Monday, June 29, 2009

Local Dieticians who specialize in the GF Diet

When I was first diagnosed, I was sent to a dietitian. Back 12 years ago, dietitians really knew relatively little about following the gluten free diet. My dietitian gave me a hand out that had four or five recipes on it and told me not to eat gluten. When I asked her to define gluten, she stumbled a bit and then handed me more pieces of paper with information on gluten. Unfortunately, the information contained on these pages was far from complete and made my first grocery shopping trip a very emotional and frustrating ordeal.

I have since found there are a number of local dietitians who are very capable of helping patients navigate the gluten free diet. I really think it is important to work with a dietitian to learn about not only eating gluten free, but how to eat healthful foods. There are a number of prepared GF products do not contain fiber and/or protein.

I am listing our local dietitians below:

Bailey Koch, RD, LD, CNSD
993-D Johnson Ferry Rd., NE, Suite 440
Atlanta, GA 30342

Danielle Devenie, Certified Nutritional Consultant and Lifestyle Counselor
Body and Soul Nutrition

Amy Roark, RD, LD, CDE
1240 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Suite 500
Gainesville, GA 30501

Bernadette Saviano

Carren Sellers, MMSc, RD, LD, CDE

Julie Taube, MS, RD. LD, HFI
750 Hammond Drive
Building, 7, Suite 350
Atlanta, GA 30328

Julia Turner, MMSc, RD, LD
2000 Iron Mountain Road
Canton, GA 30115

Naturally Gluten Free Foods

I just worked with a customer at Return to Eden over the weekend who brought in her 16-year-old son who was diagnosed a week ago. She is going to have the whole family eat gluten free and she was struggling with what she could feed everyone. I realized she thought she needed to buy prepared gluten free products to be able to accommodate everyone.

It is quite easy to find and prepare naturally gluten free products. Many foods are naturally gluten free:
o Plain, unbreaded, unmarinated meats (beef, pork, ham and canned tuna), fish and poultry
o Vegetables and Fruits
o Legumes (beans and nuts)
o Dairy Products and Eggs

I rarely eat gluten free bread any more and have found that I really enjoy tuna fish rolled inside of a lettuce leaf, a hard boiled egg and some bean salad for lunch. Breakfast usually consists of scrambled eggs, bacon and fresh fruit. I do like to make baked fish with potatoes and broccoli for dinner. I am listing some food options that are naturally gluten free below:

Breakfast Ideas:
o Scrambled Eggs, Omelets, Poached Eggs
o Fresh Fruit, Yogurt
o Bacon or Sausage

Lunch Ideas:
o Tuna fish or chicken salad rolled in lettuce
o Salad topped with grilled meat with hard boiled eggs, cheese and bacon

Snack Ideas:
o Cheese and nuts
o Raw Veggies and dip
o Apples with peanut butter or Celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins (ants on a log)

Dinner Ideas:
o Baked fish, chicken, pork chops
o Potatoes (mashed, baked, fried), Rice, Quinoa
o Fresh vegetables

Lean to think outside of the box when it comes to naturally gluten free foods. It will save you time and money in the grocery store and it will teach your other family members about safe, gluten free options.

I pulled the photo below from a blog on the Internet. This person provided a diagram of a grocery store to help everyone shop for naturally gluten free products. I can't remember who authored this diagram, so I hope they will forgive me for not attributing proper credit.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

GF Bread - My Favorites

I get asked a lot about my favorite GF breads. This question is hard to answer because GF bread likes/dislikes are very subjective. If I am eating bread it needs to have a great texture and taste, but I also want to have some fiber and protein. Most of the GF breads contain little to no protein because they are make with a rice base and don't include the fiberful grains like Teff, Amaranth and Quinoa to name a few.

Bread used to be a staple in my diet, but over the last couple of years, I have gotten used to eating meat without buns and sandwiches wrapped in lettuce or brown rice wraps. It is very nice to have options available for when that bun craving hits during summer cook out time!

