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Gluten Free Web Searching

0 Comments 26 July 2011

Last Tuesday, I introduced “Successful Celiac Search“, a tool that enables you to find information about gluten free living in a dozen carefully selected web sites. I embedded the words ‘celiac’ and ‘gluten free’ into the search engine to make things simpler.

Today I am taking this one step further. Now the entire internet is at your fingertips. The search engine works in two different ways. You can choose to search the internet with the terms ‘celiac’ and ‘gluten free’ without any strings attached. At the top of the page, you will see the words “Internet Gluten Free” and “Web Search”. Click on the appropriate button. You’ll see the words “Google SafeSearch is On”. Click it off if you prefer to include sites that are inappropriate for children.

Custom Search

Obviously, you need to see — in one place — all my search engines as well as all my information about searching this site. I’ll publish that next Tuesday.

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Gluten Free Weekend Roundup

0 Comments 25 July 2011

This week I “grew” our gluten free website by:

:-) adding bakeries in Colorado, Montana, New Jersey, and Texas to our “Gluten Free Bakeries” power page.

:-) completing the first phase of our “Gluten Free Supermarket Shopping” power page. We now have links to sixteen supermarkets that provide lists of the gluten free foods they make available. I will be adding more and more information soon.

:-) launching “Successful Celiac Search“, a customized and streamlined search engine that simplifies your task of finding gluten free information on selected websites.

:-) publishing a weekly roundup, highlighting some of the articles published during the past week. Sorry I am a day late this week. I plan to publish this every Sunday.

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Is Gluten Free Just a Fad Diet?

0 Comments 25 July 2011

“There is a sizable, but still decided minority population that can benefit in terms of feeling better by excluding gluten, entirely or mostly, from their diets. There is a population–an order of magnitude smaller — for which it is vital to do so, and potentially even a matter of life and death. For everyone else, going gluten free is at best a fashion statement.”

First of all, this author is not claiming that our diet is a fad, he is just saying that some people are using it for the wrong reasons. I agree completely. He also points out that wheat is evolved in the past million years from a wild plant with seeds so small that our ancestors probably never noticed them or considered eating them. After centuries of cultivation, wheat developed into a plant with larger seeds and more gluten. Plants evolve faster than humans. Some of us are able to digest gluten, some of us are not.

Another article begins with the sentence “A gluten free diet is as trendy as the latest purse.” I disagree with that statement, but the important thing to consider what all this means to people like us whose health and wellness depend on the gluten free diet?

People like Oprah Winfrey and Gweneth Paltrow have gone on a short-term “gluten free detox”. At least they are acknowledging that gluten is a problem. They certainly got lots of publicity for their efforts, but was the detox helpful in any way? A detox is much different from my lifetime commitment to total abstinence from gluten.

I’ve read articles about people who are ‘cutting down’ on gluten. ‘Cutting down’ is not the same thing as ‘totally eliminating’. Is ‘cutting down’ helpful?

What does all this excitement mean to us? It means that more gluten free food will appear on our store shelves and on our restaurant menus. The taste will probably improve and the price will probably drop. But will all these items be labeled correctly?

The bad news is that our hosts and personnel in restaurants may become less concerned about cross-contamination. This precautions are totally unnecessary when serving someone perceived to be on a fad diet.

Another potential problem is that people who are having problems staying gluten free may give up and justify their behavior by saying “it’s only a fad”.

There are more questions than answers in this article. The gluten free diet is grounded in scientific facts, but there are issues that are matters of personal decision. I’ll write about these issues every Monday. Have a great week.

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Summer Snacks for Gluten Free Children

0 Comments 23 July 2011

Children who live gluten free (like everyone else) have lots of time for snacking during the summer and burn so much energy that they need at least some of those snacks. The snacks described here are ideal since they contain neither gluten or refined sugar. This article on home-made granola bars provides something for the kids to do as well as something for them to eat. This article provides 30 snack ideas. Click here if you need 12 more ideas.

Snacks are sometimes an issue when children are vacationing or traveling. I’ll write about this next Saturday. Every Saturday is “children’s day” at this site.

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Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Reduced Calorie Cookbook

0 Comments 22 July 2011

When reviewing a gluten free cookbook, I look for two things. Are the directions well-written? If the instructions are clear and complete, I can cook just about anything. But I can’t improvise! Yes, I can use this cookbook.

The most important question is this — am I motivated to use this book? Again, the answer is ‘yes’. I like the tremendous variety. This book contains recipes for everything from corn muffins to an Algerian fruit bowl to lobster newburg. I appreciate the line-drawings which were obviously the work of a food-lover rather than a photography who has the skills to make almost anything look delicious. The first two chapters are a great introduction and/or review to the art of gluten free cooking.

The back cover states that this book is “not a weight loss cookbook…(it is) a life-maintenance book…your ticket to better living and better eating”. I agree, but I should point out that each recipe contains a calorie count, a carbohydrate count, exact data about sodium, fiber, and sugar and all the other numbers that anyone could need to control his or her diet.

Books make great gifts for the holidays. Click here for answers to many of your questions about Christmas and all the winter holidays.

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Gluten Free in the New Economy

1 Comment 20 July 2011

The current economic crisis is making gluten free living even more complicated, expensive, and stressful. This is the beginning of a series of articles dealing with this crisis. I’m not sure how many posts will be involved. We have at least five major goals:

  • changing our perspective (today’s topic)
  • refining our menu planning strategies
  • improving our cooking skills
  • shopping defensively (for both dietary and financial reasons)
  • saving money on restaurant dining

SPECIAL NOTE: I blundered when I stated that I would cover this topic in five articles. It is much more complicated than that. I will continue this series of articles! It is a key issue for everyone (celiac or otherwise) who needs to feed themselves and their families in these  challenging times.

What do I mean by “the new economy”? Food prices are growing rapidly and show no signs of leveling off. This is particularly true of gluten free food and we do not have the option of using cheaper gluten-toxic foods. Our future income is not as certain is not as certain as it was a few years ago.

