On the surface, “restricting” and “self-care” sound like polar opposites and I know this is such a core issue that so many of us experience in the gluten-free community. Generally we think of restrictions as a way of saying “no”, of controlling and denying. I’m sure everyone knows or has seen someone take even concepts about healthy eating and eating the “right foods”, and push them too far. Yet for people with food allergies, Celiac, gluten sensitivity, etc., food restrictions can really be a way of simply living more fully, or taking better care of health. Chances are if you’re on this blog, you know where I’m coming from.
I hate the idea of “dieting”—the regimented set of rules that are about contorting and what you do until you lose enough weight so that you can (more…)
After doing some behind-the-scenes work on my blog last week, I noticed that many people find my blog by searching for gluten-free Panera Bread information. Panera Bread has offered gluten-free choices for years, but they have never had any gluten-free baked goods on the menu. I emailed them last week to get the current list of their menu items that are free of gluten and will be sharing them below. Since Panera Bread has predominantly bread items, there is a risk of cross-contamination.
AllergyEats, The Most Comprehensive Source for Finding Allergy-Friendly Restaurants,
Offers Free Peer-Based Ratings, Tips & Info-Sharing Forums BOSTON, MA (March 19, 2012) – Millions of people will travel this season for spring break, school vacation and the Easter/Passover holidays, and for most of them, these trips mean fun, relaxation and wonderful adventures. But for the 15 million people with food allergies (and their families), traveling can be a source of tremendous anxiety. Dining in unfamiliar cities and restaurants – which may or may not be able to accommodate their special dietary requirements – can be extremely stressful. Worrying about a possible allergic reaction compounds the problem. But the food allergy community can depend on AllergyEats (www.allergyeats.com), the biggest and fastest growing source for finding allergy-friendly restaurants, to help them more comfortably dine out wherever they are – resulting in a more enjoyable, less stressful trip.
“I’ve traveled extensively with my children – who are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, sesame and dairy - and have learned (more…)
When I became a gluten-sensitive newbie a year ago, I couldn’t figure out what I’d eat on a day-by-day basis.
This hadn’t been a problem when I became lactose-intolerant because so many alternatives to cow’s milk products were in the grocery stores. Nor had it been a diet problem because my program (Weight Watchers) was not restrictive in choice, just in portion size.
But gluten-sensitivity (and also a problem with oats, alas) threw me into a complete tizzy. So many of my favorite foods were out the window. What was I going to eat at breakfast? For lunch? What about when I just wanted to grab a snack? (more…)
For the last two years my husband and I have enjoyed going to Las Vegas for a getaway. We like it there because there is gambling, shopping, shows and of course wonderful food. Those food options include an abundance of gluten-free cuisine.
While there in December 2011 we enjoyed two gourmet dinners with a plethora of gluten-free menu options. One of the dinners was at Mesa Grill in Caesars Palace and the other was at NobHill Tavern in MGM Grand. We also enjoyed a special breakfast complete with gluten-free Pamela’s Products pancakes ordered off of their Gluten Sensitive menu at The Cracked Egg.
Mesa Grill was up first and while the decor was a little on the cheesy side the food was excellent. When we made our reservations I was sure to stipulate that I would be eating (more…)
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Cranford, the president of our very own Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) chapter in Denver. I’ve known Karen now for about 7 months. We met when I became involved in the chapter and she helped me become the secretary. However, I feel that during this interview, I got to REALLY meet Karen and get to know her, which was such a joy. She has been the president of CSA for over two years and has helped, along with her many board members, build such a strong organization that has helped bring Denver to the top of the list in Celiac Awareness. She has helped the chapter bring the ’Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food Fair™’ to Denver as well as worked hard to get incredibly knowledgable speakers, such as Dr. Ford, Dr. Fasano, and Dr. Wangen, to Denver to educate us all on Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. We all get the joy of experiencing the hard work she puts in on a volunteer basis to make living gluten free easier on all of us, but now we get the special treat of actually getting to know Karen.
Jenn: How old were you when you were first diagnosed?
Karen: So it’s been 7 years, when I turned 50. I’ve always laughed and said “Turn fifty…get celiac disease!”
Jenn: How long were you having symptoms before receiving a diagnosis?
