When I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease, my initial reaction was sadness. I was the epitome of a carb-lover and I couldn't quite imagine my life without pastas and breads. Looking back, I believe I actually went through a period of time when I grieved my loss of these foods that I loved so much.
It all began in the grocery store...
After I researched gluten-free living for hours and committed myself to a few recipes I was willing to try, I made a lengthy list of all the gluten-free ingredients I needed. Then, I headed to the local grocer. I remember, after a grueling two hours and only locating about half of my list, that all I could think to do was stand in the bulk bin section and cry.
I was overwhelmed. This easily defines my gluten-free experience for the 4 to 6 weeks following. I only wish Trader Joe's had been a part of the Fort Worth grocery scene back then.
If you're gluten intolerant or suffer from Celiac and have yet to visit Trader Joe's, this is my "what are you waiting for?" prompt to go and check it out. It is a haven for healthy-minded and allergy-sensitive foodies alike.
There's no need to fret over the hunt for wheat, barley, and rye-free foods. Visit the customer service desk located at the front right corner of the store and let the manager know you need a gluten-free store map. This handy print-out will help you navigate the aisles with ease. And, because the store's footprint is only about half that of other grocers in town, it's not nearly as overwhelming.
Trader Joe's manufactures and packages many of the foods on its aisles. Most of its offerings are minimally-processed, organic, and created with the allergy-sensitive and health-conscious in mind. A few of my personal favorites are the Mediterranean Hummus, Roasted Plantain Chips (pictured), the Loaded Fruit & Nut Gluten Free Granola, and Gluten-free Waffles.
Trader Joe's is also quite famous for its highly affordable, yet amazingly delicious wine - the Two Buck Chuck. Yay for us that it's gluten-free as well! And, if that's not a brand that speaks to you, there are a number of others in its expansive collection that boast gluten-free ingredients with an under-$4 price tag. You can't beat that deal!
For me, personally, I have taken my gluten-free diet a step further, cutting out all grains (not just wheat, rye, and barley) and dairy as well. This Paleo approach to eating was just as complicated for me in the beginning as gluten-free. Many new ingredients to learn and purchase, often at high price tags.
If you eat Paleo, you know what I mean. Items like almond meal, cashews, local honey, and ghee (clarified butter) are really hard to find on the cheap. That is, unless you shop at Trader Joe's. How does $4 ghee sound?
Come on Down
Trader Joe's is located at 2701 S Hulen Street in Fort Worth. If you're headed North toward I-30, it's on the block just before the one where Calloway's nursery is located. For more information on Trader Joe's, visit http://traderjoes.com.