Weekly Highlights in the Gluten Free World

Weekly Highlights in the Gluten Free World 5/9/2014 And Then Disney Here We Come

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy in our neck of the woods, from birthday parties and Easter to warding off emerging toddler allergies and packing for Disney all leading up to a couple of days of fun in the Florida sun! So for the highlights for this week, I’ll share everything from allergen sniffing dogs and an Udi’s airport restaurant to our Disney restaurant plan! There’s just so much to share and I can’t wait to dive in!

Udi’s Cafe and Bar….in an airport!!!!:

Thanks to Gluten Free with Lauren Marie I’ve learned that if you’re gluten free and traveling through Denver’s International Airport then you’re in for a fantastic surprise. Denver’s airport is home to Udi’s Cafe and Bar, in other words a haven for the gluten free diner. No longer will travelers have to scour the entire airport only to end up tired and hungrier before without a bite to eat except for a packaged bag of chips. Each time I travel I dread the inevitable dilemma of eating in the airport, hence why I bring my own goodies. I certainly have to admit though that it would be very nice to enjoy a gluten free salad or sandwich that didn’t get squashed and bumped around in a little sandwich baggy on our trek through the airport. You can finally do just that, at least in Denver that is. Let’s cross our fingers that Udi’s Cafe and Bar will have great success and hopefully branch out of the Denver area to some of our local airports. For now, read the rest of Lauren Marie’s review of Udi’s Cafe and Bar and learn what tasty gluten free meal she was able to enjoy on the go. Thanks so much Lauren for sharing the progress that the gluten free world is making, let’s hope it continues to grow!

10 Prenatal Power Foods: 

 I came across this awesome prenatal resource on FitPregnancy and couldn’t wait to share with my mommy’s-to-be. This article shares amazing food sources that are high in essential pregnancy nutrients like folate and fiber and are gluten free too. Along with the explanation of nutritional benefits of each of the ten power foods, they also suggest tasty ways to enjoy them, which is always important when you’re talking to a pregnant woman with a super sensitive palate and tummy. Some of my favorites on the list include chives, artichokes, figs, and basil, most of which I ingest often anyway. Take a look at their entire list here and recommended ways to add them to your diet. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mommy’s and mommy’s-to-be out there!

A Gluten Sniffing German Shorthaired Pointer: 

So this is the second article I’ve seen recently about a dog being able to detect a specific allergen in foods and let me just say…wow! In this particular case posted on the LivingstonDaily.com, a woman with a severe version of Celiac and whose health was greatly deteriorating, enlisted the help of a gluten-detection dog. Her dog, a German Shorthaired Pointer, began training to detect gluten at just 17 weeks old and was imprinted with the task in just four months. Her gluten-detection companion can smell gluten in all of its different forms and identifies it by pawing at the items which contain traces of gluten. If this method of allergen detection catches on it certainly would be a huge step to allow individuals with food allergies, like my poor little nephew who has life threatening food allergies, diseases, and intolerances to purchase foods safely with assurance that they are free of deadly or dangerous ingredients. Yet another reason that I love dogs, I only wish my little furry friend could be trained to do the same. Check out the rest of this story here and keep any eye out for more stories like this one to pop up, I have a feeling this concept may catch on.

Sweet Note Bagels….Finally A Gluten Free Bagel That Tastes And Feels Like A Real Bagel:

This past weekend I stopped by an event at a local health food store to check out a newer brand of gluten free bagels that I had been salivating over for the past few months. Sweet Note Bagels has finally accomplished the impossible and produced gluten free bagels that taste and feel like gluten filled ones. They offer a number of varieties including plain, poppy seed, sesame, cinnamon raisin, and my favorite everything bagels. Not only are these gluten free but they’re also dairy, egg, and soy free as well, a huge perk for anyone out there with multiple food allergies.They distribute to many stores and restaurants across multiple states so check out their store locator to see if you can pick some up near you; but if you can’t purchase these locally, no worries, as you can pick some up on their website too. Give these a try, they are a delicious treat! Sweet Note Bagels has certainly done a bagel lover over here proud!

Disney World, Here Comes The Gluten Free Mom To Be Plus Two:

Disney 2013

As the days slowly tick by during the past few weeks, we’ve been counting down until our departure for Disney World. And it’s finally almost here! Our little one has actually technically already been to Disney World two times, once in the womb so I guess that was somewhat of an obstructed view for her but the other she was front row and center, basking in all of her favorite characters. We took little one to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, she met all of the characters and loved each one especially Mickey, Ariel, and Snow White, she tried out lots of our favorite childhood rides laughing and enjoying all of the animatronics, but her ultimate favorite Disney event were the parades where she laughed and played with the characters and even got a kiss from Snow White! It was our first family vacation as a family of three and at only 9 months I’m sure my little girl had an amazing time that we luckily captured with so many photos to share with her in the years to come. 

