If you’ve found that you need to go gluten-free, there is still so much food you can eat: rice, millet, quinoa, potatoes, corn, cornmeal, oats (some very sensitive individuals require gluten-free oats), vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, pork and beef. So much is still available to you! Things that might be confusing are some grains and condiments. For instance, couscous is a popular "healthy grain" used in many recipes, but it contains gluten. Another one that contains gluten is graham (graham flour, graham crackers). When it comes to grains, a quick internet search will help you figure out if it contains gluten. Condiments, however, could very well be the biggest culprit in your refrigerator. So many sauces, dressings and spreads contain gluten. This would be where I would look first. There’s almost always a gluten-free version of your favorite condiment available on your grocery store shelves, especially if your store has a natural or gluten-free section.
Things you think you can’t have: pasta (I LOVE pasta!), bread (I also love bread), cookies, crackers, cereal, breadcrumbs, pancakes and pretzels. Let's start with pasta. My favorite pasta is from Trader Joe’s. It’s made from organic brown rice and is available in spaghetti, penne, and spiral varieties. It comes in a huge bag that’s only $1.99 (compared to $4 for smaller boxes of other pastas at the grocery store). If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, I’m sorry! My mother-in-law used to get me dozens of bags of pasta when she’d visit because I didn’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby. (I know, I’m lucky!) There are lots of other gluten-free pastas available too, made out of rice, quinoa and corn.
Bread. There are various gluten-free breads, usually in the freezer section (Udi’s and Rudi’s are my favorites), but once you get into it you may find making your own bread is more cost-efficient. The store bought breads usually have coupons you can find on-line and then wait for them to go on sale in order to make it more affordable.
Crackers and Cookies. Gluten-free crackers and cookies are readily available on many store shelves, though you may find baking your own to be tastier. Pamela's is one brand that I like, but they're a little dry. Making your own ensures that you get the ingredients you want and the texture you're craving! Packaged gluten-free products can be a little lacking in the texture department.
Cereal. Cereal is also available gluten-free. I buy organic corn flakes from Trader Joe’s and these organic frosted flakes from Amazon:
Breadcrumbs. I used to make my own breadcrumbs from leftover homemade bread, you know, "when I had time"...., which means not often. Oats are a convenient substitute for breadcrumbs for many things, but not for frying fish or sprinkling on top of a casserole! Thankfully, my mother-in-law has found a wonderful gluten-free breadcrumb mix that works great in crab cakes and meatballs! It’s called Aleia’s and I love it. Who would've known you can also buy them on Amazon? (By the way, this price is for a 4-pack.)