Site News: New Gluten-Free Restaurant Classification System

Over the past two months we’ve been doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching about how we look at restaurants and how gluten-free restaurants can be. For instance, we reviewed a certain restaurant in Portland, and someone who went there later reported that their server told them that the fries weren’t safe. When we called the restaurant about the fries, we were told that the fries were safe. Whether or not they were safe hinged on whether or not the fryer was dedicated gluten-free only AND all the employees followed that.

So here’s the deal: We know that some of our audience needs to stay away from all gluten at all times, and we know that others are eating gluten-free for health reasons and are going to be OK with some here and there. We also know that depending on how they’re set up, and how vigilant their staff is, different restaurants have varying degrees of control over how gluten-free their food is.

Sooooo… we have decided to create a classification system for restaurants based on our experiences with them and things we know about them. This shouldn’t replace vigilance on the part of our readers, but I think it will ease our minds a bit. We don’t really want people to walk into the restaurants we review and assume that they don’t have to worry. Here’s what we’ve come up with:

Gluten-Free Mostly Safe – We will use this to designate the few places that have dedicated facilities or who (like the Whole Bowl – except for their cookies) are gluten-free by nature.

Gluten-Free Friendly But Ask Questions – We will use this to designate places at which most gluten-free people should be able to enjoy a meal after they ask a question or two and make sure their waiter or waitress is on board. Usually this will mean that we have asked questions about cross-contamination.

Gluten-Free Friendly But Be Warned – A place we might put in this category would be a bakery that cooks wheat goods and gluten-free goods in the same facility and that was unable to convince us that they are safe (Sweet Pea Bakery, we are looking straight at you) and some of the pizza places around town who offer both gluten-free pizza and pizza on wheat dough. While someone who is gluten-free for health reasons would probably be OK eating here, we would not recommend the establishment to people who are very sensitive to gluten.

Obviously what you choose to do with the information is up to you. We’re not doctors, and if you find yourself wondering how much you should worry about cross-contamination, that’s a question for your doctor.

We plan to go through our restaurant listings to categorize everything, but this is definitely going to be a work in progress. If you have any information about various restaurants in town, drop us a line or send us an email. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate it!

Book Review: Triumph Dining Guides

First of all, thanks to Triumph Dining for sending us out some review copies (please see our new disclosure policy). I have to say that during the time I’ve worked on this blog, I’ve gotten used to thinking of the gluten-free community as being very grassroots. There are a lot of people with small businesses and I think that I get used to having to go to a lot of different places to get all the information I want about a particular topic. So for me it was almost overwhelming to get these three items in the mail and open them up.

Triumph Dining publishes The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide, The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide, and The Gluten-Free Restaurant Rescue Pack. The book titles are self-explanatory. The “rescue pack” is a set of cards you can give waiters or waitresses at restaurants that explain gluten-free cooking in very clear language.

Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Guides

The Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide

Sienna and I tend to travel a lot and one of our favorite things to do when we travel is eat. (Actually, I don’t need to be traveling to love eating, but that’s another story.) The Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide is a listing of over 5000 restaurants in all 50 states. As of this writing, the guide is in its fourth edition and it shows. It’s exactly 500 pages long.

Basic information about each restaurant is given:

  • What kind of restaurant (American, Seafood, Thai, etc.)
  • Pricing ($, $$, $$$)
  • What meals they are open for
  • Web address, if available
  • Address and phone number
  • Notes (call ahead, dedicated or not, alert your server, gluten-free pizza crusts, etc.)
  • GF menu or no GF menu

Restaurants are split into four groups depending on whether or not they have a gluten-free menu and whether or not they are a chain. The listings also have icons to designate the following:

  • Gluten-free menu available
  • Gluten-free specialty items available (beer, pasta, etc)
  • Dedicated gluten-free establishment
  • Chain Restaurant with a gluten-free menu

One thing that I’ve seen in other guides like this and that is missing here is driving directions from local highways. This makes it really easy to find your way to the establishment if you’re driving through a town or city.

At the end of the gluten-free guide is a section of lists and menus of 80 national and regional chains. Almost all of these have notes as well. Some of the notes are quite extensive and informative on their own. The real jewel in the crown of this book, however, is the first few chapters. These contain very helpful information about how to best deal with restaurants and waiters. Besides giving tips on how to convey information in a way that people will understand, the authors also talk about building short and long term relationships with restaurants.

