This week, I'm going to tell you about a final set of 15 gluten-free foods that you can eat right now. This gives you a total of 45 readily available foods in your pantry and fridge. While you continue to learn which mainstream products are gluten-free, you can safely rely on these items, as well as other items marketed as gluten-free.
1. Kozy Shack pudding (all varieties, labeled gluten-free!)
2. Smart Balance buttery spread (labeled gluten-free!)
3. Tabasco sauce
4. Jams and jellies (from an uncontaminated jar)
5. Daisy light sour cream
6. Plain corn tortilla chips
7. Blue diamond nut thins (all flavors!)
8. Lundberg's risotto mixes (labeled gluten-free!)
9. Distilled vinegar & apple cider vinegar (NOT malt vinegar)
10. HoneyBaked Ham turkey breasts and hams (even the glaze is gluten free, as per the manufacturer!)
11. Plain chocolate
12. Del Monte canned/jarred fruit and snack cups
14. Sunmaid Raisins
15. Yoplait yogurt (without crunchies or granola)
I've given you 45 items you can find in any grocery store. There are many gluten-free products available on the market, including specialty lines such as Glutino, Pamela's, Gluten-Free Pantry, Ener-G, Bob's Red Mill, Lundberg's, Tinkyada, and Bionaturae. You can find these items in most health food stores, as well as online from Amazon.com and glutenfreemall.com (there are tons of other sources for these products). Many of the companies in the gluten-free specialty market test their products to determine if they are truly gluten-free.
Many "substitution" products (gluten-free breads, pretzels, baked goods, and cookies) are higher in calories than their regular counterparts. If you're watching your weight, I suggest sticking with substitution products that are made from whole grains or avoiding them altogether. Additionally, I believe that less processed foods have fewer opportunities for cross-contamination to occur. I try to save "substitution" products for when I must have a particular item. This allows me to resist temptation and remain healthy. For example, I bring some gluten-free cookies to parties where I know there will be baked goods. I don't feel awkward or deprived, and no one else notices.
Please remember that wheat free products may not be gluten free (due to barley, rye, or oat ingredients). When you read ingredients to determine if a product is safe, try to think about ways the product may have been cross-contaminated. If the chicken breast is in the butcher's counter right next to the breaded chicken, you should pass and look for a packaged or frozen version. If a well-meaning friend tries to bake you a gluten-free item, keep in mind that their kitchen is probably not gluten-free, and items like sifters or baking supplies may be contaminated. In my own experience, non-celiacs are rarely able to tell you the level of detail you need to determine the safety of an item they've prepared. You are the most qualified person to determine what is safe for you- don't eat something suspicious to escape social pressure. I tell my friends and family that I'll prepare my own food for nearly all situations. I host as many parties and dinners as I can, so that I know which items are genuinely gluten-free, and I can maintain the safety of my gluten-free kitchen.
It takes a lot of work, and the road can be bumpy. You'll make some mistakes along the way, but by being an educated consumer, you can have a varied, healthy, and satisfying gluten-free lifestyle.