There are several flavors of Bumble Bars, although I’ve only had the original, cherry, tropical fruit, and apricot flavors. My mom brought me these bars from the Sprouts store in Texas. We took these on our camping trip and ate them in the car, hence the fancy map background on the pictures.
These bars are interesting because they are nuts/seeds held together with agave nectar. So, the bars are flexible and they kinda fall apart while you’re eating them (so it was a little difficult to eat in the car). They are really quite yummy, but a little sticky.
I enjoyed the apricot flavor the best, but most people in the car liked the tropical fruit more. Although, I have to admit that I felt really healthy and free spirited eating something that is comprised only of dried fruit and seeds. The bars have only a tad bit of sweet flavor, so they aren’t very sugary.
All in all, I enjoy them more so than most bars. My only problem is that I don’t understand where the bumble bee theme on the bars came from since there is no honey in the bars. Bumble Bars, please answer me that!
I've been really searching for easy to fix gluten free meals. The only exposure to the Mrs. Leeper's brand I had more this was their corn pasta. I am not a huge fan of corn pasta, just because the corn flavor doesn't quite go as well with most meals as well as rice flavor does. Plus, the corn pasta's texture is a little different from the rice pasta I'm used to. Anyhoo...
Basically, their gluten free beef lasagna is a hamburger-ish type meal. Just add ground beef and you are ready to go. It took a little longer than the 15 minutes promised on the box, but the results were worth it. Very few brands seem to use corn pasta, but I thought that it blended wonderfully with the spices in the mix.
The box suggested to add cheese and fresh basil. We added cheese, since fresh basil is in short supply at my tiny apartment. I definitely recommend adding the cheese. Afterall, what doesn't taste better with cheese?
We also fixed green beans on the side, which was a nice addition. It fed three hungry adults with no leftovers, so I don't think it's quite enough to feed a family of four even if there are children.
In conclusion, I was very impressed with the product! The quality of the food was higher than any boxed food I've had. The taste was amazing, definitely better than Hamburger Helper! I will look into buying more Mrs. Leeper's box meals in the future.
Company – Mrs. Leeper's
Price - Don't know, it was a gift
Review – 5 out of 5 stars
Preparation - Buying a pack of ground beef, ~20 total to cook
Gluten Amount – No gluten ingredients used
Allergians - Contains milk and soy ingredients
After searching for interesting things on Mahalo.com's website, I stumbled across this gluten free diet webpage on their site.
I think it's exciting to see that there is more and more awareness to gluten and the gluten free diet! I think some of their links leave a little to be desired, but all in all, it's not too bad. You can also recommend additional links at the bottom to make the page better.
I hope that they make a page for gluten in general, but one step at a time!
Hello everyone! I’m back after some time off, hope everyone is hanging in there after all the craziness over the past few weeks.
I’ve been chewing Glee Gum for a while now and really love it. The gum comes in little squares with a hard outside and a somewhat softer middle. I buy the gum at both Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market, although it is available elsewhere. The gum is all natural and contains none of the major allergens, so it’s safe for most people. Their FAQs page goes into more specifics, in case you are interested. It doesn’t contain any artificial flavorings either, which makes a wonderful difference in the taste.
I’ve only had the peppermint and the tangerine with tangerine being my favorite. My only complaint is that normally I have to chew two squares at the same time to get it to be equivalent of a ‘normal’ size piece. The flavor doesn’t last as long as a normal piece of gum, but the flavor is better in general.
I highly recommend it! Most of my friends that have had it say it’s the best gum that they’ve ever tasted, so it’s not just for people with food allergies!
Company – Verve Inc.
Price - .89 cents
Review – 5 out of 5 stars
Preparation - None
Gluten Amount – No gluten ingredients used
My Grandmother passed away a few days ago, so I'm visiting my family/attending the funeral and won't be updating until I'm back home. Sorry for not posting this sooner, it just entered into my mind.
But, look forward to a review about the famous Rendezvous BBQ restaruant in Memphis (they actually knew which of their products were gluten free)! Maybe I'll write an article about funerals and dealing with the food you get from people. We'll have to see. Hope everyone is doing well.
Triumph Dining is giving away a free dining card if you are interested. Deal is only for August, so hurry!
They sent me a free set to review and I have to admit that I'm completely loving them! I'll give a full review after I get a chance to go to more non-English speaking restaurants, but the experience that I've had with them has been overwhelming positive and much better than I would have thought. Most of the time I've used them, the chef/cook will come out to my table to discuss specifics with me. How often does that happen without you even asking?
Anyhoo, check them out. They also have a new blog going too.
You know, every once in a while, I'm just really impressed by a food company. Doesn't happen often, but one company that has impressed me ever since I found out that I would have to go on the gluten free diet is Frito Lay.
I think it's because the ingredient list in their products is so easy to read. Most contain just a handful. Who would have guessed that potato chips only contain potatoes, oil, and salt? Abnormal in this day and age!
Frito Lay is one of the first companies who products I began to trust early on in my gluten free process because a large selection of their products are gluten free and I've never had a reaction to any product on their gluten free list.
Just look at their list of gluten free products! Yes, that is 161 products listed. They also seem to update the list every few months. Crazy!
Their customer service people are also really friendly and knowledgeable in my experience.
After my experience with Aveeno this week, I figured that I need to congratulate a major company that was succeeding in impressing me.
Hats off to you, Frito Lay!
Disclaimer: In the interest of full disclosure, I have had a family member work for Frito Lay (but, that's never stopped me bad mouthing a company before!)
I’ve had three different people come to me this week saying that their doctors think that they might have celiacs. They all asked me about common symptoms, so I decided to compile a list of the most common ones that I know of (based on organizations that I trust). Hope this helps. Feel free to list more if you know of any common ones that I missed. Also, feel free to list your own symptoms or ask questions about your symptoms and I will try to help you the best I know how.
