I’ve begun a list of my favorite gluten free blogs in the right sidebar of this page. The people who write these blogs are people who see living gluten free as an opportunity for creativity and service to America’s gluten free community. I am proud to be a member of that group.
What is the difference between a blog and a website? I had to look that up before I could write this article. A blog is updated and expanded daily (or at least frequently) and is usually the work of an individual or a small number of people. Websites are expanded periodically, but that is not their major characteristic. A blog is never finished. A website always gives the impression that it is complete.
Click on one of the blogs listed in the right sidebar. You will be taken to my comments about that blog. Somewhere in my article, you will find a link to the blog itself.
Bakery on Main is now offering gluten free oatmeal. I recently had the opportunity to try all three varieties — apple pie, strawberry shortcake, and maple multigrain — and enjoyed them all. The products are certified gluten free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization, and are manufactured in a wheat-free facility. Bakery on Main produces a few items using non-certified oats, but that is the only possible source of cross-contamination.
The Bakery on Main website lists these items in full-sized packages. I hope this is only temporary. I prefer breakfast foods in single-serving packets so that I can prepare them when I am not fully awake and so that I can use them while I am traveling.
Gluten free oatmeal in single-serving packets are also available from Gluten Freeda and from Eco-Planet Cereals. Click here to read my impressions of these products.
Virtually all experts agree that oats are OK if they are free of cross-contamination with wheat or other grains. The term to look for on the label is ‘certified oats’. Personally, I distrust the terms’ pure oats’ or ‘gluten free oats’. Click here to read more about this issue. Since oats are not mentioned in this article, just read the information following the second and third faces.
This bargain roundup focuses on cutting shipping costs when you order on-line.
The Gluten Free Pantry provides free shipping on orders exceeding $100. That requirement is easy to meet if you work with a gluten free friend. After, all the merchant is interested in is that the entire order be paid with the same credit card and shipped to the same address. To order, click on the graphic at the end of the article.
Katz Gluten Free (dot com) does not add a shipping charge to order over $30. During the hot summer months, a $6 surcharge is levied on shipments that could not reach their destination in two days. Click here for details.
Dad’s Gluten Free Pizza Crusts offers free shipping to introduce customers to its products. Enter the code TRYONE and they will give you the opportunity to try one without a shipping charge. Shipping is always free on orders of then or more crusts.
Tom Sawyer Gluten Free Flour includes free shipping in its listed price. That, of course, does not automatically make it a bargain, but since the product is manufactured in Arizona it is probably a good bet for a person who orders it from Maine or Alaska.
This blogger’s goal is “making living gluten free enjoyable and affordable“. She does well on both objectives. I like her attitude.
For example, she currently posts an article called “Gluten Free Burger Buns so I Don’t Cry“. We’ve all been in this situation before. We are attending a barbecue and are faced with two unpleasant options:
Pay a small fortune for a package of gluten buns that will probably be totally stale by the time we finally eat the last bun several picnics later.
Bravely pretend that we prefer our burgers bunless.
This blog gives us a third option:
“Declare independence from the bunless burger”. She shares a recipe for gluten free burger buns. There are many articles containing recipes for gluten free burger buns but have never one introduced so artfully.
This site also features “shoestring savings”, a page devoted to coupons and other money saving devices.
E-cookbooks are collections of recipes posted on-line giving you the opportunity to download groups of recipes rather than searching for and downloading individual pieces. Some e-Book publishers charge a relatively small fee, but the ones listed below are complimentary:
Thanksgiving Your Way. Includes a count-down checklist, dinner and dessert recipes, Thanksgiving traditions, and decorating ideas. All the recipes are not gluten free, but the substitutions will be obvious.
Hassle Free Holidays. Again, all recipes are not gluten free, but there are lots of great ideas.
Unbelievably Good Gluten-Free Recipes. This is not specifically a holiday cookbook, but everything is gluten free and the suggestion are useful all year. The recipes were submitted to Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery during a recent nationwide contest.
Yes in both cases. Actually, Xanthan gum is processed from Guar gum. They are both thickening agents whose function is as a binder to replace the glutens that we must avoid. Despite the uncommon names, these are definitely not exotic over-processed ingredients.
I’ve been glutened before — haven’t we all — but this accident was unusual because it happened during a gluten free vendors faire. I’d had a busy morning and when I finally got to the event I made the all-to-common mistake of believing that gluten free food was good for me in any quantity. I forgot that each piece of food I ate contained trace amounts of gluten. This would not have mattered if I had been eating food in normal quantities. But I was trying to make up for having had a very small breakfast and not having the chance to eat again until dinner time. Those normally harmless parts-per-million added up to a major gluten reaction. I had to cancel the appointment I had made for the afternoon. Mistakes happen — the important thing is that we learn from our mistakes and from the misadventures that others share with us.
Ancient Greeks suffered from Celiac disease, but researchers did not connect the problem to wheat gluten until the early the last years of World War 2. Before that, a number of different strategies were tried. Here is a video report by one of the “banana babies“, the celiacs who diagnosed in the early 1930′s. (FYI: This is part of a long and technical video about many aspects of celiac disease. You will only need the watch the first 15 minutes here a short speech by a ‘banama baby’.
