Archive for February, 2010

King Arthur Flour Introduces Gluten-Free Flours & Mixes: Gluten-Free Flours Fit for a King

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

It looks as if America’s oldest flour company is learning some new tricks: Gluten-free flours and mixes.

King Arthur Flour, founded more than 200 years ago and known for their premium baking flours and mixes will introduce their new gluten-free products today, March 1, 2010 on the King Arthur website and soon in supermarkets across the country.

The King Arthur gluten-free line consists of: Gluten-free Multi-Purpose Flour (I can’t wait to try it in some of my favorite recipes!), along with convenient mixes for gluten-free bread, pizza crust, cookies, brownies, chocolate cake, muffins, and pancakes. 

Best yet, all of their gluten-free products will be made in a dedicated allergen-free facility and guaranteed to be free of the top eight allergens. Their products are also third-party certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization, whose standards are twice as stringent as those set by the FDA.

I am really excited about King Arthur launching these new gluten-free products since their company is known for consistency in products, educating consumers in using their baking products and for being a resource of useful information, including recipes.

I’m looking forward to King Arthur, a classic in baking legend, teaching me some new baking tricks too!

Favorite Friday: Better ‘n Peanut Butter

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I love peanut butter. But when I need to watch the calories and fat in my diet, I really do have to limit myself on how much peanut butter I can enjoy. 

That is why I was thrilled when I found Better n Peanut Butter, a natural peanut butter spread that is gluten and dairy free. With only 2.5 grams of fat (85% less fat then regular peanut butter) and 100 calories (40% less than regular peanut butter) per serving, I can enjoy peanut butter more often, even when watching my calories! 

I love this peanut butter spread on sliced pears or smeared on gluten-free toast. Perfect for breakfast, lunch or snack time.

Also, check out the recipes that are on the Better n Peanut Butter website and enjoy!

WIN-It-Wednesday: For Jackie Home Baked Cookies

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

These cookies are to die for. Soft & sweet just like a cookie should be. 

For Jackie Home Baked Cookies are packed with chocolate and coconut. The reason why I love these cookies so much is that they are a cross between two of my all time favorite cookies: Chocolate Chip and Macaroons. Appropriately named “More than a Macaroon” they are the perfect combination of nutty coconut and sweet chocolate. Perfection!

These cookies are also extra special because they are made by a Mom & Dad on a quest to make the best cookie possible for their daughter, Jackie, who was diagnosed with celiac disease several years ago. These parents started baking up all of their favorite recipes gluten-free to adapt to their daughters new lifestyle, when they stumbled upon what they describe as “… the creation of a caramelized, coconut confection that tasted like nothing we had ever had. It took macaroons to new heights and was a true decadent experience.” 

And decadent these cookies are. Just one and you will be hooked – so beware. Don’t say that I didn’t caution you. Also, I am warning you that gluten-eaters will love these too. So determine your hiding place for these cookies before you bring them into your home.

These decadent clusters of sheer joy are this weeks WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor. Two (yes 2!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe members will win a double-pack of For Jackie Cookies.

How can you win?


Reply to this blog (make sure you are a BeFreeForMe member if you want to win!) and let us know why you, your family or even your life in general can be a little nutty, or a little sweet… or both!  (Me? I’m a little nutty because I actually like taking walks in the rain, and I can be sweet when I take my incredible boxer, Sadie, for 2 walks a day… instead of just one).

All entries must be received by Tuesday, March 2, 2010 by 12 midnight EST.

Good luck, Be slightly nutty, Constantly sweet, and as always…

Be Free!

First of It’s Kind… Food Allergy Law for Restaurants

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Those of us with dietary concerns due to food allergies, intolerances or celiac disease know that eating out in restaurants can often require more effort than it’s worth and can also be a very scary experience.

We all have experienced that “deer in the headlights” look from wait staff, and even restaurant management, after requesting meals free of certain allergens or gluten.

But thanks to the precedential Food Allergy Awareness Act in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, restaurant patrons will no longer have to endure those blank stares and the uneasiness of wondering if someone in the restaurant actually “gets it” when it comes to food allergies, intolerances and gluten-free dining.

The goal of this Act regarding food allergies is simple: To educate restaurant staff throughout state of Massachusetts on food allergy awareness and increase their knowledge on best practices in order to minimize the risk of illness, or even death, due to the accidental ingestion of food allergens.

Although it will always be important for those concerned with food allergies to use extra diligence, make sure they ask restaurant staff a lot of questions and carry an EpiPen if required, the law states, “… it is a shared responsibility between the consumer… and the food establishment operator” to make sure that allergen free foods are served to consumers. This law is a step in the right direction when it comes to addressing the importance of knowledge and education regarding the seriousness of food allergies to those in the restaurant industry.

Spearheaded by The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and Ming Tsai, executive producer of public television’s Simply Ming, celebrity chef and owner of Blue Ginger Restaurant in Massachusetts, there are three (3) mandatory portions of the Food Allergy Awareness Act. They are:

1.) Menu Statement: Menus must include a statement that the customer should inform the wait staff of any food allergy issue.

