Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gluten-Free Tip: BUDDHA BELLY

Among many possible symptoms of Celiac Disease in babies/toddlers is what a friend of mine affectionately refers to as the Buddha Belly. If a child is of average (or often lower) weight, but has a large distended tummy (even resembling a malnourished child) then gluten-intolerance should be considered, especially in conjunction with other CD symptoms.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gluten-Free Tip: CHRISTMAS DIP

We make this delicious GF dip every Christmas because it's super easy (but looks impressive) and yummy and has the red (tomatoes) and green (chilis) theme going on. You can do Steps 1 and 2 a couple days ahead and then assemble with Step 3 in minutes:

STEP 1 (combine these ingredients in small bowl and let sit for 15 - 20 mins)
1 1/2 teas white wine vinegar
3 Tablesp vegetable oil
1 teas garlic powder (or 1 finely chopped garlic clove)
dash of salt/pepper

STEP 2 (combine these ingredients in medium bowl, pour above marinade over it; let sit for 1 hour to 2 days, drain marinade but save a little for next step)
1 small can of chopped black olives
1 large or 2 small tomatoes finely diced
4 - 6 green onions chopped (you can substitute any onion-y veggie and adjust)

STEP 3 (combine these ingredients and spread in pie dish or medium casserole dish)
8 oz softened cream cheese
2 - 3 Tablesp mayonaisse
1 - 2 Tablesp (of marinade drained from above)
1 small can of chopped green chilis, drained well (found near taco mixes)

Finally, spread Step 2 veggies on Step 3 layer and refrigerate. Great with (pure corn) tortilla chips!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gluten-Free Tip: CELEBRITIES with CD

There have to be more celebrities with Celiac Disease than the list below, but these famous individuals have gone public with their condition. Some of them are helping to educate the public and raise money for Celiac Disease foundations (especially Keith Olbermann and Rich Gannon), but so much more can be done by the celebrity world to raise awareness…particularly since CD is still significantly under-diagnosed.

Celebrities [who] have been confirmed to have Celiac Disease:*
· Keith Olbermann (“Countdown with Keith Obermann)
· Elizabeth Hasselback (“The View”) –coming out with GF book 2009
· Heidi Collins (CNN anchor)
· Jane Swift (former Mass. Lieutenant Governor)
· Katherine, Duchess of Kent
· Susie Essman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”)
· Rich Gannon’s (NFL Quarterback) daughter, Danielle
· [the late] Joe C (Kid Rock’s Friend and Rapper)
· Mickey Redmon (former pro hockey player, does hockey commentary for Fox Sports Detroit)


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gluten-Free Tip: FAST FOOD

We rarely eat at fast food restaurants, but for those times when we're desperately hungry and in a huge hurry we veer off the road and into the drive-thru a couple times a year. Our vote for the best GF fast food restaurant is Wendy's. In fact I keep a copy of their GF menu in the car for those quick fixes. Go to, then click on "Food" and next "Nutrition Facts". On that page, under "Nutrition Topics," you will see "Menu Items Without Gluten" on right column which you can print out to have on hand. For a fast food joint Wendy's has a pretty good GF variety from their Taco Salad to their Bacon & Cheese Baked Potato...filled with salt, fat, and calories, but isn't that the point of fast food?

Monday, December 15, 2008


The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide by Tricia Thompson (McGraw-Hill 2008) is a comprehensive, yet concisely written reference book for those with Celiac Disease. Basically, the book explains the nutritional breakdown of a gluten-free diet (along with some good recipes and websites). We learn which minerals and vitamins are most commonly depleted from the individual with CD as well as those vitamins and minerals often lacking in a GF diet -- noting which foods are highest in these essential (lacking) nutrients. Furthermore, the author lists the general daily caloric/nutritional guidelines complimented by very simple nutritional charts. And for most of us deciphering the GF lifestyle, the simpler the better.

Friday, December 12, 2008


When I receive GLUTEN-FREE LIVING Magazine ( in the mail I read it cover to cover. Not only is it well written in a light entertaining style, but all the information is cutting edge. The editor and founder, Ann Whelan, is well-known to many throughout the gluten-free world and she clearly pours her heart into each issue. Part of the magazine's mission reads: "We walk you through big life experiences from dining in college, to maintaining a healthy pregnancy. And we help you with the small but important matters like how to choose a bread machine or even enjoy a night out eating pizza with family and friends." Consider giving GLUTEN-FREE LIVING as a gift subscription for the holidays or treat yourself! You won't be able to put it down.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gluten-Free Tip: FIBER

Many people with Celiac Disease find it helps to regularly take supplementary fiber like Metamucil, which is gluten-free in the powder and capsule forms (but NOT the wafers which contain wheat). The active ingredient in Metamucil is psyllium husk, which is a natural plant fiber that provides soluble fiber…a necessary ingredient (along with insoluble fiber) for healthy digestion. Some people take fiber supplements like Metamucil regularly (even daily) while others wait for flare-ups. Talk to your doctor if you think you might need a little extra fiber help.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Cross-contamination occurs when gluten inadvertently gets on your gluten-free food. It can happen when your silverware drawer fills up with household crumbs or if you share condiments with wheat-eaters. Many gluten-free followers assume the salad bar is safe, but I recently stood behind someone who used the crouton tongs for every other item she dished onto her plate. So when using the communal tongs, make sure you wipe them first with a clean napkin and dig down to the bottom of the lettuce!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gluten-Free Tip: G-F BAKERIES!

For the past few years, a handful of gluten-free items have been available here and there at some US bakeries, but now dedicated Glee! bakeries are starting to pop up across the country! In St. Paul, MN, everyone knows about Cooqi -- famous for their gluten-free cupcakes, brownies, donuts, breads, pizza, and much more. Their mission is "To spread health and joy, one delectable gluten-free bite at a time!" So spread the word....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Going to other people's homes during the holidays can be tricky for the gluten-free eater. On the one hand you don't want to make the host uncomfortable insisting on Glee! food, but on the other hand you want to enjoy a meal with all the other guests. We always tell the host how much we're looking forward to seeing everyone, then let them know we'll be bringing a couple of gluten-free dishes to share. This almost always prompts the host to ask what s/he can make. I inform them that anything freshly made (such as vegetables, mashed potatoes, plain meat) without wheat, barley or rye is long as we can just double-check the ingredients when we arrive. And our one request is that croutons and salad dressing are left off the salad and served on the side. Finally, we always insist that they not worry about dessert -- we either bring a g-f treat to share or skip it and just have decaf.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gluten-Free Tip: HEALTH FOOD STORE Recommendations

When you visit another city, state, or country, always stop by a local health food store. The staff should be familiar with various nutritional needs (such as a gluten-free diet) and be able to recommend restaurants accordingly. For example, my daughter and I traveled to Ireland a couple summers ago and stayed in Galway. The local health food stores had tons of gluten-free suggestions regarding those restaurants, bakeries, and pubs familiar with g-f!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gluten-Free Tip: The Best BAGELS

Our family has tried just about every gluten-free bagel out there and by far our favorite line is Against the Grain bagels ( from Vermont. Even though our daughter is the only one with CD, all of us eat ATG bagels and breads. They taste a little like delicious popovers and have the calories to match so you can’t slather on too much butter!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gluten-Free Tip: LIPSTICK

Did you know that lipsticks are one of the most common non-food gluten offenders? If you are following a strict gluten-free diet but still suffer gluten attacks, it could be your lipstick or the lipstick of the person you're kissing!