Monthly Archives: July 2012

Gluten-Free Vacation Experiences

By Bridget

Summertime can be filled with shorter workweeks, long weekends, and extended vacations. But, according to a recent study, as many as 17% of families with children suffering from Celiac’s Disease have reported skipping family trips because of the anticipated difficulties they will face. While Laura, The Gluten-free Traveler, can probably speak most closely to overcoming any gluten related travel anxieties, there are certain travel destinations that are making it their mission to be gluten-free!

A huge trend in travel, in general, is to seek out unique and enriching experiences beyond the general allure of a given destination. A trip to Colorado is no longer just to see the mountains, but to take on a weight-loss goal. Travel to California has become a quest to learn from the best wine-makers. Well, now you can add gluten-free travel to the list.

Members of the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Association have added gluten-free pasta-making to their list of classes that guests can explore over a number of hours or days.

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Vaccinations Not Linked To Celiac Epidemic

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

Image from http://id-ea.org/

Between 1984 and 1996, Sweden saw a huge rise in celiac disease amongst children under the age of two. On average it is thought that celiac disease affects around one percent of the population, but at this time Swedish children were being diagnosed with celiac disease at four times higher than the normal rate. This bizarre rise in babies and children being diagnosed ended just as suddenly as it had begun, not surprisingly leaving researchers to ask why this could have happened.

 At first many wondered whether infant vaccines could be the culprit. As vaccines stimulate the immune system perhaps the vaccines were triggering an abnormal response to gluten. It was found, though, that there was no real link between the vaccinations and the risk of developing celiac disease. A number of factors showed no link including the fact that changes in Sweden’s vaccine program did not match up with the timing of the rise in celiac disease.

Could infant nutrition be a factor? Could the age at which children were first given gluten containing cereals be a factor?

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Celiac Sprue Association and Gluten Free Travel Site Team Up

Grove Restaurant Food Photo Shoot April 12, 2012 3Thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle for bringing this to my attention: there’s a new partnership between the Celiac Sprue Association (or CSA) and the website GlutenFreeTravelSite.com.

The partnership will, in essence, aggregate the existing knowledge of local CSA chapters on the GlutenFreeTravelSite’s platform. Because the CSA has 120+  chapters all across the country, their collective knowledge promises to be vast. While CSA members will have a dedicated page on which to search for CSA-specific reviews, the reviews will also be accessible by anyone who is using the website to search for safe gluten-free dining ideas.
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It’s Still Hot Outside: Let’s Make Some Granita

When I was still a little-ish girl I somehow convinced my parents to buy me an ice cream maker. I was sure I’d use it, use it all the time, make so much ice cream, blah blah blah…

Well let’s all be glad that I hadn’t asked for a puppy, because I got bored of that ice cream maker pretty gosh-darn quick.

So, as a big-deal fancypants grown-up in possession of her own kitchen shelves to fill with nearly-useless gadgets, I know better than to pretend I need to make my own ice cream. And let’s be real: I also don’t need the danger of a whole batch of ice cream in my freezer, calling out to me and begging to be reunited with it’s long-lost loves (chocolate sauce and whipped cream).

That’s where granita comes in. It’s light, and cold, and pretty, and forgiving, and doesn’t require anything more special than a freezer and a fork. Have you ever made it?
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Chefs Lack Basis Celiac Awareness

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

How aware is the chef or the staff at your favorite gluten-free restaurant? Can you be certain that the person preparing your meal fully understands what celiac disease is and what you can and cannot eat? I would certainly hope so, but recent research suggests that this may not always be the case.

When you’re celiac, eating out is about trusting a stranger to keep you safe. It can be a pretty anxiety filled experience so we need to know that whoever is cooking for us is taking it seriously and that they know what they are doing. Personally I have a whole bunch of questions I ask when eating out to ensure I get a safe meal, but I would hope that the chef at any restaurant offering gluten-free options would have more than a basic understanding of celiac disease.

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) are a non-profit organization who work to raise awareness and improve the lives of those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. At the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago last month, the NFCA decided to find out what the awareness of chefs and restaurateurs is like when it comes to celiac disease by quizzing them on some of the basics of celiac disease.

