Great Foods for Your Gluten Free Pantry

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A great gluten free pantry needs to include some high quality gluten free flours, such as quinoa, sorghum, rice, tapioca, and teff.  Don’t worry about adding them all at once.  Just buy one each time you go to the grocery store, and soon you’ll have several to choose from.  The reason it’s good to have more than one is because gluten free flours work best when you mix several types.  You will also need xanthan gum or guar gum.  Without one of these, it’s hard to make good baked gluten free goodies.  Xanthan or guar gum holds baked goods together, and is like gluten in many ways.  It’s expensive, but needed.

You’ll also want to find some gluten free cereals.  I like Rice Chex and Envirokids cereals.  I also buy Erewhon Brown Rice Cereal and Cream of Rice.  It can be hard to find cereals, and certainly the selection is not huge, but if you check out the gluten free section of your grocery store, you’re sure to find a pretty good substitute. Vans gluten free waffles are awesome!  I eat them for breakfast with peanut butter.  Yum.

A gluten free pantry should be mostly full of whole, unprocessed foods.  Now that you’re gluten free, it’s a great time to start eating healthy.  Your body needs whole, natural foods, not highly processed junk,  so try to limit the processed replacements.   Stock plenty of fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy foods, if you are ok with milk.

Once you are gluten free, be sure to read every label each time you buy a food item.  If you don’t, you will probably get burned sooner or later.  Also, don’t forget to consider cross contamination.  Many items will appear to be gluten free, but you end up feeling aweful after eating them.   What happened?  Cross contamination.  Many foods you think are gluten free are produced on shared lines.  Other foods are processed on the same factory lines, and somehow wheat or gluten gets mixed in with the product in small amounts.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to gluten you if you’re sensitive.  Look for items labeled gluten free, and steer clear if you see that a product is produced in a facility that also produces wheat.   I would also advise running a search on any new items.  Research to see if other gluten intolerant people have had problems with the item in question.

It takes a lot of time, especially in the beginning, but being gluten free does get easier with time.  Soon, you’ll discover it’s not so bad, and you may enjoy the new world of amazing gluten free foods out there.

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