If you want to learn more about the banana babies, read this account about a person who was diagnosed in the early thirties.
Next Friday, I’ll write about the first celiac disease patients who were diagnosed gluten free in ancient Greece more that 2500 years ago. The following week, I’ll write about the modern approach to celiac disease and what came to be known as ‘the gluten free diet’.
As soon as I decided to post a series of blog reviews, I decided to begin with The Savvy Celiac. This site’s purpose is to “…help people become savvy celiacs” and it has certainly helped me. The writer is the mother of a celiac child and has a brother who is a recently-diagnosed celiac.
One of the many articles that has shaped my celiac experience is called “The Top Five Questions to Ask When Ordering a Gluten Free Pizza” . This blogger asks questions after carefully doing her homework and choosing her words carefully. For example, having a gluten free pizza crust is no-big-deal these days. On the other hand, asking “which of your toppings are gluten? What makes you thinks so? What do you do to avoid them becoming cross-contaminated? She would certainly choose her words more carefully but that’s the idea.
To get another example of what this blog has to offer, read The List of Ingredients that People Think Have Gluten but Really Don’t“. New discoveries occur daily. Blogs like this help us keep up-to-date. The myths debunked in this article were truths when I was diagnosed in 1999. We need trustworthy blogs like this one to keep us up-to-date.
If I was a restaurant manager, I would refuse to make a legally-binding written-commitment that it was absolutely impossible to contract salmonella poison in my establishment. Mistakes happen. My goal is to convince my customers by what they see, smell, and taste that my restaurant is a safe place.
The same is true in the gluten free community. Mistakes happen. A restaurant that serves absolutely no wheat-based food might be the exception — but even that is not an absolute guarantee that cross-contamination has not and never will occur.
We need to do a lot of “reading between the lines”. A warning about cross-contamination at least indicates that the restaurant management is aware of the potential problem. On the other hand, a statement about a ‘gluten free pizza crust’ suggests to me that the personnel of this restaurant might not realize that it takes more than an appropriate pizza crust to keep us safe.
Words like this are a problem for me as I protect my own gluten free diet. It is also an issue for me as a writer.
I deal with the professional problem by linking you to the actual website so that so you can make your own decision. Personally, I tend to be very ‘charitable’ when I am reading a website and rather ‘critical’ when I am ordering an actually ordering a meal. I rely on what I ‘sense’ while I am in the restaurant and what my food server says and does.
When I am thinking about this whole problem, I am reminded that Starbuck’s seems to feel obligated to give me a printed reminder on every coffee cup that I am drinking a hot beverage.
Restaurant (dot com) offers restaurant gift cards at discounted prices and is ‘treating’ us by offering extra savings during this week. The only trick involved is that few of the featured restaurants have gluten free options. Since different customers get different lists depending on their ZIP codes, I can only make recommendations for my own personal use.
Another possible ‘trick’ is that the ad does not make it clear whether the discount merely requires that the gift card be purchased this weekend or if the the card must be purchased AND used before the end of the month.
These sites both print coupons honors by many different stores. I recommend these sites because they do not demand that you put your name on a mailing list before you receive any useful information. Keep in mind that the vast majority of the coupons provided at these sites have nothing to do with gluten free food. These sites respect your privacy and offer useful coupons. Happy hunting.
This example will clarify the difference between the gluten free diet and the healthy diet. MSG is gluten free. That is probably the only positive thing that can be said about it. No one (celiac or otherwise) should consume MSG. When I was diagnosed twelve years ago, we did not have the luxury of thinking thoughts like that. Everything that did not contain wheat, barley, or rye was prized,
Now, fortunately, we have more choices. We require a diet that is gluten free and we seek a gluten free diet that is healthy in every respect. I am not qualified to write about the healthy diet. I can relay information to you, but all the decisions about the healthy diet rest with you, the dieter. That’s nothing new, really, but I think it deserves emphasis at this time. Thanks for understanding.
Our “Gluten Free Restaurant Meals” power page now lists 60 restaurant chains that have committed — in writing on their website — to serve America’s gluten free community. Yesterday I finished the task of proofreading that list and making sure that you will be able to access to information about the restaurants’ locations and their gluten free options.
The fact that a restaurant chain has made a public written commitment to celiac-friendly service is not a promise, of course, but it is a good indication that these places are “worth trying”.
The next step in this project is to make a state-by-state listing indicating which restaurant chains serve which states. That will be a great asset for travelers.
I recently looked at several listings of “best gluten free blogs”. I thought some of you might appreciate this information despite the fact my site is not featured on any of those lists. Since the titles of these lists are almost identical, I’ll simply suggest that you click here, here, here, here, or (if you want even more) here. In case you’re interested, the dictionary definition of a blog is “a web site on which an individual or a group of users record opinions, information. etc. on a regular basis.”
