Jovial Gluten Free

Recently the Gluten Free RN received a large sample of gluten free pasta and cookies from Jovial Foods. Jovial Foods is a company that offers both gluten containing products and a line of gluten free products. They believe that “eating gluten free should feel like a pleasure not a sacrifice”. Their gluten free line includes several varieties of brown rice pasta, and three different types of gluten free cookies.

The brown rice pasta only contains two ingredients, organic brown rice, and water. All of the pasta is made in a dedicated facility that is free of gluten, casein, eggs, tree nuts, and peanuts. Additionally, the pasta is a certified gluten free product and is tested to less than 10PPM.

Spaghetti is a popular meal in our home, so I was happy to take home a few samples and give the pasta a try. I love that the pasta is organic and certified gluten free. It cooked well, wasn’t mushy, and the texture was great. Finding good quality safe gluten free pasta can be a challenge but overall we were really happy with Jovial. We will definitely keep using it for future dinners!

Jovial sent us two different types of cookies; chocolate cream filled and fig fruit filled. The cookies are made in a facility that was “specifically designed to ensure an absolutely safe product but not dedicated gluten free”. Jovial notes that they bake their cookies on dedicated equipment on separate production days. They also test each batch for gluten at less than 10PPM

The cookies were great and from what I can remember are very similar to Fig Newton’s. They had a great texture, and were not too hard or mushy. Although cookies are not a daily occurrence for me these would be a great snack to add to an occasional lunch or to take on a trip. I loved how the cookies were packaged, and I would definitely purchase more in the future.

Thanks Jovial for providing safe delicious gluten free options! If you want to learn more about Jovial Foods visit them at


GF Travel in Europe

We received these recommendations from one of our readers who recently traveled throughout Europe. Her advice is useful to anyone with gluten intolerance traveling in Europe:

In France, Belgium and Germany I found gluten-free products fairly easy to source in the larger supermarkets and natural food/vitamin stores. The larger markets had entire end displays or aisle sections devoted to gluten free, natural and organic foods, sometimes mixed in with or located near the diet foods. The larger, newer, fancier supermarkets also offered deli-style, to-go foods like green salads, small cold cut plates, veggie plates, etc. which worked well for me. One large, multi-country market chain we found is Carrefour. The one we stopped in offered a wide variety of GF products.

Many of the processed, ready-to-eat gluten free products like cookies and crackers also indicated lactose free. In addition, they offered breads, snacks, baking mixes, pastas and more.

Look for “gluten frei” or “laktose frei” on German product labels or “sans gluten” or “sans lactose” on French labels. Travelers to Spain will want “sin gluten” and “sin lactosa” products.

Soy products abounded, including yogurts and puddings.

Whereas in Corvallis I see GF-friendly shelves with a variety of items from many different manufacturers, in France/Belgium/Germany there appeared to be products from one or two companies – an extensive, in-depth selection from each company. See the photos for better understanding.


  • I wish I would have taken some peanut butter for easy protein and GF salad dressing for restaurant use or to-go salads.
  • I carried a small bottle of Lactaid pills, and they helped to bail me out of some tricky food situations.
  • I carried Tums, gas pills and stool softeners – all of which I’d recommend to GF travelers.
  • I packed some GF instant oatmeal packets which saved the day more than once when I couldn’t eat what was offered for breakfast (normally bread with butter, yogurt and coffee with milk) or was available in the dining car on the train. It was pretty easy to ask for a cup of hot water and a spoon.
  • And, I carried some Lara and Kind bars, plus some protein packets to mix into juice.

In restaurants it was more challenging to find truly safe foods. Although I asked for salads with no dressing, requesting oil and vinegar to be separate, I usually ended up with vinaigrette dressing served separately in a small bowl. I couldn’t get them to understand the separate oil and vinegar option. In asking how meat was prepared, and requesting no butter or cream or sauce, my tummy often told me after the fact that instead of pure oil, there had been cross-contamination on the grill or perhaps the cook had used some sort of dairy product in the preparation.

