Recipes & Info

Posted in The Basics

Gluten Free Shopping

We all know that shopping for gluten free items can really be a time consuming task.  I usually start out in the gluten free aisle, but then venture into the other areas to read labels and determine what else I can add to my cart.

In the Midwest, we have a grocery store called Piggly Wiggly.  There is one right around the corner from my office that I often go into in the morning and pick up a few things for lunch.  When I was there the other day I ran into the owner of the store.  He happily showed me the gluten free product I was looking for and proceeded to tell me that his daughter is gluten intolerant and they had several things in the store that would make shopping easier.  He took me to an aisle to show me how they tag all of the items in he store.  Let me tell you………these are awesome and REALLY help with shopping.  I have actually started doing more of my regular grocery shopping there.

Check out this label in the Antioch,IL store that makes shopping SO much easier.  This shows two different dry taco mixes that are in the regular aisle.  Normally I would read the label for any odd ingredients, scan the label with one of the apps on my phone and possible call the company to see if I could actually use that product.

20131016_125614

Well, lets take a closer look at the Ortega price tag:

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See the GLUTEN FREE logo just above the price?  Piggly Wiggly has their distribution location check to see if the manufacturer has indicated that the products is gluten free.  If they have, the “gluten free” logo is added to the sticker.  The items in the store without this logo on the sticker either are not gluten free OR there is no information from the manufacturer specifically about allergens.

I am sure you can imagine how this can speed up shopping!  I do not know if this is something that all of the Piggly Wiggly’s have done, but the three locations in my neck of the woods (Antioch, IL, Zion, IL and Lake Geneva, WI) all have these tags – if you have a Pig by you, I’d go check it out!!

Live and LOVE Gluten Free!!

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Posted in Drinks

DIY Gluten Free Flavored Coffee Creamers

Coffee creamerIn my search for good gluten free products I realize that I am making more and more things myself to be sure they are actually gluten free.  I have found that while sometimes time consuming, Do-It-Yourself also saves quite a bit of money!  Bonus!

Take for example coffee creamer.  I am that gal that loves flavored cream in my coffee.  Different time of year or holidays  call for different flavors!  Store bought creamer can be pricey, but I stumbled upon a great set of recipes that you can customize and enjoy whatever flavor for much less than the store sells them for.  Giving credit where credit is due, I saw this post on my Facebook page where a friend shared it from Iris’s Healthy Friends (closed group).

When making your flavors – as always, please check the flavoring for gluten.  Great vanilla products that are gluten free are made by Nielsen-Massey.  Hershey’s syrups (chocolate, caramel, strawberry) are gluten free.  Most extracts are gluten free, please check the labels – McCormick says “When gluten or wheat is present as an ingredient, McCormick will declare it in the ingredient statement.”

So here you go………..enjoy some flavored coffee with me!

Start with the the basic ‘base’ recipe, then check below for different flavor variations.  

BASE RECIPE
14oz sweetened condensed milk
1 3/4 cup milk or cream (whole, lowfat, skim, almond, soy, heavy cream, half & half etc – whatever your preference, however the more fat, the more creaminess)

Mix the ingredients together well. Add them to a mason jar and shake it like crazy or you could also opt to use an old (washed) creamer container.

French Vanilla Creamer
2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR vanilla coffee syrup

Vanilla Bean Coffee Creamer
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Chocolate
2-3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
(1 tsp vanilla extract, optional)

Chocolate Almond
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon almond extract

Strudel
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Vanilla Caramel
2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Raspberry
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons raspberry syrup

Irish Cream
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Coconut
2 teaspoons coconut extract

Samoa (like the Girl Scout Cookies)
2 teaspoons coconut extract (or sub coconut milk or cream of coconut, heated & strained, for the milk/cream)
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping

Peppermint Patty
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Cinnamon Vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pumpkin Spice
3 tablespoons pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Honey Vanilla
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Almond Joy
1-2 teaspoons coconut extract (or sub coconut milk or cream of coconut if you heat it first, strained, in place of the milk & extract)
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

Sweet Cream
Use 1 3/4 cups of heavy cream instead of the milk in the base recipe
2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR the inside of a vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon almond extract

Chocolate Orange
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1-2 teaspoons orange extract

Hazelnut
2 teaspoons hazelnut extract

Chocolate Hazelnut
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons hazelnut extract

Cinnamon Cake
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Salted Caramel
2-3 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
1/2 teaspoon salt

Eggnog
Replace milk in the base recipe with equal amount of heavy cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Toasted Almond
2 teaspoons almond extract

DIRECTIONS AND TIPS:
In all these recipes, anything that has a dry or thick ingredient (like cinnamon, honey, etc..) should be heated up with a small amount of your milk/cream from the base recipe so it can dissolve properly. You don’t want grainy creamer! Then, add the rest of the milk/cream along with the sweetened condensed milk.

