Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sick Food: What to Eat when you’re Gluten-Free and Under the Weather

Let me share with you the exciting things I ate yesterday:

  • a small tray of mini tater-tots, which I didn’t leave in the oven long enough to get really crispy enough
  • five strawberries
  • some kombucha, some herbal tea, some water-with-fizzy-vitamin-C-tablets
  • a bowl of microwaved rice with a slice of Jarlesburg cheese on top

In other words: I didn’t feel very well yesterday. Gluten-free or not, every now and then we all get laid up with a cold or a flu or a sore throat. But do we all have to be doomed to starchy mush and takeout when we’re under the weather? And if our gluten-free loved ones are sick, what can we cook for them to speed them along the way to recovery?
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Breaking News (Sort of)! FDA Sets Timeline for Gluten-Free Legislation

Some pretty exciting news for you today! Thanks to Celiac.com for breaking the story: the FDA has, it seems, put their money where their mouth is regarding a timeline out for pending legislation on gluten-free labeling.

According to the post, the FDA, “is gathering data to respond to calls for an ‘alternative approach’ to determining a specific gluten threshold level other than the proposed level of under 20 parts per million gluten as one of the criteria to define the term ‘gluten-free.’” Furthermore, the post notes that the FDA intends to finalize their decisions by the end of the fiscal year (2012).

Hooray! Maybe! What does this mean?
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Be Your Own Boss: Toss Out the Wheat and the Meat

By Zach

This article goes out to all of you gluten-free eaters who are vegetarians, but also, this article is dedicated to gluten-free meat lovers who are interested in learning about a vegetarian-friendly lifestyle. For those of you who have already rolled your eyes because you wouldn’t dream about “complicating” your life even more than it is now, hear me out because even if you don’t want to be a vegetarian, you may find that adopting a “plant-based” diet (which doesn’t exclude meat) could be the x-factor that you’ve been trying to find.

Protein Sources

One of the main criticisms that vegetarians receive from adamant carnivores is, “Where do you get your protein from?” I’ve gotten this hundreds of times over the years, and I usually first reply to them asking, “Well, do you even know how much protein you’re suppose to intake in a day?,” which they usually can’t accurately tell me. Obviously gender, age and weight are significant factors in determining how much protein someone should eat, but 55 grams is the suggested amount of protein the average adult should consume. Some great gluten-free and vegetarian protein sources include:

  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Cheese
  • Lentils
  • Beans/Legumes/Seeds (Pulses)
  • Plain Tofu (other varieties are not guaranteed to be gluten-free)

Quinoa is a golden protein source because of its “complete protein” properties. It embodies all 8 amino acids, which is essential to promote good health.

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Understanding Gluten’s Role and Achieving the Same Results Without it

By Bridget

One of the most frustrating aspects of being gluten-free is the fact that wheat-free flours just don’t behave like their gluten-laden counterparts. A cake made with oat flour often seems to sink, have too high a moisture content, and never truly brown in the same manner a gluten-filled cake would. But why is this? What is it about wheat that gives baked goods a property unachievable by any other grain?

In terms of gluten as an aspect of food science, it is the protein portion of wheat flour with elastic characteristics necessary for the structure of most baked goods (this is why different recipes will call for more or less flour – depending on if you want bread with a lot of structure, or a sauce with just a small amount of added viscosity). Interestingly, from a culinary standpoint, gluten is not present in plain old flour! In order to form gluten from flour, the product must be hydrated (with water or milk) and be manipulated (with stirring, kneading, mixing, or mashing)!

When it comes to gluten-free grains, like uncontaminated oats, rice, and corn, the lack of gluten protein actually inhibits gas retention and the structure building properties that are natural to wheat grain. This prevents our baked goods from having any leavening power, due to a different protein content.

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Gluten-Free Treats Worthy of a WOW!

