Hello Fairy Followers.
Whew, I’m back from a quick trip to Italy, and it was fabulous. The travel part was grueling, but the rest was wonderful – even the work part was great. I don’t eat much while traveling because I’m afraid, so after 13 hours of travel, 2 GF granola bars and a banana, I was pretty hungry, and ready for my 1st experience with authentic Italian food… but 1st there is a story.
We arrived in Modena – known as “the capital of engines” because it is home to Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati factories, at 3:30 p.m. and were told that none of the restaurants opened until 7-7:30, but we could find a bite at a little pub around the corner called La Bicicletta. We took a seat outside as we listened to the Italian chatter around us, and waited for a menu. Nope – the kitchen had just closed and would not reopen until 7:00, but they had 2 small (really small) sandwiches left in their showcase, so we took them. Brian ate 1, and Andrea ate the bread from the other, and I ate the bite of meat inside, and washed it down with a REALLY good glass of wine. Then we walked around for a while, found a gelato store, so we shared a vanilla because that was the only flavor I could recognize, to tide us over until the fabulous restaurant experience we envisioned at 7:30. So we walked to the restaurant that was recommended by the owner of our cute little boutique hotel, asked if they spoke English, and both waiters said NO and waived their hands in front of them, but Andrea was armed with her Google Translate app, so no big deal, right? Keep reading. We pieced together that the Primo meal was any 3 from the 2nd portion of the menu. That sounded good, so we ordered 3 that contained the words “meat” and “cheese”. The 1st plate arrive – pasta with red sauce and crumbled meat on top. Andrea gave me a helpless look. Then came the ravioli stuffed with meat, with crispy prosciutto on top. Another helpless look from Andrea. Then the 3rd plate arrive – rosetta: pasta and a slice of meat rolled up and set on end so it looks like a rose. By then I had had another glass of REALLY good wine, so I was thinking I could go back to the gelato store and that could be my dinner. Then Andrea types into her translator: Do you have a gluten free dish you can serve my traveling companion? He looked confused and disappeared. All this time, there was a large family of 8 sitting behind us and they had platters of meat and cheese and bread on the table, so when the waiter returned, Andrea typed: We would like a platter of meat and cheese like that table over there. Then the Chef came to our table and in broken English pointed to each dish we had ordered, and said “farina, farina, farina”. Yes, we know. Then he said there was nothing in the restaurant that would be gluten free. I’m sure he was referring to cross contamination, with flour and pasta laying around and flying around. I told him I would take my chances with the meat and cheese like on the other table. And then we waited and waited and it didn’t come. Then the waiter said something like “after” and we all said “now”, and pointed our finger to the table liked “right here!!” They must serve the cheese and meat at the end of the meal??? So I had 4-5 paper thin pcs. of prosciutto with blobs of soft cheese on top for my dinner, and went to bed hungry. So much for my 1st authentic Italian eating experience.
But the next morning, all was forgiven, because I ate the freshest fruit and best yogurt I have ever tasted. The yogurt tasted like part plain yogurt with just a little tanginess, mixed with fresh cream. It was so light and smooth and pure white, and dipping the fruit pieces into that yogurt was heaven. The plates were mismatched china, and at each table was a cup with miniature fork/knife/spoon wrapped in a brown napkin with a black velvet ribbon tied around it. And the carafes of orange juice were sitting in a square glass vase lined with what looked like ice bubble wrap. Each air bubble puff was filled with ice. The country gets an A for presentation – every meal was beautifully presented everywhere we went. And by the way, my stomach was PERFECT the whole time I was there. I was told that Italy is very organic and has very clean, pure food. Every toilet was “dual flush”, most of the toilet paper was brown, and my shower was about 3 ft. x 3 ft. with no shelf so I had to hold my shampoo bottle between my knees while showering. All part of the wonderful experience!!
BTW, our hotel was called Hotel Cervetta 5, and I highly recommend it. This picture was taken at the bottom of the stairs near the itty bitty front lobby. They lit candles at dusk that were intermingled with cactus and other small plants. Adorable.
The 1st afternoon, we were treated to an open air buffet of THE most fabulous looking and tasting food. This was my kind of meal, where I could choose whatever, and how much I wanted. This plate contains mozzarella with tomato, marinated artichokes, hard cheese, olives, layered potatoes, and salad, with thick balsamic vinegar and very green olive oil drizzled over the whole lot. Indescribably good, and sitting open air on the town square amongst century-old buildings made the food taste even better than fabulous!!
That night we searched the internet for a restaurant with some English words on the menu. They must have marked us as Americans because they sat us upstairs in the furthest corner from the rest of the guests. I blame it on Brian for wearing a grey T shirt to dinner. The meal was fabulous and the mozzarella lobster salad was the best dish I ate in Italy.
The next afternoon our host company wanted us to experience authentic Italian food. Where were these people on our 1st night!!! Everyone had pasta and the most perfectly spiraled rolls, and I had risotto with asparagus. I really, really wanted to taste that gluten-filled lunch. Look how perfectly beautiful the food is!!
The next day we headed to Verona, an hour’s drive, and were shown around town by a local business associate. We sat at an open air cafe for a traditional orange drink called Amari (bitters, Proseco and charged water). It was excellent! He took us down romantic back alleys and past little outdoor restaurants at dusk, and then to his favorite bistro for dinner. It was so wonderful being there with someone who could speak the language and recommend wines and food. It was the highlight of the trip for me. People sitting behind us were singing Italian love songs while we ate mozzarella with sun dried tomatoes, risotto that was red with wine, rooster breast over mashed potatoes, and suckling pig with crackly skin and asparagus. It was magical, and as authentic Italian as I will experience in my lifetime.
Before we arrived at the bistro, we stopped to see Juliet’s balcony. THE Juliet’s balcony. I was in awe – being right there, standing where Romeo stood, talking to his young Juliet. And next to the balcony was a large wire fence covered from top to bottom with paddle locks. The locks were placed there by couples professing their love for each other, “locking” them together forever.
The next morning, wanting to squeeze in another Italian memory before we headed to the airport in an hour, we climbed a steep sidewalk and this door was at the top. I could not have wished for a better farewell photo op. Just like a postcard.
A few more tidbits from the trip: Lufthansa Airlines gives you little hot towels to wash your hands with before they serve food. Really nice after touching all those public bathroom handles and airport chairs along the way. Also, I was introduced to Amarone wine. The grapes are picked and then dried for 3 months before they are turned into wine. And there is a wine called Recioto, which is sweet and we tasted it after dinner. It is made from the “ears” of the grape: they pick off the leaves above the grape cluster, and the “ears” are the grapes at the top of the cluster that receive the most direct sun, which makes them sweeter.
I will sign off with 2 profound quotes – 1 from each of the gentlemen I dined with that last night. Hmmm, they sounded much more profound that night. Must have been the Amarone wine.
I’d rather regret something I did instead of regret something I didn’t do. Thank you Brian.
Every man dies but not every man lives. Thank you Frank.
Until next time, stay healthy.
Hello Fairy Followers.
There are 51 of you out there who follow this blog, and it has received 2277 views and 64 comments. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of you!! It keeps me blogging, reading, researching, talking, cooking, tasting and shopping for things that may be of interest to all of you. As you can see, I have not improved my graphics expertise in the past year, but just know that my heart is in it.
I’m getting excited for my trip to Verona, Italy, even tho I will be there for only 3 days and will be working part of that time. I will keep a food diary to share with you all. The 3 of us do not speak Italian, but we will dine with locals 1 night, so I will grill them on foods and traditions, and taste as many foods as possible. I love tasting food from other people’s plates. I wonder if they go for that over there, especially at a business dinner. I better not…
Senza glutine, senza glutine!! That’s all I need to remember.
I tried 2 new GF items this past week, and was underwhelmed by both of them. The 1st was beer. I don’t like beer anyways, but this one was made with sorghum and had a nice undertone of strawberries, which made it taste OK. Tweason’ale Dogfish Head. The strawberry undertone would probably scare away the guys, even tho my son said he liked it, but he was trying way too hard to talk me into liking it, so I think I’m right.
The other item was Good Tastes mac and cheese. I have not heard of this brand before. The noodles were not little corkscrews like the picture. They were in balls or globs. The cheese sauce was gummy and “floury” tasting. I cooked it in the oven, as they recommend, to crispen up the breadcrumbs on top, and they were crisp around the edges, but even with extra cooking time, the dish was soggy in the middle. I ate around the outside and tossed the rest. It gets 1/2 a star.
My curiosity was killing me – I just had to find out if there were other foods I should not be eating, so I sent a pc. of my hair over to the UK and had it tested. The results were not what I expected, and I have LOTS of questions. My hair was tested for intolerance to gluten, barley, wheat bread, rye bread, cultured rye, wheat and wheat flour, none of which showed up in the “high” range. What??? The only grain that tested high was kamut (85 out of 100). This is an ancient grain nick named King Tut’s Wheat (because it was found in the tomb of an Egyptian Pharaoh) or Camel Tooth Wheat (because of its appearance). According to Dr. Weil’s website, kamut is believed to be the wheat Noah brought with him on the ark. The testing website says that some people who think they are intolerant to wheat may just be intolerant to the chemicals used to process the wheat. The website also says that a person’s intolerances can change depending on exposure to that item, or their environment, which makes me wonder….if I have not eaten any of those grains for 28 years, would they show up? The gluten experts say that if you want to be tested for celiac disease, do not stop eating gluten before the test, or you may get inaccurate results. Could it be the same with the hair test? They are testing your DNA instead of your blood, tho. One of the many questions!! Kamut was rediscovered in 1949, is always grown organically, and has been patented to prevent modification, to retain its heritage from the fertile crescent. It is cultivated in Montana and Canada. 70% is exported…Italy is the greatest consumer (maybe because of its buttery taste and smooth texture?? Could be why Italian pastas are the best in the world – or so I’ve heard). It contains more gluten and protein than regular wheat, and has a high susceptibility to fungi…which leads me to the next oddity.
The highest intolerance reading of the 600 foods and non foods that were tested, was for Alpha Amylase (score of 99 out of 100). It is an enzyme widely used in the food industry to break down starches into sugars. They are naturally occurring in some foods and yeasts, and can be augmented for faster breakdown by an industrially-produced form. I checked my favorite Buffalo Wing Hot Pretzels and the 1st 3 ingredients are starches!!! I checked the Cup 4 Cup flour Ava’s mom gave me. The 1st ingredient is corn starch. Starches are widely used in GF foods as substitutes for wheat flour – corn starch, tapioca starch, potato starch. We celiacs thicken gravies and soups with corn starch. Almost all processed GF foods have some kind of starch in them!! This enzyme is what breaks down corn to become high fructose corn syrup. Baked goods containing yeast are buffered by amylase to enhance yeast performance. This enzyme is present in candies, baked goods, ice cream, ketchup, some fermented alcoholic beverages, fruit juices and beer. Some amylase is produced from fungi. And kamut is susceptible to fungi. I see a trend. Yes, there is one:
The 3rd intolerance that surprised me was Aspergillus Niger (88 out of 100) – a black mold that is found on grapes, peanuts and onions, and is a common food contaminant. I get red in the face when I drink some red wines, and I always thought it was the sulfites, but it could be the black mold on the grapes. According to Frances Mayes in Under the Tuscan Sun, she enters an old winery in Italy and the room is covered in mold, so there is my answer maybe. This mold has an interesting celiac connection: A 2006-2008 research study published in the Am. Journal of Physiology investigated an enzyme derived from aspergillus niger that degrades gluten. Possibly a future treatment for celiac disease? Also, an enzyme derived from this mold (not sure if it is the same enzyme from the study) is used to produce an additive used by the brewing industry to reduce the gluten content of wheat and barley beers!! So… if ever there was a pill (derived from this mold) for celiacs to take if they wanted to have a bite of gluten, I would be more intolerant of the pill than the gluten…according to my hair study. Is it opposite day today?
