Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eating Gluten-free (plus a review of Chex Gluten Free)

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been eating gluten-free since January of this year. And I'm really strict about it. I don't eat Rice Krispie squares (yes, the cereal is rice but it contains barley malt extract). I ask servers about each item I'm considering on a restaurant menu. I scrape the breadcrumbs out of the butter. I wipe the bread knife before using it to slice a tomato.

Living gluten-free in a gluten household can be very challenging and adjusting your regular diet to switch to gluten-free is really hard at first but if you're doing it to function normally again like I have done then your motivation to succeed and figure out how to live gluten-free is very high.

I realized three things early on about eating gluten-free: first, don't replace foods that you can no longer eat with an inferior substitute. Bread is the best example of this. Bread relies on gluten to be good. Gluten is what makes bread supple and chewy and soft and stretchy. Without gluten, it's cardboard in the form of bread. I've tried numerous recipes and bakery versions and I've given up trying to find anything close to bread. Gluten-free bread sucks. End of story.

And second, gluten-free products are expensive. To save money and have the best outcome, you have to bake. I make great gluten-free coffee cake, muffins, scones and a KILLER chocolate cake, just to list a few of my winners. I'm trying new recipes all the time. I only keep the ones that taste as good as the gluten version.

The third thing I've learned about being successful in eating gluten-free is that I have to have gluten-free snacks in my house so that when I'm suddenly hungry, I have something quick to snack on.... carrot sticks don't always satisfy. I usually have the following on hand: plantain chips, homemade granola, gluten-free crackers, gluten-free English muffins, and some kind of cereal.

And now for the awkward segue into my review... If you eat gluten-free you know that prepared foods such as frozen GF English muffins and cereal are expensive. Recently I was given the opportunity by Mom Central Canada to try out a new GF cereal. Chex Gluten Free is sold in the regular cereal aisle (how refreshing!) and comes in two flavours: rice and honey-nut. Our whole family really liked them both. The kids LOVED the honey-nut. John and I showed a bit more restraint (it's a bit sugary) and reach for the rice version. It tastes exactly like Crispix (one of my previous fave cereals). After we ate through our sample boxes, I went to buy a new box at Loblaws and was so happy to find that it isn't priced like regular gluten-free products (read: trying to gouge we poor souls who are forced to buy these over-priced products). It was right around $5 a box, very comparable to other cereals in the cereal aisle. Chex has even created a list of dinnertime recipes that you can create using the cereal. You can find the recipes at www.chexcanada.com (I've tried to hyperlink this for the last ten minutes in the Blogsy app and I'M GIVING UP, DAMN YOU, BLOGSY!)

I plan to post some of my tried and true gluten-free recipes here over the next few months as well as links to some blogs and cooking sites and books that have really helped me. If you have tips, tricks or resources that have helped you eat gluten-free, please share them in the comments below.

Disclosure: I am participating in the Chex Gluten Free program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills. I received a Chex gift pack and a gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.


Julie said...

i got a box of the honey nut in the mail. what a surprise. and i loved it! very excited that i will be able to make my christmas time chex mix!

Lynn said...

No tips for you, but really looking forward to hearing more about this and getting some recipes. Do you eat oatmeal? I've heard there's quite a debate about it...I think it would be hard to go gluten-free but almost impossible to do it if it meant giving up oatmeal.

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Mariposa del Diablo said...

Try the bread from the Little Aussie Bakery in San Antonio, TX. They're entirely gluten free, you can order online, and their bread is awesome. http://www.thelittleaussiebakery.com/