Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

CONTRIBUTED BY JESS WHEELER

Hi,  my name is Jess and when I was four I was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease.  This means that I have to follow a strict gluten free diet.  While this disease is somewhat rare I am by no means the only person in this boat.  Now at 31 I feel like I may be able to provide some help to others in the same situation navigate  the grocery store, avoiding wheat, rye, barley, etc while still coming home with food that is tasty, delicious and  something all members of the family will eat.  The best store in Okinawa for gluten free food is the Camp Foster Commissary.  From what I’ve seen the other commissaries offer the same selection.  Although there are gluten free foods out in town at grocery stores it can be difficult to read the ingredients and none of them are specifically marked gluten free that I know of.

So, the other day I popped my one year old and three year old into the awesome “car” cart and went up at down the aisles jotting down all the gluten free items I could find.  I have to say I enjoyed my treasure hunt and even found 2 items I had never seen before.  Today I started off right with a new pancake mix! The list here is by no means an exhaustive list of foods someone on a gluten free diet can eat but is limited to foods that are labeled as being gluten free or that fit into the quick meal, quick snack category that can sometimes be hard to fill in on a gluten free diet.

Produce: 

  • Obviously any fresh fruits or vegetables  are great, gluten-free snacks.
  • Sunrype Fruit Bars (on a stand in the produce section close to the peanut butter section).
  • Italian Herb Polenta GF (serve with Italian vegetables and mozzarella cheese, mmm) on a stand near the sushi bar.

Deli:

  • Kitchen Table Bakers Cheese Crisps
  • La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas (be careful not to accidently grab the wheat or corn and wheat tortillas!)
  • New York Style Risotto Chips (If you are like me one bag feeds one person)

Aisle 2:

  • Bob’s Red Mill: Available in the baking mix section there is an array of gluten-free grains and mixes such as bread mix, pizza crust, baking flour, pancake mix, chocolate cookie mix, brownie mix, and quinoa.
  • Amy’s Organic Low Fat Black Bean and Vegetable Soup and Amy’s Lentil Soup.
  • Annie’s Rice Pasta and Cheddar (in the boxed pasta section
  • Asian Helper Beef Fried Rice (with Hamburger Helper boxed meals)

Aisle 3:

  • Organic Gluten Free Bionaturae Spaghetti made with rice, potato and soy
  • Blue Diamond Almond and Nut Thins (top shelf in cracker section)
  • Sesmark Savory Rice Thins ( I love these with cream cheese spread on top)
  • Fruit Roll Ups
  • Rice Noodles/Pancit Bijon (great to use in Asian noodle recipes such as Singapore Noodles)
  • Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour (top shelf, good for making mochi, not for baked goods)
  • La Choy Soy Sauce, teriyaki, and Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • Dragonfly Special Sweet Rice (great for  rice desserts such as rice with coconut milk and mangoes)
  • Super Golden Bihon Cornstarch Sticks
  • Don’t forget to try different varieties of rice like Jasmine for Thai cooking, Arborio for risottos, brown rice, and short grain rice for sticky rice, and long grain white rice for Indian cuisine.

Aisle 4:

  • Cereals: Corn Chex, Rice Chex, Honey Nut Chex, Envirokids Koala Crisp, Nature’s Path Honeyed Cornflakes (my favorite!), Grits, Bisquick Gluten Free Pancake Mix
  • Popcorn

Aisle 5:

  • Soy Joy located at the front of the aisle on a stand these make good quick snacks, the ingredients here are  in Japanese but I ate them in the U.S. and they are a tasty snack.
  • Plain corn and potato chips, watch the flavored ones, some are okay and some aren’t —and Pringles are NOT gluten free.

Aisle 6:

  •  Nature Made Vitamins are labeled gluten free.

Aisle 8: 

  • Nature’s Path Buckwheat Wildberry Waffles, top of the freezer with the other waffles.
  • Amy’s Tofu Scramble, by frozen breakfast bowls
  • Amy’s Cheese Pizza Rice Crust, on the top in the frozen pizza section.
  • Quaker Rice Cakes

Aisle 9:

  • Amy’s Cheese Enchilada, Black Bean and Vegetable Enchilada, Cheese Enchilada Meal
  • Deli Mex Corn Tortillas Taquitos– the chicken and the beef.
  • Contessa: Paella (contains shrimp) and Sesame Chicken meals
  • Amy’s Brown Rice and Vegetables

Please add other favorite gluten-free items in the comments!