And 1 more food that tested high – guar gum (97 out of 100), a thickener in baked goods, yogurt, ice cream, sweets and many others. Cripes, it sounds like I should not be eating any processed foods. Yes, I know…that’s what I’ve been preaching all along. But I will not give up Tammy’s GF cinnamon rolls from the farmer’s market.
Other factoids from the hair test website: A common cause of skin disorders is an intolerance to lettuce (romaine 90 out of 100).
Intolerance to chemicals and non-food items causes identical symptoms to those of food intolerances.
Pasteurization of milk breaks down the milk/caesin protein, which can cause allergic sensitivities (boiled milk 87 out of 100). Celiacs are commonly intolerant of dairy.
And on the lighter side – I tested high for fish food, mouse urine, mold that grows on bread, and formaldehyde. Who knew?? Should be pretty easy to avoid those things. I don’t own a fish, we have a cat, I keep my bread in the freezer, and I haven’t had the dry heaves from formaldehyde since jr. high.
Again, Dee McCaffrey of The Science of Skinny is right – we should be eating foods that are close to nature. For a while I was asking myself each time I ate something, “how close to nature is this?” I’ve fallen off that wagon for a while, and the hair test results were a wake up call to stop eating so many processed carbs.
Part hooey and part science? It’s up to you, but it sure was an interesting process.
As Rosanne Rosanadana used to say: “It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”
A fairy follower gave me a great tip to pass on: A full list of GF foods at Costco is located at http://www.queenbeeecoupons.com. Search for: Costco-gluten-free food list in the upper rt. corner. Thanks Renee.
And another fairy follower passed on this tip: Sticky Fingers Bakery Wild Blueberry Scones are delicious, and she sent this picture. Thanks Sarah.
OK, I’m off to Italy in a few days, and I hope to come back with wonderful pictures of authentic Italian foods, and handsome Italian men….for my friend Char!!!
And last week, as a follow up to a previous post, I watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, and I was correct when I said the movie is NOTHING like the book. I counted only 4 facts in the movie that were in the book. The rest was all Hollywood. It still was a pretty good movie, but it didn’t give enough respect and attention to the house and food that the author was so passionate about.
I love my family, friends and fairy followers – in case my plane crashes.
Fino alla prossima volta, rimanere in buona salute. The Gluten Free Fairy
Hello Fairy Followers.
I hope you all had a happy Easter. Look what showed up at my house for Easter brunch! Coconut macaroons with Nutella and chocolate eggs. Had to pick off the eggs because they were JUST TOO SWEET!! But I managed to eat SEVERAL…for breakfast, too!! I told my husband the other day that I needed a new pair of knock-around jeans because all the nicer jeans in my closet were sort of tight, and he said “no kidding!!”
Well last week was stressful. My boss quit so that means more work for me, I received a summons for jury duty, and I have to go to Italy to check out a potential new supplier. And you’re saying “why is going to Italy causing you stress?” The food, of course. I’m going to the country that invented pasta, and I can’t eat any of it. Will I insult a restauranteur by refusing to taste something or making special requests? I know there is risotto, but what else? And I can’t speak one word of Italian, and am traveling with 2 others who don’t speak it either, so how will I know what I’m ordering or eating?? Enter the Internet!! All I have to remember is “senza glutine” (glu-tee-ney) – without gluten. I have found that about 1% of Italians are celiacs, and that Italy has used corn, chestnut and chickpea flours as wheat substitutes for hundred of years, and that Italians are very conscious of the connection between health and food, and that Italian children are routinely screened for celiac disease, and that GF foods are required to be available in schools, hospitals and public places!! So now I’m excited to go. This platter is filled with GF Italian foods!! I’m sure now that I won’t starve over there!!
A few posts ago I said things just serendipitously happen to me…..well, for the past 3 weeks I have been reading “Under the Tuscan Sun”, had marked a few passages about food, to include in my blog some day because they were so beautiful, and now I’m going to that country (not Tuscany, but Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet, in the north). By the way, if you have never read the book and have only seen the movie, you are missing out!! The book is, of course, 100 times better, and nothing like the movie. The author is describing the table she wants built, for the long lunches under the trees that the Italians take:
“Such a table should accommodate the wandering of a large dog. At the end, you need room for an enormous vase of all the flowers in bloom at the moment. The width should allow platters to meander from hand to hand down the center, stopping where they will, and numerous water and wine bottles to accumulate over the hours. You need room for a bowl of cool water to dip the grapes and pears into, a little covered dish to keep the bugs off the Gorgonzola. No one cares if olive pits are flung into the distance. If the table is long enough, everything can be brought out at once, and no one has to run back and forth to the kitchen. Then the table is set for primary pleasure: lingering meals, under the trees at noon. You’re your own guest, which is the way summer ought to be. In the delicious stupor that sets in after the last pear is halved….you are doing what everyone else in Italy is doing, millions of backsides being shined by chairs at millions of tables.”
