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Celiac Disease Foundation is pleased to announce that UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) is now offering a Celiac Clinic.

Adult gastroenterologists, Eric Esrailian MD and Shannon Lewis MD will see patients on Tuesday mornings at 100 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 700, Los Angeles CA.

The UCLA Celiac Clinic will serve anyone who requires testing, is seeking a diagnosis or who is already diagnosed and needs follow-up care or a referral to another specialist.

For more info: http://gastro.ucla.edu/celiac

I have bee gluten-free for at least 2 and a half years now. And I really miss broccoli casserole, and green bean casserole. Of course both those recipes use the Durkee french fried onion rings which are definitely NOT gluten free. Don't you just wish the Durkee company would wise up?!

So I was absolutely delighted when I found a new product on the shelves of my local Giant: "Crisp Onions" made by Seneca Farms. They smell and taste much like Durkee's french fried onions, but just don't have flour on them. Here is the list of ingredients for "Crisp Onions": "Onions, Canola, Sunflower and/or Safflower Oil, Maltodextrin, Sea Salt."

My only question was whether the maltodextrin was free of gluten, so I wrote an email to the company asking. And here was the reply of Jan Stouch at their company:
"I have verified with the supplier of the maltodextrin that it is wheat/gluten free.  Seneca Foods Consumer Affairs"

I also know that Progresso now also makes a gluten-free Creamy Mushshroom Soup. Or I may use Classico's new gluten free "Mushroom Alfredo Sauce." Decisions, decisions! :) It's going to be broccoli casserole tonight, and quick and easy as it used to be! Yum! Can't wait.
From the FDA webstite:

Michigan Firm Recalls Beef Jerky Products Due to Mislabeling and Undeclared Allergen
 
Recall Release
CLASS II RECALL
FSIS-RC-044-2010
HEALTH RISK: LOW


Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113
Catherine Cochran

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2010 - M&K II Co., a Macomb, Mich., establishment, is recalling approximately 8,000 pounds of beef jerky products because they contain undeclared allergens, wheat and soy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The products subject to recall include: [View Labels]
1-ounce and 3-ounce packages of "FIREHOUSE JERKY MILD BEEF JERKY SMOKE FLAVOR ADDED." "Sell By" dates ranging between 06/16/11 and 11/14/11 are ink jetted on the back of each package.
1-ounce and 3-ounce packages of "FIREHOUSE JERKY PEPPER BEEF JERKY SMOKE FLAVOR ADDED." "Sell By" dates ranging between 06/12/11 and 11/25/2011 are ink jetted on the back of each package.

Each package bears the establishment number "EST. 6935" or "EST. 10002" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The code number "6935" is ink jetted on the back of each package. These products were produced on various dates from January 28, 2010, through May 21, 2010, and were sent to Firehouse Foods, Inc., a distributor in Alsip, Ill., for further Internet and retail sales.

The problem was discovered by FSIS during a labeling review at the establishment. FSIS has received no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an allergic reaction should contact a physician.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

Consumer and media inquiries regarding the recall should be directed to Terry Amerson, QA Manager, at (586) 677-3018.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov. "Ask Karen" live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.

Dining out Gluten Free

The one thing I really miss about being normal, is going into a restaurant and ordering the new pasta dish on the menu and not worrying about it causing you three days of severe pain--perhaps just a few pounds of extra weight.  So I find myself eating at home a lot. Being in the restaurant business I get a chance to really search for some new restaurant choices in gluten-free foods.

I love Italian and this is my biggest challenge, but so far I have actually found two very good choices in noodles. And my friends laugh because they know if I can't find something to eat I end up with grits and bacon. I would actually die if bacon was off limits. And candy--can you imagine being a kid with the crazy disease and not being allowed to eat candy, that would be suicidal.

The one problem I have with dinning out is trying to determine how serious the kitchen staff really take the cross contamination issue. Do they think that we are just over-paranoid morons? How many times have you gone home and had horrible stomach cramps for days and days after eating out and wondering just what did they do or better yet not do?

But I continue the battle along with the hundreds of others out there just like me who look for a healthy way to eat out that is not expensive, tastes good, and leaves me pain free.

Until next time happy cooking!

Recall of the Wild

We read almost daily about recalls of commercial foods which we thought were safe for a celiac disease diet. We are informed of contamination and undisclosed ingredients regularly right here at celiac.com thanks to vigilant posters. Jennifer and Destiny have both pointed out that which I have found is typical. You probably know, me as an unofficial self-designated drum beater for the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) which is probably stricter than your hated third grade teacher because it prohibits almost all commercially prepared foods. We warn people on our grain, starch and sugar free diet not only about undisclosed ingredients but the risk that even what seems to be an acceptable prepared food is subject to unannounced additions of unsuitable ingredients or changes in processing methods.

