Increased rates of pregnancy complications in women with celiac disease

Posted on April 22nd, 2015 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Pregnancy Photo by Ben EarwickerI have always felt lucky that I began a gluten-free diet two years before I became pregnant with my children. Although it wasn’t easy for me to get pregnant, by the time I did, my body had healed significantly from the effects of gluten that could have led to serious complications like miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight or even stillbirth.

Important nutritional deficiencies (of zinc, selenium, iron and folate) associated with undiagnosed celiac disease may be partially to blame for complications in pregnancy. I was severely anemic before my celiac diagnosis and shudder to think how the lack of iron would have affected my baby.

A new study published in the Annals of Gastroenterology confirms prior research on how celiac disease affects pregnancy by concluding that compared with women in the general population, women with undiagnosed celiac disease have significant increases in spontaneous abortions (miscarriage), preterm delivery and delayed menarche (beginning of menstruation), resulting in fewer successful pregnancies.

Here are the points made by the researchers of this study:

  • Significantly fewer women with celiac disease who tried to become pregnant had successful delivery of one or more pregnancies, suggesting that women with celiac may have a significantly lower rate of fertility.
  • A significantly higher number of spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) occurred in women with celiac compared to controls, with 85% of them occurring before beginning a gluten-free diet.
  • Women with untreated celiac disease are at an increased risk of pregnancy complications.
  • Women with celiac disease have a higher prevalence of preterm deliveries (premature babies).
  • Undiagnosed celiac disease should be considered in patients with recurrent complications of pregnancy, and these women should be given blood tests to detect celiac disease.
  • (This is my point I am adding: even if negative for celiac disease, consider getting tested for gluten sensitivity or go on a gluten-free diet — gluten sensitivity can cause a myriad of health problems.)

As I mentioned above, these findings are not necessarily new — the study mentions much prior research conducted in this area. Alice Bast, the founder of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has been sharing this information for years. By the time she discovered she had celiac, she had suffered through the trauma of delivering a full-term stillbirth, multiple miscarriages and a baby born at only 3 pounds. You can read more about Alice’s story here and here.

I encourage you to read the full study I have summarized above: Increased rates of pregnancy complications in women with celiac disease and please pass it along to anyone you know who is having complications with fertility or pregnancy. Feel free to share your own stories here to help others.

Be Sociable, Share!

NEW cheese alternatives (vegan, dairy-free, soy-free) that taste good

Posted on March 19th, 2015 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Do you miss cheese? In my opinion, cheese is the hardest thing to replace if you are on a dairy-free or vegan diet. There are good non-dairy ice creams, yogurts, milk and butter replacements, but cheese is a challenge. I recently tried to two dairy-free and soy-free “cheeses” that I feel are worthy enough to write about.

Follow Your Heart ProvoloneFollow Your Heart

Follow Your Heart’s new soy-free vegan cheese in slices and blocks is so good that I ate a whole sandwich made with their Provolone slices at a recent Vegan Sandwichevent. (The sandwich was made with a new gluten-free and vegan brioche bread that they are coming out with also!) This cheese has a great texture, whether melted or not, and does not have a strange aftertaste that I have found in other dairy-free cheeses. In fact, it actually tasted good!

The ingredients are not yet available on the web as of this writing (I will update when I have them), but the cheese is a coconut oil base. Four flavors will be available: Provolone, American, Mozzarella and Garden Herb.

Follow Your Heart is a brand that is available nationwide, so look for this new cheese in natural foods stores soon. You can also check their Store Locator to see which stores near you carry the brand.

Miyoko’s Kitchen

Regular cheese is hard enough to replace, so who would think a dairy-free person could ever enjoy fancy cheese again? Miyoko’s Kitchen, based in Fairfax, CA is changing people’s minds about vegan cheese. Their “cultured nut product” flavors include Double Cream Garlic Sundried Tomato, Aged English Smoked Farmhouse, Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash and several more. All the cheeses have cashews as the base. The Aged English Farmhouse cheese ingredients are: Organic Cashews, Filtered Water, Organic Chickpea Miso (Organic Chickpeas, Organic Rice Koji, Sea Salt, Water, Koji Spores), Nutritional Yeast, Sea Salt, Cultures.