Many people are starting second careers utilizing the skills they learned living gluten free. Opening a gluten free bakery seems to be a very popular choice. I didn’t actually count this, but I’m sure that at least three fourths of the articles I looked at this afternoon involve people who — for one reason or another — left their first career to start a gluten free bakery.
Actually, it all makes perfect sense. Gluten free food is one of the few areas of growth in today’s economy. The gluten free baker is definitely his or her own boss. A gluten free bakery is certainly “small business”. Website writers like myself always want to encourage people with first hand experience in gluten free living. Personally, I would much rather purchase items baked by an artisan who lives gluten free.
I looked at dozens of articles this articles this afternoon. These attracted my attention: “A Satisfying Second Career: Starting a Gluten Free Bakery“, “Looking for Plan B? Make it Gluten Free“, “Gluten Free Cracker Prompts Couple’s Second Act” this couple’s second act was to start the company “Mary’s Gone Crackers”, and “Goodie Goodie Gluten Free“.
The website you’re looking at right now started as a project to keep my newly-retired mind nimble and perhaps generated a few dollars. It is now paying my mortgage.
Here’s a list of gluten free restaurants, supermarkets, and food manufacturers that offer coupons or other money saving strategies. I will be publishing a list like this one every Monday, checking the information quarterly, and posting up-dates as appropriate.
Whole Foods publishes a bi-monthly magazine called “The Whole Deal” which includes many coupons. Many (but certainly not all) of the bargains offered are gluten free. This is a wonderful link because it updates itself automatically and will always connect you to the most updated coupons and bargains.
P.F. Chang’s has a great program called “The Warriors Club” that gives you a 10% discount on all meals.
Earth Fare Markets offers a great collection of coupons on their website. These are good in their store in NC, SC, GA, AL, TN, OH, and TN.
Erohwan Cereals offers a $1 off coupon.
Click for a $1 off coupon on products from French Meadow Bakery.
I’m republishing the information because discount and coupon information becomes out-of-date so quickly. I will be publishing a list like this one every Monday, checking the information at least once a quarter, and posting up-dates as appropriate. See you next Monday if not before.
Many breakfast cereals would be “gluten free” if they did not contain the ingredient ‘barley malt’. I recently searched the net and learned that barley malt is an alternative to refined sugar. ‘Alternatives to refined sugar’ are in great demand these days except, of course, in America’s gluten free community. Our best course-of-action is to focus on the cereals that are devoid of barley malt and are gluten free.
Click here for information about General Mills (Chex cereals), Post Foods, and Glutino brand cereals. These cereals are part of the Envirokids series manufactured by Nature’s Path. Finally use this link to learn more about cereals from Kay’s Naturals.
People who live gluten free are cautioned to “read every ingredient label on every package that you purchase”. I wish I had a gluten free doughnut for every time I have dispensed this information. Of course, this caution is meaningless when the ingredient list is written in jargon that is meaningless to anyone with the possible exception a professional food scientist. Perhaps these suggestions will help:
Wheat is considered one of the eight major allergens. Products containing wheat must be labeled appropriately. Looking for the word ‘wheat’ in the ingredients list will help us reject most products that are unacceptable on the gluten free diet. All we need to be concerned with is barley and rye. This short cut will not work perfectly if the product is produced outside the United States or if there is reason to believe that the product is mislabeled.
Read this article from Gluten Free Living magazine’s website titled “Top Ten Ingredients That you Really Don’t Need to Worry About“. Keep in mind that there are some gluten free experts would disagree with this information. FYI, I agree completely with what is said in the article.
PLEASE NOTE: When I first wrote this article, I made a mistake that totally changed the meaning of the last paragraph. What you have just read is the correct version.
Here is another article on the same subject. Times change. New discoveries lead about all subjects — including our gluten free diet.
You may find one or more of these terms on an ingredients list. Click on one of the words and you will be taken to an article that I have written about that ingredient.
Like much of the content of this website, this is a work in progress. I will be adding more material. In the meantime, I have linked this article to our power page “The Gluten Free Diet”.
Gluten free living is both a diet and a lifestyle. Most of our actions are somehow related to our need to live gluten free. With this in mind, my time this week has been spent preparing a new power page “The Gluten Free Diet“.
Please check it out by using the tab at the top of the page or clicking on the link. You will be taken to what computer geeks call a ‘hub page’ and almost everyone else would call an ‘outline’ or ‘index’. There is so much information about our diet that it would be impossible to consolidate everything into a single article.
You’ll notice that some of the items in the outline are links to articles that may interest you. I am not attempting to write the articles in order and I am certainly not promising not to change the outline. What I am trying to do is make a power page that gives my visitors access to all the gluten free diet information that is available.
Here is information from eight manufacturers of gluten free foods. This information may be useful to you as you shop for gluten free food.
Arrowhead Mills / study their display of gluten free products.
Campbell’s Soup / take their printable list with you when you shop / to print, use the button in the right sidebar.
Dr. Pepper / all products are gluten free.
Hormel Foods / take their printable list with you when you shop.
Snyders of Hanover / has a long list of ‘safe’ products; unfortunately the list is not printable.
