There’s plenty of reasons to poke fun at fad diets– most of the time there’s no evidence that they work. Sometimes they work for some people and not all people. Sometimes they allow you to eat copious amounts of bacon (I could argue both ways on that one 😉
But for those with Celiac Disease, it is not a lifestyle choice, it is a medical necessity. I’ve taken to clarifying with folks, especially restaurants, that my condition is not a choice but a very serious auto-immune disorder.
Beyond the fad diet and Celiac, many people have reported feeling better on a gluten-free diet because they are gluten intolerant. The extent of gluten intolerance has been called into question by a recent study that found many reporting to be gluten intolerant actually had no ill effects when given gluten.
Jokes and discounting are hard to take for the many, many people who have Celiac Disease or are truly intolerant. It’s great to have celebrities put their face out for the cause! Thanks Jon, your coverage was great!
I just got back from a week in Germany and I can report good and bad news about gluten-free options there. Which do you want first?
Let’s start with the bad news. It was rather thin on gluten-free options. I was at a conference that served bagels, cookies and other baked goods with a piece of fruit and yogurt for lunch. I was limited to ~3 dishes at a Vietnamese restaurant that met my restrictions (our co-worker wanted some spicy food!).
The good news has several facets. First, everywhere I went, people were very knowledgeable about gluten-free needs. Not speaking any German, I carried a gluten-free restaurant dining card. Everyone readily understood this and helped me pick gluten-free items, successfully (I didn’t get sick!).
My experience at the Humboldt University cafeteria was excellent. They used a list of 30 numbers marking certain allergens or food additives. If I saw a dish label with #21, I knew it contained gluten and steered clear!
Also, Germans eat a lot of potatoes so there are lots of options for dinner as long as you eat meat.
So, on one hand, there weren’t a ton of options… but the options were sufficient and safe (from a gluten-free perspective).
Did you know The Kitchen Table is now hosting causal Sunday night dinners? Featuring a 3-course, fixed price meal for $30, this is a great chance to get out to one of Vermont’s very best restaurants. They had no problem accommodating my many food allergies and the food was, of course, amazing. If you aren’t into the fixed price deal, you can also order a la cart with items such as a burger on the low end and a steak at the top of the price list. As a bonus, wine is on special Sundays as well. If you haven’t been, I say mark your calendar and call in advance for a Sunday night supper reservation!
The end of apple season is here so its time to put away some goodies for the winter.
My first stop was Allenholm Farm. Run by Ray and Pam Allen, the farm is a true destination. The petting zoo is often wandering the yard and road out front. Make sure you say hi to Fergie, the highland cow. Kids will love the play structures and the animals to be fed. Chose to pick your own or buy from the farm store. Either way, don’t miss out on Ray’s handmade pie (ok, not for us Celiac’s but for everyone else!!!). For those who are gluten-free, ask if they have any gluten-free cones in stock. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But in a cone or in a bowl, their maple creemees are AMAZING. Maple. Froyo. Winning combination. Another hit is their apple slushies. Yup, you heard right. Apple cider semi-frozen. Drink with a straw.
I picked up a half bushel of Courtland apples, at Pam’s suggestion for sauce and butter. The first step to making apple butter is making apple sauce. I borrowed an apple peeler/corer from a friend and went to town.
Vermont Unsweetened Apple Sauce Proportions:
4 apples (cored, peeled, sliced)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
Throw your ingredients in a large pot. I quadrupled this recipe and made two batches. Turn the burner on medium or high, let the water come to a simmer and then turn down the heat. I let my apples simmer about 30 minutes or until I could mash the apples with a wooden spoon. I mixed my apples occasionally just to see how it was going. Once the apples cool (you don’t want a steam burn!), mash them as you like. For chunkier apple sauce, use a wooden spoon to mash the apples until you get a consistency you like. For smoother sauce, use a food processor or an immersion blender (my favorite tool). Store in the fridge, freeze or can to have a treat later!
Just in time for the holidays, LivingSocial is offering a deal on Jule’s Gluten Free. The package costs $30 and includes “Includes five pounds of flour, cookie mix, cornbread mix, and grahams mix and five e-books featuring 203 gluten-free recipes.” This could make a great gift for someone you know who’s just gone gluten-free!!!
Due to my food allergies, I was curious what Jule’s flours were made of as I had never tried them. The basic flour mix contains the following:
Expandex, Modified Tapioca Starch, potato starch, corn starch, corn flour, white rice flour, xantham gum.
Expandex??? What the heck is that, you might ask. I had no idea. A quick Google search reveled it’s a propitiatory process of modified tapioca starch, with the brand name Expanex. According to the Expandex website, “Expandex® modified tapioca starch is a revolution in gluten-free baking. It enhances the texture and appearance of bakery applications so those living a gluten-free lifestyle can enjoy the foods they love.” Sounds like a miracle flour. Personally, I try to not eat a tapioca-based diet (it has no fiber or any other nutritional value) but it’s a great treat from time-to-time! It seems like this deal would be great for the holidays.
“The point is that a healthy gluten-free diet includes a nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory dose of healthy fats and proteins, organic produce and grain-free flour alternatives such as almond flour, coconut flour and hazelnut flour. When going gluten free is done wrong, it’s the overpriced food version of diet soda; just as unhealthy as the original, if not more.” Check out “Why Going Gluten Free Can be Unhealthy”.
A great lesson for everyone to remember! Replacements are just that! Often “fake” foods are just as unhealthy, or sometimes worse, than the foods they replace (if you don’t believe me, read this graphic Craig’s List post on Olean in Fat Free Pringles).
If you’re gluten-free, look for whole-grain foods. Build well-rounded nutrition. Avoid sweets that are often loaded with extra fats to make them taste more like their gluten counterparts.
The number of people eating gluten-free meals has reached an all-time high!
% of adults claiming “I’m trying to cut back/avoid Gluten in my diet.” (source: NPD)