**Remember, you don’t have to have any symptoms to have the disease**
Common Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating
Appetite (Increased to the point of craving)
Recurring bloating, gas, or abdominal pain
Stools (Any of: Loose, Hard, Small, Large, Foul smelling, Floating, Discolored, Frothy)
Weight loss / weight gain
Other Physical Symptoms
Bone or joint pain
Decreased ability to clot blood
Delayed growth or onset of puberty
Failure to thrive (in infants)
Infertility male & female, recurrent miscarriage
Missed menstrual periods (often because of excessive weight loss)
Mouth sores or cracks in the corners
Muscle cramping (Especially in the hands and legs)
Skin (Very dry, Dermatitis herpetiformis)
Tingling numbness in the legs
Tongue (Smooth or geographic - looks like different continents)
Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
Unexplained anemia (a low count of red blood cells causing fatigue)
Vitamin K Deficiency
Disinterested in normal activities
Unable to concentrate
For more information, please visit the following websites:
So, I was super excited yesterday to see that Trader Joe’s now has a flourless cake! I had heard through the grapevine that it existed, but I’m afraid that if you aren’t living on the East Coast, that you don’t get as many of the gluten free products in your local Trader Joe’s store. Where is the West Coast love, Mr. Joe?
The cake is listed on their “No Gluten Ingredients Used List” even though the packaging itself doesn’t have their new gluten icon.
The consistency is weird, which is to be expected. It’s kinda of a cross between a brownie and fudge, more leaning toward the fudge. The packaging doesn’t do much to make it more appealing, but it sure tastes yummy! Very rich.
My boyfriend had the great idea of popping it into the microwave for 12 seconds, and I can’t even tell you how heavenly that made it. If you had vanilla ice cream with it, you just might die (consider yourself warned!).
It is extremely messy, I’m afraid. If a crumb gets on your skin, it kinda melts and gets all over everything.
Company – Trader Joe’s Exclusive
Price - $7
Review – 5 out of 5 stars
Preparation - None
Gluten Amount – Manufactured in a facility that contains wheat
UPDATE: I added the list of gluten free restaurants after contacting the Celiac Support Group in Vegas for permission. Please look at the end of this post for their list. Please post if you ever go to any of the places, I would love to hear about your experience!
So I went with some friends to Vegas a few weekends ago. It was a blast and for someone who hasn’t been to Vegas with friends, a great time was had by all. We arrived on Saturday afternoon and left Sunday afternoon, so our trip was a short, yet sweet one.
This was one of my first real vacations to a completely new place now that I’m gluten free. I was nervous about what to do while I was there, so I went ahead and contacted the Celiac Support Group in Vegas via email to get a list of gluten free places so that way I would have some idea of what my options were. We ended up more just eating at whatever place we were close to at the time (most of us being Vegas rookies, it was hard to really plan ahead). Thankfully, I had just received a set of free Triumph Dining Cards to review on my website (look back later for a full review of them) or else it would have been much more difficult. Here is a break down of the gluten adventures:
We decided that we wanted to stay on the strip, which I recommend if you aren’t used to Vegas much (plus, you can get a more expensive hotel and then cram a lot of people inside). We didn’t end up eating at the hotel, but I did call the main line for their restaurants and the person on the other end had no idea what gluten was. They went and checked and looks like the cooks they talked to had no idea either. So, keep that in mind.
Alcohol (aka the reason most people go to Vegas)
I haven’t been able to drink alcohol (except up until recently) because the acid was too much for my stomach to handle. Now that my body has experienced the healing powers of not killing it with gluten constantly, it’s healed considerably. Unfortunately, this means that I’ve never been able to drink ever since I turned 21. This has resulted in two sad things: 1. I have no idea what drinks to order and 2. I can’t hold my liquor. It’s really funny actually how little I can drink. I have a half of a wine cooler and I’m toasted. One shot and I’m completely gone. Good thing drinking isn’t really my thing. But this has made me realize that I had no idea what drinks I could order that don’t have gluten in them! I have no idea if margarita mixes have gluten in them and I don’t know if flavored liquor does either. I ended up drinking a screwdriver (vodka and orange juice), because that’s the only thing I could think of other than a mimosa (champagne and orange juice) or a rum & coke. So, I’m doing some research on gluten free drinks that I will hopefully be able to post later so that way you can know a small list of gluten free cocktails that you can order at a bar. Because Vegas is just more exciting with a little alcohol thrown into the mix. ;)
Located in the Star Trek Experience, this place will close in a few weeks.
So the main reason we went to Vegas is that the Star Trek Experience is closing (yes, we did make a special Vegas trip just for that. Dorks = cool). So we had to eat at the restaurant that was inside the Experience. I handed my Triumph Dining Card to our waiter, asked the normal questions about the menu, and he went off to the back to inquire. I was surprised at the menu, basically everything was breaded, fried, or a sandwich. Not many gluten free options. The chef came out and we discussed my options, and by options I mean she didn’t know what gluten was and I just ended up with grilled chicken and unseasoned veggies. Not a bad meal, since it was cooked wonderfully, just kinda boring. My friends ended getting the legendary Warp Core Breach (aka the quickest way to get wasted in Vegas). I felt a little left out, so I ended going and talking to the bartender to see if he had any suggestions on what I could drink that might be gluten free, but he kinda freaked out at the idea of gluten and said he didn’t feel comfortable serving me any alcohol, so he refused to. Worried about getting sued, I’m sure. Sigh. All in all it was nice, although the company really made the experience, not the food.
Golden Gate Hotel
Located in downtown on the old strip, this is Vegas’ oldest casino and hotel.
We went here for brunch. I ended up ordering steak and eggs. I think it naturally came gluten free since the only seasonings were salt and pepper. I did replace my side item with fruit, just so I wouldn’t have to ask about it. I was great and really hit the spot. It was also the cheapest place we ate at, but it was my favorite. The wait staff was really nice. We were the youngest people there (maybe by 30+ years) but the place had the feel of an old diner were all the people are regulars. I have to admit, I really enjoyed downtown much more than the new Strip. The pace was slower and there weren’t tons of people. Plus, most people weren’t completely wasted (although we did go in the morning) and there weren’t tons of people handing out Girls Girls Girls flyers (does everyone find that as annoying as I do?). I love retro places and this fit my bill. Plus, the whole street is covered so it’s tons cooler than walking around on the strip since it’s all in shade. This seemed to be it’s biggest selling point to all my friends who didn’t grow up in places that could match the 108 degree heat. Plus, they have the old neon signs everywhere. We pondered how the next Strip will look like in 30 years after everyone has gotten tired of the current Vegas while we took pictures.