I would recommend taking some note cards in different languages explaining GF/LF needs so the waitress and the cook can clearly understand what you can and cannot eat.

Generally safe foods I found readily available in restaurants were green salads, steak, and French fries in France and Belgium. In Germany I relied on sausages and pork, sauerkraut, boiled potatoes, green salad. Occasionally I found roast or grilled chicken.

Requesting meals

You can also request gluten free or special diet meals on the airplane if you do so at least 48-hours ahead of time. But, pack some safe food just in case! One flight worked well for me with veggies-rice-grilled chicken, fruit cup and green salad…and one didn’t work at all due to a lack of the online request form not getting processed – so they had no GF meal for me.

We stayed in two B&B’s in France which offered dinner made with local, garden-fresh ingredients. We made dinner reservations with them, and I let each hostess know about my GF/LF issues. I asked that they make their regular foods, saying I’d just eat what I could – not wanting to be a problem child… but also not wanting the hostess to think I didn’t like her meal if it was something I could not eat. BOTH hostesses made delicious dinners that were all or primarily all gluten and lactose free! J

Update 2015: Here’s a site to check out for travel in the UK:


ADA: Celiac & Gluten

What is the ADA?
“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that gives protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.”

Essentially the ADA provides the public with protection against discrimination, and provides equal employment opportunities.

How does the ADA define a disability?
Under the ADA a person with a disability is described as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment.

2011 – New Regulations:
In the past it has been questionable if celiac disease, gluten intolerance and other disorders were considered disabilities under the ADA. In March of 2011 a new set of guidelines were put in place that expanded the definition of disability:

The ADAAA expanded the definition of disability by introducing a new, non-exhaustive list of major life activities that include: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Also, for the first time, the ADAAA has stated that major life activities will include the operation of major bodily functions, including but not limited to functions of the immune system; normal cell growth; and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.”

Invisible disabilities:
Celiac disease is also considered an “invisible disability” under the ADA. “Invisible disabilities” is an umbrella term that captures a whole spectrum of hidden disabilities or challenges. Celiac Disease, Food allergies, and other intolerances are all considered invisible disabilities.

Family Medical Leave Act:
Celiac disease is considered a “chronic and serious” health condition, and therefore it is covered under the family medical leave act. What does this mean? Essentially this means that with a doctors note there are a specific set of rules that prevent a celiac patient from losing their job if an extended period of time is need off for celiac related reasons. If you live in Oregon, click this link for more information:

Students With Celiac Disease:
School can be especially difficult for anyone with celiac disease. Luckily, students with disabilities are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973.

What is Section 504?
“Section 504 of the rehabilitation act of 1973, a federal civil rights statute, is designed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of a disability in an educational program or institution. This prohibition extends to any educational institution accepting federal funds. Students with disabilities under this act are afforded accommodations and modifications to their educational program to ensure equal access.”

Essentially all public schools and any federally funded programs must provide equal access to all programs and services as those who are not disabled.

What about colleges?
Colleges are required to abide by section 504. The section states that if a school accepts federal funding then they must abide by the 504 act, and therefore must make any necessary accommodations. Which in turn means that schools (even colleges) must provide equal programs and services to all students.

Currently there are colleges across the nation that have began to accommodate gluten free needs. Here in the Willamette Valley both Oregon State and the University of Oregon have implemented gluten free menus.

How do I file for a 504 plan?
Documentation requirements vary by state however usually school officials will require proof of diagnosis, explanation of how celiac disease affects diet, and how it may adversely affect a person in an educational setting.

There are several resources on the web that give detailed instructions on developing a 504 plan that works for you or your child:…a%20Student%20with%20Celiac%20Disease%20-%202011.pdf

Further Assistance?
If further assistance or information is needed on this topic you can contact the Americans With Disabilities Act for more information. The ADA may provide you with a caseworker that can help you with your specific situation.




