Dec 31, 2009

Review: Bionaturae Gluten-Free Pasta

To kick off the new decade, we decided to create some New Year’s Eve traditions. My daughter had the idea that we would say our New Year’s Resolutions while eating dinner. This morning, I woke up with the idea that we should eat something new on New Year’s Eve. Luckily, earlier this week I purchased a different pasta, Bionaturae, at Whole Foods.

After reading the glowing review from Karen Fine at Mom Cooks Gluten Free, I decided to splurge and spend $4.39 for this organic gluten-free spaghetti made in Italy in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Here are two quotes from the Bionaturae website describing their pasta.

It took over a year of experimenting to create the recipe for our gluten free pasta. The pasta is made with organic rice flour, organic rice starch, organic potato starch and organic soy flour. It cooks like traditional pasta to an "al dente" texture and there is no need to rinse it before adding your favorite condiment.

The manufacturer is one of a select few in Italy who are authorized by the Italian Ministry of Health to produce gluten free pasta. The factory tests for the presence of gluten during each production cycle. Independent testing is also done at a laboratory in the United States on each lot before the products are distributed in this country.

We liked the pasta. The recommended cooking time is six minutes, but since we prefer softer pasta, I cooked it a bit longer. The texture and taste was good, and I would buy it again. However, my new favorite pasta is two dollars cheaper than Bionaturae – Deboles corn pasta.

Happy New Year to you and your family! May the New Year bring you joy, good health, and the patience and persistence to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions!

Dec 28, 2009

Invitation to the General Mills Gluten-Free Twitter Party

I am so pleased to announce that I was selected to be a panelist at the General Mills gluten-free twitter party on January 14, 2010 at 7pm EST. "The first 50 people to RSVP will receive a coupon to try the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Dessert Mixes for free!" There will also be prizes during the party! Chat with other panel members, including Gluten-Free Dee and two General Mills employees.

"Gluten Free in the New Year: Even Easier than Before

Ring in the New Year with a little help from your friends!

Join us for our latest Twitter Party as we discuss living gluten free. We’ll cover a host of topics including how to find great gluten free foods, new and exciting gluten free recipes and products, and how living gluten free is easier than ever!

View the party invitation and RSVP now! Don't miss the great new General Mills gluten-free website.

Dec 21, 2009

Review: Jessica’s Granola

Jessica’s Natural Foods makes three flavors of gluten-free granola: almond cherry, vanilla maple, and chocolate chip. The granola does not contain trans fat, cholesterol, artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives, or highly-refined sweeteners.

Our granola is made with certified gluten-free oats and is loaded with delicious, healthy ingredients like ground flax, coconut, honey and pure maple syrup.”

I was sent three free bags to review. My favorite flavor was the almond cherry, which contains large chewy Michigan dried cherries. The vanilla maple was a little bland compared to the almond cherry, but I enjoyed eating both flavors with Rice Chex. The chocolate chip granola is loaded with rich chocolate chips and the chips are in the granola clusters, not just added to the bag. It would be great as a snack, but too sweet for me to mix with cereal.

Most of the granola is small and medium clusters. However, the size of the clusters varied greatly in each bag and a few clusters were simply too large to add to cereal or yogurt without first breaking. I would prefer to see the granola have a more uniform consistency, but that didn’t prevent me from eating it. My daughter liked the chocolate chip granola and was also surprised to see how much the size varied. What is even more surprising, is that she thought the chocolate chip granola had too many chocolate chips.

The granola is currently only sold in stores in Michigan. Jessica’s has a flat rate shipping of $5 within the United States and is offering a gluten-free sampler pack special until December 31. The price is $21.97 for three 12 oz. bags, one of each flavor. All other granola prices are for six bags and range in price from $41.94 to $47.94.

Dec 16, 2009

Review: Zing Bars

Zing bars, created by four registered dietitians, are gluten-free and some flavors are also dairy-free and soy-free. Each bar contains between 10 and 13 grams of protein and 210 calories. Zing bars are low glycemic, made from 100% natural ingredients, and are tested for gluten.

Furthermore, we routinely subject all Zing flavors to gliadin analysis at an independent laboratory to verify their gluten free status. All Zing flavors test below 5ppm gliadin, which is the lowest amount detectable with current technology. In addition, the dairy free Cranberry Orange and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavors are routinely tested for milk protein. Let us know if you'd like to see copies of these laboratory tests.

All five flavors are good, but my favorites were oatmeal chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate chip. However, I am not sure these are the best names for these flavors since the oatmeal bar had very few chocolate chips and tasted like an oatmeal cookie. The peanut butter chocolate chip had lots of chips, but little peanut butter taste. Despite this, I enjoyed both flavors and would certainly buy them. The almond blueberry and cranberry orange were pleasantly flavorful.

The chocolate peanut butter is completely different from the other bars. It resembles a candy bar. It has a dark chocolate coating filled with peanut butter and crisps. The taste is fantastic, but it is more chewy than the other flavors.

I like several gluten-free protein bars. Zing bars are similar in size to ANDI bars, more filling than a Balance Pure bar, and less filling than a PureFit bar.

This review is based on a free Zing sampler pack I was sent to review. The Zing sampler pack for $13.95 is a great way to try each flavor or you can order the mixed box of Zing bars. All Zing boxes contain 12 bars and are regularly $31.95. They are on sale until December 25 for $29.95 and free holiday gift wrapping is available. Register to receive the Zing newsletter and coupons. Zing’s slogan is “Deliciously Different” and it is a very fitting slogan for these tasty bars!

Dec 12, 2009

Gluten Alert: Health Valley Soups

The following gluten alert was posted on Clan Thompson's celiac site on December 11, 2009.

"Health Valley organic cream of chicken, cream of celery and cream of mushroom soups are no longer gluten free, according to the manufacturer who states that the products may contain traces of gluten in the natural flavoring."

Dec 11, 2009

10 Important Facts about Celiac Disease and a Gluten-Free Diet

1. Do not start a gluten-free diet until you have been tested for celiac disease (celiac panel blood test and endoscopy if necessary). Testing will not be accurate if you are already eating gluten-free. An endoscopy is necessary to confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease and sometimes to help interpret the results of the celiac panel blood test, which is not always accurate.

2. Many people who test negative for celiac disease are gluten sensitive and find that symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet.

3. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, not an allergy. It is not part of food allergy testing. Eating gluten damages the villi of the small intestine, preventing nutrients from being properly absorbed. If left untreated, celiac can lead to osteoporosis and cancer, among other things.

4. The only treatment for celiac disease is a 100% gluten-free diet.

5. Symptoms of celiac disease vary greatly and some people have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, like migraines or fatigue. Symptoms are commonly misdiagnosed as other conditions and there is a lot of misinformation about celiac disease. In fact, 97% of people with celiac disease don’t know they have it, and it can take years and many doctors for people to be correctly diagnosed.

6. Celiac disease is genetic. If one family member has it, others should be tested.

7. Gene testing for celiac disease does not tell you if you have celiac disease. If you do not have any of the genes associated with celiac disease, then you can rule out celiac disease. If you do have some of genes, all it means is that you may develop celiac, but many people with the genes never develop it.

8. While there are countless great gluten-free foods and many restaurants have gluten-free menus, cross-contamination is the biggest challenge for most people with celiac disease. Gluten crumbs in a condiment jar, a cooking utensil or serving spoon that has been used on gluten, and even airborne wheat flour, can all cause a person with celiac disease to have a severe reaction, which can last for days.

9. Eating gluten-free is not a weight loss diet. Many gluten-free breads and other baked goods are not only expensive, but high in fat and calories. Many people with celiac disease gain weight on a gluten-free diet as the body heals and begins properly absorbing nutrients. Eating foods that are naturally gluten-free is cheaper and healthier than processed gluten-free foods.

