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!