The Gut Balance Revolution by Gerard E. Mullin, MD

By | Jun 19, 2015

Until I started working at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), I never really thought about gut health and what that meant.  To be perfectly honest, I never had a strong interest in science, either. Working at NFCA has changed my views on many things (and, the NFCA gals have introduced me to more delicious, naturally gluten-free foods than you can imagine!). They also inspired an interest in science, the gut’s role in health and the mysterious microbiome.

The Gut Balance Revolution by Gerard E. Mullin, MD

The Gut Balance Revolution by Gerard E. Mullin, MD

Dr. Gerard E. Mullin is a member of NFCA’s Scientific/Medical Advisory Council. He recently released a new book, The Gut Balance Revolution, and asked us to take a look at it. It’s pretty fascinating. While his book does focus on weight loss, it’s refreshing to see that he does not push a gluten-free diet for everyone; he acknowledges that some people have difficulties with gluten and others do not. In fact, he specifically says, “…Gluten isn’t the one and only cause of chronic illness and weight gain in America. Not everyone is sensitive to it. And there are no data proving hat going off wheat or gluten itself for the long term will assist with weight loss. Going off cookies, crackers, bread and pasta – yes, this is associated with weight loss. Going off gluten, not so much.”

The premise of Dr. Mullin’s book focuses on shifting your gut bacteria to work for you, not against you. It’s a very interesting concept and one that is different from the many weight loss conversations and messages that pepper the media. The Gut Balance Revolution features phase by phase instructions for getting started on the program, recipes (always double check ingredients!), exercises and more.

To learn more about The Gut Balance Revolution, visit Dr. Mullin’s website at www.thefoodmd.com. I think many people may be interested in his “food is medicine” approach to managing gut health. As with all weight loss programs, make sure you talk to your doctor to determine what’s best for you and your specific needs.

“Healthier Gluten-Free” by Lisa Howard

By | Jun 3, 2015

By Rachel Rieger, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Patient Education Manager

"Healthier Gluten-Free" by Lisa Howard

“Healthier Gluten-Free” by Lisa Howard

If you’re looking for healthy foods you can add to your repertoire, check out the new cookbook, “Healthier Gluten­-Free,” by Lisa Howard. This cookbook is brimming with delicious and nutritious gluten-­free recipes. Whip up an open­-faced BLT on a savory pancake for a new twist
on an old favorite, or try the Korean-­style pork and cabbage romaine boats for something a little more exotic. A personal favorite are the double chocolate crunch cookies, which will  definitely satisfy the sweet tooth! With so many recipes that make healthy, gluten­free eating seem easy, this cookbook isn’t one to miss out on!

Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss Frozen Bars

By | Jun 3, 2015
Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss frozen bars

Delicious!

By Rachel Rieger, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Patient Education Manager

Luna & Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss Frozen Bars make a great treat when you’re lounging by the pool in the midst of hot (almost) summer weather (and they’re a nice pick-­me­-up when you’re stuck inside during a gloomy spring rainstorm, too!). The coconut chocolate in almond variety features creamy coconut milk ice cream, surrounded by an indulgent chocolate shell, sprinkled with crunchy almond pieces. For even more of a “yum factor,” try the salted caramel in chocolate version, which has a rich, gooey caramel swirl with a hint of sea salt in each bite. Whether you’re lactose intolerant, a lover of all things coconut, or an ice cream aficionado, you’ll be hooked by the first bite.

Learn more about these yummy frozen bars at www.coconutbliss.com.

Russo’s NY Pizzeria Gluten-Free Pizza

By | Apr 29, 2015

By Claire Baker, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Director of Communications and New Media

When I was diagnosed with celiac disease five years ago, the one thing I missed most was pizza. I quickly learned that there is some really good gluten-free pizza out there, and some not-so-good. Before I couldn’t have it anymore, I don’t think I realized how much I depended on my pizza crusts to be a little chewy, a little bendy, a decent and tasty holder-of-ingredients. I wasn’t a big deep dish pizza fan back then, which now works in my favor, since most (all?) prefab and restaurant pizzas I’ve enjoyed in the last five years have definitely not been of the thick variety.

In addition to being thin, another thing I noticed was that gluten-free pizza crusts, especially those made with rice flour, tended to burn on the edges. My memory of a toasty regular crust is actually pretty pleasant. Burnt rice flour crust? Not so much. Okay… not at all. Which means that there is a very fine line between undercooked and ruined.

Russo's NY Pizzeria - Gluten-Free Pizzas

The gluten-free Mulberry pizza (left) and the Chicken Rustica from Russo’s NY Pizzeria.

That’s the reason I was so pleased with Russo’s. At first I was skeptical, since the crust is primarily rice and tapioca flour and an invitation to burnt edges. But then I saw that the crust is actually pre-cooked and they offered very explicit directions about how to not burn the crust, all a bit different than other gluten-free pizza baking instructions. Preheat the oven to 450. Let the pizza thaw for exactly 10 minutes before baking. Cook it on a tray, not the rack. Check the pizza at the early end of the time range and keep an eye on it after that. No burned edges!

