Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gluten Free-Mainstream?


I remember when just four short years ago, no one had even heard of gluten-including me!

This morning I stocked back up on Bob' s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats....pretty much the only specialty product I buy regularly... then I remembered a few years ago when GF Oats were virtually unavailable, the few companies that made them, were always out of stock--- meaning if you had a bag or a few- you rationed them for months and months!

Now it's relatively easy to find gluten free oats, I've even seen a few more mainstream grocery stores carry them and this to me is a miracle! 

Today though I ordered my GF Oats on Vitacost while browsing for a few supplements and teas.... under 6.00 for a bag sounds good to me!

We drink alot of tea around here- the three boxes I bought last time- Celestial Seasonings Morning Thunder, Yogi Tahitan Vanilla Hazlement and Green Tea Kombucha- lasted two maybe three weeks!

Today after much Gluten Free searching, googling- and comparing I found three more teas for our tea basket! Who knew gluten free teas were so hard to find....

I ordered Celestial Seasonings Madagascar Vanilla tea and Morning Thunder Tea... and a box of Medicinals Valerin tea( doesn't sound great but supposedly it will help me sleep!) - I am hoping!

I asked for chocolate tea for Christmas...........Numi tea or Stash....mmmm dessert teas...

If you've never used vitacost, they have amazing selection and prices on Gluten Free and other health items- Love it!

Time for a little Christmas shopping - on my list today E's family, J and M, and my best friend from home!

I have pictures to post from Thanksgiving as soon as the internet cooperates!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chelsea Clinton Gluten Free/Vegan Wedding


Chelsea Clinton is having a Gluten Free/Vegan Wedding! I thought this was an interesting and progressive story! 

Since Bill and Chelsea Clinton are known to have a "wheat or gluten allergy" Chelsea Clinton will have a gluten free, vegetarian menu and cake offering at her wedding this weekend! Great publicity for Celiac Disease! :)

I've heard alot about this wedding over the past few days! :)
"Chelsea Clinton: Let them eat gluten-free cake
Could vegan, gluten-free choices on her wedding menu have a trickle-down effect?

Tongues are wagging — with some salivating and others going “yuck” — over news reports that Chelsea Clinton’s super-secret upstate New York wedding to Marc Mezvinsky this Saturday will feature a vegan menu and a gluten-free cake. The couple will throw at least one bone to meat eaters, though, by serving up some organic grass-fed beef.
While all-alternative banquet menus are still relatively rare — caterers say they account for just a small sliver of the pie, or cake, as it were — such requests are on the rise, a trend that is likely to continue in the wake of the former first daughter’s wedding.

“This will empower people to make these requests,” says Grace Clerihew, a principal at Table Tales, a New York City catering firm. “Prior to this, they might have thought it was not mainstream enough to even talk about, but now that they see it being done by such a public persona it becomes acceptable.”

Chelsea likely chose her menu based on both personal preferences and health needs — she is said to have been vegan since her teen years and to have a gluten allergy — but her wedding menu should have a trickle-down effect nonetheless, says Clerihew.
It’s already become standard practice for most caterers and restaurants to offer vegetarian options. Clerihew predicts this event will inspire them to explore vegan and gluten-free options “in a more inspired way.”

What vegan, gluten-free involves At hundreds of dollars a head, Chelsea’s menu had better be inspired. But even more common folk can expect to pay a premium for such specialty menus, which until now have largely been the province of higher-end caterers in more food-conscious markets.

Vegan dishes and a gluten-free cake reportedly will be on the menu at Chelsea Clinton's wedding reception on Saturday.

Vegan and gluten-free options can be one and the same, but not necessarily so. Vegan dishes are not simply vegetarian dishes; instead, they do not contain any ingredients derived from animals, including butter, cheese, milk and other dairy products.

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oat products, can trigger allergic reactions in people who suffer from celiac disease and gluten intolerance. So gluten-free foods are devoid of wheat, rye, barley or oat gluten.

The double whammy of vegan and gluten-free restrictions can certainly make planning a menu — and crafting a cake — a challenge, but chefs and caterers in the know say it can be done successfully and can be well worth the effort. In fact, they say mainstream eaters may be surprised to discover that vegan and gluten-free food can be delicious.
“We’ve gotten very savvy about creating wonderful things with alternative ingredients,” says Paula LeDuc, owner of Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, an event firm in San Francisco. “It’s not just pasta or a big pile of veggies anymore.”

Dishes like LeDuc’s signature grilled tofu and portobello mushroom rounds shingled on fresh rosemary skewers served on a summer corn and Beaulieu Garden sungold tomato succotash can set a banquet table abuzz and have those who ordered the meat or fish asking to switch plates. The experience is so common that her firm routinely makes extra to satisfy all who ask.
More on Chelsea Clinton’s wedding LeDuc says requests for vegan items are up 15 percent across all types of events since last year. Gluten-free requests have increased from roughly one a month last year to one a week this year. “Three or four years ago, gluten-free wasn’t even part of the conversation,” she says.