If you want really creamy creamer, use heavy cream instead of milk in your base recipe.

You’ll want to stick a piece of tape on they mason jar lid with the expiration date from the milk used. Use this as a guideline as to when the creamer should be used by.

Play around with amounts of extracts and other ingredients used if you like stronger or less intense flavors!! And, let your imagination turn, and make up your own combinations. Use this as inspiration to create your very own perfect homemade flavored creamer!

 

Live & LOVE Gluten Free!!

Posted in Sweets

Southern Comfort Gluten Free Brownies

These brownies are chewy little morsels of gluten-free goodness!  I created this recipe from several other recipes and it turned out great!

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Southern Comfort
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla bean paste (I use Nielsen-Massey)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup sweet white rice flour

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preheat you oven to 350 degrees, making sure your rack is in the center of the oven.  Grease an 8 x 8 square pan.  Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, under very low heat, melt the butter.  Add the chocolate and stir constantly till completely melted.  Remove from heat.
  3. Whip the eggs, sugar and salt on medium/high speed in a stand mixer till it is fluffy (should take 3-4 minutes).  Change speed to low and add the vanilla and the southern comfort, mix well.  Add the chocolate mixture (this should be warm, not hot) mix well.  Add the flour and mix just until combined.  Scrape the sides and bottom, making sure that everything is mixed.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan, making sure the top is all smooth.  Place in oven and bake 30-35 minutes until the brownie is pulling away from the pan.  Insert a toothpick in the center – if it comes out with just a few crumbs, if it is gooey, put back in the oven for a few more minutes.
  5. Cool completely in the pan before cutting.

NOTES:

Nielsen-Massey has awesome vanilla products.  They are actually certified gluten free!

Sweet rice flour is often called “glutinous” or “sticky.  This flour works better to hold these brownies together vs regular rice flour.  I used Ener-G brand, and it worked out great.

You can use all bittersweet chocolate if you prefer.  I did not have enough bittersweet chocolate in my cabinet so I mixed it with the semi sweet.

You could substitute any kind of liquor (making sure it is gluten free) in this recipe.  I considered using Grand Mariner, Jack Daniels, Midori etc….

Tip to cut brownies – chill them in the fridge for a couple hours or days before cutting.  Dip your knife in hot water  before cutting the brownies making sure to wipe the knife clean and dry after each cut.

Live & LOVE gluten free!

Posted in The Basics

Help! I Don’t Know How To Start A Gluten Free Diet!

Ask questionsYou can do this.  It seems a little overwhelming at first, but don’t think about what you cannot have!  Think about all of the wonderful foods you CAN have and it will be much easier.

To do a gluten free trial or to start eating gluten free you need to start with basics.  Do not overwhelm yourself with all of the “possibilities” that there are.  This is where my blog will come in handy.  I’ve tried to put together what I wish I had known when I first started out, that would have made the process SO much easier.

Please realize that this is a guide, there is so much information, I couldn’t possibly begin to list it all here.  So – I’ve picked out what I think is the important stuff you need to know to do a trial or get started.  As you check labels and become more aware of hidden glutens, the easier it will become!

If you find that a gluten free life IS for you, you can start adding more and more items, especially as you know what ingredients to look for on labels.

If you read my story, I started out with a trial where I would go gluten free for three weeks, note my symptoms and then try to eat something with gluten to see if I would have a reaction.   After seeing a difference in the first week alone and then the disappearance of so many more symptoms in the next two weeks I decided that I would not try to eat gluten again.  Ever.  For me, I knew this was the solution.

Eventually you will find that checking labels will become second nature!  Check all labels, all the time.   What a pain!  I know, but sometimes manufacturers change their recipe and something you bought a couple months ago might now be made with gluten!  😦

What is Gluten?  Gluten is the protein part of the grains: wheat, barley, rye, durum, spelt, farro, graham, kamut, and semolina.  Anything product that has any of these ingredients are no no’s.  Labels can be tricky because when you are checking them they will not say “gluten” as an ingredient.  Look for the grains listed above or malt, malt vinegar, brewers yeast, tricticum, bran, or farina, or any variation of those words.