2.) Poster Requirement: Posters, detailing information about the 8 most common food allergens, including the threat of cross-contamination during food preparation, cooking and serving; must be posted in each dining establishment.

3.) Training Video: The certified person in charge of food safety and various management personnel will be required to view a training video and become certified on food allergens. 

Thanks to Ming Tsai, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on this uniquely exceptional law. May this law become the benchmark and may every state in the nation follow in your lead!

Friday Favorite: Starfish Crispy Battered Haddock

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

When I was growing up fish and chips on Fridays, especially during the Lenten season, was a weekly staple. But since being on a gluten-free diet most anything that is labeled as “crispy” and “battered” have been off limits. That is why I was more than thrilled when I found the battered Starfish haddock.

This all-natural gluten-free, soy-free, milk-free and egg-free “ready-for-your-oven” fish is delicious. And coming from a gal that grew-up on Cape Cod I have discriminating tastes when it comes to my seafood!

I was surprised at just how crispy the batter was and the flakiness of the fish.

Fish and Chips on Friday’s are again on my gluten-free menu! Rejoice!

WIN-It-Wednesday: HappyBaby – Food for Babies, Toddlers & Kids

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

HappyBaby makes premium organic meals (many of which are gluten and allergen-free) for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and young kids.  Their mission is to provide babies and young children the healthiest start in life with whole organic foods.

And what parent wouldn’t be happy by giving their kids tasty, convenient and healthy meals?

HappyBaby makes tons of products that are gluten, dairy, egg, nut, fish and soy free for those of us worried about gluten and food allergens. Some of the products they offer are Stage 1, 2 and 3 meals & Brown Rice cereal for babies; snacks for babies and toddlers, and healthy kids meals.

I met the team from HappyBaby this past fall at a tradeshow here in Boston. Their upbeat attitude, love for their products and passion for everything their company stands for and represents shined in each and every one of them.

Plus the HappyBaby products are not only good for your family’s health, but they are also socially responsible too. With every package you purchase, HealthyBaby donates to Project Peanut Butter whose mission is to help feed hungry children and create sustainable local production of foods for these children.

The HappyBaby website also has some fantastic information regarding nutritional and exercise advice, what to expect when the baby arrives and more, for all of you HappyMamas.

All of these reasons make me so happy that HappyBaby is BeFreeForMe’s WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor this week!

One lucky BeFreeForMe winner will win a huge prize pack full of tasty and fun HappyBaby products and giveaways… Including:

– 1 case of product (winner’s choice!)
– The book  “The Organic Guide to Baby’s First 24 months” by Robert W. Sears, MD and Amy Marlow, MPH, RD & CDN
– Eric Carle Growth Chart (compliments of HappyBaby’s marketing partner YoBaby)
– FAQ Booklet on Probiotics & DHA
– Infant and toddler Nutrition Guide
– HAPPYFAMILY packet of Recipes

How can you win?


Just reply to this blog and tell us why your family (or family-to-be if you’re expecting) makes you happy! (Me? My family is notorious for randomly dancing & happily singing around the house for no reason at all!)

All entries must be received by Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 12 Midnight EST.

Good luck, be happy, dance & sing for no reason at all… and as always…

Be Free!

Chinese Fake-Out

Monday, February 15th, 2010

One of the things that I, and many others, miss the most after being diagnosed with celiac disease or food allergens is the convenience and affordability of quick and easy Chinese Take-Out.

Before being diagnosed with celiac we would call our local Chinese restaurant at least once or twice a month and order up the white to-go containers full of traditional Chinese favorites. 

I miss those take-out days.

What is a celiac in need of Kung Pao and General Tso to do?

Let’s face it… It’s no ancient Chinese secret that Chinese food is not only jammed packed with gluten and other food allergens, but also hits the jackpot when it comes to high calories, sodium, and saturated fat. 

That’s why this Chinese New Years, I decided to give my wok a whirl, sharpen my chop sticks and whip up a few Asian dishes that would put any Chinese restaurant to shame. When I cook up my Asian-inspired dishes, such as Chinese Sesame Broccoli & Beef, I double-dose the health benefits (as well as the cost per dish) by doubling-up the veggies and reducing the amount of meat in each dish.

Join me in making a Chinese New Year’s Resolution to embrace the economical, fresher, healthier and gluten/allergen free benefits of making Chinese dishes right in your very own kitchen.

(Note: For more on the basics of Asian cooking check out this article on

Friday Favorite: Sorrento Reduced Fat String Cheese

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Snacking is big for me. And any snack that is low-calorie, plus good for me is even bigger. That’s why I love to grab a cheese stick for a quick protein boost on the go.

My favorite is the Sorrento Stringsters Reduced Fat Mozzarella String Cheese. Because they are individually wrapped I can take these healthy gluten-free snacks anywhere I go.

I also like that these cheese sticks are only 70 calories each, high in calcium, and 25% less fat than low moisture part skim string cheese.

