steorra: Part of Saturn in the shade of its rings (Default)
[personal profile] steorra
I recently read this article:
Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem (NYT).

It talks about a DNA study that found that herbal supplements sold in the US and Canada often contained different ingredients than their labels showed. Some of these included gluten and other common allergens. A couple quotes:

"Canadian researchers tested 44 bottles of popular supplements sold by 12 companies. They found that many were not what they claimed to be, and that pills labeled as popular herbs were often diluted — or replaced entirely — by cheap fillers like soybean, wheat and rice."

"Of 44 herbal supplements tested, one-third showed outright substitution, meaning there was no trace of the plant advertised on the bottle — only another plant in its place.

Many were adulterated with ingredients not listed on the label, like rice, soybean and wheat, which are used as fillers.

In some cases, these fillers were the only plant detected in the bottle — a health concern for people with allergies or those seeking gluten-free products, said the study’s lead author, Steven G. Newmaster, a biology professor and botanical director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph."
delladea: (Default)
[personal profile] delladea
I knew I wasn't the only one who was bothered by Gluten Free Society:

Naturally, the first link in their main navigation is a DONATE link. They have five donation levels, ranging from $25 to $1,000. What are you actually donating to? Well, it says to “help fund gluten sensitivity research”. What effing BS. Oh, but you do get a free T-shirt out of it…which promotes the website of course.

Next in our journey through hell are “Gluten Free Certification Courses”, which naturally is, and I quote, “by popular demand”. They offer two levels. Level One is a 2-hour online course. It’s totally free. I’m just kidding. It’s $200. Level Two is an 8-hour online course. It’s practically a steal for $800. And when I say it’s a steal, I’m referring to the fact that Dr. Osborne is stealing your money.
(Read the rest over at Gluten Dude)

Grr...

Sep. 21st, 2011 05:27 pm
[personal profile] literally
I don't have the time right now to debunk all the bullshit in this to Patch.com about how everyone suspecting gluten intolerance or Celiac disease needs a blood test, though I'm sure some of you out there can do some of the work for me. That being said, the information about 'gold standard' celiac tests is dated (scroll down this community a bit), there is nothing in gluten grains that can't be found of higher quality elsewhere (& let's not forget those nutrients are most often sprayed on by manufacturers), and even more importantly, not everyone in the US even has health care.

Just speaking from my own personal experience, by the time I suspected I had issues with gluten I was really sick, had too much problems absorbing nutrients, and wasn't in a great mental state to find the right clinic or doctor, I just wanted this to be over. The fact that consuming gluten if you had celiac raised the possibility of cancer down the road also weighed rather heavily on my mind, so why bother waiting?


eating "gluten-free" baked goods frequently can be a nutritional train wreck, since fat and refined substitute grains are typically used to hold together products that would ordinarily rely on — well — gluten!

Oh, god, the anti-fat argument. It's not like fat itself keeps baked items together either, it doesn't, there are other ingredients out there this author is obviously ignorant of for that.


And the main reason not to go gluten-free without a diagnosis is that you might delay treatment for some other condition which produces similar symptoms.

WAT. Seriously? Once you're off the gluten for a certain amount of time and the symptoms are gone, then it means gluten was indeed behind it. No way in hell does it create another mystery.
[personal profile] literally
So I tried their Chocolate Chip Cookie mix recently. It's mostly pointless because they use chocolate chips that are tiny and barely taste like chocolate, and like so much of the usual gluten free mixes out there, too low on salt. The texture itself isn't bad when baked, but I want chocolate chip cookies that are a bit chewy, if I wanted shortbread like texture I'd get a mix for that or make cookies meant to have that texture myself.

My current Fall resolution is to work on a gluten-free chocolate chip dough made with sorghum flour, and even more importantly, REAL rich and decadent chocolate chips. If I had the $ and time, I'd sponsor a recipe contest, but I don't, so I think this forum should be used to toss ideas and suggestions around.
[personal profile] literally
What are Some Common Misconceptions?

1. If a person doesn’t have celiac disease then they don’t need to remove gluten from their diet

2. The gold standard test for celiac disease diagnosis is an intestinal biopsy. If that is negative, there is no need for a gluten-free diet, regardless of blood testing or symptoms.

3. If their lab tests are negative (for either celiac or gluten sensitivity) then they are fine to continue eating gluten.

4. If a person has no digestive complaints and/or is not underweight, there is no reason to test them for gluten intolerance.


