Feb 27, 2010

Book Review: Bagels, Buddy, and Me

On Twitter, my mom found out about Bagels, Buddy, and Me: A story about gluten intolerance and celiac disease. She emailed the author, Melanie Krumrey, to see if she could send me a free copy to review. The book is based on the true story of the Krumrey family, and the story is told by a boy named Cooper, who is 8-years-old like me.

Bagels, Buddy, and Me is a great book! I especially like that it was also about gluten intolerance and that somehow Melanie Krumrey made the pictures in the book look like crayon drawings. It looks like she drew it in black and then colored it in.

The book is funny, and it is hard to believe that it is based on a true story. I think that kids in elementary school would love the story. You can buy the book at the Bagels, Buddy, and Me website and learn more about the Krumrey family on their blog called Gluten-Free Krums. If are looking for a book with more facts about celiac disease and eating gluten-free, read my review of The GF Kid. If you are looking for a funny story about finding out you need to eat gluten-free, then Bagels, Buddy, and Me is the book for you!

Feb 20, 2010

Review: Lucy’s Cookies

Lucy’s gluten-free cookies are now sold at Starbucks in snack size sealed bags of four cookies for $1.50. I found a display of the cinnamon thin cookies and then an employee found the chocolate chip cookies behind the counter. Lucy’s also makes sugar cookies and oatmeal cookies.

Lucy’s cookies are certified gluten-free and vegan and made in a dedicated bakery. They are also Kosher and free of peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and eggs. They are made from certified gluten-free oats and a blend of many flours. Here is the nutritional information for the chocolate chip cookies:

Serving size: 3 cookies (note there are four in the pack)
Calories: 130
Fat: 5 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Sugars: 12 grams
Contains: soy, oat, and fava

The cookies were surprisingly good! I enjoyed both flavors. They have a nice crunch and great texture. I am not a coffee drinker, but they seem like the type of cookies that would go well with coffee. I would certainly buy both again and probably the boxes sold at Giant.

Feb 19, 2010

New Gluten-Free Beef Dishes at PF Chang's

P.F. Chang's has been tweeting about new additions to their gluten-free menu available on March 8. While P.F. Chang's hasn't formally announced the dishes, they are already available at P.F. Chang's in Arizona, and an email was sent to customers in Arizona. Here is the new gluten-free menu with five new beef dishes, thanks to @GFPhilly, who saw a link to it on the Celiac.com forum and shared it on Twitter.

Also, many will be happy to know that Dali Chicken is back on the gluten-free menu. There may also be a new gluten-free appetizer coming soon, although it is not on this new menu. I look forward to trying the Gluten-Free Beef a la Sichuan!

Feb 18, 2010

Are Blistex Products Gluten-Free?

Here is the email reply I received today from Blistex. Happily, all Blistex lip care products are gluten-free.

"Thank you for your interest in Blistex products and wanting to know if they are gluten free. We are pleased to inform you that all of our Blistex lip care products are gluten free meaning that they are free from wheat, rye, barley, and oats.

Please visit the Blistex website at http://www.blistex.com/ for a full listing of our products and stores that carry them in your area.

If we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me direct.

Best regards,

Ed Mahay/S.K.
Supervisor, Consumer Affairs
Phone: 888-784-2472 x3218
Fax: 888-784-2473
Update: November 3, 2010 -  The new Blistex Five Star Lip Protection is not gluten-free and contains wheat germ oil, so the above statement is no longer accurate.

Feb 16, 2010

Gluten-Free Dining at College: USA Today Article Describes Accommodations

In the USA Today article, “Colleges accommodate more students with food allergies”, some colleges offering gluten-free meals are mentioned. The article also mentions a great new resource, the College Network, from The Food and Allergy Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN).

The College Network is a growing searchable database of over 40 colleges that provide accommodations. In addition to mentioning gluten-free meals at the University of New Hampshire, the article describes allergy-free kitchens at Brown University, the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.

Feb 15, 2010

Study Shows Benefits of Attending a Celiac Camp

A WebMD article reports the findings of a study about gluten-free camps done by the University of California, San Francisco. The study found that kids with celiac disease developed a more positive outlook about their dietary restrictions after attending a week long camp.

"The researchers tracked 104 youngsters at a gluten-free camp, 70% of whom had been on a gluten-free diet for less than four years. The children, aged 7 to 17, were given a 14-question survey at the start and end of the camp that gathered information on how they felt about themselves.

'All seemed to benefit from camp, no longer feeling different from other kids or feeling frustrated with a restricted diet,' the researchers write. 'Improvement was observed in each of the three categories of questions: well-being, self-perception and emotional outlook.'

But the camp experience had a greater effect on those who had been on a gluten-free diet for less than four years. Children who had been on a gluten-free diet for more than four years already had high positive ratings at the beginning of camp, so their ratings at the end of the camp session changed less.