The first step in solving any problem is an “attitude check”. We must:

  • Remember that we have nothing to prove. For example, I drink gluten free beer primarily to prove to myself and others that celiacs can do anything. There are some good (but very expensive) gluten free beers which are worth the price, but….
  • Reject the myth of “gluten entitlement”. An item should not end up in our shopping cart (or in our stomachs) simply because it is labeled gluten free. This was much less true, when I was first diagnosed in 1999, I grabbed every gluten free item in sight and hoped that it would not taste too much like sawdust. Thank heavens those days are behind us!
  • Never forget that — if we must have a chronic and incurable disease — celiac sprue is the malady-of-choice. We have very few doctor bills, no pills to purchase, and no expensive hospital stays.

The next article in this series will talk more about our attitudes and how they affect our food purchases. This article will be published on July 27, one week from today, and I will publish weekly articles until we have covered this topic

As I mentioned, this is the beginning of a series of articles. All will be connected by the tag “gluten free in the new economy”. Scroll down to the end of this article and click on the red tag. The computer will create a special page for you giving excerpts from each of the articles in the series. Click to read the whole article.

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Successful Celiac Search

0 Comments 19 July 2011

Here’s a fast, easy-to-use, and efficient way to find the information you need on the internet. I have selected twelve powerful and highly respected websites for you to search’ I have embedded the words “gluten free” and “celiac” into the structure of the site to help focus your search. Here are the sites you will be searching:

gluten free bay
gluten free girl
gluten free living
gluten free mommy
gluten free on a shoestring
gluten free Philly
gluten free: the celiac site
the savvy celiac

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NOMINATE SITES THAT MERIT BEING INCLUDED IN THIS SEARCH ENGINE. E-mail me at gfceliac@gmail.com. I’ll take it from there!

BLOGGERS AND SITE OPERATORS: E-mail me at the same address. We’ll talk about your site’s qualifications for being part of this search engine.

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Gluten free Food From Subway

0 Comments 18 July 2011

I enjoyed a gluten free sandwich at Subway, which is currently testing products in northern Oregon. The bun was excellent and held together well, especially considering the fact that it was stuffed full of meat and vegetables. My only criticism is that the bun was in the shape of a hamburger roll rather than the submarine rolls that we are used to.

Cross-contamination was not an obvious problem. My server washed her hands before beginning and wore fresh gloves. The bun was individually sealed. My server placed the roll on a napkin in such a way that precluded crumbs falling into the meat area. (I hope that everyone is equally conscientious about how they place any of the rolls.) My sandwich was grilled on top the same napkin so there was no contact with other products.

I also devoured a fudge brownie from French Meadows Bakery. I bought one for pure enjoyment (I’ve already reviewed it.)

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Reminder: Our July survey is designed to tell us more about how people shopping for gluten free bead deal with the clues they find on food packages. Please click here if you haven’t had the chance to share your thoughts.

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Strategy for Gluten Free Couponing

1 Comment 16 July 2011

Celiacs want to shop using discount coupons. To meet this demand, this website suggests three strategies:

→ use the tag “gluten free coupons and discounts”. Your computer will immediately create a special page including excerpts from each of the tagged articles. There are two types of articles — posts like this one which explains the use of coupons and articles that include coupons for the products highlighted in the article.

→ remember that the merchants who issue coupons want your name on their mailing list and will make you “sign up” before giving you any useful information. Keep in mind that it is always possible to “unsubscribe” from a mailing list. Use your option when your become bogged-down in messages.

→ my strategy for dealing with the flood of e-mail is to set up a separate web address using google or one of the other search engines that do not charge a fee. That way, you can feel very free to delete the messages. You won’t be deleting anything very important.

→ some coupon makers have devised methods that limit the number of copies of a coupon you can print. I have sidestepped this problem by logging off and then back on to the site using a different internet address or computer.

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Puffins Multigrain Cereal from Barbara’s Bakery

0 Comments 15 July 2011

I recently enjoyed Puffin’s Multigrain cereal. I enjoyed the rather unique taste and texture. The shredded wheat shaped pellets of cereal soaked up some milk without turning soggy. The cereal is made from “pure oats” — I hope that means the same thing as “certified oats” and I wonder why they did not use the more common term. I noticed that several items that were made from “oat flour” (not designated as being ‘pure’) and that these items were not labeled “gluten free”.

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Gluten Free in the Military

1 Comment 14 July 2011

“If I went off the gluten free diet and kept my mouth shut, could I join the military with celiac disease?” I found no really ‘official’ answers to that question, but I do have a strong personal response based on three years in the Army and 22 years overseas as a civilian employee of the defense department.

Obviously, a person can do anything if they successfully “keep their mouth mouth”. But if the military discovers that a person has lied about things that are already in their civlian medical records, that person is in big trouble.

Millions of Americans are suffering from as-yet-undiagnosed gluten intolerance intolerance or celiac disease. It stands to reason that there are thousands of these people in the military. Some of them are serving on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one in the military is concerned about supplying them with gluten free food. No one is thinking about preventing cross-contamination. The person who made this comment at least has identified his problem.

I can’t think of many things worse than having a gluten reaction while patrolling the front lines in combat or being in a barracks and unable to get away from the military post to get a respite from a gluten toxic diet.

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REMINDER: There is still time to participate in our July survey. How do you react to the ‘clues’  found on many food packages. Click here to take this five-minute survey.



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Gluten Free in the White House

0 Comments 13 July 2011

Has America ever had a President who was gluten intolerance or diagnosed with celiac disease? Not officially, but it is interesting to speculate about Presidents John Kennedy and Bill Clinton.

President Kennedy was successful and energetic despite a number of physical ailments. Dr. Peter Green, the head of the celiac disease center at Columbia University has written at least two articles speculating on this subject.  Click here to read the second article. Dr. Green mentions that he was regularly medicated for Addison’s disease, an auto-immune disease similar to celiac sprue. He wrestled various gastro-intestinal issues throughout his life. He had been ill enough to receive the last rites of the Roman Catholic church twice years before that fateful day in Dallas.

