Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gluten Free News Round-Up: February 20th- 26th

Study poses potential link between Celiac Disease and Asthma

They suppose this connection to due to two possible things, one of them being Vitamin D deficiency which i have. Another article supposes that exposure to gluten actually increases the risk of asthma, not that those with CD  are just more likely to have astham. Which leads me to the major methodological error of this study. To my researcher eye, the participants were flawed and one major factor wasn't considered, the researchers  weren't sure if those 28,000 individuals with CD were following a GF diet at the time of the study. I wonder then if not following the diet makes someone more likely to manifest symptoms of active asthma?  How many of you are diagnosed with Asthma in addition to CD?

Canada Changes Food Labeling Laws

I may be behind on this one but I still figured I would share. Canada has changed its food labeling laws so that labels now account for previously unaccounted for gluten in an obvious way. This will definitely help consumers more easily identify foods they can eat, unfortunately the change isn't effective until August 2012. Either way, I am sure they will beat the USA in improved food labeling!

Gluten Free on the menu at Natural Products Expo West

Presenting at the Natural Products Expo West, the National Foundation for Celiac disease will be doing a workshop on bringing gluten free food to your business and doing it right! So many businesses thinking creating a gluten free menu is all they need to do to attract gluten free eaters, but you and I both know there is far more! A great resource to recommend to any food industry business folks you may know

That's all for this week! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

La Bottega Delivery Experience

Preface: My restaurant reviews involve a section related to hospitality and atmosphere so using the scale is difficult for delivery experiences only! In those instances I will just share my experiences for all to enjoy.

La Bottega of Huntington
9 Wall Street, Huntington, NY

On a blustery winter day I was visit my friend who had returned to town for the weekend. Her boyfriend is also gluten free so in searching for food that could be delivered, to solve on hunger while staying warm and lazy, we came across La Bottega of Huntington who offers gluten free Paninis, pastas and pizzas all at a relatively low (for Gluten free) Price. Gluten free options were readily available, check out the Panini menu for an example! Seeing as the prices were relatively cheap ( For example: between 6.20$ for a veggie panini and $10.25 for a steak Panini) we made the decision to order a pasta dish (pasta alfredo), a pizza (meat pizza!) and two sandwiches. Her and her boyfriend are a lot more low key, or shall I say shy, about requesting the special service needed for gluten free meals so I instructed her to be very clear that the gluten free options were for someone with an 'allergy to gluten' and celiac disease (yes I use the key word Allergy to get people listening). The individual on the other line was incredibly helpful and relieved us by explaining their means of preventing cross contamination (different tools etc). Our order was made and the wait was on! 

Unfortunately due to the weather, snow snow snow, our order took about an hour. Once it arrived however it was well worth the wait in our opinion. I personally was met with this monstrous sandwich:

THE ALEXANDRO 
(Steak, Tomatoes, Avocado, Hot peppers, romaine and red onion on gluten free bread)

This thing was HUGE and the bread was a very good change from normal gluten free breads you receive from restaurants (Thin,bland and flaky)! I loved every bite of it and the hot peppers really heated things up on that cold night! Whew! The pizza and pasta were also delicious. And for an added bonus, everything heated up well the next day with little loss of taste or texture, which is always a plus and a concern of gluten free food. 

This experience was well worth it and I hope to actually visit La Bottega soon so I can do a true review! 

Are there any places near you which made similar food and do delivery? What have been your experiences? 


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ginger Chicken and Quinoa Stir Fry

Are you ever tired of rice and looking for a twist to Stir Fry? I know sometimes I am! Something I am coming more and more to love is Quinoa. It is a seed that us gluten despising people can eat, and to top it off it's chocked full of fiber! It's delicious and filling! Awhile back I pulled together a quick and delicious Quinoa Stir Fry and I am only JUST getting the chance to post it now. Hope you enjoy and as always let me know your feedback!

Ginger Chicken and Quinoa Stir Fry



Ingredients:
2 Chicken breasts
1 cup 'black' Quinoa (Roland Brand is great!)
1 large Green pepper
1/2 a medium onion
1 head of Broccoli
1 teaspoon Ginger powder
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce 
(additional soy sauce as desired)

Directions:
1. Bring water to a boil and add Quinoa. When cooking time is about half way done add soy sauce. Set quinoa aside when completely cooked.

