Guest post by Julie Lichtman
When people talk about a gluten-free diet, celiac disease and gluten intolerance are often the first things that come to mind. Although I do not have celiac disease, nor do I follow a full gluten-free diet, I still love to live an overall healthy lifestyle. What that means to me is listening to my body cues and giving my body what it wants. Sometimes, I do have a more difficult time digesting gluten and it makes my stomach bloated. For that reason, I love to have the option of eating gluten-free most times. Eating gluten-free also allows me to expand my horizon of choices, plus I love incorporating grains like quinoa or buckwheat, which most people don’t realize are gluten-free!
For those who are not completely familiar with the gluten-free diet, it is a diet that excludes the protein gluten, which is found in wheat and a variety of other grains like barley and rye. People with celiac disease and gluten intolerances may find following a gluten-free diet to be extremely important to their health, and many of the times it’s imperative that they avoid the protein all together. These people oftentimes see improved symptoms of fatigue, GI distress, headaches and more once they eliminate gluten from their day-to-day diets. This is not to say that people only choose to live gluten-free if they have an intolerance – the diet has shown to have a bunch of benefits, like aiding digestive health and improving cholesterol. Plus, it encourages you to get creative and up your veggie and fruit intake!
Zoës Kitchen has made it super easy to follow a gluten-free diet. Everything is labeled clearly on their menu and they have a ton of delicious choices. Even when I asked for assistance from an employee about whether the pita bread that came with the salad was gluten-free, the employee instructed me on how to make it a fully gluten-free meal by ordering the salad with cucumber slices instead. Zoës food is also extremely fresh and clean. Gluten-free foods do not need to be processed – they can be fresh, whole foods, and meals can include ingredients such as beans, grains and vegetables like they do successfully at Zoës Kitchen. It is also extremely satisfying eating their meals given all of the exciting flavors and sauces used, such as Salsa Verde and Moroccan Harissa (my personal favorite!).
At my most recent visit to Zoës, I ordered the Chicken Kabobs with a Greek Salad—two full meals, so I had leftovers the next day! Zoës also offers a ton of healthy, gluten-free sides – I highly recommend the Braised White Beans as well as the Roasted Vegetables. The Greek Salad was extra special because after digging into it, you find a lovely light potato salad at the bottom. During my typical visits to Zoës I usually enjoy my personal favorite, the Cauliflower Rice Bowl – also gluten-free and so flavorful! The whole meal tastes so light but is also perfectly filling.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, I highly recommend Zoës. The flavors and endless tasty meal options speak for themselves. Plus the freshness of the food falls straight in line with what I preach (whole, healthy foods). Everything gluten-free on the menu is clearly labeled with a yellow “GF” next to it, so you never have to second-guess. And the best part: the staff is very helpful and educated. So if you have any particular questions or are hesitant about whether a certain menu item is right for your gluten-free lifestyle, they will 100% help you. They even have allergen info listed on their website! Lastly, I will leave you with this – something that has always attracted me to Zoës since they opened in my neighborhood is that they serve gluten-free grab-and-go menu items such as the Modern Mediterranean Snack Box. A lunch like that is perfect to bring to work or on-the-go!
Want to learn about more gluten-free options at Zoës Kitchen? Check out how we prepare our chicken kabobs!