Monthly Archives: February 2009

Uno's Pizza goes Gluten-Free!

Uno\'sI grew up in the Chicagoland area, and I still remember the time my family took me as a special treat to the originial Uno’s. The wait was long, and the interior was small, dark, wooden and seemingly ancient. When the pizza arrived, I could not believe how heavy each deep dish slice was. It was a dense meat and tomato pie, seeming to me symbolic of old Chicago with the meat factories and the hardworking, unglamorous immigrants, including my own great-grandparents. I don’t remember how it tasted, just how it felt.

Now, my friends, you can experience it too. Check out their brand-new gluten-free menu.

Unlike Lou Malnati’s, another deep-dish pizza chain in the Chicago area, Uno’s gluten-free crusts are not made out of sausage—they are made out of crust. But it has gelatin and xantham gum, so the cheese pizza is still not for vegetarians.

Uno’s claims to be the first national casual dining chain to offer a gluten-free menu. They were the first national chain to eliminate trans fat from their menu. They have more than 200 locations in the U.S., Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates. Uno’s does not deliver, but you can order online for takeout.

Gluten-Free Pet Food

puppy and kittenYou’re feeling a lot better now that you’re on a wheat-free diet.  No more vomiting and diarrhea. Your hair is glossy again, the rashes have disappeared… and your paws don’t itch. Thank goodness the vet diagnosed you properly!

While cats and dogs have very different digestive and nutritional needs than do humans, they can still have in common a sensitivity to certain grains. Unlike us, dogs and cats have evolved to eat primarily meat. Ancestral cats, strict carnivores, primarily ate small rodents, while wild dogs were scavengers and ate bones, rotten vegetables, pieces of carcasses, animal guts and heads, and some discarded seeds and grains.

Today vets recommend that the diets of both cats and dogs be high in protein, fat, and water and low in carbohydrates (although some are necessary). However, most dry foods for pets are the opposite because of the high costs of meat and fish versus the low costs of grains and food coloring. This cheaper diet can give pets diabetes and inflammation. Furthermore, some pet food manufacturers get away with posting a high protein content on their labels when in fact much of that protein is indigestible because it comes from hair, feathers, or hoofs instead of egg whites, muscle and organ meats, and fish. There are three ways you can make sure your pet is eating healthy food: 1) The more expensive it is, the better it probably is 2) Read the label to see if the food’s suitability has been evaluated by feeding trials specified by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) 3) Make sure that the first ingredient on the ingredients list is a meat and that the next two ingredients are also acceptable — by law ingredients are listed in descending order of weight.

Food intolerance in animals gives some owners one more dietary stumbling block to overcome. The top food allergens for cats and dogs are dairy, corn, wheat, soy, yeast, potato, beet, beef, and fish. Irish Setters are known as a breed for their gluten intolerance, but other dogs can show symptoms of intolerance to wheat and to a less extent other gluten-containing grains. Symptoms of food intolerance in dogs and cats include dry, itchy skin; red, swollen ears; itchy face and chin; and compulsive licking of the paws. However, these symptoms in dogs are similar for an outbreak of Scarcoptic Mites. Vomiting and diarrhea are further symptoms of food intolerance.

To check your pet for food intolerance, a vet will usually place your pet on an 8 to 12 week elimination diet. After this interval, possible allergenic foods will be introduced one at a time every two or three weeks.

Gluten Free YouTube Videos

Alternative Cook LogoAlternative Cook Jean Duane posts about gluten- and dairy-free cooking on You Tube. She currently has eight videos up. Most of them run a little over two minutes, and because some of that time is taken up by introductory and closing music, you can imagine how concise and focused these videos are. The older posts promote her GFCF baking cookbook and line of DVDs, which teaches how to cook GFCF Mexican, Italian, kids’ meals and chocolate. She also has an Amazing Statistics video, probably redundant for those of our blog readers who keep up to date on medical information. I found clear and informative her demonstration on how to substitute nut milk for cow milk and pureed flax seeds for eggs. It was nice to see all the alternative flours available to celiacs, although I wished she could have discussed their uses just a bit more. The last two videos were posted just three weeks ago, so keep an eye out for her upcoming work.