The Gluten-Free Grocery Guide

This aims to be a guide that you can carry along with you to the grocery store so that you can look things up to see if they’re gluten-free or not. It is in its second edition and covers over 1,000 brands and 30,000 products.

The front section begins with an index, and continues with an introduction, a section of tips for grocery shopping, an overview of food labeling laws, and information on how best to use the guide. The guide itself is broken up into sections like most grocery stores are. So there’s a produce section, a baking supply section, a soup section, etc. At first I didn’t understand this way of organizing the book. I thought that there should be a master index at the end of the book where you could look something up. I still kind of think that there should be something like that.

However, I decided to test the book and thought of a couple of different things I might want to look up as if I were in a grocery store with the book in hand. I was able to find tamales very quickly (Prepared Meals, Trader Joe’s, Tamales, Chicken Tamales). And likewise, canned pears were easy (Canned Goods, Fruit). Bacon was just as easy (Meat, Bacon). Though I’m sure that sooner or later I would be able to stump the book, it does seem to be organized well.

The book ends with a list of common ingredients so you can see what is safe and what isn’t. The list looked pretty complete to me.

Although it’s an impressive book, I feel a lot more excited about the restaurant guide. Once you get used to reading ingredient lists and looking for all the different indicators for wheat, I think you get pretty good at it. A book like this would end up being a great supplement for people who, after reading a label, still find themselves unsure, or people who would rather consult a book than a list of ingredients.

Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Rescue Cards

The Gluten-Free Dining Cards

These cards are in English on one side and in other languages on the back. There are ten cards and the languages covered are: English, Chinese, French, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese. As I mentioned earlier, the cards lay everything out very clearly. They are broken out into three topics: I Cannot Eat, Please Check, and I Can Eat. I think the I Can Eat section is an especially great idea because often times at restaurants, when a waiter or chef is presented with a food allergy limitation, it’s like they suddenly get amnesia and can’t think of anything they could ever feed you. Most people really want to be helpful and are happy when given some advice about what would work along with being told what won’t. At the end of each card there’s a nice “Thank You” and a box with instructions about cross-contamination. The cards are awesome. I definitely plan to have one on hand when we go to Italy in September.

Wrap Up

We are simply stunned at the amount of information and level of organization of these guides. They are very high quality and provide a lot of helpful insight and advice on how to be gluten-free. The information is organized in a thoughtful manner and helpful icons are sprinkled throughout each book. Although we’re kind of on the fence about the Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide, we’re unabashedly excited about the Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide and the Gluten-Free Restaurant Rescue Card Pack. (Later Note: We are giving away these Gluten-Free Guides here. Enter to win!)

We want to know: Have you used either of these guides? Can you think of any uses for them that I missed? Let us know in the comments!

Times we have visited: n/a
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: n/a

Final note: We find it a little uncomfortable to be advertising a product that we’ve reviewed, but we really think we gave Triumph Dining a fair review.

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery New Location

We finally got a chance to visit the New Cascadia Traditional Bakery on Saturday. At around noon we got on our bikes and rode down to their new location. It’s at 1700 SE 6th Ave at SE Market. So that’s on 6th, just two blocks south of Hawthorne. I was a little unfamiliar with where it was. It’s over in the slightly industrial area down between SE 7th and SE Grand. It’s around the Paper Zone but a little further south.

View Larger Map

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery

They look like they’re still moving in and working on making the place more comfortable. The great thing is that they’re offering coffee and espresso drinks, so now you can sit down and have a nice gluten-free treat with a drink. They will also be setting up outdoor seating very soon. Like their NW outlet often was, there was a line to get to the counter.

Gluten Free Baked Goods

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

Most of the items have signs letting you know if they contain any common allergens. For instance, the gluten-free coffee cake here contains butter, eggs, and nuts. We both got lattes. Sienna got a regular latte and I got a soy latte. They were both awesome. We also got a scone and a piece of coffee cake. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any cinnamon rolls left. Since my last review of one of their gluten-free cinnamon rolls was less than enthusiastic, I wanted to try one that was fresh from the source.

Delicious Latte

Gluten-Free Currant Scone

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

My coffee cake was awesome. It was crumbly, sweet, and had the right amount of cinnamon. We also both liked the scone. I normally don’t like anything even resembling a raisin in any kind of baked good (especially cookies) but was able to put that aside for the sake of this review.

The real star of the show, however, was the service. Everybody was friendly and enthusiastic. When we asked about sitting outside, our barrista offered to help carry a table out for us. We bought a pizza crust (review coming later) and accidentally ripped it while putting it in our bike bag. When we took it back inside to ask them if there was a way to fix it, they gave us a new one for free, which was amazingly generous.

