We’ve all looked at nutrition labels, ingredients, and probably even wondered, what on earth is that? Most of the time, we ignore it, and sometimes, it scares us. Have you ever truly paid attention to what some foods you eat out of a box or a can are made out of? Can you even pronounce some of those words? I can certainly say no to the latter. It wasn’t until I did a four month long Candida cleanse that I really started realizing what it in the food I eat – and when I say food, I don’t mean fresh produce. I was never the one to always buy packaged or frozen foods, but pretzels or mustard are fine, right?
Think again. These days, with allergies on the rise, more and more people are reading what their (packaged) food contains. When sugar was one of the foods that I had to avoid, I realized that it was everywhere. In ketchup, in mustard, in chicken
broth, in crackers, in everything. It was pretty scary to see that.
That being said, the gluten free diet trend is on the rise. For some, it’s not a trend. It’s an allergy, an intolerance, or even an auto-immune disease, such as Celiac. When this is the case, avoiding gluten is a must. So what can you eat?
Tons of companies these days have come out with gluten free foods. Whether it’s crackers, chips, bread, cereal, granola, flours, and the list goes on and on. These days, someone who is avoiding gluten will see the gluten free label and get excited. I was guilty of that, until one day, I decided to read what these foods were actually made of. Processed foods, which most of these are, must appeal to the consumer’s preferred taste. Baked goods, for example, when made with gluten free flours, don’t have the same consistency or flavor as those made with regular all-purpose flour. They don’t rise the same way as their protein structure and binding ability is different, and they simply don’t always come out right. I know this, because I have had many failures in the world of gluten free baking! (now after a lot of trial and error, I know how to make it work!)
In order to make these foods come out just as a regular baked good made with flour does, lots of additives become a part of the list of ingredients. Ever heard of agar agar, xantham gum, guar guam, arrowroot, malic acid, dextrose or lecithin? These are all unhealthy additives that either thicken dough, make it stickier or even make it sweeter. Take a second look at that package of gluten free cookies or bread, and I guarantee you will see at least of these in them. Processed gluten free products are also lower in fiber, higher in carbs, sugar and even calories. My advice is to really try and avoid all types of processed packaged foods. Even though it can take a bit of time, it is better to bake your own breads, cookies and desserts using wholesome real ingredients. Here is my list of naturally gluten free items: