DID YOU KNOW? – things I wish I didn’t know about whats in our food

tree perch_2644

White vinegar or just plain vinegar is typically distilled, and if so, are gluten-free.
Distilled vinegar can be distilled from wheat, corn, potatoes, beets, wood, apples, and many other things. Most in the U.S. are not made from wheat, but are instead made from corn, potatoes or wood, which are all CGCF safe. (Heinz white vinegar is distilled from corn). Distilled vinegar made from wood is gluten-free.

Wood-based vinegar is often the vinegar used in processed foods.
(Oh, wonderful–another reason to buy processed foods!)

Flavored vinegars are made with white distilled vinegar, to which favorings are then added.
They may not be gluten-free.

Malted vinegars are usually not gluten-free.

Red and white wine and balsamic vinegars are gluten free.

I buy Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar  http://bragg.com/products/bragg-organic-apple-cider-vinegar.html


Most all commercially available gelatins, including Knox powder and Jell-o are made from beef
(who knew!). There are many foods that also contain beef-derived gelatin such as marshmallows and vitamin capsules!


Powdered sugar contains corn starch 😦

Canola oil is used in biofuel product 🙂

Dangerous Grains book review: Part 2

dangerous grains

The author, James Braly, states in the first chapter, “…gluten grains,…lack many of the nutrients we need.”

Braly also purports that since the introduction of grains into our diet, our brains are smaller, bones weaker and our stature shorter. This first chapter is about natural selection of the human race and grains. He gives reasons for our ancestors becoming agrarian, discusses genetics, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity symptoms that don’t show up until later in life; after child-bearing years so our “species” can continue. If grains/gluten were really toxic to our bodies, we humans wouldn’t live long enough to reproduce.

“Some individuals produce a liver enzyme capable of digesting gluten, many do not. For the many who lack these digestive enzymes, grains need much more processing than the foods that are common to a hunter-gatherer’s diet.”

Wait a minute. I remember being told that red meat is difficult to digest. I guess it’s the Chick-fil-A cows telling us this!

“Dairy and gluten-grain products combine to make up the top six foods we now eat. Yet, cows’ milk and wheat are two of the most commonly reported allergens in the world. With individuals genetically predisposed to food allergies and gluten sensitivities, eating these same non-ancestral, genetically incompatible foods in large quantities day in and day out, is it any wonder that so many people suffer from chronic food sensitivities?”

It seems I stopped here to look up my medicines to see if they are gluten free. Braly told a story about a man who was told to eat gluten-free and he got better for a little while, but then his health started deteriorating rapidly. It took quite a while but a doctor finally figured out that he was being glutened by his medicines. Seven out of the 11 drugs he was taking contained gluten! So, obviously I wanted to see if I might be glutened by my drugs, vitamins or supplements.

I found two web sites that list medicines and supplements (some) that are gluten free unless otherwise stated. Out of all my drugs, vitamins and supplements I found most in these two lists, but still had to do a Google search for a couple generics to see if they are gluten free. Here are the two web sites:



“Gluten grains are a leading cause of many ailments. Avoiding gluten prevents and often reverses these diseases.

Should you passively wait for the signs and symptoms to arrive before taking action?”

Braly now posits 15 questions for us to ask ourselves; now rather than later. The questions range from: Is anyone in your family diagnosed with celiac or gluten-sensitivity? anyone have type 1 diabetes? thyroid disease? eating habits? do you get bloated? severe cramping? have anxiety or depression? problems sleeping? and on….

Dangerous Grains seems to leave no stone unturned. In his questioning of family illness and eating/sleeping habits, Braly seems to say that just about all of us would fit into having possible gluten-sensitivity.

My husband keeps telling me that gluten isn’t the big, horrible scourge these doctors portray–BUT–what if it is? He’s losing weight without trying, his blood glucose numbers are down near non-diabetic numbers. Seems to me, he’s benefiting from not eating gluten.

Chapter four goes into all the possible tests for gluten sensitivity. My own doctor has done many of them, and they are either negative or normal. So, he doesn’t believe I have a gluten problem. Tell that to my body that handles stress and anxiety better and more clearly!

