Gluten-Free Simplicity

Useful Info, Tasty Anecdotes and Simple Recipes for Attaining Gluten-Free Simplicity

Archive for the ‘G-F Lifestyle’ Category

Basic information about the Gluten-Free Lifestyle (c. 2008, William T. Beverly, Ph.d.).

Here Comes Halloween!!! Know your Glutenistas!

Posted by nepeht on October 25, 2009

 Yikes!!!  Get past the REAL Tarantula to find the Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Lists…….. 
be careful….

Tarantula in the Grass (c.2009, WTB)
Tarantula in the Grass (c.2009, WTB)

Gluten-Free living can be difficult enough without those little Glutenistas.   Not always easy to spot…..     

 
 
 
 

Tarantula Blending In (c.2009 WTB)
Tarantula Blending In (c.2009 WTB)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 But, like a Glutenista, they can come about when you least expect!

   SOOOOO Be prepared!

 Know which Halloween treats are Gluten-Free… and which have little hidden Glutenistas!

Click on the links below for more information:

Gluten Freeda.com: “Halloween Candy: What is Safe?”

Halloween Candy List: Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Status 2009

Gluten-Free Mom: “Gluten-Free Halloween Candy 2009

Divine Caroline: “Gluten-Free Halloween Candy

Celiac Family: “Safe Gluten-Free Halloween Candy

Celiac Central: “Gluten-Free Snack and Candy List

  

     Have a nice and happy Halloween!

Want to read more about this topic?  Follow the links below: 

A less Scary Halloween

Gluten-Free 101

Gluten-Free Halloween

Gluten-Free Baking

Halloween for Children

 

Posted in G-F Lifestyle | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tonight’s Gluten-Free Menu Item Choice: Is It Celiac SAFE; or Is It Simply Gluten?

Posted by nepeht on May 8, 2009

By William T. Beverly, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
This is the question that a typical person with Gluten intolerance is possibly asking her/his self from the time they know which restaurant they are going to be eating in tonight, to the time that they leave that establishment.

When a place has a “Gluten-Free Menu” or items that they advertise as “Gluten-Free”, a person with such a medical condition is still going to probably be a bit cautious. That is, until they know with whom they are dealing and just what they are getting.

With whom are you dealing?

Well, there are big chains that are beginning massive advertising campaigns claiming that they serve some “Gluten-Free items” and that is all well and good. At the same time, one can sometimes get a pretty scary feeling when entering such an establishment and asking a question about such an item, and the server is not at all versed on the terms “Gluten” or “Celiac”.

I guess in cases where the item is fully automated and totally hands off from the time it leaves the corporate big house to the time it is served to you, then perhaps it can be assumed to be truly “gluten-free”. But then who really wants to eat something that mechanized. I mean, even at the fastest, fast-food joints, the folks in the back at least bless your entree with a pickle or something prior to serving it.

And then there is the problem that one often encounters in massive chain operations where the consumer gets an item that is supposedly “Gluten-Free”, yet the item is served with a brand of ketchup or mayo or dressing that is known to contain gluten. Then one nudges up to the counter-server to ask about this and is met with an “I don’t know” or “If you cannot eat wheat, can you eat white bread instead?”

In fact I was at one of those “Have it your way” burger chains the other day and ordered a Double _____ “with everything except the bun”; and the counter guy, savvy as he was — and polite — whistled back, “One Double ______, Low Carb!” OK… so I didn’t say a word. I was delighted that at least he was trying…. but does “Low Carb” necessarily mean “Gluten-Free”… I don’t think soooooooooo.

Part II of With Whom are You Dealing?

OK, so then there are those wonderful mom-and-pop places that just seem to be perfect, and they are trying their best to serve their Gluten-Free-Needy customers a wonderful item and they do….. Except, they get a little touchy when one asks… nicely, “Hey, this steak is like…. mulllahhhh wonderful!!! But can you tell me…. is it marinated?” (yes)… “OK… and I love it tooo……. but how bout… , Does that marinate include any items that might contain gluten???”