Wolfgang Puck soup / their list is printable / to print, use the link in the right sidebar.
This article is part of this website’s summary of the gluten free diet. Click here for more information.
Lower shipping costs is an important way to save money while shopping gluten free. Amazon is a major source of gluten free cookbooks and gluten free foods. They offer two shipping plans. I’ll link you pages describing the two plans so that you can make up your own mind.
♦ Amazon Prime. This provides two-day delivery for a flat yearly fee of $79. To make this offer more attractive, you are also able to download movies and television programs without charge.
♦ Standard Shipping. With a few exceptions, shipping is free on orders of more than $25. (Reminder: Amazon sells groceries by the case and books are not inexpensive. It is not difficult to make the total exceed $25 particularly if you combining orders with another person.)
I have just added seven more restaurant chains to our “Gluten Free Restaurant Meals” power page. Fifty one restaurant groups are now listed. I would guess that we now have access to at least 5oo individual restaurants. Restaurant chains have legal departments who are tasked with making sure that member restaurants do not make promises they can’t keep. These restaurant websites have made a commitment to provide ‘safe’ service.
What’s the differences among Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Gluten Sensitivity, and Wheat Allergy? I began reading on this subject because — as a gluten free writer — I felt obligated to use the terms correctly. I think I know, but my attempts to write definitions of these terms failed miserably so I decided to link you to the information. If I had medical training in this field, I might attempt written definitions. Perhaps your physician can provide a concise definition.
Here are four links. The titles I am giving you are not the same ones used in the articles. I wanted to give you the main ideas of each article
→→Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Sensitivity (a video)
Even though it is almost never technically correct, I use the term ‘gluten allergy’ frequently. When I am not working on this site, I teach English as a Second Language. Many of my students are food service employees. Terms like ‘autoimmune disease’ are difficult for most Americans, particularly those whose first language is not English. On the other hand, ‘allergy to wheat, barley, and rye’ conveys a very specific message — “Don’t feed me gluten”.
A tremendous variety of gluten free crackers are available. My latest ‘find’ was “Exotic Rice Toast” manufactured by Edward and Sons in gluten free environment. First of all, they are certainly crackers rather than what we normally think of as toast. The good news is that they are relatively inexpensive and that each box contains two foil-wrapped packets each which is about right for complementing a dinner salad. They are a bit salty for my taste, but that is a minor criticism.
All products from this firm are tested to contain less than 5 parts-per-million gluten. The Edward and Son’s website includes a long and impressive list of gluten free products, a collection of recipes, and locations where the products are sold. It is also possible to order on-line.
I’ve reviewed at least six types of gluten free crackers on this site. To read the other reviews, scroll down past the ads to the end of this article and read the tag ‘gluten free crackers’. It’s in red at least on my computer. Click on the tag and your computer will create a special page giving excerpts from each of my six reviews. Click on the excerpt to read the entire article.
Reviewing gluten free food is not easy. In fixing that list of tags. Everything tastes better than the &%$#~ that I was consuming ten years. Every product on-line must appeal to someone. I was reminded of this fact when I prepared the list of tags. I have reviewed six different crackers and in each case I was experimenting with a different format each time. Maybe we’ll find the answer some day.
The Food and Drug Administration has requested input before define what foods can be labelled gluten free in the United States. Some of you have shared your thoughts with me to assist me in preparing a letter to the F.D.A. Here is a summary of what I believe you are saying. I’ll translate this into ‘legalese’ and submit everything before the October 2 deadline.
In reading your comments. I was most surprised by something that you did NOT say. The FDA seems to be determined to find a single number of parts-per-million of gluten that would determine what products would be allowed to be labeled ‘gluten free’. I disagree. We already have two national organizations that certify gluten free food. The Celiac Sprue Association requires < 5 parts per million and The Gluten Intolerance Group requires <10 ppm. I will recommend that these organizations be encouraged to continue their work and that the FDA set up a procedure for certifying foods containing <20 ppm. Thus, individuals have a choice.
Your comments to me suggested great concern over the problem of cross-contamination. The tests mentioned above can determine whether or not a specific sample is contaminated but can’t guarantee that the product is always safe. I will recommend to the FDA that they establish specific criteria for choosing which samples to test and how many samples must be tested.
Many of you were concerned about information (other than the labels mentioned above) should be included on a food package to make our choices easier and more accurate. This does not seem to be a major concern of the FDA, so I suggest that we approach this problem in a different way.
Many manufacturers are trying to recruit gluten free customers. Please e-mail me telling what you hope to see on packages. What information would make you more likely to purchase a gluten free product? I will organize your ideas into a survey, conduct that survey, and distribute it to manufacturers. Since I want to get this survey out as soon as possible, please send me your ideas before Thursday, October 6.
Summaries to help begin the gluten free diet appear in both Living Without magazine and Gluten Free Living magazines. Both magazines posts the quick-start guides on-line. FYI, these magazines should be in the library of every family that includes a person who lives gluten free. The celiac support group of New Haven, Connecticut, also posts a very useful guide on-line.