Words like additives, fillers, spices, caramel color, natural flavors and emulsifier should trigger suspicion.  If the packaging does not say gluten free, then take the time to call the company or check their website to confirm before you try it.  Please see my previous post on how to read food labels.  

Many food labels are now clearly marked on the front as “gluten free”, others have allergy warnings listed by the ingredients.  Many labels have the mandated CONTAINS with a listing of potential allergens.  If you see this type marking and it says CONTAINS:  WHEAT then stay away.  If you see this marking and it does not list wheat you might be ok to eat this product….check the rest of the label for the other grains or suspicious words!

I will repeat that each and EVERY label will need to be checked before you purchase something and consume it.  Better safe than sorry.

Lets start with what you have in your cabinet.  This might take a couple hours, but if you do this it will make things easier.  Have a shelf that is designated GLUTEN FREE ONLY.  Go through all of your foods AND spices in your cabinets and refridgerator.  Check all of the labels, if you can’t tell from the label, check online.  GF OVERFLOW is a great website where you can type in the product name and it will tell you if it is or is not gluten free, when they last checked it AND the link or phone number to the manufacturer.

Get yourself a sharpie or permanent marker.  On the label of the items you determine to be gluten free, mark a big GF or NOT GF.  This way when you go into the cabinet (or someone in your home does), you can be sure that the item is gluten free.  For me this process advanced into stickers………..I printed avery address labels on my color printer with big bold GLUTEN FREE in green or NOT GLUTEN FREE in red on them.  Now when my husband or son is making food for me, they don’t have to worry or second guess their label checking skills!!

The following are basic ideas to get you through the first few weeks.  Don’t worry!  Once you get the hang of this you will be able to add many, many more foods.

No fast food.  There is basically nothing that you can eat at McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC or Pizza Hut – they have gluten in their meats, coating on fries, and in various other places you would not expect.  Stay away! If you can, for a couple of weeks try not to eat out until you are more familiar with what you can and cannot have.

What Can I Have?

All fresh, basic meat that has not been processed – beef, pork, chicken, fish, shellfish. Get good meat from the fresh meat section or butcher – not frozen stuff or stuff that has been prepared with seasonings or preservatives.  Watch out for “fake” fishes – like “crab sticks” – they are made with wheat.

All fresh fruits and fresh veggies are gluten-free. If you can, for the first few weeks stick to fresh.  Frozen fruits & veggies or canned should not have additives; but the labels will need to be checked to be sure.  Stay away from pie filling for now, often these have flour added.

Rice is gluten free. For now stay away from the boxed, flavored ones.  Get regular white rice or brown rice and flavor it yourself!  Check the label of wild rice carefully before using.

Most dairy products are gluten free (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, good sour cream, cheese) – Always check the labels of your dairy products because sometimes they have additives.  For example cheap sour cream has wheat!  But Daisy or Dean brands do not.  Do not assume that ice cream and sherbert are gluten free!  You will need to check the labels carefully to be sure they are OK.  Obviously any ice cream with cookie dough, brownies, cake etc…..will be off the menu!

Eggs are gluten free.

Corn tortillas are gluten free.

Use butter and olive oil (or corn or veggie) to cook in. NO margarine.

Most bacon is gluten free. Some will actually say gluten free.  The problem with bacon is usually MSG and nitrates – both of these ingredients are gluten free, but can cause other problems.

Speaking of breakfast……frozen hash brown patties (those oval ones) usually are NOT gluten-free.  However, Ore Ida has a bunch of their potatoes that ARE gluten free and are clearly marked.  If you are not sure, make them from scratch, potatoes are naturally gluten free.

Majority of cereals are NOT gluten-free.  Luckily there are several flavors of Chex that are gluten free – rice, corn, honey nut, chocolate, cinnamon and apple cinnamon.  Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles (not Puffs) are gluten free.  There are also gluten free Rice Krispies – but you will need find the ones that are marked gluten free, not all stores carry gluten free Rice Krispies.

