Navigating the wheat free, gluten free diet

Archive for the ‘Glutton’ Category

Post joins the gluten-free club, focuses on kids

Earlier this week, Post foods announced that it has made two of its most popular kids cereals, rice-based Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles, officially gluten-free.

 

The notoriously sugary cereals also got a sugar reduction to make them more appealing to moms who are increasingly interested in what their children are eating.  According to a press release, the company certified both cereals gluten-free, meaning they must be prepared and manufactured in a dedicated gluten-free facility, just as General Mills has done with Chex.

As I may have mentioned in recent posts, I love cereal.  It’s a quick and easy breakfast, as well as a good snack food option when I don’t feel like preparing anything.  I’ve long wished that companies would make their corn and rice-based cereals gluten-free, and this is a step in the right direction.  Given the plague of obesity currently ravaging this country, I’m glad Post decided to start with kids cereals.  I’m not saying I’m going to go out and buy these right away – I never ate Pebbles as a kid, so I don’t have any nostalgic attachment.  I do however long for a Froot Loop.

I’m glad, though, that Post took the time to go through “a rigorous process to achieve Gluten Free status on both Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles products,” because some cereals – I’m talking to you Kix – eliminate gluten-free ingredients without giving them a dedicated facility, putting them at risk for cross contamination.

I do hope this gets the ball rolling for making rice and corn-based cereals GF certified.  I want some Pops!

 

Advertisements

Gluten-free Apps for Androids

Guess who just got an Android phone?

fascinate

Goodbye Real World, Hello 21st Century

Everyone you know, probably.  Especially since they’re giving them away now.  My dad got a free Droid with his Droid so I have a pre-Christmas toy to play with (when I’m not playing with this one).

After I downloaded all the necessary apps (Facebook, Email, a collection of crosswords), I decided to type “gluten-free” into the app market’s search bar.  I got 18 results, most of them relevant, 8 of them free.  The two G favorites, and the ones I downloaded, seemed to be the Gluten-free Scanner and Gluten-free Near Me, both powered by GF search engine site, Celiaccess.com.

Gluten-free Scanner allows you to take a picture of a food’s UPC and it’ll tell you whether it’s safe if it’s one of the thousands of items in their database.  You can also use keywords to identify the product if you don’t have it in hand.  This seemed pretty silly to me at first, since you can simply read the label.  But sometimes you can’t be really sure, and it’s nice to have a way to double-check.

Gluten-free Near Me searches through a community-edited database of restaurants to provide safe dining options wherever you may be.  It uses GPS or allows you to type in your current address to identify the best choices. Unfortunately, I am visiting my parents in Homosassa, Florida at the moment, so my selections were a Chili’s 9 miles away, and, seriously, 5 Dairy Queens.  But it’ll prove useful throughout my travels.  My mom and I used it to find a gluten-free meal while enjoying a mother-daughter day in the Tampa outskirts.  It’s good for a quick bite, but it seems to only provide the nearest chain restaurants, which could cause you to overlook a great local place.

In addition to these handy tools, there were several GF recipe apps, which could be useful at the grocery store or someone’s house where you don’t have access to your fav GF cookbooks.  But this Droid also has some pretty sweet Internet access, which is usually just as useful, and has a lot more than 1,000 recipes.

Then there’s Celiac Facts, which posts up to 20 links per week to articles relevant to Celiac Disease.  I wouldn’t check it too religiously because it tends to be repetitive in its postings, but the articles it links to are interesting, especially if you have children with gluten issues.

So yeah, pretty excited about the selection of Droid Apps related to Celiac/gluten-free.  Except now I really want some Dairy Queen.

-Taylor

Gluten-free Christmas Wish Fulfilled: Hello New Breadmaker!

When I posted my list of gluten-free gifts a week or so ago, I jokingly posted on Facebook that “If anything good comes out of this blog, I hope it’s a bread machine for yours truly.”  Well, I have Facebook, this blog, and seven of the greatest friends to thank for this little guy:

bread maker

He’s a Panasonic SD-YD250 Bread maker, complete with automatic yeast dispenser so I don’t have to wait around to dump the yeast in.  It also has a 13-hour timer so, if I so desire, I and the rest of the house can wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread.

I’ll let you know when I find out what I did to deserve such a heartfelt gift.

Being quite a novice at the art of baking non-dessert breads, I decided to buy a pre-measured mix the first time out rather than attempt to do potato flour/millet flour/rice flour/xanthan gum measuring myself.

bob's Following the directions on that bag were fairly easy.  Figuring out how to set the right baking time, type of bread, size, and crust darkness took a little perusing of the user manual.  I chronicled my first attempt here:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About 10 minutes in, the roommates and I started hearing the weird noises of the dough kneading, and it took a minute to realize what it was.  Then we were pretty stoked.  Forty-five minutes in,  it sounded like the dough was being spanked.  We determined that was the yeast dispenser working its magic.

