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My Favorite Gluten-Free Products

Posted on February 18th, 2017 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

I get asked quite often for my recommendations of gluten-free products. Since my celiac diagnosis in 2002, I have tried hundreds (maybe even thousands!) of different brands. Gluten-free food has come a long way since then, but it still can be hit or miss in terms of taste and texture. Of course, the healthiest way to be gluten-free is to eat naturally gluten-free foods (meat, vegetables, fruit, etc), but I still enjoy pasta, breads, cookies, pizza and other normally gluten-filled foods, in moderation.

Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order. While there are many other products I have enjoyed, these are the foods I come back to regularly, the ones I feed my family, the ones I offer to my guests, the ones I bring to a potluck. This is just a start. I will continue to update this list over time, and feel free to leave your opinions/favorites/questions in the comments – I would love to hear what you like and I’m sure others would appreciate the information also.

(Note: this list contains only gluten-free foods – it does not address other food allergies)

Jovial-Foods-GF-Brown-Rice-Pasta-CapelliniPasta

Jovial – I love the Capellini. The trick is to not overcook and to rinse the pasta right after draining it.

Tinkyada – Lots of great shapes and good texture. Do not overcook. Rinse pasta.

Packaged Cookies

Pamela’s SimpleBites – Chocolate Chip and Ginger Snapz are my favorite flavors of these mini cookies. Great for lunchbox treats too.

Allergen-Free Cookies:

Baking-MixesCybele’s Free to Eat Cookies – a softer texture

Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies

HomeFree Mini Cookies – a crunchy texture

Baking Mixes

Pamela’s – you can’t go wrong with these baking mixes for everything

Namaste Foods Blondie Mix – I am a Blondie person more than a Brownie person!

All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

NamastePerfectFlourBlend2Namaste Foods Organic Perfect Flour Blend

Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour

canyon-bakehouse-everything-bagelsPackaged Bread

Loaves: Canyon Bakehouse – Mountain White and 7 Grain (and they have introduced a new larger loaf called Heritage Style!)

Hamburger Buns: Canyon Bakehouse

Bagels: Canyon Bakehouse Plain Bagels and Everything Bagels

Crackers

Milton’s – not a rice cracker, more like a wheat cracker

Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers

Whole Foods 365 Sesame Rice Crackers

Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers

Jilz Crackerz Almond Flour Crackers

Homemade Bread:

Pamela’s Bread Mix

Homemade Pizza:

Pamela’s Pizza Crust Mix

Packaged Pizza:

Amy’s Rice Crust Pizza – I add extra cheese and my own toppings

Against the Grain Three Cheese Pizza and Pesto Pizza – rich tasting, with eggs and cheese in the crust

Asian Food:

Feel Good Foods – I like the Chicken Dumplings and Chicken Egg Rolls more than the veggie ones

Bars (I don’t eat bars with soy flour or soy protein in them):

Edward and Sons Ice Cream ConesKind Bars – I prefer the not-so-sweet ones

Pamela’s Whenever Bars and Oat Up Bars – both made with GF oats

Ice Cream Cones

Edward & Sons Let’s Do Gluten Free Ice Cream Cones

Ice Cream with GF inclusions

So Delicious Cookie Dough

Strauss Cookies & Cream

Coconut Bliss Ginger Cookie Caramel

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When did you expose your child to peanuts? The changing advice of doctors…

Posted on August 19th, 2016 by Alison | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

peanuts2My first-born child is almost 12. When I was pregnant with her, the advice from the medical community was to stay away from peanuts during pregnancy and not to feed them to your child until the age of 2 or 3. Adhering to this, I did not eat any peanuts nor give them to my infant daughter. Fast-forward to when she was 18 months old, was having some symptoms that prompted food allergy testing — the results showed allergies to eggs, avocado and cashews (all of which I ate a lot of while pregnant), but not peanuts. Phew, I thought, at least not peanuts.

And then I still didn’t give her peanuts. We were avoiding all nuts due to her cashew and some other nut allergies, so giving peanuts seemed uncomfortable I guess. But two years after that first skin-prick test, at age 3 1/2, she tested positive for peanuts, after never having eaten one in her life.

Now, the medical community believes that was the problem — not being exposed to peanuts early in life. In fact, the current recommendation is to give your child peanuts (please consult your own doctor before giving your child peanuts). Our pediatrician told me that it is indeed strange to be giving the opposite advice to her patients than she had been giving for so many years.

The conclusions of a February 2015 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine were that “The early introduction of peanuts significantly decreased the frequency of the development of peanut allergy among children at high risk for this allergy and modulated immune responses to peanuts.” Studies of Israeli children had prompted the focus on the rates of peanut allergy here in the United States. It was hypothesized that that the very low rates of peanut allergy in Israeli children were a result of high levels of peanut consumption beginning in infancy because Israeli children begin consuming peanut-containing snacks (a product called Bamba) early in life. I was fascinated to learn that there is now a new peanut-based food product for babies called Hello, Peanut!, designed by a U.S. doctor to reduce the occurrence of peanut allergies in infants.