We’ve been reviewing a lot of places that might be a little risky for people who are really seriously gluten-intolerant, so it’s nice to be able to recommend a place without reservations, because it’s totally gluten-free and the facility is gluten-free. You should go check it out! Go here for more New Cascadia Traditional Bakery reviews.

Restaurant Review: Pix Patisserie Redux

Yes yes we already reviewed Pix Patisserie a while back and gave it a rave review. It’s just that we’ve been back a few more times, taken more photos, gathered new relevant information, and also finally got to try their other gluten-free dessert, the Aphrodite.

Gluten Free Dessert place

First off, I went to the Pix Patisserie on N Williams with a friend of mine who is allergic to a long list of items that happen to be in a lot of desserts. He’s allergic to almonds, hazelnuts, apricots, apples, pears, peaches, plums, kiwi, cherries, soy protein, and most beans. By “allergic” I mean that he carries an Epi Pen around in case he goes into anaphylactic shock. It’s expired, but he still carries one. I felt lucky because I knew what I could eat there, but he needed to have a rather long discussion with our waitress, which involved going over to the case. The waitress was really cool and friendly, and knew what was in all the desserts. Eventually they were able to find something my friend could eat, which was a good thing for my friend.

Gluten Free Desserts at Pix Patisserie

This is what you call dessert pron at the Pix Patisserie on SE Division. The chocolate-colored dessert there on the far left is one of Pix’s gluten-free offerings, the Aphrodite.

Aphrodite at Pix Patisserie

The Aphrodite is a “drunken” cherry in chocolate mousse, with a layer of cherry mousse. The bottom is made of a chocolate flourless biscuit that has been soaked in moscato. All this is in a chocolate shell. If you like chocolate mousse and cherries, this is the dessert for you. I loved mine and would eat one again anytime anywhere, but I think that for my tastes, the Concord is better.

pix-macaron-dscn3480

They also have amazing Macarons at Pix Patisserie. These are gluten-free and really have to be tried to be believed. They are air-light, crunchy and chewy at the same time. The macarons at Pix are so good that they were featured in a Sunset Magazine article on macarons recently.

Pix Sugar Dish

Stir your coffee at Pix Patisserie

Some more things we love about Pix Patisserie:

  • The coffee.
  • Cool closing sugar dishes.
  • Tiny spoons to stir your coffee.
  • The Rosemary Mocha.

Yes you read that right. The Rosemary Mocha. When I asked our server if the Rosemary Mocha was good, she replied, “We wouldn’t serve it to you if we didn’t think it was good.” And it was.

We want to know: Have you been to Pix Patisserie? We love that Portland has awesome little places like Pix. Do you have any favorite items on their menu? Let us know in the comments!

Times we have visited: 4 (So we feel good about our rating.)
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same

Pix Patisserie
www.pixpatisserie.com
3402 SE Division St, Portland, Oregon 97202 / 503.232.4407
3901 N. Williams Ave, Portland, Oregon 97227 / 503.282.6539

Gluten Free Food Fair Wrap-up

We got to the 2009 Portland Oregon Gluten Free Food Fair a little late. They were already doing the lottery drawings. We walked around and sampled a lot of food, took some photos, and talked to people at the booths.

Sift Gluten Free Bakery

Sift Bakery – They are a gluten-free and vegan bakery. A lot of cafes in Portland carry their cookies, which I think are pretty good. In my opinion they make the best packaged gluten-free cookie. They also had some cooking sauces there. They had a couple different kinds of Thai curry paste, a hot chili oil, a Thai hot sauce, and also a Thai peanut sauce. Their peanut sauce was good but I make better. ;) They also had falafel crackers that were really good.

Mississippi Pizza Pub

Mississippi Pizza Pub (See our review of the Mississippi Pizza Pub) – They were handing out squares of pizza. While we were walking around the tables, a couple of times I overheard someone tell a friend “There’s more pizza out. Let’s go!” The pizza was good. Sienna asked the guy there about how to get a crust more crispy and he said that olive oil is good for that. Now we’ll have to experiment!

muruku-dscn4067

Muruku Snacks – SCL Marketing – One of the more interesting items at the fair. These are basically like fried chow mein noodles, and are delicious. I love fried chow mein noodles!

Gloria's Delicious Gluten Free Desserts

Gloria’s Delicious Gluten Free Desserts – This person was selling dessert cookbooks. We tried her samples and they were really good.