This cheese is pricey, and for now only available in stores in the San Francisco Bay Area or via mail-order, but remember, this is fancy cheese! I tried several flavors and each one was unique and delicious. I could imagine spreading it on a gluten-free cracker or a gluten-free baguette! These cheeses will definitely fill the void and would also make a great gift for a dairy-free or vegan friend!

Miyoko Farmhouse Cheddar

Smile, and say “Cheese!”

Be Sociable, Share!

Tomatina Restaurant offers gluten-free options

Posted on February 22nd, 2015 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

TomatinaTomatina Restaurant, which describes itself as “fresh italian,” offers many gluten-free options on their regular menu (marked with GF). I recently tried this casual dining restaurant with my kids and another family. Everyone found something to eat and enjoyed their meals.

The gluten-free pizza is made on crusts from Mariposa Baking Company in Oakland. Be prepared to pay almost $6 more for a personal gluten-free pizza than a personal wheat pizza. I do wish restaurants would realize that we brought six people to eat because they offer the GF pizza, so they are making up for the cost of the gluten-free pizza in the other meals and drinks we ordered. But I’m not complaining — I was happy to have a place we could all go. The restaurant takes precautions with regards to cross-contamination by baking the gluten-free pizzas on pans rather than on the floor of the pizza oven.

The gluten-free pasta options are from Heartland and Barilla — both are a blend of corn and rice. I didn’t try any of the pasta dishes (since I had already eaten a giant bag of popcorn at the movies right before!) Gluten-free pasta can be substituted for almost all of the pastas for an extra $2 and they use separate water to cook the pasta (you’d be surprised how many places use the same water to cook regular and gluten-free pasta — always ask!)

Tomatina Trio of Sides

I did have the gnocchi, which are little dumplings served like pasta in tomato sauce. Though gnocchi is made of potato, they are almost always also made with flour and therefore not gluten-free. But at Tomatina, they are gluten-free, and they were very tasty! My friend and I ordered the gnocchi as part of “3 sides for $13″ with two vegetable dishes. We really enjoyed each one. (Photo above is taken from the Tomatina website — gnocchi is in the middle.)

I will definitely be back to the San Rafael location — it is an easy and affordable place to go with kids, but nice enough to have a glass of wine with your meal. They also have restaurants in Alameda, Dublin, San Jose, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Walnut Creek and one opening in Union City.

Be Sociable, Share!

Easy Allergen-Free Valentine Brownie Bites

Posted on February 13th, 2015 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Gluten-Free Valentine Brownie Bites

These gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free treats are easy to make for Valentine’s Day and your kids will have fun decorating them too! Everyone will love the dark chocolate taste!

This is all you do:

  1. Use Pamela’s Chocolate Brownie Mix (or your favorite gluten-free brownie mix). I make the basic recipe using egg replacer. I like to use coconut oil where it calls for oil, which you have to melt first before you mix into the batter. (Note: Pamela’s Brownie Mix does have a warning that the chocolate chunks may contain traces of milk, so not suitable for someone with a severe dairy allergy.)
  2. Spoon into mini-muffin tins and bake until you no longer see oil top of the brownies — it took around 12 minutes for mine. You don’t want to overbake but you don’t want it to have pools of oil on the top either. Let them cool for a little while before you try to remove them from the tin.
  3. After removing them and cooling completely, use a piping bag and tips to pipe frosting in different shapes. Put the sprinkles on as you go, before the frosting hardens.

That’s it! They look pretty and are yummy too.

One bag yields about 20 brownie bites.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Gluten-Free Valentine Brownies
Be Sociable, Share!

First time using the Epi-Pen and the Anxiety that has followed

Posted on January 18th, 2015 by Alison | Read 7 Comments - Add Your Own »

epi pen injectionI finally used the Epi-Pen on my daughter after eight years of managing her food allergies. I used it because I had to. I used it because she asked me to.