Their first defense (and unfortunately it is often a defense — which it does not need to be) is. “Well that’s Jenny’s Secret Recipe and I cannot divulge…” So you explain to the waiter about the Gluten-Free thingee, while at the same time, he is wondering why his establishment actually cares about such “food preferences” and he goes back to consult with the Chef… Jenny…. or Jenny’s daughter or somebody close enough to know the secret.

Of course she gives him a list of the ingredients in the marinate because as the Chef, she is somewhat aware that the Gluten thing is in her face more and more every day now…

The Waiter returns to the table and says, “The ingredients are some herbs and spices, vinegar, mayo, beer (cannot tell you what kind), sugar, a (not-to-be-named) steak sauce, an anonymous fruit juice, and tomato paste.” “Nope, nothing in there could contain Gluten.. so, you are home free.”

“Now can you please cut into your steak and tell me if it is done to your liking?”

At this point, it is kind of hard to tell the guy……. the waiter about how almost every ingredient he mentioned could contain gluten, depending on which brand they use etc… (e.g., Gluten can be in some brands of vinegar, mayo, beer, confectioners sugar, some steak sauces, some fruit juices, and in tomato paste).

I’m Backing Off Now…

So with tons of years in food service under my belt, I say with some firmness that in every establishment, there should be at least one person who cares about this “Gluten issue”. Food service people are people too and they are typically underpaid, overworked and they have to deal constantly with social situations where they clothes smell more like their fryer grease than like the cologne that they splashed on this morning. This is a hard life. So some slack is warranted.

At the same time, as an over-educated person with years of Celiac Disease under my belt (literally un-der my-belt), I can say that this life too is difficult and unfair and some slack is definitely warranted.

So How can We Meet In the Middle?

I am not sure what the solution is going to be.

I am certain that there are two things that cannot be helpful:

  1. I do not think that half-hearted “Gluten-Free” menu and advertising overhauls in corporate America are going to do anything but aggravate the situation UNLESS… and I said, “UNLESS!!!”, those same corporate bosses are willing to also act consistently in terms of training ALL involved staff and also sincerely analyzing recipes and inventoried product brands to see that only “Gluten-Free” product makes its way to the consumer’s table. This is an expensive undertaking and I would be surprised if even the majority of those touting “Our New Gluten-Free Menu” are taking it as seriously as all this.
  2. and, at the same time: I am certain that nothing really gets solved when a person in need of a Gluten-Free meal gets visibly angry about what she/he is served and then takes out 100% of that anger on the extremely low-level staff-person who served it to them. Yes, I think ALL staff are or should be responsible in such cases, but if a person is a teenager making minimum wage and has not ever even been reasonably briefed on the “New Gluten-Free Items” thingee… then I think it is management who is in the wrong; not the line worker.

So this morning, I was going to write up a list of what kinds of dishes on restaurant menus that say they are “Gluten-Free” are likely to be safe, versus which ones are probably not. I could not write that yet because I think these types of problems — as listed above — are much grander and much more significant at this time.

Surely, I will put together a list of “probably safe” and “possibly not” Gluten-Free “safe” menu items soon. And I will publish it. But for now, I think the “Safe” thing to do would be for America’s Corporate Bosses to wax sincerely about the “Gluten-Free” issue or NOT wax at all. And I think that those of us who sometimes have emotional rants in our empty dining enjoyment quests that sometimes lead to “Gluten-Free” starvation — oh… and I have been there many times too.. — should also think next time before we blast an unsuspecting cashier the local “Minute Burger Joint”.

What do you think?

 

Read what others have said about this issue:

Posted in G-F Lifestyle, Gluten Watch!!! | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Texas Bishop Includes “Celiac” in Special “Swine Flue Directive”

Posted by nepeht on April 30, 2009

  In a special “Directive” released to the press yesterday evening regarding the “seriousness of the Swine Flu”, Bishop Edmond Carmody, of the Diocese of Corpus Christi included “people with celiac or special needs” in his seven (7)-item list of “directives to Priests regarding distribution of Communion in wake of N1H1 virus situation”.   Story…

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A Newly Organized List of Gluten-Free Menus

Posted by nepeht on February 13, 2009

A Newly Organized List of Gluten-Free Menus

(Updated April 6, 2009, By William T. Beverly, Ph.D.)

For the latest list, go to our New Website at www.gluten-freesimplicity.com.