Kennedy always had excellent medical care and seemed to personify health and vigor. Why would a celiac disease go unnoticed in such a person? Dr. Green reminds us that physicians could not effectively diagnosed until the late 1040′s. World War II had given physicians the opportunity to observe the effects of wheat shortage during the war and the reintroduction of wheat after the conflict ended. These diagnostic techniques were unheard of when Kennedy was a child.

The 500 hundred pound gluten free wedding cake at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cries out for an explanation and I found nothing on the internet. I see no reason for President Clinton to conceal celiac disease during his term as President and certainly not in recent years. If he was trying to hide his condition he certainly used a strange strategy. If any member of the Clinton family was trying to make a statement about themselves and/or about gluten intolerance, they made no effort to follow up. The Clinton family is far too politically savvy to believe they would actually do that.

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Cookies from Dr. Lucy

0 Comments 13 July 2011

I recently enjoyed cookies from a firm called Lucy’s. Dr. Lucy is an M.D. and the mother of a child with severe allergies. The website states that the gluten free cookies are “…made without milk, eggs, peanuts, or tree nuts. But you would never know it….they taste delicious.” I’ll take that one step further — you might know but you would not care!

These cookies are certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO). They are vegan and kosher. The bakery is dedicated gluten free.

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Fudge Brownies from French Meadow Bakery

0 Comments 11 July 2011

These fudge brownies are individually packed which makes them a great on-the-go snack/dessert. I loved their moist and chewy texture and the rich taste. Recently, I have become a great fan of French Meadow’s gluten free products. I’ve already written about their chocolate chip cookie dough, their pizza crust, and their honey-multi-grain bread. The website features a $1 off discount coupon.

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REMINDER: Our July survey asks how people who live gluten free look for when they look at a food package. We’ve already talked about the government-mandated ingredients list. But what about the “voluntary disclosures” and other clues that manufacturers put on their packages. Click here to take survey It will take you about five minutes.

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Do Animals Have Celiac Disease?

1 Comment 09 July 2011

According to the experts, Irish Setters can suffer from “true celiac disease”. The experts seem reluctant to apply the term ‘celiac disease’ to other types of dogs or to cats and monkeys but they seem to agree that these animals can have conditions that that so closely resemble celiac disease so closely that they can be used to test treatments for celiac disease.

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Are Cold Cuts Gluten Free?

1 Comment 07 July 2011

Cold cuts can gluten free IF you choose carefully. Here’s a list of companies whose websites list gluten free cold cuts or deli meats:

Boar’s Head, “Our meats, cheeses, and condiments are all gluten free.”

Hormel Foods, including Jenny-O Turkey Store, Farmer John, and diLuso  Deli

Thumann’s , “All Thumann’s meat, cheese, condiments, and pickles are gluten free” / certified gluten free by the GFCO

Carl Buddig, “All Carl Buddig meat products are gluten free”

Dietz and Watson’s, “99% of Deitz and Watson’s premium meats are gluten free”

Honeysuckle White. / the website lists the relatively few products that are NOT gluten free.

Most supermarkets that publish lists of gluten free foods include some cold cuts. Click here to reach our “Gluten Free Supermarket Shoppingpower page.

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Gluten Free Brownie Taste Test

0 Comments 06 July 2011

This article describes a friendly contest between two gluten free bakers to determine the best gluten free brownie mix. The article is well-written and details the differences between the two mixes very well. That’s the good news! The bad news is that their goal was to make a brownie that would “fool a non-celiac”. We are not obligated to “fool” anybody!!! I don’t think that is even what the contestants had in mind — what they wanted to do was simply to create a great brownie.

To be fair, this article dates back to 2005, when the goal was to camouflage our gluten free food rather than to convince skeptics (and ourselves) that gluten free food could taste good. In those days we actually used the term “real food” as if the only real food was wheat-based food. We’ve made a lot of progress since those days.

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Gluten Free Shopping Strategy…our July Survey

0 Comments 05 July 2011

Hopefully, gluten free shoppers are in the habit of the government-mandated ingredients label on every package. But there is also information on many packages that the manufacturer is posting voluntary. How do we react to that? This includes information about what gluten-toxic products are produced on the same equipment, whether the Gluten Intolerance Group or the Celiac Sprue Association has certified the product, etcetera.

Our survey for July includes nine of these “voluntary disclosures” and asks how you customarily respond to them. The survey results will be announced at the end of this month. The survey should take about ten minutes to complete. Click here to share your thoughts with America’s gluten free community.

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Is Hummus Gluten Free?

0 Comments 04 July 2011

Yes, it is a gluten free dip made from garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) that has been described as one of the world’s oldest recipes. It originated in ancient Egypt.

I looked at least ten hummus recipes and found none that contained gluten toxic add-ins. Here’s a video demonstration of a hummus recipe that includes tahini (ground up sesame seeds). Try this demonstration for more ideas for hummus with tahini. This recipe also includes yogurt

If you don’t care for ground sesame or if you don’t have any tahini on-hand, try this recipe with includes almond butter or watch this video demonstration.

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Udi’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

0 Comments 02 July 2011

Udi’s has done it again! Their gluten free chocolate cookies taste like the ones I find at my gluten free bakery for twice the price. I just did some web searching and found a picture of his wife and found out that their two sons are involved in the business, which includes five restaurants in the Denver area, and a catering business. I also know from personal experience that this firm makes awesome white and whole grain breads, bagels, muffins, hot dog and hamburger rolls, and pizza crusts. They also produce granola and the wonderful chocolate chip cookies that I have been talking about. I understand that these products are sometimes sold frozen but may be found on the regular shelves. It all depends on how fast the products turn over in a particular store.