The ‘mother-in-law issue’ The trend is not just confined to foodie cities like San Francisco and New York. Jennie Scheinbach, owner of Pattycake Bakery, an exclusively vegan bakery in Columbus, Ohio, says her gluten-free business has exploded. “When we started (in 2003), it didn’t seem like anyone was gluten-free. Now about 5 to 10 percent of our cake business is gluten-free,” she says.

Vegan and organic can still be a hard sell in Columbus. “There aren’t a lot of vegans in Columbus, and your typical Ohioan doesn’t get why they should pay more for better ingredients,” says Scheinbach. Still, Pattycake has found a loyal following among people interested in food made with organic, sustainably farmed, fair-trade ingredients.

Pattycake uses such ingredients wherever possible, even though with some things costing two or three times as much as conventional ones, it’s not as profitable. “It’s dirt cheap to use crap,” she says. “It’s incredibly expensive to use not crap. We can’t charge the standard markup. It’s just part of the nature of this business.” A wedding cake from Pattycake only costs about 10 percent more than one from competing Columbus bakeries.

And then there’s the “mother-in-law issue.” Brides typically seek out vegan or gluten-free because of personal preference or because someone in the wedding party has allergies, but others involved in planning the event sometimes need convincing that an alternative menu is really a good idea.

Doron Petersan, who offers free bridal cupcake tastings of confections made with tofu, potato and tapioca starches at her all-vegan Sticky Fingers Bakery in Washington, D.C., says the taste is what ultimately convinces people. “Once people come in for a tasting, about 95 percent of them sign up,” she says.

That may be because no one thinks wedding cakes will taste good, says Petersan, whose best-selling vanilla cake with toasted vanilla almond icing wins rave reviews. “Lots of places just focus on the decoration of the cake,” she says. “Our cakes are nice looking, but we really focus on the flavor. We constantly get people saying nobody knew this was vegan.”

‘Wasn’t even a crumb left’ It’s the same story at Pattycake. “There’s a bakery in town that makes cakes that are incredibly beautiful to look at,” says Scheinbach. “We had a couple who ordered one cake from us, and one from them to appease the mom. All the non-vegans ended up eating our cake. Now I tell people, if you’re going to do that, you need to hide our cake in the back or there won’t be any left for the vegans.”

That may sound surprising, but Amy Bradley, a longtime vegan and Pattycake devotee, knew that’s exactly what would happen at her wedding in Columbus last July. Despite the fact that “we get a ton of pushback at holidays from people that don’t ‘get’ vegan and think skipping meat for even one meal is a big deal,” she ordered a small vegan pistachio rosewater cake with whipped frosting topped with pistachio nuts, and 10 dozen assorted vegan cupcakes (including a dozen gluten-free) even though she and her husband Chris only invited 100 guests. “There wasn’t even a crumb left,” she says, “and our friends and relatives said it was the best wedding cake they’d ever had.”

As more people are exposed to tasty alternative foods, demand is likely to continue to climb. “We get people now who pick a vegetarian menu not because they’re vegetarian, but just because they liked it the best after the tasting,” says caterer LeDuc. Although she has no plans to abandon more traditional dishes, offering alternatives, she says, has opened the door to new conversations about food, a sentiment echoed by Table Tales’ Clerihew. Chelsea’s wedding menu, she says, “is just one more unfolding of the public consciousness around food

I hope you enjoyed this article, our Gluten Free wedding will be in a little under two years!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Delicious GF food!

Favorite new and old products!

Note: I am just a diagnosed celiac who must eat gluten free and who chooses to eat cruelty free and mostly naturally. It has taken me a long time to find the food choices and combinations that work for me, but the end is well worth it! This is a mix of fresh things, packaged things, good for you things, treat things, and things I just LIKE!

#1 New favorite Almond Breeze Almond Milk in Large Size. This finally made it to my giant. I have seen the ads in magazines and papers for about 6 months now, and finally it’s here! And the good news is a large container is about 3.50 and lasts quite awhile! The flavor is also the best out of every RICE, HEMP and other almond milk I have tasted, you only need a little to get the full flavor and it is much better to me the cow’s milk (which I have never really liked anyway though!) If you have issues with dairy try this one out!!!

#2 An oldie. Amy’s Gluten Free Pizza’s. Nothing makes a celiac feel remorse like driving past a pizza place and knowing you cannot have any or even worse attending a gathering where there is pizza present and no gluten free options. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where I do and you can go out for gluten free pizza at several places it is only a special rare treat because it is PRICEY. Upwards 18-25 dollars for a SMALL PIZZA. I am glad there is the option, but I also love having a 4-8 dollar pizza in my freezer I can dress up however I want and have at a moments notice. Always a favorite.

