Gluten-free alternatives to your favourite foods

With food intolerances having become a widely-recognised condition, the industry is constantly working to provide great-tasting alternatives for your once-favourite foods. For Monique Bryson, being diagnosed with coeliac disease brought with it the realisation it’s not just pasta and bread she’d be missing out on. She shares some suggestions on how to fill the gluten-free void.

I’ve been gluten-free for just under a year. What started as a gluten intolerance gradually snowballed into coeliac disease with a lovely little sprinkling of IBS. Bloating, nausea, rashes, headaches… I had the lot. Trust me when I say I’m the least fun at dinner parties.

Coming from an Italian background, the idea of breaking up with my Nonna’s pasta cut me deep. However, the reality of coeliac disease extended far further than having to skip the schnitzels during Christmas lunch.

Gluten is everywhere. Your favourite barbecue sauce? Gluten. Indulging in a cheeky Cadbury chocolate bar? Gluten. Enjoy drowning your sushi in soy sauce? No more soy sauce for you because, you guessed it, gluten.

Farewell, freshly baked traditional pastries...

Whether you’re coeliac or just intolerant, the food industry’s sneaky practice of adding gluten into the vast majority of products will leave you feeling bloated and sorry for yourself. But that doesn’t mean you have to go without, you just have to keep one eye on the labels.

After copious amounts of personal trial and error, here are a few handy alternatives I've found to your favourite gluten-filled foods.

Bread

Unfortunately, as gluten is the protein that gives you those big, fluffy cuts of bread, most wheat-free alternatives fall short of impressive. Traditional gluten-free loaves are small, dense, and go dry quickly.

I found Helga’s Gluten Free range as close to the real thing as you will get. Their slices are 50 per cent bigger than most brands and don’t crumble as soon as they’re exposed to air.

While Helga's offer a great range of gluten-free wraps too, if you enjoy burritos, my favourite swap has been the BFree Sweet Potato Wraps

 

Pasta

A decent, gluten-free pasta is easier to source than bread, but some cheaper alternatives can be tough and chewy.

If you’re looking for penne or other pasta varieties, Barilla offers a great range that can cater to all tastes.

Meanwhile, On Ya Gnocchi do an amazing, handmade gnocchi that tastes just as good as anything my Nonna makes (but don’t tell her I said that!).

 

 

A post shared by Nonna's Protégé (@onyagnocchi) on

Chocolate

Prepare your tissues (I know I did) because we have to break up with our best friend: Cadbury. Almost all Cadbury bars – apart from their Easter eggs – contain traces of wheat due to cross-contamination during manufacturing.

The best chocolate swap I’ve found so far has been Jasper + Myrtle. They come in the most amazing range of flavours (the Rock Salt & Wakame is my favourite) and have none of those nasty preservatives or additives you might struggle to even pronounce.
 

Soy Sauce

I’m notorious for using three times the regular amount of soy sauce than I should be and my bag was littered with the packets I would hoard after every sushi visit, just in case I'd ver need them. Sadly, it turns out that soy sauce is just fermented wheat, so try swapping it for Tamari or Kikkoman Gluten-Free Soy Sauce.

 

Alcohol

I’m not a big drinker, but I do love a vodka cranberry when out with friends. But if you’re coeliac, you better hope that’s a potato-based vodka they’re pouring into your glass right now.

The majority of vodkas, bourbons and whiskeys are all distilled from grains. Whilst experts disagree on whether the distillation process makes the liquors suitable for those with coeliac, it’s better safe than sorry.

If you’re a vodka person, opt for Crystal Head instead (as an added bonus, you might get to keep the cool bottle).

Beers and ales are a gluten minefield, but if you’re not content with cider, try O'Brien Beer. The Australian brewery was established when its founder discovered he had coeliac disease and has a great coeliac-friendly range of preservative and colouring-free beers on offer.
 

 

A post shared by O'Brien Beer (@obrienbeer) on

Doughnuts

A lot of cafés and restaurants now cater to a gluten-intolerant clientele and there’s no shortage of cupcakes, tarts and sweet-bread to cater for every palate. But let me tell you what there is a serious lack of in the gluten-free world: Doughnuts.

Until recently, I had completely given up on my quest for a doughnut, until one day the universe threw me a bone and helped me discover GF Dessert Co and Houghnuts.

If you’re health conscious, Houghnuts are also vegan and have used 100 per cent pure maple syrup to sweeten their products.
 

 

Donut topping all day ??

A post shared by HOUGHNUTS (@houghnuts) on

As someone who is intolerant to almost everything the light touches, I’m often subject to a lot of well-meaning pity about my restricted diet, but with so many amazing alternatives available, I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing out.

Sure, Nonna still sheds a tear when I have to respectfully decline the meatballs (again), but not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for the food that I can eat. Why spend time mourning what you’ve lost when you can stuff your face with what you’ve got?

Want some more gluten-free inspiration? Why not try our gluten-free recipe collection?

Want more? We thought you might like this video.

 
 

Sign Out

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.

1 comment
Please login to comment
Posted by Lorraine173 •12d ago • Report
I know it is not good being coeliac, but at least you have now many gluten free options available in the supermarkets and restaurants. I have several allergies like garlic (you know the one that is very healthy for everyone!!!) and peanuts that they don't address. Last year I went to a restaurant in St Etienne, where every main and entree had garlic in it. Try going to Thailand or Cambodia. Some places will cook from fresh with no garlic but they are few and far between. Even sauces, Italian (incl pasta sauces), Greek, French, Mexican, Indian etc, etc have garlic in them! In some restaurants and hotels they use it as a preservative. And despite my advising staff that I cannot eat garlic , I have still been given food with it in or told "just cos I don't like it". To those places I don't go back there, to the others that cook fresh, I very much thank you.