Monthly Archives: September 2012

If You Give a Celiac a Coffee Grinder…

By Bridget

Exploring the different ways to make your own gluten-free products can be more exciting and surprising than you think. Gluten-free flour for baking can be incredibly expensive, so if you use a coffee grinder, you can actually make your own flours!

  1. Almonds

Grinding some almonds into flour adds a delicious nutty flavor to your old favorite cookie or pancake recipes. The texture of the flour will be a bit courser, but it will give a nice definition to your baked good. Plus, almonds are packed with healthy omega-3 fats and protein that you wouldn’t get from traditional wheat flour! Just be careful not to grind too long or you may end up making your own almond butter!

  1. Rice

You can make your own brown rice flour in the grinder! Be sure to add some cornstarch or potato starch and xanthan gum so your baked good still has some structure to it. You’ll also want to add some extra baking powder (or baking soda and cream of tartar) to ensure proper rising or your product.

  1. Oats

Buy your own gluten-free oats (I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill, or Irish Steel Cut and never had a problem). Again, be sure to grind into a fine powder, and use extra leavening agents.

You can have a lot of success making your own gluten-free banana bread bread using a combination of both oat flour and almond flour, along with a fair amount (3-4 tablespoons) of baking powder. A good rule of thumb I’ve discovered is the “3/4’s rule,” meaning you want to take your favorite gluten-filled recipe, and only go for ¾ the amount of gluten-free flour (i.e. if a recipe calls for 1 cup of wheat flour, only use ¾ cup of gluten-free flour, otherwise your product can get weighed down by the substitute).

Cappello’s Gluten-Free Pasta

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

If you are both gluten-free and grain-free and find yourself craving a big bowl of delicious pasta then Cappello’s gourmet pasta may be just what you have been searching for.

Cappello’s are a Colorado based gourmet food company who specialize in high-end gluten-free and grain-free pasta. They use almond flour as the base ingredient for their fresh gnocchi, fettuccine and lasagna sheets.

Each of their products are made in a 100% gluten-free facility and additional gluten testing is done to ensure their products are truly gluten-free and safe for celiacs. They cook very quickly, especially the fettuccine which is ready to eat in a timed 45 seconds! The pasta is fresh but can be frozen to prolong its life.

Click to continue reading »

US Senate Recognizes National Celiac Awareness Day

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

 Last week many celiacs across the United States were happy to hear that the US senate had designated September 13th, 2012 as “National Celiac Disease Awareness Day”.

September 13th was chosen as the date as it is the birth date of Samuel Gee. Samuel was a pediatrician who published the first complete clinical description of celiac disease back in 1888. He was also the first to recognize that the symptoms of celiac disease are related to the diet.

Click to continue reading »

Does Celiac Disease Affect Glycemic Control in Type 1 Diabetics?

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

Last month we discussed the links between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes and unfortunately there are many people who must deal with both of these life-long autoimmune disorders. Researchers are finding rising rates of celiac disease in patients already coping with type 1 diabetes.

As a result of these rising figures, a research team from the Children’s Medical Center of Israel tried to assess what effect, if any, celiac disease has on growth and glycemic controls in patients with type 1 and the effects of sticking to a strict gluten-free diet on these parameters.

The researchers conducted a longitudinal retrospective case-control study using medical records of 68 patients with type 1 and biopsy confirmed celiac disease. They looked at weight, height, hemoglobin A1c, the frequency of diabetic ketoacidosis and severe hypoglycemic events both before and after diagnosis and changing to a strict gluten-free diet. The results from these findings were then compared with 131 patients with type 1 but without celiac disease.

Click to continue reading »

Gluten-full Guests in a Gluten-Free House

I was tickled pink — fluorescent, bubble gum, little girl pink — to welcome a dear old friend into my gluten-free home for a few days last week. She was passing through town for work and between her schedule and mine we didn’t get to see too much of each other, but I still wanted to make sure she had a comfortable stay. For not the first time since I moved into my own apartment, I found myself facing an unusual etiquette question:

What should a gluten-free host do about gluten-full guests?

Some questions are easier than others. If I am preparing a meal, I prepare a gluten-free meal – and I’ve never had anyone even hint at a desire to add some gluten to their plate. Of course, I have only excellent house-guests, which helps.

But what about quick, on-the-go breakfasts, or snacks? If you know a guest loves the bagels from that one bagel shop, do you bring a few into your home? If your guests might like to have some toast with breakfast do you get what they’d eat normally, or do you go ahead and get a gluten-free loaf? Not to mention the fact that some guests travel with their own food (whether to share with you, or just for them. I hear about this more with people’s visiting family members than their visiting friends)…
Click to continue reading »

I Love Gluten-Free Peanut Butter

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

 

Peanut butter is great. It’s super addictive, filled with healthy fats and protein and naturally gluten-free, so it’s a great snack for celiacs!