I break down my favorite breads down into a couple of different categories: Ready to Eat, Mixes and Frozen.

Ready-to-Eat breads - these bread can be used right out of the package without being heated, thawed or toasted.

- this bread is my favorite bread of all time (to this point) due to its flavor, texture and ability to eat it right out of the bag with no heating or toasting. It also had a good amount of both protein and fiber for a premade bread. I keep this bread in my refrigerator and eat it straight out of the bag with a little butter, peanut butter or apple jelly. It is soft, moist and spongy and sort of tastes like a cross between pumpernickle and rye. This bread is at a higher price point, but it is well worth the cost.
Protein = 4 grams; Fiber = 4 grams
***This bread is currently on sale through Gluten Free Trading Company for $2.99 a loaf. This bread usually sells for anywhere from $7.50 - $9, so this is a fabulous sale to take advantage of.

Ener-G Light Tapioca Loaf - although this bread does not have a healthful aspect to it, I find it to be the best bread to make french toast, grilled cheese and cold sandwiches. You do have to heat the bread to make the cold sandwiches, but you can make french toast and grilled cheese right out of the bag. This bread is vacuum sealed, so you do not have to refrigerate it or freeze it prior to use, which makes it easy to store. Once you open the bag, you need to refrigerate it.
Protein = 0; Fiber = 1

Frozen - sold in the freezer and need to be heated, thawed or toasted to taste their best

The Grainless Baker - makes fabulous hamburger/hot dog buns and hoagie rolls. Their hamburger buns are used by the Outback in Roswell, GA. They are so undetectible from their gluten counterpart that I found myself double checking to make sure they had given me the right bun. I like to use the hoagie rolls for sub sandwiches, french dip or a cheese steak sandwich.
Hamburger Bun = Protein = 1 gram; Fiber = 5 grams
Hot Dog Buns = Protein = 1 gram; Fiber = 5 grams
Hoagie Rolls = Nutritional Information not available on website

Joan's GF Great Bakes
- makes the best bagels and english muffins I have ever had. Joan's products are shipped as premade 'dough' that you defrost and bake to your liking. This company offers a large product line that is worth investigating, but I would guess that her bagels are the best selling products.
Bagels - Protein = 5; Fiber = 2
English Muffins - Protein = 4; Fiber = 2

Kinnikinnick - I like their Brown Rice bread the best because it almost tastes like pumpernickle and has a small amount of fiber. I am also partial to their hamburger and hot dog buns that have recently been reformulated to decrease the sweetness and amount of left over bun and improve their elasticity.
Brown Rice Bread - Protein = 2 grams; Fiber = 2 grams
Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns - Protein = 5 grams; Fiber = 4 grams

Mixes - self explanatory

Breads from Anna - I believe this to be the most well known line of bread mixes. The company has undergone a couple of name changes: Manna from Anna, Breads from Anna and finally Gluten Evolution. These mixes are tailored to meet the need of most people as they are available dairy free, yeast free, soy free, rice free and nut free. They started making three varieties of Muffin/Pancake mix earlier this year.
Nutritional Information Not Available on Website

Gluten Free Naturals - offer a multi-grain bread mix that makes two one-pound loaves. you don't need to use a bread maker and you proof the bread in the oven while it is heating up. This bread stays fresh for a couple of days on the counter, but then must be refrigerated or frozen.
Protein - 1 gram; Fiber = 2 grams

Tracey's Treats - I have been a big fan of this bread for a number of years. We used to carry this bread mix at Return to Eden, but it is a tad bit more expensive and I had a hard time convincing customers that it was worth the extra money. This bread is made with Millet, a GF grain that contains both fiber and protein. It is easy to make using their mix, or you can buy it frozen in a 'ready to use' baking pan. It smells like real bread while it is baking and it rises and has the texture of a 'real' bread. I like to use it to make french toast and sandwiches.
Nutritional Information is not available on their website

I continue to try new breads because the GF market is expanding by leaps and bounds, so there is always something new to try. There are a number of online bakeries all over the US whose products are well worth trying.