Finally, around 3 hours in to the 4-hour process, we started to smell the finished product.  I’m the only GF eater in this house, but it was clear everyone was waiting for bread.

When it finally finished, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it actually looked and tasted like a loaf of bread.  It turned out so well I just feel like baking all the time now.  I’ve got one more bag of bread mix, and then I think it’ll be time to test my kitchen chemistry skills.  I’ll keep you posted.

-Taylor

Japanese Bread Machine Offers Gluten-free Setting

A few days after I posted my top ten gifts for the gluten-free lifestyle, a friend linked me to an article about a new bread maker that turns uncooked rice into a loaf of bread.

Gopan

If you’re confused about the logistics, think of all the other awesome crap the Japanese have provided us with over the years (Nintendo, Toyotas, etc.) and stop asking questions.  No word yet on cost or availability (unless you happen to read Japanese) but still an awesome concept for those with wheat allergies.

Then, earlier this week I was doubly impressed with Japanese inventiveness when I read about the Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme Bread Maker.  On the surface it just seems like a fancy bread machine outside of a grad student’s price range at $281.

But the machine is unique in that it offers a gluten-free bread setting, ensuring that your alternative flours, whichever you choose to use, are kneaded to perfection.

zojirushi

Even more exciting, Celiac Chicks has been given the opportunity by Zojirushi to give away one of the machines.  All you have to do is leave a comment about bread in the comments section of the corresponding post.  The drawing takes place Dec. 14.

Fingers Crossed!

-Taylor


Holiday Spirits: Adventures in Gluten-free Drinking Part 2 – Liquor

I was going to make this a three-part series, with an entire post dedicated to wine, but really, wine is a glorious blessing to celiacs, in that virtually no wine exists that contains gluten.  If you do have an adverse reaction to wine, it could be the sulfites.

So on to the big mother of them all: liquor, liquor liquor.

Finding truly gluten-free liquor is trickier than just avoiding whiskey.  In fact, some whiskeys, like my dad’s all-time favorite, Jack Daniels and my brother’s arch-rival, Crown Royal, have all the nasty distilled out of them and are safe to drink.  The danger lies in the lower-quality stuff and flavored liquors.  I’ve never felt worse than the day after a friend bought me a Stoli Blueberry and Sprite, and it wasn’t from a hangover.

The enemy.

Part of the problem is that alcoholic beverages are not required to list allergens or ingredients on their labels, unlike foods. Current regulations under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act) do not require the disclosure of major food allergens on alcohol beverage labels.  This is regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), not the FDA.  There’s even a petition set up to change the requirements so that people with serious food allergies don’t accidentally poison themselves if they don’t choose to avoid liquor altogether.

To help narrow it down, Celiac.com has a list of officially safe gluten-free bevs, but it doesn’t list specific brands.  An even better source is the gluten-free forum, where people list what gave them problems in the past, depending on one’s sensitivity, of course, and what their go-to drinks usually are.  I already mentioned that you might want to stay away from any flavored Stolichnaya, but there are plenty of safe alternatives:

OR

+

And my guilty, girly pleasure:

Happy holidays from No Grain, No Pain.

-Taylor

Restaurant Review: You Khan Eat at Genghis Grill

I have to say I had my doubts heading into Genghis Grill, a fairly new Mongolian-style build-your-own-bowl restaurant here in Gainesville (it has locations in most of the southern states, excluding Alabama, which is, presumably, not a fan of Mongolian food).  Doubts about the cleanliness of the big ol’ grill, doubts about the staff’s ability to tell me what was in one of the place’s 15 or so sauces…Plus, the rows of the raw meat, chicken and shrimp take some getting used to.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised with the whole experience.

Genghis

Here’s a breakdown of my gluten-free adventure at Genghis:

-No GF menu, but there’s really not much of a menu at all.  You must choose with your eyes and tastebuds.  But when I walked in, the hostess table had a huge sign that  said “Please tell your server if you have any food allergies.” Good sign.

– Once I chose the $8.99 Buildyourown Bowl (only $2 more for bottomless), I did inform my waiter of the gluten issue.  He told me to tell the cook, who would make special arrangements to cook my food in a “quarantined area” away from the other, evil foods.

– Waiter also informs us to pile the food high. I do my best, but the lady next to me with the giant mound of marinated steak has clearly done this before.  “Do veggies first,” she says. Next time…

*Side note: I wouldn’t touch the marinated steak – soy sauce is lurking.