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Keeping Our Morning Bowl Full: Chex Adds Sixth Gluten-Free Cereal

By Bridget

While I’ve been living a gluten-free lifestyle for three years now, there are still certain struggles I can’t seem to get past. One of these daily difficulties includes what to have for breakfast. There have definitely been mornings that I wake up and finish off the gluten-free pasta from dinner or even eat sushi to get my day started with a “balanced” morning meal. Cereal, pancakes, muffins, and toast are definitely relics of the past, and even oatmeal can be a no-no for sufferers of Celiac’s disease.

Now most people who read this blog are probably well aware that Chex has sympathetically taken on the gluten-free cereal world, manufacturing corn- and rice-based cereals that are Celiac-friendly. Where a couple of years ago plain corn and rice Chex were the only options, the cereal brand has expanded their line of gluten-free squares with chocolate, cinnamon, honey nut and, most recently, Apple Cinnamon Chex!

Announced in a press release yesterday, the company has added this new flavor of Chex as the sixth in their line of gluten-free cereals. The new flavor is made with real apples and cinnamon, providing whole, gluten-free grains with no artificial flavoring. I am particularly appreciative of how commercially available the cereal is (you can find Chex cereal in just about any grocery store) and how affordable it is! So many gluten-free cereals can cost $5-$7 per box, which can keep my “breakfast-for-dinner” habit very alive. What’s more, Chex cereals in general have a great flavor that’s even gluten-eater approved!

Chex cereal is very forthcoming with information regarding their gluten-free products. Check out their website at chex.com/glutenfree for more information!

Schar Opens Gluten-Free Facility in US

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

As a market lead in Europe, Schar products are pretty popular in the UK and across Europe and now the company looks to become an even more popular gluten-free brand across the United States. The US subsidiary of the large Italian gluten-free company is opening it’s first gluten free facility in Swedesboro, New Jersey.

Dr. Schar USA was first incorporated in 2007 but this 60,000 square foot facility will be their first facility in the United States. That’s a lot of space for gluten-free bread! :D

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What Can You Sneak Into Your Smoothie?

It’s hot. Too hot to turn the oven on, some might say (I might agree). But a girl can only eat so many salads before she does something crazy, like eat ice cream for lunch (I’m sure I don’t know anyone who would do this).

The versatile smoothie can be a nice change of pace — ovenless and easy, and gluten-free by default — but while a smoothie for breakfast sounds reasonable, a dinner smoothie seems weird. It shouldn’t, though: there are lots of ways to sneak that salad into your smoothie, making it a great meal for any time.

The key word there is “sneak”. Yes, it’s definitely possible to make a very vegetable smoothie (that tastes like it’s full of vegetables), but it’s also possible to make one that is sweet and refreshing and traditional-seeming at first glance (that has a deep, dark vegetal secret). OK, well, it might be green and that might make the secret less secret. But still! Read on for the best green vegetables to introduce to your blender. Click to continue reading »

Baking with Teff is not so Tough!

seriously, how pretty is the teff plant?

I read that researchers in Madrid are patenting a cookie made from teff, and it got me thinking: is teff that difficult?

Now, the cookie in question has been specially designed to be suitable for not only people with celiac disease, but also diabetics, athletes and those with anemia. While it’s quite healthy (teff is high in zinc, iron, amino acids and protein, while also being very low on the glycemic index), the cookie is also apparently cheaper to produce than many other gluten-free alternatives.  In addition to teff it has skim milk, nonfat yogurt, brown sugar, defatted cocoa powder, orange zest and hazelnuts.

So, OK, it sounds pretty good. And there’s no recipe. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other teff-inclusive recipes out there for us to try! Click to continue reading »

Why Are Biopsy Rates So Low in the US?

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

Recent research from the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center has found that the number of US patients seeking and receiving the small bowel biopsy is very low.

A huge percentage of people with celiac disease in the United States are undiagnosed. Whilst there are many countries around the world where biopsy rates and diagnosis rates are low, compared with people in Western Europe and Scandinavia for example, in the US people are less likely to be diagnosed.

These findings do not surprise me. Many of my gluten-free friends are not officially diagnosed and have never seeked a biopsy. I also know many other people who, whilst they suffer from text-book symptoms of celiac disease, refuse to go for a biopsy.

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