Please don't limit yourself and continue to explore the new bounty of bread products. You just never know what fabulous treat is waiting for you!

Friday, June 19, 2009

UPDATE on GF Breakfast Items at J. Christopher's

I made it in to J. Chrisopher's to try the new GF breakfast items on Tuesday. I sampled the GF pancakes and Strada made with apples with my good friend Julie (Yes, Julie from the Outback). When we arrive, the owner's son was waiting for us and told me I was instructed to try the Strada by his Mother.

It turns out that the Strada dish is the item they want to promote due to the ability to prepare this item without any cross contamination concerns. They prepare this item in the 'skillet' pans in advance and then warm it up to order. I have to say that the Strada was very good. It was almost like eating apple pie between two pieces of bread. You could taste the cinnamon and the butter as they melded perfectly with the apples. It wasn't too sweet, so that it needed ice cream, but very tasty and a perfect breakfast item.

The pancakes on the other hand were a miss for me. The pancakes were flat and crusty around the edges. I learned that they are using a substandard mix, so I am going to work to get them a sample of Pamela's Products Pancake and Baking Mix, so they can see the difference. I love making Pamela's pancakes at home and blogged about them being my favorite mix last month, so I would just love to be able to go out and order them.

We are going to work together to schedule a lunch/brunch/luncheon to debut all of the breakfast items very soon. The owner is working to create a set gluten free menu, but it is still in the initial stages.

Please everyone go out and visit J. Christopher's Monday through Friday to sample their Strada, French Toast and Pancakes. We need to support their efforts by frequenting the restaurant.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

GF Breakfast Items Worth the Drive

I was recently made aware that the J Christopher's in East Cobb is offering new gluten free breakfast items Monday through Friday. These items were created specifically by the General Manager, Joanne Hardin, whose husband is gluten intolerant.

Monday through Friday they offer Gluten Free Pancakes which you can add blueberries, strawberries, bananas, or pecans to if you wish. This item is only available Monday through Friday due to the potential cross contamination on our grill. This mix is made with brown rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, rice milk powder, cream of tartar, xanthan gum, baking soda, sea salt, ground vanilla bean and water.

Since they are unable to offer this item on Saturday and Sunday they created a new item that resembles a baked french toast. Their Gluten Free Strada is brown rice bread, egg batter and fruit: either apples, peaches, cherries and soon pumpkin pie filling.(The strada is only available with one filling at any time, not made to order) The rice bread is toasted and soaked in our egg batter and layered with filling. It is precooked, so it only needs to be reheated when ordered. It is served with fresh fruit on the side.

They can also prepare Gluten Free French Toast at times when they are not busy. Again due to the cross contamination they have to limit its availability.

They are working to offer a gluten free sandwich on homemade bread. Due to the nature and size of the brown rice bread they are still working out the portion issues.

"Being on this side of the issue, I am aware of how hard it is to create gluten free menu items that can be prepared without any cross contamination. At this time these gluten free items are only available at this location. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns."

Joanne Hardin
J. Christopher's East Cobb
General Manager

Let's all go out and support the efforts of this restaurant!

Tastes Just Like Jiffy Corn Muffins

For those of us who were raised on Jiffy Corn Muffins, you will relate to this story. I have been eating GF for 12 years and have yet to find a corn bread mix that tastes just like Jiffy and is as easy to make. The search is finally over. I have found yet another Pamela's Products mix that tastes like the real thing. As usual, the package is loaded with recipe variations, but I just follow the Sweet Old Fashioned Corn Bread recipe.

The mix is very easy to make and has both a good taste and texture. The mix does not contain dairy. The recipe I use does require butter, but you can replace oil for butter. Click here to read the ingredients.

According to Marion, the traveling cupcake maker for Pamela's, you can bake the mix in a cast iron skillet in your oven, so the cornbread comes out with a fabulous golden crust on the top and bottom, but it soft and moist in the middle.

