Tag Archives: Gluten free

Gut Instinct: Finding Stealth Gluten

I’ve delayed writing this post because I wanted a big reveal. Last post I talked about the surprising news from the gastroenterologist that my serology showed evidence of ongoing gluten exposure. I’ve been reeling, trying to find the source. Where is the stealth gluten?

Where, oh where, is the stealth gluten?

After emailing several manufacturers to get reassurances on some beloved faves, and getting no reply from a few (I’m talking about you, Dial soap: just because you’re my husband’s fave doesn’t mean I can’t kick you to the curb), I put my new Nima sensor to work. Continue reading Gut Instinct: Finding Stealth Gluten

Gut Instinct: In Search of an Answer

My gut has been roiling for the past two months and not because of national politics. I got worried about the persistent pain and the degree to which my abdomen appeared to be swollen, so I made an appointment with a new gastroenterologist.

If you have gut issues, you probably understand how stressful it can be to go to the doctor. An MD is no guarantee the person you trust with your health is kind or even competent. As my mother used to say, there’s a top 1/3 and a bottom 1/3 in every medical school’s graduating class, as well as the top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of medical schools themselves.

The gastroenterologist who diagnosed me with celiac disease in 2009 did so by mail. A week after the endoscopy I received a form in the mail with the following words scribbled on it: Evidence of celiac disease. Restart gluten free diet.

That’s it?

Continue reading Gut Instinct: In Search of an Answer

Let’s Makeup

When’s a good time to try new makeup? A) When the dermatologist tells you the ridiculously itchy, scarring rash on your elbows, knees, shoulders and shins is dermatitis herpetiformis, an autoimmune disease linked to celiac disease; B) when the gastroenterologist tells you the DH diagnosis is spot on because the biopsies of your small intestine plus the blood tests all say celiac disease; C) it’s the holidays; or D) you’re getting married.

I go with E) all of the above.

When dermatologist said I had DH, I had no idea how radically my life would change. When the GI doc handed me the celiac disease diagnosis–wait, he didn’t hand it to me or even tell me face to face. I got the happy news in a form letter sent by snail mail: “the results are consistent of a celiac disease diagnosis. Start the gluten free diet,” was all it said.

Given no guidance by the doctor, I dug up everything I could about the two diseases on the Internet. I ordered books from IMG_7865Amazon. I subscribed to magazines like Living Without, the Gluten Free Living, and Simply Gluten Free.

I learned that I had to change not only my diet, but also every pot, pan, utensil, and dish with which I cooked and ate.

After a month of constantly being glutened and having no idea how it happened, I realized I had to change all my health and beauty aids, too. Some posts and pamphlets I read said not to worry about your soap, shampoo, body lotion, facial moisturizers and even makeup, except for lipstick, because you don’t ingest them. Others said absolutely be fanatical about them because, honestly, how many times a day do you touch some part of your skin or hair without even thinking about it and how many times do those same fingers put something into or touch your mouth?

Plus, how do you keep the rinse water away from your mouth when you cleanse your face or wash your hair? I can’t.

If there’s a chance that even tiny bits of something could end up inside me, it has to be gluten free. End of GF soapboxing. Continue reading Let’s Makeup

Receptively GFree (No Cross-Contamination)

Finding a caterer who not only understands what gluten free means (it’s not, “just avoid the  couscous on the buffet”) but also has the knowledge and expertise to cook 100% gluten free is a challenge. Finding a caterer who can cook delicious AND affordable gluten free food–no $2 upcharge per GFree roll–sounds like an impossible task.

When planning my wedding, I queried a dozen independent caterers as well as in-house caterers at special events facilities in and around metro Atlanta. Several didn’t even bother to answer me. A few seemed to confuse gluten free with the Atkins diet. “We’ll do an all meat and no carbs dinner,” one offered.

Another said I could just take the rolls off my plate and they wouldn’t put gravy on my chicken breast but everyone else should have the gravy because not having the gravy would made the dish less spectacular.

Uh, no, thanks.

My favorite response was, “Well, the bride never eats at her wedding, anyway. You could just bring snacks for yourself and let us make an unforgettable banquet for your guests.”

Really? Continue reading Receptively GFree (No Cross-Contamination)

Planning a Gluten Free Wedding on a Budget

Apologies for the dearth of posts the last two months. I wasn’t sick or in jail, thank goodness. I was super busy planning a wedding. My wedding. Yes, I planned and pulled off an entire wedding—from appetizers, bridesmaids, and cake to tuxedos, underthings, a veil and white gown…and everything in between—for 100 guests in four months.

It wasn’t that hard. I mean, what else is there to do while recovering from surgical removal of one’s womanly innards and resulting complications thereof?

Sure, I could have wallowed in self-pity: woe is me (or, more correctly, I) for being in pain for five months and counting (I have gotten a bit peevish about the pain on a few occasions). How awful to be in menopause when I’m not even fifty (I got over this pretty quickly). Rue that I’ll never have children of my own (this does prickle me with sorrow from time to time and then I think of all the kids I’ve helped as a teacher or adviser in the past twenty years plus being an aunt is pretty danged awesome). Wallowing is boring and surprisingly exhausting. I prefer to look on the bright side of things.

