The other night, D and I had a date. We planned to have dinner and attend a movie. Yay! I’d not done that in a long time, yet the nagging question for me was about what to eat while on this wheat free diet?

We did not have many restaurant options and, for the sake of convenience, ended up at Qdoba. They are a bit like Chipotle in that they offer southwestern food made fast at inexpensive prices.

I’d not been able to do my advance research on the menu as I normally do, so I knew I’d have to wing it. I was about to get a burrito and had plans to ditch the wrapper when I saw they offer their burritos “naked.” That means you can get a burrito in a bowl without the wrapper. Grilled squash, red pepper, onions and salsa were arranged on a bed of lime-infused rice with cilantro. The lime-infused rice was my favorite part. The only part I would have changed was to offer brown rice instead of white.

Anyway, it was delicious. Qdoba will be on my list of allowable restaurants. I’m not a fast food kind of person, yet occasionally there are not other options. It’s nice to know I (and you!) can find something to eat there.

A lot of times, I want a delicious treat that I do not have to bake from scratch…enter Pamela’s Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies. You can indulge and still stick to your wheat free diet!

One bite of this dark chocolate cookie takes me back to the wheat-filled chocolate bundt cakes of my youth. The chocolate chips are huge and, as cliche as it sounds, really do melt in your mouth. Tonight, I sat down at the table with a glass of rice milk and dipped my cookies into them like a little kid. What a delight!

Instead of wheat, Pamela’s Products uses white rice flour, rice flour, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, etc. I never knew there were so many kinds of rice flour before.

I have to admit that one ingredient completely baffles me. What on earth is “gluten-free natural flavor.” That would imply that “natural flavor” contains gluten, and isn’t “natural flavor” an oxymoron anyway?

Oh, well. I don’t think I want to know every detail so long as there’s no wheat and the ingredients are relatively healthy.

I’m not ready to blast the news to everyone that I’m on a wheat free diet. I’ve had a number of health challenges in the past 5-10 years and had to experiment with giving up a number of foods. For that reason, I want to lay low on the subject of giving up wheat until my body is more settled and recovered from the years of “wheat abuse”.

My friends came to town and wanted to eat at a particular Chinese restaurant for dim sum. I used to love the food there, yet I’d feel sick to my stomach after I ate it. My husband and I attributed that to the grease; he’d feel a bit sick, too.

Now that I know I can’t eat wheat, I’m certain that was a major part of the problem for me. Every single dim sum item contains wheat (and major grease). Even the one green vegetable they bring out at the very end is marinated in wheat-filled soy sauce and covered with a sheen of mysterious fat.

What to do? I wanted to see my friends, and I wanted to avoid eating that food. Sitting at a big table with all of the dim sum carts rolling by would be dull for me. It would also be tempting to eat the food anyway and annoying to answer all the questions about why I was not eating.

Instead of subjecting myself to that, I suggested we meet up for coffee next door beforehand. It was a great idea. My friends wanted to visit that coffee shop before their dim sum experience anyway, and I got to spend time with them outside before they had to get in line for the Chinese restaurant.

Sometimes a little creativity in a potentially sticky or uncomfortable situation can pay off. I’m happy I didn’t have to sit there watching people eat food I can’t eat, and I’m happy I got to see my friends.

The other night, we met friends for dinner at Macaroni Grill, and I wondered how I’d stick to my wheat free diet. Although Macaroni Grill is a restaurant in the U.S.,  the following applies to eating at restaurants anywhere. 

My friend was visiting from out of town and really wanted to eat at this place. It’s not my favorite, but I went along with it since she is a guest. I went to the Macaroni Grill website to find their menu and stumbled across “allergen menu.” When I opened the PDF, I found a number of small menus geared towards those with fish, wheat, and dairy allergies. 

This mini menu listed items such as “Caesar salad (without croutons)” and clearly stated what, if any, item you had to ask to be removed. The PDF also instructed to inform the manager of your allergy. 

I ordered the Pollo Mogro (Skinny Chicken) which came with asparagus and broccoli. It was a delight and so nice not to have an uncomfortable reaction after dinner. On the down side, I was hungry after eating this meal. It was a “skinny” meal, so I had a snack when I got home.

I was emailing with a reader of this blog about wheat free bread. As you may have guessed, she’s also on a wheat free diet. I figured there were plenty of other people looking for bread they could eat, so I’d compile a list of ones I like.

Food for Life Millet Wheat Free Bread (no eggs, gluten or wheat, sweetened with fruit juice): This golden-colored bread is a bit more dense than breads with wheat. Although it takes a bit of getting used to the density, I find it’s a good substitute and allows me to eat my favorite tuna fish or egg sandwiches. I’ve also torn up pieces and used them in a casserole.