Braly suggests tests for genetic markers, small intestine biopsy, gluten challenge, sugar-absorption test for leaky gut, blood testing for antibodies. Oh my favorite test–rectal challenge! It involves a gluten slurry, and you don’t drink it–oh my!!!

Once you’ve been diagnosed as gluten sensitive, Dr. Braly suggests counseling. “Dietary exclusion of gluten not only involves battling the physical and psychological facets of this experience, but also requires coming to terms with the socially excluding nature of this diet.

He also suggests joining a celiac support group, bone density testing, glucose-tolerance and liver-function testing. He even has some nutrition cautions: desensitization theraphy (like being desensitized for environmental allergies), making sure you are totally gluten free and not getting “glutened” in small doses like in your soy sauce, medicines, twizzlers or Rice Krispies–yep, the blue box is a no-no. Kellogg’s now has a gluten-free YELLOW box of brown rice Rice Krispies.

Braly also warns against eating fried foods. Apparently, oil heated over and over again converts to pro-inflammatory cancer-causing substances. He suggests we include a liberal amount of omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids every day. Omega 3s are fish, flax and walnut oils. Omega 9s are found in extra virgin olive oil and Omega 6s have a limited intake from vegetable and seed oils. He also suggests we broaden our meat intake to include Bambi, buffalo, rabbit, duck, goose, pheasant, quail–oh, and don’t forget–we must eat the animal’s organs (liver, heart, pancreas and bone marrow weekly–count me OUT!

Braly is a spoil-sport. He doesn’t want us eating the same foods every day, says we’ll develop sensitivities to these new foods. I’ve heard this before. I believe I asked a nutritionist about that and so have conflicting opinions. I personally change up my most favorite grains like rice, oats, and whatever is in Sunshine Crunchy Vanilla cereal. It’s hard enough to eat gluten free without making it harder by worrying about becoming sensitive to the new stuff. I’ll take my chances. Unless, of course, Braly wants to hire a live-in cook for me–OH YEAH 🙂

Supplements are Braly’s next topic. He named magnesium, calcium, selenium, potassium, B-vitamins, possibly iron, and vitamins A, E & D.

Next, Braly discusses hidden hazards like sharing your toaster with a gluten-eater, don’t share the same butter or peanut butter container, bulk bins are not gluten-friendly because some people use the same scoop in several different bins. Oh, my head is swimming!

I’ve had enough for tonight. We’ve gotten through five chapters, which is close to half the book. We’re definitely making progress 🙂

I don’t know why this book review is different than my other reviews unless I just believe, this particular book has a lot of important things to say and so far, seems to be my favorite.

I will finish my review on the next post.

On the Road: GF & Healthy Eating Apps

find me GF

I just updated my earlier post on the smart phone app 1) Find Me Gluten Free. I don’t want to repeat myself, so follow the link if you want to see my opinion/review on the Find Me Gluten Free App.

Now to other apps. I realized yesterday that I needed to get off my bottom and review gluten free restaurant apps. I still like Find Me GF, but it has it’s limitations, as the developers haven’t finished it, you cannot use it while driving on the highway unless you want heartburn before you even get to a restaurant. Maybe the developers are trying to do too much with one single app, but on the other hand, if they can pull it off; then all we’ll need is ONE app to go to the grocery store, find safe restaurants in our hometown and also on the road. Will just wait and see. Like I said before, get it while it’s free because I believe the developers are creating something great with this app and if they succeed, you’ll be paying through the nose for this app 🙂

Okay, moving on to other apps I found and played with. Out of maybe 8 apps I downloaded, I have whittled my list down to FOUR. Find me Gluten Free, Gluten Free Restaurant Items, Healthy Out and Gluten Free Registry.

I also have two other apps that I believe are a great addition to these Gluten apps. They are apps to find restaurants, hotels, ATMs, gas, ect while on the road. So I figure, I can see the restaurants I CAN eat at and then locate them on my highway app. I know some of these apps allow you to find addresses and give you driving directions, but they take you away from your app and it’s frustrating. Especially if you’re the driver! Talk about an accident waiting to happen! I was near a Chick-fil-A in a mall yesterday. None of my gluten free restaurant apps found it except for Gluten Free Registry. I was stunned. We had to use my husband’s highway app to actually find it (even hidden in a mall).

