Find Support!

Support groups can be a crucial resource for the newly diagnosed as well as the seasoned Celiac & non-celiab gluten-sensitive community. By attending local support group meetings and seminars you will gain important information on the latest in medical research, dietitian recommendations, useful tips for living a healthy gluten-free lifestyle,and so much more. Support Group meetings are a wonderful venue where you can chat with others on a similar Celiac journey.  Take a significant other, a friend, or go solo. You can even consider volunteering!

There are multiple National Celiac Organizations that can be a source of support groups. Here are some that are great:

-The American Celiac Disease Alliance

-Celiac Disease Foundation

-Celiac Sprue Association

-National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

Remember: you are never alone. There are support groups everywhere and anywhere!

-Janice 🙂

 
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Thanksgiving Pie

Yum! Pie. Pumpkin pie.

You can’t eat gluten? That is not a problem! Gluten-free pie can be better than pie made with gluten.

Here is how you can make it:

Here are some more instructions:

You want everything COLD. Much more important than gluten to a pie dough is cold. Weigh out the flours you’re going to be using and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes before you start. If you’re using the food processor, put the bowl and blade of the food processor in the freezer as well. Cube up your butter into 1-inch pieces and put them in the refrigerator. You want COLD. That’s what makes a pie crust flaky.

And if you want to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving? Here is the best way to do so:

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! Happy Holidays

P.S. Who doesn’t like deals? Check out gluten-free saver for many deals!

-Janice Vargas 🙂

A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is all about family and well, the food. We all know how much we are looking forward to this at home; Thanksgiving is just around the corner and this is definitely something that has been on my mind. There are actually plenty of convenient gluten-free foods and ingredients for Thanksgiving you can use as shortcuts, or you can decide to make everything on your menu from scratch — your choice. Pinterest has a great board of GF Thanksgiving Recipes – I highly recommend browsing through this.

Here’s a run-through of traditional Thanksgiving dishes, and what you need to do to make them gluten-free:

The turkey. Fresh, plain turkeys — those without any added broth, spices or other ingredients — are always gluten-free. Don’t open any gravy packet that’s included with a turkey, though — those almost certainly contain gluten.

Stuffing. It’s actually pretty easy to make gluten-free stuffing, and once you add spices and other ingredients, it’s likely to taste almost exactly the way you remember it. You can use a mix or simply use gluten-free bread crumbs (either packaged or from your own stale bread) in your own traditional recipe — you shouldn’t even need to alter the recipe. If you add spices, make sure they’re from a safe source.

Mashed potatoes. Some brands of instant mashed potatoes are gluten-free, as well, but it’s not difficult to make your own, and I think they taste better that way.

 Sweet potatoes. You might find a recipe for candied sweet potatoes that includes flour as an ingredient, but I think it would be more the exception than the rule — the vast majority I’ve seen are naturally gluten-free.

Gravy. Many of us grew up watching our mothers make Thanksgiving gravy using the turkey pan drippings, plus wheat flour. Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to make gluten-free gravy — just substitute corn starch for the flour.

Pumpkin pie. The trick to making a decent gluten-free pie is placing the emphasis on the filling, not on the crust. That being said, though, it’s not difficult to make a decent gluten-free pie crust, or you can purchase one pre-made and frozen at many high-end grocery stores. You also can try one of these gluten-free pumpkin recipes, which include ideas for pies and more. Just make sure that all your other ingredients — spices, mainly — are from safe sources.

 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

-Janice Vargas

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance or sensitivity generally takes one of two forms: one with characteristics more similar to celiac disease and the other with characteristics more similar to a food allergy.

Given the varying degrees of severity and symptoms of gluten sensitivity, researchers believe the prevalence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity to be much higher than that of celiac disease. It is estimated 6% of the U.S. population, or as many as 18 million people, suffers from gluten sensitivity.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

This group reacts with some of the same symptoms as people with celiac disease (gastrointestinal pain or bloating, diarrhea, fatigue) but gluten-sensitive individuals typically test negative for celiac disease in diagnostic blood tests and show no signs of the damage to the small intestine that defines celiac disease. Because of the lack of clarity around symptoms, no accurate or conclusive test for gluten intolerance has been found.

