Archive for May, 2011

Friday Favorite: Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Great as a marinade, a dipping sauce or brush on during grilling, Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce is a sweet addition to any gluten-free grilling feast!

Sweet, thick and with a kick, Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce comes in several varieties, including: Sweet Baby Ray’s Original, Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar, Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet ’n Spicy, Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet Vidalia Onion Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle; and my favorite,

And just to let you BBQ lovers all know… I called the Sweet Baby ray headquarters today and they assured me that all of the retail varieties of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauces ARE gluten-free! (The modified food starch is derived from corn).

All these sweet reasons are why this week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe.com goes to Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce. So slather it, dip it, baste it, dunk it… and make sure to enjoy the sticky sweetness of an ole’ fashioned barbeque… gluten-free style!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Don’t you just love it when you find really, really, really, good gluten-free foods?

If you’re like me, when you discover such a “find” you want to tell the world, shout it from your blogspot, dream about it and secretly scheme about your next encounter.

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Breads had me at the first bite. After that bite I was dreaming about French toast, grilled cheese, BLT’s, even the basic peanut butter & jelly. All simple foods to most, but a true delicacy to me.

What I love the most about Rudi’s Bakery is that they make tons of delicious gluten-free breads (including original, multi-grain and cinnamon raisin), pizza crusts and… drumroll please… their new multigrain gluten free hamburger rolls and hotdog rolls!

Funny how your life changes. How something as simple as a slice of bread, or a single hotdog roll, can have you singing from the highest mountaintop.

This Memorial Day weekend is the official kick-off of summer, the official grill time. And this Memorial Day will be, well …quite memorable for celiacs everywhere because of these new Rudi’s buns!

No more eating a plain hamburger or hotdog “No roll, please” style. No more envying others when they bite into a big, fat juicy burger. And let’s face it, hotdogs are just plain old b-o-r-i-n-g and not any fun at all without a roll.

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, I am so thrilled that Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery will be sponsoring the next two week’s Win-it-Wednesday’s on BeFreeForMe.com!
A total of FOUR (Yes… 4!) BeFreeForMe members will be selected to win a gift pack of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Breads & Rolls. Two winners will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST, and two more winners will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, June 1st and Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter to win two times!

How can you WIN?
EASY!

Reply to this blog and tell me your favorite way to dress up a hotdog or hamburger (or veggie burger, etc.) that is placed on a gluten-free roll. (Me? Canadian Bacon, BBQ Sauce & Cheddar on my hamburger, please!)

Good luck, roll out the good times this Memorial Day weekend…and as always,
Be Free!

P.S. Also, make sure you check out the recipe contest that Rudi’s is holding on their Facebook page and vote for your favorite! Also, if you have submitted a recipe in this contest, PLEASE let us know which one is yours so we can check it out!

Friday Favorites: Bai Antioxidant Infusion Drinks

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I usually don’t rave too much about beverages, but last week I discovered a fantastic new drink at StyleFixx in Boston. Although found only in select markets it should be available across the US in the next 6 months (if you live in the Northeast, California, Metro-Seattle, and Wisconsin – your in luck now). But believe  me… it’s worth the wait!

The drink is called Bai and it is a powerhouse of antioxidants. This drink is juicy, tantalizing… and gluten-free. It’s not your average juice or even energy beverage since it’s naturally infused with coffee fruits extracts, which contain 40 times more antioxidants that a pomegranate.

My favorite of the Bai drinks are the two 5-calorie Bai-5 flavors Costa Rica Clementine and Sumatra Dragonfruit, but they also come in 4 other thrilling flavors too: Tanzania Strawberry, Mango Kauai, Jamaica Blue berry and Kenya Peach and Panama Peach.

And the fun part about this product is that although it taste nothing at all like coffee (trust me on this!) it contains 70 mg of caffeine which comes from the coffee fruit & white tea extract (a typical 16-ounce coffee contains about 70-120 mgs).

Check out their website for more info: www.drinkbai.com

Natural energy, plentiful antioxidants, only 5 calories and exciting flavors makes this week’s Friday Favorite an easy choice…. Bai-5 Antioxidant Infusion Drinks! Cheers!