There were and are a lot of bright sides to the surgery. Number one, I don’t have cancer. We can end the gratitude list right there. What else do I need to feel immensely grateful? The surgery and cancer scare reminded me that life is unpredictable and short. There are no guarantees that I’ll have next year or any years after that, or even next week. Life can change in an instant. The doctor could have found cancer and I could be dying or dead right now.

Given that uncertainty, as well as the good news that, at least for now, I’m not dying, why not go for it and get married to the most wonderful man in the world? And why not do it sooner than later? Continue reading Planning a Gluten Free Wedding on a Budget

What? Sparkling Cider Is Not Gluten Free

The holidays call for festive beverages to toast the season. Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy New Year! Weddings also call for festive beverages to toast the happy couple, the father of the bride, the DJ, and whoever else makes the party rock.

When alcohol isn’t an option, sparkling cider fits the festive bill. In our family, we break out the Knudsen sparking cherry and sparkling pear cider. It looks so lovely in my parents’ etched wine glasses. For an extra splash of special, I put a frozen cherry in the bottom of each glass. My niece and nephews have grown up tipping glasses of Knudsen Family’s sparkling cider at every holiday dinner. They look forward to it.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a large display of new Knudsen specialty flavors at Sprouts: caramel apple, green apple, cranberry, and glogg. I got really excited, especially about the glogg, which we tried for the first time last year when Crate and Barrel offered a pricey non-alcoholic, gluten free, non-sparkly version. We waited until Crate and Barrel slashed the price in half and then we guzzled eight bottles. It tasted best when served warm. Why not try this new sparkly version, which had a much more palatable price tag of $2.99 per bottle? Continue reading What? Sparkling Cider Is Not Gluten Free

Retreat! Skidaway Island GFree

DSC00599When I found out I needed pretty significant surgery, I did what anyone would do: I spent two hours researching the issue online, had a good cry, and then I retreated…to public land.

I’m a big fan of the national and state parks systems. Where else can you get breathtaking scenery, soul-soothing peace, and lots to do for so little money? In most cases, the lodging options are pretty snazzy. Continue reading Retreat! Skidaway Island GFree

Forget the Food Fight and Enjoy a GFree Summer

Summer is happy food season. It’s the time for grilling things to snuggle between toasty bread-y bun-y things. Time for swiping crunchy things into creamy dippy things and then devouring the whole snappy slippery mouthful. It’s timeGFree Barbecue for slowly swirling your tongue around ice cold sweet things and swallowing them before brain freeze sets in. Yes, summer is all about tickling the taste buds and seducing the senses with fabulously fun food, which can be challenging when one has to be strictly gluten and dairy free.

I used to feel like I was waging a food fight, struggling to find gluten free food that wouldn’t break the bank or widen my waistline. The good news is we can find more and better GF products than ever before and they’re now affordably available at your favorite grocery chain and big box retailer, as well as at your nearest health food store or organic grocer. Here a some of my faves. Continue reading Forget the Food Fight and Enjoy a GFree Summer

Turtle Cake Is GFree and Yummy!

turtle cake cMy dad loves turtles. He had a slew of them as a kid, and when we were kids, he stopped the car to pick up a lovely box turtle that had found its way into the middle of a busy road somewhere near Lavalette, a popular place along the Jersey Shore. I only vaguely remember the incident as I couldn’t have been more than four or five. We named the turtle Mister T, and this was long before the A Team burst onto American television.

When we were a little older, from first through sixth grade, my sister and I participated with my dad in the YMCA’s Indian Guides and Indian Princesses program. My dad’s “Indian” name was Chief Walking Turtle. He was the head of not only our tribe, but was the head chief of the entire network of tribes participating in that particular YMCA’s program. When asked why he chose the name Chief Walking Turtle, he said it was because the turtle is a steady, deliberate animal that doesn’t rush off and make snap decisions; instead, he carefully chooses a path and follows it. That’s the kind of leader he wanted to be, he said. He sure was! Continue reading Turtle Cake Is GFree and Yummy!

Ten Lessons Sans Carols: #5 Sprouts Saves

Since the untimely demise of the local gluten free food emporium, Return to Eden, I’ve depended on Publix to make my gluten free food shopping a pleasure. Publix has stepped up to the plate, expanding the roster of gluten free (GF) brands it carries and mainstreaming them with their gluten laden (GL) counterparts. I no longer have to go the little GF section at the back of the store, although it’s still there. I can sashay up and down the aisles and find Pamela’s GF baked goods mixes beside Betty Crocker’s GF and GL mixes. On the next aisle, I can stock up on Barilla GF pasta, although I could grab DeBoles below it, and a jar or three of Classico or Organicville pasta sauces a few steps away. Udi’s and Rudi’s GF baked goods are sandwiched between the Tombstone pizzas and Lean Cuisine entrees in the frozen food cases. This expansion isn’t because R2E went under; it has more to do with growing demand for GF fare plus increasing competition among retailers to meet that demand. Continue reading Ten Lessons Sans Carols: #5 Sprouts Saves