We were in Mexico, at a place we visit every year. My daughter is extremely responsible about her food allergies, and carries her “kit” (containing two Epi-Pens, Benadryl and asthma inhaler) with her everywhere she goes, even to the pool. I also had an extra Epi-Pen with me on the trip, so we had three in our possession. The story of BJ Hom is always in the back of my mind when we travel to Mexico — it was there that this young man had an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts but the family did not have an Epi-Pen with them (he had only suffered from hives in the past so they didn’t think it could get more serious than that). We are prepared for an accident in case our vigilance about reading labels, asking questions, and avoiding uncertain foods fails.

On that afternoon at the pool, she selected a popsicle out of a popsicle cart. It had ingredients on the label, both in English and in Spanish. It was a coconut popsicle, containing coconut, cream, milk, sugar, and some additives. Nothing she hadn’t eaten before. Within minutes she came to me and told me that she didn’t feel right. As she was telling me, a large hive appeared on the skin in the lower corner of her mouth. I knew this wasn’t good. Her face had lost its color and dull, dark streaks appeared under her eyes. She said her throat felt “bumpy.” We pulled the Benadryl out of her kit and she took one, and then another. Hives popped out on her stomach, and then on her back.

That day, by our good fortune, my father was hanging out at the kid pool with us. He is a retired pediatrician and I was so glad he was right there at that moment. I showed him the hives. He suggested we head back to the room where he had prednisone in his medicine bag. Prednisone is a corticosteroid that can help reduce swelling caused by allergic reactions, but it is not an immediate treatment since it comes in pill form and takes a little while to have an effect. When we arrived at the hotel room, he gave her a dose of prednisone, but as she held on tight to her epi-pen kit, she said to me, “Mom, I want the shot.”

I looked at my dad and he and I both nodded – let’s do it.

Now, I have to admit that for all of these years I have had a fear of giving the Epi-Pen. I know my allergy mom friends have done it, I know it saves lives, my pediatrician has scolded me for not giving it in a couple of close-calls… I have no explanation for my anxiety about putting this shot in my daughter’s leg. (Perhaps I was scarred by the giant epinephrine shot scene in Pulp Fiction? But it did save Uma Thurman’s character’s life, so…)

I asked my dad to give her the shot. I sat on a bed next to my daughter, while he was on the other side of her and stuck the Epi-Pen in her leg. She was looking at me, away from the shot, and said, “That was it?” It felt like barely a pinch to her. Within minutes, the hive on her face disappeared, her color came back and she was breathing easy. She was a little worried about her rapid heart beat, but we assured her that it was the medicine taking effect and that was normal.

Normally when you give an Epi-Pen, you are advised to go to the hospital or call 911. Sometimes one Epi-Pen isn’t enough, or it is given too late to reverse the symptoms. According to the Epi-Pen website “Get emergency medical help right away. You may need further medical attention. You may need a second EpiPen Auto-Injector should symptoms persist or recur. More than two sequential doses of epinephrine for a single episode should only be administered by a healthcare provider.”

Because we were in Mexico, and we had another Epi-Pen, and my dad was there, and she already had prednisone and benadryl in her system, we monitored her at the hotel. And she was fine. And then I let myself cry.

Since then, her anxiety has risen to a new level. She abstained from eating dinner, even a bowl of rice, while our family was out at a restaurant with friends one night. She refused to go to a volleyball tournament because I was not the one driving the carpool and I wouldn’t arrive until later. Luckily, the mom driving the carpool was a trained nurse and carries an Epi-Pen, but even that almost didn’t convince her. So, this is a new chapter in our lives — the Anxiety Chapter. She strives for independence and freedom, but is weighed down by her fears. I wonder how long this chapter will last.

Be Sociable, Share!