What is the Truth

1. If a person doesn’t have celiac disease, that doesn’t mean that they are not gluten sensitive. Gluten sensitivity affects a minimum of 10 times the number of people who have celiac disease. A conservative estimate puts that at 20 million Americans suffering with gluten sensitivity.

Considering it is known to decrease life expectancy, it is vital that we not miss the diagnosis of either of these debilitating conditions.

2. An intestinal biopsy is not a sensitive test. It requires marked damage of the small intestine before it shows positive. Dr Fasano, one of the leaders in celiac research, has stated quite recently that he too no longer considers it the gold standard; not even close. (That’s the two of us pictured at a conference.)

3. Even with the recent improvement of lab tests, we still suffer from a lack of sensitivity. The newest tests are a leap forward, but what really is the gold standard?

Many of us feel that it is embarking on a 30 day gluten-free diet. One must be 100% gluten-free for this to work – no cheating.

When done correctly, this free home test, can very clearly tell you what your body thinks about gluten.

4. All too ofte
n, doctors are locked into the notion that an individual with celiac disease will present with severe digestive problems. While that certainly can be the case, more often the individual has mild or absent digestive problems but instead complains of skin problems, fatigue, depression, migraines or joint pain, to name but a few.

It is truly maddening to hear that a doctor refused to test a patient solely because they did not have digestive problems or they were overweight – another misconception.




 Rest of the great article on gluten intolerance and increasing doctor awareness here.
[personal profile] literally
Let's hope this law is enforced, I'm sick of companies like General Mills and Pure Bar marketing to those whose lives depend on gluten-free diets.

It's not without its own problems, Celiacs aren't the only ones out there with gluten issues, and the 20 parts per million minimum doesn't help when its well known the accumulation over a day, much less year, is known to be harmful. So severly allergic people could still react very badly.


“There is no reason to avoid gluten if you don’t have celiac,’’ said Antinoro, “but plenty of my patients with the condition tell me they feel wonderful after switching off gluten.’’ There’s no evidence that gluten-free diets offer any health benefits to those who don’t have celiac.

People most likely feel better, Antinoro added, because they have improved the quality of their diet, cutting out starchy snacks while replacing them with fruits and vegetables. That could also explain why some successfully lose weight - that is, until they discover gluten-free brownies at the health-food store.



Other than the fact that humans can be allergic or food intolerant to anything, what proof does he have the so-called fad dieters are eating more fruits and veggies, much less eating more starches? If anything, most gluten-free baked goods contain plenty of starch, and I have yet to see a study on what most people who dump gluten actually in general.
[personal profile] literally
Is it just me, or is all or most of the low-calorie marketing is nothing less than the rising of food prices while being able to get away with proclaiming their food product as 'healthier'?

I also think the low-cal mantra is just a way of letting food companies off the hook and forget about the quality of nutrients in the product, as well as enabling eating disordered behavior.

But that aside, it's still a rip-off, and I've seen this crap pulled with things like power bars as of late, with no lowering of prices of what they are selling. It's feel good marketing for getting less for what you payed for.
[personal profile] literally
Their site doesn't even mention how many ounces a bar or package in their line, which should of been a red flag for me. I read their FAQ regarding their supposed gluten-free options, they really aren't gluten-free.

Gluten Free: You may select gluten free ingredients for your bar, shake, trail mix, or cookie however, your recipe may contain traces of gluten because our kitchen also processes recipes with gluten.


Then why are they claiming on the front page of their site they have gluten-free bars available in the first place?

Our Build-a-Bar page allows you to design your bar exactly as you want, so you can create anything from high-protein, low-carb energy bars to gluten-free protein bars.


Boycott this company, and don't forget to warn others.
[personal profile] literally
 I was pretty disappointed in the latest episode/podcast of The Splendid Table, since I disagree about the methods of cooking rice pudding, and there are some things we need to be more blunt about in order to have a great version of it.

 1. Low-fat and skim milk are awful and pointless additions, they only make milk based desserts taste lacking and help the sugar or other sweeteners overwhelm the dish. Plus, they're a processed food. It's better to stay away. In fact, I believe a half and half ratio of part whole milk and part heavy cream (if you live in the US, Sunshine dairy has the best pasteurized non-homogenized heavy cream in the big black carton) is the best way to go. If you have problems with dairy, then go with coconut milk.

2. Soak the rice in milk at least overnight, it vastly improves the texture of the grains. Don't bother boiling it in water beforehand, there is no ingredient like time.

