Unless you’ve been living far away from civilization, you’ve probably noticed a trend of folks avoiding grains or more specifically, gluten. While we can debate the merits or harmful effects of gluten/grain consumption, one thing is certain, there are those that simply can’t eat gluten. Who are these people? Well, two of them are my friends; a mother and daughter, who for years suffered from unexplained stomach, digestive, and other “IBS” systems. Last year, they were finally tested and and low and behold, were diagnosed with celiac disease. For those of you who may not be aware, here is what celiac disease is:
Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Essentially the body is attacking itself every time a person with celiac consumes gluten…Left untreated, people with celiac disease can develop further complications such as other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and cancer.
- National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
Um, I don’t know about you, but the thought of a bagel causing my body to “punch itself” sounds downright miserable. My friend on the other hand, is feeling better than she has in years. Even though it is difficult finding her way through living a life and raising her daughter without gluten (aka pasta, beer, bread, pastries, cookies, cake and essentially every other addictively delicious carb), finding an explanation for all her intestinal issues is such a relief. Note that people with celiac cannot tolerate any gluten. Even a few crumbs can have an effect and trigger an internal attack.
I have a family member who is also gluten-free. He doesn’t have celiac disease, but notices a marked difference when he eats gluten and when he doesn’t. He’s always been prone to having nose-bleeds and won’t have one for months, accidentally eats some gluten and voila, his nose starts dripping. He has chosen to skip the gluten completely and since he visits regularly, I’ve gotten used to checking packaging for hidden gluten.
Apparently, I’m not there quite yet. We needed some more garlic salt and picked up this jar at Whole Foods. It is their store brand, 365. On the label is says “Garlic Salt,” which to me, should be mean garlic and salt. One would think it would be so simple (remember my Lawry’s Garlic Powder post awhile back? What is it with this seasoning!). Here is the actual ingredient list on the Whole Foods 365 Garlic Salt jar:
Ingredients: sea salt, garlic, breadcrumbs (unbleached wheat flour, calcium carbonate, salt, leavening [ammonium bicarbonate]), onion, silicon dioxide (to prevent caking), parsley.
Sea salt – check. Garlic – check. Breadcrumbs – check…wait, what the heck? Why oh why would there be breadcrumbs in garlic salt? The only reason I can think of is it is cheap. It’s a filler, one that makes this 6oz jar look like a great value. Except, I’m not really getting garlic salt, it’s more like I’m buying ground-up garlic bread. While it irks me that I’m getting bread in my seasoning, it makes me more annoyed that people like my brother and especially people like my dear friend and her daughter, could be eating gluten without realizing it due to sneaky practices like this. The Whole Foods garlic salt is only one example of hundreds of “hidden” gluten sources in packaged foods. This reminds me yet again, that the only true way to know what you are eating is to make it from scratch, grow it from seed, and only buy from farmers/vendors/sources you trust and always, always read the label.
Quick Tip: Buy plain garlic powder (be sure to check the label!) and mix in your own sea salt to make basic garlic salt.
UPDATE: The contest is now over (congratulations to Rashelle our winner!). Stay tuned for future giveaways. ‘Like’ us on Facebook or submit your info on our stay informed page, you will automatically be notified of new contests.
Nutritionist Joy Bauer is best known as the nutrition expert for the Today Show. She recently came out with a reference guide, Joy Bauer’s Food Cures, a book devoted to “getting you healthier, look younger and add years to your life.” We were contacted by Bauer’s team to review the book (read our full review here) and they generously sent us a second copy to give away to one of our readers. Enter to win this comprehensive nutritional reference guide.
Book: Joy Bauer’s Food Cures
Authors: Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN with Carol Svec
Type: Nutritional Reference Guide
Nutritionist Joy Bauer is well known as the nutrition expert for the Today Show. She recently came out with a reference guide, Joy Bauer’s Food Cures, a book devoted to “getting you healthier, look younger and add years to your life.” We were contacted by Bauer’s team to review the book and they generously sent us a second copy to give away to one of our readers (click here for details on the giveaway).
The book is divided into six sections: (1) Introduction to Joy Bauer and her health practice, (2) Losing Weight, (3) Looking Great which includes chapters on skin, hair and teeth, (4) Living Long & Strong – cardiovascular disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, vision, and memory, (5) Feeling Good – mood, migraine headaches, PMS, insomnia, irritable bowl syndrome, celiac disease, and cancer prevention, (6) Resources – reading labels, references. You can almost look at this guide as many little books in one, as each chapter stands on its own with basics, tips, food & shopping lists, FAQs, and recipes.
The last month has brought many changes to my life. I’ve graduated with a masters degree, moved to San Francisco, ditched my car for a bike, and met Gluten-Free Boy, a wonderful guy who happens to eat a gluten-free diet. If I’ve learned anything in this last month, it’s to take things as they come, as life is bound to throw you curve balls when you least expect them.
My daughter turned 3 this week. In celebration of her birthday, I spent Monday morning at her preschool making Danish-style pancakes (they are similar to French crepes) for her class. One of her classmates is gluten intolerant and his mother asked if I would mind using a gluten-free flour. I usually use whole wheat flour and since I’d never worked with this alternative, I was a little nervous. But she claimed this particular flour could be replaced almost one-for-one with regular flour and would taste great, so I decided to go for it.