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Celiac Disease and Health Insurance

Posted by nepeht on January 14, 2009

  Four words: Celiac Disease & Health Insurance

  Oh boy… did  your blood pressure just go up?  Mine does every time I even think about this combination of words.  

  For years, people with Celiac Disease have been talking about having to pay higher “premium” rates due to disclosing to an insurance company (healthor life) that  they had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

  To quote from a response to such blog entries on Celiac.com:

“Yes, it is my understanding this is common. It can be very difficult to get life insurance once diagnosed with celiac disease. Same can be true for health insurance. it’s just a bummer, but all you can do is shop around” (Retrieved from http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/lofiversion/index.php/t614.html, on Jan. 14, 2009).

  It appears even contactuing the State Insurance Commission Office yields no help.

  Sadly and with all due respect, I have to point out that this very thread of conversation on Celiac.com evolved (or) devolved into an open discussion about how avoid such problems by NOT report ing such health problems to the Insurance Agency.  I mean, I really cannot blame these folks for these propositions, but am I the 0nlyone here who is noticinghow otherwise good, upstanding Americans are (having to) resort(ing) to essentially “fraud” in order to obtain insurance coverage due to what appears to be health-status discrimination by the very companies who operate with the mission of preventing and fairly addressing health problems?

  Then last week — years later, I saw a blog header: “Denied for Health Insurance”, where the author wrote:

“Just an FYI that I am currently shopping for health insurance. I was sort ofdiagnosed with celiac’s 18 months ago, my testing was all negative, but gluten-free diet has changed my life. I reported to the health insurance company that I had been tested (had to divulge the upper GI) and that I had celiacs, even though the medical tests were negative. Big mistake. I was denied coverage. Denied. I am now appealing the denial.

I just want people to know that this can happen” (Retrieved from http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/index.php?showtopic=54362, on Jan. 14, 2009).

  Within a few hours, a blogger’s response was:

Thank you for posting this. This is one of the reasons I have turned down further testing for myself. We all know that the health insurance industry’s primary concern is $, not health.”

“If you have not reported anything in writing, but only over the phone, your best bet might be to ask to speak to a supervisor and say that you were given erroneous information by the doctor’s office, which you then passed on to whomever you spoke to at the insurance company, and that [i]you do not in fact have celiac[/i], and that your medical records will support this.”

“Even if you did fill out and sign a form in writing, write another, and tell them that you just found out that you had been given wrong information by the doctor’s office, that they told you you had celiac so that you would stop eating wheat, which gives you problems, but that your bloodwork (attach a copy) was negative, so, by current medical standards, you don’t in fact have it.”

“Good luck, and please keep us posted!”  (Retrieved from http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/index.php?showtopic=54362 , Jan. 14, 2009).

  Does anyone else see a pattern here? 

  I post this with respect and in fact, blanketed compassion for all of the bloggers I have quoted here.  I cannot blame them for their reactions, nor for the overwhelmingurge to wax like some lawyers with half-truths and non-disclosure tactics.

  Clearly, I am not the only one of us who gets an instant blood-boil upon hearing the words, : Celiac Disease & Health Insurance

  I guess I am somewhat desensitized as I have been hearingsuch cutting terms as “pre-existing” condition since my first Crohn’s surgery back in the very early 80’s.

  One of the reasons I studied Social Work was to learn ways of bringing change to a system that seems (to me at least) to be unfair.  And changes have come about over time.  But perhaps more change is needed…

  About a year ago, Nancy Lapid published an article asking: “Should Insurance Companies Have to Reimburse for the Extra Costs of Gluten-Free Food?”  (Retrieved from http://celiacdisease.about.com/b/2008/01/30/should-insurance-companies-have-to-reimburse-for-the-extra-cost-of-gluten-free-food.htm, on Jan. 14, 2009).  Naturally, this led to quite a spirited interaction of commenters at a special link: http://blogs.timesunion.com/readandreact/308/celiac-disease.

  One person even wrote… and you best prepare yourself for this one even though I would bet you already know it’s coming:

“Talk about people milking the system.
How dare these people think they are entitled to a payout for this.
This is why insurance rates are so high.

