This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc. Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease SymptomsWhat testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease ScreeningInterpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test ResultsCan I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful?The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-FreeIs celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic TestingIs there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and DisordersIs there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients)Gluten-Free Alcoholic BeveragesDistilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free DietFree recipes: Gluten-Free RecipesWhere can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.For Additional Information: Subscribe to: Journal of Gluten Sensitivity
Abbysmom - thanks for the info! However, we are back at home in Maryland and unfortunately we don't have Jim N' Nick's here, but I will keep that in mind for the next time we are in the south! I suspect that it is likely that the catfish is fried in the same fryers, but it is definitely worth asking. We had gotten a business card from the manager when we were there, so I plan on emailing their corporate office to tell them how helpful the manager and the rest of the staff were. I also thought I would also ask if they would ever consider offering a gluten-free menu, since they already offer items that happen to be gluten-free to begin with. I figured I would send them contact info for the Gluten Intolerance Group.
BTW - We went there again for lunch one more time before we left and I had the beef brisket - also delicious!
I am staying outside of Charleston, SC this week, and I just wanted to share an experience I had. I saw above that Moe's was recommended. I checked them out online and found an allergen chart that looked like it listed all of the chips and tortillas (even the corn ones), as well as the chicken and beef as containing gluten. So I called (the N. Charleston one, not the Marion Square one previously mentioned) to find out more, and I spoke with one of the managers. He didn't seem like he had ever heard the word gluten before, and he told me that he was sorry, but he "didn't know anything about any allergens." He was surprised to hear that they even had an allergen chart online. He pretty much told me he couldn't help me at all, so I just said I would find somewhere else to eat.
I had already decided against Moe's, but I did call their corporate customer service number from the website anyway. The woman I talked to there was very kind and much more knowledgeable. However, she did inform me that indeed ALL of their corn chips and tortillas contain gluten, as they are fried at the restaurant in common fryers with gluten-containing items, and that the chicken and beef have gluten in their marinades. So, it looks like really the only thing you could get there would be beans and rice, although after my conversation with the manager at the particular restaurant that I called, I don't think I would trust them even for that.
I did, however, have an absolutely wonderful experience with Jim N' Nick's Bar-B-Q. I talked about it in a separate post here: http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/index.php?showtopic=58748
Hope this helps someone!
I have heard wonderful things about Mustard Seed (also mentioned above), and I plan to try there tonight. I will post my experience!
My family is staying just outside of Charleston, SC this week, and I wanted to let everyone know what a wonderful experience we have had at Jim N' Nick's Bar-B-Q in North Charleston. We have been there twice for lunch so far. The first time, a couple of days ago, the staff there was very kind and helpful with trying to find gluten-free menu items for me (they do not have an actual gluten-free menu). The waiter and the kitchen manager were a little unsure if one of the ingredients in the BBQ sauce contained gluten, so I ended up with a baked potato for lunch, but I was grateful that they were being so careful about it. They did pan-cook a chicken breast for me separately, to serve over the potato with cheese and bacon. The waiter said that they would contact corporate to find out about the sauce, so that they would know for sure. We went there again today for lunch, and it just so happened that the general manager was there that day. He assured us that the BBQ sauce does not contain any gluten, and that none of the meat in their smokers contain any gluten. I was able to get smoked BBQ chicken, which was delicious! I can't wait to go back and try the beef or the pork!
Here is a link to their website: http://www.jimnnicks.com/
They do have a lot of breaded and fried things on their menu that obviously would be off-limits, but the smoked meats are not prepared near these things (although I would still make sure to alert the staff of the need for gluten-free before you order, just to help insure any accidental cross-contamination). We were also told that if I wanted to get a sandwich, it would be fine for me to bring in my own bun.
I can't say enough about how kind and helpful the manager and staff were there! I told them I would spread the word that they are a gluten-free friendly restaurant!
Thanks, Taweavmo3! I guess that maybe I will have to take that into account. I still can't figure out why it doesn't seem to matter in the other recipes, though, especially for the cake. Or maybe those recipes would be even better than they are already! Maybe it's good that I don't know what I am missing, or I would go broke! I live on the East Coast, and the last I checked the price on that flour, it was completely outrageous to have it shipped here from California where Authentic Foods, the company that makes it is located. Maybe I will check with my health food store and see if they would consider stocking it, since I know they already carry the Authentic Foods sweet rice flour.
The cookie recipes call for shortening. Butter or margarine are actually supposed to cause exactly the problems I am having with my gluten-free cookies, although I am using shortening. And the 2 cookie recipes I have tried so far do also call for xanthan gum. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the superfine rice flour is denser because it is more finely ground, and maybe it would absorb more liquid than the flour I am using? But if that were the case, I would think that it would affect the other recipes as well, especially the cake recipe. Hmmm...