Hard Rock Café
Located off the Strip.
So, it’s really important to note that there is a difference in the café in the Hard Rock Hotel and the separate standing Hard Rock Café. We went to the Hard Rock Café thinking that they had gluten free menu (based on what I read), but we were confusing it with the Hard Rock Hotel restaurant which apparently does. Mostly we went because we heard that there is a $8 steak that’s not listed on the menu, but you can ask for it (turns out that was the one in the hotel, not the café itself). The service at the Hard Rock Café in Vegas is the second worse service I’ve ever received! It was terrible! We had a bartender as our waitress, which might explain it. I’m not sure why she was waiting on tables, but I do know she wasn’t happy about it. I went through and explained what gluten was and starting asking questions about their menu. She kinda stared at me blankly. I keep thinking to myself, “Is this person high?” She goes off with my Triumph card to the back and comes back saying almost everything has gluten in it, especially the side item that comes with my meal (mash potatoes?). Here is how the conversation went:
I ask, “Ok, what other side items do you have that I could have instead?
Long pause. She stares at me blankly.
I realize that this isn’t going any where. So I say, “Do you have steamed veggies?”
She says, “Yeah, I think so. I would have to check.”
I respond, “Oh, well do you have any other sides? Baked potato, fries, fruit perhaps?”
She says slowly, “Uh, well, we fruit from the bar.”
I look at her confused and say, “You mean bar fruit. Like lemon slices?
She perks up a bit, “Yeah, do you want some of those?”
My table gawks at her.
After this fun time (no, I didn’t end up ordering lemon slices as my side item), she kinda disappeared, never to be heard from again. We ended up having to get other waiters to bring us our food, water, etc. The one good thing that came out of the experience was an inside joke from our group. Anytime something doesn’t work for us, we randomly shout, “Bar fruit!”
So all in all we had bunches of fun. Apparently, I’m terrible at gambling (which I learned the hard way) but so was everyone else in my group so we had a good time. I think if I did this again, I would chat with my group more and plan out the food better. This was kinda a spur of the moment trip, but I would try to plan ahead better next time. Good thing I took snacks with me or else it might have been a bit grim. All in all, I recommend Vegas. :)
The list below is the one provided to me by Celiac Support Group in Vegas. I took off the places that I found no longer exist. There are tons of gluten free options, so feel free to have fun! Oh, and note that most of the places on this list are super expensive, so if you are trying to keep it under $20 a meal, you should maybe do a little more research on your own. Enjoy!
This list is to help people find places to eat safely. The responsibility rests with each individual to inquire and check to be certain they are being served appropriately GF food.
The list is formed by word of mouth from people who have eaten in these places. Remember, menus and ingredients change without notice. Be responsible – ask ask ask ask – then ASK AGAIN.
Aureole – Mandalay Bay – call for reservations and tell them about GF
Baskin Robbins – look online for up to date info
Bellagio - FIX Steakhouse
Bonefish Grill – GF menu on web site
Border Grill at Mandalay Bay – ask for GF menu. Four Seasons has GF bread at their buffet, separated.
Buca Di Beppo – call for GF list
Café Ba Ba Reeba in Fashion Show Mall –chef prepared and delivered personally to table GF stuffed mushrooms! Putting together a GF menu also.
Capitol Grille in Fashion Show Mall (ask for GF menu)
Carrabas – www.carrabas.com
Chili's – email for current info
Chinois – Forum Shops at Caesar's – GF menu
Dairy Queen – look online for up to date info
Denny's - look online for up to date info
El Pollo Loco – email for up to date info
Fellini's at the Stratosphere – talk to chef –call ahead
Fleming's – Call ahead and arrange GF meal
Hamachi - Red Rock Hotel - wrap in soy paper and also wraps in cucumber but take your own soy sauce.
Hugo's - in basement of Four Queens on Fremont St. Downtown – excellent.
In N Out Burger - on Trop and I-15 – GF fries, order burger "Protein style" – comes wrapped in lettuce leaves – OR order "flying Dutchman style" – just meat and cheese. If they seem stumped, ask for manager.
Joel Robuchon – MGM (have concierge help – these places will cater to you) $$$
Joe's Stone Crab and Steakhouse in Caesar's Forum Shops
L'Attlier (Robuchon) – worth every penny
Macaroni Grill – email for current info
Maggiano's in Fashion Show Mall (GF pasta–Talk to chef – will accommodate, call ahead, wonderful!
McFadden's Irish Grill and Pub - Rio - has GF list and will work with you
Mesa Grill in Caesar's (Bobby Flay chef)
Mirage – Wolfgang Puck's grill, and Emmett's Fish house $$$$$
Nobhill – MGM.
Outback – north of Harrah's and throughout the valley
P. F. Chang's – Hard Rock Hotel and off the Strip on Paradise/Flamingo.
Pei Wei (P.F.CHang spin-off – fast food-ask for GF menu) in Henderson
Red Robin America's Gourmet Burgers and Spirits – email for info
Shibuya – MGM - they have GF soy sauce and wrap in soy paper
Simon, and AJ's - at Hard Rock $$$$$ (2 different places)
Sir Galahad's – Excalibur
South Point's Silverado Steakhouse – south on the Strip
Stack and Samba - Mirage
The Rainforest Café – MGM - Ask for head chef.
Todd's Unique Dining; 4350 E. Sunset Rd. by Green Valley Pkwy,( Near Trader Joe's Market)
Tony Roma's – email for up to date info – we eat here often – no problems.
Wendy's - look online for up to date info
Whole Foods; Trader Joe's; health food section most supermarkets; Great Harvest Bread Company, (702)306-1476, Tina – they bake GF bread;–bring your favorite crackers with you
Congrats Clara on being the contest winner!
Thank you to everyone who played, it really means a lot to me to see that I have such devoted fans out there! I'll have another contest soon, so keep checking back.
Clara, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org this week so I can get the address you would like me to send the cookbook to.
Our regularly scheduled posts should start back on Thursday. :)
Free stuff! Woohoo!
