Sunday, February 1, 2015

Could FODMAPs be Causing Your Discomfort?

It's been a few years now since I started my journey to understanding what was causing my digestive issues. Since then I've been tested for Celiac, Lupus, and allergies. The first two came back negative, thank goodness, but the allergy testing did show some mild food allergies. A few of those were grains, so I've adopted a gluten free diet in an effort to avoid some of those grains. I'll admit, I'm not as strict as I should be, and because of this, I still have symptoms from time to time. For me, this means I suffer from stomachaches, gas, bloating, headaches, and joint pain. It's not fun, and I don't know exactly what causes it. Yes, their are foods that I know, for sure, that if I eat them, I will be in pain, but without an official diagnosis of anything other than some allergies (mild at that... which tend to cause a stuffy nose and some mouth itching), I just do my best to avoid known issues. The rest is guess work.

I have read that Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity does not exist. I've read that it does. I've read that it could be sensitivity to pesticides, and I've read that it could actually be a sensitivity to FODMAPs.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Could Bacteria be a Cure for Allergies

I openly admit I have not checked into the background of this article, nor have I fact checked it, but even if there is a kernel of truth it's an interesting notion. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cybele's Free-to-Eat cookies

I am so excited to find these at our local Kroger. I've been waiting since their launch to actually try them & they didn't disappoint! They are free of the top 8 allergens- dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, & shellfish. The last two seem like no brainers... fish in cookies? You'd be surprised what some ingredients are derived from! Anyway, these chocolate chip cookies were moist and tasty with a good texture. Nothing ruins an allergen free cookie more than a sandy texture! Although they were a little one the small side, there were 12 in the package, so I was ok with it (and they're probably the size cookies are supposed to be... not the behemoths sold in the bakery). Personally, I enjoyed them & will definitely look for these again!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Crispin Certified Gluten Free Hard Cider

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.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday's Tips: Gluten Free Alcohol Options

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 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

Rum - Rum is naturally gluten free because it's made from sugar. Is Rum Gluten Free

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.

Tequila - Tequila is generally gluten free... except possibly the cheap stuff. Is Tequila Gluten Free

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.

Other sites:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

O'Dough's Bagel Thins

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! 

Get more information from O'Doughs.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pillsbury GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

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.

Friday, October 25, 2013

FRIENDLY FRIDAY: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

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. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Allergy Free Halloween Candy

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 Candy
Peanut and Tree Nut Free Candy
Allergy Free Candy - All candy is free of the top 8 allergens - wheat, milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish or shellfish.
Allergy Free Halloween Candy Round-Up

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Going Gluten Free

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.

See my post about getting proper nutrients on a gluten free diet.