Confucius once said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Though this probably relates to a million+ areas of our lives, it also goes hand-in-hand for hitting up the grocery store… gluten-free style.
Here are six tips for making your way through the grocery store—stress (and gluten) free.
1. Think: Fresh. The easiest way to thrive on a gluten-free diet is to enjoy a diet rich in foods that are intended to be eaten in their whole form. Fresh produce and other items that are just one ingredient—the food itself—pretty much guarantees grocery store success.
2. Bid Goodbye to Bulk. Bulk foods are a haven for cross-contamination, which can set you up for sickness if scoops are shared or flours are flying through the air. Some grocery stores package their own bulk items in containers or baggies, so talk to them to uncover their cross-contamination procedures before a potential purchase.
3. Bring Your Cell Phone. If you’re using anything premade and there are no clear allergen statements on the container, take a moment to call the company (or, if you’re equipped, do a Google search). Most manufacturers can help you right on the spot, and let you know if there is risk of cross-contact with gluten from other sources.
4. Read the Fine Print. Though the front of the package might claim gluten-free, the backside might tell a different story. For those with celiac disease or severe sensitivity, you might have issues with items such as gluten-free oats or wheat and barley grass, all of which are labeled as safe. Even more, items that “may contain traces of gluten” or are “packaged on the same lines” are very common.
5. Check Each Time. Unfortunately, ingredient listings are altered all of the time. Products that are once considered safe might not be the next time you visit the store. Be sure to review the labels before you buy to see if the manufacturers made a change.
6. Protect Yourself. It isn’t uncommon for flour to spill on the conveyor belt when customers are checking out. Though you should wash your fruits and veggies before you enjoy them, consider investing in reusable produce bags to ensure your goods are separated safely from possible contamination when you’re paying for your purchase.
It can definitely be daunting when you first foray into gluten-free, but a few tricks and techniques will get you there—and satisfy your stomach, too.
Once you get this under your belt, prepare for the pantry makeover – starting with baking supplies. Stay tuned.