Wheat Germ Oil

Gluten Free but not Wheat Free?
It is well known in the gluten free community that wheat free does not always mean gluten free. However, it is not as well known that gluten free does not always mean wheat free. Recently, we have discovered several products labeled gluten free that contain wheat. After finding these products, our office decided to investigate further. We found that in almost all of these “gluten free” products wheat germ oil was listed in the ingredients. We wanted to know more; what was wheat germ oil, how could it be labeled gluten free, and was it harmful to celiacs and gluten sensitive individuals?

What is Wheat Germ Oil?
Most frequently used in cosmetics due to its high vitamin E content, wheat germ oil is known scientifically as triticum vulgare. The only oil that is derived from a gluten containing source; wheat germ oil is a fatty acid found in very small quantities within the small embryo of the wheat plant.

Is Wheat Germ oil Gluten Free?
Typically, when wheat germ oil is used it has been refined. The refining process in theory removes all gluten proteins, and therefore would make wheat germ oil free of any gluten proteins. Although it is likely to be a small amount it is possible for refined oils to contain trace amounts of gluten. These trace amounts may be left over from a poor refining method or from cross contamination that may occur during the process. We essentially relate this to a product that is labeled “gluten free” yet made in a manufacturing plant that also process wheat. These are products that we believe should not be labeled gluten free and most often do contain gluten.

Can Wheat Germ oil be Labeled as Gluten Free? 
There are no gluten free labeling laws in the United States. There are a set of “proposed laws” that state products under 20ppm gluten may be labeled as gluten free. Due to the low amount of gluten, these proposed laws would make wheat germ oil a “gluten free” product in the United States. Furthermore, the FDA states, “highly refined oils and ingredients made from highly refined oils are exempt from allergen labeling.” The US Department of Agriculture states “A benefit of refining oils is that the refining process renders them virtually free of allergenic protein”. This would then imply that wheat germ oil is an allergen free product, and exempt from all labeling laws.

Is Wheat Germ oil Safe for Celiacs?
According to celiac centers in the United States and Canada wheat germ oil is not a safe product for celiacs and gluten intolerant individuals. Here at the Gluten Free RN we are in agreement that wheat germ oil is not a safe product to use. We believe that using a product derived from wheat is too big of a risk to take. It is still possible that this product may contain a small amount of gluten, and we believe that any amount of gluten is too much for a gluten free diet. It is also important to remember that there are subsets of people who are both intolerant to gluten and allergic to wheat. These individuals would have a definite reaction to any products containing wheat germ oil.

 Identifying Wheat Germ oil in Products: 
Wheat germ oil is often found in beauty products and may be labeled as tocopherol (vitamin E). Although the amount of wheat germ oil found in tocopheral may be low, it is important to always contact the manufacture to insure their vitamin E is derived from a different source. If the manufacture does not know where their tocopherol is derived from we recommend finding an alternative beauty product. Remember any amount of gluten is too much!

 Wheat germ oil can also be found in edible products including chocolate, and other processed products. Our office has found that these products are labeled gluten free but not wheat free and do include “wheat germ oil” on the ingredient list. Currently we recommend keeping these products out of your gluten free diet. The manufactures may insist that the gluten protein has been completely removed from their wheat germ oil but we believe that is too bold of a statement to make. There are just too many unknowns about wheat, gluten intolerance, and the affects of wheat germ oil on a gluten free diet to allow it to be part of our diets.When it comes to wheat germ oil we will use our golden rule; when in doubt, go with out!


Where is Gluten Hiding in Your Life

We live in America and gluten is everywhere!

Below are just a few of the places gluten can hide…

Your Significant Other:
Can you get gluten contaminated from kissing someone?

The answer is yes.

When my husband reaches over for a kiss… I always have to stop and ask him; do you have gluten mouth? Although this might not seem very romantic, either is the horrible aftermath that will occur if he kisses me with a mouth full of gluten.