If you need pancakes (and who doesn’t?!), check out Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix (pretty bag with sunset) is a VERY good mix.  Bob’s Red Mill makes a gluten free all purpose baking mix that makes great pancakes or waffles too.  There is a gluten free Bisquick mix also, but in my opinion not as good as the two I have mentioned.

Syrup – 100% maple syrup is naturally gluten free.  The labels of other syrups will need to be checked carefully.

For now, stay away from lunch meat and processed foods, sausage, hot dogs, wieners, kielbasa etc…. until you have a handle on how processed foods will affect you and you get better used to finding gluten in the labels.

Most regular, no flavor added, corn tortilla chips or potato chips have no gluten.  Watch out when they add flavors – like most of the BBQ or Sour Cream & Onion flavors have wheat in the seasoning – the wheat makes the seasoning go further like beans in chili…..

Check your seasonings in your cabinet for WHEAT, BARLEY or RYE.

Single seasoning like garlic powder, onion powder etc are usually ok. Lawry’s season salt is gluten free – generic brands of season salt you will have to check.

Seasoning blends – check the label.  A red flag is if you see “spices” with no specific listing.  If it does not have an allergy label (bold words that say contains or allergens) call the company or check the website.

Salad dressing………..gotta read the labels! Start with the Paul Newman ones…….MOST of them are gluten free and very good. They don’t usually say gluten-free, but on the label after the ingredients it usually will say CONTAINS: Soy, dairy, nuts…….if wheat is not listed you are probably OK to eat that item, check the rest of the ingredients first.  Hidden Valley Ranch and Wishbone Italian dressings are gluten free at the time of my writing this – but check the label.  Both companies will clearly state allergens.

If you are a chocolate fiend like me……you can have M&M’s, Hershey bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups (not the minis), York peppermint patties, Hershey kisses, Dove, 3 Musketeers, Snickers…… just to name a few, so YAY!  If you have a favorite candy go on GF OVERFLOW to see if yours is listed.  Sadly, Twizzlers are NOT gluten free, but Skittles and Starburst are!

Nuts are naturally gluten free……….BUT you have to watch out because the seasonings/coatings often contain gluten. For the time being, I would stay away from nuts.  Add them later if you continue with gluten free – but do your research.

Coffee is naturally gluten free, so you are good to go with any brewed coffee.  I am not sure about the “cappuccino powder” that they sell in the gas station. You would need to ask them to look at the label.

Tea is also naturally gluten free – be aware that the bags that are stapled are no problem, BUT some of the tea bags are glued together with stuff that has gluten. Most tea will say right on it “gluten free”.  Celestial Seasonings and Stash tea use no gluten in the bags or sealing of them.  Be careful of Lipton tea – they have not made a statement saying they are gluten free and suggest you read all labels carefully.

Flavored liquid creamers like coffee-mate or International house are both gluten free.

Most of the liquid flavors like Torani or DaVinci French vanilla…….are gluten free as well, but you will need to check for your favorite flavor.  Look on their website – Torani shows that French Vanilla is gluten free but the Sugar Free French Vanilla is NOT.  They have a couple others listed too.  For the DaVinci they show all flavors are gluten free except for Dulce de Leche Sugar Free Syrup.

This leads me to one more point to make – the Dulce de Leche is basically caramel.  ANYTHING that is caramel or caramel flavored you need to thoroughly check the label.  If it does not say gluten free CALL.  Caramel is often made using BARLEY for flavor!  So this can be a huge problem. If you want that caramel flavor, go with liquid creamer.

Basic booze – gin, vodka, rum, brandy etc…..all gluten-free! Holla!! Wine too. Be sure to check labels on flavored liquors. Lately there are a lot of flavored vodkas – steer clear of this for now, most of the companies I have contacted so far say the flavoring added may not be gluten free…..so they may no claims on those. You cannot have Malt beverages, so no beer or those Smirnoff cooler things.  There are quite a few brands of gluten-free beer out there.  As far as coolers go, you will have to read labels, for instance Mikes Hard Lemonade is NOT gluten-free………but their light version is and should say gluten free on the label.  Check into Ciders…….most are gluten free and should be marked.  

Most sodas are gluten free.  Double check your favorite.

I have found it a bit easier to make a batch of food I can eat (for example soup, stew, chili or enchiladas) and then freeze single serving sizes for later.  This works out great for me during the week for lunch, I don’t have to spend a lot of time making things each day and I can rest assured that I am eating gluten free.