To learn more about the gluten free diet, please visit our power page “The Gluten Free Diet” by clicking here or by using the tab at the top of this page.
As I mentioned in Thursday’s newsletter, the F.D.A. has requested our input on the best definition of ‘gluten free’. I have drafted a letter, asking for your thoughts on what I had written, posted the survey on-line, and linked you to it.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that I neglected to post the survey on my site. Anyway, I am posting my letter here and also in the place where I promised it on Thursday.
Thanks to the alert reader who noticed my error and alerted me to it. I depend on you, my friends. I promise to be more careful in what I do and more punctual about reading your letters and comments.
There are many possible symptoms, and unfortunately they mimic so many other conditions that a better question would probably be something like “What symptoms cause us to suspect celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity?”
Here are three articles that may help you answer that question. Read this non-technical article from Celiac (dot com). Here is more information from The Mayo Clinic and an article from WebMd (dot com).
The Food and Drug Administration has asked for input before determining America’s official definition of ‘gluten free’. I have drafted a letter that I intend to send before the October 2 deadline and many of you have shared your thoughts about how I could improve it. This is your last chance. On September 25 I will begin the task of finalizing my letter.
You may, of course, submit your own letter. Click here for information about how to do it. If you prefer to add your comments to my letter, scroll down to take the survey. There are three sections to my comments, and you are welcome to express your ideas at the end of each section.
I’ve written about three groups of people who follow the gluten free diet. I ‘thought up’ those three groups to get myself organized and help me in my work as a writer on gluten free topics. Thanks to your comments, I need to add two more more groups.
The first article discussed (1) medically diagnosed celiacs, (2) people who are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive, and (3) people who elect to live gluten free.You may wish to reread the first article and then return here.
Group 4 consists of celiac’s spouses and their significant others. My wife is part of that group. Everything we cook at home is gluten free. She does purchase wheat-based bread and crackers, cold cereals, and a few snacks that I can’t share. Pizza is about the only subject on which we have had ‘words’. Normally, there are just the two of us at a meal, and we both reject the idea of making two separate pizzas.
Group 5 are persons with wheat allergies. People who live wheat free will have no problems with any of the recommendations on this site, and have additional options. I have decided not to write more about ‘wheat free’ issues. There is too much danger that a person who was attempting to live gluten free might misunderstand what I am saying. I did some research before making this decision, and I did come across a helpful article titled “wheat allergy vs. gluten allergy“.
The gluten free diet is sometimes recommended for persons with autism, sleep issues, muscle pain, and other physical problems. I am totally unqualified to discuss these issues. So, other than acknowledging that this group exists and is important, I will not be writing about it.
Click here for a complete summary of the gluten free diet.
I first heard the terms ‘gluten free’ and ‘celiac disease’ on August 2nd 1999, a date that I will never forget for many reasons. I didn’t know what on earth the doctor was talking about and really got scared when I realized that he was talking about me and was telling me things that would change my life.
Things are much better in the decade since my diagnosis — we are no longer babbling words that our listeners have never heard before — but in any case, the diagnosis of celiac disease can be pretty upsetting. Here are some videos that a newly-diagnosed celiac might find helpful and informative.
This video is a beautifully simple explanation of celiac disease done by a young lady who is obviously speaking about herself and eager to tell others about it her experiences.
Here is an interview with Dr. Peter Green, a recognized authority on celiac disease, giving basic information.
Finally, here is a serious and academic presentation on celiac disease and related issues by three scholars. I lasts 88 minutes, is totally different from what we normally see on You-Tube, but is certainly worth watching.
There are three different groups of people who follow the gluten free diet. The people in each group follow different versions of the gluten free diet. I created these groups in my mind to simplify my task of writing about gluten free topics.
GROUP 1: MEDICALLY DIAGNOSED CELIACS. Traditionally, the gluten free diet is a prescription for persons diagnosed with celiac disease, an auto-immune disease in which the body reacts to certain proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. Celiac disease is incurable in the strict sense of the word, but sufferers become symptom-free as soon as their system becomes gluten free. Since celiac disease is incurable, the gluten free diet is a life-long commitment to a very strict diet
GROUP 2: THE GLUTEN INTOLERANT OR GLUTEN SENSITIVE. These two terms mean pretty-much the same thing. Both refer to people who do not exhibit the meet the criteria for celiac disease but do experience unpleasant symptoms when they consume gluten. These people need to avoid all gluten but may or may not need to do so for the rest of their lives.
GROUP 3: PEOPLE WHO ELECT TO BE GLUTEN FREE. This group of people have no adverse reactions to gluten but feel that avoiding gluten makes it easier for them to lose weight, increases their strength and vitality, gives them a more positive outlook on life, or makes them members of a highly attractive group of people. These people are able to pick and chose which parts of the gluten free diet they will follow.
Thanks to your comments, I realized that there were three additional groups of people who follow the gluten free diet. Click here to read about them.