I've been having some technical difficulties uploading my posts this week, so to make up for my lack of updates, I figured that it was time to have some fun and give away this fabulous cookbook above. I have a copy myself and it's full of great recipes that you can make in a snap.
So, like everything in life, there are rules to this contest:
Generate a list of topics ideas that you would like me to write about. This can be either a particular product you would like reviewed, a gluten issue you would like me to talk about, etc. To enter, you will need to add a comment to this particular post. For each idea (up to five) that you come up with, I will enter your name into the hat that I will pull the winner out of. Example: If you post 6 ideas your name will go into the hat 5 times but if you only post 3 ideas then your name will only go into the hat 3 times. The more ideas you post, the better your odds of winning. Make sure to fill in a name and not click "Anonymous."
The posting will close next Tuesday, August 12th at noon PST (USA). I will announce the winner that night. Feel free to post ideas after that time, but you won't be entered into the contest. After that, I will have you email me your address and I will ship the book to you at no charge!
If you have any questions or need clarification, just add a comment to this post. I'm trying to do this on the honor system, so make me proud people or else I wouldn't feel right about giving away any more free things! And will all love free things! Woo!
So I recently decided to change my toothpaste brand, so I thought that I would pass along the inquires that I made for the main three toothpaste companies (Crest, Aquafresh, and Cologate). I emailed them with the following three questions:
- I was wondering if your various toothpaste products contain gluten?
- Are they manufactured in a gluten free facility?
- Do you happen to have a list of your gluten free products?
Here are their responses:
“Thanks for contacting Crest.
None of our current Crest toothpaste versions, Crest Whitestrips versions, or Crest Night Effects contains gluten. In addition, none of the ingredients used in Glide dental floss contains gluten.
Although we do not directly add ingredients that contain gluten to Crest Pro-Health Rinse or to Crest Whitening Rinse, it's possible these products could contain trace amounts. We recommend you contact your doctor before using these rinse products if you have questions or concerns about gluten.
Stop by anytime.
“Thank you for contacting us with your question. We appreciate the opportunity to provide information regarding grain derived ingredients in Colgate Palmolive products.
We do not intentionally add gluten to the following Colgate Palmolive products. However, we cannot guarantee that the ingredients used are not exposed to any glutens.
Colgate Toothpaste, all variants
Colgate Simply White Clear Whitening Gel, all variants
Orabase Paste and Orabase Gel
Peroxyl Gel and Peroxyl Rinse
Ultra brite Toothpaste, all variants
Sorbitol is an ingredient which can be grain derived and may be found in toothpastes. Our sorbitol is corn-derived.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us. We hope this information is helpful.
Consumer Affairs Representative”
"We have received your e-mail and we are happy to respond to your question regarding Aquafresh® toothpaste and gluten.
Aquafresh® toothpaste is gluten-free.
We appreciate your taking the time to contact us.
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare"
The FDA announced recently that they are having the final meetings before they make their ruling on the restrictions for labeling something “gluten-free.” If you haven’t heard, the FDA back in 2004 made a ruling in their Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 that by the year 2008 they would need to provide manufactures and consumers a definition of gluten and the legal requirements for a product to be labeled “gluten-free.”
If you did not know, currently in the
The proposed restrictions force companies to only label something as gluten free if it meets the following requirements:
1. Contains none of the “prohibited grains” which includes wheat (e.g., durum wheat, spelt wheat, or kamut), rye, barley or their crossbred hybrids
2. Contains no ingredient (e.g., wheat flour) that is derived from a “prohibited grain” and that has not been processed to remove gluten
3. Any ingredient (e.g., wheat starch) that is derived from a “prohibited grain” must have been processed to remove gluten, if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 micrograms or more gluten per gram of food,
4. Can contain no more than 20 micrograms or more gluten per gram of food.
There seems to be split opinion on how this ruling will work in real-life application. Some people believe that many products that companies label now as ‘gluten-free’ will no longer be labeled as such because of the extra cost in testing that will be required. Personally, I welcome any regulation and think that this ruling will play out very similarly to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 with companies having to label allergens. But we will have to see! I will post again once they actually make the ruling official.
Celiac Central If you want to read more, please check out the following links:
If you want to read more, please check out the following links:
So, you have a product in your hand and you really, really want to eat it but the label is mysterious. It contains ingredients such as “modified food starch” which could contain gluten or not. What’s a girl to do? So, put on your glasses and sharpen your pencils because it’s time to do some research!
The easiest way to figure out if the product contains gluten is to locate the toll free customer service number on the back of the product and call. The information that you need to have handy is 1. The product name 2. The flavor of the product (if there are multiple, because it might differ) 3. The product identification number (or UPC number). The customer service person could ask for any of this info depending on the how well the employee has been prepped on the product info. When I call up I will say, “Hi, I was wondering if your product X contains gluten.” It’s just that easy!
Now, if you are like me and normally shop in the evenings (especially in PST) the customer service line might be closed. (Side rant: Why do they seem to all run on EST? *Shakes fist in air* Why?!?) Anyhoo, then you don’t this option. If you are already at the store, you can go to the information counter and ask if they have a list of all the gluten-free products in their store. Certain grocery stores such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have lists of all of their own product lines that contain gluten or other allergies.
If none of that helps, your best bet is to look online when you get home (or use your Blackberry, iPhone, or call someone who has access to the internets). I find it’s best to pull up Google and type in:
This will bring up a list of websites. First, I will look at the addresses for what looks like the company’s official website. Some companies will have a list of gluten-free products on their website, which is awesome and makes life easy. Most companies won’t list their gluten-free products in written form because they are worried that if they change the product ingredients that people will have already printed out the list and not check for updates (aka they eat it, get sick, and sue the company… isn’t the legal system grand?!?). That’s why on any gluten-free product list there is always a line about making sure to check the label before eating any product.
If I can’t find the anything on the official website, then I will look and see if of the links are for the Gluten-Free Forum in the search results. The Gluten-Free Forum sole purpose is to be a forum for people with gluten-related issues to post. It’s the best place to find answers, because there are so many educated veterans of gluten-intolerance/celiacs. Most people have already contacted the company and posted the info they found. If you still can’t get any info, I would post your inquiry there to see if people have run into the same issue.
