A Walk Through the Grocery Store with Celia C

Celia C has a thing or two to say about your grocery shopping.
Helpful stuff, ya’ll. Even if you’re not a Celiac, you might glean something, too. So read on!

from acts

Your first trip to the grocery store after going gluten free might be a little awkward, but it doesn’t take long to become an absolute PRO. I promise. It gets easier.
Again, I stress my personal food philosophy: eat foods that were GF to begin with. Meats, vegetables and most dairy foods are already GF.

from forbes

If you’re dying for carbs, rice, potatoes and quinoa are already on the table,

from foodandspice

not to mention grits and corn!

from scientificamerican

Of course a swing through the Organic/Natural/Hippy food section will definitely peak your interest. You’ll see GF cookies, baking mixes, crackers, breads and sometimes frozen stuff like waffles or bagels.  Just remember, those items were already rough on your body when made originally.

GF grains will improve your chances of weight gain.

from wrongleehong

Moderation, kids.

Outside of the realm of the easily labeled GLUTEN FREE section, there are a few land mines to look out for elsewhere. Real the ingredient lists on everything.

from mlive

Seriously. EVERYTHING.

Skip anything containing the obvious ones: wheat, wheat flour, rye, barley, barley malt, malt, spelt, semolina.

from torriesbioclan

The no-so-obvious culprit is found in a lot of processed foods: Modified Food Starch.

Currently, the FDA does not require food manufacturers to identify the source of MFS.  Now, realistically, if the food is made in the USA, there’s about a 90% chance of it being derived from corn.  We’re the Saudi Arabia of corn so yeah, it’s probably corn.

from shopashi

But we’re also the world’s “bread basket” so the stuff could easily be made of wheat.  And since they’re not required to specify, the recipe can change from lot to lot, depending on which raw material was cheaper that week.

All that said, let’s go on a tour of my local grocery store fave: Publix

from poifactory



Bakery stuff is a no go.

from flickr

The deli though will have lots of good stuff. Fancy cheeses, hummus, salads, etc.  Read the labels on the picnic fare (potato salad, baked beans, etc.)

from wizardrecipe

Meat Department

Fresh meats from the meat counter are usually fine. Be sure and check any turkeys that might be pre-brined.

from christmasstock

Lunchmeats are a tricky spot. Many of them are seasoned and marinated. SO MANY of them contain “modified food starch.”

from malefood

Avoid this.

Also make sure to read the labels on smoked meats like bacon and sausages. You can pretty much bet that the precooked meats (like those little tubs of precooked and seasoned fajita meat) are out of the question, but if you’re in a hurry, go ahead and read the label.


Most of the frozen bagged seafood is fine and of course the fresh stuff is OK.

from dbenson

Careful with the cocktail and tartar sauces. Also, sushi is great, but lots of grocery store sushi is made with imitation crab meat which is chock full of wheat flour.

from sushikw

Guess what? Read the label.

Skip anything stuffed or “cakes” like crab cakes.

Cereal aisle

Good luck.

Most of your favorites are likely out of the question.

from topinternetguides

Read the labels, be sure to look out for “barley malt extract.” It shows up in a lot of cereals.  First look for the ones that are rice or corn based, then go reading.  I can tell you from experience that Corn and Rice Chex as well as Kix are safe.

from blogsweetly

Kid tested and gluten-free approved, right?

My dad eats Rice Krispies but they contain barley malt extract so I avoid them.

There are a few cereal/granola bar options. Sure, you might see some GF substitute stuff, but read the labels on your favorites.  I sometimes cheat and eat the oat ones but make sure you know your own level of tolerance. You never know what oats will or won’t be safe.

FYI Nature Valley makes an “Almond Crunch” bars that are certified GF (no oats). They aren’t very filling but they’re good for a not-so-bad-for-you sweet snack.

from resultprivate

Check out the grits! The instant ones often have wheat flour to thicken them, but grits are a great way to get some whole grain without gluten.

from myrecipes

And you know, they’re really good host for cream cheese and sun dried tomatoes.

Coffee and tea are fine, thank goodness.

from tanweji

Canned Veggies/Ethnic Foods/Pasta

Most plain canned vegetables are fine, but be careful with the seasoned ones.  I know I’ve found wheat on the label of one brand of “southern style” lima beans.

from greengiant

Asian: Almost all the Chinese sauces are based on soy sauce so read the labels.

La Choy brand soy sauce is safe, but almost all other brands contain wheat.  Some of the thai sauces are safe though.  This section will however have rice noodles and rice crackers. YUM.  Pad thai is your friend!

from myrecipes2

Mexican: The good stuff.

