Gluten Free Products

My very best advice when it comes to gluten free products is “stay away from them”.

The word product implies well, production.  And that embodies everything that is wrong with our food system.  Food is to be grown not produced.

Here are some examples of the very best gluten free “products” you can eat:

Realistically though, packaged foods are a fact of life.  Some, like dried beans or rice are ingredients in wholesome home cooked meals.  And some are necessary just to save us on those days when there is nothing ready and we just don’t have time to cook something from scratch.

A Few Tips:

Here are some strategies for choosing quality food that will support your return to health:

  • Choose organic where possible
  • Stay away from anything with a health claim on the package
  • Especially stay away from reduced calorie and reduced fat versions of products.  Fat is an essential nutrient and is necessary for transport and absorption of many vitamins.  The fat is replaced with sugar and chemical thickeners that are very bad for you.
  • Choose products with a short ingredient list.  Stay away from anything that you can't pronounce or that you can't identify as a real food.  You shouldn't need a degree in chemistry to know what you're eating
  • Here is a list of gluten free substitutions you can take shopping with you.

Gluten Free Products

So here are some gluten free products I use regularly and why I like them, along with a few that I’ve tried an am not so impressed with.  The rating system isn't terribly scientific.  I looked at taste, texture and health / nutrition.  

Gluten Free Pasta

Gluten Free Breads and Wraps

Gluten Free Sauces and Dressings

Gluten Free / Lactose Free Dairy Products

Other Gluten Free Products

Gluten Free Pasta

Catelli Gluten Free Pasta

A-

This is a fairly new gluten free product and is available in most grocery stores.  I like it because it uses a combination of grains: white rice, brown rice, corn and quinoa so helps with the issue of reliance on a few food sources.  It holds up better than other gluten free pastas when cooked and the taste and texture are closer to traditional pasta.  It missed the A rating because it’s not organic


Sun Zenone Corn Pasta

A

This is my second favourite.  Organic and non-GMO.  Stick with the Penne, Fusili or other shapes, they hold up best when cooked.  The spaghetti breaks up a little too much.  The flavour is nice.

 

Rice Pasta (no specific brand)

A-

I’m not as fond of rice pasta in general   as a replacement for wheat pasta.  I.e. to be eaten in the Italian tradition with tomato or cream sauce.  The texture is a bit slippery and it has less flavour than the corn or mixed grain versions above. Top it with a good sauce and it’s fine.

Rice Noodles

A-

These are great for Asian dishes like pad thai.  I don’t have a favourite brand.  Anything I’ve picked up in Asian markets has been good.  These are generally not boiled but are softened in boiled water so they don’t deteriorate.

 

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Gluten Free Breads and Wraps

When it comes to gluten free products like breads and wraps, homemade is best, but it's nice to have the convenience of mixes and ready mades for when you need to save some time.  Here are a few suggestions:

Duinkerken Bread Mix

A-

I don’t keep bread mixes on hand that much because I prefer to make my own.  But mixes are a good idea if you’re just getting used to the idea of making bread.  This one is good.  Available at Bulk Barn and made in Canada.

Duinkerken Pizza Mix

A-

This is my favourite pizza mix.  Convenient and easy to make.  The A- rating is because it’s mostly white refined flour and not organic.  I sometimes add a tablespoon or two of ground flax seeds for extra fibre and nutrition.  Available at bulk barn. Made in Canada

Glutino Bread and Buns

A+

If you're looking for something that closely resembles the springiness and mouth feel of regular bread than this may be the one for you.  I like the multigrain sandwich bread, the cheese loaf and the cinnamon raisin bread.

Sliver Hills Bread

A+

This is a really good gluten free bread.  The texture is nice, not crumbly like many gluten free breads.  Like many gluten free breads it is a bit heavy though.It's organic, they use quality ingredients, tastes great.  Available at Costco. 

Udi’s Bread and Buns

C

Udi’s doesn’t fare as well from an ingredients perspective.  Not organic and contains lots of white processed flour.  But every so often you just want a hamburger.  Texture isn’t bad and they are convenient.  Look in the freezer section at Metro.

