Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that many Canadians struggle with. Since there is no cure, the only way to manage it is by eating and drinking a strict gluten-free diet. Our regular contributor, Catherine Dunwoody, was diagnosed with Celiac a few years ago. She shares some of her favourite Canadian brands that do gluten-free, safely, and most important, deliciously. Best part? No need to scrutinize the labels for hidden gluten ingredients. —Catherine Dunwoody
Here’s a national food brand that is doing GF frozen foods right. M&M Food Market has partnered with the Canadian Celiac Association to create certified gluten-free products like crunchy panko shrimp, chicken Pad Thai, a brunch-made-easy frittata and much more, all that you simply pop in the oven. Says M&M about the partnership: “doing so offers our gluten-free consumers the level of safety assurance they deserve. We know that Celiac Disease affects hundreds of thousands of people across the country but having served Canadians for more than 40 years, we also know a thing or two about creating amazing food suitable for different diets. A number of years ago, our food innovation team set out to make a variety of recipes safer without compromising flavour, texture, and appearance. It’s not always easy to strike that balance when gluten is removed from the ingredients list but we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.”
Alkeme Gluten Free Artisan Bakery, based in Rossland, BC, bakes real sourdough breads, bagels, baguettes and more, all in their facility that only makes GF products. Owners Melinda and Todd were discouraged reading the labels of most commercially made GF breads filled with additives and preservatives, low in nutrition and did not have that chewy texture bread-lovers miss when they eat GF. Thus, Alkeme was born. PS as with most gluten-free breads, toasting or warming is essential.
Grey Fox Brewing is based in Kelowna and is the Okanagan’s only GF brewery. When Chris Neufeld was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, he knew he was really going to miss beer, so he spent years experimenting at home until he found the secret to unlocking the starches in GF grains like millet and rice. Neufeld knew that safe GF beer can only be brewed in a dedicated facility, so he built one, and now Grey Fox offers a fleet of varieties including Belgian saison, IPA, lager, stout and more.
Chef Biologico is the place to shop online for GF Italian products, and they ship anywhere in Canada. Owned by an Italian family based in Montreal in the food business for thirty years, they offer a wide selection of gluten-free products. Especially impressive are their pastas, particularly the GF cannelloni by Granoro. Irollo is also an Italian brand that makes hard-to-find GF pastas like bucatini and papardelle. We get a little tired of gluey penne. Stock your pantry with these.
President’s Choice brand is available at Loblaws, Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart and has a complete line of GF products in most of their grocery departments. Hard to find foods like couscous (safely made with corn instead of wheat and great for tabbouleh salad), breadcrumbs in a shakeable container ideal for adding crunch to fish or chicken, make having Celiac just a little easier if you’re a home cook.