When it comes to this the label is a fable, because there is rarely public notification on the part of the product producer. One example is Applegate Foods which has made a number of changes in their hot dogs and deli meat over time making it sometimes suitable and sometimes not. What we do to validate ingredients is request a hard copy signed letter on company letterhead listing ingredients. If there are spices, we need a declaration that no anti-clumping or anti-caking agents have been added (I call them agent provocateurs). Larabar, which was taken over by General Mills, has long been a bar of contention and happily supplied us with detailed information both in both email hard copy. It remains a personal responsibility to periodically check with the companies supplying foods we find acceptable to see if anything has been changed because these recalls are wild!
Taken Directly from the FDA website:
 Pure Base Distrbution Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk and Wheat in "Pure Base Garlic Spread - Concentrate" and "Pure Base Garlic Spread - Ready to Spread"

Contact:
Alan Portney
909-230-6890

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 25, 2010 - Pure Base Distribution, LLC of Ontario, CA is recalling its 4 ounce bottles of “Pure Base Garlic Spread - Concentrate” and 7 ounce bottles of “Pure Base Garlic Spread - Ready to Spread” items because they may contain undeclared milk and wheat. People who have allergies to milk and/or wheat run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. If you or a member of your household is allergic to milk or wheat products, do not consume these products, but return them to your retailer for a full refund.

"Pure Base Garlic Spread - Concentrate" and "Pure Base Garlic Spread – Ready to Spread" were distributed nationwide in online and traditional retail stores.

The "Pure Base Garlic Spread - Concentrate" product comes in 4 ounce clear plastic bottles and "Pure Base Garlic Spread - Ready to Spread" comes in 7 ounce clear plastic bottles. Both items have lot numbers and Best By Date stamped at the top of their red cap. Affected Lot Numbers with their Best By Dates are as follows:

Pure Base Garlic Spread Concentrate:

92221, Best By 8/10/2010
92391, Best By 8/27/2010
92661, Best By 9/23/2010
92921, Best By 10/19/2010
93291, Best By 11/25/2010
100341, Best By 2/3/2011
100971, Best By 4/7/2011
101181, Best By 4/28/2011

Pure Base Garlic Spread Ready to Spread:
92641, Best By 9/21/2010
93021, Best By 10/29/2010
93291, Best By 11/25/2010
100391, Best By 2/8/2011
101181, Best By 4/28/2011

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem. Anyone concerned about an allergic reaction should contact a physician.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that the milk- and wheat-containing products were distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of milk and wheat on the label. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused by a temporary breakdown in the company's production and packaging processes.

Distribution of the products has been suspended until the FDA and the company are certain that the products are properly labeled.

Consumers who have purchased 4 ounce bottles of "Pure Base Garlic Spread - Concentrate" and 7 ounce bottles of "Pure Base Garlic Spread - Ready to Spread" items are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-888-980-7474, ext 105, Monday through Friday 9 AM – 4 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Polaner All-Fruit Jam with Fiber:  Is it really Gluten and Sugar Free?

How many of us find a trusted brand and happily spend the extra money to get that brand of that product so we don’t have to decipher labels each and every time we go to the grocery store?  I think of these products as “clean” – there is nothing in them that makes me sick and I can consume them without concern. 

For years I have purchased and consumed Polaner All-Fruit Jam.  With all their delicious fruit varieties, it has been my one “comfort” in the midst of the myriad of sweet sucrose-containing foods I cannot eat.  I put it on my gluten-free waffles and pancakes and sometimes even heat it up to make a fruit syrup.

Last Sunday I noticed my stomach was “blown-up” and cramping – the tell-tale sign that I’ve consumed gluten.  My husband had made brownies the night before, so I went through my kitchen, checking which utensils he had used, and asking him if he had possibly contaminated something I wasn’t aware of.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I endured more stomach cramping, headaches, fatigue, and mental confusion.  Friday, I woke up and thought I was better.  I decided I must have inadvertently eaten gluten from an outside source, and that I had recovered.  Then, I ate breakfast, and within the hour, the symptoms had returned.  All day long I worried about what my new intolerance was, how I was to find it, and how much more refined one person could make their diet.

Friday night, while making my daughter a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I got out the Strawberry Polaner All- Fruit and noticed for the first time that the words “with Fiber” had been added to the label.  I immediately checked the ingredients and was astounded to see “maltodextrin” as an ingredient.  Just to the right of the ingredients, however, I saw the words “gluten-free.”  And therein lies the problem:  sometimes maltodextrin makes me sick, sometimes it doesn’t.  According to the celiac.com website, it depends on the source, and obviously Polaner’s source or manufacturing practices aren’t clean enough for me.  Maybe they don’t test their maltodextrin every time, maybe the maltodextrin comes from “shared equipment”, but whatever the reason, this product now makes me sick and I am thoroughly disappointed.

It is frustrating that a company has to take a pure product such as an all-fruit jam and add something unnatural in order to tout some health benefit.  I know it’s marketing hype, but, for goodness sake, we’re talking about jam—let people get their fiber naturally and on their own terms. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am relieved to have found the culprit, but once again reminded how very careful those of us with celiac disease/gluten intolerance have to live our lives.  Snatching a favorite product off the shelves without checking labels each and every time just isn’t an option, especially when it takes someone like me up to a week to find that culprit!

I contacted the company with the following statement:

“Why ruin a wonderfully pure product – Polaner All-Fruit - by adding maltodextrin to it?  I have been sick all week and finally realized the Polaner All- Fruit with Fiber new formulation is the culprit.  Maltodextrin, even when proclaimed "gluten-free," can cause problems for those with celiac disease/gluten intolerance.   I am so disappointed - yours was the jam I trusted and now I can no longer have it.  Let people get their fiber naturally on their own terms!  In my opinion, you have taken an outstanding "clean" product and ruined it.”