2) Gluten Free Restaurant Items. iTunes and Android. Both are $2.49GF Rest Items
Developers Note: Want to eat gluten & allergy free fast food? Find safe items from one of top 10 iPad apps in Food category featured in Incredible iPad Apps for Dummies! Enter your allergen concerns into the iCANEat fast Food menu database for 34 U.S. chains. Hide items that contain gluten, wheat, egg, milk, nuts, peanuts, soy, fish and shellfiish based on your preferences.
The developers update this app frequently. It seems to list a lot of Restaurants–125 of the most popular. You can choose a restaurant through “Find Near Me”. You can also ear-mark your favorite restaurants. It also lists GF menu items.
Once again, though, this app is not driver friendly. Use it to find restaurants around you at home, visiting friends or traveling and THEN go there.

GF registry3) Gluten Free Registry ($1.99) iTunes and Android  and web site.
The website states that their mission is to put people and gluten-free friendly restaurants, bakeries, caterers, grocers and more together. Utilize their free, searchable, moderated database of over 32,700+ gluten-free friendly business locations to find one near you or your travel destination. So far over 1.3 million people have used their website and apps.
Their apps don’t have a lot of reviews–iTunes 77 and Android 10. Their app seems pretty good. In search you can choose “Show All”, “Restaurants”, “I Want Pizza”, etc, so its proximity locator is pretty good. While in Chattanooga, it was the ONLY app that found a local Chick-fil-A in Hamilton Place Mall. Now that’s pretty good!
In my opinion, I wouldn’t pay the $1.99 for this app if I hadn’t already. Their web site seems pretty low-speed. Useful but not to pretty. I’ll keep it on my iPhone for future reference though.

4) *** Healthy Out*** (free)iTunes and AndroidHealthy Out
App description: Healthy Out helps you, find healthy restaurant and prepared grocery store meals that fit your personal preferences. It covers the widest range of diet and nutrition filters in any app. Use our unique calarie and points filters to find a meal in your goal. See detailed nutrition information for dishes including calories and points and eat out confident that you made a healthy choice!
I am the most happy with this app even though it isn’t perfect. While looking for restaurants the other night at home, it didn’t find Mellow Mushroom or Chick-fil-A. BUT, you have lots of food choices like Atkins, gluten-free, Paleo, South Beach, Low Carb…. You can even choose to watch calories, what kind of cuisine you want, even down to what ingredients you are looking for in a restaurant.
This app lists a lot of restaurants, tells you how far away they are and what dishes are available using your filter. It shows a map of restaurant choice, telephone number, website. The only negative is that you cannot get driving directions within the app. When you choose directions, it takes you away from the app, so when you want to go back to the app, you have to click the home button on your phone and choose the app again. BUT, there is a map of the restaurants and you can make it big enough to virtually see where the restaurant is.
Again, this is not an app a driver can use. You’ll have to pull over to use it, or rely on passengers to find information for you.

4 paws down) Dine Gluten Free (free)iTunes and Android
My opinion. This app is too new. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH THIS APP.

2 paws down) Locate Special Diet (free) – iTunes and Android          They list three categories: Restaurants, Drinks and Grocery. The Grocery segment is not available yet. When I tested it for restaurants in my proximity, it found LongHorn Steaks, Mellow Mushroom, Outback Steakhouse but NOT Applebee’s. This app does have a filter for different types of food like German, Thai, Chinese, Tex-Mex…. You can even choose dietary preferences such as gluten free, organic/local, paleo, vegan and vegetarian. Under RESTAURANTS you can get directions, link to restaurant’s website, add to favorites. This app doesn’t spport many restaurants. When this app is fully developed, maybe it will get a better rating from me; but for right now, 2 paws down.

Two apps that can be used in conjunction with the GF Restaurant Apps!
These apps are just your normal, everyday highway travel companions. They list every exit off the highway you’re on and what is available at each exit. What in the world did we do before smart phones?!

iExitiExit ($0.99) ignore the free app. It hasn’t been updated since 2011. iTunes and Android.
Road AheadThis is a great app. It tells you what’s coming up at each exit so you can use your Healthy Out app to find restaurants and see what exit your restaurant is on! It also shows gas stations and hotels, besides camp sites, truck-friendly stops, rest areas and auto services!

