Today I was speaking with someone about a friend who was having a difficult time finding gluten-free foods in their part of Arizona. I mentioned a few ideas which my family and I will be making use of in order to stay gluten-free while eating locally as much as possible. One part of that is to eat less processed foods, and focus more on whole, home cooked meals. There are a plethora of "Gluten-free yummies" as I have begun calling them already for sale in such places as Fresh and Easy, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and more. In my research I found plenty of locally grown or made items which are gluten-free including produce from Customer Supported Agriculture, Buying Clubs, grocery stores, health food stores, and other such options which you can find at Arizona Local Foods.
We are blessed in this part of Arizona with a temperate climate which allows for a longer growing season than many other places. Although people think of the desert as arid and empty of life, in actuality there is a large bounty which can and is grown right here. We have planted a garden with some of our own favorites, and a hybrid fruit tree which has just started to blossom as we approach spring. Living in the Laveen area, we are especially blessed to have neighbors who raise livestock, produce their own milk products, honey, sunflower oil, organic coffee, cactus products, fruits, vegetables, and much much more!
As I continue moving towards healthier living through food, I have been keeping my eyes open for places we already enjoy that just so happen to sell gluten-free foods in our area. We are fortunate, in a sense, that we had a roommate who was gluten-intolerant and who introduced us to some places she could eat, such as RA, our favorite sushi bar in Ahwatukee, or Green in Tempe where I tend to meet up with my vegan friends. I also am really looking forward to trying Gluten-Free Creations Bakery, which was recently recommended by a friend and looks delicious.
But what if you aren't into negotiating the waters of gluten-free sushi and you don't enjoy vegetarian or vegan foods? I mean, sometimes a person just wants a good steak right? Tonight I came across a list of restaurants in Arizona which are pretty big on our standard styles of eating out and which happen to have some gluten-free foods on their menu or are willing and able to prepare gluten-free versions of their foods. The celiac handbook has an entire such list online at http://www.celiachandbook.com/arizona.html!
So never fear my fellow Arizonans! Be you central to a larger city, or living in one of the many beautiful areas not quite so populated, there are options out there. I hope you will share with me what gluten-free delights you find as you go and I will continue to share the results of my foraging as well. If you would like to recommend a gluten-free treat, restaurant, etc. please do comment, I look forward to hearing from you!
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