Saturday, November 22, 2014

Living Gluten Free

Gluten Free Sandwich with GoodBye Gluten Bread
I'm lucky because I'm not diagnosed with Celiac Disease so it's a choice to try to eat gluten free and live gluten free as much as possible.

At first I thought it was going to be one of the worst things ever. I had heard so many horror stories (never from any who actually DID gluten free as a lifestyle though... although I didn't realize that when I was hearing their horror stories). I was certain that anything gluten free was going to be tasteless.

I was SO wrong!

Gluten Free Eating is Easier Than You Think!

One of the things I realized is that, just like eating 'healthy' or 'clean", eating gluten free meant having to be proactive in my own choices. This meant that while I'm a HUGE bread fan (I love every type of bread and am a firm believer that bread MAKES the sandwich) I would have to try different brands before I found the one or ones that were acceptable.

Bread was my FIRST mission. I will admit that was NOT easy. I was quite lucky to have a very good manager in the whole foods department of my local Wegman's store (Wendy) that guided me. While she obviously had some vested rights in trying to get me to purchase items out of her department she was beyond honest with me and often even steered me into other departments that had gluten free items that she thought were "the best." This alone was a huge help to me.

She guided me to a brand called Good-Bye Gluten Bread. At $5.99 a loaf it was the typical price for GF breads (which is one reason why it's so important to have some help). At that point this was the best bread I had tried. However, suddenly a friend told me that Aldi's had come out with a gluten free line that I should check out. I figured why not? Aldi's tends to be fairly inexpensive and most of the time quality items. If I could get an inexpensive gluten free product it would be a great plus because most everything is about twice the normal price or more! It's not cheap.

I found my FAVORITE gluten free bread was Aldi's LiveGFree white bread. It wasn't frozen (like the Good-Bye Gluten brand) and that's always a plus. At $3.99 a loaf we were already getting a similar product for about $2 less than the typical gluten free brands. 

What I loved MOST about Aldi's LiveGFree white bread was that the bread was a whole lot less dense & dry. The crust was a little tougher than regular bread but in reality the bread itself was so much more fluffy & "real" like. It's the closest to normal bread. I haven't tried the LiveGFree Wheat bread and honestly don't know if I'll bother because I just don't buy into the whole wheat is better for you deal. The white bread is good, it's gluten free and it tastes more like a typical, normal white bread.

I also tried Udis white and wheat breads; however, they are frozen (understandably for shelf life reasons) and I think that this dries them out even more. There is another brand out there called Schars that has a lot of bread products. However, I haven't been able to get past paying $6 for 2 buns (sub style rolls). Because I'm not technically gluten intolerant or Celiac I am not forced to do so. However, I'd love to hear from those who have tried various breads and what they thought.

Making my own bread just isn't an option for me. As wonderful as it sounds and even though I do have a bread machine; my physical limitations make me pick and choose the items I make myself. Sometimes I'm lucky to get dinner made. I may one day try to bake my own bread or use a bread mix to create a homemade gluten free bread but at this point it's just not feasible.

Gluten Free Breads - Conclusions

  • If you can get them fresh, unfrozen it's best.
  • I have yet to find a bread that's NOT a lot more dense than typical bread.
  • GF breads tend to be best when you toast them (even if you put them in the toaster) 
  • My favorite store bought bread to date is definitely ALDI'S LiveGFree White Bread!
  • The average price is $6 a loaf - however, Aldi's is only $3.99 BONUS!!!!!
  • GoodBye Gluten Bread would come in as 2nd best in my trials so far
Next up we'll discuss pasta and what I've found with gluten free pasta! You'll be surprised since it seems breads and pasta are the hardest things to find that are comparable to normal versions. I have found an absolute favorite and once again it's one of the least expensive brands too!