Thursday, February 17, 2011

Speaking on gluten-free foods...

A while back I decided to go gluten free. I kind of backed into it. I went on a trip with my son who was doing the Atkins Diet and I opted to be supportive and do it, too. Being a vegetarian, my diet was severely limited to say the least! What's left after you cut out meat, sugar and carbs?

I'm not a true vegetarian or I'd have been limited to lettuce given the selection at the restaurants around the show. I'll eat eggs and cheese and will eat a piece of ocean fish once in a blue moon. I haven't had red meat or chicken since high school. I used to be much stricter but have lightened up in the areas of eggs, milk and cheese although I opt for hormone-free, organic and similar.

After five days of eggs and veggies, I was cured of my sugar habit completely. Ditto on my carb addiction.

I was amazed at how much better I felt! I decided to stick with the diet to some degree. I'm staying sugar free. I'm persnickety sugar free. If a product has dextrose, corn syrup, or any kind of sugar at all in it, even in the 'under 2%' listing, I won't buy it. I am aware of the difference between the sugar in tomatoes, grapes, etc. and other sugars!

After a time I introduced some occasional breads back into my diet, but chose to go gluten free. I'd been doing some reading plus have a few relatives who have gone gluten free with great results, so it seemed like a good time to try it.

I like it. A lot. I feel better, I don't have those afternoon slumps, my digestive system is happy and I haven't missed all those breads, pastas and other items. I guess that's partially because my stomach may have shrunk a bit --- or maybe the foods I'm eating are filling. Process foods never seemed to satisfy, I'd always find myself peering into the refrigerator an hour or so after eating, hoping to find that magic food that would satisfy. Now I waltz through the day and don't have those cravings.

One downside to eating as strangely as I do in this fast-food, restaurant loving, processed food world is that my friends who already thought I was a strange eater are really scratching their heads when they invite me over for dinner. I try not to make an issue of my diet, I can always find something to order when I go to a restaurant.

Another downside to it all is the cost of gluten-free products. Talk about taking a hit to the old pocket book! However, given I don't eat but a minuscule amount when compared to my pre-gluten-free days, it's really not as bad as it could be.

I've also discovered there are some horrible tasting gluten-free products out on the market. Horrible even for my weird-adjusted palate.

I've found two things that I think are great.

One is made by a local baker and sold wholesale to local restaurants. It's a gluten-free hamburger bun. I first tried it at the Broadway Diner in Fayetteville, Georgia. They have excellent food, cooked to order, and bend over backwards to accommodate my requests. When I eat there, no matter what time of day, I have them toast a couple of the buns for me. I take one half home, eat the other with my meal. I limit myself to one of the bun halves a day at most. They're white instead of wheat like I normally like, but I think it's stretching it to expect both! As a special request they ordered some extras for me and I carry home some frozen buns off and on. Very nice people, excellent food, love everything about Broadway.

The other thing that I love to treat myself to is Glutino pretzels. Those things are good. Everyone in my family loves them. They're not what I'd call inexpensive so don't buy them for the snack-happy gluttons in your family! It's hard to eat a ton of them anyway, but if you're family and friends aren't going to appreciate them, save them for yourself.

I really haven't had a desire to eat any noodles, pizza or other 'normal' gluten-type items so I can't tell you which ones are good. I could tell you which ones are bad based on friends reviews, but I try to stay positive on here.

Do you have any favorite gluten free foods (not recipes, we're talking about buy-off-the-shelf type foods). I've found that most stores now carry items, and many restaurants have a selection.

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