The Label Game: Vegan, Organic, Gluten-Free??


Yes, to answer your question, I’m still snoshing on my kids’ gluten-free frosted flakes and processing my decision to eat gluten-free this month. The good news is that I’m on day seven and am feeling pretty good (ie, I haven’t been crying uncontrollably or binging on “gluten-free” snacks late into the night since about Tuesday). The bad news is that I have wasted good ingredients — and precious energy — trying to create a perfect (scratch that, edible) pancake without gluten flour or dairy products.  As Ev astutely remarked, looking at the mangled mess on the griddle, “Those are gross. Are you going to make me some new Max and Ruby pancakes, or what?!”  So I did.  And I popped some long-frozen gluten-free waffles into the toaster for myself.  Freezer-burned meet almond butter. Tasted like heaven to yours truly.  

There is a particular mental state people enter who have decided to deny themselves a certain food item, be it sugar, chocolate, dairy, coffee, or, say, wheat flour. Anyone who has tried to lose a few pounds knows what I’m talking about. You might even compare it to the stages of grief: denial (“I’m not really going to never eat cheese again; right?!”), anger (“WHY can’t I digest cheese? Why are the fates punishing me?”) , bargaining (“If I eat pizza only on Fridays, that should work. . .”), depression (“I don’t want to live without cheese!”), and finally, acceptance (“I love the taste of cheese, but no looking back, I’m feeling so much better!”). 

I am not a fan of ultimatums or needless suffering–I am all about being good to myself. So, as I will definitely be reunited with a loaf of sourdough at some point, I’m trying to see this month as a positive experiment. Maybe avoiding our comfort foods pushes us to rework old recipes and discover new, delicious– and yes, even comforting–dishes, to look outside the box for inspiration. No? Well, it was worth a try, anyway. 🙂  

I’ve been paying more attention to labels at the market as I’ve been educating myself on as the gluten-free world turns. Each aisle is a landmine of potential missteps. (Is anyone else finding a routine trip to the store taking about 3 hours longer than usual as you read every microscopic ingredients label?) I saw gluten-free water today. Seriously? Fancy marketing, that. However, there is gluten in many products you might not suspect, Sherlock, such as cosmetics, medications, your beloved bouillon cubes (in the maltodextrin, who knew?), soy sauce, hot cocoa mix, and french fries.  What about those “Nature’s Mother’s Friend” potato chips in the health food section with “organic,” “vegan,” and “gluten-free” plastered all over the front of the bag, you ask?  We all need to get our heads out of the flax seeds and take a deep breath. I read somewhere the other day that a conventional apple is better than organic potato chips. Truth.  Do we need to read labels? Absolutely. Should we be cautious about what we’re consuming both for ethical and health reasons? Of course. I just think if I can actually recognize the majority of what I buy at the store as food and I’m doing most of my cooking at home, fabulous. And if I need a few “gluten-free” goodies to bridge the gap right now, so be it. Now, where did I put those organic, gluten-free, vegan, chia-seed coated, sun-toasted kale chips. . .? 




About hannahcuttingjones

I'm a self-taught vegan foodie who has become a bit obsessed with food and nutrition in recent years. I am on a journey to find easy ways to veganize my life, learn about the history of why we eat the way we do, and be a more responsible consumer in general, having fun along the way. Join me! :)

2 responses »

  1. I enjoy reading your blogs and the funny observations your cute kids make. I have tried vegan home made bread…I didn’t care for it at all. I sliced it very thin and toasted it a bit…Glen are the whole thing. He thought they were some new crackers.

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