All they have to do is avoid certain foods. Yet, they are taking advantage of the system.

Comment by Alison – January 28th, 2008 @ 10:13 am” (Retrieved from http://blogs.timesunion.com/readandreact/308/celiac-disease, on Jan. 14, 2009).

   And then, of course, there are other angles, such as this which was submitted to the Lapid article’s comment thread at that time by a person who has her own Gluten-Free Blog at http://blogs.timesunion.com/glutenfree/.  She wrote:

As a person who lives a gluten-free lifestyle by medical necessity I would not expect my health insurance company to reimburse me for any portion of my food costs. I have a great relationship with my health insurer and they provide me with everything I want/need from them, namely: coverage for doctor visits, medical tests, lab work, medications (though I take none on a regular basis), and coverage for (heaven forbid!) emergencies, hospitalizations and surgeries. I am lucky and very grateful for the coverage that I have” (Retrieved from http://blogs.timesunion.com/readandreact/308/celiac-disease on Jan. 14, 2009).

  And finally, yet another whole side of this issue that really needs attention, but is often totally overlooked.  The headline from one month ago read: “I think my husband has Celiac’s disease, and we have no insurance. Can you offer me some advice?” and a pull quote that sums it up would be:

“i just feel so lost without the guidance of a doctor. i’m so upset that the economy is the way it is, and we can’t afford to see a doctor. but this is our situation. he and i rarely even get so much as the common cold, so i was surprised when he began developingthese symptoms. i wish i could get a professional in here to diagnose, but we won’t even be graduating for another 2 years. we’re just hopingeverything goes ok” (Retrieved from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081210134024AAvQLnD, on Jan. 14, 2009).

  If one looks at the “Best Answer” posted below the above entry (which I will purposely NOT quote), one might see just how crazy this whole thing has become.

  According to another site (http://celiac-disease.com/have-celiac-disease-vote-for-barack-obama/) and blog (http://gluten-free-blog.blogspot.com/) Obama should have beenthe Presidential choice for all people with Celiac Disease because:

“If I had to choose just ONE issue that was important to anyone with Coeliac Disease, it would have to be that of Health Insurance and especially being able to obtain health insurance that includes mandatory and guaranteed Preexisting Conditions Coverage” (Retrieved from http://gluten-free-blog.blogspot.com/2008/11/obama-mccain-gluten-free-politics.html, on Jan. 14, 2009).

  Oh, I could go on and on with this, but I am not sure if I go any further at this point if it would really make a difference.  I can say that like many of us, I do hope that this politician is able to find his way through the murky waters of the D.C. Beltway in order to make at least this one very important campaign promise come true.

  I imagine if there really is a sincere push legislatively to get this done and if it ever looks like it can be successful, we will then hear policy statements and proposals Ad nauseam from the varous insuance companies telling us how they just love people with Celiac Disease…. and on and on and on and on and on….

  Perhaps you wish to make a difference regarding this issue.  One way to start could be to look up the Celiac Disease Center at the University of Chicago:    http://www.celiacdisease.net/advocacy .  They probably have some ideas.  And there are likely to be many other such resources around for those who are interested.

  Are you interested?  I mean, if nothing else, perhaps some day we could view those words: Celiac Disease & Health Insurance … in a nice shade of soothing Blue, instead of red.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I don’t know, whatdaYouthink?

Posted in Celiac Disease, G-F Lifestyle | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Gluten Free Lipstick??? Don’t Be A CHICKEN!!!

Posted by nepeht on December 26, 2008

  Ok.. so how do you tell her nicely… and without future consequences,

I was downright Chicken!!! (c.2008, WTB)

I was downright Chicken!!! (c.2008, WTB)

  “Hey… don’t kiss me with that Lipstick on?”   Wow… could this lead you into trouble or what??? 
  Good question? I think so…
  Anyway, this is for real. Some cosmetics are chock-full of Gluten. There has been a great discussion about this on the Celiac Forum Blog. They even published a list of some of the cosmetic ingredients which contain hidden gluten. http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/lofiversion/index.php/t34.html .
  Check it out.

  I had to walk around like a chicken for days and weeks trying to think up a way to tell her….

  Don’t Be A CHICKEN!!!  Just give her the list and go from there…. Good luck!!!