With the Disney channel on in our house almost 24/7, little one, now 16 months, loves each of Disney Junior’s stars but her favorites by far are Mickey and his friends. Although she loved Mickey on her first trip, now being mobile on this one, I can’t wait to see her run up to her favorite Disney friend and give him a big hug (hopefully, barring any toddler freak outs or shyness). Along with all of the fun that Disney World will certainly bring this time, I can’t wait to dine in some of my favorite restaurants and indulge in some delicious gluten free cuisine, which Disney does so well. On our gluten free itinerary we’re planning on revisiting Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom, 50s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios, Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot, and Cinderella’s Castle for our final night. Along with our favorite restaurants, we like to always try something new so we’re testing the waters in Epcot’s Mexico and Morocco restaurants to see how they hold up to the gluten free test. A couple of other food sites on our radar for lunch or snacks include of course the Dole Whip in Magic Kingdom, Turkey Leg also in Magic Kingdom (this one is a tradition for us ever since we dated), and the wine cellar, Tutto Gusto in Epcot for a quick bite (we haven’t been to this one but we’re excited to give it a try)

So that’s it for now, a little preview into our Disney experience. I’ll be sure to update you on all of our dining adventures when we return but also keep an eye out on Twitter for quick little sneak peaks as we go. Hope you enjoyed my weekly highlights in the gluten free world and as always share any thoughts or advice on anything that I posted!

Happy Mother’s Day!





Weekly Highlights in the Gluten Free World 4/5/14

I learned so much from some fantastic articles about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity this week! Take a look below to learn the truth behind gluten digestion medicines, tips on healthy gluten free living, great options to satisfy your carbohydrate cravings, and finally research regarding pregnancy health with undiagnosed celiac!

Can Glutenase Pills Help Digest Gluten?: Similar to Lactaid, which assists with lactose digestion for those that are lactose intolerant, there exists products such as Glutenase, Gluten Cutter, and Digest Gluten Plus which, I’m sure you could deduce from the names, are marketed to assist with gluten digestion. Ever since my gluten intolerance began I had always said that there should be something similar to Lactaid that could allow individuals to continue eating gluten containing products without the risk of reaction. Little did I know that products such as those listed above actually exist for that exact purpose. Now, the question popping up in all of our gluten free minds….do these supplements actually work? This is the exact question posed to Dr. Stefano Guandalini of the Celiac Disease Center at the University of Chicago. According to Dr. Guandalini, the likelihood of these supplements to efficiently digest gluten in those whose bodies cannot, is not as simple as we’d like to hope. Research has been done on commercial products which are marketed as gluten detoxifiers and unfortunately they are completely ineffective at reducing the amount of gluten that is toxic for celiac patients and those which are gluten sensitive. Follow University of Chicago’s Science Life here to read this segment in its entirety and learn where current research stands in this area.

The Hidden Risk in Going Gluten Free: In today’s world there seems to have been an explosion of drastic dietary changes, one of which being the “gluten free diet”. While this diet is certainly beneficial for many to follow I personally would never label it as a “diet” per se. Going gluten free out of medical necessity is a drastic lifestyle change that can unfortunately elicit the opposite result if you’re using the diet for weight loss. In the Celiac Handbook here, the pitfalls of the gluten free diet are highlighted along with tips on how to live a healthier gluten free life. When going gluten free, the number of items that you potentially have to cut out from your diet can be overwhelmingly large depending on your current diet. When cutting out or removing so many items from your daily eating regimen many tend to replace them with gluten free packaged products. Unfortunately if you examine the labels of some of these products a bit closer, you’ll notice ingredients such as rice flour and potato starch along with loads of unhealthy fats. While these items are free of gluten and good for you to eat in that area, they sadly usually contain lots of sugar and carbohydrates that can affect weight gain along with a number of other health aspects. What do you do then when you’re gluten free, and nearly half of your diet is eliminated just because of gluten? Well, according to the Celiac Handbook just stick to the goal of obtaining a truly healthy diet (just without the gluten). Meaning, keep everything as fresh and unprocessed as possible, focus on cooking from scratch whenever possible, and read labels and you’ll be on the right track. Learn more about living a healthy gluten free lifestyle here!

