A Glutenfree Christmas Wish List for those who waited till the last minute

I should know better.  Christmas season is no surprise….it comes the same date every year.  So, I really should not be getting gifts at the very last minute (and maybe even a few after the fact), but I do.  And I CAN do the budget thing; I’ve tried a few times to do the save a bit every month so you can have a great Christmas.  But in the end, I still end up shuffling things around and stressing on the Dec 15 pay day to try to do Christmas on that pay check and still pay my bills.  This year, I’m particularly bad, but by the looks of the lines in the stores, I’m not the only one.  So, for those of you just like me, who have a gluten-free spouse or friend….here is my *WISH* list and a few other things that I’d recommend to help  inspire you.

My Wish List– feel inspired to run with it and adapt for your friends!

  • waffle iron –  yes, usually these are one of those appliances that get pulled out once a year….Maybe Christmas.  However, I miss grilled cheese.  This wish inspired when I visited a little tiny cafe, called The Mouse Pad in Johnstown, CO last summer.  She made these incredible waffle sandwiches. If you use Pamela’s Waffle and baking mix, plus some fresh herbs, you have the finest Panini bread you can possibly imagine.  You can make any of those delicious sandwiches in the William’s & Sonoma Fall catalog.  Bring back the Ham and Cheese or a grilled cheese.  Make sure to include a big bag of Pamela’s baking mix.  (When it comes to Gluten free- it’s so HELPFUL to get the flour or baking mix, etc.!)
  • griddle and Panini press- this would round out the waffle iron gift.  make the waffles, then set them on the griddle and press down the cheese and oooy goodness.  I’m drooling already! Plus, I can make my own corn tortillas since I have a press and love making the tortillas, but have a too small comal.
  • TOP WISH!    Chef’s quality Anti-fatigue Mats- anyone new to gluten-free baking or who bakes a lot would deeply appreciate these.  I’m on my feet so much more since going gluten-free and double that now for dd who is in kindergarten and we are doing so many cupcakes, etc.  My feet hurt.  This would be one of those wonderful gifts and you would bless anyone with these.
  • Harry and David Fruit of the Month club – I don’t know why, but I have always wanted one of  their fruit of the month clubs.  Considering fruit is gluten-free, this would be a treat.  Those pears are incredible and the other fruits sound so divine.
  • Crockpot and Stephanie O-Dea’s Make it Fast, Cook it Slow crock pot cook book.  My crockpot broke this fall….and for people who are super busy and need to learn gluten free, this might be a fantastic gift.
  • Cake Pop and Caramel Apple Kits from Chocoley Chocolate.  You’ve missed the shipping window for those to arrive by christmas, but they’d be a very welcome gift to people if anyone is trying to actually learn how to do cake pops.
  • New Laptop- That would be why you haven’t seen me post much lately.  System issues. However, for friends who blog or are gluten-free (ok, this is probably a spouse gift!)  a new system that plays nice with the blogging programs (forgive any mis-spellings in this post; the new WordPress isn’t playing nice with my browser!   You could make blogger very happy.
  • 2nd TOP WISH!  Website customization- if your friend or spouse blogs and they are on a wordpress.com account, or blogger, etc….what a neat gift if you help upgrade their blog.  That is sort of my next step, and another reason I haven’t posted as much as I’d like.  I’m trying to figure out how to move mine over to my own domain.  Blogging is one of those things that helps people get through the gluten-free transition.
  • A gift certificate to an e-course called Inside Out– I did a write up of this class for the fall course and it’s something special. Right now they she is offering an amazing 2-fer deal that people might want to take advantage of.
  • Jules Shepard from Jules GlutenFree Flour – Free for ALL Cooking Book  (if you go this route for a friend, be sure to check out her new Daily Deals and grab some gluten-free flour to go with he book).  It’s so much easier to do something gluten-free with the tools, or the special flour!
  • A cake decorating class- somewhere that would be willing to work with someone gluten-free.  I want to learn how to decorate the cupcakes for my kids since I will be doing most their cakes and cupcakes for the next 18 years!
  • Non-food related things such as some canvas prints for some photos I took during the Balloon Fiesta this fall.  I actually won 2nd place in their contest and I think I’ve found a new hobby!
  • Mommy What is Celiac Disease– by katie Chalmers
  • Subscriptions to Living Without, Delight GlutenFree, and/or Glutenfree Living
  • Gift Certificate to AfterGlow Cosmetics – I love this company and their makeup!   Other mineral makeups make me feel like I want sandpaper for a washcloth.    These are just lovely and luscious.   There are FINALLY some articles coming out about how lipstick and makeup can affect us.  I’ve known it the hard way for over a year, but research always has to catch up with what people figure out.  It’s very expensive to replace ALL your makeup because it’s everything and at once.  So, this could really help someone if they have decided to transition over to gluten-free makeup.  If you buy a gift certificate for someone to help them change out their makeup,  if you can afford it consider also buying some nice brushes for them too.  I’m so thankful my makeup advisor reminded me of that.   They will need to replace ALL their brushes, otherwise, they just contaminate their new gluten-free makeup.

