Monthly Archives: September 2010

GF News Alert: FDA Approves New Test

New Blood Test May Make Celiac Disease Easier to Diagnose

Blood test. Endoscopy. Biopsy. Process of elimination. Consultation of astrological charts and the reading of omens. Diagnosing celiac disease hasn’t exactly been easy.

For me, the blood test was enough. My doctor pointed to some funny numbers on a paper and told me to stop eating gluten. I felt better, and I count my lucky stars for it. Medical tests and I never got along so good, and just saying the word “endoscopy” makes me shiver.

Happily for squeamies like me – for everyone really – the blood tests detecting gliadin antibodies continue getting better. I’m happy to report that Phadia, a US company that makes a variety of different blood tests, just got FDA clearance for an even more specific test for celiac disease.

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The Problem of the Gluten-Free Pastry…and Some Solutions?

pastry

Courtesy of www.seattletwist.com.

One of my favorite things to sink my teeth into is a nice pastry. Something about that rich, flaky texture that melts in your mouth goes perfectly with a latte in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up. Pastries are also yet another set of gluten-free enigmas. It seems that replicating that same texture and taste without using any gluten-containing ingredients is a feat seldom accomplished but always in high demand.

First, some good news: There are tons of gluten-free baking mixes out there, and some very good ones at that. The is a great resource for finding the best mixes available at grocery stores near you. Some of our favorite gluten-free mixes around here are made by King Arthur. Experimenting with the gluten-free pastry thing in the comfort of your own kitchen is easier now than it has ever been.

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No Need to Fear Airports: Gluten-Free Air Travel, Part 2.

From the comments on the last post about gluten-free flying, it seems that most of us are members of the Better Safe Than Sorry school of thought. With good reason, too, as mix-ups (and unhelpful flight attendants) are still out there.

What happens, though, when your best-laid plans have gone awry? Maybe you

  • brought food for a four-hour journey, but it turned into a nine-hour odyssey.
  • packed the most delicious bag of snacks – and left it on the counter at home.
  • just plumb forgot.

Point is, there are plenty of ways to find yourself hungry on the go, whether or not your airline offers a gluten-free meal.

Tables, tables everywhere -- but not a thing to eat?

Tables, tables everywhere -- but not a thing to eat?

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Still Riding Pizza Crust is a Hit at The Lost Dog Café

LostDogCafeI love pizza. I love dogs. Why not combine the two? No, I do not mean pizza with poodle pepperoni on top. I mean a restaurant that serves excellent pizza while helping to find homes for lost dogs. And did I mention, also serves the gluten-free community?

Yes, such a gem exists. The Lost Dog Café has two locations in Arlington Virginia, and, according to their website, a third location is coming soon to McLean. We visited the South Arlington location on Columbia Pike, which sits in a strip mall next to its sister establishment, the Stray Cat Café. Both restaurants donate some of their profits to the Lost Dog and Cat Foundation (although the seating hostess was a bit vague on percentages when we asked). The restaurant uses gluten-free pizza crust from Still Riding, a company which partners with local pizzerias across the country to provide gluten-free pizza crust to customers. The Lost Dog Café is also known for its wide beer selection, and the wall-length beer fridge includes gluten-free New Grist beer as well as naturally gluten-free Woodchuck cider. That’s right, at the Lost Dog Café, you can get gluten-free pizza and beer with the gluten-eaters!

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No Need to Fear Flying: Gluten-Free Air Travel Does Exist!

airplane-windowGluten-free travel requires some extra thinking, sure. So does gluten-free living in general. And while airplane food may strike fear into all our hearts, there’s really no need to fret: with some advanced planning the friendly skies can be yours to fly.

Last week I flew from New York to Madrid, and then onwards to Milan, on Iberia Air. Iberia is one of the many carriers who offer gluten-free airplane meals, and so the process was quite easy. All I had to do was select the gluten-free option from a pull-down menu as I was booking my ticket, when prompted. Still, some pointers to ensure the best possible airline experience:

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Uncovered! Gluten-free Makeup, Ingredients to Look For

I realized something the other day: living gluten-free is like being trapped in a giant Where’s Waldo – except we’re not looking for a man with a pom-pom hat, we’re looking for invisible particles that make us sick.

It’s much less fun this way, no? Still, being gluten-free is good training for detective work. When we talked about the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the gluten-free community the other week, it turned out that there was some detective work still to be done.

The topic? Make-up. Is there such a thing as gluten-free makeup, and how hard is it to find? Do people with a gluten intolerance really need to worry about which lipstick they buy?

Lipstick
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Kudos to Blue Diamond For Turning 100…and Also for Inventing Nut Thins

NutThinsSmokehouseI’ve been buying Blue Diamond almonds (naturally gluten-free) – mostly the sea salt flavor and the dark chocolate flavor – for years. Not quite a hundred years, which is how long Blue Diamond has been selling almonds, but years nonetheless.  They’re reasonably healthy snacks – high in protein, high in fats that aren’t quite bad for you (Be careful! They’re also high in calories!), and gluten-free. All of them are gluten-free. Who could ask for more?

Oh, right, we all could. We could also ask that they be great tasting.

And…we’d be blown away by the fact that Blue Diamond snacks are, in fact, somewhat healthy, gluten-free, AND great tasting – a combination you may have previously thought impossible.

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Product Review: Mrs. Crimble’s Does America

I’ve been traveling for a while now. Why? Because I quit my job, left my apartment, and otherwise abdicated most responsibility in favor of immediate enjoyment.

So far, a wise decision. And, it gives me time to write about things I like, like gluten-free food.

When I saw a press release a few weeks ago announcing the imminent US arrival of my dear friend Mrs. Crimble’s, I got excited. After all, Mrs. Crimble’s and I got acquainted as I traveled the highlands of Scotland, and I was starting to miss her.

More specifically, I was starting to miss the chocolate-dipped gluten-free macaroons that I picked up in coffee shops all across the UK. Any time I felt that familiar craving start to come through, it seemed like I had only to think of chocolate and a basket of Mrs. Crimble’s would appear before me, individually-wrapped and ready to eat.

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Getting Your Gluten-Free Waffle Fix

Photo courtesy of Barbara Beery Kids Cooking Blog.
Photo courtesy of Barbara Beery Kids Cooking Blog.

Waffles are one of those magical things that have the power to make people happy. Those perfectly ironed squares just waiting for someone with slight neuroses to cut precisely along their lines, the sheer versatility of what can be put on top of a waffle – this is one of the many foods that can be incredibly hard to let go of for those with Celiac Disease. Thankfully, you don’t have to say goodbye to your beloved waffles at all now, due to a wide variety of frozen gluten-free waffles and waffle mixes on the market. Be sure to check out Triumph’s Essential Gluten-free Grocery Guide for more frozen waffles and waffle mixes, as well as The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide to learn which restaurants serve gluten-free waffles near you!

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A Full Plate? Gluten-Free Campuses Help College Students

When I got to college, I already had a year of gluten-free living under my belt. I’d spoken with dining services, and they’d assured me I wouldn’t have a problem eating gluten-free on campus – I could even give them some ideas of foods I’d like to eat, and when I’d be at which dining hall, and they would have a special meal ready for me.

Just to be on the safe side, I smuggled in some contraband: a hot pot, a rice cooker, and a bar mixer.

If you look closely, you'll see signs of my hidden kitchen

If you look closely, you'll see signs of my hidden kitchen

A few weeks in, I’d learned a few things:

  • A bar mixer makes daiquiris just as well as it makes smoothies.
  • You shouldn’t let your new best friends drink daiquiris near your new laptop.
  • Don’t trust the dining hall.

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