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Do not fear, gluten-free doesn’t mean pasta-free.

Do not fear, gluten-free doesn’t mean pasta-free.
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I remember when my healthcare practitioner uttered the words “go gluten free” to me. I was horrified. My diet was gluten-FULL, so how in the world would I ever go gluten free?  She gave me a list of foods to avoid and sent me on my way. This was years before gluten free living had hit the mainstream, so along with my list she included directions to some obscure grocery store in the suburbs where I could find gluten free foods. As a girl who was raised on spaghetti and pasta salad, I was especially haunted by the notion of giving up pasta. Pasta was a staple and I couldn’t imagine life without it. I enjoyed pasta in all forms and topped it with almost anything.

I’m happy to report that I survived going gluten-free and even discovered a whole new world of pasta. The gluten free pasta market has expanded exponentially in the past few years. There are so many options I’ve lost count, and believe it or not, most of these options are delicious.

If you’re considering going gluten free but are worried about the prospect of a pasta-free existence, rest assured you won’t have to give it up. Here are some of my favorites, available at most grocery stores now.  You’ll also be happy to learn that even some of your favorite Italian restaurants now offer a GF option. In fact, just last weekend I had dinner at Chicago’s Topo Gigio and enjoyed a delicious GF dish.

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta: Who doesn’t love quinoa?  This pasta is made with a combination of quinoa and corn plus its USDA certified organic (especially important with corn, which is one of the most genetically modified crops in our country, and unless grown organically, surely sprayed with pesticides).

Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Pasta: Trader Joe’s just makes me happy. The employees are happy and polite, and if you’re on the lookout for gluten free snacks and other packaged foods, they have a nice inventory. I don’t generally prefer brown rice GF pastas, but TJ’s version is exceptional! You’ll never miss the wheat.

Explore Asian Organic Bean Pasta: Looking for something grain-free? Look no further – Explore Asian’s Organic Bean Pasta is fantastic. You’d never know it was made out of beans. Plus, unlike many other GF pastas, it keeps well in the refrigerator as leftovers (doesn’t get sticky or dry). Added bonus – it’s jam packed with protein because it’s made out of BEANS!  Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.