29 Gluten Free Ways to Satisfy a Carb Craving: Seeing as there is a section on my blog that is focused on satisfying your pregnancy cravings, I thought it was perfect to introduce you to this list of perfect carbohydrate substitutes. Some of my go to carb options while I was pregnant definitely made the list, including one of my favorites, the bagel. Pictured on this list specifically though is a divine looking bagel option, the super fluffy asiago bagel. A few other amazing suggestions fall into the breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert/snack categories. Some of the best breakfast options include the bagel of course, waffles, and nutella bread. Lunch and dinner highlights can be kind of interchangeable, as I personally eat leftover dinner for lunch the next day on many occasions; some of these include one of my personal favorites macaroni and cheese, chicken and jack cheese sandwiches, pizza, and biscuits and cheese filled breadsticks. Dessert highlights include the blueberry coffee cake (which could of course be an option at anytime of the day), pretzel bites, and chocolate brownie peanut butter cheesecake. Beside the fantastic craving ideas and pictures here on this list, included are the amazing recipes that go along with them so you can make these at home! Take a look and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of ideas next time you’re craving a gluten filled carbohydrate! 

Reproductive Life Disorders in Italian Celiac Women: Several years ago an informative study was done examining women’s health with respect to undiagnosed celiac and reproductive disorders. While we know that celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity can cause excessive damage to the intestinal tract we are also thankfully aware that the damage caused by the disease can be fully reversed and healed if a diet free of gluten is put into place. For women though, the repercussions living without a diagnosis of gluten sensitivity early on and not following a gluten free diet can cause innumerable challenges in a woman’s reproductive life. Without diagnosis, women can go on to have delayed puberty, infertility, higher risks of miscarriage and low birth weight, and early menopause. This study stresses the correlation between celiac disease and reproductive disorders especially those associated with pregnancy. If you suspect any type of gluten sensitivity than it is imperative to be tested for celiac as soon as possible so you can improve your health prior to pregnancy. If your body cannot digest gluten, avoiding it is optimal when you’re pregnant as to avoid many complications that can potentially occur. Just remember, if your test results do come back negative for celiac you still can have a gluten sensitivity which similarly requires following a gluten free diet. You can find the results of this case study here and read further to understand the importance of celiac disease screening in women with these reproductive challenges. 





Weekly Highlights in the Gluten Free World 3/29/14

Between Twitter, Google, and Pubmed there are so many interesting gluten free recipes, articles about the diet, and research regarding Celiac and gluten sensitivity. This week I’m sharing a few articles, one in particular addressing non-Celiac gluten sensitivity which happens to be my diagnosis.

Introducing Gluten Free Moon Pies: Do you remember those wonderful packaged treats that your mom and dad would slip into your lunch box for you to enjoy at lunch? Ah yes, I do, unfortunately those memories are getting more and more distant as the years pass. Thanks to adventurers like Cara at Fork and Beans, some of these delicacies will reenter our lives once again. Get ready for this, Cara has smooshed together three graham cookies, separated them with a divine marshmallow filling, and dipped the stacked delight in a chocolatey coating and voila a homemade, gluten free moon pie! These look absolutely delicious, and will make many of us gluten free eaters, children and adults alike, very happy! Ready to give these a try yet? I for one printed and added this recipe to my must make section of my recipe book immediately, so without further ado here you go!

Dr. Peter Green at the Celiac Disease Center: Several years ago, when I was undergoing the tumultuous process of diagnosis, I received countless negative test results. There’s probably nothing more daunting then feeling incredibly sick only to keep receiving negative test results. I finally was tested for Celiac, but much to my dismay came up only with another negative. After learning of a family history of gluten intolerances and Celiac, I tried out the gluten free diet and finally found my own diagnosis. In this interview with Peter Green of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, he addresses the somewhat newness of Celiac and non-Celiac gluten sensitivity. Although the disease is by no means new, it is somewhat under discussed among the medical community, hence the apprehension to suggest a food sensitivity as a diagnosis. Additionally, as in my case, when Celiac tests come up negative either due to true lack of disease or inaccurate testing, there is no additional testing as of yet to diagnose a gluten sensitivity, only suggestion to treat with a gluten free diet. If you’d like to read more of this interview and hear Dr. Green’s take on a future Celiac treatment, follow the link here

Ultimate Guide to Understanding Gluten Free Labeling: When I first went gluten free, to say that I was confused by all of the labeling dos and don’ts would be a serious understatement. Since then, I now can navigate a bit better through a sea of products that do not explicitly state gluten free on their labels. Unfortunately, there still exists so much ambiguity in the world of labeling with regards to allergens, specifically gluten content. Standards for allergen labeling are so inconsistent between companies and draw so much confusion for the gluten free shopper. In the Gluten Free School’s labeling article, they attempt to diagnose the meaning of the term gluten free as well as other common allergen statements. They explain that a gluten free statement generally indicates that gluten levels fall below a threshold of 20 parts per million. Among the products that are labeled gluten free, there exists those which contain a label of certification which differ from others that are generically labeled with the term “gluten free.” Visit Gluten Free School here and you’ll learn much more regarding the ever so confusing allergen statements.

