I love bread. When I found out I had to give up gluten, I panicked. Ghosts of family dinners past haunted me like old Jacob Marley did Scrooge. Spaghetti and meat balls, meat loaf and mashed potatoes, goulash, pork chops and stuffing…..and it wasn’t even the pasta or the stuffing that I had to give up that made me want to cry. At every family meal, good old white bread was a mainstay. Gravy bread…ahhh…what a great way to top off a Sunday dinner.
Then in the 1970’s, my dad became diabetic. I remember his “gluten bread”. Even then, there was gluten free bread. He said it tasted like cardboard, but what choice did he have? I never gave it a thought. Til now.
If I had to give up bread, I thought, I wouldn’t be able to do this. I’d go nuts. Carb cravings would turn me into a raving madwoman. So before I turned into Mrs. Hyde, I did some research. There is so much information available online that it’s enough to make your head spin and then start spewing pea soup. To save you from the exorcist and speaking in tongues, here are a few tips I found useful:
- Gluten free bread is expensive. It will cost a bit for you to try different types until you find one you like. This is unfortunately part of being gluten free and can’t be avoided.
- Gluten free bread has a different texture. It takes some getting used to. I found if you keep it in the freezer it doesn’t dry out as much, but this is debatable. It depends on your personal preference.
- Slices are smaller and thinner than regular bread.
- It takes longer to toast but burns quickly once it does. Not sure why.
- It comes in many varieties-raisin, white, multi grain, rolls, bagels, baguettes, you name it.
- It is nothing like the bread you love. End of story. If you realize that from the get go, that is half the battle.
- Some bread uses inulin in place of gluten-inulin is made from either agave or chicory root. Yes, this is the same agave they make tequila out of but don’t get your hopes up. It does upset some people’s stomach, mine included. Make sure to read labels. It is one thing I still struggle with and it’s very important to know what’s in your food.
- The three major gluten free bread brands are Udi’s, Rudi’s and Schar. My favorite is Udi’s. I love their bagels and white bread-also their hot dog and hamburger rolls. But again, this will be a personal preference.
- You can always bake your own. I tried this and I found either Pamela’s or King Arthur bread mixes to be easy to make and they taste pretty good. What I don’t like is the size of the loaf. The slices are huge and I can’t slice as this as I would like.
If you are a carb addict like me and dread giving up your bread, there are alternatives. You can have bread. But if you are looking for Wonder Bread it isn’t going to happen. Attitude and expectation adjustments are key to living as normal a life as you possibly can. And finding the humor. That is what life is all about.