10. While wheat is a top eight allergen required to be listed on food labels in the United States, gluten is not. Gluten (wheat, rye, barley, and contaminated oats) is found in many products and some products are unsafe for people with celiac disease as a result of cross-contamination. Only oats that are certified gluten-free may be consumed on a gluten-free diet and some people with celiac disease are unable to even tolerate oats that are certified gluten-free.

For more information about celiac disease:

Celiac disease: Have you been tested?

Celiac disease videos, articles, and resources to share

Celiac disease statistics, video, and a gluten-free care package

Gluten-free 101: How can I better understand food labeling?

Don’t miss the numerous useful links on my sidebar in two sections: Newly Diagnosed Resources and Celiac Links.

Dec 10, 2009

Student Wins Science Fair for Celiac Project

Lea Giambruno won the Best of Fair award in the senior division at the Shelter Island School Fair for her project called “Got Gluten?”. She is in 9th grade and the projects were judged by 16 judges from the community, including judges from research and educational facilities.

Her topic was celiac disease, a toxic reaction to gluten found in rye, wheat and barley, and her hypothesis, borne out by her data, was that gluten-free foods produced in a factory that also produces food containing gluten, will have traces of gluten, while foods produced in gluten-free plants will not.

The top projects in each division will be selected later for entry in the Long Island Science Congress, which is held in the spring.”

She likely used home gluten test kits to test various products. Doing a science fair project about celiac disease is also a good way to increase celiac disease awareness. If you are looking for a gluten-free science fair project, read Gluten-Free Science Fair Projects, which has been a very popular article on my blog.

Dec 9, 2009

Review: Gluten-Free Brownies and Blondies from Freedgoods

I received two free brownies and one blondie from Freedgoodsco to review. Their gluten-free and yeast-free products are sold in Connecticut and can also be ordered online. Each flavor is available online as a box of four for $14 or two flavors can be selected in a box of 8 for $25. They are made in a shared facility with wheat, and they “take all possible steps to eliminate cross-contamination”. The brownies and blondies are thick and large, perfect for sharing.

I tried the chocolate original and chocolate walnut. Both flavors were very fudgy, moist, rich, and dense. My daughter and I loved them! The blondie contains large chocolate chips and some coconut. It was extremely moist, fluffy, and the coconut taste was evident, but not strong. If you love coconut, then try the chocolate coconut brownie. They also make a chocolate peanut butter brownie, which I am eager to try.

The brownies are made from a flour mix that contains garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and fava bean flour. Despite the use of bean flours, there is absolutely no unpleasant after-taste, and they taste better than most gluten brownies. In fact, the taste is so good that you will cherish every bite!

Freedgoodco was founded by Stephanie, a former corporate lawyer. She donates 5% of the profits to infertility research, education, and treatment. Infertility is a complication of undiagnosed celiac disease. Read Stephanie’s story here. If you are looking for a delicious gift for others or yourself, order from Freedgoods!

Dec 7, 2009

Recall: College Inn Chicken Broth

Select cans of College Inn Chicken Broth are mislabeled and do not list wheat in the ingredients. The cans also incorrectly say "No MSG". College Inn Chicken Broth normally contains hydrolyzed wheat gluten in the ingredients statement.

The recall is for all dates of the College Inn No MSG Chicken Broth 14 ½ oz cans. Only four College Inn products are gluten-free.

More Gluten-Free Labels on Store Brand Pharmaceutical Products

Many store brand over-the-counter pharmaceutical products are manufactured by Perrigo. According to a press release, in January 2010, Perrigo will begin labeling over 200 gluten-free over-the-counter pharmaceutical products. Their dietary supplements are already labeled gluten-free. Perrigo is assuring that the products contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. The most interesting statement in Perrigo’s press release is below.

“Perrigo initiated the labeling program specifically in response to an increasing market demand for gluten-free products. Questions from consumers regarding the gluten content of Perrigo-manufactured products have recently ranked among the company's top call center inquiries.”

Store brands are considerably cheaper than brand name products, so this is great news from the world’s largest manufacturer of store brand OTC products!

Dec 5, 2009

Exciting Gluten-Free News: Dr. Oz Show,, and General Mills

According to a message posted on the celiac listserv from the Celiac Disease Foundation, Dr. Oz will be airing a show about celiac disease on Thursday, December 10. The episode will feature:

  • Amy Geibelson, newly diagnosed with celiac disease
  • Dr. Peter Green, Director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
  • Elisabeth Hasselbeck is featuring holiday recipes from the Gluten-Free Girl and the Gluten-Free Chef.

General Mills recently launched their new gluten-free website with a gluten-free product list. Mark you calendars for Thursday, January 14 at 7pm EST - General Mills is having a gluten-free twitter party and announcing new gluten-free products!

If you are not on twitter, join now. The amazing gluten-free community on twitter is growing daily. There are so many gluten-free companies on twitter, sharing information, discounts, news, and seeking customer feedback. Two great ones are Kinnikinnick (GF_Insider) and Enjoy Life Foods (ELFCeo). Checkout my twitter list of 89 gluten-free bloggers and follow me - MarylandCeliac.

Nov 30, 2009

Udi’s Review: The Best Gluten-Free Bread and Muffins

Most Udi’s Gluten Free products are soy-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. They are made in a dedicated gluten-free bakery in Denver, Colorado and sold in Udi’s cafes. While several of their products can be ordered online, Udi’s Gluten Free is also sold in some Whole Foods. Their gluten-free bagels are sold at three Einstein Bros bagels in Denver!

Udi’s sent me five products to review: white sandwich bread, whole grain bread, lemon streusel muffins, blueberry muffins, and pizza crusts. When I opened the box, the smell of the products was wonderful. The products are shipped frozen and intended to thaw during shipping.

They are good for 5-7 days on the counter, 21 days in the fridge, and 6 months in the freezer. The pizza crusts have directions to cook from frozen, so I froze them. I stored the muffins on the counter and in the refrigerator. The label on the breads said that they dry out in the refrigerator, so it is recommended to keep them in the freezer and then thaw on the counter as needed. No microwaving or toasting is needed to eat this bread! I kept the white sandwich bread on the counter and froze the whole grain bread.

Both muffin flavors are fantastic. They are surprisingly soft and fluffy. The air pockets throughout the muffins create the great springy consistency. The muffins are large and filling. Fortunately, the lemon flavor is not too strong. The blueberry muffin has 240 calories and 8 grams of fat. The lemon muffin has 280 calories and 11 grams of fat. They are made from a blend of brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch. After storing the muffins for one week in the refrigerator, they tasted very fresh when warmed in the microwave.

My daughter, who can eat gluten, loved the muffins and the white sandwich bread. In fact, she loved the white sandwich bread more than Wonder bread and ate many slices, including every last bit of crust. On the fifth day of keeping the bread on the counter in a Ziploc bag, she ate it for her school lunch. It was still soft, but not as soft as a few days earlier. She did not like the pizza crust because of the extra flour dusted on the bottom, but I liked it. The thin pizza crust had a nice crisp on the bottom and was doughy too. It is low in calories and fat.

I tried the whole grain bread last, and was extremely impressed. The whole grain bread is the best gluten-free bread I ever ate! I do not make my own bread, so I am comparing it to other store bought brands. Udi’s white sandwich bread is also good, but I liked the whole grain one better. My second favorite bread is Mr. Ritt’s Quinoa bread. So, what makes Udi's Gluten Free whole grain bread so good?

· soft and fluffy
· thick slices
· stays soft on the counter for days after thawing, which makes it great for travel and lunches
· no toasting or microwaving needed
· soft crust
· no crumbs
· stays together well, even for spreading and overstuffed sandwiches
· good mild taste
· tastes like gluten, similar to Roman Meal wheat bread
· contains teff flour and flax seed meal (also contains brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch)
· cost is only $5.00, which is cheaper than a loaf of Kinnikinnick bread.

The products are shipped via FedEx second day and currently a 35% shipping discount will be applied at checkout. To see videos of Udi’s gluten-free products and more glowing reviews, watch these videos.

