Gluten free. Two words that are becoming increasingly popular in the foodie scene, since health nuts have found many advantages to cutting out wheat and other grains that produce gluten. However, many of the products labeled as gluten free are not necessarily so.
In this case, it is extremely difficult for Celiacs to eat out; there is always a little voice in the back of our mind asking, “Is it really gluten free? Did they properly prepare this? Was it cross-contaminated? Oh my Lord it’s placed right next to something that isn’t gluten free…”
As I have briefly mentioned in a post last month (here) I am a Celiac. In fact, I am a very sensitive Celiac, which is why I am so well acquainted with the above-mentioned little voice. Since my diagnosis nine years ago, I have learned to read ingredient lists extremely carefully and extensively, ask questions about food preparation in restaurants and friends’ houses, and to cook and bake gluten free. Up until recently, the notion of “gluten free” was widely unknown and misunderstood. I can’t tell you how often I have gone out to restaurants with my family, explained my situation in depth, talked to the waiter and the chef, and yet still gotten ill. I won’t go into too much detail here, but Celiac “poisoning” is a horrible experience. Gluten free flours were expensive and even then sometimes placed alongside non-gluten free flours and foods.
Part of being gluten free is the ability to cook and bake for yourself. I have learned to bake cookies, cakes, madeleines, and more. I have relied on gluten free cookbooks and blogs for inspiration and help in my baking adventures. (Look below for a list of gluten free blogs.) My foray into baking was at first a disaster… gluten free flour is very different from normal flours, since gluten is the component that offers elasticity. As a result, many of the pastries my mother and I tried to bake turned out as crumbly messes. Since then, both of our baking skills have evolved, and crumbles are scarce; but I still can’t make a pie crust if my life depended on it! Got to leave this one to the expert (my mother) I guess.
Now, thankfully, more and more gluten free options are becoming available. As I have mentioned in this post, completely gluten free restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops are popping up here and there in big cities. For me, this means even more reason to visit Vancouver. And let me tell you, for a girl who hasn’t had a donut in nine years, these places are blessings!
For a list of gluten free and gluten free-friendly places to eat in Vancouver, follow this link.
Gluten Free Blogging