As some of you may know, I have to eat gluten free (GF) as does my brother. My neighbor was recently diagnosed and I would love to outline some of my fav, best tasting GF products since a conversation with him got me thinking of the great products that are available. Now, the best gluten free foods are the ones that are just naturally gluten free of course. I get a bit exasperated, but understand, if I have to explain to someone that I can’t eat wheat and they say “oh that’s terrible, you must not be able to eat anything”. I think the opposite and say if a diet is that heavily based on wheat and that’s the corner-stone to the diet, then that is a much bigger problem!
The problem is however, is that when you have to or choose to eat gluten free, it’s the gluten in all the insidious hidden places that continues to surprise me. Even in foods that should not have any gluten whatsoever in them. Examples are soy sauce, any boxed grain, even the rice “mixes” like Zateran’s, (Rice in and of itself is the most hypo allergenic food in the world, able to be tolerated by the vast majority of people) some canned foods even, any bottled sauce and the one that confused me the most is I HOP putting pancake batter in their eggs/omlettes. Another one is “modified food starch” or “thickening agents” most likely wheat. You can never be too safe. First, while this list is by no means even remotely complete, here are some foods naturally gluten free. This list is more carb/grain heavy since it goes without saying that fruits, veggies, etc do not have gluten.
- Buckwheat (yes, despite the name, no wheat, no gluten. But, it is frequenty mixed with wheat flour)
- Amaranth (cultivated for over 8000 years!)
- Wild Rice
- Oats (however many are contaminated with gluten during processing so be careful)
Aside from just eating natural unprocessed foods, there is a time when you’d love a treat and quite frankly just want to eat a sandwich and have a piece of bread! Here are my top picks and brands that I highly recommend.
Top tasting breads:
The two brands I highly recommend are Udi’s and Rudi’s. Very good texture and very “realistic”. If you want a good old fashioned sandwich on white bread-Udi’s White Sandwich bread can’t be beat. However, I think the whole grain version is really tasty and has a bit more flavor/texture. Rudi’s whole grain bread is extremely good and toasts up amazingly well.
Udi’s has a wide product range of GF products including hamburger buns (big thumbs up) and pizza crusts. I can’t say enough about the texture and consistency of the products. All very good. The bagels are more like bagel shaped bread, but hey, beggers can’t be choosers 🙂
Tinkyada brand wins hands down. They have organic brown rice GF pasta or just regular non-organic. The only difference I could tell was in the price!
Food For Life brown rice wraps. Other wraps have not even remotely passed the test. These are excellent for quesidillas and I love to make breakfast burritos with them.
This is a local WI company and their products are downright tasty www.grandmaferdons.com They are up in Hayward, WI and although all their products are great, they have these little lemon bars, pumpkin bars, etc that are simply amazing.
I have to admit this was the one thing I missed the most. I am amazed now that what was such a treat in the past is now available at most local pizzerias here, a national franchise, and the freezer case at the grocery store. Top picks:
Everything at Christianos is amazing (gelato!) and I was so happy they offered a GF crust. They bake it in their brick ovens and it is a true treat. Make sure they cook it long enough or it can by slightly doughy/mushy. But, when cooked right, the crust is crisp and very “real” tasting.
Dominos-the first national franchise to offer GF pizza. The verdict? It was great! Very crisp crust and slightly sweet, which makes me think they use a rice flour based crust.
Amy’s Pizza: Found in the freezer case of the grocery store. Great flavors and again, the crust passes the test.
Eatons (local) this used to be my favorite take out. Eatons takes it a step further and puts the crust in a small aluminum pan to avoid any cross contamination. Not exactly the Eatons I loved, but very good. It will never be the same, but it can get pretty darn close! Thin, crisp crust.