Within two days I received this cordial and informative response:

Dear Ms. Arrington,

 

Thank you for your correspondence regarding our Polaner All Fruit brand. So sorry to learn that you were not feeling well after eating our newly reformulated All Fruit.

In speaking with Polaner All Fruit users in 2008 and 2009, many told us they are not getting enough fiber in their diets.   The response among these current All Fruit users to the concept of taking Polaner All Fruit and adding natural dietary fiber to the recipe was positive.  The majority told us that if the taste and texture could remain the same, they’d prefer a new version that provides a good source of fiber in every spoonful.  We often heard – “you can’t get enough fiber.”

The maltodextrin we use in Polaner All Fruit with Fiber is a soluble fiber produced under the brand name Fibersol-2.  Derived from nature, it is a concentrated form of soluble dietary fiber and remains undigested by enzymes of the human digestive system.

Fibersol-2 is produced from cornstarch, a completely natural product, using a method that results in a digestion-resistant maltodextrin. This non-digestible portion of the maltodextrin is tasteless and odorless.  It is extracted and then added to Polaner All Fruit to provide the fiber benefit.

Fibersol-2 contains a very small portion of sugar (<0.5 g total sugar per serving) making it perfect for sugar modified foods including true sugar free foods.  Based on FDA regulation, any product using this type of maltodextrin is considered sugar free.

We regret that you did not share the positive response to our reformulated All Fruit we’ve seen from others.

We appreciate your comments. They will be shared with management.

I wish you well.

After reading this I began to wonder if my problem was more with the <0.5g sugar content then possible gluten contamination.  If their maltodextrin is derived from cornstarch and is not produced on “shared equipment,” then it should be gluten free.  (I could buy a home ELISA kit and test it myself!)   I did appreciate their prompt and detailed response, but the knowledge that companies can label a product sugar free even when there are tiny amounts of sugar frustrated me even further. 

Regardless of the cause, now that the product contains maltodextrin, I can no longer consume it.  I went to the store and scrounged around until I found one lonely prior-to-fiber jar on the shelf.  It was a jar of Polaner Grape and maybe I can make it last long enough until they revert back to their old pure product or at least offer it as an option.

If this new product is also causing you problems, I suggest you go to http://www.polanerallfruit.com/polaner/index.html and let them know. For now, I am in the market for a new, pure, all-fruit jam!

After being successfully on the gluten free diet for one year, I purchased one of the gluten-free bread mixes and made a delicious loaf of bread.  I only had two slices and then the yeast hit my body hard.  It seems that being yeast free for a year had made me susceptible to it.  Then, although I repeatedly visited my family doctor for months with symptoms, none of her tests showed any problems.  My specialist had retired and no one had replaced him.

However, I had stopped digesting food, particularly carbohydrates.  My weight started dropping until I was 15% less than I had been.  At a 20% loss, I was finally referred to a dietician.  Not only did she give me advice on what I could try to eat, but she put me on a supplement called Florastor:
http://www.biocodexusa.com/florastor.html 

This product literally saved my life.  Initially I started with 4 capsules per day and within 4 days it had kicked that yeast out of my digestive tract.  Whew!  Nearly 3 years later, I need only take an occasional dose if I am having any digestive problems but this product will always been on hand.

Those Little White Lies

So you cheated on your celiac diet and got away with it? ( Or so you may think.) The IRS may not come after you but the BGB (bad gut bacteria) are almost certain to. The wrong foods feed unfriendly bacteria and cause them to overgrow and interfere with digestion. You say, you felt no immediate pain? The consequences may be delayed for weeks, but you are not likely to draw a "Get Out of Jail Free," card. If you have been on a healing diet like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for many months. All those poor microvilli which have been knocked flat were just beginning to pull themselves up again, and you have just given them a kick in the groin with that one grain croissant or bagel. This past weekend, seven locals on Specific Carbohydrate Diet met at our Whole Foods store. Four of us have been on our diet for up to a decade were asked why so long since so many people's main interest seems to be getting back to the Standard American Diet which is not called SAD without good reason. Our main explanations for keeping the faith were: even if we are not cured the diet enables us good management. The celiacs among us know we have to avoid grain and equally important, we really enjoy the purity and taste of "legal" foods. There are so many suitable foods available for gluten free diets especially the super stuff that originates in our own kitchens. It is just plain foolish to take chances and easy to be ambushed by undisclosed ingredients in many commercial foods. The best eating means no cheating!

Fire at Bakery On Main

Leading gluten free granola manufacturer Bakery On Main experienced a fire on June 1 at approximately 9:30 am in its granola and granola bar manufacturing plant in East Hartford, CT.   The fire started due to a faulty exhaust fan located in an attic area.

The building’s sprinkler system contained the fire and the East Hartford fire department responded with exceptional speed and professionalism to put out the fire.  The Bakery On Main team escaped without injury.

There was some damage to the building and electrical equipment, and while it is too early to estimate the time required to repair the damage, the company expects there will be enough stock left untouched by the fire in addition to  distributor stock to keep store shelves full until production can begin again.
 