WOW Baking Company turned me on to gluten-free morsels within one bite of trying their cookies. This is a bold statement, but one I am proudly willing to make. I was ordering coffee at a local shop in Seattle and had a sugary craving that refused to cease. After glancing over at the cookie selection and seeing the giant, fluffy WOW Cookies, I could not resist putting my taste buds to the test. This experiment would prove to permanently change my perception of gluten-free sweets (and cuisine, in general).

Using premium, all natural ingredients and baking their products in small batches, the Pacific Northwest-based company has re-defined the taste of a gluten-free treat. They pride themselves on always using real butter, vanilla, and organic cane juice and never using hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, artificial flavors or (of course) wheat and gluten. It seems as if they realized that the gluten-free community was sick and tired of saying, “This is really good for being gluten-free.” They aimed to discover a way to produce postprandial thoughts that left out the “for being gluten-free” and succeeded admirably as WOW products are just plain good (period).

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Planting a Gluten-Free Vegetable and Herb Garden

If where you live is like where I live (western Pennsylvania), the current weather won’t quite jive with what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyway:

If you haven’t done so yet, now is an excellent time to plant a (gluten-free) kitchen garden.

There are plenty of reasons to make time for gardening, whether you’re growing things on a part of your yard or in some pots on your fire escape. Some of my favorite reasons:

  • plants are pretty! Who doesn’t love more greenery?
  • it’s (relatively) cheap! There’s always a way to make hobbies expensive, but you can grow a few plants for much less than it would cost you to buy them in the store
  • the plant does all the hard work, you reap all the benefit
  • you’ll know exactly what you’re eating and where it came from
  • you’ll totally get the locavore badge for your Girl (or Boy) Scout sash
It’s a bit late to start, but not too late. If you’ve delayed, here are some things you can plant and some easy ways to get started.

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Hidden Valley Broadcasts Gluten-Free Items

Exciting news from our friends at Hidden Valley!

Coming soon to a store near you, there’s going to be one fewer thing hiding in your shopping cart. According to this press release, those salad dressings and mixes which are gluten-free will be clearly labeled as such thanks to new packaging.

This isn’t a reformulation of any products – neither ingredients nor manufacturing practices are changing – but a, “stronger and clearer assurance to the growing number of people who are seeking gluten-free products.” While the new packaging will be rolled out shortly, you might not see it in your local store for a while. This is OK; any of their products that have traditionally been gluten-free (but unlabeled) will still be safe.

The new labels will include a yellow and green icon like the one in the image here.
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Demand Your Gluten-Free Makeup and Be Proud of Your Own Genetic Makeup

By Zach

What if we were to tell you that gluten-free is no longer just a rising demand in the food industry, but one that is tiptoeing its way into the $1 billion cosmetic industry as well? Well, its true. Just like nutrition enthusiasts demand more detailed descriptions about nutrition facts and ingredients, “A growing number of people are demanding the same thing of their cosmetics,” says Kristi Krueger of Local 10 news in Florida.

Gluten-free consumers are now requesting everything from lotions to lipstick to be labeled in a more easy-to-read fashion for their own health benefits. Although gluten-free makeup and skin care products certainly aren’t as much of a hot topic as gluten-free foods, there has certainly been measures taken to cater to customers who are sensitive to gluten-containing beauty products. Research in this area is still in its cocoon stage, but companies like Afterglow Cosmetics and Jane Iredale are definitely responding to their clientele’s wishes.

As one can understand, people who don’t want any kind of gluten in their food are just as likely to not want it anywhere on their skin. Some of the hottest beauty products today are those that are guaranteeing wheat-free and gluten-free products on the shelves. Lipstick is a huge concern for customers who are severely intolerant to gluten as lipstick has the likelihood of becoming ingested, in turn being dangerous to the individual. The same concept can be applied to toothpaste, gum or any other items that can ultimately be harmful if swallowed due to traces of gluten.

On the other hand, it should be noted, that not every skin irritation from beauty products like makeup and moisturizers are caused by gluten ingredients. Dr. Mark Nester, a dermatologist from Skin and Cancer Associates, suggests that other ingredients such as formaldehyde and silicone are also standard causes of rashes and break outs, as well as the common mistake of using expired cosmetics.