Traditionally, the gluten free diet was a prescription for treating celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and gluten sensitivity (in other words, for the people in the first two groups.) Few, if any, people went on the gluten free diet voluntarily. The food was tasteless (at best), horribly expensive, and very difficult to find. Fortunately, things are getting much better.
Many people believe that the gluten free diet should be limited to celiacs, people who are gluten intolerant, or those who are gluten sensitive. Because my purpose is to provide information and NOT to give advice or make judgments, I will provide information about the gluten free diet to everyone who seeks it.
As you may know, the Food and Drug Administration has requested input to guide its efforts to define “gluten free”. I have drafted the comments I plan to submit and am asking your for suggestions. Judging from the responses I’ve read, “cross contamination” is our major concern. Therefore, I have revised the first item in my statement to reflect our concerns. ( sub-paragraph D of the first item). To read more about the government’s request for information or find out how to submit comments yourself, please click here.
If you have not already completed the survey, please read my draft response in the section below. After each part of my response I have placed a box for your reaction to what I have to say. I need your input no later than September 25 so that I can submit my statement before the deadline on October 2.
I enjoy the the gluten free brown rice bread available at Trader Joe’s. The fact that it is at least $1.50 less than many popular brands makes it even more attractive. I’ll be using it regularly except when I am making sandwiches or something where I must have bread that absolutely not crumble.
This is the first time that I have ever done a second review on a product. I originally wrote about this product in July, 2010 and since so many of you wrote comments disagreeing with my negative review, I decided to try it again. One of the comments mentioned that there had been two versions of the bread. Actually, I have no idea if my original impression had to do with the old or the new version. All I know is that I enjoyed what I tasted earlier this week. Another writer suggested that I place the frozen slices directly in the toaster rather than microwaving them for a few seconds. Actually, that seems to make all gluten free toast taste better. From now on, I’ll use the microwave only when my goal is to enjoy bread rather than toast.
Click here to read my first article about Trader Joe’s and the comments you wrote about it.
The Girl Scouts are being encouraged to introduce an allergen free (and hopefully gluten free) Girl Scout Cookie. Click here if you to learn more about this petition.
A gluten free Girl Scout cookie seems like a great idea to me. There are thousands of potential customers and tens-of-thousands of girls and their leaders who need to learn more about celiac disease and the gluten free diet. I’ve been lobbying for this project since 2007. Hopefully, this may be the year.
If all goes well, America will soon (whatever that means) have a definition of ‘gluten free’. For the umpteenth and hopefully final time, the Food and Drug Administration is asking for our input on the subject. I plan to submit a statement, based on twelve years of living gluten free and eight years writing on gluten free topics.
A draft copy of my thoughts appears below. After each of the three sections, there is a box for you to add your ideas. (This is the same technology that produces our monthly surveys). The deadline for comments is October 3, so I need to receive your thoughts no later than September 25. Before you reply, you may wish to read or reread an article on the subject that I wrote two years agp. If you wish to send your comments directly to the F.D.A., follow this link.
When you finish the survey, click on the button that says NEXT and your responses will be submitted.
Ashland, Oregon, features great theater and restaurants that served wonderful gluten free meals.
We enjoyed two dinners at The Greenleaf Restaurant, dining outside beside a flowing stream. My chicken marsala was beautifully presented, tasted wonderful, and was served by a waitress who was totally gluten-savvy and generally a pleasure to work with. I made my selections from a two page gluten free menu. The Greenleaf has indoor seating for those who prefer it and has the most extensive gluten free breakfast I have ever seen. I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to try it. The Greenleaf’s address is 272 East Main Street and the phone number is 541.482.2808.
We also recommend Pangea, a small restaurant that specializes in serving at least a dozen wraps, any of which can be prepared wrapped in a Teff flour tortilla, making them ideal for our purposes. We had a marvelous light meal. My wife even ordered a gluten free wrap, even though she does not need to do so. The address is 49 North Main, and the phone number is 541.482.2808.
I thought about titling this article “Gluten Free Shakespeare” but I thought that would confuse the computers that dictate what we see on the search engines. We saw wonderful productions of Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Pinzance” and enjoyed some great meals. What more could you want?!!!!
The Food and Drug Administration is finalizing its definition of ‘gluten free’ and has asked for input from interested parties. (Click here for information about how to submit your comments.) I plan to send comments related to my experiences as a writer on gluten free topics. I would like your input before I finalize and submit my comments.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS USELESS. HERE IS THE LINK TO USE TO RESPOND TO THE SURVEY. I AM LEAVING THIS ARTICLE IN PLACE SIMPLY BECAUSE I CAN’T KEEP THE SEARCH ENGINES FROM SENDING PEOPLE HERE. YOU MAY BE ONE OF THOSE UNLUCKY PEOPLE. NO PROBLEM!
JUST CLICK THE LINK AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS NOTICE.
Since the deadline for submissions is October 2, we must move rather quickly, using the site that I normally use four our monthly surveys. In the space right after this article, you will see a copy of the first part of my proposed comments to the F.D.A. After my comments, there is a box for your reactions. The box will expand automatically to give you as much space as you need to respond. Today, I am dealing with the essential of defining ‘gluten free’ in terms of parts-per-million.