Isn’t that the most romantic description of a table and the meal to be set upon it? I hope to soon experience the “delicious stupor” of a great Italian meal!! She also describes another lunch where “The tomatoes are so intense we go silent as we taste them.”
My favorite passage of this book is when the author describes what happens to tourists when they get caught up in the pizza:
“…thousands of tourists, many of whom made the mistake of eating 2 wedges of great sausage pizza at 11:00 and have no inclination to eat anything” (at the afternoon meal and subsequent siesta, when all the shops are closed for a few hours in the heat). “Then later it is hard to deny yourself the luscious ice cream cone at 7:00. Those weak ones who succumb possibly will have another wedge on the way to the hotel. Then when Italy begins eating at 9:00, the foreign stomach doesn’t even rumble. That happens much later, when all the good restaurants are full.”
It seems that in this book, the majority of the Italian mid-day meals were made up of foods in their simplest forms – grapes, pears, tomatoes, herbs, olives, lettuces, etc. – often grown in the village or in the author’s yard – the healthiest way to eat. I suppose if you eat that way during the day, you can indulge in a plate piled high with pasta for dinner. Frances Mayes has a way with food and the written word that is so romantic.
A relative posted on Facebook a quote from The Food Tank: The problem is we are not eating food anymore. We are eating food-like products.
From Gluten Free Living magazine: An estimated 83% of celiacs are undiagnosed. Some are called “silent” patients by one Dr. at the Mayo Clinic in MN, because they have no symptoms. The gold standard of diagnostic tools are a flexible tube endoscopy AND biopsies of the gut. Because diseased tissue often occurs in patches, the recommendation is AT LEAST 4, and up to 6, tissue samples per biopsy procedure. In a 2006 analysis of all procedures conducted in the U.S., only 1/3 of the submissions contained at least 4 samples. The most common # was 2. Another study in 2011 found that following the recommended procedure of 4-6 biopsy samples doubled the probability of finding celiac disease in tested patients. One Dr. who was interviewed for the article always asks his patients “who thought of testing you for celiac disease?” In at least 1/3 of the cases, it was the patient themselves, or a family member. The Exec. Director of the Celiac Disease Foundation in LA says “the pharmacy industry also drives health care in North America. Drs. may have been slow to gain awareness of celiac disease because of the lack of any drug treatment for the disease.” I consider us lucky because we DON’T have a drug treatment for our disease. I hate that word “disease”. It makes it sound like we have leprosy or something.
In the year 2000, Denmark took their pork industry off antibiotics. They saw a 50% increase in production. The success was attributed to 3 factors: strict laws banning the unlawful use of antibiotics (like for growth acceleration instead of for a sick animal), a robust system of surveillance and enforcement, and rules preventing veterinarians from profiting from selling antibiotics to farmers. It can be done. We can live with far fewer chemicals on and in our foods, but the food industry and pharmaceutical lobbies are so strong and influential. It’s a sad state of affairs when chemicals win, and the public’s health comes in 2nd.
Since it is almost grilling weather, here is a very simple, very unusual dinner or appetizer:
Brush 1/2 of a firm, ripe, peeled and pitted avocado with fresh lime juice and olive oil. Grill, cut side down, for 1-2 minutes, creating grill marks. Turn a 1/4 turn to create criss cross grill marks and cook 1 more minute. Meanwhile, brush 1 side of a slice of bread (Canyon Bakehouse-my fav) with olive oil and grill about 30 seconds per side. Top bread with thin slices of parmesan and the grilled avocado. Mash with a fork, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Until next time, stay healthy and out of court. You might find me on the jury!!
Hello Fairy Followers.
I have been eating way too many GF carbs recently, but with that, have discovered some really good GF foods!!
I saw little Ava this week, and she is doing great on her GF diet. Her older sister eats mostly GF, too, because they are served the same thing for each meal while at home. Ava’s mom says her bloated stomach has gone down, she no longer has diarrhea, and her skin rashes have disappeared. Ava loves the KIND granola bars, and she loves having small portions of several things in her lunch, which has been pretty easy for her mom to change over to GF: cut up meat and cheese, GF crackers, fruit and GF KIND granola bar.
Her mom gave me a large bag of GF flour, called Cup 4 Cup, that can be substituted, you guessed it, cup for cup, for any other flour. On the back of the bag is a short paragraph that says “After witnessing a diner at the restaurant (The French Laundry) shed tears of joy after trying our gluten-free bread, I realized we had something that needed to be shared.” The French Laundry Restaurant is in Yountville, CA. This flour is $19 for a 3 lb. bag and can be purchased on Amazon. I will report back when I use it in a recipe. Thanks Jenny!!
Last Sat. I walked with a friend to the local winter farmers market about 3 miles away. One of my Tuesdays without Gluten friends has a cottage industry called That’s It! Gluten Free Home Bakery. She sells her wares at the farmers market and I walked 3 miles down the hill specifically to buy a few of her english muffins which can double as hamburger buns, she says. After a few minutes of shopping, I convinced myself that I would never make it UP the hill 3 miles without “a little something” for the trip home, so I purchased one of her cinnamon sweet rolls with drizzled frosting, and OMG, it was chewy and not too sweet and fabulous. So this past Sat. I drove down for another roll, and bought a 2nd for Ava and her family to try. We all agreed that no one would know it was GF. It had perfect texture, and was rolled into a pinwheel with cinnamon inside, just like a “regular” sweet roll out of one of those tubes that explode. Tammy has perfected GF baking!!