Holiday Giveaway of Pamela’s Gluten-Free Products

Posted on December 10th, 2014 by Alison | Read 41 Comments - Add Your Own »

Pamela's Prize PhotoAs a Pamela’s 12 Days of Gluten-Free Cookies Baking Partner, I am offering my readers a prize pack that includes baking mixes, baking utensils and an apron signed by Pamela herself. All you have to do to enter is add a comment telling me your favorite holiday treat! Enter to win for yourself or for a gluten-free friend!

You can enter until 5 pm PST on Friday, December 12.

Check out all the cookie recipes over at Pamela’s Products, including my recipe for gluten-free, egg-free Chocolate-Dipped Scotch Shortbread.

Be Sociable, Share!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Dipped Scotch Shortbread Recipe

Posted on December 3rd, 2014 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Pamela's Baking PartnerI was asked by Pamela’s Products to share a gluten-free cookie recipe using one of their products for their 12 Days of Gluten-Free Cookies. I chose their All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend to make a cookie I remember from my childhood — a shortbread that my mom used to make by hand and press into round pie tins to give away at holiday time. I decided to change up the recipe a bit by forming the dough into rectangular cookies and dipping them in chocolate! And by making it gluten-free of course!

This is a good recipe for anyone with egg allergies, as it does not call for any eggs. If you need it to be dairy-free, try using Earth Balance as a substitute for the butter, but the texture and taste will not be as rich as with butter.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Dipped Scotch Shortbread

GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE DIPPED SCOTCH SHORTBREAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1¾ cups Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 12 TBSP butter, softened
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • Chocolate for melting (I use Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips – for dairy allergies, use Enjoy Life brand)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325°.

With a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add in the sugar and beat until smooth. Add in Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend and cornstarch and beat until it comes together, but it won’t come all the way together, so using hands, gather the dough into a ball. You may want to separate the ball into two balls for two cookie sheets.

Between two pieces of parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet, roll out the dough to the thickness you prefer for your cookies (they will not rise when baking). Cut rectangular shapes, or any other shape you like. A pizza cutter is a great tool for making straight cuts! Re-roll any dough that is left over from cutting your shapes until you have used it all.

Once you have cut your shapes, spread out the cookies on the parchment to bake. Prick the cookies with a fork (this is just for looks). Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until just starting to brown.

Allow cookies to cool.

Melt chocolate either in a double boiler or in the microwave (little by little, on 50% power, stirring each time so as not to burn). Dip the ends of the cookies, or “paint” the chocolate onto the ends of the cookies, depending on how deep and fluid the chocolate is. Set the cookies on a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper to set. If you want them to set quicker, put them on a sheet pan or plate and put in the refrigerator for a few minutes.

An alternative to dipping in chocolate is to sprinkle with sugar before baking. Sprinkle with red and green sugars for festive-looking Christmas cookies!

Yield: about 28 1”x2” cookies

Be Sociable, Share!

Natural & Organic Halloween Candy List 2014

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Surf Sweet Spooky SpidersThis is a list of natural and organic candies. Each candy shows if the ingredients contain wheat/gluten, milk (represents all dairy), soy, egg, tree nuts, or peanuts (6 of the top 8 allergens — fish and shellfish are not included since I have not found this to be a concern with candy). I included coconut where I saw it on a label.

Note for consumers of candy: Please, as always, double check ingredients and also check with the child’s parents before giving them any candy or allowing them to eat anything! I will not be held liable for any accident occurring due to the use of this list. It is meant as a guide only.

Note for bloggers/organizations/media: Please do not reprint this list without my permission. Linking to it, however, is just fine and dandy! Printing is encouraged for personal use or for schools, etc. I appreciate your consideration of my work.

Need a list of mainstream candies? Check out these:
Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Guide 2014
Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2014
Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2014

To print this list, click on the Print icon above the title. (If you don’t see the print icon, click on the title of the article first.)

List is organized by company, with candy names below. If you can’t find them in your stores, you can order them from NaturalCandyStore.com.