Say cheese… and smile!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Gifts of Nature Gluten-Free Oatmeal & Baking Mixes

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

I am so very glad to announce that this weeks WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor is Gift of Nature Certified Gluten-Free Oatmeal and baking mixes!

Gift of Nature’s goal is to provide the best certified gluten-free oats, flours and baking mixes available. Gift of Nature keeps things real healthy too by using nutritious whole grain brown rice and bean flours in their mixes – not the typical white rice flour and starch which offer little nutritional value. Gift of Nature’s products also contain unrefined sweeteners, and all natural ingredients. And if you want to try something new, check out their mixes using Montina Pure Flour, which is high in Fiber, Protein, and Iron.

Gift of Nature is offering two (Yes 2!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe members a “Gift (of Nature) pack” containing the following items:

Old Fashioned Oats* (44-ounce package): Great for a hot cereal in the morning or for baking! Oatmeal Cookies anyone?

Buttermilk Biscuit Mix: Think Bisquick for the gluten-free set! Use this versatile multipurpose baking mix to make fluffy biscuits, coffee cake, dumplings, and anything you use to make with Bisquick! Yahoooo!

French Bread and Pizza Mix: Enough to make a crusty loaf of French bread or 2 large pizza crusts. Gluten free yeast packet included.

Cranberry Orange Muffin Mix: Made with gluten-free grains, including Montina. Great for breakfast or mid-afternoon snack.

How can you WIN?


Reply to this blog and tell us what gift(s) nature gives to you. (Me? New England winter days that are getting longer as they pass… a promise that springtime is coming soon!)

All entries must be received by Tuesday, February 16 at 12:00 midnight EST.

Good luck, Be thankful of nature’s gifts… and as always,

Be Free!

* Please note that those on a gluten-free diet should check with their doctors before consuming even moderate amounts of certfied gluten-free oats.

Ask Shelley Case: The Scoop on Gluten-Free Oats

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Question: Are oats allowed on a gluten-free diet? 

Historically, oats were not allowed on a gluten-free diet for those with celiac disease. The avenin protein in oats was thought to cause the same reaction as the proteins in the gluten-containing grains wheat, rye and barley.  However, many studies over the past 15 years have revealed that moderate amounts of pure, uncontaminated oats are tolerated by the majority of individuals with celiac disease.  It should be noted that a small number of individuals with celiac disease may not tolerate pure, uncontaminated oats. The mechanism triggering this intolerance has not yet been identified. So it is important to check with your doctor and dietitian before adding pure, uncontaminated oats to your gluten-free diet.

To learn more about the safety of oats in celiac disease, read the extensive review by Health Canada.

Remember… Not all oats are gluten-free:
Many commercial oat products on the market are cross-contaminated with wheat, rye and/or barley during harvesting, transportation, storage, milling, processing and packaging. An American study by dietitian Tricia Thompson tested three brands of commercially available oats and found varying levels of gluten contamination. Similar results were reported in two other studies by Hernando and Gelinas. Cross contamination has been the major reason why most health professionals and celiac groups have not allowed oats on a gluten-free diet. Fortunately there are companies in the USA and Canada that produce pure, uncontaminated oats on dedicated fields with dedicated equipment and processed in dedicated gluten-free facilities. The major specialty gluten-free oat companies include:


In addition to the above producers, many companies are adding gluten-free oats to their products in items such as granola, snack bars, muffins and breads.  Look for the words on the package label – “gluten-free oats”, “pure, uncontaminated oats”, or “certified gluten-free oats”. Also, the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) does certify a number of companies producing and/or including gluten-free oats in various products. The GFCO symbol will be located on the package. The Canadian Celiac Association will be launching a new certification program for pure, uncontaminated oats in early 2010. Products meeting the certification will have the trademark “PAVENA™” on the food label.

Authorities approve oats:
Many health professionals, celiac organizations, celiac research centers and other associations around the world allow consumption of moderate amounts of pure, uncontaminated oats. I have included a detailed listing of the position statements from these organizations in my book Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide.

The Canadian Celiac Association Professional Advisory Board has developed guidelines for the introduction of pure, uncontaminated oats in the gluten-free diet for those with celiac disease.  

Oat’s nutritional value:
A nutritious whole grain, oats are a good source of protein, fiber, iron and B vitamins.  Oats contain two kinds of fiber- soluble and insoluble. The soluble fiber (ß-glucan) can help lower cholesterol and control blood glucose levels. Insoluble fiber promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. As many gluten-free products are frequently made with refined flours and starches and are low in iron, B vitamins and dietary fiber, oats are a healthy addition to the diet.

Where to find Oat recipes:
Gluten-free oats are available as whole oat groats, oatmeal, oat flour and oat bran. They can be incorporated into many recipes. has many gluten-free oat recipes including Oatmeal M&M Cookies and Orange Oatmeal Granola Trail Mix. Cream Hill Estates also has a great recipe for Muesli Cereal.


Shelley Case, RD
Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide

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