There……….whew………that wasn’t so bad!  I think I have provided a decent list of items to get you through a couple of weeks eating.  Remember to keep your focus on all of the great things that you CAN have! Good luck!  You can do this!!

Live and LOVE gluten free!!

Posted in Just Plain Good Info......., The Basics

Label Reading 101: How The Heck Do I Find Gluten On Labels?

Head scratcher…………. hmmm, I know I can’t have gluten, so how do I figure out what’s in this?

There are several ways to find out if a product has gluten in it.  Look at the label, check the manufacturer website or call the manufacturer directly.  This post will deal with checking labels.  Many food labels are now clearly marked on the front “gluten free” while others have allergy warnings listed by the ingredients. 

Effective January 1, 2006, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) mandates that the labels of foods containing major food allergens (milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy) declare the allergen in plain language, either in the ingredient list or via:

  • the word “Contains” followed by the name of the major food allergen – for example, “Contains milk, wheat” – or
  • a parenthetical statement in the list of ingredients – for example, “albumin (egg)”

Such ingredients must be listed if they are present in any amount, even in colors, flavors, or spice blends. Additionally, manufacturers must list the specific nut (e.g., almond, walnut, cashew) or seafood (e.g., tuna, salmon, shrimp, lobster) that is used.

Please note that the allergen label law does not cover rye and barley. Fortunately, rye is not used that often in foods, and when it is the label usually says so.  A more common problem is barley and it can be more difficult to recognize on a food label. Sometimes it is listed as barley, barley malt or just malt.  So when checking your labels, make sure you are looking for not only wheat, but rye and barley as well.

Many labels have the mandated CONTAINS with a listing of potential allergens.  If you see CONTAINS:  WHEAT, RYE, BARLEY or GLUTEN then do not eat/use this product.  If you see CONTAINS and it does not list wheat, rye, barley or gluten it is usually ok to eat this product, but check the ingredients to be sure.

Check out this clearly marked label.  The ingredients section says Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat flour…….) then below it also says in bold CONTAINS:  WHEAT, SOY.

It is very clear that you should NOT eat this product if you are gluten free…. it sure would be nice if all products were labeled this way!!

Here are a couple more to give you an idea of what some ingredient labels look like. On the last label  the first obvious allergen is wheat flour, but take a look at the second to the last ingredient – Malted Barley Flour – this is gluten even thought it does not mention it on the CONTAINS marking.

          

The next two show you what a label might look like that does not have the CONTAINS marking.  You can see that there are no specific allergens indicated, both have wheat flour. therefore you cannot have either.

  

Now for the next confusing part to reading labels……what ingredient you are actually looking for.  Not everything will be easily identified as wheat, rye, barley or gluten.  The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network has a great chart I am sharing with you on how to read a label for a Wheat-Free Diet:

Some of the ingredients are obvious to look for but others are a little trickier.  The above chart is for a wheat-free diet.  Don’t forget that gluten free is more than just wheat free!  You should also look for barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley), oats, rye and triticale which is a cross between wheat and rye.  For anything that is caramel or caramel flavored, check ingredients very carefully as many of these items use barley for flavor.

The lower section of the chart lists items that wheat is sometimes found in.  These items should be triggers for you to look further into the ingredients to be certain it is gluten free.  For instance, just about anything you find that has soy sauce as an ingredient will NOT be gluten free unless it is specifically marked GLUTEN FREE.  Why?  Because regular soy sauce is made with wheat.  Many products list starch, but don’t list what kind of starch, it could be corn, rice, wheat or something else.  As a rule of thumb, if the product has one of these trigger ingredients – CALL THE COMPANY TO VERIFY.

Another trigger is natural flavor.  This needs to be explained, call the company to verify that one of these natural flavors does not come from wheat, barley or rye.

This brings me to another point.  When calling companies for gluten free information you will often come upon a person who has no clue as to what they are talking about.  You can quickly tell that they are not at all familiar with allergens, in specific gluten.  Thank them and hang up.  Call back and try to get someone else that is a little more knowledgeable about allergens.  If this happens to you, I would do a little more research on the product before you actually eat it.  

When checking online for gluten information, make sure you look at the date it was updated.  If it is an old date, you might want to call the company instead of relying on just that information so you can be positive the product is gluten free, manufacturers are always changing formulas!  Have the product with you when you call because they might ask for the UPC code.  Sometimes I actually call from the store before I buy certain items.

