Here we are, already a month into 2013 and "gluten free" continues to be a buzzword. Restaurants across the country are increasingly adding gluten free options, and more and more gluten free products are stocking grocery store shelves. I've featured a few of my favorite gluten free/dairy free convenience foods in this post. There have also been several interesting developments in the news concerning celiac disease, so here is a round-up of this week's Gluten Free News N' Nibbles.
Gluten Free News and Celiac Research
Infant Infections Tied to an Increased Risk for Celiac Disease: As reported in Medscape Today, Swedish researchers found a four-fold increase in celiac disease for children under 2 years of age that had repeated infections during their first six-months of life, particularly if significant amounts of gluten were introduced following breastfeeding. The researchers speculate that infections may cause changes in the immune system and intestinal barriers leading to celiac disease.
Gluten free Needs on College Campuses Leads to Department of Justice Settlement: The Justice Department reached a settlement last month with Leslie University in Massachusetts, requiring the college to serve gluten free foods and make accommodations for students with celiac disease. The settlement resulted after the federal government received complaints that the university would not exempt students from a meal plan, even though they were not able to eat the food due to celiac disease. As reported in the Associated Press, Leslie University will not only provide gluten free options in dining halls, but also allow students to pre-order gluten free food, as well as provide dedicated space for storage and prep of food. This definitely sets a precedent for universities and restaurants alike needing to provide accommodations to fit those with special diets.
Pop a Pill and Eat Gluten? Celiac.com recently reported on advances towards creation of a pill that would allow people with celiac disease to safely eat gluten. Think lactase for those who are lactose intolerant. The pill contains enzymes that have the ability to break down the offending peptides in the stomach that trigger the autoimmune response in celiacs, allowing them to safely eat foods containing gluten. This new enzyme, called KumaMax, has been shown to successfully break down more than 95 percent of the gluten peptides associated with celiac disease, but further research is needed. I personally remain a bit skeptical, but am optimistic that such research is taking place.
Gluten Free Nibbles - Tasty Gluten Free Convenience Foods
Frontera/Rick Bayless Seasoning Sauces (GF/DF)
Convenience is key in our household, but I usually steer clear of pre-made seasoning packets for tacos and casseroles for two main reasons: 1) most have hidden gluten in them, 2) if they don't have gluten, they have many other unpronounceable ingredients. Enter Rick Bayless and his Frontera products. I have loved listening to Rick's calm voice on his "Mexico - One Plate at a Time" PBS series over the years as he walks the streets of Mexico or explains whatever delicious concoction he is cooking up in his Chicago home. I have made several dishes from his Mexican Everyday cookbook as well, and while I still have not had a chance to eat at any of his Chicagoland restaurants, I've enjoyed many of his Frontera products - the newest being his line of heat and eat sauce packets. Most, if not all, of Rick's products are free from gluten ingredients. They are made from pure ingredients and seasonings, and any allergens are clearly labeled. We will be traveling south of the border this week for dinner.
Nature's Path Organic Buckwheat Waffles (GF/DF)
Continuing on the convenience food theme, who has time to make homemade waffles when you need to get two little ones out the door to school and into work for that 8:30 meeting? I had been enjoying my Van's gluten free waffles for some time but recently tried Nature's Path Buckwheat Wildberry gluten free waffles upon a gluten free friend's suggestion. OMG! These remind me of the Blueberry Whole Grain Eggos I used to scarf down during my morning commute. The texture and taste is delicious with little bits of berries sprinkled in. I eat them plain without any syrup.
Feel Good Foods - Asian Dumplings and Egg Rolls (GF/DF)
I've ranted in past posts about missing egg rolls, but no more. Feel Good Foods has two gluten free Asian offerings - gluten free egg rolls and dumplings. While on a recent shopping trip at All Ways Healthy in Lake Zurich, IL, I decided to splurge on a few convenience foods, including Feel Good Foods' Vegetable Dumplings. They come in four varieties: Chicken, Pork, Shrimp and Vegetable. I sautéed up the veggie ones the other night (be sure to follow the directions on the box and continually move them around the pan), and they were very good. And, the best part, really convenient!
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