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Home Made Gluten Free Ice Cream

0 Comments 01 July 2011

Ice cream is naturally gluten free (even cookie dough ice cream if you do it right). Here’s a recipe for maple roasted ice cream that your family should love. It is non-dairy as well as gluten free. This recipe comes from a blog called “gluten free cooking for a busy mom“. We’re all busy, so this recipe should have appeal.

The method for turning any gluten free ice cream into gluten free cookie ice cream is very simple. Just crumble up a few gluten free cookies and add them to the mixture.

Try making gluten free ice cream sandwiches. Most ice cream is naturally gluten free, so some writers concentrate on making the sandwich. This recipe uses gluten free rice krispies for that purpose. This article explains how to make the cookies as well as how to insert the ice cream between them.

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Gluten Free Trivia

1 Comment 29 June 2011

Try these three trivia questions. You can on the gluten free lifestyle without any of this information, but quizzes like this can be fun. I put an advertisement between the last question and the answers to make this more interesting. For a real challenge, try to find an answer to each of these questions on the internet.

♦ QUESTION 1: Where can you purchase gluten food in Antarctica?

♦ QUESTION 2: Is zebra meat gluten free? What about elephant meat? What about porcupines or squirrels?

♦ QUESTION 3: Which if any of these products are gluten free? What do all of them have in common? bulgar, dinkle, farro, semolina, and triticale.

Save 10% Off Your GoPicnic.com Purchase!

Answer #1.  One of  the camps in the Australian section of Antarctica that has small grocery store where scientists and tourists can buy food.

Answer #2. This is a trick question. All meat is gluten free unless it has come into contact with gluten-toxic materials.

Answer #3. They are all types of wheat and are therefore all gluten-toxic.

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Ideas from our Survey

1 Comment 28 June 2011

We recently completed a survey dealing with our responses when someone asks about our diet. If you have not completed the survey, please do so now. Your vote will not count because the polls are closed, but within 3-4 minutes you’ll know what you need to know to follow this conversation. I began reporting the results yesterday. Please read that post now if you’ve not already done so. Then we can proceed to the important thing — how does all this effect our lives as individuals and as part of a community that lives gluten free? Obviously, the rest of this article is strictly Paul’s Point-of-View.

♦ The two most popular responses on the survey were “stress that the gluten free diet requires total abstinence from gluten. It is not enough simply to cut down” and “stress that the gluten free die requires a life-time commitment to be effective”.  Another popular response was “state that the gluten free diet is is a medical response that should be limited to persons diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance”. That view prevailed in 1999 when I was diagnosed. Judging from our survey responses, most of us still believe that. We need to remember that many people who are asking about our diet have something much different in mind.

♦ When people ask about our diet, some are making polite conversation and others are deeply concerned about some aspect of their health. We need to be better listeners. At the very least, we need to find out why the person is inquiring. If they do have serious questions, they are not the sort of questions that can be answered in one sentence. Many of you made comments to the effect that we need to be involved with people who are interested in the gluten free lifestyle.

♦ One of the people who commented quoted a phrase “try the diet for 30 days and then call me”. What a great idea. In one month. a person will learn that the gluten free lifestyle is not picnic  but he will also learn about how the diet effects his body. We should be willing and able to support a person during that very challenging  time.

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Advice for People Considering a Gluten Free Diet

2 Comments 28 June 2011

Our survey question for the month asked what would you if someone considering the gluten free diet asked for your advice. Here are the results, beginning with the most popular answers: (a total of 132 people answered the survey. Respondents were encouraged to vote for all ‘pieces of advice’ they agreed with)

♦ (79 agreed/63.7% of the responses) “Stress that the gluten free diet requires total abstinence from gluten. It is not enough simply to “cut down. This was the most popular response.

♦ (60 agreed / 48.4% of the responses) “Stress that the gluten free diet requires a life-long commitment to be effective”. This was the second most popular response.)

♦ (48 agreed / 38.7% of the responses) “”State that the gluten free diet is a medical response that should be limited to persons diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.”

PAUL’S POINT-OF-VIEW: These statements were gospel truths when I was diagnosed in 1999. Most of the people who responded to the survey agree with them. Times have changed, our lifestyle is better understood, more frequently diagnosed, and more widely accepted. Should we change with the times??? Here are other responses:

♦ (44 agreed / 35.5% of the responses) “Point out that experimenting with the gluten free diet will make it extremely difficult to get an accurate diagnosis of celiac disease.”

♦ (43 agreed / 43.7% of the responses) “Point out that the gluten free diet may be deficient in fiber and other nutrients.”

♦ (46 agreed / 37.1% of the responses) “Discuss the relatively high cost of gluten free food”.

♦ (54 agreed / 43.5% of the responses) “Discuss the low quality and low availability of gluten free food.”

♦  (26 agreed / 21.0% of the responses) “Remind him that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it is relatively easy to lose weight on the gluten free diet.

PAUL’S POINT-OF-VIEW. These are serious concerns that deserve to be part of serious conversations. Some of these concerns can be answered by people who live gluten free for several years. Some require expert intervention. All are solvable.

Some of the most useful information in this survey came from the responses that people made. I’ll write about those tomorrow.

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Searching the Internet Gluten Free

2 Comments 27 June 2011

Here’s how to set up a ‘home page’ that will help you unearth gluten free information on the internet. Much of what you read on my site was discovered (“mined” to use computer jargon) with the help of the ‘home page’ that I designed and installed on my computer. I’d like to walk you through the procedure for setting up your own ‘home page’. Use it to ‘mine’ the internet for whatever information you desire.

First, a disclaimer. There are dozens of ways to accomplish this goal. I’m the only method that  I understand well enough to  write about. I’m using google programs because they are popular, relatively easy to use, and free.

Your first step is set up a google home page with no ‘gadgets’ on it. I won’t go into detail on this because there so many options here. Much will depend the type of computer you are using, which browser you are using, and perhaps on the amount of memory you have available.