#3 Better n’ Butter. I bought this on a whim at whole foods because it is low in fat and the fat in regular peanut butter is sometimes too much for me! There are regular and chocolate flavors which both are like the container delicious and still healthy! I still have regular peanut butter but this is wonderful for sandwiches and snacking on apples!

#4 Fresh basil. This has always been gluten free of course. If you can tolerate it, this is the best on a fresh baked pizza or added to a salad or pasta. The flavor is wonderful!!

#5 Organic Apples. After having organic or local apples, I can never go back to the pesticide laden ones. Get them from the farmers market, the organic market- just wash them and give them a try! They are a little pricey at some places, so I work them into my budget, the organic ones are a SUPER splurge, but worth it!

#6 Portobello Mushrooms. Can we talk about Portobello mushrooms? Preferably local grown or organic because the flavor difference is monumental- let me tell you! I had my first “good “ portabello mushroom burger at a cookout this year and now I cannot get enough. Mushrooms in casseroles, mushroom burgers, mushrooms in burgers, mushrooms in salads. I never tried a mushroom before I was 25, besides the mushrooms on pizzas I picked off.

#7 Chickpeas. I have a little thing for chick peas. I must have a chick pea salad, burger, or pasta dish at least once a week. How many people crave chick peas? I love their versatility. I make cold salads, hot salads, burgers, soups, casseroles, you name it I make it and I am pretty sure they could be snuck into brownies. Why not?

# 8 Buckwheat flour.- Delicious, light, this may be my favorite baking flour.

#9 Vans Waffles. I make Apple Cinnamon PB sandwiches to go with these little guys, when I have to be on the go!

#10 Blue Corn Tortilla Chips. Just love these when I need a crunch!

#11 Honest Tea. Free of weird chemicals and artificial sugars.. Just all natural tea!

#12 Spinach. I buy this by the large bag and put it in everything I can.

#13 Good Olive Oil. For everything.

#14 Fresh Ground Pepper/ Red Pepper/Cayenne Pepper. Spice and more spice!

#15 Quinoa. I love this protein filled versatile grain. I buy big bags at costo and put it in quiche, salads, veggie burgers, anywhere I can put extra protein- in it goes! I am not a big rice person but I love the taste of quinoa.

#16 Extra Dark Chocolate. Endangered Chocolate bars. Wonderfully rich dark chocolate that is certified gluten free and a portion of the proceeds go to help wildlife. My kind of chocolate!

#17 Soy Delicious Gluten Free Cookie Dough Ice Cream. This changed my life. There are not words but a word of caution before you eat this soy ice cream with gluten free chunks use a small bowl, it’s hard to stop!

#18 Pamelas Cookies & My Dad’s Cookies brand. Pamela’s Dark Chocolate Cookies- Before these cookies I always proclaimed I did not eat or like “ Boxed Cookies” But then my boyfriend bought me a box of Pamela’s Dark Chocolate Cookies and then proceeded to eat the whole box. I did get 2 cookies before the box was gone when he proclaimed “These are the best things I’ve ever tasted! “ They passed the test.
My dad’s Cookie Company then sent me 3 boxes of cookies to sample- delighted with this I proclaimed each one better than the next and I still have not decided on a favorite- but I would have to go with the sandwich cookies because I have not had a Oreo type cookie in close to 5 years and these were BETTER than an Oreo, but now they are gone. L (because I ate them all )

#19 Tinkyada pasta. A delicious, light, real tasting, healthy pasta. I don’t eat a lot of pasta but when I do- this one is better to me than the regular gluten pasta’s – maybe because it doesn’t make me sick?

#19 Food for life Brown Rice Bread. I eat this bread half a slice at a time, heated up (I cannot eat a lot of bread or rice at one time) as a special treat with better n butter and cinnamon, if you are looking for GF packaged bread this stuff is awesome!

#20 Blueberries. All time favorite fruit. It is actually a secret dream and on my list to go blue berry picking and have blue berry pie, juice, sorbet, I LOVE blueberries all forms- Always HAVE, Always will!

#21 Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce and Tamari Crackers. This soy sauce makes eating sushi normal again! And the first time I picked up these tamari crackers I could NOT stop eating them, I have never had a little cracker that was this good.

And plenty more………….

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Chili (Vegan)

Hey friends!

Sorry I've been gone for so long! If you read my other balance blog- you know I've been going through 2 knee surgeries with a difficult rehabilitation plan, changing cities etc.. and basically CHANGING.

But I am back with some gluten free goodness grams today. :) And much more from now on out!

For the past 4 months I have basically living off of  meals I make ahead of time.