I tried baking this weekend: Pineapple upside down cake out of a box (Pamela’s white cake mix). I followed the directions on the package, but used pineapple juice as the liquid in the recipe. It was pretty good – dense and cut pretty easily. After Tammy’s sweet roll, tho, it was just OK for me. My sister thought this cake mix would make a great coffee cake with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon on the top (bottom actually). FYI, I baked this cake in a cast iron pan, and thought the crust around the bottom (top) was the best part.
At a local coffee shop last week I was waiting in line to place my order, and I overheard a guy 3 people ahead ask if they had any GF pastries. The gal said no, but they normally do. Then when I got to the register to place my order, I played dumb and asked if they had any GF pastries. So in 2 minutes we sent that coffee shop a message that GF pastries are in high demand, so they better make more!!
Last week I mentioned Allergytest.com for hair testing. The correct address is Allergytest.co. It is a UK company so I guess they don’t use the “m”. Just visited the website and the price for the basic test has gone up since last week!! Now the basic test is $105.
A Fairy Follower from Texas told me about Gluten Free Nation bread, out of Houston. $7.50 per loaf. Yikes!! But she said it is the best GF bread they have tasted. Can be found at Sprouts and Kroger. It is fairly new and I have not seen it in my town.
And I just found out today that my little town of Prescott, AZ is getting a Whole Foods. The organic food store where I spend 1/2 my salary, has been purchased by Whole Foods. We already have 2 organic food stores, a Trader Joes, and soon a Sprouts about 4 miles out of town, so there must be the demand in this area. Whole Foods is on the forefront of Non-GMO action and by the end of 2018 will have any GMO products in their stores labeled as such. They currently have 4800 products under 250 brands that are Non-GMO Project verified.
ADA is a chemical used to make yoga mats. It is also a foaming agent and dough conditioner for bread used by Subway, Pillsbury, Sara Lee, Smuckers, Jimmy Dean, Little Debbie, Tyson and Wonder. Aren’t you glad you’re gluten free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tom, my sometimes contributing editor, sent me this. He finally sent me something I could use in my (our???) blog. Check out this new pizzeria in Troy, Michigan. Totally GF and nut free. THE WORD IS GETTING OUT!! Remember, it is estimated that 1/3 of the population is sensitive to gluten, so this pizzeria might be the next best thing since sliced bread…or sliced pizza!! Go to Crain’s Detroit Business and search for the article about Renee’s Pizzeria.
I read a lot of food and health articles in magazines. Sometimes I get the feeling the authors just make up stuff to fill the pages. Case in point: because it is close to Easter, someone came up with the idea of a Peep Smore. Are you kidding? There are GF graham crackers out there, but Peeps have gone sooooo down hill in the last few years. I did a test last Easter: I took a bite of a Peep and closed my eyes and really concentrated on the flavor in my mouth. THERE WAS NOTHING!! There is absolutely NO taste to a Peep. They are made of spun sugar, corn syrup and food dyes. They are supposed to taste like marshmallows! Did you know you can now buy Peeps lip balm in several flavors? And Peeps nail polish!! What is this world coming to?? I sound like my mother!!
In the same magazine where the Peep smores appeared, there was an article about coconut macaroons, and how Danny became famous with his (Danny Macaroons). Well, his recipe is the exact recipe of my mom’s macaroons that I posted months ago. He adds bittersweet chocolate or espresso to his basic macaroon recipe, and even wrote a book called The Macaroon Bible. You saw the recipe here 1st, folks. If this guy’s macaroons are famous, then my mom’s must be famous, too. They are with my friends and family anyways.
Hello Fairy Followers.
You know, I keep having coincidences “happen” to me, and this week was no exception. The topic of last week’s Tuesdays Without Gluten group at the library was allergy testing, because people with a sensitivity to gluten always have other allergies or sensitivities. You may not know about them yet, but they are there. And then last night I randomly clicked on another Gluten Summit lecture to listen to, and what the heck, it was about allergy testing!!! What a co-inky-dink!! So the topic for today’s post IS: allergy testing.
Dr. Vojdani is a PhD and CEO of Immuno-Science Labs, sits on the editorial board of 4 scientific journals, and has done research for the EPA, NIH and Inst. of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and is an expert on environmental factors in complex diseases.
There are 4 branches of the immune system, and all 4 must be tested to get an accurate assessment of your sensitivities. The old skin prick test that has been around for 120 years is only 40% accurate on children and 50% accurate on adults. Blood tests are more accurate and will detect the dangerous allergies like peanuts. And it depends which lab your Dr. uses for your allergy analysis, also. How pure are the antigens they use? Some labs use raw foods instead of cooked foods for their testing, which will affect the outcome. And some foods may give you a delayed reaction. Some antigens need to bind with cells then circulate in the blood for a while before they are detected – some take up to 8 days! You may not be sensitive to beef or corn or spices, but if you mix them together in the form of a hot dog, you may have a reaction to that food because the processing of foods changes the end product. Eat more God-made food and limit man-made food.
In 2011, 5000 Italian children were screened for celiac disease with almost 100% accuracy using the saliva test. Saliva antibodies appear 5-10 yrs. before onset. These antibodies are present in a baby’s mouth by the age of 3 months. Take preventative measures – do not wait for symptoms. Symptoms mean damage has already occurred!!
Dr. Vojdani says 50% of celiacs have elevated antibodies. That means 50% do not!! There are more than 10 components to gluten. If all 10 are not tested, you may receive a negative test result.
Most Drs. are against a “gluten challenge”, which is when you’re so sure you have cured whatever was ailing you by eliminating gluten from your diet, so you add it back in and “challenge” the theory. BAD IDEA!! First of all, gluten antibodies can stick around for 3 months after you start a GF diet. Each “challenge” requires less gluten to trigger an inflammatory immune response, and each time you will have a more violent reaction. Turns out your immune cells have a memory, so don’t try to sneak anything by them!!