 In addition, in my experience I never had problems with the rice because it wasn't rinsed, in fact the starch that isn't rinsed off helps with the thickening of the pudding.

3. If you don't have an egg allergy, I recommend adding a few yolks beaten with the sugar or another dry sweetener once the rice and milk mixture in the saucepan is thicker and the rice is tender, it really helps improve the flavor. 
[personal profile] literally
  No flavor, not one bit. Not even the dried apples they used in the Apple Cinnamon with Flax variety has any flavor. Where is the cinnamon? Where is the brown sugar? I think I've given up, if I'm going to have food with flavor it will have to be made by myself, or via a package of bacon (made the traditional way, no way in hell am I trying those uncured varieties).
steorra: Part of Saturn in the shade of its rings (Default)
[personal profile] steorra
(Cross-posted from [community profile] allergies and, with some variations, from my own journal, by the encouragement of [personal profile] literally.)

I have a potentially-fatal allergy to peanuts and walnuts.

I just went shopping. As I sometimes do, I looked through the section of fancy chocolate bars, trying to find something that didn't have traces of peanuts or walnuts. I ended up finding two that were labelled as safe for me and looked like things I might enjoy, and bought them both.

One of them was dark chocolate with mint. I checked the packaging carefully before buying it. The list of ingredients didn't include nuts, and there was no 'may contain traces' type warning that I could spot anywhere else around the back of the package. I probably checked several times; I usually do with chocolate, because it seems too good to be true when I find some I can actually have.

After I got home and unloaded all the groceries, I figured I'd have a bit of one of my new chocolate bars. I had decided on this mint one. I checked the back again, because it still seemed too good to be true. The back of the package has lists of ingredients in quite a few languages; English at the top, followed by Spanish, French, Greek, something Slavic in Latin letters, Swedish, and something that might be Portuguese, though it didn't contain any of the really obvious indicators of Portuguese.

One of these caught my eye, and I noticed that it had a 'may contain traces' warning. In fact, all the languages besides English do, warning against possible traces of milk and something else. I suspected the 'something else' might be nuts, but I wasn't sure. The French and Spanish were respectively 'fruits secs' and 'frutos secos', which literally means 'dry fruits', but I seemed to recall that that might mean nuts. I checked the German, which said 'trockenfruchten' (dry fruits), but given the lack of capitalization in the German, I figured it was likely a poor translation. The chocolate was produced by a Spanish company, so I figured I'd take the Spanish version as probably authoritative. I plugged 'frutos secos' into Google Translate, and sure enough, it came out as 'nuts'.

GRR!

That is a labelling failure that clearly someone ought to be made aware of. There should probably be a product recall. And I should probably attempt to inform the relevant people. I'd really rather not bother, but it should be done, so I guess I will try to do something about it...

The chocolate in question is "Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa With Mint", produced by Valor Chocolates.
[personal profile] literally
Ban the Bag: Should Kids Be Forbidden From Bringing Lunch to School?

 It's not reasonable, to expect each and every school lunch program to be capable of accommodating all kids on certain types of diets, such as what is required for allergies and food intolerances. But this is especially true for kids with epilepsy on ketogenic diets, since almost all school systems have bought in to the low fat mantra. Maybe someday, but not right now, not when the government is making more cuts to domestic spending.

 But there is also the matter of how schools are only viewing food from a nutritional perspective, and how entrenched they are in the low fat ideology. Banning cupcakes and birthday cake is ridiculous enough, and I frown on how food is being viewed as a morality issue, and how dare anyone eat for pleasure. No wonder more people are homeschooling these days.
[personal profile] literally
But I can't help but wonder if the CEOs of companies like General Mills and Betty Crocker will ever face it for the same (scroll down for some previous posts on those gluten-free frauds).

 Anyway- 11 years in prison isn't enough for Paul Seelig, but at least someone is getting punished for this for once


ETA: Beware the comments. Honestly, I don't know how people can't understand that sneaking in food that people are allergic or intolerant to is anything less than attempted murder.
[personal profile] literally
 This has nothing to do with gluten-free, other than the brand of protein bar I was googling for (Quest Bar). One of the reviews of it annoyed me, because the reviewer didn't understand the differences between non-carb sugar substitutes, and claimed that Stevia and Lo Han Guo were artificial. This is not the case at all, but I'm not going to provide links anyway on this one because it really isn't that hard to use a search engine. I don't give a damn about what Marion Nestle says about Stevia either, especially when it comes to how the product is processed, by her standards, chocolate and other goods would also qualify as processed junk foods, and sorry but you can't compare the highest quality chocolates made with pastry chefs and confectioners in mind with the average junk food on the market, you just can't.
 