When you have accomplished this, begin filling the blank space with ‘gadgets’. (Users of smart cell phone call these ‘apps’. The big difference is that ‘gadgets’ are free.) I’ll walk you through the steps of my obtaining a gadget that will help you access my site.

  1. Go to the top of the first page of my site.
  2. Click on the symbol in the right corner that has an orange background and a design that looks a bit like an observatory sending out radio waves. (Remember that symbol. (Technically, it is called an RSS feed, with RSS standing for “really simply syndication”. You’ll see this term many times)
  3. Choose google from the options in the box.
  4. Check the box that says “always use google to subscribe to feeds” (I know there are people who hate google, but I am trying to keep things simple.)
  5. Click on SUBSCRIBE  NOW

Now return to your blank home-page where you will notice a box with the name of my site and the titles of the last three posts. You will also see two boxes in the upper right corner — one is a square and other a triangle.

  • The triangle button is titled “Change Settings”. The only setting that is important is is the one controlling the number of post titles that you will see at once. I usually set this  so that I can see the most recent nine posts on my site (the highest possible number possible) and five posts for the others. It all depends on the amount of space you have available on your home page.
  • The square button allows you to look at every post that has been published in two different ways. Experiment! The links are all ‘live’ but the formatting is all out-of-whack. That bothers me so I generally return to the home page and use a different method to do my research.

Now click on the name on of the website. You will be taken immediately to the site. If you prefer, click on the name of one of the listed articles. You will be taken immediately to that article. The requested article will appear on the screen.

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Taste Testing Gluten Free Food

1 Comment 24 June 2011

Four brownie mixes, two gluten free and one ‘classic’ brownie mixes were tested at Epicurious.com. Apparently, none of the judges were people who live gluten free, since every judge tried every product.

The winner was the Betty Crocker gluten free brownie mix. It was also the least expensive of the items tested. Second and third place went to Duncan Hines and Archer Farms, both ‘classic mixes’. The gluten free mix put out by Really Good Food Company came in last.

Paul’s Point of View: I was encouraged by the results of this study. The taste and texture of wheat-based baked goods is not always superior and wheat flour is not necessarily the least expensive. Articles like this one are not easy to find. I’ll pass on their information whenever I have the opportunity to do so.

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Gluten Free Junk Food

1 Comment 23 June 2011

Yes, gluten free junk food exists. It interferes with our weight control efforts, our budgets, and our attempts to be energetic and healthy. Obviously, this article needs to be clearly labeled Paul’s Point-of-View.

What is the definition of junk food? The junk food blog says that “…junk food is any kind of food that is not intended to be part of a balanced diet. It doesn’t have to be ‘bad’ for you, it just has to be something that was created for satisfaction…(rather than for) nutrition.”

Here are a few examples taken from my own life.
♦ I lived and worked in Europe for 22 years. I loved the wonderful barley-based German beer that was originally made by monks as a religious rite. Now, I occasionally drink American sorghum-based beer just to prove to myself that my lifestyle is not too limiting. That beer is junk food in my opinion. (People who grew up drinking American beer might disagree.)

♦ The gluten free pizza that I ate in the first few years after my diagnosis tasted like cardboard but at least it contained some nutrients and kept my hunger under control. That pizza can’t be defined as junk food.
♦  I wish I could buy a single gluten free doughnut to eat with my morning coffee. That’s impossible, gluten free doughnuts come in packages of six. The last five doughnuts are junk food as far as I am concerned, but as you can imagine, I will empty the package before the day is over.

Why is the idea of ‘gluten free junk food’ important? Avoiding junk food is important to anyone who is attempting to lose weight, live a healthy life, or save money. Celiacs have a lot on things to think whenever they are deciding what to be or eat, but we should not ignore the fact that this idea of junk food is a  factor in many of our food decisions.

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Restaurants Serving Gluten Free Meals

0 Comments 22 June 2011

Today I relaunched my power page “Restaurants Serving Gluten Free Meals“. Finding ‘safe’ gluten free restaurants is one of the keys to successful living gluten free. For more about that idea, turn to the new-improved page.

I wrote the original power page four years ago and was absolutely amazed to note how much information had become obsolete or simply disappeared from the internet during that time. During the time since the original article was published, I have developed the strategy of linking you to information rather republishing it for you. This guarantees that you get the most-up-to-date information available on the internet. When a link does not work, the most likely reason was that the person who wrote it originally deleted it because he considered it impossible to simply not worth-the-effort to update it.

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Expanding the Definition of Gluten Free

0 Comments 21 June 2011

When I was diagnosed in 1999, the gluten free diet was the prescription used to control celiac disease. Since that time, there has been a dramatic change, brought on in part by the increased availability of gluten free food and the vastly improved taste and texture. When this website started in 2002, it was inconceivable that anyone would embrace the gluten free lifestyle if they had any viable option.

Earlier this month, I posted an article titled “Two Approaches to the Gluten Free Diet“, in which I stated that there are two groups of gluten free dieters;

  • some people need the gluten free diet to control celiac disease (I am in that category).
  • some people elect to follow the gluten free diet because it is popular, well-publicized, and allegedly helps with weight loss.

I have recently realized that is a third group:

  • some people pick-and-choose, selecting  gluten free products when it is convenient to do so. These people argue that cutting down is better than doing nothing.

These people folks argue that reducing the amount of hard-to-digest is a great idea and that doing something is better than doing nothing. It is hard to disagree with this argument, but I think there is a danger here. They may be doing  just enough to mask symptoms and that is never a good idea. Obviously, that last sentence is strictly Paul’s Point-of-View and should be regarded as such. Here are some more of my thoughts:

All this makes no difference to me because I know that I am in the first group. I know that my function as the author of this website is to present information about what food is and is not gluten free. People are welcome to make any adjustments or changes that seems to fit their situations.

