A few years ago, I experimented with a gluten-free diet to see how my body would respond and what it's like living life sans gluten. It wasn't too hard to remove gluten as I had very little of it in my diet after years of eating cleaner. My biggest challenge, however, was finding a bread that wasn't full of crap and didn't taste like crap.
In an effort to mimic regular bread, the majority of commercial gluten-free breads are highly processed and made with a mile-long list of ingredients. They are full of industrial binders, chemical agents, preservatives, unhealthy oils and added sugars.
They also contain starches like tapioca, rice and potato that wreak havoc on blood sugar levels leading to weight gain, diabetes and more. Highly refined, most gluten-free breads are very low in fiber and nutrients.
What to Buy
After trying--and tossing--many of the popular brands, I finally broke down and bought the more expensive locally made bread from Grindstone Bakery. It's the bread I still recommend to my gluten-free clients today.
I like Grindstone because they hand make small batches of authentic sourdough bread using 100-percent organic whole grains and seeds like quinoa and millet that are stone ground just before mixing the dough, which preserves all their nutrients.
They use just a handful of ingredients (all of which you can pronounce!). And, they don't add preservatives or sugar, except for a small amount of brown rice syrup to feed the beneficial bacteria in the dough. By the end of the fermentation process, the sugar is nearly eliminated.
Where to Buy
You can order their breads online here. Or, if you live in the Bay Area, they are available at Whole Foods, Rainbow Grocery, Berkeley Bowl and a handful of smaller markets. I like the High Flax Loaf.
Not gluten sensitive? They also make tasty breads with spelt, rye and barely.
Worth Every Buck
At first, you may balk at the $9 to $14 price tags as I originally did. However, the quality and nutrient density of this bread is insanely superior to commercial brands. Also, it's extremely dense thus thin slices are the way to go, which makes one loaf last a long time. Lastly, bread, regardless of what it's made of, is still a refined carb and thus best eaten in moderation. (And, when you think about it, many of us would spend more on a bottle of wine.)
D.I.Y. GF Bread
Prefer to bake your own? Check out this super easy recipe for "Adventure Bread" by Josey Baker. It's chocked full of nuts and seeds, minimally refined and completely flourless. This hearty little loaf is also available freshly baked at The Mill in San Francisco.
It does contain a small amount of sugar (maple syrup), but you could experiment with reducing it. And, be sure to use gluten-free oats. Although I've enjoyed the bread, I haven't made it myself yet, so please share your results if you do.