Update: Shortly after this post my husband went 100% gluten free. Our entire house is now gluten free including the pet food 🙂 

Gluten CAN be transferred from one mouth to the next! If your significant partner is not ready to make the switch to a gluten free lifestyle they can take a few precautions, to ensure they do not poison you.

We keep mouthwash in almost every room of the house, that way my husband can be lazy, and wash out his mouth no matter where he is. We also tote around a travel size mouthwash, and toothbrush. We also take other precautions in our home. My husband has his own gluten everything! He has his own cupboard, cabinet, pans, utensils, and plates. He also washes his hands after touching anything that has gluten in it.  We also keep gluten free sanitizer wipes in every room in case of any over spills.

Beauty products:
Gluten is hidden a lot of beauty, and cosmetic products. See our cosmetic blog:

Beer and distilled liquor:
Beverages can be tricky. Many people make the mistake of thinking their beverages must be gluten free when in fact they are not. This includes juices, smoothies, milkshakes, and any other beverages. Always make sure you know how your product is made and all the ingredients that go into that product. Some red flag ingredients in beverages are; natural flavors, caramel coloring, added preservative and manufactured in a facility with wheat.

Almost all beer does contain gluten. Luckily, there are now a large number of quality gluten free beers on the market, and the number of safe options is growing. It is also an option to try hard ciders. However, it is important to make sure the cider is labeled gluten free. Not all hard ciders are free of gluten, and wheat!

Most distilled liquors are considered “gluten free”. It is said that the gluten protein is “washed” out of the alcohol through the distillation process. However, not only have we found that many celiacs cannot tolerate grain alcohol, it is also important to be aware of cheap liquor. Several of the cheap liquors do not use a thorough distillation process, and some of the gluten proteins may still be present.

It is also important to be aware of any alcohol with coloring or flavors as these may contain some source of gluten. If you do decide to drink distilled liquor then we suggest sticking to alcohol that is not derived from a grain. Some suggestions are; rice or potato vodka, tequila, and light rum.

Gluten is used in candy to give it those stretchy elastic properties. All big name brand licorice has gluten in it. This includes; Twizzlers, Good & Plenty, and any other big name brands. There are some brands that make “gluten free” licorice, however it is important to read the label every time, and be aware of cross contamination.

Gum is one of those products that fall into the grey category. It is quite possible that most gum does contain some form of gluten. Trident is one company that is listed as being gluten free.

Soy sauce:
Almost all soy sauce has wheat in it.

San-J and Kikkoman are both companies that do make a line of gluten free soy sauces. Their products can usually be purchased at local grocery stores or through online gluten free stores.

Wheat is used as a thickening agent in almost all soups and sauces. Always read the label, and when in doubt go without. Some companies that offer gluten free soups are: Pacific Natural Foods, and The Gluten Free Café.

Salad dressing:
Salad dressing can often have a hidden source of wheat that is not displayed on the label; many companies will use wheat to help thicken the dressing. Some options for salad dressing are: Olive oil, and lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, purchase a “certified” gluten free option or make a different variety at home.

Tea and coffee:
Many people often make the mistake that all tea, and coffee is gluten free. All plain coffee grounds should be gluten free. The problem arises when flavors are added into the coffee grounds or espresso drinks. Often these flavors will have additional ingredients that may contain gluten. If you choose to drink coffee from places other than home, we suggest finding a place that you trust and knowing all the ingredients that go into your drink.

An example of this is Toroni syrup, Toroni is often used in espresso drinks and other flavored beverages. If you look at Toroni’s ingredient list it states that all their drinks are wheat free. However if you dig a little deeper you will find that five of their syrups do contain gluten. Here are the ingredients for their caramel flavored syrup: Pure cane sugar, water, natural flavors, citric acid, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate. Most would look at these ingredients and assume this was gluten free. Unfortunately this is one of the syrups that do contain gluten. The other syrups that contain gluten are; Bacon, SF Caramel, Marshmellow, and SF French Vanilla.