My grandmother was from Kentucky and her cornbread was always a little crusty on the outside, but soft in the middle. I thought this was the norm, but when I moved down to Georgia, I discovered people put sugar in their cornbread and like it undercooked.

Only two other mix came close and they are by Really Great Foods and Gluten Free Pantry. All of the other mixes, to me, tasted like cake or had too much grit to be enjoyable.

I highly recommend picking up a bag and giving it a try. This is a fabulous product to use for breakfast or any other meal. I will definitely use it to prepare my GF Cornbread Stuffing at Thanksgiving.

Yeah Pamela's...keep on creating new mixes!

Betty Crocker to the Rescue

Well, I went to the in-laws this weekend to celebrate my husband's birthday. This usually means we will have a gluten cake for dessert and I will have ice cream and berries. Not so this year. My mother-in-law announces that she wants to make me a GF cake and has scoped out some GF mixes in the Health Food section of Kroger in Athens, GA. I tell her to look for the Betty Crocker mixes, since they just arrived on the market last week.

So anyway, I arrive in Athens and I am presented with a GF Yellow Cake with homemade Chocolate Icing (my mother-in-law knew I wouldn't eat the GF prepared frostings) sitting on a plate next to the gluten cake. I don't have to tell you it almost brought a tear to my eye. The cake was soft, moist and had a great taste/texture. My mother-in-law ate some just to give it a try and couldn't distinguish it from a gluten cake.

I can't believe someone finally made me a GF cake. While I was writing this my husband (then boyfriend)reminds me that he made me a GF poundcake back when we were dating (98), but it was inedible. I don't believe I had really gotten the hang of baking GF yet, so I probably didn't give him the best flour to use.

Oh, and I just remembered that a good friend made me GF brownies. He had to make them without eggs, since he is a Vegan, so they didn't quite turn out, but it is the thought that counts, right?

I always make my own sweets for every occasion. I just feel more comfortable knowing what dessert I can have and don't feel like putting anyone out to make something for me. Even 12 years later, I don't want to burden friends/family with my dessert needs.

It was sooooo nice to have someone else bake for me and I hope the trend continues!

The GF Betty Crocker mixes are available at all grocery stores and are priced at $4.49 per box. They make GF: Brownie, Cookie, Chocolate cake and Yellow cake mixes. Tell your friends and family about these mixes and they just may surprise you with a special treat!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Could the G-Free Diet Actually Help People? I have not read the book. I just can't fathom spending good money on a 'book' written by a 'celebrity' when the title is called the G-Free diet. After all, eating gluten free is not trendy, rather it is a necessity.

I have been relying on all of the published reviews to confirm my suspicion that the book is full of misinformation. I mean even her 'website' contains misleading information about safe food. She called CD a 'wheat allergy' in numerous interviews and advises people to try the diet to get an 'energy boost' and as a way to loose weight. I don't know about you, but I gained weight when I was diagnosed because I had been 20-30 pounds underweight my whole life.

So I was about to write off the book when something interesting happened at my daughter's daycare on Friday. I am the 'cool' Mom who takes in baked goods from time to time for my daughter's class to enjoy for their afternoon snack. Nothing fancy, but always gluten free.

Miss Jessica is my daughter's new teacher. She approached me the day after I brought in the Gluten Free Pantry's Chocolate Truffle Brownies and asked me if they were gluten free. I told her yes and then she proceeded to ask me if I had Celiac Disease(CD). Well, I don't have to tell you how shocked I was that she knew what CD actually is, but I was very intrigued. Apparently she learned about CD by watching one of the many interviews Elizabeth Hasselback did on her new book and wanted to ask me how I was diagnosed and what my symptoms had been.

She then goes on to tell me that she has suffered from stomach problems for 10 years and was diagnosed with IBS and even had her Galbladder removed. Nothing has seemed to relieve her constant headaches, iritability, stomach bloating, anxiety, etc., etc., etc. The same story we have all heard from the newly diagnosed.