Have you heard of a rotation diet? Every 4 days you can eat a small amount of allergenic food. NOT!! Gluten has a zero tolerance.
Detecting autoimmune antibodies NOW will prevent the development of full-blown diseases like celiac, MS, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Remove the triggers early, and slowly the immune reactivity will go away. After a full-blown disease has taken hold, tho, all you can do is treat the symptoms – it is too late to reverse. Such is the case of Dr. Terry Wahls, the U of Iowa professor with MS who is effectively managing her symptoms with the paleo diet.
You need to know what your immune system is fighting. Is it gluten, dairy, mercury….or what??
This brings me to Linda, a member of my GF group who was the guest speaker last week. She is highly allergic to gluten, eggs, dairy and peanuts, and is a highly-educated consumer . She started out with heartburn and reflux (GERD) 4 years ago. She tried the elimination diet, which is extremely hard to stay on. For 2 weeks she ate veggies, rice and lentils. Then she added 1 suspect food at a time, waited for any reactions, then tried the next. She quit after 30 days and started researching allergy testing. Her opinion is that the Elisa test from U.S. Biotek Labs is the most comprehensive and pure. The Elisa test at Biotek Labs is used by manufacturing facilities that want to become GF certified. She bases her opinion on her research of these 6 tests:
Skin test – discussed above.
IGE (Rast) test: Blood antibody test. Like Dr. V. said, if it doesn’t cover all the gluten components, you may get a false negative.
Alcat test/ACT/Elisa blood test: You can have 2 samples from the same patient on the same day, and get different results. Cost is $1000 + 2 Dr. visits.
Muscle testing: Hold a suspect food or substance in your hand, push down on your arm to measure resistance. Your energy is affected by what you are holding. Not scientific. Chiropractors may use this method. I have had this done in a casual setting, and it is astounding how you can resist a push down on your arm with some things, and have absolutely no resistance with others. You have to experience it to believe that it works.
Elisa Antibody test: Not the same Elisa as mentioned with the Alcat test. This is the test Linda recommends. $190 + 2 Dr. visits. Tests 92 foods.
Hair analysis: I mentioned this a couple weeks ago. http://www.allergytest.com. $95 to test 600 foods, or $210 to test metals also. Send a small pc. of your hair thru the mail.
She stresses that for these tests to be accurate, the lab your Dr. uses needs to have very tight quality control standards.
She eats crystalized ginger if she mistakenly eats one of her allergens.
Cross-reactive foods: foods with similar proteins or substances that mimic gluten, and can cause leaky gut, more allergies and a gluten-type reaction: corn, dairy (butter, cheese, milk), legumes, peanuts and soy, and lectins from beans, seeds and seed flours.
May is National Celiac Month. Autoimmune diseases are the #3 killer in the world. Cut gluten, processed carbs and sugar from your diet every chance you get, and find out what your other allergen are.
And another round of applause for Canyon Bakehouse 7 grain bread. It is so dang good. It does not fall apart, it is fluffy and soft, it has a great taste, and the crust is fabulous!
And look at this gorgeous piece of nature that was sunning itself on a large pine tree at the end of my driveway this week!!
OK kids, until next time, stay healthy.
Hello Fairy Followers.
Thank you for all the great comments this week!! Please let me know if you have specific topics you’d like to see on this blog. I love doing research and learning as I go. Little Ava is less moody these days according to her parents, but ate pancakes at school last week and got a tummy ache. She said “I’m sure they were gluten free, mom”. Poor thing could not resist eating what everyone else was eating.
GMO-OMG is a movie about GMO foods that was recently shown at a local college. It was quite entertaining because it was expertly filmed, and came across as a regular movie instead of a documentary, about a darling hippy family who is on a quest to learn about grains and GMO farming and foods. It all started with the older son’s fascination with seeds. It took them across the country to visit Washington, and of course, Monsanto (never got past the front office and never talked to anyone besides the receptionist and the marketing woman who urged them to leave). The movie was sponsored by several organic food companies.
Some of this info is from THE NON GMO PROJECT: GMO’s are plants or animals created thru gene splicing that merges DNA from different species, creating things that do not occur in nature or in traditional cross breeding. Virtually all are engineered to resist herbicides and insecticides. GMO’s do not offer increased yields, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition or any other consumer benefit. A growing body of evidence connected GMO’s with health problems and environmental damage. More than 60 countries have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production or sale of GMO’s. The U.S. Government has approved GMO’s based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale, so the results, of course, will be predictable. Sales of Roundup have increased 15 times since GMO’s were introduced. GMO’s are responsible for the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs” which can only be killed by poisons (some contain Agent Orange derivatives) more toxic than Roundup. Because GMO’s are a novel life form, they are able to be patented. Independent researchers rarely get the chance to study GMO’s, courtesy of strict patent laws. If a GMO seed drifts over to a non-GMO field and sprouts, the GMO seed company can sue the farmer for unauthorized use of its seeds. Unbelievable!!
Also, farmers using GMO seeds are not allowed to gather and re-sprout seeds for the next year. Can’t have heirloom anything with those laws!! Foods most likely to be GM’d: Alfalfa, corn, sugar beets, zucchini and yellow squash, canola, cotton, papaya, soy, rice, flax and wheat. Other suspect foods (because of feed): milk, meat, eggs and honey.