Food for Life Raisin Pecan Wheat Free Bread and Brown Rice Bread (no wheat or gluten, sweetened with fruit juice): While I mostly switch back and forth between the brown rice and the millet bread, I sometimes like to get bread with raisins. Then, I eat the raisin bread with cinnamon and butter at breakfast or for a snack. Yum.

Ener-G Foods Light Brown Rice Loaf: I found this texture of this bread to be most unpleasant, yet I want to mention it as an alternative. We all have different tastes, so maybe you’ll like this better than I did. I can’t give it a recommendation since I didn’t care for it. This company also makes English muffins that I’d like to try.

When I visited the Food for Life website, I noticed that they offer brown rice tortillas. I have not seen those in my local health food store. Now that I know they exist, I’ll ask the store to order some. I am looking forward to being able to eat a burrito with the wrapper.

One of my friends said to beware of packaged soup when you’re on a wheat free diet. 

Mmmm…when the air starts to feel crisp and pumpkins start to appear on the doorsteps of my neighbors, I know it’s time to make some warm soup for those cold, dark nights. 

I invented this recipe one evening, and it’s been a hit every time I cooked it. I love sweet potatoes, and we need to eat some vitamin A every day. So, voila! 

If you have children, this soup provides an excellent way to get veggies into their diet. 

Best of all, this recipe uses easy recipes and can be prepared in 20 minutes or less.

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp ginger powder or 1/2 tbsp fresh
4 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil
several sprinkles garlic powder

Saute onion in the oil until soft. Add garlic powder. Saute another few minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Let water come to a boil. Then, cover and turn down to a simmer. Simmer until potatoes are soft. Blend/puree.

Since I started this wheat free diet, I have not been sure about whether I can eat certain kinds of soy sauce or not. A few clearly list wheat or wheat-derived ingredients that I know I should not eat. Others are not so clear. 

Today, I was reading a blog post on fermented soy beans and the author mentioned a wheat free soy sauce.  I just may have to try out the Tamari soy sauce she mentioned – and perhaps even carry some with me the next time I plan to eat sushi at a restaurant.

If you are looking for a wheat free soy sauce, check out the Tamari kind. If you find one you like, please post it in the comments. Thanks!

This is a tasty recipe – one that will satisfy both wheat eaters and those folks on a wheat free diet.

I wanted to make a nice meal for my husband. He’d been so nice as I suffered from food allergies, tried various ways of eating and then finally discovered that I could not eat wheat products. It’s hard on me, and I know it must be a bit hard on him.

So, enter the special meal. I wanted to make something ‘normal’ that anyone could eat and not think “this is missing wheat.”

That’s how I stumbled across this wheat free tabouli recipe. It’s elegant, light, and perfect for romantic summer picnics. The olive oil and lemon juice lend a flavor I can only describe as full, textured and tangy.

This recipe is extremely flexible. If you don’t like one of the veggies, you can easily substitute another one you prefer.

Wheat Free Tabouli

2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 cucumber, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, 6 sliced
1/2 cup fresh chopped mint,
2 cups fresh chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pepper

•  Cook the quinoa in the water until the quinoa has absorbed the water and become fluffy.

•  Combine the salad ingredients in a medium bowl.

•  Mix the dressing ingredients together and stir into the salad mixture.

I like to let it chill overnight and serve the next day. That gives a lot of time for the flavors to mix. This makes about 8 cups and tastes good chilled or at room temperature.

One of my good friends has to be on a wheat free diet, too.

She told me about a delicious pizza by Amy’s. It’s made with a rice crust and uses soy cheese. About a day after she mentioned it, I went to the health food store to buy one for myself.

I had not had pizza in what seems like ages! The toppings are cheese and spinach. While I first found the pizza to be a bit bland, it was easy to fix with my own spices. After adding a bit of garlic powder and some oregano, the flavor was much improved.

When I next buy one of the wheat free pizzas, I’ll add some other toppings as well. I bet it’d be good with meat or veggie sausage as well.

Eventually, I’ll make my own rice crust. How hard can it be?

When you are starting out on a wheat free diet, it can be hard to know what you can or can’t eat.

Here are some foods that can replace wheat ingredients:

1. Rice
2. Amaranth
3. Quinoa (said keen-wah)
4. Buckwheat grain (despite its name, it’s wheat free)
5. Potato flour
6. Fava bean flour
7. Garnanzo bean flour
8. Red Mill carries several products you can use to make breads, pancakes, etc.

I’m a big fan of quinoa. The grain is smaller than rice, and it can easily replace cous cous and works well in tabouli.

In fact, use any regular tabouli recipe, substitute quinoa for the wheat bulgar, and you won’t know the difference!

Wheat-Free Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Get these wheat-free, dairy-free and gluten-free dark chocolate chunk cookies and enjoy gigantic chocolate chips in a delicious cookie. It's SO nice to have a wheat free cookie actually taste wonderful.
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