The thoughts expressed in this article came to me while I was working on our current survey about how we deal with persons who are considering adopting the gluten free lifestyle. I’ll be announcing the results in my newsletter this Thursday (6/23) and introducing July’s survey the following week (6/30). If you haven’t had a chance to be part of the Click here to take survey You will see nine comments that might be addressed to someone who is thinking about going gluten free and asking you to mark the comments you consider appropriate.

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Is Baking Soda Gluten Free? What about Baking Powder?

0 Comments 18 June 2011

Baking soda is a chemical (sodium bicarbonate) and is therefore naturally gluten free. Baking soda is a combination of baking soda and other food items and therefore may not be (but probably is) safe for us. Click here for more information on the science behind today’s questions.

The Celiac Sprue Association considers baking soda and baking powder to be gluten free. It advises us to stick to major brands “just in case”. Hains Pure Foods and Clabber Girl both state on their websites that their baking powder is gluten free. The Hains product is also sodium free.

If you want even greater control over your baking powder, use these instructions to make your own baking powder.

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Gluten Free Cleanse vs Gluten Free Diet

1 Comment 17 June 2011

A “gluten free cleanse” involves abstaining completely from gluten as well as other foods that the dieter (and the ‘experts’ who guide them) consider toxic. Celebrities who have tried this procedure include Oprah Winfrey (whose ‘cleanse’ last three weeks) and Gweneth Paltrow (who ‘cleansed’ for seven days”. Click here for an article describing their experience. FYI, the article mentions that these celebrities used seatin, which is product made from wheat gluten as a meat substitute for vegetarians, and barley miso soup which is not gluten free because it contains barley.

USA Today summarizes the issue of ‘cleansing diets’ in an article titled ” ‘Cleansing Diets ‘Lure ‘Celebs’ but not Health Experts”. I recommend this article!

My research on this leads me to a OPINION, two QUESTIONS, and a CONCLUSION. The remainder of this article must be labeled PAUL’S POINT-OF-VIEW:

opinion: The words ‘gluten cleanse’ and ‘gluten free diet’ are not interchangeable. I think this is confusing, particularly when are talking about a life-long commitment to abstinence from gluten toxic food.

questions: Why do people decide that gluten is an item from which we need to be ‘cleansed’? Perhaps we know instinctively that gluten is a problem. Is there any reasons to believe that a ‘gluten’ free cleanse does any good unless it is a prelude to an actual gluten free diet?

conclusion: Whatever good comes from a ‘gluten free cleanse’ comes from the fact that the person undergoing the cleanse is acutely aware of what he or she is eating, is being held accountable for his or her behavior, has not consumed any ‘junk food’ during the process, and is under the guidance of someone who believes that the process will succeed.

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Home Testing of Gluten

0 Comments 15 June 2011

It’s possible to test the gluten free status of food at home. The single-use test strips, available from Elisa Technologies and other sources, cost about $10 each depending on how many you purchase. Why would anyone want to perform these tests?

PAUL’S POINT-OF-VIEW. These tests can be used by persons who suspect that a food has been incorrectly labeled ‘gluten free’ either as an error or as a method of increasing sales. People who believe this must deal with the reality that they are only testing a small sample. The test results are not necessarily more accurate than those obtained by the manufacturer. If we don’t trust the manufacturer, how can we trust the maker of the test or the person doing the testing?

Others use the home tests for the opposite reason. They feel that a food may be gluten free even though the manufacturer has elected not to use the gluten free label. And it is certainly true in some cases. For example, Trader Joe’s uses the term “no gluten ingredients”. This term does not mean the same thing as “gluten free”. Cross-contamination is always a possibility. If we do a home test, if we do a home test, the best we can hope for is to demonstrate that one small batch of a particular product is OK. The home test has not demonstrated that use of the product is totally safe.

As you can tell, I do not recommend the use of home testing kits.

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Is Barbecue Sauce Gluten Free?

1 Comment 14 June 2011

Most barbecue sauce is gluten free. The Heinz website specifies that these varieties of barbecue sauce are ‘safe’ for us. The Honey Smokehouse, Hickory Brown Sugar, Original #7, and Masterblend versions of their Jack Daniels Barbecue sauces are gluten free. Annie’s Naturals indicates on-line that their chipotle, smokey maple, and sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauces are gluten free.

If these brands are not available. it is probably best to look at the ingredients label. Many barbecue sauces contain distilled vinegar. Most experts say that distilled vinegar is OK but some celiacs believe that it is toxic. For this reason,  some manufacturers avoid labeling their barbecue sauces gluten free.

Preparing your own barbecue sauce is also a possibility. Click on this article for ten recommended recipes.

 

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Gluten Free Coupons and Other Strategies

1 Comment 13 June 2011

Coupons help shoppers (gluten free and otherwise) save lots of money. Unfortunately, I am not aware of  any sets of coupons that include only gluten free items. You’ll have to browse through a number of lists and select the coupon you need.

In the process, you’ll also find coupons that will be important for the wheat-eaters in your household as well as useful non-food items or naturally gluten free  food that will appeal to everyone. That is the good news.

The bad news is that the stores that send these coupons want you to be on their mailing list. If you sign  up for all the newsletters that you need, you will absolutely swamp your mailbox and not be able to find anything.

The good news is that I have found a solution to that problem. Go to google of Yahoo and set up an e-mail address that you will only use for newsletters or other mailings that you intend to scan for coupons, recipes,  or other ‘bargains’. Scan the content of this e-mail box when and only when you are in the inclination  to do so. Be sure to avoid directing   really important and timely information to that address. Delete the content of your special e-mail account whenever you want to.

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Who Should Go Gluten Free?

0 Comments 12 June 2011

Traditionally, the gluten free diet has been considered the treatment for those with celiac disease. Now, our diet has a much broader following. The experts disagree. Where do you stand? To find out, I have prepared a survey that I urge you to complete. In my survey, I am imagining that a non-celiac friend is considering the gluten diet and is asking your opinion. I’ve listed nine possible responses and asked which ones you consider appropriate. I am attempting to find out what gluten free people actually do rather than what they say. I will tabulate the results at the end of the month. Please click here to complete the survey.