Instead of going directly to the manufacturer’s site, you can check different online gluten free product searches.  There are a few out there, but here are a few to try:

Gluten Free Overflow has an extensive product listing (over 9,000) and is easy to use.

Celiaccess has a nice search with the ability for people to add notes.

Celiac Society had a good search and a neat bonus – it will show you what is safe and/or forbidden in one list.

I will repeat that each and EVERY label will need to be checked before you purchase something and consume it!  When in doubt, do without.  Better safe than sorry.

Live and Love Gluten Free!!

Posted in The Basics

Gluten Intolerant? – A Self Test

Going gluten free is not a trend!  It is a permanent lifestyle where even small amounts of gluten exposure can cause problems, so it should be taken very seriously.

Some basic info:
The American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA) explains that there is a difference between Celiac Disease, wheat allergy and gluten intolerance/sensitivity and that all three are “treated similarly, in that patients with these conditions must remove wheat from their diet. It is important to note, however, that there is a difference between these three medical problems. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system starts attacking normal tissue, such as intestinal tissue, in response to eating gluten. Because of this, people with celiac disease are at risk for malabsorption of food, which cause nutritional deficiencies and may result in conditions such as iron deficiency anemia, osteopenia, and osteoporosis.  Persons with a wheat allergy or gluten-intolerance usually do not have severe intestinal damage, and therefore are not at risk for these nutritional deficiencies.  They also are not at increased risk of developing other autoimmune conditions.”

The ACDA also explains a bit about the potential risks with Celiac vs. allergy or intolerance/sensitivity “celiac disease involves the activation of a particular type of white blood cell, the T lymphocyte, as well as other parts of the immune system, which may increase the risk of developing GI cancers, in particular lymphomas, in persons with celiac disease.  Since food allergies and intolerances do not involve this particular immune system pathway, these patients are not at increased risk for these cancers.”

Keep in mind that unlike a food allergy or food intolerance, celiac disease is an inherited condition.  This means family members may have it, too.  If someone in your family is diagnosed, ACDA recommends that first degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) are screened as well.

Have you ever wondered if you were gluten intolerant?
If you think you might have Ceiliac Disease, have a wheat allergy or have gluten sensitivity/intolerance you need to go to a specialist.  However, if you can’t afford it at this time, you can try a quick self test that could help determine if gluten could be your problem.

This is a simple test that I have adapted from one found at Glutenology.net.

Sensitivity to Gluten Self Test 
Check the symptoms you are experiencing that you can’t attribute to legitimate conditions.

For example: if you have asthma that you developed from working with chemicals or in a mine, do not check it as that can be clearly attributed to that environment.  However, if you have asthma and have not been exposed to anything where you would develop it, check it.

One more example, if you have diarrhea because you have a virus or ate sushi out of a vendors trunk, do not check it.  However, if you have diarrhea often and can’t attribute it to anything else then check it.

Gut:

    • Craving baked goods (cake, cookies, brownies)
    • Craving high sugar foods
    • Frequent intestinal bloating or gas especially after eating
    • IBS – irritable bowel syndrome
    • Acid reflux – GERD (aka heartburn)
    • Indigestion
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Frequent nausea and or vomiting
    • Difficulty gaining weight (children under the growth curve)
    • Iron deficiency anemia

Head &Nervous System:

    • Frequent headaches
    • Sinus congestion
    • Migraine Headaches
    • Poor memory
    • Vertigo
    • Difficulty recalling words
    • Brain fog
    • Poor concentration
    • Been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD
    • Suffer with frequent vertigo (dizziness)
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Neuropathy
    • Irrational irritability
    • Mood swings
    • Restless leg syndrome
    • Diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    • Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s

Muscle and Joint:

    • Frequent joint pains with or without activity
    • Chronic muscle aches
    • Migrating joint pain (without injury)
    • Frequent muscle spasms (especially in the legs)
    • Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia
    • Diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis (RA, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Sjogren’s)
    • Bone pain
    • Growing pains
    • Osteoporosis or osteopenia

Hormonal:

    • Fatigue
    • Inability to lose weight
    • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
    • Infertility
    • History of miscarriage or spontaneous abortion
    • Menstrual problems – PMS
    • Thyroid disease
    • Diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia
    • Diagnosis of Diabetes (type I or type II)
    • Hypoglycemia
    • PCOS (polycystic ovary disease)
    • Endometriosis