2. Dice Onion and place in a medium size wok along with a small amount of soy sauce to cook. 

3. Cut peppers and broccoli to desired size and add to wok

4. Clean and cut chicken breast into small pieces. Season evenly with ginger powder. Add to Wok. 

5. Cook ingredients until chicken is fully cooked, stirring in a small amount of soy sauce as desired. 

6. When ingredients are cooked mix the quinoa into the wok. Stir throughly.

7. Serve and add additional seasonings as desired.

Serves: approximately 2  

Some comments: I have made this twice and I have found that the soy sauce was absorbed more easily and made the quinoa more flavorful when it was added while the quinoa was still cooking. The first time this was made I added the soy sauce after and the mixture became very watery. The quinoa can be very deceiving in terms of the soy sauce it will take in so be sparing with the soy sauce and make sure to taste the completed product before adding more!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gluten Free News Round-Up: February 6th-19th

Here are some news articles and research articles I thought of interest for the past two weeks. What are your thoughts? 

Local Long Island School District makes way for Gluten Free lunches prepared at school!

This article is more of a blog post brought to you by News-12, a local news agency on long island. I could not find a true news article on this new development, very disappointing that there is a lack of publicity, but I can say that this is wonderful news. It goes to show that the power of one voice truly can make a different as this addition was added by one mother speaking out for her son!


This article touches on a new study breaking ground in studying the peptides involved in a gluten response. I tend to be uncomfortable with genetically altered foods but this is a promising prospect if it is possible. Oh the power of science! What are your thoughts on such altering of food to make it edible?


Not only does the study seem to point to a potential cause and harm to individuals susceptible to Celiac disease but also proposes hope for future research and development of a potential cure. Interestingly enough, the acne drug accutane (which has been linked to IBS) contains the Rentin-A (The vitamin in question).  

Here is another article on the same study. 


This girl is a trooper, I hope we can all take note of how far she has come and acknowledge that we are all capable of great things! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pucker up for Valentines Day- The Winner!

Alright, I just pulled together all of the entries for the LÄRABAR giveaway and am excited to announce the winner! Using http://www.random.org/ I ran the 19 comments and the winner is:

Comment #11: Jennifer 


Congratulations Jennifer on your win! I hope you enjoy the great package LÄRABAR arranged for this giveaway! 

Thank you everyone else for entering. 
As always keep your eyes out for new posts and giveaways on this blog! There may be some changes to content and format coming up shortly but I will keep everyone posted!

Have a great day! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gluten Free Travel Site: Now with College/University Review Option!

The lovely people over at Gluten Free Travel Site , a great source for finding reviews of restaurants, hotels, cruises etc. (both locally and globally), have just added a new section to this list: COLLEGES! Here is a word from their president:


We added a feature on GlutenFreeTravelSite ( http://www.glutenfreetravelsite.com ) that enables gluten-free college students to review colleges and universities for their degree of "gluten-free friendliness." Reviewers simply follow the steps for Submitting a Review ( http://www.glutenfreetravelsite.com/submit.php ) as they would for a restaurant, store, hotel, or resort, but they choose "college" when prompted for the type of establishment they're reviewing.

By adding colleges as a choice of venues to be reviewed, GlutenFreeTravelsite gives college students a way to share their feedback -- both positive and negative -- with current and prospective students who follow gluten-free diets.




To read more about this new feature, see our Blog post ( http://www.glutenfreetravelblog.typepad.com ) or read our Press Release ( http://www.prweb.com/releases/glutenfreemeals/collegecampuses/prweb5047544.htm ). 


Having suffered through college undiagnosed was a totally different story than attending college with a diagnosis of Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance. While I was almost constantly sick, I ate what ever I wanted when ever I wanted (that is of course if I could at the time as I went days without eating afraid I would get sick). On a small scale I am experiencing going through graduate college with a diagnosis with my graduate school experience, however I am a commuter so bringing my own food is very easy. While the quality of a gluten free environment  is imperative to anyone who is gluten free I am sure the stakes are higher for a college freshmen or someone who lives on campus and has limited access to non-campus food. The site's goal is to help as many gluten-free college goers as possible with the college selection process, so they can pick a school that is fit to their gluten-free needs. I hope this goal is achieved and the selection process, and college life, can be made easier! I would go one step further and also hope that some colleges may get the message that they need to step up their means of addressing Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance and other food allergies within their student bodies. Hopefully come change can be made on that front!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Product Review: Simpli Gluten Free Instant Apricot Oatmeal

Simpli is a very small company specializing in oat products that is just getting into the gluten free market. Their main products are Oat Shakes in several flavors, however they are unfortunately not gluten free at this time. Their sole gluten free product is Apricot Instant Oatmeal, which the company was happy enough to send me a sample box of. First of all, this was my first oatmeal since going gluten free. We all know that oats are a challenge due to cross contamination. Simpli's dedicated gluten free process is transparent and visible for all to see right there on the box, something great to see a company doing to make it's customers feel safe.

