Monday, 31 January 2011

The gluten free shopping adventure

So, I had my gluten free shopping adventure this weekend. Some things were really hard to do. Other things, that I expected to be really difficult, weren’t as bad as I thought they would be. I was even able to go to lunch with mom on Saturday. I was pleasantly surprised that Market Place Grill had a gluten free menu. This made my life so much easier.
I didn’t plan my meals for the week like I usually do. I knew there would be a lot of label reading and I wasn’t sure what I would be able to find gluten free.
This week’s menu:
Spaghetti -- (regular pasta for the other folks and rice pasta for me. If the rice pasta doesn’t work out I’ll get spaghetti squash or make polenta next time)
Mexican polenta  – I’ll share this one with you some time.
Potato Soup
Polish Sausage with Sauerkraut and Mashed potatoes
Pork Chops, Rice, and green beans

I was really shocked at some items that contain traces of gluten. Many of them were the Great Value brand made by Wal-Mart. As a result, there were many things that I had to buy name brand. I found gluten in peanut butter, grape jelly, lunchmeat and canned tomatoes. Seriously? What purpose could the gluten possibly serve?
In addition to shocking items containing gluten, I also had some pleasant surprises. If I can dodge the expense of a health food store I’ll be happy. Here were some of my surprising finds:
Gluten Free Bisquick 1 lb box for $4.19 – I’ll let you know if this is any good.
Mom’s Best Naturals Oatmeal 16 oz. $1.00 – Ingredients? Rolled Oats. Period. That’s it.
Progresso Soups – $1.25 When they’re gluten free they’re clearly labeled. I bought Chicken Cheese Enchilada and French Onion
DeBoles Rice Spaghetti -- $3 give or take. I’ll let you know if this one’s any good too.
Hunts canned tomatoes – all varieties
Chex cereals – clearly marked gluten free
Hormel Naturals Deli Ham -- $2.50, 8 oz. pkg

At another store I found:

Swanson Chicken Broth, 16 oz carton, $1.00
Luigi Giovanni Gluten Free Pasta Sauce – clearly marked, $1.00
Quakes Chocolate Rice Crisps -- $3 give or take, great chocolate taste and satisfying, made by Quaker

Overall, it’s not that bad. I’m not feeling like I’m doing without either. Then again, this is only day three. *laughs*

I knew this would be a challenge, but I also knew there are many products, marketed as gluten free, which are normally gluten free anyway and without the hefty “gluten free price tag”. For a week’s worth of gluten free meals, including snacks, I was able to stay within my grocery budget. It simply took a little extra time to read labels and think through my current recipe stash to determine which meals were already within the diet.

I haven’t figured out how I’m going to tackle bread yet. I’ve heard about two brands which are supposed to be really good. There is Udi’s, which is pre-made at about $6 a loaf. There are also Pamela’s bread mixes that come out more like $3-4 a loaf. For the moment I’ll be swearing off bread completely and once I’m more comfortable with the diet I’ll move on to bread.

Things I’m going to miss the most?

Sonic cheeseburgers
Oreo cookies
My pecan pie
Orowheat Oatnut Bread
Pita Chips
Flour tortillas
Homemade cinnamon rolls


Seriously though, it's not that bad and shopping wasn't that hard. I think I can do this. If it works, then great, I'll stick with it and I'll feel better. If it doesn't work -- I'm going to sonic for a cheeseburger and an oreo cookie blast....

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