Treatment

As such, it is generally advised that people who may suffer from gluten sensitivity speak with a dietitian and follow a gluten-free diet to relieve symptoms. If following a gluten-free diet does not alleviate symptoms, it is advised patients speak with their doctors, as they may be suffering from something other than gluten intolerance. There are various outlets of Internet sources that one can seek out for gluten intolerance. Various websites and even phone applications have made it easier for those who are Gluten-Free! Keep an eye out for new websites for celiacs or even just googling a product will go a long way!

Some foods are naturally free of gluten. Here is a handy checklist of examples for your next trip to the supermarket:

  • Milk, not flavored with ingredients that contain gluten, such as malt
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juices
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Beans, in their natural, unprocessed form
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds, such as flax
  • Tree nuts, such as almonds
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Fresh fish (cod, salmon)
  • Fresh shellfish (clams, oysters)
  • Fresh poultry (unbreaded)
  • Fresh meats
  • Honey
  • Water, including bottled, distilled, spring

Check out The Food and Drug Administration or The Mayo Clinic for an extensive list.

-Janice Vargas

Everyday Struggles of Living Gluten-Free as told by BuzzFeed

Everyday Struggles of Living Gluten-Free

The popular website BuzzFeed creates hilarious content that may relate to almost any aspect of peoples’ lives. In the post above, titled “Everyday Struggles of Living Gluten-Free,” the sad but true facts about gluten-free are revealed with an exaggeratedly funny twist.

Although the restrictions of gluten-free eaters may seem minimal, they can effect many areas of their lives. In this list of 23 struggles, the more inconvenient facts of the matter are evaluated, such as the office or class parties that offer nothing gluten-free as seen in #8.  Of course this list is somewhat over-the-top and evidently hysterical as it picks fun at the everyday obstacles of somebody living gluten-free, but it definitely offers those that deal with it an opportunity to laugh and take this all a little less seriously.

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

What do stuffing, sweet potato pie, and and pumpkin pie all have in common?

You guessed it! None of them are gluten free…until now! Because of the increase of gluten free people around the world, great thinkers and eaters alike have come together to create your favorite Thanksgiving staples, all without gluten.

First, let’s talk about the turkey. What many people don’t know is that turkey brines and gravy can often contain gluten. That being said, taking gluten out of a brine does not mean you have to take out the flavor, too. I found a recipe for a brine on celiac.com that includes vegetable broth, sea salt, Juniper berries, rosemary, sage, thyme, savory, and ice water. You can find the full recipe as well as the preparation instructions here.

To make gluten free stuffing, the best way is to use Udi’s gluten free bread. Although I normally am in favor of using foods that are naturally gluten free, using gluten free bread is the only way to replicate the classic Thanksgiving stuffing we all love. “Gluten Free Girl” has an amazing recipe that can be found here. Enjoy!

Lastly, dessert. What is Thanksgiving without a delicious pumpkin pie?! By using amaranth or rice flour in the filling and using this recipe for the crust, you can bake the gluten free pumpkin pie you’ve been dreaming about. Click here for the gluten free filling recipe.

So, on the holiday that is essentially centered around eating, don’t worry about bringing a takeout container of your own gluten free food to the home of whoever is hosting dinner–share the recipes! Or, even better, host a thanksgiving dinner of your own! We all have a lot to be thankful for…like these recipes.

Happy holidays!

Banana Cream Pie

Arguably the hardest meal for anyone who is gluten free is dessert. Imagine sitting around a table with your family; you see home-cooked brownies, cookies, pastries, donuts, cakes, pies…and you can’t eat a single thing. But–fear not!–your aunt swoops in with some store bought gluten-free cookies, and you can’t wait to sink your teeth into chocolate chip cookie goodness, so you take a bite and taste…cardboard. You remove the “cookie” from your mouth, squint your eyes, and try to figure out how someone made a piece of cardboard look just like your favorite dessert. Soon, reality begins to set in; you realize that you are stuck with a mediocre dessert (at best), but to make your aunt happy, you choke it down with some milk and a smile.