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery (See our reviews of New Cascadia Traditional Bakery) – We’re big fans of New Cascadia. They had a bunch of their gluten free products to sample. I tried a piece of their coffee cake and Sienna tried their cranberry raisin walnut bread.

Ener-G Foods

Ener-G Foods – Ener-G Foods had a booth, which I was really excited about. Mostly because they seem kind of hit-or-miss to me and it’s nice to sample a bunch of things without having to buy them. I liked their pretzels but wasn’t excited about their cookies, bread or bars.

Angeline's Gluten Free Bakery

Angeline’s Bakery – Angeline’s Bakery had a bunch of bread and cookie samples out. Their bread is very sort of white-bready, but good white-bready.

Some of the booths we stopped by but didn’t take photos of:

Papa G’s – They make different tofu meat substitutes which we both love, and also have a vegan organic deli with some gluten free items.

Wendy Cohan – Author of the Gluten Free Resource Guide, who also has classes on gluten free cooking. We talked to her for a while about making gluten free pizza crusts and she had a lot of tips for us.

New Traditions Bakery – I’ve looked these folks up on the internet and can’t find anything. They had a bunch of different kind of cheesecakes. The cheesecakes are free of gluten, nuts, eggs, and dairy, which brings up the question: What the heck are they made of? Whatever it is, there was a sign that they did contain soy. I thought they were good, although they really had more the texture of a frozen ice cream cake.

Lingonberries Market – The gluten free, wheat free, allergy-friendly foods grocery store in Vancouver Washington, which we’ve been to once, but keep meaning to get back to so we can take some pictures and do a review.

There were a lot more booths than I’ve included here. There were some booths selling baking mixes, one booth with exercise “power bars” that pretty much tasted like all the rest of the ones you’ve ever tasted, and even a cosmetics booth. After we left, we were waiting for the light to turn so we could cross the street, and a couple of people drove up in a van, rolled down a window, and asked us if it was worth going to the fair. We told them definitely yes. It’s always good to check out new things and find out what is good (or not) without having to buy so much stuff. We’re looking forward to next year’s food fair.

Lodging Review: Shasta MountInn Bed & Breakfast

We’d like to say that we found the Shasta MountInn Bed & Breakfast by doing a search on Gluten Free Bed and Breakfast places. Instead, we were just looking for a place to spend a night in Mount Shasta, California, on our way back up from Los Angeles. The last time we’d been to Mount Shasta was a disaster, because it was a Sunday morning and we couldn’t find anything that: A) Was open, and B) Looked like a place we would want to eat. They have a health food store there, but the selection is basically deli food.

Fortunately, we found the Shasta MountInn Retreat and Spa just through a web search. It has a five star rating on all the hotel review websites and we weren’t able to find anything but rave reviews. So we called them up and while making arrangements to spend the night, mentioned that I was gluten free. The person we were talking to, Dave, said that he had just been to Trader Joe’s and he could make me some gluten free pancakes. (!!!!) I’m sure that we just got lucky and if you want to book a stay at the Shasta MountInn, you should let them know ahead of time if you have any special dietary requests.

Shasta MountInn Bed and Breakfast - Gluten Free!

The house is a Victorian which has been modified to be a B&B. So for example all the rooms have their own bathroom. There is a relaxation room on the top floor with books and movies. They have a sauna, a hot tub, and also offer massages.

Room at the Shasta MountInn B&B

Here’s one of the rooms at the Shasta MountInn. This one has kind of an unusual bathroom layout in that the shower is behind one door and the bathroom is behind the other. The beds are all Swedish Tempur-Pedic® and have a top layer which is that strange “Memory Foam” which makes them very comfortable. For pillows they also have memory foam pillows, but also plenty of conventional ones too. Our room also had two separate heaters.

(I had never slept on one of these Tempur-Pedic beds with the memory foam so it was very interesting. Since the foam molds itself to your shape, you end up feeling kind of like you’ve burrowed into the bed.)

Here’s the view from the room we stayed in.

View of Mount Shasta, California

When our host Dave mentioned that he could make me some Trader Joe’s Gluten Free pancakes, I was thinking that he had the pre-made, packaged kind. Instead it turned out that he was making them using the Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix that I reviewed here. It also turns out that he makes a much better pancake than I do, which is really saying something, because I’m a pancake pro. They were also served with home fried potatoes. Did I get a picture, you ask? Why yes I did.