Other things I suggest, but am already blessed with

  • The Almond Flour Cookbook and the Almond Flour Cupcake books by Elana Amsterdam.  Make sure to include a bag of Almond flour for them!   If you have Prime, You can still get both these in time!
  • Heidi Kelly over at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom posted on Facebook the other day that Santa came early with Adobe Lightroom and a macro lens for her!   That is a FOOD bloggers’ dream…..Lightroom makes things so much easier to work with.  A macro, so much fun.  I’d love to get a 105 Nikon, so that should be up top.  We do already have Lightroom and love it.
  • Pampered Chef tools- some of them are very helpful for gluten-free cooking.  I use the taco meat turner for just about anything else including separating my almond flour if it clumps and it worked really well to break up the cake for my first attempt at cake balls.
  • Asian Cooking sauces that are naturally gluten free- I haven’t written up much on these yet, but check out Meals-in-a-Minute for some amazing sauces to help eat healthy at the beginning of the year!

What gluten-free Goodies am I missing that you want for Christmas or that would be a great gift for someone?

Make sure to check out the Home for the Holidays Blogging Event- these giveaways are inspiring and have great gift ideas!

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!   Or Happy Hanukkah and definitely a Happy New Year!


Danger, Danger: “Hydrolyzed Wheat” Study Conclusions Premature

Recently, Twitter has been a-flutter with a news articles about the supposed safety of Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour in baked goods for CD patients. There are some severe holes in this study, as well as some severe concerns I reserve.

I first read a summary of the article on GlutenFreeVille which is very similar to an abstract on Celiac Facts. A more in-depth article can be found at Science Daily. The most detailed is the latter article, which Celiac Facts actually just reprints the first paragraph and then links to the Science Daily article.

While people are hoping for a holy grail for Celiac Disease, I reserve some strong concerns both about this study and the long-term effects. Each of the above articles are actually summaries of the real report. Two of the three of those summaries have taken liberties and interpretation with the article stating “Celiac Patients can eat Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour, study finds.” Science Daily reports “Baked goods made from hydrolyzed wheat flour are not toxic to celiac disease patients, according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology…” The article starts off misleading us into thinking these are safe, end of story. The rest of the article discusses the study in which there were only 16 participants, with only five who actually received the hydrolyzed wheat products being tested.

Still, it is a major logical flaw to conclude that because five people did not show symptoms after 60 days of eating a specific amount of this product (200 g) that “Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein is SAFE for Celiac Patients.” We are talking millions of people with various degrees of CD, not five who were in near perfect health before the study. However, I will admit that 200 grams of product is actually a large amount. It’s almost 6 waffles (my brand is Nature’s Path GF @210 g for 6) or 2/3 package of Glutino sandwich cookies). So, at least they used decent amounts for the test.