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Gluten Free Food on the Go

0 Comments 11 June 2011

Shop Gluten-Free Ready-to-Eat Meals from GoPicnic

Go Picnic has the solution for the celiac who is too busy to sit down to a traditional gluten free meal. Their strategy is to pack a variety of single-serving packets of gluten free foods into a small box that super-busy celiacs can carry with them to eat ‘on-the-run’. I’ve used these products on airplanes, at my grandchildren’s soccer games, and in hospital waiting rooms. Click on the graphic at the top of the article for more information about these products.

Go Picnic is offering two special discount coupon codes to help introduce their products. Click here to qualify for $15 off a purchase of $100 or more during June. Their “ “care packages” are discounted 20% this summer.

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Gluten Free Independence Day

0 Comments 10 June 2011

Here are suggestions for a gluten free Independence Day celebration dinner:

red, white, and blue potato salad

red, white, and blue pasta salad

red, white, and blue parfait

None of these recipes are specifically gluten free, but the substitutions will be easy and obvious.

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Two Approaches to the Gluten Free Diet

1 Comment 09 June 2011

Some people need to live gluten free. Others elect to live gluten free. When I was diagnosed eleven years ago, only the first group existed. Given the quality and cost of the gluten free food that existed at that time, it makes sense that few people — other than persons diagnosed with gluten intolerance or celiac disease — embraced the gluten free lifestyle.

Times have changed! Folks go gluten free because people in their social group are doing it, because it makes them feel younger and more energetic, or because they have swallowed the myth that it will help them lose weight. There are probably other reasons.

PAUL’S POINT-OF-VIEW. When people in the second group meet their goals, it is probably because the individual is now feeling better and almost everything works better when a person feels better. These “successes” may be a sign indicating undiagnosed celiac disease. It is virtually impossible to diagnose celiac disease in a person who is currently living gluten free. No one should begin any diet without competent advice and supervision — the thoughts expressed earlier in this paragraph should be shared with anyone who considers starting the gluten free diet, regardless of the persons reasons for beginning.

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Shopping for Gluten Free Food

0 Comments 08 June 2011

Shopping for gluten free food isn’t easy! How and where do we find what we need? How do we know that it is safe? How can we afford it? More and more supermarkets are making things easier by publishing lists of the ‘safe’ foods that they provide and/or by placing all their gluten free food in one area so that shoppers can find it more easily.

My power page “Gluten Free Supermarket Shopping” is designed to streamline your shopping chores. I’ve expanded it to include fourteen supermarket chains and more listing will be added daily. Each entry includes the name of restaurant chain, help in finding a convenient store, as well as links to printable information about available gluten free item.

Most stores offer coupons or “special offers” to attract customers. The third part of each listing includes links that enable you take advantage of these bargains. Be aware that these offerings will generally include some items that are taboo on the gluten free diet. As always, you must shop defensively.

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Vegetables on My Gluten Free Plate

0 Comments 05 June 2011

my plate

As you may have a heard, the graphic shown above has just been introduced to replace the ‘food pyramid’ as America’s official definition of “the balanced diet”. If the graphic did not reproduce legibly on your computer screen, be aware that there are now four official food groups: fruit (red), vegetables (green), grains (orange), and proteins (purple). If you need more information, check out my article on the subject.

The four segments on the plate indicates the approximate amount of each type of food that we should be eating. Note that fruit and vegetable groups about half the size of our plate. The largest segment of our diet should be vegetables. Vegetables are healthy, low in calories, and relatively inexpensive. Eating more vegetables would make Americans thinner, healthier, and allow them to spend much less on food. That’s particularly important for celiacs — the gluten free diet is expensive at best. But how do we make this system work? How do we get Americans to eat more vegetables???????

‘My Plate’ does not require us to physically separate the four groups, and one way to deal with this situation is use recipes that combine proteins and vegetables in a single dish. Here are three suggestions with links to the recipes: vegetarian lasagna, zucchini pizza crust, and baked fish on vegetables. Enjoy!

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Gluten Free Rice Krispies

1 Comment 04 June 2011

This morning’s breakfast featured gluten free Rice Rice Krispies. The “snap, crackle, and pop” sound brought back memories of childhood. I don’t recall what the original version tasted like, but I know that I enjoyed this cereal although I definitely will use sweetener next time (which will probably be tomorrow morning).

I liked the packaging. The words ‘gluten free’ are very prominent — apparently Kellogg’s is actively seeking the support of America’s gluten free / celiac community. I also liked the fact that the gluten free rice krispies are no more expensive than their wheat-based cousins. I am curious about why this new gluten free cereal is not highlighted on the Kellogg’s website.

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My Plate and the Gluten Free Diet

0 Comments 03 June 2011

my plate
‘My Plate’(shown above) recently replaced the ‘Food Pyramid’ as America’s official guide to the well-balanced diet. Michelle Obama was the principle speaker at the ceremonies announcing this change. Click here to see video clips of what CBS News said about this event. As part of the coverage of this announcement, Robin Roberts and George Stephanopolis interviewed the White House chef as he prepared a meal that was compatible with the new program and announced that Ms. Obama had directed that the entire family would be eating “from the plate” from now on.

Since ‘My Plate’ was announced less than 48 hours ago, reactions are tentative and vague. Most of the comments I read suggest that this is not a new diet but rather improved teaching tool. And everyone agrees that a new teaching tool was desperately needed — American’s were simply not getting the message. The newly-announced diet says a great deal about the importance of whole grains, but does not require (or even suggest) that wheat must be the grain-of-choice. Perhaps it is significant that the White House chef chose demonstrate this new approach to dieting by preparing a meal using whole grain brown rice.

I’ll be writing much more about ‘My Plate’ in the very near future. I have successfully followed the gluten free diet for a decade. Now I need a diet and a lifestyle that is both gluten free and healthy in all other respects.

