Monday, April 29, 2013

Cross contamination

Cross-contamination is a phenomenon that occurs when a food that does not itself contain any allergens is tainted with an allergen during food preparation, cooking, storage, or serving.

Cross-contamination could occur in these and many other settings:
When food is chopped on a cutting board on which allergens have previously been cut;
When baked goods are baked on a cookie sheet that hasn't been thoroughly washed after baking cookies containing allergens;
When foods are cooked on a grill on which foods marinated with allergens are also grilled;
When spoons on a salad bar are used to serve both allergenic foods and safe foods;
When knives are used to cut allergenic foods and safe foods without washing in between.

Cross contamination is a very huge deal. All restaurant kitchen's are contaminated with gluten unless it is a complete gluten free facility. This is the same with your kitchen. Some people's bodies can handle this little of gluten better than other, but nonetheless the small intestine is still be damaged no matter the amount of gluten which is consumed.

I have always had a struggle with this. I have always lived with other people who do eat gluten and in no way wanted to change their diet or were concerned about my health in the kitchen. Although once I married my husband, I didn't make him go cold turkey on a gluten free diet. But he has a designated counter for his toaster and everything which he prepares that has gluten has to be on this certain counter. I will not do anything with gluten. I don't even make him sandwiches. Maybe it's a little selfish but its my health that I have to deal with.
Everything that I prepare in my kitchen is gluten free. Luckily my husband is very supportive with this and he eats whatever I make. Not to mention he is Lactose and Intolerant. But we make it work!
One day when we get a house I will have a completely gluten free kitchen. Which means no cookies, pretzels, breads, or any other gluten contained product will be allowed in the house. But I made I deal with my husband that if I learn how to bake gluten free baked goods and make them often then he is cool with it. :)
Another thing that within the last year or so has come to my attention is that even if a product is labeled gluten free, it can still be processed in the same machinery as gluten because it is not labelled with the CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE and therefore there is no rule and they can say what they want.
Certified gluten free means that the product has to be tested under 20ppm (parts per million.)

So make sure to read your labels! And look for this one! ^
The 2 main ingredients in products that I have been asked if they are gluten free are modified food starch and Maltodextrin. Yes they are both gluten free UNLESS if the word wheat follows after them. Reading labels is very very important!

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Coconut Almond Chex Mix (Goblin Grub)

6 1/2 cups Rice Chex
4 1/2 cups Golden Grahams cereal (I left this out. But maybe next time I would try cinnamon Chex.) 
1 cup sliced almonds
2 cups coconut
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter - not margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Spread wax paper over counter tops or on table top. Spray with cooking spray.

Find a very large bowl and combine cereals, almonds, and coconut. Set aside.

In a soup sized kettle (seriously, you want a HUGE pot, or you will end up with sticky goo all over your stove top), combine butter, Karo Syrup, and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce and cook for about three minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal mixture and stir well until everything is well coated. Make sure to do this while the syrup mixture is still hot.

Spread onto wax paper and stir every 10-15 minutes until dry. Keep in an air tight container. I find a large baggies works well. Serve from a from a bowl or wrap into treat bags as gifts or pre-portioned servings.

Yummy! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Breads

The first time I found gluten free bread was 7 years after I went on the Gluten free diet. It was like Christmas morning when we found this stuff! Gluten free bread has and probably always will be so expensive! But until I find a recipe that I like and figure out the secrets and tricks to make gluten free bread I will always be willing to buy bread from the stores.

The first gluten free bread I was to ever try was the Food of Life Gluten Free Rice Almond Bread. It has a very bland taste to it. It is very dry and crumbly. To make it worth eating and hold itself together it needs to be toasted and smothered in jam.. or my favorite honey butter with sugar and cinnamon. Also this bread has to be kept in the freezer to keep it fresh. If you go through it quickly I think keeping it in the fridge would work well also.

I also tried the Food of Life Brown Rice Bread which I liked better. It has a little sweeter taste to it.

My mother's favorite Bread is Udi's. She ALWAYS has this at her house. I think its what is available to her at her local grocery store. The crust is a bit hard for me to chew but I am have never liked the crust from any type of breads. My mom likes Udi's bread because it has the flavor and texture of homemade bread, it doesn't crumble and fall apart, and it doesn't have a weird after taste.

Udi's also has a couple different types of bread  they are Whole Grain Bread and White sandwich bread. They have lots of other products that I enjoy as well. But I will talk about them in a later post!