It’s great mixed into hot cereal in the morning, it’s delicious spread on gluten free bread or rice cakes with jelly, and who doesn’t love a big creamy spoonful straight from the jar? :)

Enter Peanut Butter & Co. If you can believe it they make peanut butter even more exciting than it already is. They have created all sorts of different, amazing flavors!

Click to continue reading »

Keeping Play Dough Gluten-Free

By Bridget

 

Play dough can often seem like a staple to childhood. From trying to dye it different colors to form masterpiece after masterpiece, children are simple enamored with the pliable dough. Unfortunately, kids with Celiac disease can have some trouble using the common toy. As was discussed a couple of weeks ago, many of those with Celiac Disease suffer from topical reactions in their cosmetics, and children could be at risk for breakouts and rashes on their arms if they have severe allergies. Moreover, young children are so prone to putting things in their mouth, that they could accidentally ingest some of the play dough (leading to some serious unintended tummy troubles).

To keep your house (or even school!) safe, try making your own play dough! Your kids will love watching it form, make their own colors, and can play with the dough risk-free! Try out this gluten-free play dough recipe at home!

Click to continue reading »

What’s Your Gluten-Free Beer Made Of?

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

I came across an interesting article from the Miami New Times on what they consider to be the best gluten-free beers and it got me thinking about beer.

I’ve never been a big beer fan myself so it’s not really something I miss but I have a few celiac friends who get super excited when a new gluten-free beer hits the market. If you’re a gluten-free beer drinker, what’s your favorite brand and what is the beer made from?

Gluten-free beers are becoming more common. New companies are bringing gluten-free varieties to the market and it’s no longer uncommon to find gluten-free beer in your local bar or restaurant.

Gluten-free beers tend to be made from buckwheat, rice, sorghum or a combination of these things. What do you think tastes best or tastes most like ‘real beer’?

The top five best gluten-free beers according to the New Times article are:

Click to continue reading »

ImmusanT begins global celiac vaccine trials

We first chatted about ImmusanT’s vaccine to eliminate celiac disease, Nexvax2, in March of last year. That May we wrote again, with promising news from the vaccine’s first human trials. And then again in February of this year, when the company began producing several thousand doses for a new trial.

It's Monday. Vaccines are ugly. Here's a baby panda in a basket instead.


Well, that new trial is now underway, according to a press release. Hooray!

The trial is taking place in New Zealand, Australia, and the US (where ImmusanT is based). According to the release, the New Zealand / Australia study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1 b study. They hope to have 84 patients across four locations and to study the safety, tolerability, and pharacokinetics of the vaccine.

The American study is also randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controled, but is a phase 1 (not b) study. The plan is to collect data from 30 patients across four sites.

Both studies will be done on patients with celiac disease who are on a gluten-free diet. The patients will all carry the gene HLA-DQ2, which as many of 90% of celiac patients have (a genetic test is often the first step in establishing whether or not someone may have celiac disease, and in that test this is the gene they look for).

How does the vaccine work? I think the release says it more succinctly than I can:

Nexvax2 is a therapeutic vaccine that combines three proprietary peptides that elicit an immune response in patients with celiac disease who carry the immune recognition gene HLA-DQ2. In an approach similar to treatments for allergies to cats and dust mites, Nexvax2 is designed to reprogramme gluten-specific T cells triggered by the patient’s immune response to the protein. The goal is for Nexvax2 to restore celiac patients’ immune tolerance to gluten, reduce inflammation in the nutrient-absorbing villi that line the small intestine, return the intestine to a healthy state, and allow patients to eat a normal diet.

In our past posts on the vaccine, commenters have wondered whether or not the vaccine would work for people who have a gluten sensitivity but test negative for celiac disease, and whether it will only work for people with the HLA-DQ2 gene. Although the press release does not mention people with a sensitivity, it would seem to me (and I am NOT a medical professional) that the vaccine is really being developed with an eye towards celiac patients / towards those people whose immune systems are displaying clear signals of “attack!” — but that whichever gene is indicated, an immune response is an immune response is an immune response. As doctors and researchers learn more about non-celiac gluten sensitivity, I imagine we’ll know more about how many of the people on the gluten-free spectrum can potentially be helped by a vaccine.

Michigan Girl Scouts Introduce Gluten-Free Snack Bites

You remember way back when last year when we shared news of one mom’s petition to get a gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie with you?

Well, that petition may or may not have influenced the decision-makers at the heart of today’s story – but they certainly are related.

The Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, one of five regional Girl Scouts of America councils with some/all of its territory within the state of Michigan, recently announced a gluten-free snack has joined its roster.

Notice that I’m calling it a snack, not a cookie – the treat is not a part of the famed Girl Scout Cookie lineup. Instead, the aptly named Chocolate Chip Snack Bites have been made available at the council’s local center in Kalamazoo as well as at last week’s Jamboree and Pow Wow. The snack pack, which is $5, join the council’s fall lineup of magazines and nuts as a fundraising option. At the moment, though, they’re completely sold out!
Click to continue reading »