If you can’t contact anyone on the customer service line, you can always email the company. Lots of companies that won’t post their gluten-free lists online will only tell you information over the phone (so worried about written info and lawyers).
Normally, if I get a hold of a person at a company that says that they can’t verify if a product contains gluten or not, then I say, “If that’s the case, I will no longer be able to purchase any of your company’s products because you obviously don’t check for food allergies in your products and I can’t take that chance.” I will always make sure to thank the customer service person (because they can only tell me the information that they are given) and hang up. Sometimes, I’ve had people call or email me back later with more info because I had said that I won’t purchase their products anymore (you’ll be amazed at what lengths companies will go to if you say that one little line).
If none of the above situations work, you can always switch product brands (especially to organic and smaller food companies) to see if their products contain gluten or, at the very least, have better customer service. ;)
I had to pick up two boxes at the store today, since all the old gluten boxes are now gone. The cereal tastes slightly different than I remember, but is still yummy. I added some blueberries and sugar to add some depth to the taste and I completely recommend it.
Random comment: geez, the cost of cereal has spiked, hasn’t it? I never buy any anymore so I wasn’t in the loop. Thank you, American economy!
General Mills also added a gluten free section to their online recipes, to celebrate.
General Mills also added a gluten free section to their online recipes, to celebrate.
Gluten free products are slowly making their way into normal grocery stores. Soon we will take over the world. Bwahahaha!
As a huge fan of Gluten-Free Pantry’s products, I was excited to try out this mix. It’s been sitting on my shelf for a while because I’ve been making the less expensive Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Brownie Mix instead. But, I have to admit, this wasn’t the best gluten free brownie mix that I’ve ever had. It was dry in the middle and really stuck to my greased pan. I like my brownies moist and a little gooey in the middle, which this didn’t have at all.
I added some chopped nuts, to see if it helped with the texture, which it really did.
The mix came with chocolate chips in it, but they didn’t melt when baked. They also helped with the texture, but it seems weird that they didn’t melt more than they did.
I personally would recommend the Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Brownie Mix over this one. This mix was still good, just not the best I’ve ever had.
So, I’ve learned that gluten free baking seems to always have a problem with texture. Lots of mixes are just grainy instead of smooth and fluffy. I’ve found a good solution to mixes that have this problem: just make everything smaller!
Normally, the edges of your baked goods are firmer in texture (because they are baked slightly longer) and don’t suffer the grainy issue. I read somewhere that if you are making gluten free cookies that you should make the cookies smaller to ensure that they don’t fall apart as easily. I was amazed to find that this is true but also discovered that it makes the grainy texture less noticeable.
I decided to test my new theory with other baked goods, as well. My first test was brownies. My grandmother gave me an old mini-cupcake tin that she had never used, so instead of pouring the batter into an 8x8 pan, I used the mini-cupcake pan. Not only does it make the texture better, it holds the brownie together more and is cute to boot!I now use this method on almost all baked goods that I make, especially cupcakes. It works wonders and people always give me compliments on how cute they are.The only thing that you need to note is that mini-cupcake pans come in several different sizes and normally aren’t consistent. It doesn’t really matter what size you buy, just keep in mind that cupcake holders only really come in two small sizes: Bonbon and Mini-Cupcake. Bonbon holders are really for making chocolates and are therefore smaller. Don’t use the foil bonbon baking cups for anything other than chocolates because any baked good will stick to it more.
You can buy small cupcake holders at Michael’s and sometimes at the grocery store.
Enjoy baking! Please send links to pictures if you ever make any small baked treasures!
My mother and I had picked up this mix at Nature’s Pantry since we had never seen it at any other stores. Basically, you just cut up apples into a pan and place the mix (with butter cut in) on top and stick it in the oven. Very easy.
The mix took almost twice the amount of time to cook as it said on the box, so keep that in mind if you are planning on making this mix. Next time, I’ll set the oven up higher.
It turned out great. All family members (aka all the gluten eaters) gave it the thumbs up. I think that you could even take this mix camping with you and just place the ingredients in aluminum foil and throw it on the fire. Just a thought!
Although this mix was incredibly easy to prepare (no cooking skills needed), if you have any cooking knowledge at all you could make this mix for yourself. I’ve done it before to place on top of pies. It’s as easy as taking gluten free flour, adding cinnamon, light brown sugar, butter, and putting it all in a food processor. I don’t know if it’s worth the extra price to make something so simple. Here is the recipe that I modified from the cookbook, PIE by Ken Haedrich. Just add the ingredients together and cut in the butter.
Cornmeal Crumb Topping
¾ cup White Rice Flour
¼ cup Fine Yellow Cornmeal
2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
¼ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½ cup Cold Unsalted Butter
I personally liked this recipe as much as the mix, but it also takes a little longer to prepare. I’ve included a link to Sophie’s crumble top recipe. Sophie is an amazing cook and all you have to do is replace white rice flour for her regular flour. If anyone else knows of any good crumble top recipes, please feel free to share!
I just found this today!
Printable cards for you to have at your net potluck that helps label whether or not your dish contains common food allergens. The download is in .pdf form and is located here:
If you don't have Abode Reader, you can download it for free on CNet.com.
Thank you Beneficial Design and Gluten-Free Girl. How wonderful is this?!?
I went traveling this past week to visit family (it’s wedding season) and happily stumbled across a gluten-free store in
My mother, who also now does a gluten-free diet, accompanied me to visit Nature’s Pantry to see what goodies we could find. I have to admit we weren’t disappointed! The store was stocked full of gluten-free wonders and in many brands that I have never heard of. My mom grabbed several different boxes of crackers, the one thing that she constantly craves on her new GF diet. The shelves were mostly stocked with different baking mixes, cereal, crackers and cookies.
The store owner, Corrie Stricklin, is a doll and welcomed us in right away. As we browsed the shelves, she told us about the history of her newly opened store. Her daughter was diagnosed with Celiacs which prompted her to test herself. She decided to open the store after she found it hard to find tasty products for her family. She eats every product before she puts it on the shelf to make sure that it meets her standards. The store is starting out small, but it looks like business is booming!