Emotional Response To Udi’s Gluten Free Line

GFree TV: 3 videos - white sandwich bread, muffins, and pizza crust

Nov 25, 2009

Amy’s Kitchen: New Gluten-Free Non-Dairy Products

Amy’s Kitchen has several exciting new gluten-free products. The following new products are gluten-free and also non-dairy: Chocolate Cake, Mac and Cheeze, and Roasted Vegetable Pizza. Look for the large green strip on the front of the packages - “Gluten-Free Non-Dairy”.

The cake will be in stores in February, and the macaroni and cheese and pizza will be shipping out to stores in January. Amy’s Mom wrote in the winter newsletter that “these have been some of our most requested items” and gluten-free burritos are coming soon! Amy’s is also looking for gluten-free slogans for the slogan contest, so submit your ideas here.

Nov 21, 2009

100th Post: Top 10 Gluten-Free Products, News, and Events in 2009

My 100th post is the perfect time to reflect on the last year. I started this blog in December 2008, which seems like a lifetime ago with all the gluten-free advances this year. In addition to my blog, I started writing as the DC Gluten Free Examiner in March 2009, which now has 87 articles. At the time there were only three gluten-free Examiners, and now there are gluten-free Examiners in many cities and even Canada.

What were the hottest gluten-free products, news, and events in 2009? Here is my Top 10 list.

1. Betty Crocker gluten-free mixes
2. Research news from the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Fasano, and the University of Chicago
3. Gluten-free pizza crusts at many restaurants
4. General Mills Chex – five new varieties
5. Gluten-free concession stands
6. More media coverage of celiac disease, including morning news shows, newspapers, magazines, article, ABC articles, WebMD, and NPR
7. Primetime TV shows: celiac disease on the Celebrity Apprentice and Last Restaurant Standing, gluten-free episode of Top Chef, and Soy-Yer Dough on Shark Tank
8. Dramatic growth in gluten-free blogs, websites, and social networking
9. Publicity surrounding Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book
10. Babycakes cookbook and viral videos

For many who cook gluten-free, the new gluten-free cornmeal, corn flour, and corn grits from Bob's Red Mill was very exciting. For those who eat gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free, Earth Balance's new soy-free buttery spread was life changing. For me the biggest change in the last year that has meant the most in my daily life is Giant carrying Kinnikinnnick products. It still brings a smile to my face each time I buy bread, bagels, buns, or donuts at my local grocery store!

Nov 20, 2009

USA Today Celiac Disease Supplement

Today, the USA Today has a 12 page supplement about celiac disease. The supplement, Celiac Disease: Your Guide to Living Gluten-Free, contains excellent information and is truly amazing awareness! There is great information from the Celiac Disease Foundation and Shelley Case, many advertisements, and even an Amy's coupon.

One of the best parts of the supplement is the following printed in bold on page four.

"CAUTION: If you suspect that you might be one of
the 3 million Americans suffering from celiac disease,
DO NOT remove gluten from your diet before
being tested. Doing so can lead to inaccurate test
results and misdiagnosis."

There is also a terrific section of celiac disease myths on page four, and one myth is that "celiac disease is an allergy to wheat". Thank you Media Planet!

Nov 18, 2009

New Gluten Free Options at Ithaca College

Susannah Faulkner, a junior politics major and SGA senator at Ithaca College, is working hard to improve celiac disease awareness on campus. As a result of her efforts, students at Ithaca College have some safe gluten-free dining options. Below is a quote from the article she wrote in The Ithacan newspaper.

"Starting this past week, the Campus Center Dining Hall installed a 'gluten-free pantry,' which includes main gluten-free staples such as bread, wraps, pasta, bagels and cereal. Also, there is a toaster and a microwave exclusively for gluten-free products along with individually portioned peanut butter, jelly, cream cheese and butter."

She also intends to start a club on campus for students with special dietary needs.

Nov 16, 2009

Jean Duane's Press Release: Goal is the Ellen Show

This is a very unusual press release. Following Ellen's strategy to land herself on the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine, Jean Duane is attempting to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to promote her gluten-free and dairy-free cookbook.

The press release mentions that Ellen said on her show in June that she had been eating gluten-free for two weeks and felt better. Jean is publicly declaring her goal to appear on the show. If this bold and humorous approach works, hopefully Jean will talk about celiac disease!

Nov 15, 2009

Review: Balance Pure Chocolate Cashew

I tried many energy bars sold at Whole Foods (LARABAR, Thinkthin, Kind, and PranaBar) and Balance Pure chocolate cashew is by far my favorite. Recently, I finally found one flavor of Larabar that I like, the new peanut butter and jelly, but it is higher in fat and calories and only six grams of protein. The Balance Pure price is good at only 99 cents each.

Only Balance Pure bars are gluten-free, not the other Balance bars. They are available in three flavors: cherry pecan, chocolate cashew, and berry chia. The website lists banana cashew, but that flavor is not in stores, not sold on the Balance website, and Whole Foods was unable to order it, despite having that flavor on their list. Perhaps, it is a new flavor? I certainly hope so because it sounds wonderful. I did try to contact Balance about it, but even the customer service representative did not know if the banana was new or old.

The chocolate cashew has 170 calories, six grams of fat, nine grams of protein, four grams of fiber, and only eight ingredients. Compared to the high protein bars that I like, PureFit and ANDI, these are not as wide and not as filling. They are probably about the width of an Enjoy Life bar, but much longer and denser. For a quick snack on the go or at home with a very chocolate taste and some cashew crunch, Balance Pure is a great choice!

Nov 11, 2009

Gluten free Mentioned on the Good Wife on CBS

Last night on the new CBS drama The Good Wife, the episode called unorthodox had a sentence about gluten free. The gluten free sentence can be viewed at 10:20 in the full episode video on the CBS website. When the lady was questioned about why she walked to the grocery store that is 1/2 mile from her home, not one of the five closer grocery stores, she said the following statement.

"My daughter needs gluten free foods and this grocery store, the kosher grocery store, had more options."

Alicia then said to her coworker "great answer".

Nov 10, 2009

Depression and Celiac Disease: Psychology Today Article

The informative November newsletter from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) mentions an article about celiac disease posted on the Psychology Today website. This interesting article, Gluten: The Secret Stalker, discusses depression as well as ADHD and lists many symptoms of celiac disease. It is great awareness for mental health professionals, except it does not provide information about how to be tested for celiac disease.

Nov 5, 2009

A Great Celiac Disease Video

This great video provides a brief and accurate overview of celiac disease. It was part of the recent General Mills gluten-free Chex press release done by MultiVu. The General Mills website now contains many gluten-free Chex recipes.

Oct 30, 2009

Recall: Armour Chili

The original Armour Chili with Beans is being recalled due to undeclared wheat. The case of six cans has a plastic over-wrap with the label gluten free. Below is the recall information from the Food and Allergy Anaphylaxis Network.

"Pinnacle Foods Group LLC is recalling “ARMOUR Chili with Beans, Original” due to undeclared wheat. The product was distributed to retail stores in Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The 15-oz. cans come in a case of six with a plastic over-wrap that incorrectly states the product is "Gluten Free," while the product actually contains wheat. The label bears an “EST. 2AD” number inside the USDA mark of inspection with dates ranging from August 26, 2009 to October 28, 2009.

Consumers with questions may call (800) 253-5882.

Oct 28, 2009

CBS Video: Celiac Disease on the Early Show

Checkout this great video that aired on CBS this morning on The Early Show. Robert M. Landolphi, author of Gluten-Free Every Day, talked about his wife's symptoms before being diagnosed with celiac disease and then cooked gluten-free onion rings and biscuits. Anchor Dave Price said his mom has celiac disease.

Cross-contamination was addressed and Robert even corrected Dave Price when he called celiac an allergy. Robert said, "It is actually an autoimmune disorder, but we look at it as an allergy because it is just easier in the restaurants to approach it that way." The recipes are available on the CBS website.