 As for sucralose, that's different, it's lab-made, and it's one of the reasons why I plan on at least trying to make a non-sucralose homemade clone of the Quest bar, even though the amount of it in those bars are pretty small. There are a lot of good things about these bars, but they should perhaps have used Stevia in addition to Lo Han Guo, or just more Lo Han Guo in general instead of sucralose, but I don't run the company. On the other hand, they're the only good protein bar out there that is filling and is not full of carbs, gluten, or soy, and I can't deny I plan on buying myself a box or two of them soon anyway. They taste great, despite some minor problems I have with chicory root. But in the meantime, I'll be working on a recipe for a nut butter and whey based bars that are just as filling. 
[personal profile] literally
This asshat decides it's a great idea to disregard customer requests for gluten-free meals, and poisons them anyway.

 Gluten Free Works quickly fires off a letter to the Attorney General of the Colorado State Department of Law.
 
 I don't have time to make a huge rant about it, but it really annoyed me when I saw someone blaming people who aren't celiac or allergic for adopting these diets, there are a lot of other reasons aside from life threatening conditions to avoid it, and if you're lying about the ingredients in your food your business should be shut down. Honestly I'll never understand why it's so hard to make accommodations for people who want meal variations, and if you're not willing or able to do substitutions just fucking say so and take the damn risk of losing a customer. I don't care if people are lying about their conditions, that isn't an excuse to endanger anyone's life, and it's not putting the blame where it belongs, the selfishness of the business, chef, or server.
[personal profile] literally
If you like podcasts, you should listen to the latest show of The Paleo Solution (3/28/2011), in which he discusses Gluten intolerance. 
[personal profile] literally
Disease of Civilization? Or disease only properly diagnosed by civilization?

 Warning, Cheeseslave/ Ann Marie Michaels blames t3h M4n for it. Why so many people in these food communities tolerate this anti-modern medicine bullshit I don't know, I just know that the Weston A Price Foundation people and their fandom need to stick to evidence in dietary research, not blaming every damn thing that is modernity for everything that's wrong with human health these days.
[personal profile] literally
 I am considering making a message board related to this community's topic, because I've realized recently that the age of LJ and its clones are over. Sure, a lot of people from LJ has switched to DW from the past year or two but face it, it's not close to making a dent in readership, and the 90's and 00's are over, things have changed, except for message boards. And before anyone blames FaceBook, people should remember that use of LJ has been dropping before it became useable for everyone, and there are other places outside of that service LJ users have been migrating to for awhile, such as Tumblr and WordPress.

 I remember the time before LiveJournal was more vital, and I depended mostly on message board communities. I don't think the message board concept is going to die either, and from what I've noticed the death of the blog has been greatly exaggerated, it's just some other dynamics of the online social sphere has changed, and it will continue to for years to come.

 One of things that makes the idea of a message board very attractive to me right now is that no one needs and invite code, which is more likely to increase membership, and I don't see the trends looking that encouraging for this topic for DW, it seems to be mostly a fandom-oriented place, like most LJ clones in general. Not that that is a bad thing, but it just seems highly unlikely to change in the near future. I have my own theories about why, such as the lack of making this place more multi-media friendly (like nearly every other successful social networking site)), but I'll try to keep these rants about this out of this community, besides, its far too off-topic to focus too much on. 

 Before anyone gets any ideas, don't worry, I am not deleting this community now or in the future, I'm just recognizing the weaknesses of my choice in community creation.

 Thoughts, opinions?
[personal profile] literally
 When The Teacher Is A Food Allergy Bully

 I can't claim I'm terribly surprised, in my experience teachers and other staff members instigated it. I feel very luck my gluten sensitivity symptoms came about long after I graduated from high school.
[personal profile] literally
 But I decided it's time to at least start working on a Gluten Free Foodie blog with an unimaginative title anyway. There is only so much I want to rant about in this community, and besides, I'm sure there are members here with interesting things to say here. Hopefully I'll be able to write a good defense of this supposedly awful sin that is gluttony, my annoyances with both the Traditional Foods and Paleo community, what actual food justice is (hint, not the Let Them Eat Cake attitudes of Alice Waters and Michael Pollan), recipes that hopefully don't suck, and etc. 

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