On Monday, September 12, I will write about other problems
You will have the chance to respond to these issues in the second part of our survey.
I’m dividing this project into two section so that you can respond more easily. Both surveys will end on Saturday, September 17 so that I can revise my thoughts and respond to the F.D.A. before the deadline on October 2. I will publish my letter to the F.D.A. on the site for your information.
This month’s survey gave people an opportunity for people to their current gluten free lifestyle with what they were experiencing and feeling three years ago. People were asked to insert the words ‘more’ or ‘less’ to express their feelings. There was also a ‘no difference’ box for those who have not experienced a change.
For the statistically minded, I decided that there needed to be a difference greater than 40% to justify the phrase ‘much more’ or ‘much less’ rather than simply ‘more’ or ‘less’. I also decided that any difference less than 10% was insignificant.
Here are your responses.
1. We now do MUCH MORE of shopping for gluten free food in ‘mainstream’ stores.
2. We now spend AN EQUAL AMOUNT of time and energy looking for products certified by The Gluten Free Certification Organization or by the The Celiac Sprue Association.
3. It is now MORE important for us that our purchases come in packages labeled ‘gluten free’,
4. Currently, it is MUCH MORE likely that we will reject a package because of what is included in the ingredient list.
5. Currently, we are MUCH MORE concerned about cross-contamination.
6. Currently we are MORE likely to use coupons or other bargain devices than we were three years ago.
7. (This item number was used to give responders the chance to add comments.)
8. Currently, we are EQUALLY concerned about cross-contamination in our kitchens.
9. Currently, we are eating MUCH MORE fruits, vegetables, and other naturally gluten free food.
10. Currently, our wheat-eating family members and guests are MUCH MORE comfortable eating the gluten free food that we serve them.
11. We are now MUCH MORE comfortable entertaining (and serving food to) visitors who do not live gluten free.
12. (This item number was used to allow responders to give comments)
13. Currently, we are having LESS difficulty finding gluten free restaurants.
14. These days we are MUCH MORE inclined to ask to speak to a manager or chef before ordering.
15. We are currently LESS comfortable visiting and dining in a home where we are the only person living gluten free.
16. We are currently MORE concerned about cross-contamination in the the restaurants we visit.
17. Currently, we are EQUALLY comfortable at receptions, parties, or public events where we have no control about what food is available.
18. (This item number was used to allow responders to make comments.)
This survey also included a chance to enter a drawing for a free copy of the Edition 5 of Triumph Dining’s Restaurant Guide which lists 6500 gluten friendly restaurants all over America. I will announce the winners on Friday.
Today I launched a new power-page “Gluten Free Halloween“. It is our next major holiday — at least diet-wise — and is a major concern of gluten free children and their parents as they return to school. There will almost certainly be a Halloween party at school and the child’s class will certainly be composed primarily of wheat-eaters. What can be done to make sure that everyone has a ‘safe’ and enjoyable experience?
Here’s a rather unconventional solution to the problem. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of videos on YouTube concerned with how to decorate cupcakes. Little or nothing is said about what ingredients should be in the cake. A gluten free family make ‘safe’ cupcakes and then decorate them in such a unique and colorful way that no one will bother to think about whether or not they are gluten free.
Watching these videos will make a child happy to return to school and realize that his dietary restriction will not interfere with his being ‘the life of the party’.
The FDA’s effort to finalize the definition of “gluten free” is capturing the attention of America’s gluten free community. The FDA is soliciting comments from all interested parties (that certainly includes us!) during the month of August. I stated my opinions on the subject in an editorial two weeks ago today and provided a link for you to use to submit your comments. Two of our members shared comments with our gluten free community. I suggest that you read that first editorial, see what two of our members had to say, and consider writing comments of your own (to the FDA and/or to this site).
Everything I have read since then suggests that Amerricans have two issues. I share these concerns:
For information direct from ‘the horses mouth’, read this set of questions and answers published by the Food and Drug Administration. We are primarily concerned with questions 16 and 17.
Dr. Alessio Fasano, the director for celiac research at the University of Maryland celiac disease research program has written and spoken extensively on this subject. He advocates the 20 ppm figure. The link will take you to a letter that he has written to FDA and a video on the same subject. A suggestion: read the letter first and then watch the video. Dr. Fasano’s first language is not English and he is addressing a very complicated issue.
Our monthly survey for September will deal with gluten free labeling issues. Normally, I give you a full month to respond, but in this case the deadline will be September 15 so I will have time to study the results, share them with you, and include them in the letter I intend to send to the FDA before October 1st.
This week I upgraded several of our “Power Pages”, the lists that consolidate the information we need in one place.
I added two restaurant chains to power page “Gluten Free Restaurant Meals“. Gluten free options at ‘Red Lobster’ and ‘Season 52′ our now more accessible to you.
I upgraded our “Gluten Free Bakeries” power page by adding establishments in Rhode Island, Oklahoma, and Colorado.