And what’s more, it’s bendy. And chewy. And a good holder of tasty ingredients. The sauce is slightly sweet. The crust is on par or better than other crusts. I fully enjoyed my Russo’s pizza and would get it again (and will follow the baking instructions to the letter.)

NFCA’s office manager, Mary Buhring, also tried out two of the pizza varieties with her son, who also has celiac disease. They were huge fans of the Mulberry variety (Italian sausage, beef, Canadian bacon and pepperoni) and the Chicken Rustica (grilled chicken, tomatoes spinach, feta and mozzarella cheeses). I am a vegetarian, so I stuck with the plain cheese variety. We both agreed that the crust had an amazing crunch to it. Mary and her son loved the combination of the flavors and thought both pizzas tasted like they were made in a high end pizzeria. Ironically, she mentioned that without knowing that these pizzas are from Chef Anthony Russo, owner of Russo’s NY Pizzeria.

You can learn more about the pizzas by heading to www.nypizzeria.com/retail.

 

Breton Gluten-Free Black Bean & White Bean Crackers

By | Apr 29, 2015

I’ve written before about how much I enjoyed gluten-free Breton crackers. So, it should come as no surprise that I’m also a fan of their new Black Bean Crackers with Onion & Garlic and White Bean Crackers with Salt & Pepper.

Gluten-Free Breton Crackers: White Bean with Salt & Pepper and Black Bean with Onion & Garlic

No matter which gluten-free variety you try, you can’t go wrong!

The biggest plus about gluten-free Breton crackers is probably their size; they are much larger than any other gluten-free cracker I’ve tried, making them ideal for stacking with toppings. Even though they are larger in diameter, Breton crackers are still thin, light and airy, and so they won’t be overly filling like gluten-containing thick crackers can be.

Aside from the color of the crackers, I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the Black Bean and the White Bean crackers (aside from their respective Garlic & Onion and Salt & Pepper flavors). I enjoyed both and would definitely recommend them. You can rest easy knowing that these crackers are safe for people with celiac disease too; they are certified gluten-free through the NFCA-endorsed Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP). That means the products go through a rigorous audit process before they’re awarded NFCA’s seal of approval. You can learn more about it at www.gf-cert.org.

Visit www.darefoods.com to learn more about the Breton crackers. Heads up – not every Breton product is gluten-free, so be sure to look for the gluten-free label before purchasing and eating.

Bakery on Main Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Instant Oatmeal

By | Apr 1, 2015

By Rachel Rieger, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Patient Education Manager

After eating too many packets of run-of-the-mill gluten-free oatmeal, Bakery on Main’s Carrot Cake Instant Oatmeal is a welcome addition to my breakfast choices. As someone who would love nothing more than to eat a thick slab of cake for breakfast (but knows that’s just not the grown-up thing to do), this oatmeal is definitely the next best thing.

With small shreds of carrot, raisins, and hints of cinnamon, clove and ginger, it was hard to wait the whole minute and a half for this oatmeal to finish in the microwave. It’s perfect with some raw sugar on top and a little bit of milk (or traditional cream cheese frosting…no one’s judging!).

If you can tolerate gluten-free oats, this guilt-free hot breakfast cereal is certainly worth a trip to the grocery store!

The Lagasse Girls’ Big Flavor, Bold Taste and No Gluten! Cookbook

By | Apr 1, 2015

By Rachel Rieger, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Patient Education Manager

What comes to mind when you think of comfort food? Old family recipes, exotic cuisine, sweet treats, or maybe the foods you gravitate toward when you don’t feel well? Everyone’s definition of a comfort food varies, but one thing is for sure – whatever your definition, the Lagasse Girls have included it in their new cookbook, “The Lagasse Girls’ Big Flavor, Bold Taste and No Gluten!

Each girl’s unique personality shines through in this beautiful compilation of recipes and advice. Bringing to the table years of combined experience – from living abroad, to cooking for large families, to small intimate gatherings with friends – these girls know how to make gluten-free fun! Their dad, the one and only Emeril Lagasse, has also thrown a few traditional Creole recipes into the mix (like Duck and Andouille Sausage Christmas Gumbo…yum!).

Whether you’re newly diagnosed with celiac disease or another gluten-related disorder, or you’re an old pro just looking to spice things up a little (As Emeril would say, “BAM!”), this cookbook will keep your repertoire fresh. For those of you who can’t have dairy, you’ll also find a few gems in this cookbook (they’re marked “DF” for dairy-free). Even if you have other food allergies or sensitivities, the Lagasse girls invite you to get creative and tailor their recipes to your tastes and needs.

If you’re not enticed by the photo of their Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls, or the mouth-watering description of Chicken and Dumplings, you’ll certainly find a not-so-traditional recipe in this 350 page cookbook (like Moroccan Lamb Tagine) that screams, “Comfort food ahead!”