National Foundation of Celiac Awareness (NFCA): The Go-To Resource for Celiacs

Monday, May 16th, 2011

There are many resources on the internet to learn more about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, but one of my all-time favorite go-to websites is CeliacCentral.org – the homepage for the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness (NFCA).

And for the month of May, the NFCA has featured a really great segment called “Blogger a Day”. In this segment, the NFCA features a gluten-free blogger highlighting what the blog is all about, why they’re fans of the blog and bits-and-pieces of fun info about the voice behind the blog.

The NFCA asked me to be featured in this column, and I was thrilled to become a part of this fun series (read the blog post here). I have also loved reading about fellow bloggers too – including: The Spicy RD, The Gluten-Free Travel Blog and the Gluten-Free Cerealizer. I feel like I have made 30+ new friends because of this program! Check out the Blogger A Day series… I think you’ll like it too.

And if you haven’t checked out NFCA website, or you haven’t visited for awhile, make sure that you click-through for a visit. It’s amazing to discover all the great programs designed for the celiac community the NFCA has spearheaded. Some of these programs include free webinars on managing the gluten-free diet; free videos on cooking & baking gluten-free, celiac disease segments featured on TV and information on the disease; and a section dedicated to celiac event listings. Last, there is also a phenomenal section devoted to celiac disease and women’s health.

Cheers to the NFCA and Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month to fellow bloggers and the whole celiac community!

P.S. Also, make sure you check out the NFCA on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday Favorite: Oskri Organic Quinoa Bars

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The Oskri Organic Bar is another one of my newest gluten-free bar finds.

To be truthful, I originally bought this bar because I was intrigued it was made with quinoa…. One of my new favorite grains since going gluten-free.

There are many bars out there made with oats, seeds and other gluten-free goods, but a bar made with quinoa is few and far between.

But what turned out as a sense of intrigue turned into a confirmation that quinoa in a bar is one mighty fine thing.

Soft, chewy and sweet – the Oskri Organic bars  are filling and a perfect snack. I also like that they are also lactose free and vegan. And of course, organic.

Another added bonus: These bars only have 4 … yes, FOUR… ingredients. You can count them all on one hand, and there’s not many things to eat around today that can tote that claim (The four ingredients: Rice Syrup, Quinoa, Sesame Seeds, Date Syrup).

Simple goodness is the reason in a nut-shell that Oskri Organics Quinoa Bar has been graced with this week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe.com!

Want to buy? Check out this link on Amazon.com…. Oskri Quinoa Bar, Gluten Free, 1.9-Ounce Bars (Pack of 18)

WIN-It-Wednesday: Gluten-Free Cupcakes Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

It seems that everywhere you turn you hear about cupcakes. Cupcakes, cupcakes, everywhere! The Food Network featured a show called “The Cupcakes Wars”; cupcake boutique bakery shops are popping up everywhere, and one of my favorite wines graces the Cupcake name and image of these little lovely cakes.

And this recent cupcake craze is o.k. with me. I have always loved cupcakes. Cupcakes are happy little cakes. I’ll take a cupcake over a slice any day. Fun, compact, and made to eat with your fingers (have you tried to eat a slice of cake with just your hands?) the cupcake is all about individuality. No slicing, no fighting over who will get the frosting flowers,  no objecting that the pieces is “too big” or “too small”.

Cupcakes in the world make everything good.

I remember when I was a little girl my Mom would make a rainy afternoon fun by letting me and my sister’s decorate our own custom-made cupcakes.

Each cupcake a tiny, sweet personalized cake of perfection.

And now… thanks to Elana Amsterdam (fondly and famously known as @elanaspantry on twitter and Elana’s Pantry on Facebook) cupcakes are once again a personalized & perfect treat for those living the gluten-free life! It’s all good once again.

Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour is a cookbook packed with fun (Banana Split Cupcakes), sweet & fruity (Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Frosting), nostalgic (Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes… Hostess cupcakes anyone?), decadent (Flourless Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Frosting) or savory (Scallion Goat Cheese Muffins) cupcake recipes. The recipes are all made with either coconut flour, almond flour, or no flour at all – so they are perfect for those following the gluten-free diet. Some are even dairy and vegan-free.

What I love the most about this cookbook is the variety of cupcakes offered, as well as the vivid and beautiful photographs. The recipes are also easy-to-read, typed in a pleasing-font, and are kid-friendly both with the making and the eating.

All of these delicious recipes and reasons are why I am so thrilled that Elana’s Pantry will be sponsoring the next two week’s Win-it-Wednesday’s on BeFreeForMe.com!

A total of FOUR (Yes… 4!) BeFreeForMe members will be selected to win a copy of Gluten-Free Cupcakes. Two winners will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, May 17th , 2011 at 11:59 PM EST, and two more winners will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, May 18th and Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter to win two times!

How can you WIN?
EASY!

Reply to this blog and tell me your favorite personal cupcake memory or your perfect cupcake variety!

Good luck, remember the cupcake and look for sweetness in the tiny things in life… and as always,

Be Free!

P.S. Want to buy this Gluten-Free Cupcake? Buy it now on Amazon.com! Check out this link: Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour

Ask Shelley Case: Celiac Disease & the Gluten-Free Diet – 10 FACTS

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Question:
There is so much information on the internet regarding celiac disease and the gluten-free diet but it’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction. Shelley, please help me demystify and make sense of all this information!

Answer:
Here are 10 Facts about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, including links and resources that I have put together to help people learn more about the disease and its treatment:

1.    Celiac disease affects 1:100 people.

Celiac disease is one of the most common inherited disorders, with an estimated prevalence rate of 1:100.  It can develop at any age, even in the senior years. It is twice as common as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and cystic fibrosis combined. Click here for more information about celiac disease

2.    Diagnosis of celiac disease is often delayed.

Delay in diagnosis is common. Studies in the US and Canada have found that it can take over 10 years before an accurate diagnosis is made. Many individuals are frequently misdiagnosed with other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia prior to getting the correct diagnosis.

3.    Anemia is a common symptom of celiac disease.

Anemia is a condition that results from a deficiency in the size or number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin in these cells. There are many causes of anemia; however, the most common is due to iron, folate or vitamin B12 deficiency. In celiac disease, damage to the intestinal villi in the area where iron and folate are absorbed, frequently results in a deficiency of these nutrients. Once a diagnosis of celiac disease is confirmed and the gluten-free diet is initiated, the villi begin to heal which allows for the absorption of nutrients. Response to the gluten-free diet varies from one individual to another and may take on average from 2-18 months until the nutritional deficiencies are corrected and symptoms resolve. For more information see Anemia and Celiac Disease – Causes and Treatment.

4.    Dermatitis Herpetiformis is related to celiac disease.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is another form of celiac disease. This chronic skin condition is characterized by an intense burning, itchy and blistering rash. The rash is symmetrically distributed and commonly found on the elbows, knees and the buttocks, but can also occur on the back of the neck, upper back, scalp and hairline. Initially, groups of small blisters are formed that soon erupt into small erosions. Most people with DH will also have varying degrees of small intestinal villous atrophy although many will have no bowel complaints. A small percentage may present with bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea, especially if the bowel involvement is severe, and some individuals may show evidence of malabsorption and malnutrition. Treatment for DH is a strict gluten-free diet for life. For some individuals, Dapsone, a drug from the “sulphone family,” may be prescribed to reduce the itching. Response to the medication can be dramatic (usually 48-72 hours). However, Dapsone has no effect on the ongoing immune response or intestinal atrophy. See this article to find out more about DH.