The study was published in Pediatrics and concludes "durability of these observations on return to daily life requires additional study." If you would like to register your child for a gluten-free camp, view this list of summer camps from Nancy Lapid About.com Celiac Disease and reserve your space now!

Feb 13, 2010

My Dear Roll: A Valentine's Day Love Poem

You caught my eye a few days ago on the internet,
Last night, you arrived at my door and we met.

There were four of you vacuum sealed in the pack,
I turned you over and saw your beautiful plump back.

You are fluffy, soft, and hold up well,
You are the best gluten-free roll any store could sell!

Sadly, once opened you expire in only 2 to 3 days,
But you, my Schar classic roll, will always be the object of my starry gaze!

Enjoy Crepes Like Olympic Skier Hannah Kearney

United States Olympic skier Hannah Kearney loves to cook crepes with a variety of fillings for her teammates. While the crepes she makes probably aren’t gluten-free, her fillings could be used in gluten-free crepes. Hannah’s crepes are described in the Olympic blogs.

"I like to make the batter ahead of time and I'll have one with an egg and avocado and cheese for breakfast, then I'll have one with turkey and cheese for lunch, and then one with spinach and mushrooms for dinner," says Kearney. "Then for dessert you go with peanut butter and honey or cream cheese and jam."
But how much nutritional value do crepes have?

"It depends how you cook them," says Susie Parker-Simmons, a sports dietician for the U.S. Olympic Committee. "With Hannah, she's very nutritionally
sound. She has very good nutritional practices and loves cooking, which is fantastic." Parker-Simmons says that because of the way she makes them-with less
oil and sugar than store-bought varieties-and the diversity of fillings, they're reasonably healthy.

There are many recipes for gluten-free crepes. This one uses a blend of several flours, and the kid in the video is adorable. So, whip up some gluten-free crepes, and eat like an Olympic athlete!

Feb 12, 2010

More General Mills Products Labeled Gluten-Free

There are now over 250 General Mills products that are labeled gluten-free. The Live Gluten Freely website was updated this week, and all the new products are indicated in red. The additions include Betty Crocker frosting, several Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers, and more varieties of Progresso soup and Yoplait yogurt.

According to other bloggers, the Strawberry Chex has been discontinued. It is not listed on Live Gluten Freely. The website has several gluten-free Valentine's Day recipes.

Feb 7, 2010

Snow Photos and Food Safety

We received over two feet of snow this weekend in this historical snowstorm, making this the third snowiest winter of all time in Washington. Prior to the storm, I stocked up on food and household essentials, but didn't expect to experience two power outages. The second power outage was just before I made dinner. I was thankful that I had some thawed Udi's whole grain bread and Purefit protein bars. Udi's gluten-free bread is unique in that it does not need to be heated to make it soft.

Fortunately, each time my power was restored in about five hours, and the food in my refrigerator was still good. The USDA says food is good for approximately four hours in a closed refrigerator. If the doors are kept closed, food in the freezer lasts 24 hours if half full and 48 hours if full. For a longer power outage in winter, you can store your food from your refrigerator outside. Next time, I will have some shelf stable cartons of Silk or dry milk on hand in case my milk goes bad.

Here are some photos I took today, the day after the storm ended. On Facebook, you can view photos I took during the storm.

One of my favorite photos!

Can you find the fire hydrant?

There is a neighbor's car buried under that snow. I am so glad a friend will try to dig out my car from the parking lot tomorrow.

Can you find the car? Hint the car is driving with two feet of snow on top.

Some plowed mounds of snow are more than 5 feet high and taller than this person. The city plows streets in my neighborhood quickly, but some neighborhoods will be waiting several days for a plow.

Many people are also still waiting for their power to be restored. Schools are closed for at least the next two days. After three snowstorms last week, more snow is forecasted for Tuesday evening. Instead of being frustrated with the endless snow and dangerous ice, I am so thankful my power was quickly restored and am enjoying taking photos and blogging!

Feb 5, 2010

Videos: Kids Talking About Celiac Disease and Eating Out Tips

These celiac disease videos are from Children's Hospital Boston. This is a good four minute video featuring several kids talking about living with celiac disease. The kids share some experiences and advice. The ending is very positive.

This video about eating out shows the questions to ask at restaurants.

The above videos and 10 other Celiac Family Health Education videos are clips from a two hour long DVD available for purchase.

Recall: Cousins Products Spinach Vinaigrette

Here is the recall information from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

"Cousins Products, LLC is recalling 16-oz. jars of Spinach Vinaigrette due to undeclared egg, soy, and wheat.

The product was distributed through retail establishments in Louisiana and Mississippi and through internet sales to Florida, Illinois, Texas, and Virginia from June 2009 until present.

Consumers who have questions may call (985) 871-8797, Tuesday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., for information and return instructions."