Rice Paper Wraps

A-

Again, no favourite brand.  These are great for alternatives to wheat wraps and can be picked up in most grocery stores or Asian markets.

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Gluten Free Sauces and Dressings

When it come to gluten free products, one of the best ways to reduce our reliance on processed foods and additives is to make our own sauces and dressings.  If you check labels, not just for gluten but for simple ingredients that you recognize as food, you can take advantage of the convenience of ready made and still make healthy choices.

PC Organics Pasta Sauce

A

One thing I haven’t gotten into making myself is tomato sauce.  I’d love to try.  In the meantime this is a really tasty sauce (all the flavours) and it’s organic!

Classico Pasta Sauce

A-

This is another favourite of mine.  A nice short ingredient list and tastes great.  Misses the A rating because it's not organic

Tamari Sauce

A

This is your gluten free soy sauce.  I usually get it at the bulk barn but you can find it in the health food section at the grocery store too.

Jungle Heat Hot Sauce

A

This one is a bit of a specialty product but one of my favourites.  Most hot sauces are gluten free, just check the label and if you're not sure contact the company.  My son and I both like trying different ones so there's actually quite a collection in my fridge.

Renees Caesar Dressing

A-

My absolute favourite store bought dressing.  I was almost in a panic looking this one up to see if it was gluten free.  Happily it is.  Use the full fat version.  The A- rating is because they use canola oil.  If there was an olive oil version that would be perfect.

Kraft salad dressings

C

Kraft is reliable when it comes to labeling so still check labels, but if there are no gluten containing ingredients listed you can be pretty confident it’s okay.  I keep a French and Thousand Island in the fridge for my husband.  It gets a C because of the soy bean oil and because of the long list of unnecessary ingredients.  Most soy beans are GMO.  Kraft has a line of olive oil dressings which I haven’t tried because I make my own.  Might be worth a shot. 

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Gluten Free / Lactose Free Dairy Products

Most dairy products will be naturally gluten free.  Just check the label to be sure.  I've added this section because many people with gluten issues also have trouble with lactose

Natrel Lactose Free Milk and Cream

A-

I don't drink milk, but I keep this in the fridge for cooking.  Also, I like a bit of cream in my coffee.  If you're cooking with 35% cream you probably don't need to worry about a lactose free version.  Lactose is the sugar in the milk and it's in milk part not the cream.  The A- rating here is because it's not organic.  There are lots of organic milk choices out there but I haven't found one that's lactose free.

PC Organics Cheese 

A+

Choose any good quality organic cheese.   The good cheeses are lactose free because the cheese making process removes the lactose.  Check the label for "modified milk ingredients" and avoid those.  They are added in after the cheese making process to make the cheese softer and increase the volume.  That's where the lactose is hiding. 


Western Sour Cream

A

Lovely rich flavor.  Choose the full fat version.  Reduced fat products are not the healthy choice we are led to believe.  Fat is necessary for absorption of many vitamins, and manufacturers replace fat with sugar and chemicals that are far worse for your health.

Astro Organic Plain Yogurt

A+

Nice flavor and gluten free.  Choose full fat versions.

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Other Gluten Free Products

Unico Diced Tomatoes and Tomato Paste

B

Canned foods are a bit of an issue because of bpa in the linings.  I haven’t found a good jarred substitute though.  Unico is gluten free and I find the flavor quite good.

Organic beef, chicken, veg stock

No favourite brand because I usually make my own.  These can be a nice life saver if you're making something and don't have homemade stock on hand.  Just be sure to check the label.  Many manufacturers add gluten to stocks.

Gluten Free Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a bit controversial among the celiac community.  Many don't tolerate oats well.  That may be because of a sensitivity to grains in general, or it may be that oats tend to be contaminated with gluten from wheat, rye or barley either in the field or in processing. Choose only certified gluten free oatmeal and oat flour.  This is available at Bulk Barn

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