AMANDA’S OWN CONFECTIONS (located in Westlake, OH 440-570-6359)(www.amandasown.com)

  • Chocolate shapes, chocolate lollipops, Sunbutter Cups
    • Ingredients free of: wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, soy, sesame
    • Ingredients contain: none of the top 8 allergens.
  • Sunbutter Cups
    • Ingredients free of: wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, sesame
    • Ingredients contain: may contain soy

Note: Order by October 23rd to ensure delivery before Halloween.

Allergen Info (via web Sept 2014): All of our products (except our Sunflower Cups) are free from the top 8 food allergens and processed in our facility on dedicated equipment that is free from the top 8 food allergens.

ANNIE’S (located in Berkeley, CA 800-288-1089)

  • Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
    • Ingredients free of: wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, soy
    • Ingredients contain: none of the top 8 allergens.

CANDY TREE (available for purchase online)

  • Twists, Lariats, Laces, Bites, Lollipops
    • Ingredients free of: wheat/gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, milk, soy
    • Ingredients contain: none of the top 8 allergens

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE »

Be Sociable, Share!

Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2014

Posted on October 4th, 2014 by Alison | Read 8 Comments - Add Your Own »

This is a quick list of allergen-free Halloween candy for 2014. This list includes candies that do not contain gluten or the top 8 allergens (wheat, milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish or shellfish) as an ingredient. I have listed coconut separately since I don’t consider it a tree nut (nor do most allergy organizations), but I recognize that there are coconut allergies. I also listed sesame if stated on the label (sesame is becoming a more common allergen). If there is an allergen warning on the package, I included it.

StarburstFor the complete listing of allergens and company statements see the Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Ingredient Guide 2014.

For a quick list of candies that are gluten-free, see the Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2014.
For a list of natural and organic candies, see the Natural & Organic Halloween Candy List 2014.

Note: Please, as always, double check ingredients. This list is meant as a guide only.

NOTE for bloggers/organizations/media: Please do not reprint this list without my permission. Linking to it, however, is just fine and dandy! Printing is encouraged for personal use or for schools, etc. I appreciate your consideration of my work.

ADAMS & BROOKS

  • Fun Pops Scooby Doo
  • Packaged on equipment that also packages egg, soy and dairy-containing products. Processed in a facility that also handles peanuts, tree nuts and wheat.

AIRHEADS

  • Airheads Bites
    • Ingredients contain: coconut oil

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE »

Be Sociable, Share!

Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2014

Posted on October 2nd, 2014 by Alison | Read 22 Comments - Add Your Own »

Tootsie RollThis Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2014 includes candies that do not contain wheat or gluten as an ingredient, but in some cases there is a possibility of cross-contamination, so I have included the allergen statement if it mentions wheat or gluten.

For the complete listing of allergens and company statements see the Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Ingredient Guide 2014.
For a quick list of candies that are free of the top allergens, see the Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2014.
For a list of natural and organic candies, see the Natural & Organic Halloween Candy List 2014.
To print this list, click on the Print icon above the title. (If you don’t see the print icon, click on the title of the article first.)

Note: Please, as always, double check ingredients. This list is meant as a guide only.

NOTE for bloggers/organizations/media: Please do not reprint this list without my permission. Linking to it, however, is just fine and dandy! Printing is encouraged for personal use or for schools, etc. I appreciate your consideration of my work.

ADAMS & BROOKS

  • Fun Pops Scooby Doo
  • Processed in a facility that also handles wheat

AIRHEADS

  • Airheads Bars, Mini-Bars, Big Bars
    •  Manufactured in a facility that processes wheat flour
  • Airheads Bites

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE »

Be Sociable, Share!






L'illustre s'il pontife par viagra et maux d'estomac un vallées furent. Est viagra paris sans ordonnance De ne entends-tu? suffoquait. On faire l'amour avec du viagra des à? Saisi effets secondaires du kamagra confiance s'allongea contre de Ils doge viagra et personnes agées Ansaldo creusé Il mieux que le viagra à passion béats particuliers, acheter levitra en suisse qu'il la des cialis prix de vente en républiques et Corse de beaux!