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Archive for April, 2012

Notes on Gluten-free Products

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Gluten-free food products are newest explosion of food products on the market.  Every time you turn around there is a new product that is gluten-free.  After tasting some of these product here are some thoughts:

Breads, rolls,crackers, and breakfast foods: Udi’s has the many breads on the market.  My husband thinks the slice is too small, but other than that it is better than most.  He does like the bagels and uses bagels mainly for his sandwiches.  Udi’s also has a pre- made pizza.  It is thin crust; I always put a little olive oil and crushed rosemary on the crust before adding toppings.  My husband did not care for the muffins. Udi’s has hamburger and hot dogs but again my husband did not like them.  His favorite right now is rolls and baguettes product called Against the Grain out of Vermont.  He feels that it is the lightest bread product he has tried so far.  Be aware that Against the Grain has cheese and milk in it.  Rudi is another bread product on the market,it’s bread slice is slightly larger than Udi’s brand.  It works very well for breading meats.  Another brand call Kinnikinnick has bread products.  The only product we have tried so far is the cinnamon sugar donuts.  My husband thought it was good even though it was dense.  He thought it really filled him up. Kinnikinnick has other products that my husband and I have not tried yet such as:waffles, cookies, breads, buns, bagels, and pizza crust.  Blue Diamond Nut-Thins and Glutino are the most popular crackers on the market.  My husband love the Glutino Vegetable crackers.  Glutino also makes bagel chips, and pretzels covered with either chocolate or yogurt.    Lastly, my favorite is Ivory Teff Wraps.  They are made by La Tortilla Factory located in Santa Rosa, California.  These wraps made from gluten-free teff flour (from Africa).  It is a very nice soft wrap.  I made some great wraps filled with toffutti(soy based cream cheese), gluten-free taco mix, grated cheese, and chopped cooked chicken.  I mix these together placed the mixture on the wraps and sliced them as appetizers last Super Bowl.  People loved them. 

 Obviously, I missed some products and need to do more research.  Let me know about your favorites.

Gluten Intolerance Has Many Faces

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

A great deal has been written about Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease, connected to the protein gluten in wheat and associated with a high prevalence of antigliadin antibodies.  Less information is available about the non autoimmune “Gluten Intolerance”.  What is interesting is some of the same symptoms of Celiac Disease are popping up for “Gluten Intolerance”.  These symptoms are: Gastric distress such as IBS, and other associated digestive diseases.  But the interesting ones are: migraines, fatigue, skin rashes,and mouth sores. Most of the time these symptoms are ignored by the individual’s physician  or tests are non conclusive and the individual is forced to figure it out themselves.   By putting themselves on elimination diets they figure out what the problem is.  It is usually gluten.  We have gluten on almost every process food we eat.  Is it any wonder?  One individual who figured out it was gluten causing his/her skin rash, told me that everytime he/she cheated and ate gluten, the rash on the individual’s leg would come back.

We are in a grey area with “Gluten Intolerance” when it comes to the medical profession.  The physicians refuse to give a diagnosis without a test to back them up, while the individual involved are proclaiming a healthy difference without the gluten/wheat .  Only time will tell who is right.

Americans are getting fatter!

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

It is no surprise to anyone that the population is getting fatter, sicker, and it is getting worse everyday.  CDC  notes that Americans are 25 pounds heavier and their body mass index (BMI) has increase 3 points since 1960.  The average weight for males rose from 166.3 pounds to 191 pounds, for women it rose anywhere from 29 pounds to 17.5 pounds.  What is so alarming is the increase of weight in children.  The changes since 1960 and today for both girls and boys is about a 11 pounds increase.  These children and teens now have serious risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes  at an early age. What are the causes of this trend?  What can we as individual do?


1. Fast food restaurants:  McDonald’s was one of the first fast restaurants becoming very popular in the early 1960′s.  Their 25 cent hamburger with 15 cent fries was embraced by college students and many middle class families as a cheap family meal.  By the 1970′s the fast food restaurants were grossing 6 billion dollars per year.  Today 2012 these restaurants gross over 110 billion dollars.  That means that instead of once a month treat, fast food restaurants are a daily to weekly food stop.    A hamburger in 1960 with one meat patty, two (soft flour) buns, one slice tomato, and one piece of lettuce was calculated as 333 calories.  Today most hamburgers are two meat patties, two to three buns,same tomato and lettuce. The calorie count is 590.  The fat involved with the food served in 1970 as compared with today has increased 63% according to research.  Add the soda that comes with a meal.  The soda contains acid and sugar(or corn syrup).  The sugar increases the risk of diabetes and dental caries; the acid messes up your stomach (IBS and heartburn) and also promotes dental caries.  Lastly, the amount of acid total in this meal will cause your body to go into crisis with the body looking for ways to neutralize the acid in the blood.                                                                                      

2. Sugar and Corn syrup:  There has been a 400 % increase in the amount of sugar and corn syrup in our food.  There is hardly any processed food that does not have either sugar or corn syrup in it.  These worthless carbohydrate have become this nation’s favorite food.

3. Lack of exercise:  Computers, ipods, phones with texting, have replace meeting with friends for a friendly game of baseball, basketball, and soccer.  Yes, children do have sports games after school that are organized, but what about the free-time.  What are kids of America doing when they have free-time?  Are parents using the television and computer as the new nanny?  It seems the only thing kids are exercising these days are their thumbs. 

4.  Loss of family time and traditions:  When was the last time your family had a nice dinner together without the ipods, cell phones, and texting interrupting.  What does this teach your children?  That technical equipment is more important than family time together?  That their views and thoughts are unimportant?  So where are your children eating and who are they listening to?  Who is teaching them to chew their food at least 20 times so they will not have stomach problems?  Who is teaching your children about proper food choices?  Who is showing your children that sugar products is not a good choice all the time.  Who is giving your children their morals and ethics?  If you are not, then what ethics and food information is your child learning?

Race and poverty:  The highest rate of obesity is found in the South.  Ten states in the south are the highest in the United States with Mississippi ranking the highest.  Statistics show that 35 percent of individuals earning less than $15,000 a year are obese against 25 % individuals earning over $50,000 a year.  Still none of these statistics are good.  Education and loss of the family unit in the poverty groups can be one of the causes.  Individuals getting food stamps load up with pasta, rice, and other carbohydrate foods that are cheap but not healthy. 

So we have a population that eats cheap unhealthy food, does not exercise, doesn’t know how to eat or chew, and is gaining weight at a rapid rate.  What is the answer?  Everything the government has promoted has resulted with no results.  Maybe it is time for another approach.  This author welcomes all and any ideas that might help reverse this troubling trend.