I have been diagnosed with celiac disease in the past 6 months, and this was the first cookbook that I bought. I bought it mostly because of all of the wonderful reviews I read on Amazon. I agree that it is a great cookbook - my family LOVES the french bread and the pizza crust recipe (my husband who is not gluten-free actually thinks that my gluten-free pizza is better than any gluten pizza I ever made!). I made the chocolate cake recipe for my daughter's birthday, and several of the parents were very surprised to hear that it was gluten-free, and a couple even told me it was the best chocolate cake they ever had. The cinnamon roll and brownie recipes are also awesome!
Unfortunately, though, I have been having a lot of trouble with the cookie recipes. I am not saying this to discourage anyone from buying the book. I am just wondering if I am doing something wrong and anyone else has had the same problems? The cover of the book has a raving review of the chocolate chip cookies, but mine just flattened and covered the whole pan and never set. I tried adding more gluten-free flour mix (a LOT more), and chilling the cookies on the sheet before I baked them, and finally got something edible. I just tried the gingersnap recipe, and the first pan to come out of the oven did the same thing. I haven't tried adding anything to the rest of the dough yet.
Most of the rest of the recipes I have tried have come out so good, and I have heard such glowing reviews from others about this book that I am sure there must be something I am doing wrong. I am generally a very good baker, and I know I am measuring all of my ingredients carefully. I will admit that the only thing I have not been doing according to the recipe is using the superfine brown rice flour. I can't afford it, so I have been using regular brown rice flour in my flour mix. This has not seemed to matter in any of my other recipes. I know she says that her baked goods have a better texture with the superfine flour, and I am sure that my baked goods would be even better if I did use the superfine flour, but I can't imagine that this would be causing the particular problems that I am having with the cookies. Has anyone else tried the recipes with regular brown rice flour or had the same problems that I have been having? Thanks!
And honestly, for anyone who is thinking about this cookbook, I would still recommend buying it, even if just for the pizza crust recipe alone! I was even able to prebake pizza crusts (underbake them just slightly), put toppings on them, and then freeze them. We are able to have frozen ready-to-bake pizzas again, and they taste even better than the gluten-full ones in the stores! :D
Okay, update - I was going to send an email to ConAgra, but since the phone number in the link from Happygirl was different from the one I had called previously, I decided to try that number first. As it turns out, the number I called last week was specifically for ActII, but the other number, 1-877-266-2472, was ConAgra's corporate customer service number. I spoke with Lisa, who was absolutely wonderful, and described to me in great detail the same labeling policy from Happygirl's link. This was before I mentioned the previous problems I had encountered. I described my confusion with my previous call to the ActII customer service number, and she apologized and said she would contact them to make sure that they were all on the same page as far as the labeling policy. I also described the info that I found on ConAgra's website that seemed to imply that they were only labeling gluten from wheat sources. She was very interested in this, and she got the exact web address of the page from me. I suggested that it would be helpful if ConAgra could consider updating that info on their website with the policy that she had described to me, and she said she would definitely pass that info on. She was very kind and courteous, and she addressed my concerns completely. I even made sure that I got her supervisor on the line so that I could complement her excellent customer service. She made me feel so much better about ConAgra's gluten policy that I wish I could change the subject of this email, so as not to damage the company's name! I feel bad for jumping to conclusions, but after getting troubling info from 2 separate ConAgra sources, I was definitely concerned. It sounds like I fell victim to one less than helpful customer service rep at ActII and some somewhat outdated info on the website. I feel much relieved now! :)
Spunky - I agree. In recent years I have started doing this to some extent, and now will probably be doing it more, but it is an extreme relief when you know there are at least some prepared foods you can trust!
Thank you all for your replies! It is true that this is all very overwhelming and confusing. Even though I was on an even more restricted diet than this when I was breastfeeding my daughter, who was on multiple dietary restrictions, I am finding the gluten-free diet more frustrating in many aspects, just because it is so difficult to determine all of the sources. I guess I am also more frightened because I don't have any symptoms, so I am afraid that I could be ingesting gluten and causing damage without even knowing it.
I still want to write to ConAgra, because I have learned from dealing with food allergies to make sure that I can always verify info with the source, but all of your confidence in the company does make me feel much better about the situation. I was very excited when I had initially read on here that ConAgra's labels could be trusted, because they make SO many things!
happygirl - I had also found that same link, which was part of what confused me. I can discount my phone conversation because of their inability to provide a "guarantee," which I guess I can understand. But I wasn't sure why the statement that I found on their own website seemed so different from the other statement from them that you found.
