One of the biggest lessons I had to learn when I was adjusting to a strict gluten-free diet was how to read labels. Gluten is in everything. Or at least it feels like it some days.
I’m pretty savvy with predicting when gluten is going to pop up. Some brands of stock, most canned soups, lots of salad dressings, Bloody Mary mix, and soy sauce are all gluten land mines. But then there are a lot of labels with hidden sources of gluten. The ingredients list won’t say “GLUTEN,” but it will say malt, modified food starch or hydrolyzed protein, or even natural flavor – all potential sources of gluten.
But then I started getting burned by foods that I thought were safe. My favorite hummus changed the recipe to include soy sauce. A new mustard I bought without looking at the label ended up having wheat flour in the ingredients.
I’m serious about my gluten-free diet, but I need to be more serious about making my food from ingredients I know and trust.
Making my own food also means a difference in my wallet. It’s great that more awareness of gluten-free food has led to more products available at the grocery store, but sometimes a “Gluten Free!” label means an extra 20 percent on my grocery bill. Buying things like chickpeas, vegetable stock and olive oil in bulk – or at least full-size bottles – means that I’m not paying a premium for someone else to do the work for me.
Let’s compare some ingredient lists and the overall cost of the food:
Campbell’s Broccoli Cheddar Bisque
$2.98 per 15-ounce serving
Chicken Stock, Broccoli, Cream (Milk), Celery, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, Canola, and/or Soybean), Contains Less than 2% of: Modified Cornstarch, Cheddar Cheese (Dried) (Cheddar Cheese [Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes], Cream, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Lactic Acid), Salt , Wheat Flour , Onions (Dried), Broccoli (Dried), Cheddar Cheese (Milk , Cultures, Salt , Enzymes), Maltodextrin, Parmesan Cheese (Milk, Cultures, Salt , Enzymes), Soy Protein Concentrate, Yeast Extract, Flavoring, Nonfat Milk, Butter (Dried) (Cream [Milk ], Salt), Garlic (Dried), Buttermilk (Dried), Roasted Garlic (Dried), Spice, Sunflower Lecithin, Annatto Extract for Color, Soy Lecithin.
Blendtec Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
$10 for ingredients for 8 servings/ $1.25 per serving
Broccoli florets, vegetable broth, water, kosher salt, ground black pepper, ground nutmeg, cheddar cheese.
Trader Joe’s Tuscan White Bean Hummus
$5 per 16-ounce container (varies by state)
Great northern white beans, water, tahini (pureed sesame seeds), canola oil, garlic, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybean, salt), lemon juice concentrate, citrus fiber, cultured dextrose (for freshness), olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, salt, phosphoric acid and malic acids, parsley, white pepper, paprika.
Blendtec Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
$50 for ingredients for 12 16-ounce servings / $4.17 per servings
Chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, garlic, tahini, kosher salt, paprika.
Kraft Classic Caesar Dressing
$1.98 for 16-ounce bottle
Soybeans Oil, Water, Vinegar, Sugar, Cheese Romano From Cow’s Milk (Milk Part Skim, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Eggs Yolks, Cheese Parmesan (Milk Part Skim, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Contains 2% or less of the following: (Salt, Vinegar Red Wine, Garlic Dried, Spices, Phosphoric Acid, Fish Anchovies, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Onions Dried, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Yeast Extract Autolyzed, Soy Flour Defatted, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Caramel Color, Tamarind, Flavors Natural, Sorbic Acid, Calcium Disodium EDTA).
Blendtec Caesar Dressing
$20 for ingredients for 12 16-ounce servings / $1.66 per servings
Olive oil, water, fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar, kosher salt, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, ground black pepper, egg yolk, garlic, grated Parmesan cheese.
Kraft dressing is a budget friendly item, but it’s not so friendly to folks trying to cut down on their processed foods. Since I already had almost all of the ingredients for the Blendtec Caesar dressing in my pantry, it was easy and inexpensive to make my own dressing. Buying all of the ingredients for the dressing might run you about $20, but you’ll be able to make Caesar dressing for months with one batch of pantry ingredients plus fresh eggs and lemon. That’s what you’ll find as you make more and more of your food at home with the Blendtec. A stocked pantry means fewer emergency trips to the store, and the cost per meal will keep going down.
While I love the convenience of Trader Joe’s, I think I’m going to love using the Blendtec Designer 725 to make my own food more.