Last Sunday I grabbed my passport and headed to Schaumburg to the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo. My friend Kendra Peterson from Drizzle Kitchen and I drove in together. We had a mission to find clean and healthy gluten-free products. And we indulged a little too.
I was looking for the cleanest ingredients out in the allergy free market. I like my products to be free of gluten, soy, dairy and corn at the very least. Why corn? I find corn to be a cheap filler, often high in GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). I also look for the hidden corn in baking powder or Xanthan Gum. You have to ask if there is corn, or in this case it was labeled at the expo what each product contained, whew! And, often gluten and corn sensitivity can overlap in terms of symptoms.
Here is what I found and loved:
1-2-3 Gluten Free mixes are pretty darn good. When in a bind during the holidays I have fallen back on their sugar cookie mix and it was excellent. What is exciting they are making their pancake mix and a couple of mixes free of sugar so you can sweeten it yourself with your preferred “sugar.” I like any product I can control the amount of sugar I use when I bake.
Namaste Gluten Free Foods: The reason I buy their gluten free pancake and waffle mix is that is it free of all sugars. It is also nut and peanut free. We stuck some Sunbutter on my son’s pancakes to help give it a boost of protein and that will last him all morning. Their chocolate cake mix is my favorite go to when I am in a bind. They just launched a new coating mix line including Homestyle (for fried chicken), BBQ and Hot ‘n Spicy… I see crockpot wings coming up this summer.
The only healthy cracker by my standard I found was by Crunchmaster and that was their 7 Ancient Grains with a hint of sea salt. No corn or dairy unlike some of their other brands, and anything made with ancient grains is a win-win for me.
Bella Gluten Free Foods: Sweet Bella the Italian Chef with Celiac disease has an all purpose baking mix I am eager to try as well as her focaccia/pizza mix for our Friday Night pizza and movie night. I remember when she launched last year and loved how clean it tasted. She says, “no corn in my products!” with such pride.
Canadian Based company, Allergic Solutions has a whole line of mixes that is out. Their allergy guidelines are more strict than ours here in the United States so I trust their line a lot more. Their yeast-free bread was moist and had a nice fluff to it, which can be hard to do when making gluten free breads.
One of my favorite packaged food finds was Cybele’s Free to Eat new cookie line. Her chocolate chip cookie took me immediately back to my childhood when I loved the soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies by the Keebler Elves. Her cookbook has been a go to for me for quite a few years. I have had to reformulate a few recipes to make them egg and corn free, some with success and some that were not so successful. That is the trial and error of gluten free and allergy free baking.
The gluten free frozen pizza market is going to get better later this spring with Smart Flour pizza. They have a premade crust you can buy and make at home (and I hear some local pizza companies may buy into their crusts so we can eat out as well). Definitely buy this brand for something different and does not use rice or potato based flours, they use ancient grains.
Looking for a lollipop that will give you an energy boost of Vitamin B12? Revitapop is your answer. They actually use the true form of B12 called Methylcobalamin and not the synthetic form of B12 called cyanocobalamin. If you want to know what the big difference is, read this article. (Yes, go check your vitamin labels now). And no corn or high fructose corn syrup in here either, made with organic brown rice syrup for a slow release in the system.
My favorite raw vegan gluten free find was Hail Merry Macaroons. I mean holy goodness that I felt like the calories did not count because it was made with such wholesome yumminess. Their new strawberry macaroons were fabulous and their chocolate ones definitely satisfied my chocolate cravings with less guilt of course!
If you want to learn more on some local finds, check out my Chicago Family Health Examiner on supporting local gluten free companies.