Bakery On Main Founder and President Michael Smulders says that Bakery On Main hopes to be back in business very soon.  “We all appreciate the numerous calls of support and offers of help,” said Smulders.  “We truly have the best customers and friends.”
 
For more information, please contact Sara Lefebvre at (860) 895-6622, extension 305 or email at SaraL@BakeryOnMain.com.
New Product Recalls -Taken directly from the FDA website:

Wally's Nut House, LLC Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk, Soy, and Wheat
in the Following Products:
"Tailgate Crunch Mix, Sweet Cajun Heat Mix, Country Western Mix, Cranberry Raisin Mix, Party Mix,
Hot 'n Spicy Mix, and Louisiana Cajun Mix"
Contact:
James Bullard /800-748-7041
Wally's Nut House, LLC
PO Box 384
Oak Grove, MO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 27, 2010 - Wally's Nut House, LLC of Oak Grove, MO, is recalling its 16 ounce packages of Tailgate Crunch Mix, Sweet Cajun Heat Mix, Country Western Mix, Cranberry Raisin Mix, Party Mix, Hot 'n Spicy Mix, and Louisiana Cajun Mix snack mixes because they may contain undeclared milk, soy, and/or wheat. People who have allergies to milk, soy, and wheat run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.
The recalled products were sold through fundraising events in Kansas and Missouri and through mail order nationwide.
The product is packaged in 16-ounce clear plastic bags with a resealable opening. The product labels does not include any codes or expiration dating.
No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.
The recall was initiated after labeling omissions were discovered. Production of the product has been suspended until the FDA and Wally's Nut House are certain that the problem has been corrected.
Consumers who have purchased 16 ounce packages of Tailgate Crunch Mix, Sweet Cajun Heat Mix, Country Western Mix, Cranberry Raisin Mix, Party Mix, Hot 'n Spicy Mix, and Louisiana Cajun Mix are urged to contact Wally's Nut House for resolution. Consumers with questions may contact Wally's Nut House at 1-800-748-7041 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
New Product Recalls -taken directly from the FDA website.

Wally's Nut House, LLC Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk, Soy, and Wheat
in the Following Products:
"Tailgate Crunch Mix, Sweet Cajun Heat Mix, Country Western Mix, Cranberry Raisin Mix, Party Mix,
Hot 'n Spicy Mix, and Louisiana Cajun Mix"
Contact:
James Bullard /800-748-7041
Wally's Nut House, LLC
PO Box 384
Oak Grove, MO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 27, 2010 - Wally's Nut House, LLC of Oak Grove, MO, is recalling its 16 ounce packages of Tailgate Crunch Mix, Sweet Cajun Heat Mix, Country Western Mix, Cranberry Raisin Mix, Party Mix, Hot 'n Spicy Mix, and Louisiana Cajun Mix snack mixes because they may contain undeclared milk, soy, and/or wheat. People who have allergies to milk, soy, and wheat run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.
The recalled products were sold through fundraising events in Kansas and Missouri and through mail order nationwide.
The product is packaged in 16-ounce clear plastic bags with a resealable opening. The product labels does not include any codes or expiration dating.
No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.
The recall was initiated after labeling omissions were discovered. Production of the product has been suspended until the FDA and Wally's Nut House are certain that the problem has been corrected.
Consumers who have purchased 16 ounce packages of Tailgate Crunch Mix, Sweet Cajun Heat Mix, Country Western Mix, Cranberry Raisin Mix, Party Mix, Hot 'n Spicy Mix, and Louisiana Cajun Mix are urged to contact Wally's Nut House for resolution. Consumers with questions may contact Wally's Nut House at 1-800-748-7041 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

It has been one year this month since I eliminated gluten from my diet. Going gluten-free has changed my life dramatically, even in ways I  never dreamed of. Things that I believed to be incurable, have been cured, for example I thought I lost my sense of smell. Guess what? It came back when I eliminated gluten! No one can really understand the joy that one feels from having even one good, pain-free, “normal,” comfortable, healthy day unless they have been in chronic pain for a long time. I can honestly say, I finally know what it feels like to have one, even two really good days, and that''s enough to keep me going.

I was a relatively normal kid. Very active and healthy, in honors and accelerated classes in school and always a hard worker. I did have a sensitive tummy though, and I recall spending my entire recesses slowly eating my lunch while the other kids played. Then I hit puberty. That is when the following symptoms really began for me-at least as far as I can pinpoint.  At 13 years old I became a vegetarian in an omnivore  household. It was my first attempt at trying to heal by body-I innately knew that my diet was making me sick.

