Monthly Archives: June 2012

Product Review: Zema’s Madhouse Foods

A few weeks ago (OK, maybe more than a few, I was moving slow there for a while!), I got a box in the mail from Zema’s Madhouse Foods. Inside, a box of Gluten-Free Cinnamon-Oatmeal Apple Muffin Mix, which is of course what I want to talk to you about today.

The general premise of Zema’s mixes is that they are gluten-free, ancient grain, high fiber and protein, low glycemic index. In addition to the muffin mix, they offer two different pancake and waffle mixes (a cocoa teff variety, and a seeded multigrain) and a pizza/focaccia mix made with rosemary and millet (you can see them all here). Click to continue reading »

Is There Gluten in Your Morning Cup?

By Bridget

As with most people diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity, my doctor ordered a much larger test to see what other foods my body didn’t process so easily. Turned out that coffee was another sensitive food. After doing a little research, I found that I may not be the only person sensitive to coffee or tea.

It turns out that coffee and tea can contain trace amounts of gluten. While the beans or tealeaves themselves do not contain any gluten, some products are subject to cross contamination, particularly with barley. Additionally, many flavored coffees contain additives made with wheat flour and other grains, particularly in instant coffees and creamers. The manufacturers use gluten as a filler additive to their product. For the most part, coffees that do contain fillers list them on their labels, so as long as “gelatinized starch,”  “modified food starch,” and “vegetable starch” are not ingredients listed on your coffee, you should be good to drink. But if you’re concerned and have experienced some issues in the past, buy your own beans and grind them yourself to ensure no cross-contamination.

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Staying Social in a Gluten-Filled World

By Bridget

When I was first diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, I was so relieved to find a solution to my digestive problems and exhaustion that the exchange for a radical diet upheaval seemed okay. I didn’t really miss gluten if all the forgetfulness, irritability, and fatigue went away. The new diet I was on seemed like a fun challenge, and not an insurmountable obstacle. While the relief certainly remains, this “honeymoon” period of my gluten-intolerance has certainly subsided. There are times I just want to pack a sandwich for lunch or grab a bagel on the way to work. Sometimes I just don’t want to preface my restaurant order with “I have a couple of dietary restrictions…”

A 2011 psychological study examined just these issues associated with Celiac’s Disease. The study surveyed 146 people suffering from Celiac’s Disease in England, analyzing the impact of the disease on both the dietary habits and quality of life for the participants. Interestingly, while those surveyed reported feeling in very good physical and emotional health, many reported anxiety, frustration, and mild depression about their disease. These feelings were reactions to social and leisure activity exclusion, as well as having difficulty finding gluten-free foods. These feelings were further impacted by a reported embarrassment about order gluten-free food, or a need to inquire after the kitchen conditions of a restaurant.

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Six Gluten-Free Grains to Check Out

By Zach

Contrary to popular assumption, gluten-free doesn’t have to mean grain-free. Granted, there are many grains out there such as spelt that are harsh to celiacs’ digestive track and for people with gluten sensitivity in general. Be that as it may, celiacs and gluten-sensitive people can still enjoy the hearty textures of grains and quench their carb-cravings with these six basic grains (although some are technically seeds) that are gluten-free. Hopefully you can learn something new about them and implement some of them into your culinary circle!

Quinoa (goes great with tilapia, sweet potatoes and greens)

Quinoa has been around for centuries as the Incas regarded it as sacred. It’s one of my favorite grains, although I recently just learned that it is technically an herb-derived seed. Nonetheless, it is unique among other grains as it serves as a complete protein with all nine amino acids and a good source of fiber, iron, minerals (such as magnesium) and B-complex vitamins. The health benefits of quinoa contain lessening the risk of heart disease and helping secure your cells against destructive free radicals via the building block superoxide dismutase.

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Israel may Approve Subsidized GF Food for Celiac Patients

Israel can be a great place to eat gluten-free food, but it’s (maybe) about to get even better for the  country’s 30,000+ celiacs.