The product is made up of organic top quality products, and tastes just that. Unfortunately, this is something foreign to my taste buds in terms of oatmeal. I am used to the prepackaged oatmeal, with the brown sugar or dried fruit that overpowers the pallet and leaves you craving a glass of water. Instead, this oatmeal fills the mouth with a perfect combination of apricot and oat meal flavors. You aren't left overpowered with fake flavor but are instead met with contentment. The texture is typical of oatmeal and perfect for a cold winters morning. Prep time is short, which is always a plus, and as with most oatmeals the servicing size is somewhat small (although still filling).


Overall a great product made by a company highly dedicated to this gluten free product. Their package proves their dedication but the taste and quality of the oatmeal solidified this dedication. I look forward to seeing this product more available on the market, perhaps with more flavors. I think that Apricot was an interesting flavor to start with and I hope more flavors will follow!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pucker up for Valentines Day- A LÄRABAR Giveaway!

LÄRABAR is hands down one of my favorite gluten free products, there is so much variety and a single bar is quite filling. Not only that but they are very dedicated to healthy organic ingredients and ensuring that their products are gluten freeLÄRABAR  has several 'lines' of flavors including a line of baked product inspired, chocolate inspired flavors and fruit flavors. 


The What:
For this giveaway, in honor of Valentines day, LÄRABAR and I have collaborated to bring you something that'll make your life sweet and loving. Please be aware that this giveaway is only open to United States Residents.

This giveaway includes:

celtic_celiac_120210.jpg

1 16-count box of Lemon Bar
1 t-shirt
1 bandana
Stickers

The How:
So, how can you win these great items? Share the 'Love'! Each of the below can count as a separate entry, but only if you leave a comment here individually for each separate thing you did! Remember to leave a name and a way to contact you when you comment!

1. 'Follow' my blog itself (or say you already do), you can do so by adding yourself to my followers by clicking on the followers hyperlink in the left column or by clicking the RSS feed in the top left corner. Leave a comment telling me you followed me!

2. 'Like' my blog's facebook page (or say you already do) and leave a comment, here or on the Facebook page, saying that you Liked me!

3. Tweet or facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment linking me to your post. 

4. Leave a comment telling me something sweet or loving you'll be doing this valentine's day, or have done in the past, for someone you love (significant other, family member, friend)! Share some 'love'!

 I'll be drawing the winner via random assignment on 2/15/11!  

GOOD LUCK AND ENJOY!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gluten Free News Round-Up

Good morning everyone! On Saturday's I finally have time to sit down and spend some time in front of the computer relaxing and reading up on all the news and blogs I have missed over the week. Today there were three interesting gluten free/celiac disease articles that caught my eye. I figured I would share them, with hopes that people who read will share their thoughts on any of the articles posted. Who knows maybe I'll start doing a weekly or biweekly 'news' roundup. 

Researchers find common genetic risk factors for Crohn's and celiac disease

This article is brief but nonetheless the discovery is interesting and poses new implications on improved genetic testing and disease relationships. Do any of you have both Crohn's and Celiac Disease? If so how does this affect your life differently than just one diagnosis?

Celiac disease may have little influence on soaring gluten free market

This article brings to light something that may be of some concern, the rise of the gluten free diet as a 'posh' thing to do. I am not saying anyone shouldn't feel welcome to try to diet for their health and wellness but I do feel that sometimes this trend takes away from the credibility the diet in some locations for celiac's or gluten intolerants. Either way, at least the number of quality of products being sold is improving and expanding!

Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour Foods Safe for Celiac Disease Patients

Currently on the list of unsafe ingredients, beginning research is now showing that Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour might not be harmful to individuals with celiac disease. It will be interesting to keep an eye on how this pans out in larger, and thus more statistically sound, studies. I wonder what other ingredients may be so processed that the gluten is inactive and thus not harmful? But the real question is, do we actually want to eat something that processed?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Locally Gluten Free: Part 7 (Pizza Challenge)

There are two local pizza places which offer gluten free crusts with gluten free toppings. I have eaten a few times at each location, not thinking of reviewing either for some reason. In an effort to have some fun, and to share these places with my readers, I have decided to take this 7th entry of Locally Gluten Free to the next level. I bring to you:


NORTHPORT GLUTEN FREE PIZZA CHALLENGE
Locally Gluten Free Part 7
Mario's Pizzaria AND La Casa Restaurant 
http://www.mariospizzaonline.com/  
http://lacasacaferestaurant.com/lacasapizza2go/index.html



To compare the two I ordered the same pizza from both locations. The pizza contained grilled chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, red sauce, peppers, spinach and mozzarella. Mike and I put each pizza through a 'rigorous' series of test which included the taste test, the oil blot test and the reheat test! 


Mario's pizza consisted of large chunks of each ingredient on top of  a thin crust. The flavors seemingly blended together into one uniform taste that lacked in terms of holding my attention. Mike, being a manager at a store, suggested that some ingredients may have been canned which would explain their seeming lack of flavor. The sauce was sweet and was the most defining flavor. Vegetables were un-grilled and uncooked, something I do not enjoy on my pizzas. In addition, the pie was cut into six pieces and was also somewhat soggy. This resulted in the pizza being rather difficult to eat and frequently falling apart. When blotted with a paper towel, the paper towel soaked up an unnecessary amount of oil. When re-heated the pizza was even more soggy and one was left having to eat it with fork only because it did not withstand reheating. The excessive oil left the reheated products even more soggy and less tasteful.

La Casa's pizza was a bit different than Mario's. First of all, while the same thing was requested it was interesting to see the drastic difference between the two pizzas such as the use of green peppers rather than red and the sheer quality of the ingredients. The ingredients used in this pizza were definitely higher quality. Each ingredient had it's own distinctive flavor yet the flavors molded together to create a very flavorful and delightful taste. In addition, the ingredients were cut into smaller pieces and better dispersed on the pizza which increased the flavor with each bite. The crust on this pizza was thicker and fuller. This matched with the pizza being cut into quarters rather than sixths allowed for the pizza to stay together and carry the ingredients better. When blotted with the paper towel there was little oil residue, even when pushed harder than the Mario's pizza. When reheated the pizza maintained it's flavor, consistency and texture well. 


Mike and I both decided, hands down, that La Casa Pizzeria was the winner of this challenge! Congratulations! 
Their food was prepared with far more care and consideration, which shows in the improved nature of their product over all and it's flavor.    


Now, from a reviewing perspective there are other things to take into consideration other than the pizza itself: First of all is gluten free options. Mario's pizza offers just gluten free pizza crust, while La Casa offers both gluten free pizza crust and gluten free pasta. Of course this addition offers expanded options to the gluten free pizzeria goer, including Baked Ziti Pizza! For anyone with Celiac disease, there also may be the concern of cross contamination. La Casa Pizza left the pizza in the metal tin while Mario's Pizza did not, something that helps a gluten free foodie feel more safe given the nature of cooking and transferring pizza in a pizzeria. In addition, La Casa Pizza seemed more interested in discussing their guidelines for preventing cross contamination. Price is also a concern. In this realm La Casa is also a winner, by about 5 dollars. It is probably also the cheapest gluten free pizza I have purchased anywhere. In the realm of timing, again, La Casa was quicker and more effective. However, in respect to hospitality and atmosphere of the area both pizzeria's were essentially equal although they did differ in size. Mario's is smaller with a bit more of a rushed atmosphere but none the less inviting.

And to finish things of, we have the final shamrock ratings!

Mario's Pizza:
Gluten Free Options: .5
Atmosphere: .5
Price: .5
Hospitality: 1
Food Quality: .5 

TOTAL: 3 SHAMROCKS 


La Casa Restaurant: 
Gluten Free Options: 1
Atmosphere: 1
Price: 1
Hospitality: 1
Food Quality: 1


TOTAL: 5 SHAMROCKS


I hope you enjoyed this special addition of Locally Gluten free. It was a lot of fun to think about pizza in a different more critical and comparative way.  Do you have a favorite pizzeria that offers gluten free pizza? Leave a comment and tell me about it, I would love to hear what you have to say! 
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