food for your pantry

In a Field of Dreams they say, “If you build it, they will come” and I think a similar saying applies to eating healthy (and another modified version applies to finances but I’ll get to that in another post).

“If you have it, you will eat it” and I mean that in both a negative and positive way.  If you are trying to avoid foods in your diet, especially if you are new to this, you have to get rid of food you can’t eat.  If you have food on hand from before your diet changed and you are keeping it around for others to enjoy, you will end up eating it too.  So set aside some time to go through your fridge & freezer and pantry and pull out everything you can no longer eat.  Give it to friends, donate the unopened items to a food bank, you will be a huge blessing to others while setting yourself up for success.

So, now that you have cleaned out all of the items with ingredients you are avoiding, what to keep on hand?  This is where the positive meaning of that statement comes into play.  If you take the time to stock up on some healthy items that you can eat, they will be what you turn to when you need a snack or are too tired to cook, etc.  This will save you money on eating out and keep you from slipping up when you are most likely to.

In general, I think you are going to have much better tasting meals and much better results if you stick to foods that are naturally free of gluten, dairy, eggs, etc. rather than trying to replace foods you used to eat that are made with substitutes.   There are several reasons for this, the main one being that your taste buds are accustomed to things tasting a certain way: to cow’s milk and cheese and ice cream, to bread and pastries made with wheat flour, to omelets made with real eggs, so everything else is not going to taste as good to you.  Another reason is that often the most common substitutes are made from soy, corn, or oats so I’m allergic to the better tasting substitutes as well.  So I don’t drink goat’s milk, or rice, almond, coconut, or soy.  I don’t eat ice cream made from any of those things either, I just find the flavor and aftertaste to be so disappointing.  If I want a frozen dessert, I eat sorbet and since it’s naturally free of everything I’m allergic to, it tastes the way it was intended to and is delicious.

There are, however, some brands that truly are good and worth eating.  I have tried a lot of brands of a lot of products and have come up with a list of things I like and I have included links to the items below. Eating healthy can be expensive but I strive to be as thrifty as possible so I buy most of my pantry goods on vitacost.com.  It’s cheaper than grocery stores and free shipping on orders over $49 so I wait until I need quite a few things and then place an order.  If you want to order from them, you can get $10 off your first order by using this referral link: https://www.vitacostrewards.com/BuyVenG

  • PastaTinkyada organic rice pasta is the only kind I eat, I cannot emphasize enough that NO other rice pasta is worth eating.  If you can have corn, Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta is really good.  If I want to splurge I get Capello’s Fresh Pasta, it does have eggs in it but it is fantastic pasta and worth the extra price every once in awhile.
  • Bread – Most gluten free breads are not worth eating, they are crumbly and just not satisfying.  However, Udi’s and Rudi’s both have fairly decent sandwich breads, store them in the freezer and toast before eating for the best texture.  If you want bagels or english muffins, I think the best brand is Kinnikinnick, I haven’t had their sandwich breads but I would guess that they are great too.
  • Ice Cream – I find the ice cream substitutes made from almond and rice milk to be disappointing, but I may be an ice cream snob so feel free to give some a try, you may like them.  Rice ice creams don’t have the aftertaste that the almond products do.  I hear that soy and coconut are more like regular ice cream but I can’t eat soy and refuse to eat coconut since I find edible sunscreen unappetizing, so if I want a frozen treat I eat sorbet.  Talenti Blood Orange Sorbetto is my favorite.
  • Yogurt – I have bad news on this one.  Sheep’s milk yogurt is not awful, but it is very very tart. So if you like that, you may be able to handle Sheep’s milk yogurt.  DO NOT waste your money on almond yogurt, I took 1 bite and nearly spit it out, gave it a second try to be sure and promptly threw away all of it despite the expense.  As my dear dad would say when faced with bad food or drinks “I don’t need to finish that, I’m better than that.”
  • Afternoon Sweet Snacks – My favorite snacks when you need a little pick me up in the afternoon are Olomomo Almonds (I like the Cherry Almond and Chai Bliss best, but they are all delicious) and my vitamins.  I switched to gummy vitamins so it feels like a snack and I’m more likely to remember to take them.  I like Yummi Bears Gummy Vitamins and Rainbow Light Vitamin D Sunny Gummies.
  • Cheese – Though I don’t eat them frequently, I occasionally will use goat and sheep’s milk cheese.  Sheep’s milk is best for my stomach and I get Pecorino Romano & Manchego cheeses at Costco or Sprouts.  I stock up at my local farmer’s market on goat cheese, Haystack Farms is my favorite brand and you’ll see their Chile Jack, Feta, Queso de Mano and Dill & Garlic Chevre goat cheeses in my recipes.  In the fall one of my favorite indulgences is their Snowdrop cheese on Honeycrisp apples.
  • Chips and Crackers – I like Lundberg Rice Chips and Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins
  • Frozen Meals – Most of the frozen meals I have found that are both dairy free and gluten free have corn in them.  But, since corn does not bother me very much I will eat them occasionally.  I like Amy’s Black Bean Tamale Verde, Glutenfreeda Vegetarian Dairy Free Burrito, Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Pancakes
  • Baking – I use Bob’s Red Mill for most flours and mixes.  Better Batter Brownie Mix is really delicious but expensive, it’s a splurge item for me. Pamela’s Products Gluten and Wheat Free Pancake Mix is really good but does have buttermilk in it.

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