Gluten Free Foods You Can Eat
You’ve just been told you have to follow a gluten free diet. Okay! Sounds easy enough until you start checking all the labels on the foods and cans that you have stored in your pantry! Yikes! So many things contain wheat that you never even thought of before. Even licorice has wheat in it! Candy has wheat! That’s crazy!
So now what! Let’s look at the things that you can have that are easy and simple to prepare.
Meat, fish, vegetables and fruits. No wheat in any of those, as long as they are not breaded. Natural foods that Mother Nature intended for you to eat in the first place. Many delicious dishes can be prepared with these simple ingredients.
Next up the grain group. Anything that does not contain gluten can be used here. Good ol’ pop corn, corn on the cob, rice and polenta, sorghum and hominy grits, and buckwheat. Then there’s the unusual grains like amaranth, millet, montina ( a rice grass), quinoa and teff. Some old standby’s and interesting new ones to try.
Now you can buy certified gluten free rolled oats for those of us who have been dying for some oatmeal cookies. What makes these oats different from “normal” oats you can buy at the store? Well, bless those farmer’s hearts. They have set aside dedicated fields where they grow ONLY oats far away from any gluten containing grains like wheat.
The “normal” oats in the store have been planted next to wheat or barley fields where the plants have crossed over. That means that there are rolled wheat or barley grains mixed in with the regular rolled oats in your neighborhood store. Off limits for us celiacs.
What about flours to bake with to make pancakes, waffles and biscuits? You can use bean flours, corn meal, corn flour, flax seeds and meal, montina flour, potato flour or starch. rice flour, masa harina that is made from corn ( a staple here in the southwest), tapioca pearls or flour, sorghum flour, mesquite flour ( made from mesquite beans – another readily available item here), nut flours like almond meal, soy flour, sweet rice flour, and corn or arrowroot starch. Quite a selection.
How about something ready to eat! Do I have to make everything from scratch?
No you don’t! Many companies have been expanding and adding gluten free food lines in recent years. My local grocery carries quite a few gluten free items for me to purchase. Most of them are found in the natural foods section, but some are scattered around the store.
There are gluten free pizzas and frozen dinners, waffles and pancakes and even fish sticks and chicken nuggets! Next time you visit the store, look around! You might be surprised at what you find.
Specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods, carry an impressive selection. I have found frozen cookies, burger buns, bagels, bread, scones, english muffins, and dozens of other items ready to go. Make sure you visit these stores also. Sometimes they are your best source for specialty items that are gluten free.
Please make sure that whatever you buy for yourself, that it states it is gluten free. When you are first starting out, labels can be confusing and frustrating. Especially when you are trying to figure out what all the strange ingredient names are and what they mean.
Thankfully, as of January 1st of 2006, all food manufactured in the USA must state if there is any wheat present in the product. So, if a product contains wheat in any form it will tell you on the label that there is wheat present.
Unfortunately, this does not apply to barley or rye (two other sources of gluten). Avoid anything with malt flavoring or malt as this is made from barley. Be careful, be safe.
Let’s enjoy our gluten lifestyle together! I’m all about having fun with this 🙂
ps…. check out how to make chocolate waffles for you and your family… they’ll love em!