Monthly Archives: September 2010

Going Back to School Gluten-Free, Worry-Free

I’ve spent the past few weeks at my parents’ house in the suburbs, taking nice long walks with Jake. He’s my brother’s dog, and the closest thing to grandchildren our parents are likely to have in the foreseeable future.

Jake and I like to walk down to my old elementary school, and last week we noticed that big pre-Labor Day change: The parking lot was full and the teachers were there, construction paper and markers in hand, readying up their classrooms for the incoming students. It’s back-to-school time.

My first walk to this school? We had just moved to town, and it was the first day of fourth grade. It was also my birthday, which is why I affixed a pin that said, “It’s My Birthday” to my tucked-in denim shirt (worn with jeans, natch). The only thing I remember about the day – aside from my awesome outfit – is that I forgot my lunch and had to eat some PB&J the cafeteria kept on hand for absent-minded little girls like me.

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Says Who? Gluten-Free Standards Are Not So Standard After All

A little pop quiz to begin the holiday weekend.
1. What is the Codex Alimentarius?
a) It’s the spell Harry used to fight the dementors, right?
b) Oh, I saw one of those at the zoo last week. They’re cute!
c) A joint effort by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and the WHO (World Health Organization) to develop global food standards.
2. Why should I care?
a) One day, I might be on Jeopardy and this question might come up.
b) I shouldn’t; I’ve got enough other stuff to worry about.
c) If we’re ever going to have international gluten-free standards, they’re going to come from these people.
3. Wait, gluten-free can mean more than one thing?!
a) Yes.

Just in case you didn’t pick up on it, the answers to numbers one and two are (c). Now, let me say the answer to number three again, because it’s important:

There is no globally-recognized or enforced standard for foods that are labeled “gluten-free.” In fact, there is also no legally defined gluten-free standard within the USA.

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Gluten-Free News from the Wall Street Journal — and Corrections

Last Tuesday the Wall Street Journal ran a great article giving an overview of the gluten-free lifestyle. The article covered the subtle differences between celiac disease, gluten sensitivities and wheat allergies, and also the difficulties and benefits of a gluten-free diet. Perhaps more gratifyingly – at least for me, and anyone else who’s ever had to smile through someone saying, “Oh, wow, you’re really lucky. If I couldn’t eat bread I’d lose soooo much weight!” – was the article’s headline: “Giving up Gluten to Lose Weight? Not so Fast”.

All this is great news, right? Right! I was stoked to see such a mainstream media outlet covering gluten-free news and the gluten-free diet. The article even comes with a nifty infographic showing flattened villi and listing potential symptoms of a gluten intolerance.


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