Fake: adj “having a false or misleading appearance”
Come on everyone- we’ve all been there. At one time or another, all of us have wanted to be celiac free and not give as much thought to what we eat like we have been trained to do. We have all come to the point where we substitute our breads, pastas, cookies and pizzas with ease. We are all guilty of having that momentary excitement when we find one of our “old standbys” now have a gluten free version. I’ll admit it, I was pretty excited when I found that my local grocery store carried gluten free cupcakes on a regular basis- and they were tasty! When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease I was not underweight at all, in fact, when I went gluten free I managed to LOSE weight. Now as I learned to master the gluten free world the pounds starting to sneak back on- and on, and on.
I was a master of reading labels. I knew everything in my food to the point of obsession at times. However, while becoming the incredible gluten detecting machine I can be, I managed to overlook a vital part of food labels. Mainly calories, fat, and carbs- you know, the ones that fed my waistline to the point of being overweight. The scary part, though, is that this is pretty much the norm for most of the celiac community. Yikes! Time to get ourselves back in check!
First, I decided to start comparing gluten free versions to “real stuff.” Just a side note- when I approached a few gluten free friends, I was quickly shot down that GF versions are “real stuff” and I should get into the mind-frame of embracing my new GF world. Please disregard the politically incorrect label of GF foods here as fake and those containing gluten as real. I love my “fake food” which is what my family came to call my GF foods at home and I’ve learned to roll with the punches. I’m pretty proud that most of the time, they can’t find the “fake food” at the table. Also, let’s be honest, we can generally tell when things are GF- they tend to be a bit more heavy so those fluffy/airy treats were like are hard to come up with a GF version! My gluten free donut doesn’t compare to a Krispy Kreme. My gluten free pizza crust will never be the same as my favorite dive pizzeria. The important thing for for me though is that it’s okay. I still love my gluten free donuts and my gluten free pizzas. I’m all for substituting gluten free versions when possible. Everyone has their own preferences. For myself, I will substitute gluten free pasta any day. In my opinion, it’s mostly the sauce that makes the pasta yummy. I have a favorite GF bread as well, but I don’t like using it for sandwiches. I’ve now started to LOVE making lettuce wraps for lunch. And as I mentioned- those gluten free cupcakes from my local grocery store are delicious. Actually, my favorite cupcakery in the city is their supplier! Double yum! (if you’re in Chicago- its Swirlz. Seriously. To. Die. For.)
Second, I needed to learn to navigate those food labels again. I had become so intent of finding the gluten on the label that I developed tunnel vision! The other difference that we all have to watch out for in gluten free food is right there! Gluten free food usually requires “a little extra” added to them to make up for their glutenless existence. Sometimes it can be extra butter or sugar for texture and/or flavor. You know what that means, right? Extra calories and fat. In fact, it’s well known that gluten free foods tend to be higher in calories and fat than their gluten containing counterparts. So this adds to my dilemma- to fake it or not? My own opinion is that most of the time, faking it just isn’t worth it the majority of the time. I’m going to stick with my bunless burgers, my lettuce wrap sandwiches, and I’ll probably skip the cookies most of the time, too. For me, I’d rather save my calories for something else- like those cupcakes!