I spent the last 10 years of my life getting looked at like a crazy hypochondriac from my doctors and being told that all my physical ailments (which coincidentally were multiplying exponentially) were psychosomatic. My symptoms included but were not exclusive to the following (the list is too long to write, and I am still realizing symptoms that were likely related to gluten):  reoccurring eye twitches, unstable emotions, itchy bumpy skin, chronic severe acne-untreated by medications, hyperglycemia, chronic sensation of crawling out of my skin, chronic digestive upset,  undiagnosed restless leg syndrome so painful that it woke me at night and paralyzed my legs, always bloated in my abdomen, numbness in my fingers and toes, all of which eventually led to; projectile vomiting every morning, unexplained and sudden weight gain that would not reduce even though I could not eat or  hold  anything down, sudden adult set chronic asthma that was getting worse despite 3 different inhalers, night sweats, night-time tooth grinding, crippling flu-like symptoms which lasted for weeks at a time, IBS,  kidney stones, neck and back problems that left me paralyzed for days and weeks at a time, shooting/paralyzing pain down my shoulder and arm and into my thumb and fingers, severe and chronic anxiety attacks, and  insomnia -just to name a few.
 
After the initial reaction to eliminating gluten, (which involved various visits to the ER to be rehydrated since I couldn't even hold down water for weeks) most of my ailments miraculously disappeared. So for me, being gluten-free is not a choice but a lifestyle I must adhere to very strictly. I also found that I became sensitive to many other foods after eliminating gluten, and now I am gluten, dairy, corn, oat, egg, meat, and   refined/cane/beet sugar free. When I tell people what foods I have to avoid, the standard response is, “What do you eat??!!”

For those people, I have included a list below of foods that have carried me through these difficult times. The following are foods that I have been able to eat without a problem almost the entire time I've been gluten-free, even when I have trouble digesting anything else. They are not in any special order-they have all been equally important to me and my survival.

Top 10 foods that saved me:

  1. Blueberries are full of antioxidants, and for me, they are one of the few fruits I can safely eat. Blueberries can be added to cereal or salads and are a wonderful super food.
  2. Coconut Oil. I slather coconut oil on just about everything. Contrary to popular opinion, coconut oils is one of the best fats for your body to digest. Coconut oil aids in digestion and is easier for your body to digest than other common oils. There is a wonderful article in the Fall 2009 edition of the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity, which addresses many of the common misnomers regarding coconut oil. I make sure my coconut oil is gluten-free.
  3. Avocados are easy to eat and digest. They are full of protein, vitamins and healthy fats. Avocados can be added to just about anything for a filling meal. Avocados are a constant staple in my diet.
  4. Rice and rice products have gotten me through many hard times. When I felt I could not digest anything else, rice was always there. Even when rice was difficult for me to digest, rice pasta, tortillas and cereals sustained me.
  5. Sweet potatoes are full of nutrients and are also easy to cook and digest. Sweet potatoes are  very filling, so when I couldn't eat much of anything, I could always fill up on a sweet potato.
  6. Vegetables. Lot's of cooked vegetables. I eat vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whatever vegetables I can eat without a problem, I eat. I eat them raw, cooked, baked, steamed, stir-fried, you name it. I can never eat enough veggies.
  7. Coconut water is high in potassium and natural electrolytes. Coconut water keeps me hydrated naturally and it is a nice alternative to plain water-which is basically all I ever drink. It also seems to help keep my kidney stones at bay. I make sure to buy gluten-free coconut water, which is conveniently sold at many stores.
  8. Tapioca is easy for my body to digest. There isn't much in the way of nutritional value in tapioca, but it is a comfort food that comes in many forms and helped me get through hard times.
  9. Miso sustained me for many weeks when I could not eat anything solid. I made miso broth and added veggies as I was able to. Be careful-some miso is made with barley.
  10. Aloe Vera Juice (inner fillet). Aloe vera juice is not necessarily a food, but I drink it every day. If I have digestive trouble, aloe vera comes to the rescue. Aloe is healing and aids in digestion and also helps aid in  absorbing nutrients. I make sure to use the inner fillet because as my Ayurvedic doctor told me, 'there is no nutritional value in the whole leaf, only the inner fillet'.
Granted I am still healing, but as my Ayurvedic doctor said, 'it took you 34 years to get this sick and for your body to get this dehydrated. It is going to take a while to rehydrate your body and feel like a “normal” person again. You must be patient with yourself'. Whenever I feel impatient and don't think I can take another day of suffering, I remember those words and then I think about all of the hurdles I have already overcome.

My Fair Breakfasts

I mentioned in a previous blog, "Outsides, Insides" that Specific Carbohydrate Diet breakfasts out are a cinch. Breakfasts at home are even better. They almost make the day begin (Like breathing out and breathing in). Starting here, starting now-- breakfast is going to be "Wow." By now you may think you have heard enough about "the most important meal of the day." You know that breakfast gives you energy, prevents low blood sugar, puts enough into your stomach to hopefully nudge something out. Breakfast is a great opportunity for a little well deserved self indulgence. Have it on a tray, on the balcony or patio or accompanied by the morning papers, listening to the chatty talk radio host, enhanced by a single flower in a bud vase, but have it! Here are ten great Specific Carbohydrate Diet breakfasts. They don't all require a recipe. Some have nuts, some, eggs and some dairy. Try to work with what you tolerate. These menu suggestions work for me as a celiac. Don't forget diary is optional and not mandatory on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet diet. I probably have ten more where these came from!
  1. Egg crepe topped with sliced strawberries, honey and garnished with a dollop of yogurt.
  2. Breakfast cheesecake, Crumbled Specific Carbohydrate Diet nut muffin, mixed with dry curd cottage cheese moistened with yogurt, sweetened with honey.
  3. Grilled cheese on Specific Carbohydrate Diet toasted nut flour bread
  4. Midas Gold Pancake, with orange juice and honey syrup.
  5. Specific Carbohydrate Diet quiche. (Egg, yogurt, grated cheese and onion. Optional crust of pressed almond flour and melted butter baked first.)
  6. Specific Carbohydrate Diet granola made with dried fruit and nut pieces and homemade nut milk poured over it.
  7. Homemade sausage with an Specific Carbohydrate Diet omelet (include diced vegetables of your choice, pieces of cheese and even cooked bacon pieces.
  8. Poached egg on steamed asparagus or spinach or even mashed butternut squash.
  9. Naturally smoked salmon with dripped yogurt cream cheese, and herbs. Specific Carbohydrate Diet crackers.
  10. Specific Carbohydrate Diet Biscotti with homemade jam. Try coffee that sings. Make your coffee with added vanilla and cinnamon Add legal sweetener, honey or saccharin if you like. Breakfast may become your favorite meal.