I was shocked to hear her tell of a fellow store owner who came in before the store opened to look at the place. This woman told Corrie “Well, I just wanted to stop by and see the store before it closes!” Corrie was crushed, I mean, who could blame her? What a horrible thing to say! Well, Corrie proved them wrong when she had a line of people waiting outside the door on opening day. Business has been steady ever since. Proof that there is a market for gluten-free foods out there after all!
No, I’m not talking about your spouse or your taxes, I’m talking about your diet.
This post topic was particularly hard this weekend because my boyfriend and I drove down to the San Diego County Fair. Now, I’ve never been particularly keen on fair food, but it’s like the very fact I CAN’T have it makes it more appealing. I grew up in
Now, just like all cheating, emotions play a strong part in wanting to cheat by eating gluteny goodies (like deep fried Oreos). You feel left out, you crave the food, you want to be nostalgic, you are tired of having to think about food all the time, but none of these are good reasons! So there are some tips I have for being reducing the temptation to cheat.
On the road – Bring plenty of snacks with you, both sweet and savory (very important to grab both, attack the cravings from all sides). Do some research before you go for that area. If you are going to a large city, chances are that you will be gluten free support group there and they will have information on good restaurants to eat at. Also, familiarize yourself with some foods that you can grab at a ‘normal’ grocery store that are gluten free (Check out Kraft foods and Frito-Lay since they both have a large selection of gluten free products). Prepare lunches to take with you, don’t rely on fast food (exceptions are Chic-a-fila, Chipotle, and Subway that have gluten-free options but don’t have menus of them in the store, look online before you leave).
At home – Don’t leave gluten options around the house if you can help it. Just don’t buy food with gluten in it and you won’t have it around to munch on. I’m just not as tempted to eat my roommate’s food as my own. ;)
At other people’s homes – If you are going over for a dinner at someone’s house, let them know plenty of time in advance of your food restrictions and have a list of suggestions available to them for menu ideas. You should always inform your host before you go for food that you have food-restrictions. One dinner I went to, didn’t tell the host that I was gluten intolerant and it turned out that her sister was so it would have been easy for her to accommodate me, but I didn’t ask. I just went not planning on eating. If it’s a casual visit, make sure to always bring snacks with you and eat before you go to reduce food urges.
My favorite general tip that has saved me many a time: always have a stash of food in your car. No matter where you go, you always have something with you in case of emergency temptation. I have gum, trail mix, dried fruit, and a non-refrigerated microwavable food product that just needs water. Those basically cover any scenario that I need, plus it gives you something to do during traffic. J Just make sure to keep yourself stocked at all times.
And, if it makes you feel any better, more and more people are learning about gluten. In the short time that I’ve been gluten free, there have been a huge increase in gluten-free products available. I’ve also met more and more people who know about it. So, think of it this way: the longer that you are on the diet, the more options you will have. This will probably be the worse it’s going to get. It’s only uphill from here!
One of the things that you’ll probably miss most quickly is the ease and convenience of cooking pasta. Take heart! There is an ever growing selection of gluten free pastas, many times in your non-specialty grocery store. Tom Thumb, Ralph’s, Albertson’s, Von’s, and other major chains now seem to carry a small selection. It might not be located directly with the other pastas, so make sure to check the ‘specialty food’ or Asian food section of your store.
Gluten free pasta is one of the easiest transitions into gluten-free life, so let’s get started!Buying:
There is quite a large selection available in non-gluten pastas. The most common are made of rice flour, corn, quinoa, and buckwheat (buckwheat, although it has ‘wheat’ listed in the name it does not contain gluten). I’ve found that most pastas can be broken down into two categories:
- Traditional Asian noodles which don’t naturally contain any wheat since wheat is fairly new to Asian cooking
- Western pastas (think Italian) that are traditionally made out of gluten materials but have been modified to be made out of other flours to make them gluten-free
I’ve found that most Western gluten free pastas aren’t as good because they are trying so hard to mimic their traditional gluten roots. I have yet to find pasta that tastes like “the real thing.” There is always a texture difference.
Now to cook gluten free pasta, you have to know how gluten works in food. The gluten provides the elasticity that you normally think of in pasta, so don’t be surprised when your pasta doesn’t cook or feel the same. Any Western pasta that you’ll purchase will usually be harder in the middle and has a tenancy to fall apart if you overcook it (because there isn’t gluten in it to ‘hold everything together’).
Rice flour pastas are the most common because they mimic wheat more than any other of the flours. I think that they also taste the best (both in Asian noodles and in Western style). Since there are multiple websites that address Asian style cooking, we will focus on the Western gluten free pasta cooking here.
Like always, make sure to read the ingredients in whatever product you’re buying. Many times “rice pasta” will contain little amounts of wheat flour, so be careful. There will rarely be ‘hidden food’ labels like maltodextrin or dextrose, so you don’t need to worry.
- To start cooking, put a pot of water on the stove. Now, make sure to not fill the pot as full of water as you traditionally would with gluten pasta. The pasta will have a film on the outside of it that will come off when you cook it. This film will make the water bubble more than you are used it and will make your pot overflow. Filling the pot half way full of water is a safe bet, especially for your first time.
- Make sure to put in a teaspoon of oil in the water. This will make the pasta not stick to itself and will make the film not stick to the inside of the pot (which helps in the clean-up process).
- Once the water starts to boil, place the pasta in water like you would traditionally. Since the temperature of the water will decrease fast, it will drop the boil down. Don’t adjust the temperature, it won’t take long for it to heat back up. Make sure to stir the pasta so it coats a little bit in the oil and doesn’t clump together.
- You need to stay close by the pot to make sure that the pot doesn’t bubble over. It will take longer than normal to cook gluten free pasta, so make sure to leave enough time. I usually turn down the temp once the water is boiling again because the bubbles from the rapid boil will beat harder against the pasta and make it break apart. The water will be murky from the film on the outside of the pasta, so don’t be alarmed.
- The pasta will be done right when the middle is starting to soften. You don’t want to leave the pasta in much longer than that because the pasta will start to fall apart.
- Once it the pasta is ready, pour out the hot water. I normally keep the pasta in my pot instead of transferring into a colander because the film on the pasta sticks really badly to it and makes clean-up more difficult. Now, run a little bit of cool water over the pasta. This will make the last of the film come off of the pasta and cools it slightly so it doesn’t fall apart as much.