There are two issues that come into play when dealing with tea. The first is the packaging. Many companies will use gluten to help the tea bag stay closed, and this gluten can contaminate your tea bag. The other issue is that many companies often put barley into their herbal teas. There are some great options for gluten free tea; Tazo* and Celestial Seasons both have gluten free options.

*Not all Tazo Teas are gluten free. The following teas do contain gluten: Green Ginger, Honeybush, Lemon Ginger and Tea Lemonade.

Deli meat:
Almost all processed meat has some source of hidden gluten in it. When I buy lunchmeat or any other processed meat I always make sure it says gluten free on the label. If you prefer to purchase deli lunch meat, I suggest going to the supermarket when it first opens so all the counters, cutters, and knifes are clean. Then ask the deli person to help you check ingredients. Make sure that they understand that all surfaces need to be cleaned, and that they will need to change their gloves before helping you with your purchase.

Farmland Foods provides a great example of a lunch meat that may have hidden gluten. When looking at the ingredients on their deli meats you will not find any mention of gluten.

Here are the ingredients from one of their deli meats: Pork liver, pork, bacon (cured with: water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite), water, salt, dextrose, flavorings, sodium nitrite.

With a closer look we found this information under their FAQ section on their website we found the following information: Spice formulations from our suppliers and secondary suppliers can change from time to time and still be correct under USDA labeling requirements. Because of this, along with the possibility of cross-contamination from the secondary suppliers to our own main ingredients, we cannot absolutely guarantee that any of our products will be gluten-free.

Wheat free products
When buying processed products it is important to always read the label. If a product claims it is “wheat free” that does not mean it is gluten free. Remember gluten is not just wheat and can come from several other sources. Only buy products that are; wheat free, gluten free and manufactured in a dedicated or clean facility. Always be cautious of products that claim they are gluten free but are also made in a facility with wheat.

All medicine has the potential to contain gluten.

For prescription medicine:
We recommend always checking with your pharmacist, and doctor before talking any medicine. The Gluten Free RN office can also test any medication for $10. If your pharmacist or doctor refuses to help you find the ingredients in your medicine please let us know.

Over the counter medicine:
Did you know that beano contains gluten? It is essential to always read the label on your medicines! However, some medicines will not list all of their ingredients on the label, it might be necessary to call the manufacture to make sure it is safe.  There are also websites that provide extensive lists of gluten free medication. If you chose to use these lists make sure that all the information is up to date.

All play-doh has gluten in it! Here is a recipe to make your own play-doh at home:

French fries:
French fries from fast food restaurants are NOT gluten free. Nine times out of ten these restaurants will use a common fryer for their fries, chicken nuggets, tater tots, ect. That common fryer WILL contaminated your fries with gluten. We recommend staying away from all fast food. We believe that the risk of cross contamination is just too high. If you are craving burgers and fries it is always an option to make your own at home or find a local restaurant that can adjust to your needs.

*Be aware that not only are McDonalds Fries made in a common fryer. They are also coated with wheat and milk.

Processed food:
To be on a completely 100% gluten free diet taking out processed food may be essential. It is important to remember that even a bread crumb can trigger the same autoimmune reaction as a piece of bread.  Here is a link to an excellent resource on processed food containing gluten:

Cleaning products:
It is important to make sure that all of your cleaning products are gluten free. There are several natural cleaning products out there. Both apple cider vinegar and baking soda make great safe cleaning products.


Lapid, Nancy. “N/A.” Celiac Disease – Gluten-Free Diet. 26 Jan. 2008. Web. 09 Apr. 2011. <>.

Sarros, Connie. “Hidden Sources of Gluten.” Celiac Solution. Web. 09 Apr. 2011. <>.


Gluten Free Cosmetics

Say Goodbye To Your Gluten Filled Makeup Bag

Do you really need to worry about health and beauty products such as shampoo and hair spray? How about mascara and eyeshadow? Do these products even contain wheat, barley, rye or oatmeal?