– This being my first time here, I go a little crazy: Sliced beef, shrimp, bay scallops, cabbage, carrots, onions, pineapple, squash, Cajun seasoning, garlic citrus seasoning.  I have no idea what this is going to taste like, and I still haven’t picked a sauce.

-The sauce. I ask an employee if he happens to know which sauces are GF. He looks terrified and runs for the manager.  Manager kindly informs me that the dragon sauce, sweet and sour, and roasted tomato sauce are OK if I can handle corn starch (I can).  Happy with my straightforward answer, I load up on dragon sauce.

-Get to the grill, where a man asks what type of allergy I have. He writes “wheat” on a card, I ask for steamed rice, and my food is whisked away, presumably to a clean, No-Gluten-Allowed Wok.  It never touches the big ol’ grill.

-Food comes, and somehow through all the guessing (and pineapple!) I’ve managed to come up with something delicious, and my mind is at ease knowing the care that went into it.

-For next time: the menu had not just one but several gluten-free dessert options, including gourmet Asian ice creams in green tea and red bean flavors.

-$14 (with tip) for lunch may be a bit much, but it’s perfectly reasonable for dinner.  And it seemed like a great place to take your parents when they come to check up on you visit.

-Taylor

Celiac Gift-Giving

Somehow it’s already December 7 and if you’re anything like me, Christmas/Hanukkah shopping has become priority number 1.  Seriously, now that I’m classified as a “grown-up” all of the fun has been taken out of the holidays by the stress of figuring out what to get everyone.  Well, I’m a big fan of those online lists that tell you exactly what to buy “the tech geek” or the “journalist” (cough cough).  So I’m jumping on the list-making bandwagon.

Here it is: 10 thing to buy your Celiac friend or family member, from cheapest to most awesome:

1. Food

$5+

This may seem weird, but keep in mind that gluten-free food is a lot more expensive than the average budget allows.  I don’t know a Celiac who wouldn’t be grateful for a fresh stock of the essentials, like pasta or boxed meals, and even some non-essentials, like GF cookies, cakes and other treats.

2. Personalized cereal

$10.00+

Here’s a thoughtful gift: create a cereal you think your friend, girlfriend/boyfriend, brother sister, etc. might enjoy, and then name it after them.  See my previous post for details.

3. Gift Cards:

Restaurant Gift Card

$10-$50

Many Celiacs have a shortlist of favorite safe restaurants they frequent, and even a few they wish they could afford to visit more often.  Do a little reconnaissance  to find out what those eateries might be, then get him/her a gift card.

Gluten Free Mall Gift Card

$10-$50

Celiac.com’s affiliate, The Gluten Free Mall has everything a Celiac good ask for under one virtual roof, from homeopathic medicines to cookbooks to an abundant array of gluten-free foods.  This is kind of like the first gift, except they can pick and choose for themselves.  Great if you don’t know the person all that well.

4. Books:

Gluten-free Cooking for Dummies

$14

Great for newly-minted Celiacs, as the beginning section tells all about what is safe to eat, what isn’t, and why.  The bulk of the book is filled with healthy, relatively easy GF recipes for all of your favorite glutenous foods, and plenty of new ones.  Also a good excuse to call your friend/family members a dummy.

Gluten-free Quick and Easy


$13

Gluten-free cooking can be work and ingredient intensive, so when buying cookbooks for non-experienced cooks, it’s best to stick with ones like this.  No 2-page list of ingredients and fairly quick store-to-table time on most recipes.  Plus, it comes with a handy list of ingredients to always have in your GF pantry.

5. Subscription to Journal of Gluten Sensitivity

$25-$50

This quarterly journal offers the most up-to-date information on gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease.  Much of the content is not available online, though some is available in a weekly e-newsletter.  Online subscriptions are available, as well as 1-year and 2-year paper subscriptions.

6. Allergen Restaurant Guides

$7-$24

Restaurant guides are an invaluable resource to Celiacs because at worst they lay out to the right questions to ask to ensure a safe meal and at best they offer safe menu items at almost every major restaurant in all 50 states.  The in-depth ones, like the Essential Gluten-free Restaurant guide aren’t exactly pocket-worthy, but many are.

7. Apron

$25+

Okay, so this isn’t a Celiac-specific gift, but it’s a great accessory to have when concocting gluten-free pizzas, cakes, pies and other baked goods that can’t be purchased easily already-made.  I’d start here because pretty-much all of these aprons are adorable and affordable. Get me one, too, while you’re there.

8. Bread machine

$50-$100

I can’t think of a more appropriate gift for a Celiac than his or her very own bread maker.  You’re not giving them another kitchen gadget to clutter their counter tops, you’re giving them homemade, fresh, never frozen gluten-free bread whenever and however they want.  And it’ll make their house smell fantastic.

Tag Cloud