I would love to know — when did you give your child peanuts for the first time and does he/she have a peanut allergy?

None of the above content is meant to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your physician before giving any peanut product to your child.

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Gluten-Related Disorders — A Visual

Posted on March 8th, 2016 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

There has been an increase in adverse reactions to wheat and gluten. I find this chart to be a very helpful visual to explain the spectrum of wheat and gluten-related disorders in general, along with the corresponding definitions (which I have abbreviated) below. There are many, many symptoms of celiac disease and gluten intolerance that are not included here — for a more detailed list, go to the Symptoms page.
Wheat Gluten Chart

Coeliac (or Celiac) disease
Coeliac disease (CD) is an autoimmune condition, which affects the small intestine, resulting in malabsorption, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Consequently, patients with CD suffer from nutrient deficiencies including iron anaemia and folate deficiency. However, individuals may also be asymptomatic or present only mild symptoms.

Gluten Ataxia
Celiac disease may be associated with neurological conditions, with peripheral neuropathy and gluten ataxia (GA), in which the cerebellum is damaged, being the most common. Their prevalence has not been established but Hadjivassiliou et al. (2002) have estimated that neurological dysfunction may occur in about 6–10% of patients presenting with gastrointestinal symptoms.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is a form of Celiac Disease, which presents as a chronic skin disease.

Wheat allergy
Allergies are hypersensitive responses to foreign components, most commonly proteins, and are usually associated with the production of a specific class of antibody called IgE (in contrast to the IgG antibodies which are produced in response to most invading pathogens). Symptoms of allergy to ingested wheat products include atopic dermatitis, urticaria (also called hives or nettle rash), and respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Wheat‐dependent exercise‐induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA)
The best characterised form of wheat allergy is wheat‐dependent exercise‐induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA). This is a type of allergic response, which is triggered by the ingestion of food followed by physical exercise, with wheat and crustaceans being the commonest causes

Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity
In recent years, an increasing number of patients have reported symptoms related to wheat consumption, which are not classical allergic or autoimmune responses. This has led to the definition of a new condition called ‘non‐coeliac gluten sensitivity’ (NCGS) (Sapone et al. 2012). The range of symptoms varies widely, including gastrointestinal symptoms, tiredness, headache, dermatitis, pains in muscles and joints, depression, anxiety and anemia, and it is not clear whether NCGS represents a single syndrome or a range of conditions (Sapone et al. 2012). It is therefore best defined in negative terms: as a reaction to gluten (or wheat) when both CD and allergy have been excluded (Aziz et al. 2012; Sapone et al. 2012).

Source: Nutr Bull. 2016 Mar; 41(1): 6–13.
Published online 2016 Feb 16. doi:  10.1111/nbu.12186
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Blaze Pizza for Gluten-Free and Food Allergies

Posted on January 17th, 2016 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Most pizza places have gluten-free options these days — how things have changed from 2002 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease! I recently tried a new concept in pizza at Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza, based in southern California. The name says it: this is pizza that bakes in a very hot oven for 180 seconds. The way you order your pizza is like Chipotle, an assembly line where you get to pick your ingredients as your pizza travels down the line. All pizzas are one size, a personal size, and The Build-Your-Own pizza is around $8.50 (depending on location). For that, you get to pick unlimited toppings, like applewood bacon, grilled chicken, pepperoni, artichokes, arugula, cherry tomatoes, chopped garlic, fresh basil, pineapple, sautéed onion, spinach, goat cheese, gorgonzola, ricotta, and pesto drizzle just to name some. You don’t get charged per ingredient like most pizza places, but of course the gluten-free crust is $3 extra.
Blaze-PizzaBlaze-Pizza-OvenWhat is the gluten-free status of Blaze Pizza? On their website, they say “We work with wheat-based flour, and do not use a separate oven or press for our gluten-free dough. If you are highly sensitive to gluten, please consider your dining choices carefully.” However, according to 2 different locations I spoke to, they do have separate dough presses for the gluten-free dough. In addition, each pizza is pressed onto its own baking disc, and when you order, they ask the severity and they will do a glove change and get sauce from a different area if requested.

To be honest, it was not the best gluten-free pizza crust I have tasted, but it was so nice to be able to go with mixed company (gluten-free and non-gluten-free) to a place where everyone could get what they wanted and it was safe — even for my daughter with multiple food allergies (the crust is also dairy-free and egg-free and they offer Daiya vegan cheese, and the only nuts in the restaurant are on one salad).

Blaze-Pizza-Cutting

For more information, see:
Blaze locations
Blaze allergen info

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