The simple answer is ‘yes’ most cosmetic products do contain some form of gluten and can cause symptoms, especially for people that are exquisitely sensitive or have the rash DH.

People with gluten intolerance, celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis ARE sensitive to gluten in their personal care products. Everything that is placed on your skin has the potential to enter in your bloodstream. Accidental ingestion can also happen if any gluten containing ingredients are on your skin, hands or around your mouth. Although you might not eat your eye shadow or mascara it does have the potential to get on your hands, and then into your mouth, eyes or nose.

The Gluten Free RN has set out on a mission to find gluten free beauty products. We have formed a list of companies that claim to have gluten free cosmetics and beauty products.

Please use this list of companies as a resource guide for finding products. With the following precautions in mind:

  • We have not tested every product from every company and therefore cannot guarantee that every product is 100% free from gluten.
  • Companies change formulas and ingredients in their products often. When ordering a product we recommend checking the ingredients, and emailing the company for verification.
  • Everyone has different skin. While one product may work for me it might not work for you. We recommend testing products on your skin before purchasing them. Many companies will give away or sell samples that can be used as a tester before you decide to make a purchase.

The Hidden Ingredients

Gluten can be very sneaky and as many of you know appears in all different places. Below is a list of the many ingredients gluten can hide in your beauty products:

  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour
  • Cyclodextrin
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrin Palmitate
  • Hydrolyzed Malt Extract
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch
  • Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Flour
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Gluten
  • Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Starch
  • Wheat Amino Acids
  • Wheat Germ Glycerides
  • Wheat Germamidopropalkonium Chloride
  • Wheat Protein
  • Wheatgermamidopropyl Ethyldimonium Ethosulfate
  • Yeast Extract

Gluten Free Cosmetics Companies

Below is a list of companies that claim to have mostly or all gluten free products. As a reminder: We have not tested all of the products or companies on this list. If you have highly sensitive skin we suggest contacting the company for a list of ingredients and testing their product on your skin. The Gluten Free RN can also test any product for the presence of gluten under 10ppm at our downtown office.

[su_box box_color=”#ffffff”]Afterglow Cosmetics
This is a 100% gluten free cosmetic company. A woman whose family struggles with gluten intolerance started the company. She knows how severe gluten intolerance is and she is dedicated to maintaining a completely gluten free line.[/su_box] [su_box box_color=”#ffffff”]Everyday Minerals
(Email from the company:)
Hello Sam,
Thank you for contacting us.  The Tocopherol  (Vitamin E) used in our Lip Balms and Glosses is derived from Soy.  Other products that do contain the Tocopherol are the Pressed Powders. Our products are vegan based, free of carmine, nuts, lake dyes, fragrance, bismuth oxychloride and parabens.  Our powders consist of: mica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and iron oxides.  Our finishing powders vary and some consist of  kaolin powder.

All of these products should work well for you, but you may also want to check a gluten list of ingredients to avoid, since everyone’s skin is different.  We do recommend doing a skin patch test when trying a new product to see if your skin is happy with the product.  If your skin is sensitive to a product then wash your skin with water and discontinue use.

The Product Page does have a tab with the list of ingredients, which you can use for reference before making a purchase. Simply select the product of your choice and then select the Ingredients tab at the bottom of the page to view the ingredients for that product (there will also be a Details and Usage Tips tab).

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.
Everyday Minerals[/su_box] [su_box box_color=”#ffffff”]Joelle Cosmetics
This is another 100% gluten free, celiac disease friendly company. They have mineral makeup and are dedicated to providing good quality gluten free cosmetics.[/su_box] [su_box box_color=”#ffffff”]Monave
This company is a gluten free cosmetic company with mineral products. Their products can be purchased through their website.[/su_box] [su_box box_color=”#ffffff”]Red Apple Lipstick
Direct from their website:
We help women, especially those with gluten intolerance and other sensitive allergies, feel great, look great, get compliments and enjoy makeup again! All Red Apple Lipstick products are certified gluten free, paraben free, soy free, dairy free and allergen free. Our lipsticks are also vegan, natural and cruelty free, but you wouldn’t know it, unless you asked![/su_box] [su_box box_color=”#ffffff”]100% Pure
Direct from their website:
Are your products gluten free? If so, where does the Vitamin E come from?