Odds are, if you are gluten free, this has happened to you. Even in the brief time that I was gluten free, I was served multiple variations of cardboard that were incorrectly labeled as desserts. So, until companies correct their labels, gluten free desserts may be best prepared at home. To get you started, here’s a recipe I found in the New York Times for a gluten free banana cream pie (YUM!!) that will be ready for you to eat in under two hours. Say goodbye to cardboard, and hello to deliciousness!

Who is “Gluten Dude?”

Who is Gluten Dude? And could he possibly be the most opinionated person on the Internet?

First, let me tell you a couple things about “Gluten Dude.” The creator of this website (who also has a blog with the same title) is, in fact, a dude. He is in his forties, has two teenage daughters, and is, of course, gluten free, and has been since 2007 when he was diagnosed with Celiac disease. After searching the internet extensively, I was unable to find his real name ANYWHERE (which I thought was a little odd, especially in today’s society where you can find information on practically everyone), but I decided to trust him, as he promises to “always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.” And he’s a pretty funny guy.

I came across an article on his website titled “Disney Thinks Bullying a Gluten Free Child is Funny.” Naturally, it caught my attention, and made me wonder whether this insanely dramatic title was justified. So, I read on. Essentially, the article was Gluten Dude’s reaction to an episode of Disney Channel’s TV series “Jessie,” in which Stuart (potentially the show’s most annoying/disliked character) is made fun of for his dietary restrictions in general, but primarily for being gluten free.

The article includes a YouTube video that shows the footage from the episode that Gluten Dude and a multitude of parents found to be extremely insulting and insensitive to gluten-free kids everywhere, as well as a message from a parent who started a petition at change.org to get the episode removed from air waves. Ultimately, Disney did remove the episode and posted an apology to their Facebook page for upsetting families across the nation.

So what do you guys think? I’ve watched the clip several times, and it’s hard to say why Disney included this in one of their shows. A part of me thinks it wasn’t to make fun of gluten free kids, but instead was used to satirize the immense number of people who decide to be gluten free just because they think it’s “healthier,” not because they have any allergy or intolerance to gluten. That being said, Disney should be an ally to gluten free kids instead of supporting the bullies that they have to face everyday. What do you guys think? Did the episode really deserve to be petitioned and taken off the air, or did parents overreact and take it too far? I can’t decide!

EZ Interactive Recipes

YouTube has been on the rise for the past few years, providing eager Internet users with more than just black and white font on a computer screen. By creating videos accessible to online consumers, the Internet has become more interactive than ever before. This resource has expanded into all areas of life, providing entertainment and helpful visual aids to accomplishing everyday tasks. The gurus that take part in the YouTube communities have gone from beauty and fashion, to technology and gaming, and now onto cooking as well.

With the rise of gluten free as well, YouTube gurus have been more than accommodating. Although there are many food channels aimed toward foodies lacking food allergies, there are others made specifically for gluten-free needs.

EZ Gluten Free is a channel that posts weekly, introducing new gluten free recipes. Rather than reading a recipe online, the interactive video makes it easier to follow, and more fun to learn. The foods range from meals to desserts that seem almost impossible to be gluten free.

http://www.youtube.com/user/EZGlutenFree?feature=watch

If you’re gluten free and looking for something new, give YouTube a look! Search gluten free and simply see what comes up…search, watch, make, enjoy!

-Kerry Justich

The Struggle

So I have a confession…I was gluten free once.

You’re probably wondering, well, what happened? I’m Italian. That’s what happened. The idea of sitting at another family meal staring at meatballs, pasta, pizza, calzones, pies, cakes, cookies–you name it!–practically brought tears to my eyes. I was weak, and I gave in to the power of the pasta.

People often underestimate how much will power it takes to eat gluten free, and they have no idea how much more work you need to do to a) find gluten free food, and b) find good gluten free food. Because I have eaten gluten free for an extended period of time, I can sympathize with the struggles people who don’t eat gluten face everyday. I recently came across this BuzzFeed article that puts a humorous spin on the everyday troubles involved with avoiding gluten. So if you’re gluten deprived, sad, hungry, or really craving a donut, just remember you are not alone! And if you need another pick me up, you could always watch this hilarious YouTube video about food allergies (it’s a Les Miserablé parody, and it is fabulous). Enjoy!