Trader Joe's Fan - Goodbye Gluten

wheat.jpgUntil recently, gluten free eating has been a lifestyle choice for a relatively small group of people. People affected by gluten allergies or the more complex celiac disease were given few options, and the options that they had tasted uncannily like wet cardboard. Yuck. Luckily, as places like Trader Joe’s have become more aware of the need for gluten free products and gluten free recipes, the selection (and flavor) has increased.

For people who need to avoid gluten, doing so can be a life-long challenge. It is important to have the information and resources that you need to live a gluten free lifestyle, whether you have been doing it for years, or are just starting to think about it.

What’s so bad about gluten, you ask? If you want to get technical about it, the founder of the national support group Raising Our Celiac Kids (R.O.C.K.) Dana Korn describes celiac disease as an immune mediated disease characterized by damage of the small intestinal mucosa caused by the gliadin and glutenin factions in genetically susceptible subjects. The presence of gluten leads to a self-perpetuating intestinal damage, while the elimination of gluten results in a full mucosal recovery.

Even for people who do not suffer from celiac disease, gluten can affect your energy level, your gastrointestinal system, weight gain or loss, joint pain and respiratory problems, and create or perpetuate many other conditions. Being gluten free isn’t just being on a diet, it’s choosing a lifestyle that can directly affect your health in a very positive way.

It may seem simple in theory, but embracing a gluten free diet is not as easy as it sounds. Eating is often an automatic activity, but it requires mindfulness to follow a successful gluten free diet. Conventional supermarkets can have little or no gluten free choices, but at Trader Joe’s there are simple and affordable ways to manage what you eat.

In the last ten years, the options for gluten free foods have vastly expanded to include foods in almost all categories, including sweets, gluten free baked goods, beverages, and even junk food and snacks!

Here is just a very small sample of some of the gluten free products that Trader Joe’s offers:

Sweets
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Lara Bars
Chocolate Truffles

Beverages
Almond Breeze soy drinks
Hansen’s Soda

Dairy
The natural flavors used in Trader Joe’s dairy products do not have gluten containing grains or gluten containing derivatives. All Trader Joe’s dairy products are gluten-free.

Snacks
Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip
Sundried Tomato Pesto Torta
Hummus
Spinach Dip
Several varieties of potato chips!

Grains
Non gluten containing grains including brown rice, quinoa, polenta

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