Oct 27, 2009

Review: Nature’s Path New Sunrise Cereals

I was so excited when Nature’s Path wanted to send me free boxes of their two new gluten-free cereals: Crunchy Maple Sunrise and Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise. I love cereal. I find cereal is best enjoyed when at least two different kinds are mixed together. One of my favorite combinations is Nature’s Path Crispy Rice and Nature’s Path Whole O’s, which has been my breakfast of choice lately.

Well, Nature’s Path has now mastered the art of cereal mixing with these two new Sunrise cereals. They combined corn puffs that resemble Gorilla Munch, Mesa Sunrise flakes, and Crispy Rice. Then, they added two delicious flavors to produce cereals that are truly unique from other gluten-free cereals.

The cereals are nutritious, low in sugar, and contain “an organic blend of corn, rice, flax, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth”. They are both sure to be a hit with consumers, including kids and people who can eat gluten. There is really only one word to best describe Nature’s Path new Sunrise cereals – perfection!

Archie Cartoonist Writes Celiac Disease Comic Book

Joe Staton, the cartoonist behind Scooby-Do, Batman, Archie, and Green Latern, wrote a children’s comic book about celiac disease. He collaborated with his wife, Hilarie Staton, to write Amy Goes Gluten-Free at the request of Children’s Hospital Boston. They previously wrote a successful medical comic about crohn’s disease and colitis for Children’s Hospital Boston. This news video explains more about the comic book and the activities in it.

The comic book is not yet available for purchase. According to a phone representative at the celiac disease center at Children’s Hospital Boston, it will be added to their website in the next few weeks. She has seen proofs of the book, but does not have the final copy yet. She believes it will be inexpensive, less than $10.

Oct 24, 2009

Breyers Recall: Undeclared Wheat in Mint Chocolate Chip

A mistake was made in packaging and some Breyers tubs that say “All Natural Mint Chocolate Chip” on the tub actually contain Breyers Cookies and Cream ice cream. The lid says “All Natural Cookies and Cream”, but the ingredients list is for the All Natural Mint Chocolate Chip and does not declare wheat. Here is the recall information from Unilever.

The mispackaged ice cream product was distributed in Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Trinidad and Virginia through retail stores in these locations and adjoining areas. The affected product is being recalled from consumers and retailer store shelves, back rooms and warehouses.

The affected mispackaged product was distributed in 1.5-quart (1.41L)paperboard tubs marked with UPC # 077567254245 located on the side of the tub and in combination with “Best If Used By” dates of FEB1711GH, FEB1811GH and FEB1911GH located on the bottom of the tub.

The allergy alert and recall relates only to the above mentioned mispackaged Breyers®ice cream. No other Breyers®ice cream products are affected.

No adverse reactions have been reported to date. In addition to working in cooperation with the FDA, the company is also issuing an alert through the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network.

The recall was initiated after the company received a few consumer complaints about the mispackaged product. It was determined that product containing wheat was distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of wheat in the ingredient list on the tub.

Consumers who have purchased the mispackaged Breyers®ice cream with UPC # 077567254245 and in combination with “Best If Used By” dates of FEB1711GH, FEB1811GH and FEB1911GH are urged to discard it immediately and contact the company at 1-877-270-7402for a full refund. For consumers outside the United States, please send an email to for a full refund.”

Oct 21, 2009

Graduate Students Win Prize for Developing Gluten-Free Flavored Waffle Cones

The challenge was to use at least one major cereal ingredient to develop an original food product. Gluten-free waffle cones were developed in four fun flavors: vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, and strawberry by two Kansas State University graduate students. It is very likely that the new gluten-free Chex varieties were used. The students won first prize in the competition as explained in this press release.

K-State's Angela Dodd, a master's student in food science, Carrington, N.D., and Melissa Daniel, doctoral student in animal sciences, Cypress Inn, Tenn., took first place at the recent International American Association of Cereal Chemists' Product Development Competition. The K-State duo earned a cash prize of $2,550 for their creation of the Gluten-free Fun Flavored Waffle Cone.

It is the second year in a row that a K-State student team has won the competition. This year's event was Sept. 13-16 in Baltimore, Md

The students are hoping to sell their products in a gluten-free specialty store.

Oct 20, 2009

A New Name for Perky’s Nutty Cereals: Enjoy Life Crunchy

Enjoy Life Foods announced today that the gluten and nut free Perky’s Nutty Flax and Perky’s Nutty Rice cereals are now part of the Enjoy Life brand. The product ingredients are the same, but the cereals have been renamed Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax and Enjoy Life Crunchy Rice. The entire announcement and a picture of the new boxes can be viewed on the Enjoy Life website.

Oct 15, 2009

Review: Gluten-free Fruit Roll-ups and Fruit Shapes

After trying several fruit roll-ups and fruit shapes, my favorite brand is FruitaBu. Since the many varieties of Betty Crocker fruit snacks are now labeled gluten-free, my daughter and I decided to buy some. First, we tried the Create-A-Dino fruit shapes. They are various colors, which don’t correspond to the assorted flavors, so we found that confusing and they ended up stuck in our teeth. Neither of us could figure out how to create the dinosaur without looking at the box.

Next, we tried another Betty Crocker product, Fruit by the Foot. We purchased the strawberry flavor, which tasted artificial. My daughter liked it, but was very surprised when I told her that there are no strawberries in it. In fact, the only fruit in it is pears from concentrate.

Florida’s Natural Au’some Fruit Nuggets are labeled gluten-free and contain 66% real juices and fruit. Well, to put it simply, these nuggets are hard wax pellets, which I quickly threw away. Next up was strawberry fruit roll-ups called Simply Fruit made by General Mills. The box says “more than 90% fruit juice and real fruit”. They look and taste similar to the fruit roll-ups I remember eating as a kid. We liked the taste, but they were too thin. They only flavor is strawberry, and the only store near me that carries them is Target.

Finally, we tried FruitaBu organic smooshed fruit and our search was over. According to their website, all of their products are gluten-free. FruitaBu products have “over 90 percent real fruit and juice”, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. While boxes of FruitaBu fruit rolls (also called twirls) are $4.99 at Whole Foods, the strawberry variety is sold at Target for only $2.99! There is one serving of organic fruit in each and the taste, texture, and thickness is perfect. While my daughter likes the strawberry variety we purchased, she said the Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot is her favorite. However, I will not be buying the Betty Crocker fruit snacks again because of the artificial ingredients.

FruitaBu also makes fruit flats, which are made from a few simple ingredients and each small flat has ½ serving of fruit. My favorite flavor is apple and the ingredients are “organic apple puree concentrate, natural apple flavor, and organic lemon juice concentrate”. They are the perfect thing to satisfy a sweet craving. The fruit flats can be purchased individually at Whole Foods for 69 cents. FruitaBu is made by the Stretch Island Fruit Company.

Oct 8, 2009

Research News: Osteoporosis and Celiac Disease

The results of this new study from the University of Edinburgh were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and explained in Science Daily. In addition to osteoporosis being "a known complication of celiac disease" because of vitamins and minerals not being properly absorbed, the study found a new reason for osteoporosis in patients with celiac disease.

"It is the first time an autoimmune response – a condition whereby the body can attack itself – has been shown to cause damage to bones directly.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh studied a protein called osteoprotegerin (OPG) in people with celiac disease – a digestive condition that affects 1 in 100 people.

In healthy people, OPG plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health by controlling the rate at which bone tissue is removed.

The latest research shows that 20 per cent of celiac patients produce antibodies that attack the OPG protein and stop it working properly. This results in rapid bone destruction and severe osteoporosis."

One of the most interesting findings is that this new type of osteoporosis cannot be treated with calcium and vitamin D supplements. Drugs to prevent bone loss, like bisphosphonates, are necessary to treat it. This raises a crucial question that requires more research. Are osteoporosis medicines approved for use in premenopausal women? Currently, the answer is no, but perhaps in light of this new research, there will be a different recommendation.