I advised her to visit her Gastroenterologist and have her doctor run the CD pannel. She was shocked that it would only take a blood test to get a diagnosis. I had to tell her to keep eating gluten until her blood had been drawn. I also warned her that they might need to do an endoscope to confirm diagnosis.

I told her not to waste her money on the G-Free diet and advised her that there were a number of books written by medical professionals that would help her understand CD, if indeed she has it, and metioned that she could be Gluten Sensitive and not Intolerant depending on her test results.

I am left wondering if the publicity from this 'book' could actually lead people to a diagnosis? If so, then I have to applaud Ms. Hasselback for FINALLY talking publically about CD, but also scold her for not consulting a medical professional when writing this book and for trying to trivialize an autoimmune disorder.

What I am left with is mixed feelings. I guess any publicity is good publicity, as long as it can help people.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Airport Guide for Summer Travel

I just found a fabulous website that is perfect for the travel season. Airport Guides offers a listing of every airport in the US and some International airports. The listing is broken down into several categories, one of which is Restaurants. The restaurants are listed by area/gate, so you can look in advance to see if your terminal has a Chick-fil-A or a Wendy's (my favorite gluten free fast food) prior to your trip.

I don't know about you, but I find it comforting to know my food options in advance at the airport. I always travel with an abundance of food, but it is nice to be able to get something hot at the airport that is safe.

Some of my favorite foods to travel with are:

Tools to take with you
Plastic Utensils

Condiment packages- salad dressing, mayo, catchup, mustard, etc.

Salt/Pepper packets

Napkins/wet wipes

Toast - It Bags for bread toasting at your final destination

Hard boiled eggs - you can use mayo and salt packets to make egg salad

Tuna in a foil bag

Trail Mix

Protein Bar

Dried Fruit/Fresh Fruit

Dried soup mix in a cup - you can make this on the plane or anywhere you can find hot water

Cookie 2-packs - Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle or Liz Lovely Ginger

Coconut/Curry Wraps by Improveat - these wraps are great for chicken salad, tuna salad, or just with a little hummus.

Peanut butter/Almond butter by Justin's Nut Butter - these are individual foil packages of nut butter, so there is no trouble getting it through security and it is easy to get it out of the package with no mess

Dried Vegetables - green beans, peas and carrots

St. Dalfour - canned meals (compact) that come complete with a fork and salt and pepper packets. These meals can be eaten cold or microwaved in the container. Their Three Bean and Salmon with Vegetables meals are gluten free and available at Return to Eden

Carrots and Celery

Dried Cereal

Ener-G - Light Tapioca Loaf for toasting, sandwiches and french toast

Enjoy the travel season!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Guide to Eating Gluten Free Pizza in Georgia

In my experience, the top thing people miss the most when they go on the gluten free diet is pizza. We are fortunate that we have so many local places offering gluten free pizza now, so I wanted to provide you with a summary below to help you make a decision on where to go eat pizza!

During these trying economic times, it can be difficult to eat out, but lets try to do all we can to support our local companies. Our request for gluten free pizza has finally come true, so we need to do our part by going out and supporting their efforts.

Belly’s Pizza ( - has begun serving gluten free, thin-crust pizza.

I have not been to this restaurant as I only found out about it last week from a support group member, so I am unable to post any comments/feedback.

Pizza Crust – 10” Domata Living Flour rice crust
Dessert – n/a
GF Beer –n/a at this time, but one should be coming soon
GF Menu – GF offerings are on the regular menu
Location: King Plaza, 885 Woodstock Road, Suite 330 Roswell, GA 30075, 770-594-8118
Open: Sun - Thurs 11:30 am to 10:00 p.m. and Friday & Saturday 11:30 am to 11:00 p.m.

Pepperoni's Pizza - offers gluten free pizza on two different crusts. Specify which one you want when you place your order. If you do not specify, then you will get the French Meadow crust by default.

Their homemade marinara sauce is made with shallots and wine, which creates a fabulous taste that I haven’t found at any of the other pizza places. Their pizza is cooked the most consistently, so you don’t end up with a burnt or underdone pizza. They have calibrated their pizza oven, which works like an assembly line and drives the pizza through as it cooks, to produce a perfectly prepared gluten free crust.

