Navigating the wheat free, gluten free diet

Posts tagged ‘gluten-free fad diet’

ABC TV Takes another look at gluten-free life

Is Elisabeth Hasselbeck one of ABC’s top executives or something?  First it was Nightline, now the early-morning crowd got a lesson on Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet when Good Morning America did a segment on it on Feb. 28.

Click the screen-cap to watch the video.

Billed as a “simple guide to the gluten-free diet,” most of the segment focuses on what Celiac Disease is, explained by Keri Glassman, author of something  called the O2 Diet, which apparently focuses on foods high in anti-oxidants to make you feel energized.

But Glassman seemed to contradict herself, first explaining that Celiac is an autoimmune disorder (correct),  then describing it as an allergy to the protein gluten (not so much).  Perhaps it’s easier to explain to the GMA crowd that CD is an allergy, it’s very similar to one after all, but the bottom line is that the reaction gluten causes in the body is different than what you would call an allergy.

She does give the good advice of focusing on foods that are naturally gluten-free, rather than the foods that are specifically manufactured for the diet, and suggesting that people who aren’t required to be GF still incorporate grains like quinoa into their diets.

Nothing earth-shattering, but worth sharing nonetheless.



Gluten-free Apps for Androids

Guess who just got an Android phone?


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,

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.


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, 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:



And my guilty, girly pleasure:

Happy holidays from No Grain, No Pain.


ABC News Talks “Going Gluten-free”

On Thursday night, ABC’s Nightline ran a 6-minute segment on the latest dietary fad: going gluten-free.

In the video, the View’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who wrote the first celebrity Celiac book, the G-Free Diet, demonstrates  how “easy” it is to be on a gluten-free diet; that is, if, like her, you live in New York City next to a Whole Foods.  She says people who go on the GF diet will probably like it because there are tons of options for pasta, cookies, pie crusts and the like.   She does not mention that many of these substitute items contain more calories and fewer nutrients than their glutenous counterparts.

Perhaps Nightline feels about Hasselbeck the same way many Americans do, because they immediately headed to Columbia University to talk to a doctor about how there are no benefits in a gluten-free diet for someone who is not gluten-intolerant.  Not only is there no guaranteed weight loss, he said, but it is probably bad for you and can be dangerous.  People who are on the diet because they have to be probably know that it lacks fiber and you don’t get the vitamins and minerals most wheat flours are fortified with.

I know first-hand that if you’re on a GF diet long-term you can become B vitamin deficient, calcium deficient and iron deficient.

So, ABC, am I supposed to feel guilty when my friends or family cook and eat gluten-free for me?  Am I depriving them of necessary nutrients?

Eh, probably not.

But Nightline did highlight one great thing about the gluten-free fad that I’ve mentioned before: For those without a choice, the world is getting a lot tastier.

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