Immune:

    • Chronic urinary tract infections
    • Chronic respiratory infections
    • Asthma
    • Vaginal, oral, or nail bed yeast infections

Skin:

    • Fever blisters or mouth ulcers
    • Skin rash
    • Eczema
    • Psoriasis
    • Dermatitis Herpetiformis**
    • Vitiligo

Other Internal Diseases/Problems:

    • Gall bladder problems
    • Elevated liver enzymes
    • Non alcoholic fatty liver
    • Autoimmune hepatitis
    • Lymphoma
    • Platelet disorders

RESULTS
The results are pretty simple.  If you have checked more than 8 of these problems, you may want to consider that you have gluten intolerance, especially if you have checked several of the problems listed in red.  In particular, dermatitis herpetiformis which is a skin condition known to be caused by gluten.

The above list is only some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance/sensitivity.  There are 200-300 symptoms.  From this list, the symptoms listed in black can be caused by gluten intolerance.  The symptoms in red are often mis-diagnosed conditions that could be caused by gluten intolerance.

When I did this test myself, I checked off TWENTY FOUR of the symptoms listed above, many of which were red.  I had been mis-diagnosed with several different things and was frustrated as to why the medicines they were giving me were not working (in addition to causing other problems).  Once I went gluten free, I eliminated about 18 of these symptoms. Eighteen!  I feel better than I have in years.  True story.

Keep in mind I am not a doctor and am not dispensing medical advise.  I am a self-diagnosed, gluten-intolerant woman who has happily experienced the benefit of going gluten free.  To read more about my story click HERE.  If you have checked off a whole bunch of symptoms and are willing to consider that you may have an issue with gluten, please get to a doctor (one who is experienced with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity/intolerance) soon and get yourself checked out.

If you, for whatever reason, are unable to get to a doctor at this time and think you may have a problem with gluten – do a gluten-free trial to see if it makes a difference.  Check out other areas of my website for more information, or do a search online to get more information about how to start a trial.  Then get yourself to a specialist as soon as you can. The key to your feeling better may be as simple as eliminating this from your diet!!

Live and LOVE gluten free!

Posted in Entrees

Gluten Free Chicken and Goat Cheese Enchilada

SO it’s football season as I am writing this post and wanted to share this awesome recipe from Alex Thomopoulos (a stand-up comic turned chef and passionate food enthusiast) for gluten free enchiladas.  You can see her video HERE.  Check out her blog for other fabulous recipes and BE SURE to watch the videos, she is quite entertaining!

I think that this is a great recipe to make a double or triple batch and freeze………..IF there are any left!  😉

Ingredients 

SAUCE
2 poblano peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dry Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup dry white wine
32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons sriracha

FILLING
1 store bought rotisserie chicken, shredded (or make your own)
1 log (16 ounce) goat cheese (or substitute your fav cheese)
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
4 scallion, thinly sliced
18 (6 inch) corn tortillas, warmed in oven or microwave.
(1) 15×10 or (2) 9×13 inch baking dishes
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Char poblano peppers over an open flame. Place peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 8-10 minutes until skins softened and are easy to remove. Seed and stem poblano peppers. Chop finely.
  3. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and sauté until onions become soft and translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Sprinkle in the oregano, cumin, paprika, chopped poblano, and salt. Continue to cook another 3-4 minutes until vegetables begin to caramelize slightly. Deglaze pan with the wine and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let wine reduce to almost nothing before adding in the tomatoes, chicken stock, and sriracha. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  4. Allow sauce to cool. Transfer to blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Adjust salt to taste.
  5. For the Filling: in a bowl combine shredded chicken, goat cheese, cilantro, and half of the scallions. Set aside.
  6. To assemble enchiladas: ladle enough sauce to just coat the bottom of the baking dish. Dip each tortilla in remaining sauce to coat and fill each one with about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Roll tortillas into 1 1/2 inch enchiladas. Place enchiladas seam side down in the baking dish. Set aside 1/2 cup of sauce and pour remaining sauce over top. Bake enchiladas in pre-heated oven on middle rack for 20-25 minutes or until enchiladas are crispy and brown around the edges.
  7. Top with reserved sauce, sliced scallions, and jalapenos. Serve.

Serves: 8

Live and LOVE gluten free!