The Science Daily article concludes with an important statement about testing.

"Testing for these antibodies could make a real and important difference to the lives of people with celiac disease by alerting us to the risk of osteoporosis and helping us find the correct treatment for them."

This raises an additional question. Does production of these antibodies stop when the patient adheres to a gluten free diet?

Oct 6, 2009

Gluten-Free Dining at College: Syracuse University and University of Maryland

This recent article explains the struggle with gluten-free and casein-free dining at the University of Maryland at College Park. The student featured in the article is also a vegetarian, which further reduces her food options.

On a more positive note, this video from Citrus TV at Syracuse University shows many gluten-free options and mentions that a celiac support group will be forming on campus.

For more information about gluten-free dining at college:
Book review: GLEE! An Easy Guide to Gluten-Free Independence
In August, five Pennsylvania colleges completed NFCA's GREAT program.

Sep 30, 2009

Soy-Yer Dough on Shark Tank

Sawyer Sparks was on "Shark Tank" last night. He invented gluten-free Soy-Yer Dough and was trying to strike a deal with the sharks to expand his business and open a factory in his community to create jobs. He currently makes Soy-Yer Dough in his mom’s kitchen along with his girlfriend. They can only make 12 containers every 10 minutes.

When asked what percent of children have this aversion to wheat, Sawyer said “1 in 8 children”. I am not sure if this statistic is accurate. He also said celiac disease is an allergy to wheat. Celiac disease is not an allergy.

If you missed the show, episode seven can be viewed on the ABC website. Sawyer begins at 30:37. You can also read a detailed recap of the episode. This was a great opportunity for Sawyer Sparks and his community. It was also good awareness, despite some inaccurate information.

Sep 29, 2009

Gluten Free Gratefully Review: Delicious Cookie Gifts

In April 2009, Cookies from Home started a line of gluten-free gifts, Gluten Free, Gratefully. While the gluten-free cookies are not made in a dedicated gluten-free facility, they are made on dedicated equipment. When one of the owners, Barry Brooks, wanted to send me a free box of these gourmet cookies, he provided me with more information about the “stringent steps” they take to prevent cross-contamination.

We have a separate mixer used exclusively for our gf cookies in our mixing room that we keep covered at all times unless in use. We always make these mixes first and place the dough in special color coded pails which are kept separately in our walk in cooler from the other cookie batches. As soon as this mixer is finished being used, we cover it and begin our other cookie mixes. We mix every other day, so any airborne particulates have settled in the almost 48 hour period. When baking the gf cookies, we have separate sheet pans, oven mitts, and specially designated oven that is used specifically for this product. After the cookies come out of the oven they are put in separate Tupperware-like containers which are tightly sealed. All of the utensils and containers mentioned previously including the spatulas are color coded to separate their use on or with our other cookies.”

The cookie gifts are normally shipped FedEx two day from the bakery in Tempe, Arizona and are guaranteed to be received within 48 hours of baking. The shipping cost is around $10.95, but it could be more depending on the gift and location. The diameter of the cookies is approximately 2.5 inches. Some of the ingredients are rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, and Xanthan Gum.

All five flavors are very good, sweet, and soft, so it is hard to pick a favorite. My two favorites are the Triple Treats (chocolate chips, walnuts, and plump raisins) and Mac the Nut (white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts). The chocolate chip cookies were extremely soft and moist.

The company recommends storing them in an air-tight container. On the third day of storing these cookies on the counter in a Ziploc bag, they were almost as soft as the first day. On the third day, I put the remaining two cookies in the refrigerator and then heated them in the microwave for 10 seconds before eating on the fourth day. They were still very fresh.

Here is a quote from my eight-year-old daughter, who eats gluten.

These cookies taste like gluten. My two favorites are the Fudgies (chocolate cookies with chocolate chips) and the chocolate chip. The chocolate chip cookies are better than the ones at my school cafeteria.”

We both agreed on two things that would make these cookies even better: more chocolate chips in the chocolate chip cookies and more peanut butter in the Peanut-n-Butter cookies. We would both happily eat all the flavors again!

If you are interested in trying these cookies without a gift box, the best deal is only available by phone – 22 cookies for $14.50. The cheapest cookie gift box on the website is the sampler of 13 cookies for $22. There are several gifts of 12 cookies for $23 and 22 cookies for $37. The Happy Birthday tin contains 39 cookies and the price is $53.50. The Walking on Sunshine gift box is appropriate for any occasion and is available in several sizes. These would be the perfect gift to send to gluten-free kids at college.

Update 9/29/09
- After reading my review, Barry Brooks told me they will be adding more chocolate chips and peanut butter like we suggested!

Sep 24, 2009

Four New Kinnikinnick Products

Kinnikinnick announced today on twitter the following information about their new products.

"The 4 new Kinnikinnick products are now or will be available over the next few weeks direct from us and in stores in 2-4 months"

"Kinnikinnick is introducing Chocolate KinniKritters, Graham Style KinniKritters, Fudge KinniTOOS & Panko Style Breadcrumbs"

The Fudge KinniTOOS were recently announced on the Kinnikinnick blog, and announcements for the other three new products will be posted soon.

Sep 16, 2009

My Article in Gluten-Free Living

The new issue of Gluten-Free Living magazine is packed with great information, including a very useful food testing guide. The article about testing food at home to see if it is really gluten-free enables readers to make an informed decision before purchasing the home test kits. The article on disaster planning is very interesting.

My last word article is on page 50. I wrote about how when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I explained it to my young daughter, addressed her concerns, and helped her to develop a positive attitude about the gluten-free diet. The issue also has information on a new children's book about celiac disease.

I highly encourage you to subscribe to Gluten-Free Living. Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living with celiac disease for years, you will learn things from every issue. I hear the next issue will be a very special one.

Gluten-Free Living is sold at select Whole Foods, Wegmans, Borders, and health food stores. You can keep up with all the latest information between the quarterly issues by following gfliving on twitter (where I met Amy Ratner, associate editor) and by reading the Gluten-Free Living blog.

Sep 12, 2009

CSA Contests: Photo, Student Essay, and Recipe

The Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) compiled a very detailed packet to promote Celiac Disease Awareness Month in October and National Celiac Disease Awareness Day (September 13). Starting on page 24, information and entry forms can be found for the photo contest, student essay contest, and recipe contest. The deadline for all three contests is December 1, 2009. The student essay contest is open to students from kindergarten through college.

The packet also contains great awareness ideas, fact sheets, and a press release template. The awareness month theme is "2.5 born every minute" since "every minute 2.5 persons are born with the genetic predisposition for celiac disease".

Sep 8, 2009

The Emotional Cost of Undiagnosed Celiac Disease

The health and financial costs associated with undiagnosed celiac disease are well documented, but what about the emotional cost? Many people who lived for years with undiagnosed celiac disease know this emotional cost all too well. Here is my story.

My celiac disease symptoms seemed to be triggered by pregnancy and became worse over the next five years. My knees hurt so bad that it was difficult to sit on the floor and play with my daughter. Kneeling for bath time was impossible. Daily headaches and facial pain made attending a toddler playgroup or music class a challenge. Chronic insomnia made my body ache and my knee and head pain worse. Medicines to treat the insomnia left me feeling drowsy, dizzy, and foggy. I was so exhausted that there were days where I was unable to drive my daughter to preschool, and other days she was late because of Mommy being stuck in the bathroom yet again.

On a good day, I could read, spend some time on the computer, and do a little shopping, but those days were not frequent. Fortunately, I was able to be a stay at home mom. Simple daily living tasks were hard work for me. Most evenings, the pain was so severe and I was too fatigued to cook dinner.

My health problems definitely affected my marriage. By the time I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007, we were already in marriage therapy, but it was too late. Our divorce was final earlier this year. I wonder if we would still be married if I had been diagnosed with celiac disease when I first started showing symptoms or even after only a few years. The answer is maybe. Of course, a marriage is complicated and involves many issues. However, I know that we would have both been able to cope more effectively with our problems at the time without the stress of my health.

