Set to launch in August of 2014, Tellspec is quite possibly the coolest gadget for people with allergies & food sensitivities. It's a hand held spectrometer that would allow you to point it at surfaces, food, etc. to test for toxins/allergens. It will have a hefty price tag initially ($350-$400), but its creators hope demand will drive the price down to the $50 range after a few years.
As the label states, Crispin Hard Cider are certified gluten free. This particular one is their Artisanal Reserve Honey Crisp. Contrary to what it's name might lead you to believe, it's not made from Honeycrisp apples, but rather a variety of apples. The name is a play on the company name and the fact that it has honey instead of sugar in it. The cider is made from freshly pressed apple juice and is cloudy because it retains some of the natural apple wine sediment. The manufacturer recommends a "full bottoms up tilt and swirl" to mix that sediment into the cider for full flavor. It is definitely better served cold or over ice. It has a tart apple flavor with a hint of sweetness. I would definitely place it's flavor in the beer range as opposed to wine. I thought it was refreshing, but I was expecting it to be sweeter. I would be interested in trying the other Crispin varieties to see how they stack up.
The holiday season is upon us, and so is the time for gatherings, spreading good cheer, and toasting! So, how do you know if the drinks being served are safe for the gluten sensitive? The National Institute of Health has stated that all alcohol is gluten free because the distilling process removes gluten proteins. However, some disagree. There's a short article on About.com that explains this quite well. If you're unsure, contact the manufacturer or avoid it. Thankfully, more and more companies are catering to the gluten sensitive these days, and gluten free labels make it easier to find safe options. I've searched the internet for gluten free libations and have complied my results here.
Vodka - Traditionally made with grains containing gluten, but some specialty vodkas are safe. Choose those made with potato, corn, or even grapes. Gluten free vodka list
Wine - Most wines are gluten free, but some might be at risk of cross contamination (lower than 20 ppm) from the wine-making process. Is Wine Gluten Free
Beer - Beers are generally NOT gluten free since they are primarily made with wheat or barley (both contain gluten). However, there are some options that are gluten free. Gluten Free Beers
Hard Cider - Most ciders are gluten free, however those that use malt could contain traces of gluten. Angry Orchard, Crispin, and Woodchuck Cider are some options. Gluten Free Alternatives to Beer
Whiskey - Most whiskeys are made from gluten containing grains. Jack Daniel's states on their website that their whiskeys are made gluten free during the distilling process. Corn whiskey, or moonshine, if it's made from a pure corn mash should be naturally gluten free, but manufacturers warn of possible contamination.
In general, check with the manufacturer if you are unsure, or steer clear. Search for alcohols made from potato, corn, grapes, or 100% Agave tequila. Wine coolers and malt beverages as well as flavored liquors should be avoided.
I honestly can't remember the last time I had bagels. They used to be a favorite of mine, but since my food allergy/sensitivity diagnosis a few years ago all things wheat, egg, and dairy are out. I still had to forgo the cream cheese, but these bagel thins were great! They're tasty and soft, but have just enough chewiness to separate themselves as bagels not rolls. They toast up great and keep well in the freezer. I will definitely buy these again! The best part? They're on the low end of the price range for similar products and they're only 100 calories apiece!
I'll admit I was excited when I saw these little tubs in my grocery. While I shied away from buying them at first, a PMS-prompted shopping trip was all it took to get this container in my cart. They cost $3-$4 for a tub just shy of 1 lb. I wouldn't buy them if I had a need to make a lot of cookies (for a gathering) they certainly did come in handy to squash my cravings.
I was able to bake up (in my toaster oven I might add) 3 batches of 4-6 cookies each. They baked up better when I used the recommended tablespoon or less and pressed them flat. So how did they come out? They looked good and baked up soft and chewy, but I had a hard time finding a balance between under-cooked and hockey puck. This may have been due to operator error. While they have good flavor, there is a slight gritty texture. The bad news... they do contain soy and "less than 2%" of egg.