Smoke Gets in My Eyes

The barbecue season is upon us. When pungent fumes envelope the neighborhood, although I may want a clothespin on my nose, I still crave a nice steak or burger on my plate. There was a time when the sight of a char broiled steak inflamed my senses and stirred the salivary glands, but now I just find the taste bitter. I stopped smoking thirty years ago and since contracting celiac disease and MCS am very sensitive to smokey odors. Fire regulations prohibit balcony barbecues here and, in any case, the Barbie broiling treatment obscures the flavor of the meat. The answer for this sometimes carnivore has been a square ridged skillet for stovetop grilling. Mine is by Henckels and has seen several years of good service and yielded many good servings. Bacon comes out nicely and looks fancy with the ruffled markings from the ridges. Start bacon in a cold pan and don't let the pan get too hot. Two things I want but have not bought are a wooden cube clock that displays the time in digital red LED when you clap your hands….and a bacon brick to keep the strips flat and neat. (They cost about the same and I although attracted by the novelty of both, have survived without either!) I want to do a strip of bacon in the grill pan because I need it and the pan for a recipe I could make very day in the week without getting bored. That would be my Specific Carbohydrate Diet friendly, studded "Bison Burger." Media mogul, Ted Turner owns and operates a ranch with the largest bison herd in the world. Bison is sweeter than beef.The meat is becoming an extremely popular choice, according to our savvy butcher at the Whole Foods nearby where coarsely ground bison is now available and is not costly. If I am invited to an outdoor gathering, the two carry-ons of choice would be a gas mask and a thermal bag with a couple of home cooked bison burgers inside. Here's how to make Studded Bison Burgers: For each one 1 strip sugar free bacon 1/4 pound coarsely ground bison 1/4 minced sweet onion 1 clove minced garlic 1 teaspoon capers 1 tablespoon ground blanched almond flour 1/2 teaspoon Orphee Dijon mustard a few drops of honey Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Dried rosemary and basil to taste 1 large, finely minced mushroom Partially cook the bacon starting it in a cold grill pan. Combine remaining ingredients and shape into a thick patty. Wrap bacon around the patty and secure with a pre-soaked toothpick. Grill on medium low heal for seven minutes on each side Cool slightly before serving. Yes, of course, if you insist, by all means go can go right ahead and barbecue the bison burgers.

Outside, Insides

Do the eating-out holidays like Mother's and Fathers' Day strike fear into your tender tummy? You crave the warm company of other humans, a chance to escape serving and cleaning up, and a reason to dress up (or not). I just finished the blog at Celiac.com about eating at a Japanese Hibachi restaurant and can really relate. Despite my having developed some good dining out strategies, invitations to leave home for a meal still generate some conflict and anxiety. Breakfast is a cinch. The family likes a retro grill which has been operating successfully for thirty five years. The O.J. is freshly squeezed and I dilute it with water. My order is bacon and poached or scrambled eggs.(I can have conventional bacon once a week, otherwise it must be sugar free) I request sliced fresh tomatoes on the plate. If the restaurant has steamed spinach, the eggs can go on top. I pick at the hash browns. Coffee gets diluted. On that topic, this week friends served me a frothy thick coffee made on their Jura Espresso machine. It was not actually Espresso but a steamed decaf. I was sure it was Cappuccino and knew the steamed milk was off limits but was assured no cow or goat was touched in the preparation of the beverage. The machine grinds the beans for each cup and extreme steam pressure froths the liquid. .This was the most delicious coffee I recall having in years. It was as thick as cocoa. Their machine was a gift and they warned it was expensive (that was the understatement of the year). I rushed home to Google "Jura." The machine costs $1398 (without the tax) That would be $4.00 for a single cup each day for a year not counting the cost of the beans. Best for the budget to stick to the Melitta cone and paper filter method. French restaurants work best for me when it comes to dining out.. French chefs seem overall to disdain additives and prefer pure ingredients. They are not insulted when questioned. Some practical lunch and dinner menu selections at restaurants are Steak and Frites, Steamed Mussels, Liver Pate (checked for no wheat added) roast chicken, steak, lamb chops, roast beef, broiled fish, steamed vegetables, and for dessert, fresh fruit, or the types of cheese allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (aged 30 days, no bifidus in the bacterial culture) While others are busy with the bread basket, I sip a nice glass of wine that has a zero sugar rating and go to work on field greens dressed with olive oil. The waiter at the beautiful Studio Cafe in the Toronto Four Season's restaurant upon being told I am a "Silly Yak,"garnished my meal last week with delicate onion rings battered in rice flour, a rare treat. (After ten years on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet I occasionally have rice or French Fries. "Occasional" is the operative word.) What really puts a slight damper on the festivities is discussion about how and why I am ordering and why, like the woman in "When Harry Met Sally," I can't have what she's having. Not every meal out will be in a restaurant, which brings us to Eating "OP" (at the homes of Other People) After all these years, I still get quizzed by the family on the "no, no's" and answering makes me feel like a demanding Diva so I have found it is best to bring some of my own food just in case. There is nothing worse than sitting with an empty plate and a forced grin while having illegal food paraded in front of you. The one thing that would be worse would be pouting at home and missing occasions to get together. Fortunately, one of my best friends with her own nutritional challenges enjoys consulting to provide a meal with "the right stuff." It does get tiresome to have your world revolve around your stomach but there are many things that are worse and hey guys, our food is better. Don't you agree? Get out, but consider your insides.