Road Ahead (free) iTunes  Sorry, no Android version 😦
This app cannot be used by a driver. But, it can use your GPS to locate you or you can choose a highway you will be on and also your destination so it can tell you where ATMs are, dining, fast food, grocery stores, gas stations, police stations, movie theatres!

I hope my reviews are helpful to you and make your gluten-free life just a bit easier.

Gluten Free in the Grocery Store–big names…

Betty Crocker logo used until 2003

Betty Crocker logo used until 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read in South Beach Diet Gluten Solution that many large companies like

Betty Crocker – there is a $200 sweepstakes going on now!
Boar’s Head – there’s a Gluten-Free guide (PDF) you can download
General Mills -General Mills has created liveglutenfreely.com for gluten-free products and gluten-free recipes.
General Mills sister site: Pillsbury. There are GF living links at the bottom of this web page.
Zatarains – this link is to a recipe link page.
Heinz – lists all their products; and there are a TON! They have GF parmesan pkts!
Just to name a few

I came across these web site:

Glutenista. It seems pretty comprehensive and user-friendly format 🙂

BeFreeForMe.com – this site has coupons, samples, newsletter & More!

GlutenFreeMall.com. This site has Specials/Sales and New Products, Product Reviews

Gluten-free Trading Company.      Imagine a store where nothing is off limits.  A store where someone has already read all the labels and made all the calls.  A store where all of the food is gluten-free and Celiac-Safe™.  A store where you can choose anything you like and not have to worry.
Imagine a shop packed with the best gluten-free groceries from around the world.  Pasta from Italy.  Soup from England. English muffins from that little bakery in New Jersey.  Granolas and cookies, pretzels and snacks.  Cakes you can make in a minute or two.  And all gluten-free. This is the site for you!

barryfarm.com. Barry Farm Foods is a lot like an old fashioned country store.

Happy shopping 🙂

Almond, Hazelnut and Raspberry Muffins

rasp muffins


Ripped from the pages of The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking.

So, here I go with my personal opinion. I rate them 7.5 stars out of 10. Why? you ask. Because when I first took a bite I did not respond with, “Oh my stars, these are AWESOME!”

BUT the more I ate the more I appreciated the subtle sweetness allowing the flavor of the fresh raspberries to shine through. (I’m a sugar-holic and it’s kinda hard to give up all that sweetness) 🙂

Do I feel good about eating the muffins because they are so healthy and really do taste good? 10 out of 10 stars! Hopefully, my diabetic husband won’t finish them off before they get to their hiding place in the freezer. For my husband, out of sight–out of mind 🙂

These muffins are not the cheapest things to bake (at least the first time). They require stevia/spenda–that’s not too bad, until you get to the almond and hazelnut flour and the liquid stevia ($13); then you’re talking money if you don’t have a grinder to turn the nuts into flour. Oh, yeah, I substituted chestnut flour (real Italian) for the hazelnut flour. Hazelnut’s coming from Bob’s Red Mill on Monday 🙂

So, my first foray into baking from The Joy…. is a hit! I’m going to have to get myself a grinder. Can anyone suggest one that they believe is very good.


Simply Gluten Free Magazine Article Review

This article is from the May/June 2013 issue.

DrWangenPressCould It Be Gluten? Your Body’s Many Reactions
                                        by Dr. Stephen Wangen

Dr. Wengen’s article woke me up to how far-reaching gluten sensitivity is. I’ve been eating wheat-free but am going to start making sure the products I purchase are gluten-free.

Gluten sensitivity comes in all shapes and sizes. Dr. Wangen makes it clear that gluten sensitivity isn’t a one-size-fits-all set of symptoms. He states, “with or without celiac disease, it’s clear that gluten sensitivity is associated with all kinds of health problems. Got fatigue? Brain fog? Insomnia? Poor recovery from exercise? Poor endurance? All can be due to gluten sensitivity.”

Behavioral and psychological problems can also be related to gluten sensitivity. If you’ve read Wheat Belly you learned that doctors had amazing results when they fed a wheat free diet to schizophrenics. Many people report that depression or anxiety fall away once they stop eating gluten. I have to interrupt here to say that “I” have had an amazing reduction of anxiety since going wheat free. It’s sooooo wonderful. My mind is clearer. Still have foggy days, but it is wonderful to feel I have my mind back!

