Welcome to the world of gluten-free living. Whether you are new to the diet or have been following it for quite some time, I hope these tips and tidbits will be useful to you or someone you know. My family has been gluten-free for 25 years , with everyone being diagnosed at different stages of their lives. The household is gluten-free except for our dog’s food. Please be careful when handling pet food so as not to cross-contaminate the household with gluten. Also, please have a separate toaster for gluten-free bread.
The biggest challenge is eating out. Many restaurants have gluten-free menus, but you still have to be careful. For example, a restaurant we recently went to had French fries on the gluten-free menu. My son asked if they were cooked in oil that had also been used for breaded products, and they were. So they’re actually not gluten-free. If you’re new to eating gluten-free you may not even think to ask these types of questions, but you have to be very careful, even if it’s on the menu.
Altieri’s Pizza in Stow is the best place to eat gluten-free, in my opinion. They have great subs, pasta, pizza and cookies. Revolution Pizza in Willoughby is also a good choice. Other restaurants that have accurate gluten-free menus are Yours Truly, The Melting Pot, Outback Steakhouse , Bravo and P.F. Changs. I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones that I’ve been to and verified for myself.
Cross-contamination is also a big challenge. This is crucial for those with celiac disease to know: charcoal for grilling is made with wheat starch. Many people get sick because they don’t realize it. Some brands may no longer use wheat starch, but to be safe I always use hard wood lump coal that we sell at Heinen’s. Another helpful tip is to put foil on the grill so it doesn’t get cross-contaminated with what was cooked there previously.
A Few Favorites
There are so many more gluten-free options than there used to be, and the texture and taste has improved. Our newest cookie (located in the bakery and wellness departments) is called WOW. Hands down, the best pre-made gluten-free cookie!
Nina’s Nibbles is the best cookie mix that Heinen’s sells…period! I love that it’s made locally in Chesterland, and was formulated by a husband and wife team. It is allergen-free, vegan, and has all organic ingredients. It’s a great mix for everyone.
Canyon Bakehouse is my favorite bread. It tastes like a sweet wheat bread and has the texture of “real” bread. It is a 100% whole grain bread with 7 ancient grains. It is found in the gluten-free frozen section but can be thawed out at room temperature.
I like anything by Enjoy Life. I call it a “clean company” – it’s free of the 8 most common allergens (wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish). Their snickerdoodle cookies are addictive – they’re so tasty and soft.
For our chip cravings, we usually get Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips. There are a lot of flavors, but I like the multigrain best, with hummus of course. My son likes Wake Robin fermented cucumber chips. He has some every day and it really helps him feel better. Fermented vegetables improve the autoimmune system, so I’d recommend them to anyone with an autoimmune problem. They are also great for overall gut health.
Customers come in that have recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, and they usually tell me, “I don’t know what I’m going to eat.” They’re afraid they’re going to miss their favorite foods. But going gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to completely give up the things you love. 99% of the time we’ll have a gluten-free replacement – and it tastes good.
People also don’t always know where gluten is “hidden.” It’s sometimes on ingredient lists as malt or natural flavors. I give them pamphlets that list sources to be aware of in food. There is also a list of gluten-free brands that Heinen’s carries here: Gluten-Free Brands
If you need to go gluten-free for any reason, see our Heinen’s wellness consultants. We can all help guide you with your new food choices.