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.

Food Allergy Facts

  • 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.

  • Get the full list of facts here.