12 COMMENTS

  1. I would be interested in a celiac support group, perhaps we could meet every other month and bring gluten free foods to share??? I appreciate all the extra good finds that have been mentioned in the comments. A friend of mine found Betty Crocker Yellow Cake and Chocolate Chip Muffins, they are in the baking aisle on the top shelf I think. I’m looking forward to eating those and trying out the pretzels. I can vouch for chocolate glutino cookies being good, the whole box was empty in a day!

  2. Thank you, Jess…and everyone else who has contributed to this thread. My 21 month old daughter was recently diagnosed with Celiac, and with our PCS to Kadena approaching we’ve been in a bit of a tailspin. This gives me a little less to worry about!

    Out of curiosity, are there any R.O.C.K. groups or other Celiac targeted kid groups around? I am thinking of forming one if nothing is already in place and if there is any interest.

  3. Thanks to a friend who told me about them, I know there are gluten-free pretzels at the commissary too! They’re labeled as such where the regular pretzels are. And they’re very tasty.

  4. Thank you so much! I have Celiac and I buy a lot of this but, you’ve given me so many more suggestions!
    I have found these additional items that are LABLED Gluten-free! (Not yelling, just emphasis LOL!) I shop at Kadena and Foster because they have different items. These items are in my kitchen but, I’m sorry, I can’t remember what store they came from.
    * Glutino Gluten Free Dream Cookies in chocolate and vanilla – Cookie Aisle
    * Glutino Gluten Free Breakfast Bars – Near granola bars
    * Jones All Natural Fully Cooked Sausage – Freezer Section
    * Another brand that had Canadian bacon but, we ate it! – Freezer Section
    * Hormel Pork and Beef Roast in Au Jus – Freezer Section
    * Hormel – Pepperoni
    * Hormel Chili with Beans – Canned Food
    * Hormel White Turkey – Canned Food
    * Dinty Moore Beef Stew – Canned Food
    * Spam – Canned Food
    * Fruity Pebbles – Cereal Aisle
    * Progresso Chicken Rice and Vegetable Classics Lentil – Canned Soup
    * Yoplait Yogurt – Refrigerated Section

    Be careful with some Gluten-free labels:
    * Blue Diamond Almond and Nut Thins – Processed in a facility that also makes wheat products.
    * Pik-Nik Shoestring Potatoes (in a can) – Processed in a facility that also makes wheat products.
    * Asian Hamburger Helper Beef Fried Rice – Contains MSG

  5. Beware of La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas!! According to their homepage Wheat Gluten is included in their corn tortilla. They do have a gluten free wrap available. If it doesn’t say Gluten free you should always check the label.

  6. The commissary can order gluten-free products from the mainland. (When we lived in Hawaii, the commissary had a larger variety of gluten-free products, which means the vendors are approved by DECA.) If you find a product you would like, tell the commissary mananger; you can complete a special order form, though you’ll have to wait a month for the product to be delivered. I’ve ordered many products that way, just plan ahead. I’d like to see DECA carry Tinkyada gluten-free pasta products; let’s keep asking for more–especially since children with food allergies need gluten-free products, too.

  7. I’ve been recently diagnosed with Celiac disease as well, and finding things to eat has been an extreme challenge. Thank you for posting this list. I do not live near Foster Commissary, but I will have to visit it more often.

    I also just wanted to point out that it is harmful for Celiacs when people think of the gluten free diet as a fad diet or a means of weight loss. This usually results in the general public not taking a gluten free diet seriously. Celiacs who ingest gluten suffer damage to the villi of their small intestine, eventually causing malabsorption of nutrients, which can cause further health complications. It is vitally important for a Celiac’s health, wellness, and longevity to strictly adhere to a gluten free diet — for life.

  8. I just went to the foster commissary a couple of days ago and was able to pick up Quinoa-Corn blended spaghetti noodles. Box is labeled gluten free.

    The box is like a mint green color with Pasta written in red and you can’t miss the word Quinoa.

    Found in the pasta noodle section.

  9. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! We’ve been on a GFCF-diet for about a month now, and shopping has taken me sooooo much longer than it did before. I’m going to print your list out and stick it in my purse for my next commissary trip 🙂

  10. For those interested, there is an article in the May 23, 2011 health section of Time magazine on gluten-free diet craze.

  11. I can barely even grocery shop with my kids and you managed to do this with your little ones?!! I am amazed! Even though no one in my family has celiac, I am grateful that you took the time to do this.

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