We now have three new options for gluten free grocery shopping because stores in Michigan, Minnesota, and Utah have been added to our “Gluten Free Supermarket Shopping” power page.
“Attitude” is the key to success in every situation, including facing the challenges that confront gluten free children returning to school. We’ve talked about school lunch recipes and other practical issues. Today we consider the biggest issue — going back to school with a positive attitude toward gluten free living and living in general.
“It’s a better time than ever to be a gluten free kid”. That’s the opening sentence in the first of three articles that I am recommending today. We know this is true for adults, particularly those of us who have lived gluten free for a decade or more. Children do not have that ‘history’, of course, but perhaps they can share our attitude.
This article encourages us to focus on ‘what we can eat’ rather than ‘what we can eat’.
My final suggestion relates to the main point that I am trying to make today: attitude is everything. This is true for every aspect of a child’s success in school, including the way he or she lives the gluten free lifestyle.
Yesterday, I discovered that I had failed to read and respond to the comments that you tried to share with America’s gluten free community. It won’t happen again, I promise. Skim through this site and you will see many more comments than you read yesterday. Here are a few general thoughts:
First of all, let me salute the person who wrote about a situation where he had pre-ordered a gluten free meal at a wedding reception and received a totally inappropriate meal prepared and served by people who lacked the resources and/or the intention to serve gluten free food. What’s so unusual? We’ve all had that experience. The difference here is that this person was willing to attach his comment to an article titled “The Lighter Side of Gluten Free“. We all need to dine defensively (as this person did) and do everything possible to promote celiac-awareness. But there also times when our choices are whether to laugh or to cry. This writer for making the best choice.
Thanks to one of your comments, I added Boar’s Head products to the article “Are Cold Cuts Gluten Free?”
I totally enjoyed these crunchy gluten free cookies. They were ‘crunchy’ in the best sense of that word — some allegedly crunchy cookies are hard and dry but these were just right! My personal favorite Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reviewing this company’s soft baked cookies.
Obviously, this company produces great cookies even when constrained by the need to exclude all the major allergens and prepare food that is certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) to contain less than ten parts-per-million gluten
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OUR MONTHLY SURVEY—TRENDS IN GLUTEN FREE LIVING
Your goal is provide a lunch for your child that is healthy, appetizing, and gluten free. Here are two things in mind as you strive to achieve this goal during this school year:
♦ a lunch provided by the school is not automatically better than the one you provide. It would certainly be reasonable to expect a cafeteria to serve a meal that contains no gluten toxic ingredients, but what about concerns for cross-contamination, etc? What about the child who is determined to not stand out from their peers?
I suggest that you read these three articles about healthy school lunches. These are not specifically ‘gluten free’, but the substitutions will be obvious.
Earlier this month, I wrote about three different types of people who practice the gluten free diet.
♦ There are people who have made a lifelong commitment to total abstinence from gluten.
♦ Others who are ‘cutting down’ on gluten, engaging in periodic ‘cleanses’ or eliminating certain foods.
♦ People who are going gluten free because it seems to be ‘trendy’
I received comments from members of all three groups, many suggesting that I have not done justice to their point-of-view. In the last paragraph, I said that “If anyone asks for advice, I’ll express my point-of-view to the best of my ability”. Until today, I have never explained how I feel or what group I belong to. I’ll try to correct that today.
FYI, I am a medically-diagnosed celiac. My diagnosis was accidental. My doctor was exploring various possibilities to explain my weight loss, chronic fatigue, and seemingly endless cycles of constipation and diarrhea. I was diagnosed in 1999 and my doctor admitted that he had had no experience with celiac disease. (I moved to Oregon about five years later, and my new family-practice stated that I was the first celiac she had ever met.)
My function as a writer is to relay information, NOT to give advice. This is important legally since I have no academic or medical credentials, but it is also my belief. A person’s diet is a matter of personal choice!
One of the few ‘facts’ in the gluten free world is that it is extremely difficult to medically diagnose celiac disease if a person is already living gluten free. How important is this? That is a personal decision.
If someone asked me if I had read any scientific evidence to suggest that living gluten free makes it easier to lose weight, I would tell them ‘no’. Of course, people who are very conscientious about what they eat do better in every way than people who eat everything they can get their hands on.
Is cross-contamination an issue in the gluten free world? Of course! My intention is to be very careful at home where I have virtually-total control, to do my best when dining out, and — after taking all reasonable precautions — to relax and enjoy my food.
The most important thing I did this week was to learn that the FDA had reopened the question of gluten free labeling and was requesting our input. I published an editorial about that on Monday, stating my own ideas on the subject and linking you to information on how to share your ideas. Fortunately, we have until the end of September to send in our comments.
I added two restaurant chains —Salty Iguana Mexican Restaurants and Seasons 52 — to our power page “ I also upgraded our power page “Gluten Free Pizza Restaurants” by adding pizzerias in Massachusetts, Oregon. Pennsylvania, and Texas. I also added a gluten free bakery in Tampa, Florida.
The manager of ‘Madwoman Foods’ in Minnesota informed me this week that the firm has closed its doors.