Just out of curiosity, have any of you seen a ConAgra ingredient label that has a gluten source other than wheat labeled? I am just wondering, if they are labeling it, how it would look. Thanks to all of you! This website/forum has already been an invaluable source of information for me!
I am very newly diagnosed with celiac disease. Although I have had to deal with reading ingredient labels and labeling policies due to my 3 year-old's food allergies, I have to admit that trying to find hidden gluten in foods is a million times more difficult and frustrating than trying to find hidden dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, or fish. Because I had read many posts here stating that ConAgra has stated they will label all sources of gluten, I was VERY upset after my recent experience with the company.
I called ConAgra on 10/30/08 to verify that the ActII popcorn that we had bought did not contain gluten, as it does state on the ingredient label that it contains artificial and natural flavors and coloring. I spoke with a customer service rep who would not guarantee that it did not contain gluten. What he said was that ConAgra does not add any gluten to the product, but they will not guarantee that the ingredients that they buy from vendors do not contain gluten. I asked if there was any way to contact these vendors to find out what was in the ingredients, and he said that they could not give out any information on their vendors. When pressed, he reluctantly told me that he could "make some phone calls and see what I can find out." He said he would call back in a day or two, but I have not yet gotten a response.
I then tried looking at ConAgra's website, and managed to find this statement on a FAQ page:
"We are sorry to inform you that we do not have a source that lists the gluten content of our products. However, our product labels list common allergens, such as wheat, for those allergic to wheat gluten."
Here is the page: http://www.conagrafoods.com/utilities/nutr...l_info_faqs.jsp
This is alarming because it means (at least to my understanding), that they are not labeling gluten from sources other than wheat, although I know others have posted that they have been told differently by ConAgra, and that they are regarded by many to have a clear gluten-labeling policy. It does not bother me if they don't have a gluten-free list, as long as I know I can trust the ingredient label.
I plan on writing to ConAgra, and I will post any updates, but I wanted to share this.
Thank you all for your responses. It's not really what I want to hear, but realistically it sounds like I might have celiac despite my lack of symptoms (well, except for the fatigue). I am still holding out hope just a bit though. I keep coming back to the fact that I just had 2 relatively healthy pregnancies, and that even now, with my son having been exclusively breastfed until starting solid foods about 2 months ago, I would have expected him to not be gaining weight well or that I would be losing weight like crazy. And all of my other bloodwork is normal - no anemia or other deficiencies that they found. I guess all I can do is wait and see.
Fiddle-Faddle - Thank you, and I do keep trying to remember that you are right, and if I do have celiac, that I am lucky that it was found now while I am not having any problems. It is frustrating right now to think that I might end up on this restrictive diet when I mostly feel fine. However, I am trying to keep in mind that if 10 or 20 years from now I was just finding out that I had celiac because I was dying of intestinal cancer, the fact that I could have prevented it with a simple diet would seem like a missed opportunity, rather than the burden that it may seem like now. Hopefully, I will at least be one of those who feel much better anyway on the diet, even though I don't think I have symptoms now. That would at least make it easier to stay on the diet!
Jacqui - I would be very interested to hear what happens with your daughter's endoscopy, since you all seem to be in the same place that I am right now with the waiting (sigh...) Her story is also interesting to me, because although my daughter is only 2 (almost 3), she is also very tall and thin for her age and always has been since birth. Her pediatrician does not think that she has celiac, based on her history (but then, who would think I would, either), but she wanted to do the blood tests anyway to be sure, so now we are waiting on that, too. Please feel free to send me a message and let me know how you all are doing.
I am just wondering if there is anyone out there in a similar situation to mine. I went to the doctor complaining of feeling a little tired. I wasn't sure if it was even a big deal, but my doctor was very thorough, and because I mentioned that I have an uncle and a cousin with celiac disease, he ordered an IgA-tTg, as well as several other blood tests. Most of my tests came back normal - no anemia, hypothyroidism, or vitamin D deficiency, blood counts and blood chemistry all normal. My IgA-tTg, however was around 100, which I know is a rather significant positive. I was sent to a celiac specialist who has ordered a biopsy, and I am waiting now to have it scheduled. I know that the blood test is supposed to be 96% specific for the disease, so I guess I am just grasping at straws, but it is hard for me to believe that this all came from my complaint of feeling "a little tired." I feel otherwise healthy, and I have a toddler and an infant who are healthy. I find it hard to believe that if I were malnourished in any way that my pregnancies would have been so healthy or that my infant, who is breastfed, would be gaining weight so well, especially if I am not losing any weight. My toddler has also been tested, and we are waiting for the results now. I was told at this point that my infant was too young to worry about testing him right now. I would love to hear from anyone with similar circumstances! Thanks!