Gluten FreeVille took a more conservative approach, changed the title to “Study suggests Celiac Patients can Safely Eat Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour. She also added a disclaimer, which I think Celiac Facts should have done as well,

Note: I neither advocate consuming any kind of wheat products on a gluten-free diet, nor am commenting on the viability or conclusions of this small study. I am simply reporting the findings of the study for your information. ~nancy

Still, if you read the entire article on Science Daily, there is an important part in the report that most people have missed:

“Prolonged trials have to be planned to underscore the safety of baked goods made by applying the rediscovered and adapted biotechnology of hydrolysis.

Although Science Daily does not discuss whether blood tests were taken to determine if antibodies might be present, even without symptoms in the five patients, the abstract on the clinical study itself Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, does confirm both blood and mucosal samples were monitored.

Two of the 6 patients who consumed NFBG discontinued the challenge because of symptoms; all had increased levels of anti–tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies and small bowel deterioration. The 2 patients who ate the S1BG goods had no clinical complaints but developed subtotal atrophy. The 5 patients who ate the S2BG had no clinical complaints; their levels of anti-tTG antibodies did not increase, and their Marsh grades of small intestinal mucosa did not change.

Although this information does give a bit more hope in the product, I still have reservations with this study and the conclusions being drawn so quickly. Another issue is that they took the IgA-tTG levels, but at least in the abstract, did not monitor Total IgA, & IgA-EMA. Any further information has to be purchased for the full article.

At the same time this article is flooding the Gluten Free community, there are also several studies coming out about Thyroid and Celiac, Iron and Nutritional Deficiencies and Celiac, Infertility and Celiac Disease. Many of these end up often not causing the intestinal pain that standard celiac does, but in fact, deficiencies, miscarriages, and the body to attack other areas of itself, such as the thyroid. (The Thyroid Book). There are also more links gluten to depression. Check out Celiac Central and related diseases for more information.

The bottom line is that with only two months of study, we have no evidence on long-term safety, nor do we know if these products could cause some of these related diseases to recur or occur. Other blood levels should be considered, especially the thyroid, vitamin D, Iron & other vitamin and mineral levels throughout a year on the product? Also should be monitored whether the study participants develop any autoimmune type issues other than celiac? How about depression, have they developed any non-specific depression issues, anxiety issues, mental fog they previously did not have?

Many of us have learned the hard way that one can still react to something without full-blown symptoms, and that is my biggest concern with this product and limited study. After about six months of no longer ingesting Gluten, I suddenly started to have some fibromylgia symptoms, acne, depression etc. come back. It had all disappeared after going gluten-free. One night, I was giving my son a bath. He has fairly severe skin problems and we use a shower filter to filter out chlorine which helps. Without thinking, I put some of my gentle body wash in the water for bubbles (a rare treat) I watched him break out immediately. His skin had been fine until he came in contact with it. The ingredients list included “hydrolyzed wheat protein.” Over time, I also started to notice that the days my symptoms were the worse, were the days I used Body wash and conditioner with “hydrolyzed wheat protein.”

Once I removed shampoos, lotions, face creams, conditioners, and soap all with “hydrolyzed wheat protein” I felt better again for almost a year. Then I again started to have symptoms, this time including severe anemia, Vitamin D deficient despite taking high amounts of Vit D, etc. It was actually after trying a new lipstick color with my normal makeup line and developing a severe migraine that I started looking into my makeup. I found wheat proteins in the form of “hydrolyzed wheat protein” and various forms of “proline” (usually extracted from what protein) in my makeup, as well as oat in our latest body wash. (I admit, I forget about Oat sometimes).

It took longer for these processed and altered forms of wheat proteins, as well as cross-contaminated oat, to wreck enough havoc on my system to cause me to become ill again, but the bottom line is that it did. The oat wash also brought my son’s skin problems back with a vengeance that took almost 9 months to finally clear up.