Some of my favorite breads now days, which have come a long way. One is Charlotte's Bakery Rice Bread. This bread is still a little crumbly but it is moist and has a great flavor! I eat it by the splice and PLAIN! It needs to be kept in the fridge. Although it is only sold in Idaho and Utah. I found this at Good Earth in Utah. And Wealth of Health in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

My new favorite bread is Genius Gluten Free Slided White Bread. The texture is awesome! It's moist. It falls apart some, but it is the best bread that I have found that stays together. We make French Toast with this bread often. It soaks up the eggs and milk very nicely. This bread can be found in the freezer section in Sprouts/Sunflower Market.
Genius bread also comes in types, some they have to offer besides the sliced white bread are multigrain sandwich bread and fresh seeded loaf.

My Life As A Celiac

Warning: this blog entry goes into some details. Do not read if you have a weak stomach! 

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2001 when I was just 10 years old. My story is a bit different then others who have been diagnosed with Celiac. I never got super sick, I never got sick at all actually. The University of Utah was doing research on Celiac Disease to see how it comes about. My grandma has it, so my mom and all her siblings were tested. Out of 7 kids my mom was the only one to come back positive. So me and my siblings were tested and 3 out of 6 of us came back positive. We all got tested with a blood test. It was the worst thing ever! I HATE needles. And they did it oldest to youngest, so the suspense built up for a very long time. Hahaha
Being only 10 years old, I still went through the denial stage. I never got sick after eating anything with gluten in it. So I really thought I didn't have it. I didn't go on a gluten free diet until a year later, when I did start getting an upset stomach after eating something with gluten in it. Although I didn't go cold turkey on my diet. Eating lunch at school a the most difficult thing, salad gets old very fast! Plus I never could give up my Oreos! Eventually I went on a completely gluten free diet. My mom was very supportive all the way thru.

My senior year of high school. I went to this doctor who had a 'cure' for Celiac Disease. After thinking a long time about this treatment and talking to my mom about it I decided to go through with it. I did his treatment thing... I hope I can explain this short and brief but you can still get the idea.
So he had me lay down on the table and I had my left arm down to my side with my palm facing up with my other arm straight up in the air. The doctor put his hand over each organ in my body and then he pushed down on my arm that was in the air. If my arm restrained his push then it meant that that organ in my body was working well. But if it didn't restrained he did his thing with waving his hand above that organ and then tested it again and my arm always restrained the push. Then he put little capsules of different things in my left hand and he pushed my right arm. If my arm restrained that meant that I wasn't allergic to it. Well when we got to the wheat capsule I could not restrain it at all. So he did his thing and we did the restraint test again and it worked. So he said well the only way to see if it worked was to eat gluten. So I waited until Friday to eat my first gluten full food. I wanted to do it on the weekend just in case I got sick. So that Friday I ate a slice of pizza at lunch, pretty much the whole lunch room was watching me. Kuz no one has ever seen me eat pizza. Hahaha but I had none of my normal side effects of skin rash or upset stomach. I didn't wanna over do myself so I just ate one gluten thing a day. I definitely looked forward to that every day! But after a week of eating gluten, I got very ill. My stomach hurt so very bad that I felt paralyzed, I couldn't move. So I spent the night in bed and the next morning I woke up and felt fine. I decided to stop eating gluten for the next week. The next Friday night I was on a date about 30 minutes from home and I started having the pain like I had the week before but much much worse. Well that night I ended up in the ER. After lots of tests and x-rays I found out that I didn't have a bowel movement for 3 or so weeks!! And not to mention from eating all of the gluten it messed up my monthly cycle. Celiac Disease is a DISEASE not an allergy. I didn't know he had cures for allergies not celiac even though he said straight up that he had a cure for CELIAC!!
This happened 4 years ago and I am still having side effects from it. Although I must say that going through all of that has made me realize eating gluten is not worth the side effects.
Every so often I am in to much pain from being backed up so much that I have to be cleaned out with laxative which takes you out for a couple of days. And for it to work you have to drink the whole bottle and that stuff is so gross!!
I have recently found a new product that I have been using for the last week and I swear by it! I have never found anything so great to help with this problem! I use Digestive Advantage probiotic gummies. They also have it in a pill form but on the packaging it says it takes longer to start working kuz it has to break down. This really aren't that bad tasting and they work so well and relieve my pain so much that I actually REMEMBER to take them EVERYDAY!! I never remember to medication ever. Totally worth it!

