Apr 24, 2010

New Gluten-Free Bisquick, Hamburger Helper, and Nature Valley Bars

Anne Steib just posted an exciting article on Celiac-Disease.com, "General Mills to debut gluten-free Bisquick at Annual Celiac Disease Foundation Conference". The new gluten-free Bisquick will be in stores later this summer along with three gluten-free varieties of Hamburger Helper: Chicken Fried Rice, Cheesy Hashbrowns and Beef Fried Rice. Recently, General Mills posted the following on their Live Gluten Freely Facebook page.

"Searching for a gluten free on-the-go snack that’s crunchy, wholesome and delicious? The search is over! Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch Bars (Almond) are now labeled gluten free! They started shipping March 31st and will be available in stores soon. Be sure to look for them at your local grocer! As always, a friendly reminder to look for the gluten free label on the pack to confirm that the product is GF."

General Mills is certainly committed to expanding their gluten-free offerings and listening to consumers! Visit the newly expanded Live Gluten Freely website, which now includes blog posts from Kimberly Bouldin and Vanessa Maltin, over 250 gluten-free products, and many recipes.

Apr 21, 2010

Review: Udi’s Gluten Free Granola

I found four varieties of Udi’s Gluten Free granola at Whole Foods. I purchased the Original granola and Cranberry granola on sale for $4.99 each, regularly $5.99. The granola is also available in Au Natural and Vanilla. The granola is free of dairy, soy, and eggs.

All the granolas are made from certified gluten-free oats in a dedicated gluten-free facility and contain Wildflower honey and Canola oil. Those are the only three ingredients in the Au Natural granola. The Original granola is a unique granola flavor in that it contains banana chips, raisins, cashews, pistachios, almonds, and walnuts. The only nut in the Cranberry granola is walnuts. There are 11 servings in a bag, so carefully measure out a ¼ cup serving to avoid eating too much.

Both flavors have a good taste and crunch, with the Original granola being crunchier. The granola is flakes, not clusters. The Cranberry granola is similar in texture to the Glutenfreeda granola. The dried fruit needs improvement to be softer and more flavorful, but overall Udi’s granola is enjoyable. If you are looking for crunchy granola with clusters and great dried fruit, try Jessica’s Almond Cherry granola.

Udi’s Gluten Free makes the best gluten-free bread and muffins. Their bagels are impressive, and they also sell pizza crust and cinnamon rolls. On May 5, their new double chocolate muffins will be available for purchase online. To find Udi's Gluten Free in a store near you, use their store locator.

Apr 16, 2010

A Fantastic Article about Celiac Disease

Every week, I read several articles about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet that show up in Google Alerts and various news feeds. Many of the articles appearing in newspapers and other sources have inaccurate information about celiac disease, referring to it as an allergy and only focusing on digestive symptoms.

When I encountered this article, "Gluten Free: Millions Have Celiac, Few Diagnosed", written by Jaclyn Gallucci and published yesterday in the Long Island Press, I was impressed with the title and photo. As I read the article, I was amazed by how detailed it was and how many facets of gluten-free life were accurately explained through interviews with several people. It is a well-written and intriguing article, which would be great to share with friends, coworkers, and family members. Here are some of my favorite parts.

"She had celiac disease, a potentially fatal, but treatable, disease that is almost never diagnosed properly, if at all. Even when it is, parents and children struggle to get others—including doctors and school administrators—to take them seriously."

"Over time, celiac can lead to cancer, malnutrition and other disorders. But because many people think of gluten-free as a diet or fad, the fact that the disease is a serious, chronic, lifelong problem, is often overlooked."

"Since celiac, a multi-symptom and multi-system disease, doesn’t always involve a stomachache, produces strikingly different symptoms in different individuals, and often mimics other disorders, it is commonly misdiagnosed. Celiac could manifest as an intestinal infection in one patient, a rash or growth problems in another and neurological problems or even dementia in a third."