In 2012, Italian scientist Dr. Seralini finished a 2 year safety study on GMO’s by feeding rats food grown with Roundup, and GMO food not treated with Roundup. BTW, a rat’s lifespan is about 2 years. Between months 7 and 13 (about 40 yrs. old in human life), adverse affects were equally dramatic in both groups. They grew huge tumors (mostly mammary). This study was published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal after going thru twice the peer scrutiny of other studies before publication, and a year-long review after publication. Then it was retracted in 2013. A scientist who had worked for Monsanto for 7 yrs., was made editor of that publication shortly before retraction. This Monsanto scientist is an affiliate of the International Life Science Institute – a GMO industry-funded group. Prior to Dr. Seralini’s study, the safety of GMO’s had never been tested for more than 3 months. And Dr. Seralini used the same type of rats that Monsanto used to prove GMO safety. GMO’s have been on the market for 10 years, so if Dr. Seralini’s study has any merit, we can expect the “adverse affects” of what you’re eating now to surface in about 30 years. I, for one, am not waiting around!! The New Yorker magazine published an article rebutting a lot of the info in the documentary, which also discredited Dr. Seralini’s research work. OK – freedom of the press.
The documentary contained interviews with a few conventional farmers. They believe the chemicals are necessary to produce high yields and that “we need to feed the world”. According to the Rodale Institute and their 30 years of experience and research on organic gardening, organic farming can yield the same as conventional farming.
Did you know The White House has an organic garden out back? If the government stands behind the safety of conventional farming and GMO foods, why does the 1st Family eat organically?
GMA (Grocery Mfg. of America) is an organization whose members include Kellogg’s, Pepsi, Coke, Kraft, Nestle, General Mills, and Monsanto. During last year’s GMO labeling proposition in WA state, GMA formed a “brand defense” account, so companies could anonymously donate to fight the proposition…to avoid consumer backlash in the grocery isle. GMA was sued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the identities of the donors were revealed. Here is a list of supporters and non-supporters, published by the Cornucopia Institute: GMO I-522 Wash State. The GMA contributed over $7M, and some organic labels are owned by larger companies that funded the defeat of the proposition. The GMA is pushing for a voluntary federal labeling law. Last Dec. they sent a letter to the Chief Counsel of the FDA, informing her that “GMA asks the FDA to issue a regulation authorizing foods containing ingredients derived from biotechnology to be labeled ‘natural’.” Keep reading those labels, but heck, you have to be some kind of detective to know what everything means.
Last week I mentioned Trader Joes and their GMO policy. According to the FOOD BABE, Trader Joes has been secretive about their GMO testing/certification process. From her website:
Trader Joe’s Official GMO Statement:
Our approach to Genetically Modified Organisms is simple: we do not allow GMO ingredients in our private label products (anything with Trader Joe’s, Trader Jose’s, Trader Ming’s, etc. on the label).
TJ’s does not show country of origin on their labels.
“The Non-GMO Project has reached out to Trader Joe’s a number of times over the years, and we remain hopeful that at some point we will be able to forge a meaningful partnership with them. To date, it has been very difficult to ascertain the credibility of their non-GMO claims.We know that many consumers believe Trader Joe’s to be a GMO-free store, but without transparent standards or third-party verification this is impossible to confirm. Many other retailers–independent grocers, co-ops, and Whole Foods Market–are leading the way by requiring rigorous testing and labeling, and it would be great to see Trader Joe’s follow suit.”
From the Cornucopia Institute:
“It is very hard to figure out sourcing with Trader Joe’s. They heavily depend on private label products which are based on secrecy. We have said that private-label organics is an “oxymoron.” Organic consumers want to know “the story behind their food.” They want to know where it was produced, how it was produced, how the animals and workers involved have been treated, etc. None of that is possible with Trader Joe’s. Unlike the majority of all responsible brand marketers in organics they have refused to participate in our research studies and are thus rated very poorly on our scorecards that critique dairy foods, eggs and soy foods (etc.)”
Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day. This is my attempt to make something festive for a corned beef and cabbage dinner at a neighbors. Like I’ve said before, I’m not much of a baker, but they were pretty tasty!! After putting 3 leftover cupcakes in the freezer for safe keeping, my husband took them out the next day, so then I had to have one for breakfast!! Thick and chewy like brownies (GF chocolate cake mix, 1 can pumpkin, 2 eggs), with Marshmallow Fluff frosting and sprinkles. They kind of look like poached eggs…
Last week I discovered something really good: toasted GF Glutino bagel with almond butter. Talk about a really delicious breakfast, besides chocolate cupcakes!!
Also, I need to thank my sister again for recommending Canyon Bakehouse bread. Their 7 grain bread, toasted, with eggs…another fabulous breakfast. That bread is so delicate and buttery and soft. The crust is unbelievably good. I used to think Food for Life rice almond bread was good. Not anymore. And you don’t need to toast it for it to hold together like other GF breads.
From a Fairy Follower: “Our current agricultural system uses taxpayer $ to subsidize the planting of GMO’s, while organic farmers are required to pay fees for certification.” Doesn’t that sound like it should be the other way around?
And from another Follower: “A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” FDR
Until next time, stay healthy, and stay away from GMO’s!!
Hello Fairy Followers.
Today I blog about Ava, a darling little 4 year old who may be gluten sensitive. Before getting started tho, my thoughts about children and food and health and concern were intertwined with church this past Sunday. The young pastor of my church is in Korea right now picking up his adopted 2 yr. old son, after waiting a year for that special phone call. That announcement made me remember my previous boss, who adopted a baby girl from China about 8 years ago. That little girl came to America after sharing a crib with 2 others in the orphanage, and she stored food in her cheeks between meals for 6 months, until she was sure there would be another. There are no unwanted children – just unfound families.