- Now the pasta is ready to be served!
Note: Left over gluten-free pasta is usually gross. It does not heat up well and once it cools down it hardens. So only make as much as you need for that meal.
This should really be titled “Anyone that shares your kitchen.” My roommate LOVES gluten filled foods and therefore eats them all the time. Good for her, a headache for me (not that I blame her, I’m just jealous).
Any time that you come into contact with people that eat gluten, it’s going to be an issue. If the person is close with anyone who has food allergies, then you won’t have as much to worry about because they are usually already conditioned to be aware of their actions. If you are like me, this number is small. But, don’t fret, you’ll be ok.
It’s important to remember that if you are a person with a restricted diet, that it’s your responsibility to educate those around you. It’s not the other person’s responsibility to do that for you. It stinks, but most people have no idea what gluten is or how it affects people. It is their responsibility, however, to take the information that you give them and apply it so as not to hurt you.
You have to remember that most people were originally like you: they had no idea gluten even existed and they don’t know how to handle it. They don’t know of things like cross-contamination or what to look for in labels. Be patient.
Now, most people (if they genuinely care for you) will try to accommodate you. Usually, I start by telling them what gluten is, making sure to emphasize that it is in flour and that it can hide in food without necessarily being labeled (unlike soy or milk). You’ll be surprised to learn how many people don’t know that flour is made from wheat and will normally offer you bread. Just sigh with internal frustration and try to smile. I will then tell them what products normally contain gluten and how cross contamination works. Cross contamination occurs when anything that has touched gluten comes in contact with my person. This includes any food, forks, cooking utensils, dishes, pots, etc. Be firm, but not aggressive.
Just be honest with the person that you are living with that a gluten-free lifestyle is really complex and you are still trying to figure out all the odds and ends. This means that the rules in the kitchen might change as you get more information, but that’s to be expected and you aren’t just changing them just to be difficult.
Now, with that said, the person you are living with will most likely not pay attention to their habits in the kitchen as much as you do. Example: my roommate spills wheat flour on the counters all the time and forgets to clean it up (she likes baking and hates cleaning). This means that I will have to clean every surface in the kitchen before I use it, because she just doesn’t notice. Even though I’ve explained cross-contamination before, I know she isn’t trying to hurt me by leaving flour everywhere because she’s a cool person. She just isn’t as aware of it as I am. So I cut her some slack, because living with a gluten-free person isn’t easy.
Knowing my roommate’s habits, I went ahead and labeled everything in the kitchen that is for gluten-only cooking. I took a sharpie and labeled everything with a “GF” meaning “gluten-free.” She can’t use any of those items UNLESS they are used on strictly gluten free things only. I told her that if she uses an item labeled “GF” on gluten, then she has to buy me another one. So… basically, she doesn’t use any of them. ;)
Some people will divide the counter space into areas of gluten free and non-gluten free. So you would only use one counter area and no one else is allowed to use that space. This eliminates having to worry about cleaning up before each use (I would do this, but my current kitchen is too small).
Other people just make their kitchen completely gluten-free. You will have to talk this over with your person. Lots of spouses will go on a gluten-free diet, as well. It’s actually easier if you do it that way because then you just have one set of groceries and never have to worry about cross-contamination issues. Also, you don’t have to worry about kissing your partner after they eat gluten (sadly, they will transfer gluten to you… the kiss of death!).
Unfortunately, some people aren’t that caring about your gluten situation and they will go ahead and ignore all the information you tell them. This is a larger topic all together, so I’ll have to make it into another post (because you will encounter this!). But if this is a real issue, you might need to reevaluate your living situation with this person.
Just be patient. Soon, all of this will become routine for both of you!
I think it would be excessive to say to replace all of your appliances. Things like stoves, ovens, and fridges are just too expensive (although the economy would love it if you did).
Toasters and toaster ovens should be thrown out. There really isn’t a way to clean them that you can remove all the gluten, so you should just discard them (give them a new home!). Make sure to never use gluten-free products in toasters that contain gluten, you’ll get sick for sure (she says, speaking from experience).
Some people discard their mixers, blenders, and processors. It’s up to what you feel comfortable with and how clean you can make yours.
Remember, you’ll be cooking more than you did before, so it’s not a bad investment to update your kitchen.
The same rule applies to this as does the pots and pans: there can be gluten bits stuck in the grooves of your knives. I went ahead and bought a set of knives for myself, because of their tendency to contain gluten. I don’t let anyone use my knives on anything that contain gluten, so it’s not cross-contaminated.
Personally, I kept my old silverware. I think it would be too hard to make sure to keep them completely clean when I have gluten constantly coming in and out of my kitchen. I just make sure that everything goes into the dishwasher to be cleaned as thoroughly as possible. Some people disagree and keep a separate set. I just don’t have the space for it. Just make sure to label it if you do.
I also got a new set of cooking utensils because most of the ones that I had have scratches on them, so their risk of contamination is high. Also, it’s hard to get whisks and spatulas really clean, even if you put them in the dishwasher, so I have a separate set than my roommate. Plus, they are such easy and inexpensive gifts, that I just asked for a new set for Christmas. ;)
This depends on the food in your kitchen. I personally have a roommate who eats gluten, so her food will accidentally spill or fall onto kitchen counters, countertops, and the stovetop. I try to wipe down the surfaces of our kitchen before I ever begin cooking, just to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. We have our own separate shelves in our pantry to reduce the risk of her food coming into contact with mine. If a piece of my food ever lands on any of the surfaces in the kitchen (yes, even the floor), then I will throw it away. Which reminds me to make a comment about the floor: if you have a gluten-loving person also using the kitchen, make sure to clean the floor. Also, it’s a good idea to not walk on it in bare feet so you don’t loose crumbs on them. Just a thought.
Now, if you don’t have this problem, then you don’t have to worry about surfaces so much. Just thoroughly clean your surfaces regularly and that should avoid most problems. Make sure to use household cleaners that don’t contain gluten. I would contact the manufacturer of your cleaners and ask if your cleaning product contains gluten
Now, let’s turn to the issue of pots and pans.