Last week, reports, the Knesset approved a bill that would support celiac patients in a number of ways: the patients would be provided with some form of financial support each month, and the cost of gluten-free foods would also be reduced so that gluten-free bread would not cost more than its gluten-full alternative.
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Nonresponsive Celiac Disease Less Common than Thought

There are many scary manifestations of celiac disease / gluten intolerance that I’m thankful not to have personal experience with. Gluten ataxia, for example, is something I can only read about during the day, with the lights on, when I’m not alone.

Another is non-responsive celiac disease, also called refractory celiac disease. These are cases of celiac disease in which the symptoms do not disappear despite the adoption of a gluten-free diet. To think of cutting out all those foods, training oneself to ask all those questions — and then not feeling any better! I can only begin to imagine how incredibly frustrating it must be.

Interestingly and (I think) hopefully, a new study  indicates that non-responsive celiac disease may be far less common than we previously believed.
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New Research Indicates that a Gluten-Free Diet May Help Alleviate Diabetic Symptoms

By Zach

Dealing with a serious health condition is complex, as people with celiac disease know, but there’s usually some kind of compromise or solution. Diabetes is definitely one of America’s most urgent and wide spread of these issues. Though the politics of diabetes are controversial, there’s hardly any room for debate about the direct correlation between unhealthy diets and diabetes. Certainly heredity plays a significant factor, but it’s not an end-all-be-all fate.

The direness of diabetes hasn’t always been an epidemic in America. Just over the last ten years diabetes in teens age 12 to 19 have rapidly increased, which is unfortunate for many reasons, but also because symptoms are more difficult to treat in children.

Based on Americans’ overconsumption of processed ingredients and fast foods over the last decade, it’s no wonder there’s been an influx of diabetes and harshness of diabetic symptoms. Researches and experts have been trying to find ways to alleviate diabetic symptoms and they may have found a new prospect, a gluten-free diet.

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Back to the Basics: Navigating the Word “Gluten”

By Bridget

When my doctor first told me to cut wheat out of my diet, I couldn’t even remember the word “gluten,” let alone know exactly what it meant. Months were spent in the trial and error period, searching for resources both at the library and online. My local library had about 3 books with anything to do with gluten, one of which was a recipe book, calling for ingredient substitutes like arrowroot and xanthan gum. Not exactly something I already had in my pantry.

Although our social community is becoming increasingly aware and accepting of gluten intolerance and allergies, many people are still hearing the words “gluten” and “celiac” for the first time (probably having written the diet off as a fad of 2011 and 2012). For those readers who are new to this website, or for those who have friends and family members who need an introduction to the diet, here is a back to basics cheat sheet filled with things I know now that I desperately wish I’d known then. Click to continue reading »

Give Me A Break: Break Me Off A Piece of That Kit’s Organic Bar

By Zach

When has CLIF Bar ever let anyone down or led them astray with an unfulfilled craving or unsatisfied energy boost? Well, I’m sure there are a select few who consumed one and the high grams of sugar either upset their sensitive teeth or someone was involved in a competitive sports game and didn’t have enough energy to make that winning point, but for the most part CLIF Bars are an active man’s (and woman’s) best friend.

It’s a good thing because CLIF Bar has designed and launched a new branch of snack bars this summer called Kit’s Organic™, which are being marketed for their simple, organic ingredients such as fruits, nuts and coconut. The good news is, these delicious snack bars can now be purchased nationwide at your local, natural food stores and select grocery stores. Possibly even better, it was brought to our attention that you might also be able to request a photo and product sample upon request so visit their site and contact them for further inquiries.

Kit’s Organic bars will be soy-free, gluten-free and dairy-free as well as available in four flavors: Berry Almond, Cashew, Chocolate Almond Coconut and Peanut Butter. This list might seem like a given, but what you won’t find in any CLIF Bar or Kit’s Organic bar is: trans fat, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, preservatives, or contents derived from GMOs. To boot, these goodies have 200 or less calories, no additional sugar, contains low glycemic and a favorable source of fiber.

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Head Hurts? Gluten Could be the Culprit

Last month’s study by the Neurological Institute at Columbia University Medical Center was not the first to link migraines to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity – but it is certainly one of the biggest and the most recent, and so even though we’re a little late to report it I wanted to take a minute to go over what happened in the current study, and how it fits into everything else we know.

In short: if you have a problem with gluten, there’s a good chance you also have a problem with headaches. Sound right?
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