5.    Some people with newly diagnosed celiac disease also have lactose intolerance.

In celiac disease the small intestinal villi (tiny finger-like projections) become inflamed and flattened (known as villous atrophy) due to the reaction to gluten. The tips of the villi also contain enzymes such as lactase which is responsible for the digestion of lactose- a natural sugar found in milk and milk products. In some individuals with newly diagnosed celiac disease, especially those with major villous atrophy, the level of lactase is significantly reduced. This temporary lactose intolerance causes undigested lactose to pass through the intestinal tract, drawing fluid with it. It is then fermented by bacteria in the large intestine producing short-chain fatty acids and gases. Symptoms of lactose intolerance may include abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, nausea, headache and diarrhea. These symptoms can occur 15-30 minutes or as long as several hours after consuming foods with lactose.

The good news is that this temporary lactose intolerance often improves on the gluten-free diet alone. However, some people may also need to restrict or reduce lactose until the villi are completely healed and the lactase enzyme levels are restored to normal. This may take weeks to months depending on individual response. It should be noted that most individuals with lactose intolerance can digest small amounts of lactose. Here are some tips to manage lactose intolerance.

6.    A strict gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease.

The only treatment for CD is a strict gluten-free diet for life. All forms of wheat, rye and barley must strictly be avoided, including spelt, kamut, einkorn, emmer, faro, durum, couscous, semolina, bulgur and triticale. Barley malt, barley malt extract, barley malt flavor, brewer’s yeast, malt vinegar, as well as barley-based ale, beer and lager must also be avoided. Here is a more detailed list of foods allowed, to avoid and to question.

7.    Pure uncontaminated oats are allowed on a gluten-free diet.

The protein in oats was originally thought to trigger the same toxic reaction as wheat and other gluten-containing grains. Research in Europe and the US over the past 15 years has revealed that consumption of moderate amounts of oats is safe for the majority of children and adults with celiac disease. Most of these studies used pure, uncontaminated oats, but it should be noted that a very small number of individuals with celiac disease may not tolerate pure oats. The mechanism causing this intolerance has yet to be established. Before adding pure, uncontaminated oats to your diet, talk to your doctor and dietitian. Most authorities recommend that individuals with celiac disease be well established on the gluten-free diet, the celiac antibodies have returned to normal and symptoms resolved. For more information about the safety of oats see this link.

8.    Many foods are gluten-free.

A wide variety of foods that are naturally gluten-free include plain meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, milk, yogurt, cheese, fruits, vegetables, as well as many gluten-free flours, cereals and starches that can be substituted for wheat, barley and rye. Distilled alcoholic beverages, wine and gluten-free beer made from buckwheat, millet, rice or sorghum are also allowed.

Amaranth, buckwheat, corn, flax, Indian ricegrass (Montina), legume flours (bean, chickpea/garbanzo bean, pea, lentil), mesquite, millet, nut flours, potato flour, potato starch, quinoa, rice, sago, sorghum, soy, tapioca and teff are gluten-free options.

A growing number of gluten-free specialty products from companies in the USA, Canada and Europe are available in health food and grocery stores, as well as mail order companies. Examples include ready-to-eat baked products (e.g., breads, buns, bagels, muffins, cakes, cookies, pies, pizza crusts), baking mixes and specialty flours, hot and cold cereals, crackers, snack foods, entrees, pastas (corn, legumes, quinoa and rice), bread crumbs, coating mixes, gravy mixes, soups, sauces, communion wafers, ice cream cones, snack bars and gluten-free beers.

Check out Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for a detailed listing of foods allowed, over 3100 gluten-free specialty products from more than 270 companies, meal plans, recipes, nutrition guidelines and many other resources.

9.    Consulting a registered dietitian with expertise in celiac disease is good advice.

A dietitian will do a nutritional assessment, teach you about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, and give you practical information to help you successfully manage the gluten-free diet.

10.    There are excellent celiac groups in North America.

Join a celiac group for additional support and encouragement. Here are links to celiac organizations in the US and Canada.

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of BeFreeForMe.com. It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case, RD is a Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at: GlutenFreeDiet.ca

Discovered: CeliacSure – A Test to Diagnosis Celiac Disease at Home

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

This past weekend I got a chance to bond once again with everyone at my local Greater Boston celiac support group, the Healthy Villi, during our spring conference. Like many folks around the country I find that these local celiac support groups give me the chance to re-connect with like-minded people, as well as share and discover new ideas, concepts, and solutions for living the gluten-free life.

