My husband discovered a couple of years by accident that his fibromyalgia-like symptoms were almost completely alleviated by eating gluten-free. A gluten free
diet is a lot easier to follow now than it was twenty years ago, but it can still be a daunting task to shop for tasty gluten free foods. Eventually, the benefits of eating gluten free make it seem worthwhile to even a diehard Italian pasta fan, but going gluten free is tough at first.
We have gone through a lot of trial and error searching for delicious, easily prepared gluten free foods. There are wonderful cookbooks that instruct how to create chef-quality gluten free foods from scratch. But I think we are like most people and prefer to substitute our almost prepared mainstream food for almost prepared gluten free foods. The cost is two or three times more than typical grocery store foods, so hopefully these suggestions save you some time, effort, and money.
My husband had a hard time with missing that wonderful, spongy feeling of good wheat bread. And when a loaf of gluten free bread costs around five dollars, experimenting is a pricey chance. For great taste, Kinninnick multi-grain brown bread is his favorite for toast. The Kinninnick brown sandwich bread is another preferred bread. Both of these breads, and any Kinninnick breads for that matter are best if kept frozen and eaten as toasted bread. A tip for making toast with gluten free bread is to stand them up when first taken out of the toaster so the steam dissipates. Gluten free bread has a tendency to disintegrate when wet.
For a yeasty tasting bread, Ener-G makes a white rice loaf that tastes and feels almost like regular white sandwich bread. This is our favorite for sandwiches. However, you do not want to make a sandwich up ahead of time because it can get soggy and disintegrate. My husband takes bread, meat and little packages of mustard separately. We didn’t care as much for Ener-G’s other bread products, but they are another brand that is worth a try. Like most other gluten free breads, they are best kept refrigerated to prevent dampness and mold.
We like pasta and have spaghetti night about once a week. It was crucial for us to find a satisfactory gluten free pasta. There are several brands out there, including some made with corn instead of rice, but there is only one brand that we feel holds up well and provides the comfort feeling of pasta. Our favorite is Tinkyada pasta. The brown rice pasta is nice and firm without being either too mushy or gritty after cooking. The white rice pasta is lighter in taste, but also maintains a palatable taste and feeling. Both pastas take a bit longer to cook than macaroni pastas, and the white rice pasta in particular needs to be rinsed well before eating. But if you are new to gluten free, I wouldn’t try any other brand of pasta.
Cookies and Desserts:
Once again, Kinninnick wins hands down in this department! Their gluten free cookies are so wonderful that you hardly notice you are no longer eating your favorite brand. We also enjoy their wheat free donuts, which taste like a heavy cake donut with glaze. My husband mostly sticks to icecream for dessert, so we haven’t tried many other dessert items.
Pancakes, Waffles or Biscuits:
Our favorite baking mix would have to be Pamela’s Products. These gluten free mixes do not require many extra ingredients, and bake easily into recognizable foods. I have used the all-purpose baking and pancake mix for both pancakes and biscuits. The brownie and chocolate cake mixes produced by Pamela’s have been big hits as well. I would just start with this brand without trying a lot of the other ones that have the usual problem of being too gritty and coarse feeling.
Yes, we’ve even found a wheat free beer that tastes like the real thing. Best of all, it’s expensive enough that you won’t worry about drinking too much. The best we’ve found is Passover Honey Beer made by Ramapo Valley Brewery. This beer is only available in some regions and costs approximately $13.00 per six-pack. But if you close your eyes, you could swear you were drinking a decent imported beer.
Road’s End Organic Gravy Mixes have been a lifesaver too! I am from the Midwest and grew up making gravy, but gluten free gravy from scratch never turned out the way we wanted. We have used Road’s End Golden Gravy with milk to eat over biscuits and the Savory Herb or Shiitake Mushroom for stew or over mashed potatoes.
Gluten hides in many places such as soy sauce, dried soups, canned cream soups and bouillon cubes. Since we don’t really have favorites or preferences for these items, I suggest just checking labels and shopping at a health food store for these and other gluten free foods.
I hope this gets you started on your journey and that you, too, reap the benefits that we have from eating gluten free!