Yes, there was a negative emotional cost to my celiac disease. However, it led to greater emotional strength as my health improved significantly. Sleeping well and being able to think clearly without pain enables a world of possibilities. I certainly was not an optimist five years ago. Now, my entire outlook has changed. My ex-husband and I are good friends. Today, I am truly living. While undiagnosed with celiac disease, I merely existed.

Sep 2, 2009

Kinnikinnnick Video - Decontamination of Waffle Equipment

Should I eat food made on equipment shared with wheat? Can I eat food processed in a shared facility with wheat? These are common questions for people with celiac disease. The answer: it depends on many factors and it is ultimately, a personal choice. This video is extremely enlightening about the importance of dedicated facilities.

Aug 21, 2009

Recall - Van's Wheat Free Pancakes

One lot of Van's Wheat Free Pancakes is being recalled because of undeclared wheat, egg, and milk. Here is the important recall information from the Van's website.

"The 118 cases of recalled Van’s Wheat Free Homestyle Pancakes may have been distributed in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Idaho and Hawaii, through retail outlets that include but may not be limited to Whole Foods, Wegmans, Giant Carlisle, Sprouts and Martins. The distributors and the retail customers involved have been notified.

The product comes in a 12.4 ounce package which is beige with an orange stripe on the top and a triangular blue gluten-free call out in the upper right-hand corner with the lot number 200060629B1 located on the side flap of the box. The 'Best if used by date' is March 30, 2010 also printed on the same flap.

The voluntary recall was initiated immediately after a packaging operator error, limited to one shift, was discovered. The company has immediately reinforced its Quality Assurance and Packaging procedures and believes that the problem was a one-time incident.

Consumers should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund or send the box top with the printed lot number to the address below to receive five free coupons for any Van’s waffle, pancake, or French toast stick product 12.4 ounce or smaller."

Van's International Foods, Inc.

Attn: Wheat Free Pancake Product Recall
3285 East Vernon Avenue
Vernon, CA 90058

Fortunately, the box I purchased yesterday at Whole Foods to finally try these pancakes is dated June 2010 and is not part of the recall.

Aug 14, 2009

The New York Times Reports on the Cost of Gluten Free Food

On August 14, 2009, The New York Times published a great informative article, The Expense of Eating with Celiac Disease. This article not only explains about celiac disease and the high cost of gluten free food, but also mentions some cheaper options. Here are two important quotes from the article.

"That’s because the treatment for celiac does not come in the form of a pill that will be reimbursed or subsidized by an insurer. The treatment is to avoid eating products containing gluten. And gluten-free versions of products like bread, pizza and crackers are nearly three times as expensive as regular products, according to a study conducted by the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

Unfortunately for celiac patients, the extra cost of a special diet is not reimbursed by health care plans. Nor do most policies pay for trips to a dietitian to receive nutritional guidance.

In Britain, by contrast, patients found to have celiac disease are prescribed gluten-free products. In Italy, sufferers are given a stipend to spend on gluten-free food."

"Finally, if you itemize your tax return and your total medical expenses for the year exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you can write off certain expenses associated with celiac disease. You can deduct the excess cost of a gluten-free product over a comparable gluten-containing product."

It is impressive to see a major newspaper discuss the cost of gluten free food and provide cost saving tips, including the brown rice pasta and tortillas at Trader Joe's suggested by Kelly Courson, co-founder of Celiac Chicks. Below is a topic mentioned in the article to explore with your benefits department.

"Do you have a flexible spending account at work? Ask the plan administrator if you can use those flex spending dollars on the excess cost of gluten-free goods — many plans let you do this."

Jul 22, 2009

Chipotle: Gluten Free Fast Food

I am moving next week and will be back in August with regular posts. Recently, Chipotle has become my choice for fast food. In fact, the other night, the employee at Chipotle remembered me, washed her hands, and changed her gloves before I even made the request! Now, that is impressive considering I have only been to that location about five times. I like a combination of the spicy chicken and the sweet pork with rice.

According to their allergen chart, all items are gluten free except the flour tortillas. So, where will I be moving? I am moving about 10 minutes away from where I live now, across the street from a Chipotle. That location seemed a little confused about changing gloves, but I will certainly have them in the routine soon!

Jun 26, 2009

Review: Julie's Gluten Free Ice Cream Sandwiches

I was amazed to recently discover on Twitter that gluten free ice cream sandwiches exist and are sold at Whole Foods. The packaging is a very unique can, so it is easy not to confuse these with Julie's gluten ice cream sandwiches sold in a box. The organic vanilla ice cream is sandwiched between two thick Glutenfreeda's organic chocolate cookies.

I actually like these better than gluten ice cream sandwiches because they are thicker sandwiches and not at all messy. There is no wafer stuck to your hands when you are done eating these. The only downside is the price: approximately $5.30 for four sandwiches.

This satisfying treat contains 220 calories and 11 grams of fat. They didn't last long in my freezer. I ate them all before my daughter even had a chance to try them, so I'll update this post later with her comments.

Jun 19, 2009

Kinnikinnick Major Store Announcement

Here is some great news for Giant and Stop & Shop customers.

"In what is one of the biggest gluten free product placements ever in a major main line grocery chain, we are pleased to announce that 14 Kinnikinnick frozen products are now or will shortly be available in 375 Stop & Shop & 180 Giant Food stores. These stores are located throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, DC, Virginia, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The products available will include:
White Sandwich Bread
Brown Sandwich Bread
Italian White Tapioca Rice Bread
Pizza crusts
English Muffins
Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
Chocolate Dip Donuts
Vanilla Glazed Donuts
New York Style Bagels
Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
Chocolate Chip Muffins
Blueberry Muffins
Hamburger Buns
Hot Dog Buns

The number of products carried by each store will vary depending on store size. All of these 14 products will be available to all stores so if the store is not carrying an item you want, you may be able to get the store to bring it in for you. Talk to the store manager."

Kinnikinnick products are now carried in nearly 3500 stores. They have also upgraded their store finder.

Jun 13, 2009

A Funny Review: Trader Joe's Frozen Pancakes

Trader Joe's gluten-free and dairy-free frozen pancakes received positive reviews from some bloggers, so I was eager to try them. I decided to even purchase two boxes after hearing rave reviews from a store employee. The price is only $2.99. The pancakes are wrapped in four packages, each containing three pancakes.

I followed the instructions on the box and microwaved three pancakes in a stack. I couldn't believe that they could be so doughy! Next, I followed the instructions to microwave only one pancake and was able to roll it into three balls to make a snowman. Finally, I tried toasting two pancakes. The box lists toasting as the preferred method. Toasting still produced a very doughy pancake, which I rolled into a ball.

The pancakes can also be cooked in the oven, which I didn't try. I recommend these only for a gluten-free art project!

Jun 6, 2009

A Special Update: My Daughter’s Letter to President Obama

The new summer issue of Gluten-Free Living magazine has an article about my daughter’s letter to President Obama. We were so happy to see her picture on page 10 and read the great article. It has been so exciting for my daughter to have her letter published in a book, appear in two local newspapers, and now a national magazine. So, how did she end up in Gluten-Free Living?

Amy Ratner, the associate editor of Gluten-Free Living, follows my blog and read my post, Celiac Disease Mentioned in Kids' Letters to President Obama. She emailed me and wanted to do a story about it. Amy interviewed my daughter by email. Of course, she could not include all the information from the interview, so I thought I would share with you some of the questions and answers that don’t appear in the magazine. I encourage you to buy the summer issue. It is full of great useful information, and I especially enjoyed the review of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book.

What gluten-free food do you think President Obama would like if he tried it?
-Shabtai Gourmet brownie bites

How does it feel to have a book with your name in it?
-I feel very special and proud to be in a real chapter book! When I found out I was going to be in the book, I was so happy and excited.

