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Foodie Friday

July 30, 2010

I guess I have a commitment problem since I can’t decide on one “theme” for Fridays. But the nice thing about having a blog is that you make the rules. And, today, it is Foodie Friday.

I am often asked by people for gluten-free recommendations. Gluten-free is a necessary diet for people who have celiac disease or who are gluten-intolerant. To be honest, I’m not really sure which category I fall into but the treatment is the same. It is not a trend (like “low-carb” eating) or a choice (such as being a vegetarian/vegan).

When people ask me what they should make for their gluten-free guest, I often tell them to keep it simple. Meat, fish, veggies, fruits, potatoes and rice are all gluten-free by nature. It is what gets added to these items that makes the off-limits sometimes. People always feel bad for me when they find out I can’t eat bread or accidentally forget and offer me a bagel. Don’t feel bad. I feel so much better than I did in my “gluten-eating” days. Plus, there are lots of options now for people like me.

I have two places that I like to shop for gluten-free items: Trader Joe’s & Sugar Kisses.

Trader Joe’s is kind enough to put this symbol on their gluten-free items. You can access a whole list of items on their website. I am rarely disappointed in the items I buy at Trader Joe’s and they have great prices. Staples that I tend to buy there are hummus, cheese, yogurt, sweet potato chips (yum), frozen veggies and potatoes, and meat (they have a few pre-marinated items that are great). Their gluten-free pasta is by far my favorite of all that I have tried. Overall, it is just nice that they make it so easy.

Sugar Kisses is owned by Brian & Lisa. Yes, I know their first names. And they probably know me as the “scone & coffee lady” because that is what I get there twice a week. Usually, I get a blueberry scone but lately they have had my favorite option, cherry & almond, available. Other favorites include pecan bars, double chocolate chunk cookies, cupcakes, and the focaccia bread. The majority of the items are gluten-free. They try to use local ingredients when available and they also have vegan, nut-free and dairy-free items. They are walking distance from my office so I walk there, you know, to burn off the calories from the scone.

I also like Whole Food’s Frozen Gluten-Free Pizza Crust (although, I kind of hate shopping there) and Mary’s Gone Crackers (however, Trader Joe’s is not offering a comparable cracker).

Eating out is a bit tricky but there are a few restaurants with gluten-free menus:

  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Pei Wei & PF Changs
  • Noodles & Company
  • Buddy’s Pizza
  • Maggiano’s

Gluten-Free Girl (well-known in the foodie-blogosphere) has a great page on her site of her recommendations.

I love food and my diet does not interfere too much with missing out on great flavors. It has also made me more aware when cooking for people (or taking meal to those who are sick or just had a baby) in making sure to ask if they have an allergy or dietary need. I always hate telling people, “Sorry, I can’t eat that” so it is really fantastic when there is an option for me.

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