Before You Buy Gluten-Free Products: The availability of gluten free products has markedly increased over the years along with the number of individuals requiring or opting to use these products. As the gluten free diet is being promoted as a healthier lifestyle, there is a growing demand for more gluten free products. Unfortunately, each of the new gluten free shoppers will learn in only a few short shopping trips, the elevated cost associated with gluten free shopping. Despite the growing availability of gluten free groceries these products continue to be more expensive than their regular, non-gluten free counterparts. According to Fox Business, consumer reports estimate that gluten-free products can cost two to three times more than regular non-gluten free products which I completely agree with. Thankfully many mainstream brands, such as Barilla and Betty Crocker, are hopping on the bandwagon and beginning to produce products which are competitive with strictly gluten free brands. Learn a few more gluten free shopping tips here in Fox Business’ article.



Weekly Highlights in the Gluten Free World 3/21/14

Today I’m launching a new section of my site where every week I will share anything gluten free, such as new recipes that I am eager to try and even gluten free research. I am so excited to share all that I’m learning about the gluten free world everyday and all that others are sharing as well! Now onto this week’s yummy, interesting, and helpful highlights.

  • Gluten Free Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies: In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, the online community was overrun with the eats and treats from the holiday. One treat in particular caught my eye, not only in its uncharacteristically green appearance but also in its unique combination of ingredients. I’m always eager to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet and what’s better than making a classic dessert a bit healthier by adding a veggie. Gluten free avocado chocolate chip cookies are such an ingenious idea and are an incredibly festive treat perfect for St. Patrick’s Day (but regardless of their green color can be enjoyed year round too)! The incorporation of avocado is basically in place of butter making the classic chocolate chip cookie much healthier but still keeping the wonderful taste and fluffy texture of the cookie. All I can say is kudos to Jennifer @Peanut Butter and Peppers for coming up with a unique variation to the gluten free chocolate chip cookie and I am super excited to give this recipe a try! Read more and catch a glance of Jennifer’s festive dessert here and keep an eye out to see how mine turn out!
  • Eating Gluten Free on a Budget: As a gluten free eater, the eternal question that exists in today’s economy is how to stick to a budget when gluten free food by nature is more expensive than regular food. Glutenfree.com provided us with a helpful list of recommendations for following a budget despite being gluten free. One tool that I use in particular and that glutenfree.com agrees is important is planning ahead and making a list but most importantly sticking to it. For me, the sticking to it part is somewhat difficult as I tend to come up with new meal ideas while grocery shopping. While it’s okay to improvise some, try to keep a majority of you’re shopping to your list. One other tip that is highlighted in this article and I am a major fan of is reviewing your weekly circular and coupons for sale sales. When a gluten free item specifically is on sale, stock up on this product if the expiration is a ways away as the frequency of sales on allergy items is not that often. There are several more tips and tricks to sticking to your budget while living gluten free so take a look here and make sure to practice what you’ve learned!
  • Closing of Babycakes in Downtown Disney: Sadly Babycakes NYC, a highlight for many who vacation to Disney World, has closed its doors as of March 19, 2014. Although for the immediate future they will continue to supply specific resorts with allergy free treats as well as special order cakes for restaurant reservations, we will no longer be able to walk into their pastry paradise and have our pick off of an endless menu of treats. As of right now, it remains to be seen if the Downtown Disney Babycakes will reopen in a different location or remain closed for good. I certainly vote for its reopening, maybe even in a park location??? Here’s to wishful thinking!!! Keep an eye on their Twitter handle, @DTDBabyCakesNYC, for any announcements.
  • 6 Signs That You Are Gluten Intolerant: As many of you have probably learned from my story already, I lost over a decade of my life to pain and suffering due to gluten. Thanks to family, friends, and the power of internet searching I found my treatment. Out of the countless number of doctors that I visited over the years, none of them ever suggested a food intolerance leaving me without a diagnosis and still living in pain. Unfortunately many of the symptoms of gluten intolerance overlap with a number of diseases or food aversions so it makes diagnosis and treatment extremely difficult; that being said I do not think that a food intolerance should ever be ignored as a source of the problem, especially since testing is as simple as omitting items from your diet and seeing what happens. On that note, Underground Health posted 6 identifiable symptoms that could indicate a gluten intolerance. Among them is one of the most prominent symptoms that reflects distress on the gastrointestinal system taking the form of bloating, cramping, queasiness, etc. This symptom unfortunately can be indicative of many diseases or conditions so linking it to gluten intolerance is difficult. Take a look at the remaining symptoms here and decide if this could be a potential problem for you.

I certainly hope any or all of this information was helpful to you! Please feel free to comment with any thoughts or advice!