Where do you keep your copy of the book?
-I keep it in my room with my other books and my Mom is keeping one in a special place.

What did you friends at school and your teacher think of you having your letter in the book?
-I read my letter and some of the other letters in the book to my class, the principal, and the librarian. Everyone loved it and said congratulations.

Thank you Amy for doing this special article!

Jun 5, 2009

Video: Oikos vs. Chobani Greek Yogurt

Oikos (made by Stonyfield Farm) and Chobani Greek yogurt are both gluten free. Both are high in protein, fat free, and have a different texture and taste than regular yogurt. Oikos is more expensive than Chobani. In Maryland, Whole Foods sells Oikos and Giant sells Chobani. Watch this video to see which one is better. What is your opinion?

May 28, 2009

Gluten Free Foods: New Products and Improved Products

Bob’s Red Mill will be coming out with a gluten free vanilla cake mix this summer. Here is the information from their blog.

We know that you have been waiting to hear what our newest gluten free product will be and now you get to help us decide the label color. This summer, we'll be introducing the lightest, fluffiest Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix you've ever tasted! We want your opinion- vote for the label color you like best. Tell your friends, rally your family and help us pick a color! Voting ends June 8th at midnight.”

Kinnikinnick has improved their hamburger and hot dog buns and their frozen products will now be carried in more stores, including some Giant and Stop and Shop locations. The improved buns should be available now in stores. They described the improvements on their blog.

Both the Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns are now virtually flake and crumble free, they are thinner, easier to eat and toast great. You may not believe this but these buns are "one-handers". That is to say you can eat your hot dog or hamburger start to finish with one hand. No mess, no fuss, just great taste.While we reduced the height of our Hamburger Buns, we wanted to keep the package weight the same, so you now get 5 buns instead of 4 for the same price. Yes you read that correctly, an extra bun, no extra charge.”

Erewhon recently introduced two new gluten free cereals: Strawberry Crisp and Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice.

Enjoy Life has improved their granola. I have read several positive blog reviews of the new granola. I recently bought their Very Berry Granola and agree that it is good and improved!

May 27, 2009

A Gluten Free Surprise

It truly is the simplest things in life that can make you the happiest: trying a great new gluten free food, perfecting a gluten free recipe, discovering a new restaurant to safely eat, or finding a new store to buy gluten free products. Today as I was shopping in my local Giant that is being remodeled, I stumbled upon gluten free bliss!

There I stood where the flower department used to be admiring the new large gluten free section with new freezers installed for gluten free products. I couldn’t believe my eyes- Kinnikinnick bread, English muffins, and donuts in a regular grocery store that previously had a tiny gluten free section. I remember being thrilled when I discovered the tiny section last year. I was surrounded by gluten free cereal, animal crackers, cookies, bars, flours, mixes, and pasta. I felt like a kid in a candy store when I found the K-TOOS sandwich cookies.

As I was talking to a store employee about the gluten free section, he asked me “What exactly is gluten and is it just healthier?” I explained about celiac disease and he was truly shocked. Imagine how many people walk by a gluten free section and don’t even know about celiac disease.

When I told the manager how happy I was with the new gluten free section, he told me they added it because of customer requests. I am sure my request was one of many. It impresses me that not only did they listen to consumers, buy they added many gluten free items that the nearby Whole Foods does not even carry and grouped them together, instead of throughout the entire store. It amazed me to see the gluten free Van’s waffles, Amy’s, and Kettle Cuisine moved to the new gluten free freezers.

So, the next time you find yourself annoyed that your local chain grocery store doesn’t have many gluten free products, submit a written or electronic comment card and encourage others to do the same. When you are standing in the checkout line impatiently waiting, remember to use the powerful tool you have to increase awareness about celiac disease: your voice!

May 24, 2009

My Favorite Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce: Seal Sama

I have tried three brands of gluten free Teriyaki sauce. I recently bought at Whole Foods the new San-J Teriyaki sauce, one of five new certified gluten free sauces. When I first started eating gluten free, the only Teriyaki sauce I could find was Premier Japan, and I wasn’t impressed with it.

About one year ago, I heard that the Drink More Water store near where I lived carried gluten free products. I was amazed to see that the owner decided to carry an extensive selection of gluten free foods and I discovered Seal Sama Teriyaki sauce. This sauce was great, flavorful, and the clearly the best gluten free Teriyaki sauce. Unfortunately, when I went back to buy more, I learned the store discontinued their gluten free products. The sauce is not carried in any other stores in my area.

When I tried the San-J Teriyaki sauce last night, I hoped it would be similar to Seal Sama. It was not and made me want Seal Sama even more. I think I may need to finally order it. If you are lucky enough to find the unique and memorable gluten free Seal Sama Teriyaki sauce in a store, be sure to buy it and let me know what you think of it!

Caution: Check the label to ensure you have the gluten free Seal Sama as they make three other Teriyaki sauces that contain gluten.

Ingredients: Water, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, alcohol (to preserve freshness)), sugar, pineapple juice, corn starch, rice vinegar (water, rice), garlic. Contains soy and corn.

Nutrition Facts: serving size 1 Tbsp, 20 calories, 230 mg sodium, and 3 grams sugar

May 21, 2009

Book Review: GLEE! An Easy Guide to Gluten-Free Independence

I met Elizabeth Atkinson, a tween fiction author, on facebook. I also follow her on twitter and read her gluten free blog. I was thrilled when she wanted to send me a copy of her book. She wrote the book for college students including her daughter, who attends college in DC. I have been hearing about the book for several months, but it wasn’t until I received the book that I understood why it is called Glee!. This is the term Elizabeth uses in her house and throughout the book to refer to gluten free. Glee comes from the gl in gluten and the ee in free.

The book is a pocket guide and published by Clan Thompson. It is larger than I expected, but I think it is the perfect size to make it easy to read. The length of the book is almost 8 inches and the width is 5 inches, which will only fit in a large purse, but great for college backpacks. The large font makes it especially easy to quickly skim and find the information you need.

The book is positive and encouraging, and I enjoyed reading it. It is filled with important gluten free information. The chapter called “the practical information” is one you will find yourself using often. It includes the Clan Thompson 2009 smart list for candy. There are lists of over-the-counter meds, sodas, other beverages, and chips. The previous chapter “the lists” contains three detailed lists: “what you can eat, what you should avoid or question, and what you cannot eat” and is a very handy reference.

Glee! also includes information about cross contamination, restaurants, traveling, eating at college, apartment appliances, and basic recipes. Elizabeth teaches readers basic methods for cooking chicken, fish, pork, and beef in addition to other recipes. There are lots of great websites listed in the back, but unfortunately she does not mention anywhere in the book about gluten free blogs, twitter, facebook, message boards, and support groups, which are tremendous resources not only for college students, but for anyone with celiac disease.

There are a few things missing from the book that I would have added regarding cross contamination. Aluminum foil is useful for preventing cross contamination on grills, shared toaster ovens, and in ovens. At fast food restaurants, it is important to request that food handlers change gloves. When sharing an apartment with others who eat gluten, be especially cautious about cross contamination from cereal dust and airborne gluten flour. Teach roommates to wash their hands immediately after touching gluten to prevent gluten crumbs from spreading through the kitchen.

Glee! is written in a friendly style that will appeal to college students. Some parts are even funny. I especially like her reminder in the alcohol section that you need to be 21 to drink. In addition to being a great book for college students and their parents, I highly recommend giving Glee! to roommates, friends, and even extended family members who don’t fully understand the gluten free diet.

Note: Glee! is not a guide to selecting a college with good gluten free dining options. I searched and found these resources.

May 19, 2009

Amazing Awareness - Celiac Sprue Association Video

On May 16, Debbie Paul and Diane Craig of the Celiac Sprue Association appeared on the Sacramento news. This video does a great job of explaining celiac symptoms and gluten free foods.