It’s recommended by most people to get rid of your pots and pans if you have been cooking with them containing gluten. Why? Mostly because you can’t get anything truly clean. If you’ve used anything that has scratched the pot, then traces of gluten can be in the cracks. This is especially true for anything that you’ve used for baking (pie tins, cake pans, cupcake pans, etc) because you usually use a knife to cut the food inside the dish.
Plus, food cakes on the inside and outside of your pots, so you will have trace amounts of gluten in the pot whether you see it or not.
Now, I didn’t to go throw everything out and start completely over. I didn’t want to spend that type of money, so I slowly have been phasing out my glutened cookware. It takes longer, but it’s a cheaper alternative. Just make sure to label your new pots in some way to ensure you remember which ones are newer.
Chopping blocks are considered one of the first things that need to be replaced, as immediately as possible. New colanders are also a good investment, since you know that they constantly touched pasta.
Now, we’ll start with the most obvious place: your food.
If you have celiacs, an allergy, or are gluten intolerant, you have to remember that you’ll need to be more strict than someone who is going on a gluten free diet for other health reasons. You have to deal with cross-contamination issues that other people don’t. Also, your body is healing after years of damage, so you won’t be able to stomach as much. Get it? Stomach? Ok, so bad pun, but it’s true. Since your intestines aren’t working well, you will be more sensitive to certain foods for a while until things are working better. It’s smart to stay away from food that is spicy, hard to digest, and are acidic. Also, it’s probably a good idea to not eat many products that are replacements for gluten items (e.g. gluten free pasta, cake mixes, bread, etc). They aren’t really easy to digest and aren’t nearly as nutritious as other things. Always talk to your doctor or a dietitian, but many people believe that you should be eating plain meat, veggies, and fruit. The logic is that your body isn’t absorbing nutrients like it should, so anything you can put in your body needs to try to make up for that fact. Depressing, I know.
Keeping that in mind, let’s start with the pantry.
What I did was take three boxes and a trash bag and set it next to me. One is labeled “To Keep,” one is labeled “To Give Away,” one is labeled “Don’t Know” and one is, well, a trash bag. All foods that goes back into the pantry put in the keep box and the food that you can no longer eat but it still good to give to friends or donate goes in the other box. There will be a list of items that might be fine, but you’ll have to contact the manufacturer to see, so they go in the “Don’t Know” box.
So, let’s start with the obvious: bread, pasta, cereal, and wheat flour is out. If you are like me, you don’t even want to touch it at this point! Bye bye evil gluten!
Next, let’s look at your spice rack. Any spice that contains just itself as an ingredient (e.g. oregano) is probably fine. The only issue of cross contamination would have been if you used the same measuring spoons in them as you had with flour or something else containing gluten. Throw it away if you are uncertain. Many seasoning mixes (e.g. Italian mix, grilled poultry mix, etc) contain either MALTODEXTRIN or DEXTROSE. Get rid of those. Both ingredients can be made from wheat, but not necessarily. There isn’t a good way of knowing. Some people say that if you purchase them in the
Now, go through each item in your pantry. Things you need to look out for are the standard hidden ingredients:
Modified Food Starch
Natural and Artificial flavors
Oats (because it’s shipped on the same equipment as other grains)
Vinegar (except Distilled, Wine, or Apple Cider)
A more complete list is located here: Unsafe Ingredients List
Repeat the same steps you did with your pantry on your fridge. It’s important to remember about cross-contamination. Your butter, for example, you probably used the same knife to spread it on bread as you did to cut it with. Keep it in mind.
If the only questionable ingredient is maltodextrin, dextrose, or the flavoring you can put then in the “Don’t Know” box to contact the manufacturer later to see.
Once you are done, clean the shelves just to remove any traces of flour or gluten that might be hanging around.
Step back and admire your work.
Looks really bare, huh?!?
That’s ok, before you know it, it will be full of yummy gluten-free food and now you can rest easy knowing that your food won’t hurt you. Celebrate your victory! You’re one step closer!
Once I found out that gluten was my enemy, I started to become scared of my kitchen. What was safe? What food could I eat? I kept reading online about people talking about cross-contamination. It seemed like everything in my kitchen was going to hurt me.
It seems daunting at first, but don’t worry, you’ll get through it. You just need to remember that this is a transition and to think of everything in stages. It makes it less overwhelming and is a realistic approach to your new life. You can’t just throw away all your food, plates, and cookware. So let’s break everything down into sections:
- Your pantry and fridge
- Your cookware
- Your surfaces
- Your silverware, servingware, and cutlery
- Your appliances
- Roommates and spouses
Now remember, as we go through this you need to keep in mind that there isn’t ‘one method’ that will work for everyone. Some people are really sensitive and some people aren’t. Also, just because you don’t feel any pain, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t damaging your body if you eat something with trace amounts of gluten in it. The jury is still out on lots of things relating to celiacs and gluten intolerance, so you need to decide what works best for you. People will probably try to convince you that it isn’t “that big of a deal” but it is for you and your comfort level is what’s important. So keep in mind that you are going to have to stand up for your health as you go through this exercise. Be strong!
Hello and may I be the first person to welcome you into the gluten free adventure. If you are like me, you weren’t too thrilled to find out that you won’t be able to eat bread, cereal, cake, and other such goodies again. I remember when my doctor looked at me and said, “Well, just don’t eat gluten for the rest of your life and you’ll be fine.” All I wanted to do was cry. It’s a devastating experience (especially if you love bread like I do!). I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this horribly negative life-ending event. Don’t despair, there is hope!
The purpose of this blog came out of my own gluten-free journey. I had been experiencing pain, extreme fatigue, mood swings and intestinal distress for years. I went through more doctors than I can remember (although I’m sure my insurance does!), being poked and prodded to the point of loosing all modesty until one day one of my gastro doctors finally said, “How about we have you do a food journal to figure out if your problems are food related.” My initial reaction was, “Yeah right. I doubt food to cause me this much pain.” Ah, how little did I know! After he looked at my food journal, he put me on a gluten-free diet for two weeks. My problems decreased exponentially within a matter of days and when I went back my doctor proclaimed me to be officially ‘gluten intolerant’!