All You Need to Know: Autism and the Gluten Free Diet

Is there a link between gluten, casein, and autism? Several studies have been conducted on whether removing casein and gluten from a diet relieves symptoms of autism in children. The Autism Network for Dietary Intervention (ANDI) has compiled a comprehensive list of summaries of these studies. All you need to know? While on this diet, children with autism have repeatedly shown improvement in social and communicative abilities. But the results aren’t permanent: when the diet ends, autistic traits reappear. And everyone’s body reacts differently—just go to ANDI’s great list of parents’ questions and complaints about trying this diet on their children.

Hotel Thanksgivings, Gluten-Free

Wild TurkeyWheat plays a starring role in Thanksgiving, thanks to traditional stuffing. We can also feast our eyes on no-eat pumpkin pie, forbidden cornbread, and gravy spiked with gluten-full soy sauce. Some GF home chefs enjoy the culinary challenge of a holiday—and some throw up their hands and make reservations elsewhere. In my opinion, hotels present a tempting alternative on Thanksgiving. There’s no cooking or cleaning, and there’s always a bit of extra romance in dressing up and going out for the evening.

Thanks to increasing awareness of celiac disease and wheat intolerance, more and more hotels serve gluten-free alternatives on Thanksgiving. Here are just a few:

  • The Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, MD, which is located right next to the National Institue of Health
  • The Amelia Island Ritz Carlton off the eastern coast of Florida
  • Mount Washington Resort in Breton Woods, New Hampshire
  • The Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona

And don’t be shy. Call up your favorite hotel and ask them if you can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast in their restaurants. These days, the answer is more and more likely to be yes.

A New Gluten-Free Magazine!

Easy Eats Magazine What could be more heart-warming than a small, family-owned business creating a product they care about? …Only if that product were free! The new online Easy Eats — the magazine for gluten-free living” is created by executive editor Ellen Spiller and the young Wooten family. Ellen was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2006 and wanted to make a GF magazine to improve conditions and raise awareness so that it would be easier for celiacs to eat out without getting sick.

This stylish magazine, filled with colorful photographs, focuses on a different city in each issue. Recently, they explored Philadelphia under a gluten-free magnifying glass.  As Kay and Ross of Triumph Dining could tell you, Philly isn’t exactly a gluten-free paradise, but the Easy Eats team uncovered some delicious GF finds, including knockout sushi and heavenly cake.  When the magazine explored Manhattan they found GF egg rolls.

Easy Eats also focuses on a specific food product every issue, such as soy sauce or beer. You can read all about how such products are made and what the hidden pitfalls are for celiacs. It’s nice to have someone else do all the research for once!

Last but not least, Easy Eats features some appetizing recipes. I’m going to try making the GF cornbread this Thanksgiving. They suggest using buckwheat flour as a healthy partner to cornmeal, corn kernels, and honey. Bon Apetit!

Blogger of the Month #3: Karina's Kitchen

Karina\'s Kitchen

Karina calls herself a “gluten-free goddess,” and it’s not hard to see why. The experienced chef and visual artist from New Mexico maintains a visually stunning recipe blog and has published three successful cookbooks. Her recipes look beautiful and sound amazing: vegan pumpkin pie with a buckwheat crust, agave and lime salmon, pineapple salsa chicken enchilandas, etc. And if you don’t have the time or willpower to cook, Karina also gives a lot of informative tips on food options. A blog post on the different types of sugar she uses inspired a spirited discussion in the comments section about whether Splenda is an artificial sweetener or not (it is) and where the ultra-sweet herb Stevia tastes best (in coffee).

From a gluten-free blog reader’s perspective, however, the ultimate usefulness of the site is its lengthy list describing dozens of gluten-free blogs by the bloggers themselves.

GaGa's Sherbetter

GaGa\'s SherBetterAre you torn between your love for ice cream and healthy eating? GaGa’s gluten-free Sherbetter may be just your thing. Sherbetter contains more butterfat than sherbet but less than ice cream, leading to a smooth texture, intense  flavor… and less calories. Triumph Dining tasters loved lemon Sherbetter, which GaGa reports outsold every flavor of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Whole Foods one year.  You can find GaGa mostly on the East Coast in high-end stores for $4.70 a pint.

An interesting sidenote: the Providence Journal reports that GaGa founder John King recently turned down an order request from an Atlanta-based convenience store chain because the chain’s own research showed that its customers “don’t care about all-natural products.”