Pizza Crust – 10” Domata Living Flour and French Meadow Bakery – both thin crust
Dessert – French Meadow Bakery’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
GF Beer – Bard’s Tale
GF Menu – n/a; ask staff which toppings are gluten free prior to ordering; sausage is not gluten free; barbeque sauce is gluten free
Other- Gluten free pasta with marinara sauce is also available (Tinkyada)
Location - 2750 Buford Highway, #5b, Duluth, 770-232-0224; Closed on Sundays

Pizza Fusion (www.pizzafusion) – they use organic, fresh ingredients and hybrid vehicles for delivery (yes delivery). Their topping options are extensive and are all gluten free except the sweet sausage and the barbeque sauce. All of their salad dressings are gluten free except the goddness dressing. They only offer Boylan’s sodas because they don’t carry any carbonated beverages with corn syrup. Don’t worry, they also offer juice boxes for the kids, Vitamin Water and Greens Ice Tea.

In my experience, this is the best local pizza around. The organic mozzarella, sauce and plentiful toppings make this pizza worth the money. The crust is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, which makes for a fantastic texture. They also offer a couple of specialty salads that can be ordered in a small or large portion that are a nice addition to the pizza.

Pizza Crust – Still Riding Pizza Crust – thin/thick crust that is only available in a Large. The crust is shaped more like an oval/rectangle as are the pizza boxes.
Dessert – Vegan/Gluten Free Brownie (Arrowhead Mills mix) topped with powdered cocoa and berries
GF Beer – Green’s Beer
GF Menu – GF menu offerings are on the regular menu
Other - They offer a lunch special that includes a personal sized pizza, small salad and drink for $13.50

They offer Vegan/Gluten Free Cheese (Follow Your Heart) for those who are lactose/casein intolerant

Still Riding Pizza trains everyone who buys their crusts on avoiding cross contamination. The pizzas are baked on one specific rack in the oven and cut with dedicated utensils.
Location - 2233 Peachtree Road, Suite M, Atlanta, 404-351-9334

zpizza ( –has been offering gluten free pizza made on Domata Living Flour’s ( pizza shells since October 2008. zpizza has completed the NFCA’s Gluten Free Restaurant Awareness Training Program, so they verified their gluten free ingredients and are able to properly prevent cross contamination.

In my experience, the pizza can be overdone/burnt making is too crispy or underdone/soggy. I have yet to have to experience the pizza cooked properly. They have a number of ‘specialty’ pizzas and toppings to choose from and also offer salads. Their pizza sauce is organic.

Pizza Crust – Domata Living Flour – 10’ thin crust made from rice
Dessert – Brownie and Carrot Cake made locally using Domata Living Flour (only available at the Alpharetta and Duluth locations)
GF Beer – Bard’s Tale
GF Menu – Yes, they have a laminated menu at the counter
Other – gluten free pasta with two types of sauces: marinara and pesto; can add chicken
5315 Windward Parkway, Suite B, Alpharetta, 678-205-4471
11720 Medlock Bridge Road, Duluth, 770-817-0526
860 Peachtree Street, Suite D, Atlanta, 404-745-9911,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gluten Free Ice Cream Cones

Summer is here and it is time for ice cream. There are a number of companies who make a gluten free ice cream cones and I have listed some below.

I highly encourage you to take a GF cone to your favorite ice cream place and ask them to use it. I have been to Dairy Queen a couple of times now and they gladly take my cone over the counter (using a napkin) and apply soft serve ice cream. Make sure to take in the box of cones, not just a cone in your hand, so they can see that it came from a box. There are 'food handling' issues that may prevent some places from using your cone.

Let's Do Organics (in the blue box) - cake cones
Barkat - both cake cones and waffle cones that are certified Kosher.
Cerrone Cones - waffle cones
Goldbaums Cones - cake cones that are certified Kosher

Enjoy your summer!