When a product that you need does not exist, you can either live without it or make it yourself. When it comes to prepared food that is gluten free, there didn’t used to be a lot of choices. If you read the stories of people who have had celiac disease for years, you will see that a lot of them ended up making the food they needed. Several of them are very active in the Gluten Free Community, online and off. Whether it is the book by Jules Shepard, The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten Free, that helps people get through the tough transition time of eating gluten free (and which spawned an entire Gluten Free product line) or the myriad of recipes offered by Shirley at Gluten Free Easily and Karina at Gluten Free Goddess, those of us who are just at the beginnings of our journey have a much easier time than they did because of their work.
The quality of prepared food has also gotten better. Breads are less grainy and don’t taste like cardboard. Of course, mass produced food requires ingredient shortcuts and substitutions. I lived on these substitutes for the first six months of being gluten free. They were tasty and I rarely got glutened. I also didn’t lose any weight or acheive lasting health gains until I moved over to eating mostly freshly cooked food.
I often struggle with finding prepared food that doesn’t contain ingredients I don’t want to eat. I couldn’t eat dairy for a while and I don’t want to eat soy. It makes travel and emergency “I am about to crash” eating fun. It also makes it hard to indulge every once in a while. I made myself sick recently just from worrying about what I could and could not eat. I lightened up a little, had some chocolate and felt better. My position now is eat well and have some gluten free treats every now and then. I finally understand why there are so many GF dessert recipes out there!
There are two new companies that I have taken an interest in that are producing food that would seem to match my need for good quality food I can actually eat.
We recently backed a company called “Squarebar” that is making a Gluten/Dairy/Soy free nutrition bar. We can’t afford much, but we backed them through Kickstarter. This allowed us to make a small contribution to a clearly stated goal. If you read our twitter feed, you have seen us tweet about them a few times. We will be doing it some more as their minimum funding deadline nears. Please check them out and consider adding your support. Even $8 or $20 would be much appreciated. I hope they raise their goal amount. I can’t wait to try one.
We also ordered some Gluten Free Ginger Cookies from Mile End Bakery tonight. Founded by two friends, Mallory and Anya, they produce Gluten Free and “Regular” cookies. Another Gluten Free Blog (Anya’s site) is one of the first places we linked to here and I was able to read her posts about experimenting with flours and deciding to “go pro.” It felt very good to support a community member that I have communicated with and I am sure the cookies will be fantastic.
Please take a look at Squarebar and think about hitting up Mallory and Anya for some cookies. You will get some food made by people who understand what you need and help them start their businesses. You really can’t go wrong.
I am sure there are other small companies producing quality eats for gluten free people. Please let us know in the comments.