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Gluten Free English Muffins from Food for Life

0 Comments 02 June 2011

I recently enjoyed my first English muffins since I went gluten free in 1999, using the brown rice muffins manufactured by Food for Life. English muffins are one of my favorite memories from my pre-celiac days. My only complaints about the muffins was that there were no specific cooking directions on package or on the website. Given the cost of gluten free food, I really hate to experiment. This is particularly true when I have not yet had breakfast. I’ll keep trying, at least until this package is empty. Perhaps I will achieve the golden brown color that I remember from the-good-old-days  and saw pictured on the package.

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Is the Gluten Free Diet Safe for Everyone?

1 Comment 31 May 2011

I urge you to watch these two video clips. The first is a segment from Nightline suggesting that the gluten free diet is valid as a treatment for celiac disease but is “dangerous” if used for any other purpose. direct rebuttal to the first, written and presented by a medical doctor who has a very different point-of-view.

I don’t usually express personal opinions in my articles, but I’m making an exception her simply because this topic seems to be ignored on the internet. My basic premise is that all diets are unsafe unless the dieter has professional guidance, access to reference books, support groups, and internet information.

For some, including myself, the gluten free diet is a treatment for celiac disease. I have made a commitment to remove all gluten from my diet for the rest of my life. I am concerned about cross-contamination since even minute amounts of gluten are dangerous. This is the classic definition of ‘gluten free diet’ and the only one adequately covered in books, on the internet, or in most physician’s offices

Other people see the gluten free diet as something that makes them feel better, have more of a certain type of friends, or lose weight. What will these folks do after they have achieved their weight loss goal, made different friends, and discover wheat-based foods that provide them with energy and enthusiasm?

A third version of the gluten free diet is practiced by such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow. Both these stars experienced a “gluten free cleanse”. Ms. Paltrow was on a strict gluten free diet for seven days. Ms. Winfrey lasted a full three weeks. Does three weeks count as a diet? I don’t think so! But these starts are at least acknowledging that gluten free food is an issue. The people who agree with them need our help and support.

These last two groups of dieters need professional support and advice. I hope that their needs can be met.

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Happy Joe’s…Gluten Free Pizzerias

0 Comments 28 May 2011

Happy Joe’s restaurants are a resource for gluten free pizza lovers in IA, IL. MN, MO, ND, and WI. Judging from what I saw on YouTube, it is a great place to enjoy ‘safe’ pizza. However, Happy Joe’s website has one foible that affects so many gluten free restaurants — the site mentions that gluten free pizza crusts are available but does commit itself by saying that the pies are gluten free in all respects — safe toppings, proper measures to prevent cross-contamination, etc.

Continue Reading

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Weight Loss and the Gluten Free Diet

0 Comments 27 May 2011

I recently googled the key words +”gluten free diet” and +”weight loss” and read all the ten articles listed on the first page. I noticed that:

  • no one advocated going on a gluten free diet for the sole purpose of losing weight.
  • no one suggested that it was easier (or harder) to lose weight while adhering to a gluten free diet. As one author put it, the only important thing is to “…adhere to a high-protein, low glycemic-load, nutrient dense diet”.
  • none of the writers advocated going on a non-supervised diet, either a gluten free diet or a more traditional weight-loss diet.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from French Meadow

0 Comments 26 May 2011

These gluten free cookies smelled great while they were baking and looked absolutely marvelous. I enjoyed the taste very much, but I would not advise serving them to wheat-eaters. They had a distinctive taste that screams ‘gluten free’ to wheat-eaters.

The cookies are certified ‘safe’ by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) a program sponsored by the Gluten Intolerance Group. They were manufactured on equipment that is also used to produce soy products. The website includes a coupon for $1 off on any French Meadow product.

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Gluten Free Pizza Restaurants

1 Comment 25 May 2011

I’ve recently added new restaurants to my power page “Gluten Free Pizza Restaurants” and checked every item on the page to insure that the links were still working. Gl inuten free restaurant pizza is tasting better each day and becoming more readily available. I remember reporting that it was impossible to obtain a gluten free pizza in any restaurant in Portland, Oregon. I couldn’t find that article — I assume that I deleted it in disgust at some point. Anyway, things have gotten much better.

One major concern I have is that some sites use the term “gluten free pizza crust“. We know, of course, that a pizza is not gluten free simply because it has a gluten free crust. I am a bit concerned about any restaurant that does not understand the difference and assure its patrons that the pizzas are have been prepared in a ‘safe’ environment and that all toppings are celiac-friendly.

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Gluten Free Toaster Waffles

1 Comment 24 May 2011

Gluten free frozen waffles are available from Van’s Natural Foods and Nature’s Path. Be aware that these companies also sell wheat-based waffles. Everything is carefully labeled so there should be no problem if a shopper is really paying attention. Kinnikinnik Foods offers gluten free toaster waffles.

Ian’s Natural Foods takes this idea one-step-further by offering the “WaffleWich”, two gluten free waffles with a tasty filling in between.

This video shows a ‘different’ way to prepare gluten free waffles. This is a great trick to learn in the event that you are stuck in a situation where you fear that the only available toaster may be cross-contaminated.

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Baking with Gluten Free Pizza Crusts

0 Comments 21 May 2011

I used the gluten free pizza crust from French Meadow Bakery for my first experiment in making pizza from a professionally made pizza crust and my own toppings. I chose this package because each crust came in a single-use metallic pan used in many restaurants to make sure that gluten free pizzas do not come into contact with other grain products in the pizza oven. There are no cross-contamination issues in my kitchen, of course, but that pan certainly made it easier to clean up after I had finished my project.

My pizza project was a success! The pie tasted thousands of times better than any of the frozen pizzas I have tried in the past and cost about half as much. Adding my own toppings took only a few minutes. The crust was firm enough to support the toppings without being difficult to chew. The taste was was subtle but effective. From now on, when I need a convenience-pizza, I will use a pre-made crust.

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