Gluten-Free in a Carb-Filled Society

Feb 15, 2011

Gluten is a protein and is what gives various doughs (think pizza, pasta, cake, etc) their elasticity and volume. Often, gluten free foods can be dense, dry, and even crumbly, so they tend to get a bad rap.  Gluten is also found in foods with starch, malt, dextrose, and even soy based products.

Dr. Robert Zembroski of theDarien Center for Integrative Medicine explains: “According to research, patients with gluten sensitivity and/or celiac disease have this problem due to genetics, diet, and the environment.  This gene causes an immune reaction when gliadin comes in contact with the surface of our intestines. Gliadin is the protein component of gluten found in grains.”

  • Planet Pizza leads the way with their 12'' Gluten-Free Pizza Crust and penne pasta. One can still enjoy the Penne pasta with grilled chicken, broccoli and sun-dried tomato in a garlic, oil and white wine sauce, and the veggie deluxe GF pizza with artichokes, olives, eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Bertucci’s offers diners an entire GF menu complete with antipasto, salads (minus cold cuts and croutons), a non-breaded eggplant parma layered with tomato sauce, provolone and grated Romano, and even desserts such as the “Bomba” with vanilla and chocolate gelato wrapped in chocolate with almonds and a red heart of maraschino cherry.
  • The Sugar Bowl satisfies their GF customers with their take on Huevos Rancheros for breakfast that uses corn tortillas and a Huevos Mexicanos for lunch with grilled corn tortillas topped with thinly sliced steak, sautéed onions and peppers, and melted cheese on top.
  • The Melting Pot is in tune with their GF customers and offers a menu that’s easily navigated with “GF” indicators and modifications that can be made. Substitutions for tofu, ravioli and pasta, as well as the soy/malt teriyaki sauce used for the beef all have wonderful substitutions. Cheese base fondues can be requested to be made with cornstarch thickeners and GF beer can fill in for the traditional lager beers fondues. A wonderful GF surprise is the Yin & Yang cocktail made with Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Stoli vanilla vodka and ice cream topped with chocolate shavings. It’s sweet and creamy and rather indulgent.
  • Fuji of Japan provides gluten free soy sauce to cook the Hibachi meals of steak, chicken, shrimp and veggies.   
  • Little Thai Kitchen has modified their red, green, Penang, jungle, massamun, yellow, and rendang curry sauces to be GF by eliminating the starches often found in Asian style sauces. The tom yum and tom kar soups are also GF, and rice noodles are a fabulous GF food to get your pasta fix with, as seen in many of LTK’s dishes.
Sweet tooth cravings can also be accommodated.  

  • Chunky Pams' Sweet Shoppe carries GF jelly beans, gummy bears, lollipops, and even chocolate peanut butter cups. With owner Clifton Benham’s numerous resources in candy land, special orders for GF products are not a problem.
Chef Bryan Malcarney from Rory’s prepares a flourless chocolate mousse cake, providing sweet decadence sans the flour. On Thursdays Upper Crust Bakery & Café (a.k.a. UCBC) bakes GF coconut macaroons and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Debra Ponzek of Aux Delices Foods bakes GF bread and cupcakes for special orders and is now baking GF cookies to keep on hand. They also carry a line of GF brownies and blondies by that are delicious.

All of Gofer Ice Cream’s soft serve-based flavors are GF. “The base of our hard ice cream is also gluten free, but some inclusions such as Oreo Cookies and the like may contain gluten so we recommend concerned people stick to the soft serve base products, without any additions such as toppings or flavor twist products,” says owner Jay Ragusa.
All Robeks Juice smoothies and supplements are GF. They also carry GF nut balls (Betty Lou's Peanut Butter, Cashew Pecan) and cookies (Sun Flour Baking Company Lemony-Lemon, Cinnamon).
Don’t worry Mary, we didn’t forget the cocktails! The guys at Ten-Twenty Post are shakin’ up martinis made with Chopin Potato Vodka or Ciroc Vodka, which is made in France and derived from grapes.  One can also feel free to sip on GF Champagne and Sparking Rose wine that will pair nicely with the restaurant’s signature raw bar items.

Whole Foods Market does a wonderful job at loading up on GF foods. So much so in fact, they have a map of their GF items in the store, which are also identified with GF tags throughout the isles and prepared food section. Going a step further, Whole Foods’ Healthy Eating Specialist conducts regular GF talks/tours of the store to assist customers with their GF diets.



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