The video mentions osteoporosis. Remember, if you have celiac disease to get a bone density scan, a quick and simple scan of your hips and spine done at some radiology places.

May 12, 2009

Gluten Free Betty Crocker Mixes: Dedicated Facility

Betty Crocker has updated their website with details about the four new gluten free mixes that will be available in June. The website says "made in a gluten free processing facility". Here is some important information from the frequently asked questions.

"Q: Is Betty Crocker® frosting gluten free? All flavors of Betty Crocker Ready-to-Spread Frosting will be labeled “gluten free” this Fall."

"Q: Will the Betty Crocker® Gluten Free Dessert Mixes be priced and couponed with the other Betty Crocker® mixes? Unfortunately, no. As you know all too well, gluten free ingredients are really expensive. That said, we think you’ll be happy with the price of the Betty Crocker® Gluten Free Dessert Mixes, which likely is noticeably lower than what you’re used to paying for gluten free dessert mixes."

The mixes are Kosher, and the boxes will contain Box Tops for Education. The website also contains no butter instructions for each of the mixes. Betty Crocker is a sponsor of the Celiac Disease Foundation and the Celiac Sprue Association. So, what inspired Betty Crocker to make gluten free mixes? Here is the story.

"Not long ago, two of our co-workers found themselves in the gluten free world. Linc was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and Colleen’s family switched to the diet for her son’s well-being.Their experiences opened our eyes to the challenges families face following the diet. It’s hard to be different, especially when it affects sweet moments with friends and family. No one wants to miss sharing a birthday cake or see their child have to turn down a homemade cookie from a buddy after a game.We hope we can help by bringing you these mixes for gluten free desserts that look and taste like the treats you’ve been longing to share. Finally, Betty Crocker® Gluten Free!"

Thanks to Betty Crocker, people who eat gluten free as well as their family and friends will soon be enjoying easy to make gluten free chocolate chip cookies, brownies, yellow cake, and devil's food cake.

May 4, 2009

Amazing Awareness – Celiac Disease on Four Television Shows Today

Today was the official release of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book The G-Free Diet. For a detailed review of the book see Sure Foods Living. Elisabeth’s website lists several television appearances this week, and today she appeared on four television shows.

I am glad she wrote the book which has lots of good information about celiac disease and that she is trying to increase celiac awareness. At 1pm today, celiac disease was the top google trend followed by gluten free diet. At 10pm, celiac disease symptoms was number 95. At 11:30pm, g free diet was number 27, Hasselbeck was number 29, and celiac disease symptoms was number 83 in google trends. While I do not agree with everything that she said in the interviews and she did share some incorrect information, I am glad she is spreading the word about celiac disease.

The four television segments today were:
Good Morning America (GMA)
The View
Access Hollywood
Hannity on Fox News Channel – This was the only interview today where she did not call celiac an allergy.

I will not be embedding the videos on my blog since there is some incorrect information in them, but you can find some of them on youtube.

Here is the schedule of upcoming appearances, which includes Rachael Ray and Larry King on Wednesday. You can read an excerpt of her book, see a few of her gluten free recipes, and watch the GMA interview on the GMA website.

Tomorrow is the release of the Babycakes book by Erin McKenna. Erin will appear on the Martha Stewart show on Wednesday and make chocolate chip cookie sandwiches. In Maryland, Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart both air at 10am and both will have gluten free segments this Wednesday!

May 2, 2009

Gluten Free Wishes

It is so exciting to hear about new gluten free products. Companies, like Starbucks and General Mills, are listening to consumers about their gluten free requests and turning dreams into realities. Restaurants and stores that are 100% gluten free exist and are popping up in new states. Gluten free products are being called a hot trend. How about a little market research of our own? What are your gluten free product wishes?

Here are some of my wishes:

Cheaper gluten free foods

Gluten free egg rolls and spring rolls at restaurants and in the freezer section at grocery stores

More mainstream gluten free Asian sauces

More gluten free frozen meals

Gluten free Rice Krispies - It would be so easy to remove the barley malt. Yes, there are several gluten free crispy rice cereals, but it just isn’t the same or as cheap as snap, crackle, and pop!

Gluten free Little Debbie or Hostess products made in a dedicated facility - Imagine the possibilities!

I thought my list would be longer. I am surprised that it turned out so short. This is a sign of how many great gluten free foods exist and how much they resemble their gluten counterparts. Of course, we all wish for more gluten free options at restaurants, gluten free sections in all stores, and gluten free cooking shows on television. A few months ago my list would have included gluten free crabcakes and fried shrimp, but thanks to Blue Horizon and Starfish, these will soon be in stores. Share your comments!

Apr 30, 2009

Problems with Celiac Disease Being Called a Gluten Allergy

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease, not an allergy. Similar to an allergy, when you have celiac disease you must be extremely careful not to ingest any gluten and eating gluten is dangerous to your body, but the similarities to an allergy end there. Some people are allergic to wheat, rye, and barley and thus say they have a “gluten allergy”, but that is different than people who have celiac disease.

Here is a great quote from STAT Kids.

“While technically Celiac Disease is not an allergy, it is commonly referred to as a gluten allergy as a practical way to explain the dietary restrictions it requires. Although ingestion of gluten does not cause an acute, life-threatening reaction, it does cause a physical reaction which can make a person with Celiac Disease sick in the short term, and exacerbate a chronic condition over time. Since many schools, child care facilities, restaurants, and the public in general are becoming more allergy-aware, using the term gluten allergy facilitates the immediate goal of preventing an exposure to foods containing gluten.”

When at restaurants, there is a definite need to describe celiac disease as an allergy. However, in the media, I believe it is extremely important to not refer to celiac disease as an allergy when the intent is to increase celiac disease awareness. I have seen several television interviews, articles, and even books describe celiac disease as “a gluten allergy”. So, what are the problems with calling celiac disease an allergy? I recently asked this question on twitter and before I share the responses, which include two useful links explaining the differences between celiac and allergies, here are some of my answers.

Since 97% of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed, accurate information which encourages people to be tested is important.

Allergy testing does not include testing for celiac disease. So, if you have been tested for food allergies, it is unlikely that you were also tested for celiac disease. Testing negative for an allergy to wheat, rye, and barley does not mean you do not have celiac disease. Some people who test positive for gluten allergies may also have celiac disease, but testing positive for a gluten allergy does not mean you have celiac disease.

Most of the 256 symptoms and related conditions associated with celiac disease are different than symptoms of food allergies. When you experience celiac disease symptoms such as fatigue and joint pain, it is not obvious that this could be because of eating gluten. Futhermore, some people with celiac disease show no symptoms and show no external reaction when they ingest gluten.

While wheat is one of top eight allergens required to be listed on food labels, gluten is not. Including gluten as an allergy on food labels to aid people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities would be very useful. Celiac is sometimes referred to as a "wheat allergy", which again is inaccurate.

Responses (quotes) from the gluten free twitter community

tastyeatsathome the reaction is different. And an allergy you can sometimes "grow out of". Celiac is life, baby!

celiacdisease here's my reason why CD should not be called an allergy:

madamebarberi using the term allergy REALLY does not paint a realistic picture of the disease or its implications!

souralice because then people don't understand the full effect of gluten on our bodies! I always hear "why don't you get allergy shots??"

GFTiff Can not increase tolerance over time to gluten (like you can to dogs and cats via allergy shots).

GFTiff Not an allergy because:Cant take benadryl/claratin/etc allergy med for gluten-reaction. Epi-pen not for gluten-reaction.

GFCosmetics Reason it isn't an allergy - Because you can't take medicine to clear it up like hay fever.

I think these two tweets from GingerCM sum it up well!

GingerCM Celiac isn't an allergy at all -- it's a disorder of the immune system.

GingerCM BUT, when I'm on real time/eating out, unless it's a GF friendly place like Outback, I stress "allergic" part for my safety

Follow me on twitter - MarylandCeliac and all the other wonderful gluten free people on twitter.