Walk the aisles of your local grocery store or health food retailer, and chances are the gluten-free and allergen-free section is stocked to the brim with options for those who opt out of certain every day ingredients. For many people, common foods like wheat, dairy, nuts, seeds, corn, and soy mean lots of symptoms, side effects, and poor health. But canvassing the many brands and products in the unfamiliar allergy-friendly section can be downright confusing and overwhelming. The secret to understanding allergen-free foods and enjoying these foods? Brand favoritism.
Yes, knowing which brands of products you not only tolerate, but really love and crave will help ensure success in your journey into allergen-free eats. This way, there will be an order and routine to grocery shopping. This is especially helpful for those who are newly allergen-free. Instead of scanning shelves and not being sure which one item is right, try a handful of different brands and their products (bread, crackers, pasta, desserts, baking mixes). From there, determine which sit best with your taste buds -- all brands will be different; some more chewy than others, some more dry or moist, or textured or fluffy. Figure out what works for you.
One all-time favorite brands for many people who are allergen-free eaters is Enjoy Life Foods (ELF). Their line of gluten-, dairy-, soy-, corn-, and nut-free has lots of loyal fans and people rely on the variation in their products (lots of different items!) and its consistency -- always deliciously allergy-friendly (chocolate chips and chunks, granola bars, snack bars, trail mixes, cereals and more). ELF, up until recently, had one line of allergen-free cookies which, while delicious in and of themselves left a little something to be desired; namely, a good solid crunch.
This summer, Enjoy Life Foods released their new Crunchy Cookies in four flavors: chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, vanilla honey graham, and sugar crisp. These are cookies I’ve not only tried myself but also recommended to clients because yes, for being free of the major allergens, they really are that good. Being gluten or dairy-free does not need to equal deprivation, and when you’re in a pinch and want to buy pre-made foods, ELF Crunchy Cookies are one brand and product to get familiar with asap. Eat them by themselves, with dairy-free ice cream (ice cream sandwich), or crumbled on top of fruit and yogurt. And then, remember this brand for next time.
Written By: Liz Schau, HolisticHealthCounseling