Gluten Free Pancakes

When the subject came up, Dave seemed to be aware of different food allergies, and it seemed like he would be able to accommodate a wide variety of diets given enough notice.

We want to know: Have any Bed and Breakfast recommendations for weekend trips around Portland Oregon? Do you find that most places are at least gluten free friendly? Let us know in the comments!

Times we have visited: 1 (So your experience may vary.)
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same

Shasta MountInn Retreat and Spa
www.shastamountinn.com
203 Birch St., Mt. Shasta, California 96067
(530) 926-1810 / (530) 926-6600

Bakery: Mariposa Review Redux

During our recent road trip to Los Angeles we went a little out of our way to visit the Mariposa Gluten Free Bakery. Those of you who read our review on Mariposa Bakery in Oakland, California in February will remember that we liked their brownies quite a bit. In February it was only Sienna who visited so this was my first time at Mariposa.

On our visit, we talked to the person at the counter for a while. She was very friendly and was able to to discuss food allergy information about any of their products. So here comes the eye candy. They are very well stocked. There are gluten free cookies, biscotti, bagels, muffins, coffee cake, more cookies, muffins, cheesecake, chocolate cake, carrot cake. Everything gluten free!

mariposa-gluten-free-goodies-1-dscn3814

mariposa-gluten-free-goodies-2-dscn3813

They also now have a freezer stocked with various gluten-free goodies. They have a couple different kinds of gluten free ravioli, several different kinds of premade take-and-bake pizza, pizza dough, and breads.

mariposa-gluten-free-freezer-2-dscn3811

mariposa-gluten-free-freezer-dscn3812

I had one of their chocolate muffins. I’d like to be able to say that I took a picture of it but I was too busy devouring the thing. Their muffins are moist, light, fluffy, and flavorful. I also got a gluten free sour cream coffee cake. They describe this cake as “Layered with a sweet and crunchy walnut and cinnamon brown sugar streusel, this tender 4 1/2″ diameter cake melts in your mouth” and they are completely correct. Here are the ingredients: sour cream, organic unrefined cane sugar, GF flour mix (organic brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour), butter, dark brown cane sugar, walnuts, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

mariposa-gluten-free-coffee-cake-dscn3903

mariposa-gluten-free-coffee-cake-3-dscn3906

This coffee cake was INSANE and you would never guess that it was gluten free. It had the perfect amount of cinnamon, was the perfect sweetness, and had this amazing crumb. It’s a good thing we don’t live in Oakland or Berkeley, because I would be eating this as often as possible, and I’m sure it’s not the healthiest breakfast in the world.

We’re on Mariposa’s mailing list and coincidentally we just got an email announcement from them today. They are celebrating Earth Day on April 22, 2009 and were also just certified as a “Bay Area Green Business.” Here’s their blurb on Earth Day.

This Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day. To celebrate, we are offering 10% off your entire purchase to anyone who bikes, walks or brings their own shopping bags to Mariposa on Wednesday. So go green on Earth Day and drop by to save some green when you check out! (discount does not apply to other discounted items.)

Among other things, they also have food-allergy information on their products, and also donate 2% of their profits to community and world organizations.

We want to know: Any other awesome gluten free or gluten free friendly places in the San Francisco Bay Area you can recommend? Have you sampled any of the treats at Mariposa? Let us know in the comments!

Times we have visited: 2 (So we feel pretty good about our rating.)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Around twice as expensive.

Mariposa Bakery
5427 Telegraph Ave, Unit D3
Oakland, California 94609
http://www.mariposabaking.com/

Gluten-Free Basics: Beware Foods You Might Not Expect to Have Gluten

I’m at home sick today and was doing some reading on gluten-free living and ran across an excellent list of foods and food ingredients that are not gluten-free. While reading through the list I was checking off items on my mental list of what is safe and what is not. I didn’t actually get too far down the list before I hit “blue cheese” – blue cheese!?!!? It turns out that blue cheese is made with bread.

On further investigation, it happens that REAL blue cheese is made with bread. Manufacturers who make blue cheese the traditional way still start with bread to get their mold and then introduce the mold to milk curds. So how likely is it that the bleu cheese you’re looking at in the store has gluten? It looks like it’s less likely than you might expect. Here’s a site with further information on blue cheese.

While we’re on the subject of foods you would never suspect, I’ve put together a quick list of less obvious gluten-containing items. It’s sort of like a “I remembered that you’re vegetarian so I made you a chicken salad” list. (This is not an exhaustive list of gluten-containing foods by any means.)

It may be organic, but it isn't gluten-free.

