mix. Good things come in small packages. I love that I don't need to add anything to this; you can just use it like regular flour.
Mi-del Ginger Snap cookies. I could eat these every day with tea.
And lastly, Breton crackers. Finally they make them gluten-free! Costco sells them in a 4-pack. The garden vegetable ones are not that great; the flaxseed ones are much better.
Never do I feel like I'm missing out on a well-balanced diet by not eating wheat. I eat oatmeal with raisins and Greek yogurt for breakfast every morning. If we're craving carbs for dinner, we can buy pre-maid gluten-free pizza dough at the Italian market around the corner. We also eat a lot of rice, quinoa, corn tortillas, sweet potatoes, and spaghetti squash. I really don't find hard to avoid wheat.
I have been allergic to peanuts and nuts ever since I was 2, so it gets easier and easier to avoid them as companies introduce more and more peanut-free products. Restaurants are becoming increasingly more cautious as well. More often than not, the chef will come out to either guarantee the safety of a particular dish or suggest another one that can be made entirely peanut-free. Eating peanut-free is second nature to me. If I want dessert, but can't find an allergy-friendly option in store, I'll bake it myself.
If I'm ever craving what I imagine peanut butter to taste like, I can always eat Wow Butter!
I'm ever so thankful that I'm not lactose-intolerant. I think that's where the true difficulty would lie. I love yogurt, milk, and anything with extra cheese on it!
Optimistically speaking, being allergic to so many things has been a blessing in disguise. It has forced me to eat clean, prepare healthy meals at home from scratch, and scrutinize labels for "bad" ingredients. I do worry; however, that I'm not getting enough nutrients through food, especially when it comes to the "good" fats found in nuts. I take a multivitamin for that.
For anyone Celiac or trying to embrace a gluten-free lifestyle, I hope that this post was helpful! Please feel free to email me if you'd like some more tips/recipes.