You definitely have to be super careful about eating out. We have about 5 different restaurants we eat at. I have had many bad experiences with some restaurants even if they offer a gluten free menu. I have had some restaurants refuse to serve me because for their safety kuz most restaurants have cross contamination in their kitchens. I have asked many restaurants to clean a certain part of their grills just for me. I don't like eating out much just kuz I feel like its a hassle more than anything.
But I do wanna share one story about eating out. So before I was married I lived in Texas with my brother and his family. This brother doesn't have Celiac. So one time I went out on a date to The Olive Garden. I heard they had a gluten free menu and I wanted to try it out. So we went there and I ordered off the gluten free menu and the pasta entree I ordered didn't come with meat and so I asked the server what kind of meat I could get with it. Since I ordered off the gluten free menu I thought she was telling me my gluten free meat options. At this time I never cooked and didn't know anything about cooking. Well one of the options she gave me was meat balls. So I ordered the meat balls not thinking anything of it. Later that night I started having a really bad reaction. Probably the worse one I have ever had. My temperature shot through the roof, my whole body broke out in rash and was super red, and my air ways started shutting off. At this time I was at my brothers house, my brother was at work but his wife was there and she has never dealt with this before. Both her and my date tried to get me to go to the ER but I didn't have insurance. So I coughed enough to keep my air ways open, got a priesthood blessing, and slept through it. That was the worst reaction I have ever had besides the ER incidence. So if you eat out triple check to make sure things are gluten free.
I always make sure it's gluten free when they bring me out the food and before eating it. Better to be safe than sorry!
I did a huge science project in 9th grade on Celiac Disease. And I must say pretty much everything I taught to my class then is different than the things they know about celiac now a days. I am so glad celiac is a more aware disease. And has come such a long way.

Gluten free food is not always gross. Even my husband often says that something's that I cook that are gluten free are better than normal things.
Eating gluten free is so much easier with having support from family and friends. There are even Celiac support groups that meet often all over the United States. Check it out in your local area.
I am grateful for my husband, family, and friends support. Without it I couldn't do this gluten free thing!!
If you have any questions leave me a comment and ill get back to you. 

What is Celiac Disease?

A lot of you may not even know what Celiac Disease is... so let me begin with explaining that.

The simple definition of Celiac disease is: 'A disease in which chronic failure to digest food is triggered by hypersensitivity of the small intestine to gluten."

Although lets go into more depth. I think describes it best.

"Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that affects at least 1 in 133  Americans. Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent  symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms. The disease mostly affects people of European (especially Northern European) descent, but recent studies show that it also affects Hispanic, Black and Asian populations as well. Those affected suffer damage to the villi (shortening and villous flattening) in the lamina propria and crypt regions of their intestines when they eat specific food-grain antigens (toxic amino acid sequences) that are found in wheat, rye, and barley. Oats  have traditionally been considered to be toxic to celiacs, but recent scientific studies have shown otherwise. This research is ongoing, however, and it may be too early to draw solid conclusions."

Everyone is diagnosed at different ages in their life because it has to go through the DNA before signs will appear. For instance in my family, My grandmother was diagnosed at the age of 60 , my mother was 48 years old, My brother was 24, My sister was 14, I was 10, and my niece was 2. The age range is very wide there in my own family. Both Men and Women can be diagnosed with it. Although in my personal family more females have been diagnosed than males, at least that we know of. We only have history that goes back to my grandmother's generation that we know of, even though we think it does go back further than that. 

The earliest that they will test anyone with celiac is at the age of 2. In very rare occasions will they do younger than that. I have only ever met one person who had been tested at the age of 18 months and it was only because she was so malnourished that she was on her death bed. Yes, Celiac Disease is life threatening IF you do NOT go on a Gluten Free diet. 

There are multiple ways to be tested. My family and I were tested by a blood test, which is about 90% accurate. Another way is by a biopsy which is more accurate than a blood test. 

Everyone has different symptoms caused by Celiac. But here are a few that I found

If you believe that you may have Celiac Disease or be gluten intolerant and want to be tested by a doctor that it is VERY important to STAY on your regular diet before being tested. This is because if you do go on a gluten free diet your test results most likely won't come back correct because there wouldn't be any gluten in your body to be reacting to. 

Hope this helps at least one person! Comments and Questions are always welcome! 

Welcome to Living Life Without Gluten

So I have decided to make this blog so my gluten free knowledge is different than my personal blog.

I hope through this blog I can help people who have recently changed their diet to Gluten Free that they can do it! and that it is possible! The first part of the diet is the worst part of all. But it is very important to push through and to not give into temptation.
I am also wanting this blog to help education people about gluten free everything... facts, products, and basically anything and everything that you want to know whether you have been on this diet for 20 years or 1 week. But it is possible! Just have to be strong and believe in yourself!

I must say that the Gluten Free diet is NOT a weight loss program!! Even though I know lots of people are using it as one out there. Eating Gluten Free will help with all over better health, as long as it is balanced.

I am open to any and all questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question. I hope this blog is helpful and useful!!