Stop Thief!

I steal! I live a stolen life but try not to lie or cheat. This imitation of Oliver Twist includes adapting ideas from Iron Chefs, Hellish Kitchens and my favorite Canadian Chef, Laura Calder. You can Google Laura and also find her on The Canadian Food Network Website and there you can watch her "French Food at Home" videos and read her recipes. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and being a true Recipe Robin Hood, I share and don't get paid for the adapted knockoffs, I also credit the sources.

If Martha Stewart, no stranger to judgment herself, were to judge, she might say, "It's A Good Thing." Why would a kindly almost eighty year old granny be a swiping viper? It is out of love for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the need for you to know it does not deserve to be called "too restrictive" just because it has restrictions. A lot of people who are considering the diet insist they will not be able to manage it without some convenient ready made foods.

Others are high speed individuals who have lived their lives on fast food (which may have been what brought them to the point where they needed a special gastrointestinal diet). And then there is my beautiful wealthy cousin who welcomed us to her architect designed home, offered us refreshment and asked if someone could please come to the kitchen and show her how to make instant coffee. People like this actually exist and must have been the original reason behind the Diners' Club. Convenience foods do exist for Specific Carbohydrate Diet but I for one cannot attest to all the ingredients as being compliant.

What often happens is once on the diet and either getting the knack of cooking or help in cooking ahead in large batches and freezing, Specific Carbohydrate Dieters come to the point of preferring "homemade." That's where the celiac copycat capers come in. It is fairly simple to take a conventional recipe and tailor it to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet with very few substitutions. Sugar becomes honey Flour becomes ground nuts ...and so forth. Sometime in the next few months, Specific Carbohydrate Dieters in the Greater Toronto area will enjoy a Potluck Luncheon. I have been to five of these over time, and the home cooked food is amazing. Some of the recipes come directly from "Breaking the Vicious Cycle," some from Specific Carbohydrate Diet cookbooks.

Naturally, my contribution will be plucked from the cache of borrowed bounty. If you are in the GTA or Southern Ontario area, on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and would like to attend and bring an Specific Carbohydrate Diet compliant homemade recipe, you can email me for more info at: carolfrilegh@yahoo.com No spam please!

Many many Specific Carbohydrate Diet recipes exist in Specific Carbohydrate Diet cookbooks and are also found FREE on the Internet. Since website links are subject to change you can Google "SCD recipes" or you can Google the specific type you would like: Example: key in the words "SCD cookies" and troves of links will appear. All our recipes are gluten, starch and sugar free. If those don't have appeal, steal,...but please give credit where credit is due. I always do!
This is great, but was unfortunately cut from last week's Saturday Night Live:

A Higher "Vegication"

Every diet has its day, its foods and even its decade!

My pre-Celiac days with The Ladies Who Lunch, passed pleasantly for decades before celiac disease found me.  In the forties we liked Danish pastry and crullers, in the fifties, ordered toasted English muffins or bagels. Next we graduated to continental  croissants and Caesar salad following was the launch into an era of Muffin Madness...up to twenty variations or more, and they reached gigantic proportions. Muffins became so popular bakers started offering muffin tops. Then it was  Krispy Kreme, now forgotten and maybe even gone.

Time passed and along came designer pizza, let's not forget risotto, and Sushi, currently and rapidly being eclipsed by raw food and vegetarianism.

In the absence of grain, I am finding vegetables a great bonus. They help with constipation by providing fiber. They are rich in vitamins and minerals. They artfully mimic things you may not be able to have.

Beets are my Ex Lax ! I boil and cool them and then remove the skin, slice or dice, add parsley, capers, garlic, rosemary, thyme, raw onion, salt and pepper and olive oil. (wear kitchen gloves or put plastic bags on your hands to keep from turning glowing magenta.)