"Amanda, 9, was diagnosed with celiac when she was 5 years old. She had leg cramps, headaches and a distended belly. At her yearly checkup, the doctor found she was anemic."

"As a rule, every first-degree relative is supposed to be tested when a child is diagnosed with celiac. Albertelli tested positive for the disease. Even more shocking, her husband, who didn’t seem to have any telltale symptoms, was diagnosed as well."

"But avoiding gluten can be challenging, and cross-contamination is a serious possibility. If a piece of bread is only dunked in a pot of sauce that a celiac will eat or if a knife used to cut a doughnut is then used to slice gluten-free bread, there is enough gluten transferred in each instance to cause damage"

"After months of jumping through hoops, Amanda can now use a separate microwave." (referring to lunch at school)

The entire article is fantastic, so please take the time to read it. It left me feeling that the author, a complete stranger, has true empathy for people like myself with celiac disease. I wonder if she has a personal connection to someone with celiac disease. Thank you Jaclyn for this informative and refreshing article, which will help to increase awareness of celiac disease!

Apr 15, 2010

New Gluten-Free and Healthy, Please!

I like seeing so many new gluten-free products being carried in stores. The breads, desserts, and snack foods look appealing, but we need more healthy choices. I think I speak for many gluten-free consumers when I say we don’t just want great tasting gluten-free products, we want them to be nutritious too!

I reviewed my share of brownies, cookies, and other not so healthy products to the point that I am truly not interested in reviewing another dessert item right now. Why did I stock up on gluten-free Passover desserts? Honestly, they were cheap and readily available, but I don’t need them!

Now, when companies go that extra mile to make their products also free of multiple allergens or when it is a unique gluten-free product, whether it is healthy or not, many consumers appreciate that. However, for the average gluten-free consumer, do we really need another gluten-free cookie?

Fortunately, some companies are listening and making healthy gluten-free products, but are those the ones we are seeing on store shelves and at affordable prices? For those companies considering new gluten-free products, please make them healthy. Make a product that is great, nutritious, and gluten-free, and then reach out to the gluten-free community to help convince stores to carry it. We have finally reached a time when gluten-free consumers can have high standards!

Apr 7, 2010

Recall: McCormick Fajitas Seasoning Mix

If you purchased McCormick Fajitas Seasoning Mix since mid-February 2010, your package may be part of the recall. The item was mispackaged and contains undeclared wheat and milk. Here are the recall details.

"McCormick & Company, Incorporated has announced a voluntary recall of McCormick Fajitas Seasoning Mix, with UPC Code 5210002121 and 'BEST BY' dates of JAN 16 12 AH and JAN 16 12 CH."

"Consumers do not need to return the product to the store where it was purchased. Instead, consumers are urged to contact McCormick's Consumer Affairs team at 1-800-632-5847, weekdays from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM, or weekends from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM (Eastern Time), for a replacement or full refund, as well as instructions on what to do with the product."

Apr 3, 2010

New Snyder's of Hanover Gluten-Free Pretzel Sticks

It is huge news when a major mainstream pretzel manufacturer announces a gluten-free pretzel and takes the necessary steps to prevent cross-contamination. Here are some details that were posted on April 1 on the Snyder's of Hanover Facebook page. Yes, this is real, not an April Fool's joke. Look for them in stores soon.

"Snyder’s of Hanover has been working with the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), since September 2009."

"Our Hanover, PA baking facility was originally inspected and approved for gluten sanitation on July 16, 2009. Guidelines of the GF certification subject our Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks to ongoing gluten testing using GFCO-approved testing methods to meet the minimum GFCO standard of less than 10 ppm gluten in finished product. We also will undergo random manufacturing inspections to uphold the integrity of our gluten free certification. This testing protocol was developed by GFCO and Snyder’s will fully comply with this industry leading standard in all aspects of production."

Thanks to Gluten-Free Philly for sharing this news!