Gluten Free Gigi has a great post about this product and lays it all out in a way that's very easy to understand. As she says in the post... without labeling laws, we don't know what's in our food. These are gluten free, but they do have highly refined ingredients and GMOs.
Nutritional information, ingredients, and allergy information is available on the Pillsbury site.
I was pleasantly surprised during a recent trip to Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. Known for its fried seafood and rich sauces, it has not been the easiest place for me to find allergy friendly options. Well, that is until now. Pappadeaux's now offers a gluten free menu! While that doesn't take care of all my allergies it's a start, and the waiter at our local restaurant was very helpful. The menu was understandably limited, but there were some really tasty options. I had the Jumbo Sea Scallops with Lemon & Herb Olive Oil (since I can't have butter), and they were delicious. If you have any other food allergies be sure to tell your waiter. When it came to dessert, there really are no options on their menu for me (they either have wheat or dairy in them). Thankfully, our waiter was nice enough to put together a wonderful fruit cup for me.
Of course, like it says on the menu, Pappadeaux's prepares all food in a common kitchen so there is always the chance for cross contamination.
I love candy, but like millions of people, I have to be careful about the sweets I choose. Thankfully more and more companies are rolling out safe options and identifying what's in their products. It doesn't make a bit of difference to me whether they're doing it because they have a genuine concern for people with food allergies/sensitivities or if they're just jumping on the bandwagon. It makes my decisions easier!
Here are some links to lists and articles that might help make this holiday season a little easier to navigate. Of course, if you're ever in doubt, it's better to err on the side of safety, and you can also contact the manufacturer's customer service department to find out if your candy is safe.
Gluten free products are becoming easier and easier to find, and thanks to recent legislature, guidelines are being set to regulate the requirements for that label. All of this is great for those of us with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, but is it for everyone? Gluten sensitivity causes inflammation and neurological symptoms, and in people with celiac, gluten actually destroys the lining of the intestines. For these people, a gluten free diet is necessary. So what are the benefits of going gluten free without a diagnosis of celiac or gluten sensitivity? Well, before I answer that let's look at a few issues. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, approximately 1% of the U.S. population has celiac disease, and it is believed that even more people with celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. In addition, it's believed that as many as 1 in 20 Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). So, trying a gluten free diet could be beneficial for people who are noticing symptoms of sensitivity such as gastro-intestinal distress, headaches, and joint pain with no other explanation. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing out on the valuable fiber and nutrients that gluten containing foods possess. Don't take my word for it. WebMD outline some facts and concerns about the issue on their site. In people without gluten sensitivities there has been no noted health benefit and some people actually gain weight when they go gluten free. The bottom line is you have to educate yourself and make decisions based on knowledge, not hype. Be smart. Gluten free cookies are still cookies, and overly processed or refined foods are unhealthy regardless of whether or not they contain gluten. If you suspect a problem with wheat or gluten, talk to your doctor. Ask for the appropriate testing, and get to the bottom of the problems you're having. It took me almost 10 years to get my food issues sorted out... just don't give up until you feel better.
According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. There is no clear reason why this is happening, despite ongoing research.
A reaction to food can range from a mild response (such as an itchy mouth) to anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly reaction.
It is possible to have an anaphylactic reaction without skin rashes or hives.
These little snacks are pretty tasty! I was skeptical at first because I thought they would just be baked lentil pods, which didn't entice me at all. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they're actually light, crisp, and airy. They're obviously made from an extruded lentil dough... like a cheese puff. I also tried their lightly salted Snapea Crisps, but I wasn't as impressed with those. They didn't have as much flavor. The Lentil Snaps have 120 calories per container (3 servings per container), 6 grams of fat, 85 mg of sodium, 5 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. They do warn that they are made in a facility that also processes wheat, milk, soy, shrimp, and fish.