Well, little Ava is a sweet thing with lips that honestly look like a heart. For about 6 months she has had stomach aches, diarrhea and distended tummy. She has been gluten free for a week and her diarrhea has stopped, but she still has a distended tummy. Maybe she needs more time being GF, or maybe she also has a dairy allergy?? We will check back in a few weeks.
1 out of 17 children have some sort of food sensitivity according to the AllergyKids Foundation. Hospitalizations for severe food reactions rose sevenfold in just the past 10 years (European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology).
TOO CAUTIOUS? For years, the Am Academy of Pediatrics recommended these 8 common allergen foods be withheld for the 1st year of life: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. After 1 year, introduce 1 at a time and look for any adverse reactions. In 2008 the AAP changed their recommendation to start exposure to these 8 as early as 5 months old. A 2013 paper in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology states that introducing allergenic foods at 4-6 months reduces the risk of developing a food allergy. Hmmmm. Remember Dr. Fasano, Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Mass General who spoke at the Gluten Summit? See the Fairy’s Jan. 25th post. He referenced a Swedish study from the 1970’s that started babies on fortified formula with wheat between 2-4 months of age, which increased the celiac occurrence in that generation from 1% to 7-9%.
TOO CLEAN? What is The Hygiene Hypothesis? In 1989 “it” theorized that because we are not exposing our children to enough germs, their immune systems are not trained to differentiate between harmful and harmless agents.
CORRUPT FOOD SUPPLY? That, of course, gets my vote. Chemicals (like washing meat with chlorine), and GMO foods. “Although European animal studies have linked eating GM foods to allergenicity, this research has largely been dismissed by the U.S. because of concerns about study design, reporting or analysis.” The dramatic increase in food allergies that began in the 90’s coincides with the introduction of GM crops in 1996. “Are we allergic to the food, or are we allergic to what we have done to it?” GM ingredients remain unlabeled in the U.S.
I’m sure the U.S. food industry lobby had SOMETHING to do with the dismissal of the European study. Wait till next week when I blog about the documentary “GMO – OMG” that was shown at a local college last week!! Scary.
Ava’s mom is concerned about replacing gluten grains with a lot of corn, because most is genetically modified. She should be concerned!! Foods labeled as “certified organic” can contain up to 5% GM ingredients. Foods labeled “100% organic” contain no GM ingredients. Before I attended the GMO movie, I always thought organic food contained zero GM ingredients. But 5% is a lot safer than 90 or 100%.
In search of the most popular GF foods for kids, I paid a visit to Trader Joes. Their customer service is fabulous, and I was led around the store by an employee and then the “Captain” – who happened to have 2 kids who eat GF. By the way, their GMO policy is: all of their non-animal products do not contain GM ingredients (digging deeper into that statement next week). Also, TJ’s labels their products with and extra “contains wheat, contains eggs, etc.” if it contains 1 of the top 8 allergens.
They have a large GF display – stage right. The papers hanging to the right of the display are a complete list of store products that are GF (6 1/2 pgs.) Their favorite GF kid food recommendations are:
Puffins cereal, microwave Mac and Cheese (frozen), 3 cheese pizza, soft bake snicker doodles, Vanilla Meringue cookies, Joe-Joe cookies (with real vanilla bean filling), Gorilla Munchies cereal, brown rice crispy treats, chocolate chip cookies, GF and diary-free pancakes and waffles (both frozen).
Natural Grocers, a local organic food store, had these recommendations (the manager also has a GF child): Against the Grain Pizza, Sharkey organic fruit chews, Lucy’s cookies, Snyders pretzels (my personal favorite), Lucky Spoon Cinnamon muffins, Annie’s Mac and Cheese (frozen), Applegate chicken nuggets (frozen), Enviro kids cereal. Fruit leathers up near the check-out counter are excellent, too. That reminds me of a funny story. My 30-something niece (who reads this blog) was not allowed to beg for candy or gum at the check-out counter when she grocery shopped with her mom. So instead, she would pick up a pack of gum and just smell it, and then put it back on the rack. That still makes me laugh after all these years. Hi Shannon
Some of Ava’s favorites: Van’s GF waffles, cheese crackers, chocolate chip granola bars and cinnamon haven cereal, and Natures Path chunky chocolate peanut granola bars. Ava had a hard time eating GF at Disneyland, but I will bet in a few years there will be many GF goodies for sale – if they know what’s good for business…and they obviously do!!! Speaking of Disneyland, did you all see “Saving Mr. Banks”? Old time Disney at its best.
Did you know that Olive Garden has a GF menu with a children’s portion of GF penne pasta with marinara sauce and a side of grapes? And Dominos has a GF pizza now. My sister tells me it’s good!! And then there’s In and Out Burger. I am ashamed to admit that I think about those burgers all the time – wrapped in lettuce with that special sauce. I wonder if a kid would enjoy eating a burger like that, tho. I’ve seen plenty of teens eat it that way, but never a youngster.
Last week I decided to try a frozen GF pizza. We have Bill’s Pizza in town, serving the world’s best GF pizza, so why waste my $ on a frozen one? Just wanted to try one. Waste of $. The brand was “Contes”. The crust tasted like ground up saltine crackers – dry and brittle. The strange part of this story is that the pizza was made in NJ, on Wheat Road. Made me hesitate mid bite.
One more tidbit: If you are interested in finding out everything you are allergic to/intolerant of – besides bad coffee, lumpy beds and neighbors who let their dogs poop in your yard, you can send a hair sample to The Intolerant Testing Group. Take a look at http://www.allergytest.com. Prices start at $75 and go to $210.
‘I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse”. “I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known”. Walt Disney.