Posted in G-F Hygene, G-F Lifestyle | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Why Gluten-Free if Not Required? Great Question!

Posted by nepeht on December 23, 2008

  Why Would Anyone Go on A Gluten-Free Diet if She/He Did Not Have To?  Think about it.

  There are some hassles involved are there not?  High Prices, Aches, Pains, Social Awkwardness, more Headaches, Totally De-calibrated Nutrition Balance (i.e., Fats-to-Proteins-to-Carbs), Monotony, Moods, etc………..

  This is an excellent question. And it also brings up some wonderful, but often unfortunate, problems with contemporary U.S. culture.

  The original article about this phenomenon can be found at: http://pokedandprodded.health.com/2008/12/19/why-would-anyone-except-a-celiac-want-to-go-on-a-gluten-free-diet/

  Unfortunately, but informatively, there are also other articles about this phenomenon:

  Where is this world going with this???

  Happy reading.

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U.S. News and Gluten-Free Fads???

Posted by nepeht on December 22, 2008

  Well, we have a free press in the U.S.  And that’s good.

  This also allows for our part to be one of making comments when the free press speaks out about topics dear to us in either wonderful or painful ways.

  Gluten-Free Kathy alerted us that there is an article in U.S.News about Gluten-Free(ness) at: http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/digestive-disorders/2008/10/31/gluten-free-diet-a-cure-for-some-a-fad-for-most.html

  For some this might be a good time to stand up and be counted.  Just an idea….

  Have a nice holiday.

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Basic Introduction to Celiac Disease and Gluten-Sensitivity Slideshow

Posted by nepeht on December 16, 2008

Posted in Celiac Disease, G-F Lifestyle | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Feeding Two Birds with ONE Seed

Posted by nepeht on December 15, 2008

  I was checking out this blog titled, “Deb Brammer: You and me — working together” and its posting, “Gluten-Free Company“.  It started out with,

“You’ve just invited company and now you find out they have to have a gluten-free diet. Now you are having second thoughts. What will you fix? Maybe you wish you hadn’t even invited them.”

I was a little bemused … if that’s the correct word for…. what???.  Then I read on:

“But consider this. People who need a gluten-free diet (celiacs) are often very nice people who don’t get invited out much. They will especially appreciate the extra effort you take to prepare the meal. They didn’t ask to have this problem and they don’t have any choice about it. They can live absolutely normal lives when they figure out how to handle their diet. Their biggest problem is eating out or eating with people who aren’t used to cooking gluten-free.”

  I could not totally agree with the statement, “they can live absolutely normal lives”, but the “when they figure out how to handle their diet” part rang genuine in a big way.

  I went… Oh… OK, much much much much much better!!!

  This was  a great idea.  This article then pointed readers to another Internet post on  Easy pointers for how to feed a Gluten-Free person.  Which led me to a link about just “How To” do this in a simple way. 

  Then it hit me — what better way to also learn about how to deal with a Gluten-Free diet for people who ARE Gluten-Free (or need to be) and are either new to it or are still learning the basics.

  So I just had to kind of echo both Ms. Brammer’s message and the “About.com” article on the “How to” of it.  There are some simple and basic truths about living a Gluten-Free life.  Sure, much of this path is very complex and can grow to be as rich as it is complicated, but at the beginning, the fundamental building blocks are both simple and essential.

  As a person who has spent much time and effort as a professional teacher, one of the things toward which I gravitate is teaching about Gluten-Free living.  I also see evidence of others struggling with this.  And even in the professional realm, the idea of teaching Gluten-Free tasks is picking up steam.  It appears they are teaching a class in it at the Culinary Institute of America.  This is great news as it means a whole new generation of chefs will be operating with G-F needs in mind on some scale.  Many are excited about this.

  So the idea of “Feeding Two Birds with ONE Seed” is that while a blogger is writing about how a host should go about treating Gluten-Free guests to appropriate hospitality; this blogger is also contributing valuable knowledge and tips to those of us who are still learning about how to go about this Gluten-Free life. 

  I am glad she did that.

Posted in G-F Cooking, G-F Diet Tips, G-F Lifestyle | Tagged: | 1 Comment »