To do this you just need to reserve about four hours on Saturday or Sunday, fire up the crock pot, oven, and rice cooker and get creative!

It is hard work but after putting all of the weeks food in the fridge, I am done for 7-9 days!

My current favorite: Slow Cooker Vegan Chili.

To do this put in a bag of black or kidney beans. Add water. Leave in the cooker for 8 hours. 
After the time is up add in 8-10 cut up ( lightly cooked potatoes.
2 packets of your desired spice ( We use Chili) or you can add in a custom blend.
Next add in 4 cups of whatever veggies you desire
Finish the pot off with 2 cups of brown rice.

Cook these ingredients for 4-8 hours, depending on how soft you want the Chili. 

This recipe is extremely easy and not very labor intensive, I hope you enjoy it!

Next up a post with some new GF favorites........... :) and some old favorites!!!

Question: What was your worst glutening experience?

Mine was at El Gordedo ( I believe this is the name! ) about a month after I was diagnosed. The waiter brought out flour chips instead of corn , and said they were corn.  I indulged.... and was in bed for the next 3 days!

(   a-la-gluten-free-easily.html)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More posts....GF Thursday!

I took a picture of my lunch today at work with the camera phone ( hopefully no one saw) that would not be accepted here! :) But I think its time to put my digital camera to use!

pictured is Quinoa, Chickpeas, carrots, spicy salsa, onion, and broccoli- warmed up. I really love this lunch! At home I usually eat it with a few corn chips but no time here!

I have a few snacks tucked tucked away in case I need them, a hard boiled egg (minus the yolk) , grapes, and almonds! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rice Dream.

My household used to drink RiceDream. In Vanilla and Original.

RiceDream also used to be labeled GlutenFree. Now that label is gone, leaving me to scrutinize the ingredient list and place it back on the shelf, thinking that is odd. It used to say Gluten free?

Turns out-- Rice Milk is made with a barely enzyme.
The resulting process is a product with a gluten level of 20ppm.
20ppm is thought to be the most a product can have a be safe, supposedly but.....
There is currently no regulation on Gluten Free( thanks FDA ) in the US. And this level of Gluten is thought to be so low it is non-existent. THOUGHT TO BE.

But to many celiacs that means if Rice Milk still contains 20ppm of Gluten, it is in fact not GLUTEN FREE. But it was labeled Gluten Free?

So is Rice Milk Gluten Free? If one follows the rule that anything over 20ppm is safe to eat then this would be gluten free to that individual.

What that basically means is that you are your own doctor in this situation. If you are like me a hyper sensitive celiac who took years to get well, I would think twice about drinking this product as it is made right now.

Some celiacs may have reactions, some may not. But this is very troubling to learn especially if you have been consuming Rice Dream Rice Milk for years as a celiac.

I keep thinking what if they find out in a few years that products at 20ppm cause intestinal villi flattening....

I am currently drinking Almond Milk and safe rice milk's.

The reason for no coffee.

To drink coffee or not to drink coffee?
3 months ago I cut out coffee. Completely for 2 months. Then I allowed myself to have it as an occasional treat.

You see, I have a lovely condition ( in addition to celiac disease) that rushed me to the hospital a few years ago and caused me months of pain. Oh the pain! It is called Gastritis. Oh and acid reflux, but I've had that since I was a babe. It is nothing new.

Gastritis is basically when your stomach lining is inflamed and irritated to put it very lightly.

Here is's explanation,

Gastritis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the lining of the stomach.
•Abdominal pain
•Abdominal indigestion
•Dark stools
•Loss of appetite
•Vomiting blood or coffee-ground like material

Sounds nice right?

There are many causes of gastritis.

The most common are:

•Erosion (loss) of the protective layer of the stomach lining
•Infection of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
•Medications such as aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Less common causes are:

•Autoimmune disorders (such as pernicious anemia)
•Backflow of bile into the stomach (bile reflux)
•Eating or drinking caustic or corrosive substances (such as poisons)
•Excess gastric acid secretion (such as from stress)
•Viral infection, especially in people with a weak immune system

Fresh from the hospital my no foods list included "coffee". It took around 3 months before I could eat anything at all besides baby food and frozen yogurt but I didn't cut out coffee, when I could eat again. I love it.

I finally realized that coffee for me creates way too much acid in my stomach to be enjoyed daily. A few times a week doesn't seem to be quite so bad. But I have had to say bye- bye to my lattes and cappuccino's for the most part. I still have one occasionally, but I rarely have black coffee. My stomach lining is MUCH more happier for it.

To add insult to injury the coffee subsitute products are made from a grain (Teecino) so Celiac's cannot have them. I have found one drink I love making.
Take black chi tea concentrate ( avail at grocery stores) with rice, almond, soy, milk, froth or heat up and top with cinnamon. This is one of my favorites when I need a hot drink that is indulgent tasting.