Of course, there’s always going to be those skeptical people out there that think the gluten-free phenomena is just going to be another way for a billion-dollar industry to take advantage of people’s hypochondria, but there really seems to be a serious need for people with gluten intolerance to feel fairly treated and not ostracized due to their genetics. So for all you advocates of gluten-free cosmetics and clearer labeling of ingredients, demand your gluten-free makeup and be proud of your own genetic makeup!

Something to Chew on: Kid-Approved Gluten-Free Gum!

By Bridget (with the help of Liberty Morris)

It can sometimes seem that gluten is lurking in every food. From soy sauce to lime flavored tortilla chips, it’s hard to always be sure what constitutes a “safe” food. Sadly, Celiac’s have to be watchful of the mints and gums they reach for, as many of them contain malodextrin, a sugar enzymatically derived from starch, often from wheat. Apart from the gluten contents, most gums are wrought with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, which are potentially carcinogenic, or sugars that can lead to painful tooth-decay.

Fortunately for gluten-free gum lovers, Glee Gum is a flavor-filled chewing gum that is additive-free, lactose-free, and, most importantly, gluten-free! The gum is all-natural, meaning that there is minimal processing, no chemical pesticides or food additives, and free of artificial sugar substitutes! The gum offers tons of different flavors, from cinnamon and peppermint to bubble gum (which tastes like bazooka bubble gum!) and sugar-free lemon-lime! The gum is made with ingredients including cane sugar, rice syrup, and chicle, a naturally harvested material that gives gum its chewy texture, rather than synthetic materials that can contain gluten!

What makes this gum even more appealing is that it is 100% kid approved (which, as all gluten-free eaters know, that’s hard to come by!). Ten year old Liberty Morris, a best-selling children’s book author (Paris Goes to San Francisco), tried a variety of Glee Gum’s flavors and gave the stamp of satisfaction, celebrating the lemon-lime sugar-free Glee Gum as one of her favorites. Liberty was amazed by the mixture of the lemon and lime and said that the gum was “indescribably good”.

If you’ve been avoiding gum for fear of the gluten content, here are some reasons to chew on that might make you want to try out Glee Gum:

  • Chewing gum while peeling and cutting onions can actually help you from tearing up
  • Studies have found that when people chew gum they have an easier time concentrating, reducing muscle tension and increasing alertness!
  • Chewing sugar-free gum burns about 11 calories an hour.
  • To keep your ears from popping on an airplane, chew gum to stimulate your salivary glands (you’ll produce 250% more saliva!), causing you to swallow more and reducing pressure in your head.
  • Researchers have found that chewing gum after you eat may help prevent heartburn!

Deerfields Bakery: Dreamy Treats For Gluten-Free Peeps

By Zach

No matter what diet, eating habit, or culture someone studies, there’s usually some type of sweet that can either bring people together, compliment a nice meal or just satisfy one’s sweet tooth. Looking at treats in this light makes the craving for sugary substances almost seem innate, and just because one has been diagnosed with Celiac disease or obeys a gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t mean their mouth waters any less or their eyes don’t dilate when a succulent batch of cookies shows up on the table or cake is served at a special occasion.

It is in this realm of no-touching torment that bakeries like Illinois’ Deerfield Bakery have risen to the calling to provide gluten-free eaters the opportunity to indulge in their saliva-inducing desserts or eye-bulging treats. Deerfield Bakery’s gluten-free menu contains a piquant spectrum of saccharine goodies and wholesome grains that can certainly excite gluten-sensitive consumers.

“Day Dreams are the real deal,” as printed on their menu, “dreamy white chocolate chip and chocolate chips nestled in a brownie cookie.” Honest to goodness, they are the real deal. The melting of fresh chocolate combined with the soft cookie dough is truly a batch made in heaven. Mouth watering yet? Their Lemon Buttons are made with fresh lemons and drizzled with rich lemon icing. The cookie’s flavor has a great zing to it – not as pungent as most lemon bars, but still confidently zesty.

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