A Variety of Gluten-Free Products are Now Produced Locally
by Susan Post
Just a few years ago, “gluten-free” meant no bread in sight and cookies that tasted like cardboard. As celiac disease and gluten-free diets become more prominent in today’s culture, however, gluten-free goods are more readily available.
Rather than miss the foods they love, several Central Ohioans are taking “gluten-free” from burden to business. Many experiments in the kitchen have resulted in an array of gluten-free products, including everything from pizza crust to high-end desserts and beyond.
“I am not baking gluten-free because it is popular right now. I bake (that way) because it is how I have to eat and want others to enjoy some of the things they have been missing for years,” says Wendy Miller Pugh of gluten-free bakery, Bake Me Happy.
Whether it is out of necessity or for dietary reasons, there are several health benefits associated with eliminating gluten intake.
“Many individuals cannot properly digest gluten found in wheat, rye and barley products,” says Andrea McCrea of allergy-friendly bakery, Soodles Bake Shop. “When they consume gluten they experience symptoms such as stomach pain, headaches, fogginess, rashes and bloating. Eliminating gluten from the diet resolves a vast majority of these symptoms, allowing individuals to enjoy life to the fullest!”
Even for those who are not gluten-intolerant, eliminating it from your diet can aid digestion issues and help with joint stiffness and muscle pain.
While many think of gluten-free as a healthier lifestyle, Brad Indoe, who creates gluten-free granola bars with Urban Raccoons, emphasizes it is important to understand the changes you are about to make to your body.
“It’s important to always seek advice from a registered dietitian or medical professional prior to making drastic changes to your diet or self-diagnosing a condition,” he says. “The gluten-free diet may not be right for everyone, especially if a person has other dietary requirements that the gluten-free diet doesn’t provide.”
Finding gluten alternatives adds a variety of new grains to a person’s diet as well.
Bake Me Happy also incorporates brown and white rice, amaranth and sorghum while Indoe packs healthy nuts, chia, flax and sunflower seeds into his snack bars.
“We use alternative flours like quinoa, sorghum, coconut, tapioca and buckwheat flours,” says Scarlett Kilzer of gluten-free bakery boutique Miam Cake.
If you are looking for something gluten-free, there is a good chance someone in Central Ohio is making it. With dedicated gluten-free facilities around Columbus, and entire bakeries free of gluten, there are many varieties from which to choose.
Some of Central Ohio’s gluten-free offerings include:
Bake Me Happy – cookies, oatmeal cream pies, snack cakes, scones and pies
Urban Raccoons – granola snack bars
Soodles – coffee cake, pizza crust, brownies, cupcakes, baked donuts, muffins and cake pops
Miam Cake – cakes, cookies, marshmallows and high-end desserts
r.a.w. – nut clusters, macaroons and crackers
Locations like Eban’s Bake House and Gluten Free You and Me also tantalize with a variety of bread options. Chain restaurants, both local and national, are not ignoring the trend and increased need either. Both Donatos and Z-Pizza now offer gluten-free crust.
With awareness growing, gluten-free is moving from what used to be a hindrance to another common option for baked goods with the help of people who decided they did not have to settle for limited options. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too.
Susan Post is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus. She enjoys writing about her city and the people and places that make it special. Contact her at Susan.Post.firstname.lastname@example.org.