Faster Gluten Test Checks for Gliadin

From Web MD Health News by Mirandi Hitti and reviewed by Louise Chang, MD.

“Nov. 14, 2008 — Scientists have developed a new test that could speed up identification of gluten, a trigger for people with celiac disease.

Gluten-free foods are already on the market. But gluten can lurk in products that people might not expect. People with celiac disease have to avoid gluten completely, and gluten testing isn’t required of U.S. foods.

The new test flags a gluten protein called gliadin. It’s faster and as sensitive as a currently available test, according to the test’s developers, who are based in Spain and the U.K.

Those scientists, who included graduate student Hossam Nassef of Spain’s Universitat Rovira i Virgili, tested the gliadin test on foods that contain gluten and gluten-free foods.

The new gliadin test was “highly sensitive” and only took 90 minutes, compared to similar sensitivity from a currently available test that takes eight hours, Nassaf and colleagues report.

Nassef’s team is working to make the new gliadin test, which is designed for food manufacturers, even faster. Meanwhile, they describe the new gliadin test in the Dec. 15 print edition of Analytical Chemistry and in the Oct. 29 online edition.”

If this test makes it easier and more accurate to check for gluten in foods, we may see more GF products on the market soon!

Mary's Gone Crackers "Sticks and Twigs"

Sticks and TwigsMy gluten-free father-in-law practically survives on Mary’s Gone Crackers crackers (Original and Herb flavors), so the whole family was delighted to discover their new product, Sticks and Twigs. The “Light ‘N Crunchy Stick-Snack” comes in three flavors: Chipotle Tomato, Curry, and Sea Salt. Sea Salt is the most subtle of the trio, Curry is the most flavorful, and Chipotle Tomato delivers the biggest kick. All three are thick, crunchy, satisfying, and ridiculously nutritious. No oil, no fat, and a whopping serving of 550 mg of Omega-3s in every serving. All their ingredients are organic and are made out of brown rice, flax seeds, sesame seeds, amaranth, millet, quinoa, red quinoa, and chia seeds. So what are you waiting for? Make like a mouse and start nibbling!

New Supplement May Help Celiacs Digest Gluten

pillsRecently I read in the Herald Sun about a new supplement, ALV003, manufactured in Melbourne, Australia. The supplement “could protect coeliac disease sufferers from bowel damage and a fourfold increased risk of osteoporosis and cancer.” It would serve as an adjunct to your gluten-free diet to catch that little bit of gluten that manages to sneak in despite your best efforts.  According to the the Sun, “trials with 20 Melbourne coeliac patients have shown that those mixing the supplement with gluten-rich foods for three days suffered no ill-effects.” Pretty exciting! The supplement works by degrading gluten, making it “less toxic” for celiacs. All you need to know? ALV003 is still on trial in Australia, so it will be a while before this supplement is widely available. But it’s nice to know that scientists around the world are working to make our lives better.

Gluten-Free Cooking Classes

Cooking Class I am thrilled to tell you about several cooking class options for celiacs. These classes help people engage and solve problems with others in the gluten-free community, and they tend to be a lot of fun. If you think it would be helpful to learn to prepare delicious dishes with an experienced chef,  check out the links below:

  • The Natural Gourmet Institute in Manhattan offers five different gluten-free classes this winter: chocolate desserts, Sicilian hors d’oeuvres, baked desserts, bread, and Crusts (quiches, pies, and tarts).
  • The New York Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park is offering several gluten-free baking classes next fall semester. Chef Richard Coppedge, Master Baker and gluten-free expert, presides. The classes will focus on “yeast-raised breads and pastries, cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, quiche, and pizza.”
  • Blogger and “eco-mama” Elana teaches affordable gluten-free classes at the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado. Her next class (on January 26th) covers favorite desserts like chocolate chip cookies and apple crisp.
  • Shauna Jackson, aka Gluten Free Girl, occasionally offers classes in Puget Sound, Washington. To find out about her next class, send her a quick note at [email protected].
  • For those who can’t make it to any of the above locations, try an online class. The nine-year-old online cooking magazine Glutenfreeda sports a beautiful online class with helpful photographs to guide you every step of the way. The latest recipe is Braised Duck with Cranberries and Madeira Sauce, which Chef Yvonne notes is perfect for Christmas.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix by Cherrybrook Kitchen

Chocolate CakeLast night three Taste Testers made Cherrybrook Kitchen’s gluten-free Chocolate Cake Mix. We picked it up at our local supermarket. Requiring only oil, water, and vanilla, the batter was a snap to throw together. The finished cake was as dark as midnight with a cloud-soft texture. One taster remarked, “It’s just like flour,” but another thought it even airier. Two Taste Testers felt that it had stronger flavors than an average chocolate cake. The third labeled it “definitely edible” and went back for seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths!

Wheat free, dairy free, nut free, vegan, and kosher, the cake is safe for allergy sufferers and ethically conscientious consumers. The Massachusetts-based family company reassures its customers that all its mixes are “prepared on dedicated equipment that does not produce dairy or egg products. We have strict manufacturing protocols and we batch test for the presence of peanuts, dairy, egg and gluten for consumer safety.”

Cherrybrook Kitchen also makes gluten-free mixes for chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, brownies, and pancakes. Yum. I might just have to taste-test them all!