Friday, January 8, 2010

Gluten Free in Houston

I must be in Gluten-Free heaven.

I must be dreaming because I never remember the gluten-free options being so readily available even as near as a month ago. Have our cries been heard? Have our requests to Santa been answered? Has our desire for a pre-packaged dinner and safe out-to-eat options been delivered to the CEO's of fast food chains and gluten free manufacturers? Wheat may be dead to us, but our taste buds are still alive and very vividly remember the days of old. Our taste buds remember the days of white bread, pastries, and fried foods. Or at least mine do!

Although, the gluten free options are still few and far between...things are getting better. Each time I go to the grocery store I find a new product or two that beckons to be consumed. "Try me! I don't taste like tree bark anymore! I have been refined and tested by real, human taste buds and have been labeled as "decent." So, here are a few new discoveries that have brought a smile to my face and warmed my belly:

Nate's All Natural Taquitos (Cheese and Chunky Vegetable are available). Found at Super-HEB. *I have tasted the cheese and they were excellent. I give them an A+ for taste and ease of prep (they were in the freezer section).

John Soules Foods Fajita Meat (Beef or Chicken). *These pre-cut strips of fajita meat are gluten free and serve 4 per bag. Also, very tasty. Great for tacos or traditional quesadillas.

Conte's Pasta Co's Margherita Pizza with Roasted Garlic and Olive gluten/wheat free frozen pizza I have found to date. This tasted as close to normal frozen pizza as I have found. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Texas Traditions Sausage ...many different flavors although Jalapeno & Cheddar is my favorite (can be found at Wal-Mart).

Applegate Farms Uncured Hot Dogs (Beef or Turkey). I am not much of a hot dog eater myself but my picky toddlers seem to love them. No nitrites, no preservatives. Gluten and casein free.

Blue Diamond Nut-Thins - Although I don't crave these plain, these nut crackers make an excellent lunchable. Smokehouse flavor is what I prefer. My mom and sister do like them plain, however, so maybe I am just picky.

Out on the town:

Last week, I ate at P.F. Changs for the first time in several years. Hats off to P.F. Changs for being considerate of those of us who are gluten-sensitive. I have to admit, going in, I wasn't expecting much. I had heard rumors of a "gluten free" menu, but have been disappointed by other claims to G-free menus in the past. They had a very LONG list of gluten free options to choose from. Now, that I live gluten-free I realize that most restaurants could easily offer gluten free options with a few changes in sauces and the way they prepare their food. It would not be that hard, but some restaurants must see the conversion as too complicated or just don't care to convert because it doesn't affect them directly. Obviously, some things just can't be converted to gluten free and still be good to consume. However, a lot of things can be with relative ease if the research were done! Thank you P.F. Changs for taking the time to do so. I had the "Street Noodles" from their extensive gluten free menu. It was rice noodles prepared with gluten free soy sauce, chicken, and shrimp. I have no idea how something so good was gluten free, but it was. It was so nice to have peace of mind while eating out. I am anxious to go back and try their other gluten free options. Street Noodles rock!

Chipotle: I had read in Elizabeth Hasselback's book on G-Free living that she enjoyed their bowls. I second that! I had a bowl with chicken, corn, rice, guacamole, and salsa. Matter of fact, from their allergen warning page information, everything at Chipotle is safe except the flour tortilla. There is soy in most everything, so if you are sensitive to that ...buyer beware!



Anonymous said...

Thanks Jess! These always help me:) man...I'm also allergic to Tomatos, soy, nuts, milk, eggs, and cheese, its so hard bc yes atleast one of these items is in everyhting:)
I can't wait to go to PF Changs though. So glad this is getting easier and easier for you:)!

Jessica Kirkland said...

Have you noticed those other allergens really bother you? I am allergic to milk, but can have soy milk. Some things I have tried to add back into my diet from my original allergen list. I have had success with some, and not with others. The eggs are a no-go for me. They still make me sick. However, tea was on my list of "no" foods and I have been drinking it with success finally. Not a lot of it though. Maybe we can meet up at PF Changs one day. We need to catch up anyway!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I come back to check this-I need to figure out how to be a member and not have to do anonymous..will I get an email letting me know you replied?

Yes we need to meet at pf changes for sure! Anytime you or your family are EVER in Houston for any reason let me know!

yes I have tried to incorporate some..I know tomatos kill me(so no sauces), no cheese and nuts for sure. I figured i'de try it again in a few months.

although I do use creamers, things like that in my coffee and overall i'm fine. Alot of the ready made meals call for milk-i haven't tried one yet. I eat ALOT of soups, meats, veggies:) and I live on gluten free waffles for breakfast! I'm liking it-tuff at times:)

and almost pain free for most of the days. NOTHING like before!
we def. need to catch up:)