Guess what? most of this is OK.  Skip the flour tortillas and you’re golden.  Avoid the restaurant brands and aim for the Ortega or Old El Paso brands. Obviously the true Mexican stuff is fine. Careful with the spice/seasoning packets though.

from thepioneerwoman

Italian: Sorry guys. It’s special, expensive and easy to screw up pasta from here on out.

Good news? Going low carb will be easier.  But seriously, there are a lot of good brands/types of GF pasta out there.  The quinoa ones are my favorite, and my dad prefers corn.  Find yours.

from glutenfreeportland

As for the sauces, again, read the labels. Same goes for the pestos and grated parm cheeses, if you’re into that sort of thing. (My pasta craving cure is rice. Plain old rice, pour your favorite pasta sauce over it and boom. Carb craving with that yummy saucy goodness.)

Condiments/Baking Needs

Many low fat mayonnaise brands use malt vinegar to boost the flavor without the fat. Sorry.  My go-to is Duke’s.

from wiki

Other condiments, you gotta read every label. Every salad dressing, marinade, steak sauces, etc.  When in doubt, make your own. It’ll taste better that way anyway.

Good news: Worchestershire, A1 and Dale’s are all OK.

from komar

A couple national brands have GF baking mixes now, like Duncan Hines.  Their cake mix is really good.

from spiralowlc


I miss pretzels. Sorry.  But I LOVE corn chips so I’m dealing.

from cvbiz

Plain corn and potato chips are cool. Read the labels on the flavored ones though. For example, the cheese flavored Doritos have wheat. Weird, huh?

from sodahead

Better snacks are to be found though! Rice cakes are yummy and the plain ones are great host for peanut butter or melted cheese.

Also, of course, there’s all sorts of nuts and seeds and dried fruit type snacks.

Frozen Foods

Ok, so here’s where I lost a lot of my previous life’s conveniences.  Those bags of frozen, cook it all in one skillet meals? Yeah, most of them are off the list.

from sdims

 Contessa brand has a couple varieties that are safe, but I’ve never found them in where I live. Check your grocery store and read the labels.

I love the steam-in-the-bag veggies but  be careful of the ones with sauces.  Frozen potatoes are pretty much OK though some store brands of tater tots have flour.

from foodofjeff

There are a couple frozen dinners that are safe but don’t hold your breath. Read the labels and don’t even try for the pasta based ones or the ones with “gravy”.   There are a couple frozen breakfast options, i.e. GF waffles and the Pillsbury Scramblers. There will also probably be a small organic section in the freezer case. Check out the Amy’s brand tv dinners. The mac and cheese is great and I’ve liked all the other ones I’ve tried.

Dairy Case

Milk is fine. I’ve never bought soy or almond milks so read those labels, but I’ll bet they’re OK. Check the labels on the flavored coffee creamers.  Most cheeses are safe and of course eggs are good.

from sec

Most yogurts are alright but some of them have modified food starch. Read your labels!

Bread Aisle

Refer to “Bakery Section.”

However, this is where my Publix stocks its peanut butter as well as tortillas. PB on Crunchmaster crackers is one of my favorite “in a hurry, need some protein” snacks.

from daveywavy

Corn tortillas have been a great alternative to bread in the past. Also, cut them into triangles and toast them in the toaster oven and you’ve got baked corn chips!


My favorite place. Go nuts.

from atlasshrugs

Grab one of everything. Veggies in their raw state are all GF.

from futurity

Look out for the dip mix packets that are sold here, like guacamole, etc. Some brands have modified food starch. Also be careful of the salad topping mixes that have become popular recently. Little bags of croutons (duh) or nuts with seasoning. Sounds cool but usually has flour or MFS to prevent stuff from sticking together in the bag.

Diet Food

At my Publix, right by the pharmacy there’s a wall lined with diet food, drinks and protein supplements.  9 times out of 10 the drinks and drink mixes are safe.

from lcusion

The same cannot be said of the various bars.  Protein bars, etc are the epitome of processed food.  However, there is one brand, Think Thin, that makes high protein, low carb bars that are gluten free. And hey, they’re pretty darn tasty too.

That covers pretty much the whole store. And you thought you’d go hungry without your bread!

Now that you’ve bought lots of GF groceries, how about using that kitchen? Here are a few places I go for some great GF recipes:

Sorry, I can’t eat that: http://glutenfreegabfest.blogspot.com/
Gluten Free Girl & The Chef: http://glutenfreegirl.com/
Gluten Hates Me: http://www.glutenhatesme.com/
Gluten Free Gobsmacked: http://glutenfree.wordpress.com/
Hey, that tastes good! http://www.heythattastesgood.com/
The Good Eatah: http://thegoodeatah.blogspot.com/
Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom: http://www.adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com/
Kelly Courson: http://www.celiacchicks.com/

suck it, gluten.

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Categories: Guest Posts, Life


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