I mentioned in an earlier blog making "fries" and there was concern expressed about saturated fat.) I don't deep fry often, but do frequently  toss vegetables in olive oil and bake them in a hot oven until very crisp. I do this with beets, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, turnip (on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet turnip is a very advanced food) and even onions. (you can also dip these in egg and then almond flour first.)

Cauliflower is my rice although I eat real rice from time to time. Hand grate cauliflower or use the grating disc in a food processor. Simmer it in boiling water for three minutes then drain and rinse it with cold water. Now you can stir fry it, or make a sauce or even add beaten egg, grated onion and almond flour, salt and pepper, a pinch of baking soda  and bake it in a little heated oil in a hot oven for nearly an hour until it is a crispy pudding.

One of the delights associated with getting a "vegecation" is the new trend to Eat Local and patronize farmers' markets. It gets you up early, out into the fresh air and you are an audience to a glorious rainbow of treasures from the earth. And you can usually bring your dog

There are days when I go meatless and marvel and how satisfying  my meals are using a lot of veggie variety. I add substance with properly soaked (overnight) and pre cooked legumes.

Another nice thing about vegetables is they are included in both the gluten-free casein-free and Specific Carbohydrate Diet diets. I also notice that the carbs in vegetables don't seem to cause me weight gain like the ones I used to have from grains. Scientifically that may not be logical  but the fact that I've kept off eighty six pounds for ten years must mean something.

It's all part of a higher "vegetation!"

My husband and I decided to go out to a Japanese steak house-hibachi grill. After over an hour of searching, trying to find out "what can I eat" I finally gave in and called the restaurant.

I'm new to celiac disease, and wasn't sure what I could eat at the restaurant. When I called, at first I was a little leary--the young woman on the phone tried to tell me that they didn't cook with any soy sauce. I knew this to be untrue, but I felt a little more reassured when she said "If you have a specific allergy, they can always cook it in the back"

You see, the thing I hate most about celiac disease, is feeling so high maintenance when I go out. I just want to go out and eat, not interrogate the poor servers. I usually end up eating before I go out now a days, just to avoid the "possibility of contamination." (even that sounds harsh-contamination).

Well we went to the grill, and we had a really nice server. When I told her I had a gluten allergy (I read that saying allergy may get more attention than stating intolerance), the server looked at me a little strange. I politely explained that I can't have food that has soy sauce, flour, etc added, and as discreetly as possible handed her a 3x5 card I had written in advance stating what I could not eat. (Wheat, flour, barley, rye. I also wrote on the card, Also please no soy sauces, marinades, salad dressings or beer)

The server was so excited when I handed her the card, she sighed and said "Oh thank you, this will make it so easy".

So the end of my story has a happy ending. I went to the hibachi grill, they prepared my food in the back, and brought it out when the first set of food was served to my companions. My wonderful server also helped me avoid a possible threat--the salad dressing--she used my card I had given her to check the ingredients. Last but not least, for the first time in years and years, I was able to eat at a hibachi style grill, and I wasn't ill afterwards.
Am I still a high maintenance diner? You betcha'! But I'm also not going to be held hostage by celiac disease.

Old Hands, Old Pans

My aunt is nearing one hundred and one. My mother-in-law lived to be one hundred and two. If my maternal grandmother were alive today, she would be one hundred and twenty. They were all great cooks without recipes.

My mother in law always declared her secret...old hands and old pans. Her Primo, Numero Uno prize winning dish was Potato Pudding or "kugel" as it is also known. It was light and fluffy inside and had a hard crisp outer crust with magnificent crunchy corners. We all vied for the four only corners.

I have been able to  make a reasonable clone with butternut squash, because I have had to survive the past ten years without potatoes. They are starchy root vegetables and consequently, non gratis on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. 

My MIL overcooked everything and in pans they that been used for years yet somehow survived disintegration.  Her ancient overused aluminum baking sheets were bronzed and approaching black.

People who were late for dinner got the better version of her roast chicken as it remained in a warm oven long after those present were served and in so doing, developed the patina of cherry wood.

Despite the fact there are countless Specific Carbohydrate Diet recipes in cookbooks and on the Internet, I find as I approach eighty, I am my own grandma and do not always rely on measuring devices, but more on techniques.

The Browning Version
I use the same drill for my favorite saucy  meat and poultry one pan dishes that are very French in style.  Add some vegetable or olive oil to a heated pan, and also some butter. Brown sliced onions and some garlic. I add slices of butternut squash and brown them too. Then everything gets pushed to a corner and I brown the meat.

That could be pork tenderloin, a chicken breast (bone and skin still on), veal cubes, or lamb etc.  Apply big sprinkles of seasoning, basil, oregano, rosemary and parsley, sometimes thyme too and of coarse osier salt and freshly ground black pepper. I remove the pan, splash in chicken stock and grape juice, even a drop or two of honey and part of a teaspoon of mustard. Sometimes I add a little tomato juice.

The lid goes on, the heat is turned down and I add frozen peas and simmer this until the sauce is reduced and the meat tender. Everything gets removed to a plate, while the sauce cooks on super low until it is as thick as I like it and then I add a large pat of butter which gives a lovely gloss. Everything gets put back in the pan, stirred gently until nicely coated and then is ready to serve.

Usually, I start out making this midday so I won't have to cook dinner, but have always ended up eating it on the spot!
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