Okay, back to the review….People have noticed dramatic changes in their children who once had ADD, irritability, poor grades, poor social skills, and even autism!

Now, Dr. Wangen talks about digestive issues? Hmmmmm! IBS, anyone heard of it. If you have, if you have it, you are definitely familiar with it’s symptoms and issues: abdominal pain, gas, reflux, heartburn, nausea, etc. He even goes so far as to include autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Lupus, Sjogren’s, and Scleroderma. He wrote, “[a]nyone with any autoimmune condition should strongly consider the possibility that gluten is a trigger.

Dr. Wangen isn’t saying that every little headache, migraine, asthma, irregular menstrual cycle is caused by a gluten sensitivity; BUT, it sure couldn’t hurt to find out. “What if you don’t have any symptoms at all? Still think you can’t be gluten sensitive? Remember, even many celiacs don’t experience any obvious reaction to gluten…[but] gluten is still causing harm.

The bottom line? Gluten sensitivity can literally be connected to nearly all health problems. Whether or not your doctor agrees does not change this. In fact, even if all of your lab work is negative, you should still consider the possibility. The results may be truly remarkable.”

Going off gluten isn’t a piece of cake. It does require commitment even when you’re just “trying it out”. I have a family member who “tried” going gluten free for a few days and didn’t feel any different and gave it up. It took my husband’s blood glucose numbers to get down into the low 100s three weeks. You cannot go gluten free half way. You might as well not do it at all if you sneak in a burger at McDonalds (I’m hungry. I didn’t feel any different after I ate the burger.) My husband’s said this but he is totally aware what wheat does to his glucose levels. My recommendation, and I’m no expert, is to go wheat free for at least a month. It will cost you time and money to do this; but isn’t the end result if you have seen amazing results, worth it?

My gas and bloating was so really bad when a doctor suggested I go wheat free. I was wearing non-fitted dresses and almost ready to buy size 14 pants because my stomach was so distended and I didn’t like anything tight around my stomach. After going wheat-free I had to go out and buy a new wardrobe! I was wearing size 8 pants and could tuck in shirts and wear a belt! I was amazed. Also, I was no longer passing gas that could make your eyes water.

I’d love to hear some of your stories about what happened when you stopped eating wheat. 🙂


Dr. Stephen Wangen is the award winning author of “Healthier Without Wheat: A New Understanding of Wheat Allergies, Celiac Disease, and Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance.” He is co-founder and Medical Director of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment Center (www.IBSTreatmentCenter.com), the first clinic of its kind in the nation, and he is an internationally recognized speaker and writer. Gluten intolerant himself, he hasn’t touched gluten for 18 years and has lived dairy-free for 12.

RATS: Dr. Wangen’s Treatment Center is in SEATTLE, Washington

Missing wheat bread–well, NO MORE…


At the Gluten & allergen free Expo held yesterday in Atlanta, I tasted some of the most wonderful breads, cakes, pizza, etc. I’ve had since going gluten free. The BEST BREAD I had yesterday was from Pure Knead. You cannot shop on-line yet and they don’t have their bakery open to the public. They do sell through certain stores around the Atlanta area.


Pumpkin Bread review


Yesterday I decided to make the Pumpkin Bread recipe in this book.
It’s okay, not very sweet, but I know I need to get used to eating less sweet foods.
I am not blogging today to dis this pumpkin bread, but to give advise on how to make it less crumbly and a little less dense.

I haven’t tried my own ideas on this recipe, but from past experience I believe if you add an egg it will help a LOT with the density and crumbly-ness of this bread. I’m sure the reason an egg wasn’t in the recipe ingredients because this cookbook is ALLERGY-FREE baking. I don’t have a problem with eggs.

If you cannot eat eggs, maybe adding 1/2 a cup of zucchini would help give the bread more moisture. I cannot wait to try this recipe again and see which of my ideas works. But, sadly, I just may add an egg AND zucchini at the same time and I know I’ll increase the xanthan gum. 🙂

I was also wondering if adding more xanthan gum would help. It calls for 3/4t of xanthan gum. Maybe increasing the xanthan gum to 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons would help with the density.

I also like my mini dk. chocolate chips in this recipe! HMMMMMM.


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