Most of our products are gluten free. We are sensitive to this since we know many people suffer from gluten allergies. One common ingredient that contains gluten is Vitamin E. But the Vitamin E we use is gluten free because it’s derived from cold pressing rice bran.[/su_box]


Enjoying the Holidays Gluten Free

Eating gluten free can sometimes be a challenge during the holiday season. From mother-in-laws to failed recipe attempts many people find themselves overwhelmed and often dreading their gluten free holidays. I don’t believe that food intolerances should stand in your way of a successful celebration. Here are a few tips to stay healthy, happy, and most importantly, full during this holiday season.

When in doubt go without:
Gluten hides everywhere! Never assume something is gluten free, cross contamination is always a risk when eating at someone else’s home. Turkey’s are often made with stuffing inside, gravies are thickened with wheat flour, and it only takes a breadcrumb to trigger an autoimmune reaction. You are the only person responsible for the food that goes into your body. Don’t let someone peer pressure you into eating something that may or may not be gluten free. Trust me, the repercussions are NOT worth it!

Always be prepared:
If you are starving you might eat something that you will later regret. I always pack food in my purse or eat ahead of time so I’m never in desperate need of food. If you know where you will be spending the holidays, give the hostess a call ahead of time and let them know about your allergies or intolerances. If necessary let them know you will bring your own food. If you bring a dish for everyone to share, ask if you can serve up your plate first and don’t plan on going back for seconds. Shared utensils, fallen breadcrumbs, and gluten hands call all contaminate your food.

Offer to host at your home:
If you are able, offer to host the dinner at your home. This way you know what goes into every dish and you can be sure everything is gluten free. If others insist on bringing food, ask them to bring something that is naturally gluten free. Some options are fruit, vegetables, or drinks.

Let someone else do the cooking for you:
If you don’t feel like cooking or don’t have the time, you could always head over to our local gluten free restaurant, Eats & Treats Café. ( They offer a wide variety options, including take out, and are always happy to take care of your gluten, dairy, and soy free needs.

With or without food intolerances, I know that the holiday season can be stressful. If you are feeling overwhelmed just try to remember what the holidays are really about. Take time to enjoy your family, friends, and the things that make you happy. When all else fails don’t forget that our local hard cider company, Two Town Cider House is gluten free!


Downs Syndrome and Celiac Disease

Depending on the study, the prevalence of celiac disease in children with Downs syndrome is estimated to be as high as 4-17%, compared with just 1% in the general population. Autoimmune conditions are much more common in DS, celiac disease included. However, the cause for this is still unknown. DS is caused by an extra chromosome 21. It is not a genetic disorder, but often the result of abnormal cell division. The DQ2 and DQ8 genes that are highly associated with CD are on the HLA markers on chromosome 6. Since these genes are present in 30-40% of the US population, the increased prevalence of CD in DS is probably not due to the genes, but to some other unknown trigger.

What we do know is that there is a link between the two. Children with DS are more likely to have “silent” CD than the general population, making it even more difficult to diagnose. Often there are symptoms that go away once on a gluten free diet that weren’t thought to be associated. Most studies suggest a mass screening for CD in children with DS, however, it is not being done. In particular, if your child has DS along with one of the following symptoms, you should get them tested:

  • Any bowel disorder
  • Failure to thrive in reference to Down’s syndrome specific reference charts
  • Abdominal distension
  • Depression or unhappiness
  • Arthritis
  • Rash
  • Thyroid disease
  • Any autoimmune condition
  • Anemia

One negative test is not enough to rule your child for celiac disease, and annual tests are recommended. Finding out your child has celiac disease while they are still young can protect them from future health problems later in life including lymphoma, osteoporosis, and other autoimmune conditions.