Our skin is our largest organ and does “ingest” things, contrary to some belief. That’s why there are things such as transdermal patches now. If our skin didn’t ingest, how would that nicotine or pain patch work? When it comes to lipstick, well, we ingest it. Even if we aren’t lip lickers, we ingest it when we eat. Although It took me a while to develop symptoms though the skin, the bottom line is that I did and these things didn’t pass into my digestive tract (except my lipstick). I did finally get to the point where I developed migraines and stomach aches with a new lipstick. Even without ingesting shampoos and makeup, it was getting into my body and I became ill again. It looked different. I didn’t get the migraines, etc, and it took longer, but it did happen.

Before we as a gluten-free community should even consider purchasing products if they come out, we need to somehow demand and wait until they’ve tested this product for at least two years and monitor the entire health of the person, including full blood panels, full Celiac disease blood panel not just the “anti–tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies” and small bowel deterioration, and the mental health of the subjects.

It’s taken me almost 20 years to figure this out and I’m still in the recovery stage. It took me almost a year to get my iron levels up and I still have several “leaky gut” symptoms that need healing. If hydrolyzed wheat protein causes me to be ill through my skin, I’m extremely concerned about the true safety of the product down the line. While I do admit there could be a difference between “hydrolyzed wheat protein” and “hydrolyzed wheat flour products” I want to see a lot more long term, very detailed studies on this with at least 1% of the celiac population though would prefer a 10%. Then again, if most of you are like me, I won’t be one of those to be part of that study. I’ll keep my gluten-free life; I’ve become accustomed to it and most the time appreciate it (except when I am trying to figure out the changed names in medicine and cosmetics, but that’s another post).

Worth the Wait: Jules GlutenFree Holiday Special

Last week I was just about out of my Jules Gluten Free flour, but decided to wait to order in case they had any special Black Friday or Cyber Monday Deals. I had emailed a suggestion asking for a special holiday pack for a chance to try all her yummy mixes and at a discounted rate since there will be lots of baking over the holiday. Who doesn’t want bread, cookies, and gingerbread at Christmas? So, I was hoping they might have something special and didn’t want to miss out.

They sent a very personable email back that they’d consider something special. This morning, I received a followup email to make sure I’d heard about their Cyber Monday special and I’m thrilled to share it.

Here you go: Jules Gluten Free Flour Cyber Monday Special

The Jules Gluten Free Holiday Pack includes:
•1 five-pound bag of Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour
•1 bag of Jules Gluten Free™ Bread Mix
•1 bag of Jules Gluten Free™ Cookie Mix
•1 bag of Jules Gluten Free™ Graham Cracker/Gingersnap Mix
•1 copy of Jules’ 2010 Holiday e-Book (newly updated)

This is a $70 value – value priced at $44.85! But only until midnight, November 30, 2010.

I did verify with the company what midnight meant if the deal will be good through the entire day tomorrow. They assured me that it will be available today and tomorrow.

Jules has put together not only fantastic recipes, a flour and mixes, but an incredible customer service team as well. Here’s to hoping they come up with brownie and cake mixes next year!

Enjoy Holiday Baking! Oh, and Jules Gluten Free also has a Cookie Swap Facebook page and recipe contest. Make sure to check that out too!

Happy Christmas Baking!

Halloween Safe Candy list

Many wonderful bloggers have complied lists of GF candy. The following resource even took the time to lust companies that still process in a wheat facility. Glutenfreeville on my links has a few great resources.

still, check ingredients. Remember, we aren’t just looking for wheat, but also barley, and malt. Also, for those new to this, modified-food starch or cornstarch are dangerous unless the package says “Gluten Free”. Most of the companies don’t claim GF. In fact, reeses can be tough because the shaped ones sometimes contain wheat. Mini Reeses, Jr. Mint and anything Russell Stover make me sick. Personally, I try to appreciate the companies that actually bother to label their product GF and produce it in a separate facility. Nevertheless, I’m addicted to York Parties and Mounds bars and thankfully, thy don’t seem to make me ill.


Enjoy! And thanks to the Alison @surefoodsliving.com for her hard work for us all.