Karen: Well, it’s easy to look back and say maybe I was having symptoms for a long time. I started having migraines around 22, and now I wonder if that was a symptom. But, I was probably really sick for about (more…)
Working with people diagnosed with food allergies and Celiac disease has opened my eyes to the world around me. Prior to this, the only person I knew with severe food allergies was a younger cousin of mine whom I spend very little time with. But, when you start paying attention, you figure out there are many people living with food allergies, Celiac disease or other food related intolerances or restrictions.
One day, I came into work and a co-worker, Genevieve Fraser, asked if I was the one with the food allergy therapist magnet on my car. When I said yes, she informed me that she has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts, and has since she was very young. Suddenly, it was in my awareness that I had been bringing peanut butter to work almost every day that I am in that office, not even realizing my office neighbor, just across the hall, has to carry an Epipen everywhere she goes because of peanuts! Boy did that get my attention!
I didn’t stop bringing peanut butter to work at first, but I noticed I felt nervous and worried every time I did, so I finally stopped bringing it. However, I noticed being concerned about others using her office when she was not around, and wondering if people were taking peanuts in there. I finally decided that I should learn more about what it is like living as an adult with a severe anaphylactic food allergy, rather than just going off what I read and my own assumptions.
When I asked Genevieve if I could do a feature interview on her, she was so great and willing to share her story. I have to say, this interview was so informative, empowering, emotional, and motivating, that it really helped put some aspects of living with life threatening food allergies into perspective. Genevieve not only survived her childhood, despite bullying and being different, but has gone on to complete her college degree and is working on her master’s. She has dedicated herself to helping others overcome challenging obstacles in their lives so that they can live a full life, despite whatever challenges they might be facing. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did! (more…)
I have had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Stephen Wangen, the founder of the IBS Treatment Center in Seattle, WA. Awhile back, at a CSA (Celiac Sprue Association) meeting I had the pleasure of helping Dr. Wangen with his book signing. He had flown in to Denver to speak on his books, Healthier Without Wheat and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution. There was a full audience of folks, just like you and I, who were able to ask personal questions and learn more about living with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, as well as exploring other areas such as food allergies.
Since that time, Dr. Wangen and I have had the chance to talk about what the IBS Treatment Center does to help people really understand their bodies and how food can be affecting them. He explores the possibilities of Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance and food allergies and helps people to develop a healthier lifestyle tailored to their specific needs. At the same time, Dr. Wangen has observed the emotional affects these conditions can have on people and understands that not feeling well emotionally has an affect on how people take care of their physical well being. What makes his practice so fantastic is the positive nature. Dr. Wangen helps people view the changes by looking at the benfits and the gains and focusing on what people can have, rather than on what they can’t. Here is what Dr. Wangen had to say when I asked him about his own experiences. (more…)
In Part 1 of this article about nutrient deficiencies in the gluten-free population, I posed four critiques and questions that I promised to answer in today’s part 2. Without further ado, here we go…
Critique #1 questioned the small sample size of the research. I can’t do anything about that, and there’s not much to be said about it, so let’s move on.
Next, I think it’s easiest to address critique #3: How did nutrient deficiencies in the gluten-free population compare to Americans as a whole? To answer that question, I pulled data regarding nationwide averages from the USDA’s Community Nutrition Mapping Project. If I amend yesterday’s table that showed the percent of the gluten-free population who are deficient in given nutrients, and add to it a column for the national averages, this is what you find:
These numbers change the perspective a bit, I think. It’s not simply that the gluten-free population is nutrient deficient. When you compare us to the national averages, it gets slightly more complex. In some cases, such as folate, riboflavin, thiamin, and iron, we’re two or more times as deficient (as a group) than the nation. However, in other cases, such as B12, B6, and calcium, we still have greater rates (more…)
I was recently reading a press release from Nature’s Path Organic about two of their new cereals. The press release made a familiar argument: the cereals “provide gluten avoiders with whole grains… unlike many gluten-free cereals which forfeit nutritional benefits…” The implication is that many gluten-free cereals (and other gluten-free processed foods, by extension) are more highly processed in order to improve taste and texture. But they do so by sacrificing nutritional quality.
There is some truth to this logic. Foods made from whole grains are inherently healthier than heavily processed foods, and I’ll use our good old enemy – wheat – to demonstrate. I compared whole grain wheat flour (less processed) with white, unenriched wheat flour (more processed) across a range of nutrient measures. Not surprisingly, the wheat underwent a profound loss in (more…)