And at every one of these meetings I always take home such a wealth of knowledge & information from Dr. Daniel Leffler, the Director of Clinical Research at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Lucky for us at the Healthy Villi, Dr. Leffler (who is also  the co-editor of the book, “Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting & Thriving Gluten-Free”) has become our “resident” go-to celiac expert -  always willing to help us,  give us answers, and most importantly support us.

But at this last meeting it was our time to give back… to support Dr. Leffler. The team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center asked us to help with a research study. To potentially help celiacs everywhere. For once it was our chance to give back.

The research study we were asked to participate in involves having our first-degree relatives test themselves for celiac disease using a new “finger-stick” test kit. Research results of this testing will hopefully be beneficial in two ways: First, family members who tested positive for celiac disease will be assisted in arranging appropriate medical follow-up to lead to an earlier diagnosis & care of the disease; and second, this research will hopefully get these tests, which are currently approved in Canada, on the fast-track to get the final nod of approval by the USA so the medical community can more readily reach & treat more potential people with celiac disease, and allow these medical researchers the ability to conduct more efficient studies of the disease.

The test kit being used in Dr. Leffler’s test is distributed by GlutenPro and is called Biocard/CeliacSure. It is similar to the standard celiac blood test TTG used in doctor’s offices, but is super consumer-friendly. It involves using just a finger-stick and is able to be read directly by patients in less than 10-minutes right in their own homes. (Note: they can also be purchased on-line through the GlutenPro website).

My thoughts? The Biocard/CeliacSure tests will be a phenomenal help in getting more people diagnosed quickly & more efficiently with a celiac disease diagnosis. For years I have begged my Dad to go to the Doctors and get tested for celiac disease once I and other family members were diagnoses with the disease. He has every symptom in the book. But to get an old Italian guy, set in his bread-and-pasta-loving-ways to the doctor for this test is next to impossible. Begging, pleading and praying have yet to yield a trip to the doctor’s office to get the test and results of celiac disease that I suspect.

Maybe he is scared of going to the doctor? Maybe he is afraid of letting his traditional Italian bread and pasta recipes go? Maybe he is afraid of the change the disease demands? Maybe his positive diagnosis would be his way of feeling responsible for my, and other family members, celiac diagnosis?

Whatever the reason, I am going give my Dad one of these test kits so he can test himself – no doctor, no stress, no appointment needed. Then, regardless of the results, I’m going to treat him to a big delicious gluten-free Italian pasta dinner… and a great big thank you hug.

Just wondering… Your thoughts? Why won’t your relatives get diagnoses with celiac disease?

Friday Favorite: Joan’s GF Great Bakes DOUBLE Chocolate Muffins

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

The Fed Ex Man just came to the BeFreeForMe offices and we all almost pounced on him. Why? Because earlier in the day we received an email from Joan at Joan’s GF Great Bakes telling us she was shipping us a FedEx box packed with samples of her new Double Chocolate Muffins.

Once we ripped the package opened we all dug in. And for a moment or two there was content gluten-free loving silence. Mouths were full, heads were slowly bobbing in confirmation, a thumb was being pointed up while stuffing the last morsel into a mouth (O.K…. I admit… that was me), eyes were connecting with others affirming that these muffins were gluten-free superstars. For gluten-free folks this was a powerful conversation… even though not one single word was spoken.

But the words that were finally shared after the muffin-feeding frenzy was complete? “Superstar muffins”, “Full of chocolate ecstasy”, “Rich and chewy”, “Sinful”.

We also liked that these muffins are not only gluten-free, but also dairy-free too.

Joan’s GF Great Bakes Double Chocolate Muffins – the super soft, chewy, fudgy, rich chocolate muffins that are filled to capacity with chocolate chip morsels are this week’s Friday Favorite pick at BeFreeForMe.com.

Thanks, Joan!

P.S. Join me and become a fan of Joan’s GF Great Bakes on Facebook or Twitter!


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