Enjoy Life Plentils: Crunchy Lentil Chips

By | Feb 27, 2015

I can’t get enough of lentils. Lentil soup is one of my favorite dishes and I have been trying for years to mimic my mother’s recipe. My version isn’t quite the same as hers, but I’m getting close!

My point? Any lentil based food is right up my alley. So, it should come as no surprise that Enjoy Life’s Plentils are on my favorite gluten-free snacks list. Plentils were one of the first gluten-free snacks that I had the chance to try when I joined the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) team about three years ago. I loved them then and I still love them now.

Enjoy Life Plentils: Lentil Chips

The Plentils collection

Enjoy Life sent some of the chips to the office to try out: Dill and Sour Cream, Light Sea Salt, Garlic Parmesan and Margherita Pizza. I hadn’t had the chance to try any flavor other than the Sea Salt in the past. Dill and Sour Cream is my favorite and the Margherita is tasty as well, with a somewhat spicy yet salty flavor. I didn’t have the chance to try the Garlic Parmesan – they disappeared from our office kitchen super-fast. Always a good sign of a tasty product!

The chips have a wavy rectangular shape and pack a nice crunch. NFCA Patient Education Manager, Rachel Rieger, compared the texture to that of Funyuns.* Not only are all Enjoy Life products gluten-free, but they are also free of the top 8 allergens as well: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. And, with 40% less fat than regular potato chips, you won’t feel guilty indulging in that crunchy craving.

Head to the Enjoy Life Foods website for more information on the Plentils, including where you can find them in stores.

*According to the Frito-Lay website, Funyuns don’t have gluten-containing ingredients, but are made on shared lines and the final products are not tested for gluten contamination. Other Frito-Lay products, however, are considered safe for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’). Learn more here.

Taste Guru: Enjoy Gluten-Free

By | Feb 27, 2015

We have all probably shared this experience at one point or another: You go to the store and find a new product that you’re excited to try because it looks oh-so-good on the box. You go home, try it out and are disappointed to find you don’t like the product at all. It can be frustrating, especially because of the increased cost of gluten-free packaged foods.

I am excited to tell you that the solution is here: Taste Guru. They’ll send you a box of various gluten-free, trial-sized products to sample before you commit to buying the full box or bag in store. That’s right – gluten-free products delivered right to your door.

Taste Guru - ExplodingBox - NoLogo

So many gluten-free options to try!

The folks at Taste Guru sent a box to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) office for the team to try. It came perfectly packaged in a box, with the products neatly arranged inside with tissue paper on top and a sticker to hold the goods in place. The box included all kinds of goodies, including NoGii bars, Simply 7 Quinoa Chips and Lentil Chips, Oven Baked Organics Gluten-Free Pancake Mix and the cutest little bottle of Tabasco sauce that I have ever seen (seriously, it was only 3 inches tall and totally adorable). You can see samples of the boxes on Taste Guru’s website.

NFCA Office Manager Mary Buhring was so excited to see the package arrive. Her son, who has celiac disease, will be heading off to college in the fall. She plans to send him some packages so that he has some gluten-free snacks on standby should he find himself in a pinch.

Signing up for deliveries from Taste Guru is pretty simple. Just head to their site here and pick out which monthly commitment and price plan works for you and your budget. Then, sit back and wait for your goodies to arrive on your doorstep.

Do you already subscribe to Taste Guru? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Gluten-Free in London, an eBook from Gluten-Free Travel Site

By | Feb 4, 2015

I have had the pleasure of working with Karen Broussard of Gluten-Free Travel Site for almost three years. I’m always happy to share the resources from her site as they are super helpful when it comes to eating gluten-free away from home. From a comprehensive website to phone apps, Gluten-Free Travel Site does a great job of helping people navigate U.S. and international cities, restaurants, colleges and more with their thousands of user-submitted gluten-free dining reviews, searchable by location.

Gluten-Free in London eBook

Gluten-Free in London (Photo Credit: www.GlutenFreeTravelSite.com

The latest to come from Gluten-Free Travel Site is the incredibly helpful Gluten-Free in London eBook. 10 chapters of detailed information in the eBook will guide you through the trip of a lifetime. The eBook starts out with an overview of what it’s like to eat gluten-free in London and then takes you through everything from choosing a hotel to where to find gluten-free options near popular tourist attractions.

My favorite part about the eBook is the conversational tone. Karen actually took a nine-day trip to London with her family and used her own preparation and experiences to write the book. The food photos included will make you want to hop on a plane right now.

If you’re traveling to London, the $9.99 cost of the eBook is absolutely worth it. Head to Amazon to make your purchase. You can also read about the eBook firsthand from Karen Broussard here.

No matter where you’re traveling, you’re likely to find helpful resources and reviews on www.GlutenFreeTravelSite.com. Teens interested in learning more about gluten-free-friendly colleges will also find invaluable information on the Gluten-Free Travel Site.

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