It may be organic, but it isn't gluten-free.

Beer – I was gluten-free for a while before I gave any thought to our little fermented friends. Beer is just plain not gluten-free. Also, any alcoholic beverage that is made with wheat and not distilled is suspect.

Bouillon – This is one where a person would probably catch it by checking the ingredients, but might not think to. It’s supposed to be dried chicken broth and spices and salt and salt and salt, right? Wrong!

Bulgar – I always forget this one for some reason. It is another name for wheat that has been processed.

Chewing Gum – Manufacturers coat some chewing gums with wheat flour to keep them fresh. So you have to check the labels. I grew up in the 70s so I believed (or at least liked to believe) the urban legend that chewing gum was made with spiders eggs. Little did I know.

Couscous – You can call it what you like but it’s really pasta. I get it confused with polenta, which is corn, and risotto, which is rice.

Graham Crackers and Graham Flour – Our pal wheat by another name.

Malt, Malt Extract, Malt Syrup, Malt Flavoring, Malt Vinegar – Wave bye-bye to a startlingly long list of breakfast cereals.

Semolina – Fancy name for wheat they make pasta out of.

Tabbouleh – Made with bulgar, which appears above. Yes, I have thoughtlessly eaten tabbouleh at our favorite Lebanese Restaurant.

Udon – Although I love Japanese food, I never really liked these Japanese noodles anyhow. I do mourn for my loss of ramen, though. *sigh*

This deserves its own paragraph: Any Broth, Sauce or Gravy – These are all suspect and should be checked before you eat them. You would never expect it, but the roux in gumbo has a ton of flour in it. Apparently, chefs love to put some roux in their jambalaya. Ouch! And I love a good jambalaya.

OK well that’s enough depressing news for one day. I hope everybody will chime in with comments on food items that you were surprised to find contained wheat or gluten.

Gluten-Free News Bites

Hi everybody I’m blogging on my lunch break because I have a couple of quick news items and two reminders:

Reminder #1: We’re in Blog for Food for the Oregon Food Bank week 2. Please take a moment to donate to the Oregon Food Bank.  To be part of the official Blog For Food tally, please enter “Blog For Food” in the tribute section on the OFB donation page. Nancy Rommelmann has decided to take the campaign up a notch and is stripping for donations.

Reminder #2: If you were planning to reserve a Valentines Day Cake for your sweetie from New Cascadia Traditional Bakery, the cut-off is today.

US News has an article about the gluten-free diet and celiac disease and how some are calling eating gluten-free a fad.

This is a little old, but Allergic Girl posted a link to a New York Times article that tries to shed some light on the accuracy of allergy tests.

Last, Celiac Chicks posted some links to information on which drugs are gluten-free. I remember early on when I was switching over to being gluten-free I found that one of the vitamins I was taking daily contained wheat.

That’s it. Happy Wednesday!

Gluten-Free Portland: My Story

I’m MOSTLY gluten-free. I haven’t taken the Celiac Disease Reflex Screen mostly because I don’t want to deal with eating gluten long enough to take it. By “mostly” gluten free I mean that if there is some soy sauce in a dish I will eat it. My intolerance for wheat, however, is enough that a single bite of a piece of bread will make me feel sick the next day. There is definitely something up with wheat and me.

I was in denial for a while and then later thought that it must be psychosomatic or something. The person who noticed it first was my girlfriend. She noticed that on Saturdays I was usually grumpy and emotional. I started tracking my food intake and my moods and the thing that stood out was wheat. This is bordering on “too much information” but the other thing that changed when I stopped eating wheat was that this horrible acne that I had always had on my back cleared up.

While I still had my mind made up that it was psychosomatic, I would go out to eat at restaurants and be too shy to ask my waiter if something had wheat. But I would order carefully trying to get a dish without wheat and then the next day I would feel awful and a phone call to the restaurant would verify that there was wheat in the dish. Like for instance, gumbo? The roux in gumbo has tons of wheat. Surprise!

Now I end up wondering how many other people might be allergic to wheat. It seems like the numbers are growing. At times I hear information that makes me think it’s a fad. A co-worker commented to me recently that his wife had “thought” she was gluten-intolerant but then had changed her mind. I’ve also heard about people quitting gluten because they figure it’s more healthy. That’s crazy. It’s a real pain staying away from wheat.

Believe me, I would rather have a real donut, sourdough bread, and a real pizza! OK well that’s enough wool-gathering. I’m going to get this blog customized a little and start posting reviews and information.