Sunday, November 29, 2009

Product Watch: Quaker Rice Cakes Testing Gluten Free?

I call various companies from time to time to recheck the information on their products. Upon the request of a client, I called the customer service number on the back of the Quaker Oats Rice Cakes Package and have learned some information worth passing along. According to two different customer representatives (I called and asked the same question on different days to validate the answer)Quaker is in the process of testing all their products for gluten content. The Quaker rice cake ingredients are gluten free:
Lightly Salted Rice Cakes




BUT the concern in the past has been over the risk of cross contamination. According to my phone conversation the regular rice cake products are testing at less than 20 PPM. The company plans to start using the "Gluten Free" label on the rice cake products soon. I was told to be on the lookout for the apple cinnamon variety to be labeled first. When I asked if the products currently on the grocery shelves are gluten free, just not labeled that way yet, the representatives were hesitant to commit to a yes for sure, but advised me to look for the gluten free label. You can find further information on the Quaker Rice Cakes at their website by clicking here.
The variety of rice cakes are available in eight different flavors. Word of caution the information only applies to the regular size rice cakes, not the mini Quakes product at this time. I have emailed the company for further information and will update this product watch as I learn more.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Gluten Free Thanksgiving!

I am stepping away from my usual informative posts to reflect on the many things that I have become thankful since my diagnosis with Celiac Disease:

First to a great primary care doctor that was the first to consider my medical issues might be related to Celiac Disease.

For a disease whose sole treatment is diet alone.

Because of my diagnosis other family members were screened and their disease was caught in a timely manner rather than suffering years of tests and medical complications.

For my body responding to a gluten free diet and my anemia resolving so that my MD said "WOW, you have improved so much it looks like you have had a blood transfusion!"

For very supportive family, friends, and coworkers.

To already be working and trained in the field of nutrition and special diets as a registered dietitian. My diagnosis has truely given me new empathy and insight to those that must follow a special diet for a variety of medical needs.

For all the foods that are naturally gluten free.

For the exploding gluten free food market, the options seem to be endless.

For living in a great area that offers many places to shop for gluten free foods.

For the support of national and local support groups, that make following a gluten free diet so much easier.

For Zach's creating the Gluten Free North Carolina network and for giving me the opportunity to write for Gluten Free Durham.

We all have much to be Thankful for....

Have a Wonderful Gluten Free Thanksgiving,

Monday, November 16, 2009

Teer House Community Education Presents: Celiac Disease: New Diet Options

I had lunch last week with a colleague of mine: Lesley Stanford. Lesley has worked at Duke University as a dietitian for the last 21 years and has staffed the pediatric G.I. clinic for the last 12 years. In fact she was the dietitian that spoke with me while my daughter was undergoing her endoscopy procedure and later diagnosis of Celiac Disease. As part of Duke's community education series, Lesley will be speaking at the Teer House located in Durham. Her talk is entitled Celiac Disease: New Diet Options. Lesley explained that she hopes to make this a practical talk with an exchange of ideas. While Lesley does not have Celiac Disease herself, she has much experience talking to families and children with Celiac Disease and other medical conditions. She has tried several gluten free products and gathers wonderful tips from her patients. This class is FREE and open to the public. The Class will be held Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 6:30-8:00 pm. Registration is required. I know January seems like a long time off but if you want to assure your spot in this class you can register now. For further information, directions and to register click here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gluten Free Cooking Videos from Kitchen Therapy

As a member of a group of dietitians specializing in gluten intolerance, I was given the opportunity to trial some cooking videos from Kitchen Therapy. Kitchen Therapy is run by Linda Simon, RD. She is a registered dietitian and a certified personal chef. Her Website, Kitchen Therapy, provides recipes, blogs and cooking videos. I previewed the After School Snacks Video and thought the content and instructions were easy to follow and simple to produce in my own kitchen. Linda's videos do not have a lot of "bells and whistles" but remind me more of my mom trying to teach me how to cook or maybe a class in Home Economics. In addition to cooking instructions, Linda offers sound nutritional information. If you are wondering how to navigate around your kitchen for Thanksgiving, you may be interested in checking out her "My First Thanksgiving and I Made it Myself" video series, which includes 6 gluten free videos. You actually purchase a subscription to the video series for $14.95 which is active for 4 months. For information on purchasing the cooking series click here. Linda is interested in meeting the needs of her clients and has a place for feedback and cooking video request on The Kitchen Therapy website.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gluten Free Dining at Duke Expands

Are you a Duke Student, Faculty, or Staff? Well the gluten free options on campus have just enlarged with the recent addition of Rosie's Plate gluten free products to The Great Hall on a daily basis. The Great Hall Dining Facility located on Duke's West Campus is also open to the public. I was contacted by Rose Waring, the owner of Rosie's Plate earlier this week and she asked that I let Durham folks know of this new option for gluten free dining. She explains "I wanted you all to be the first to know the latest greatest exciting news from Rosie’s Plate! Bon Apetit has invited us to offer Rosie’s Plate at the Great Hall Café on Duke’s West Campus. We just started this past Monday and we’re stocking a great selection of our baked goods and savory items. We’re especially excited because the Great Hall Café is open to all Durham residents, not just students, so it’s a really convenient way for people in Durham to enjoy Rosie’s Plate every day." According to Rose daily products will include:

In the Cold Case you will find:
  • entrees with sides, salads, soups, dips and desserts
The bakery display is right at the front of the café and includes
  • includes sugar cake doughnuts, pita, muffins, trail mix bars, single
  • cookies, cheese crackers, graham crackers, granola and cupcakes
Rosie's Plate, located in Raleigh, is a completely gluten, shellfish, and peanut free facility.
To help serve Durham customers they have been providing a weekly delivery service on Tuesdays at Duke Gardens, you can read more about this option from my earlier post. If you are wondering about parking on Duke's West Campus, click here for further information. Having a daily presence at the Great Hall is a wonderful convenience for Durham residents, Thank You Rosie's Plate!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Great Harvest Bread offers Gluten Free Bread

My gluten free UNC student alerted me to the fact a few weeks ago that the Great Harvest Bread Company in Chapel Hill is offering gluten free bread on Thursdays. I called and spoke with the owner, Rebecca McCorkle, to gather further information. She informed me that they offer both a plain sandwich loaf and a cinnamon raisin variety, each for $5.95. She also explained that they understand the importance of limiting the risk of cross contamination. Thus, the gluten free loaves are baked first thing in the morning in machinery that has been clean and sanitized. They are baked in disposable pans. The gluten free loaves are also stored with a paper covering over the top. I contacted the Dieitian, who serves as a nutrition consultant with with the corporate Great Harvest Bread Company and received the following information: That many of the franchise stores have begun to offer Gluten Free Bread, the basic recipe includes: Water, Cultured Buttermilk, Tapioca Flour, Honey, Brown Rice Flour, Eggs, Buckwheat, Flax Seeds, Cornstarch, Butter (Milk), Yeast, Xantham Gum, Salt, and White Wine Vinegar. NOTE The Chapel Hill Store is offering their bread as both GLUTEN FREE and DAIRY FREE. They have modified their recipe to substitute the buttermilk with rice milk and replace the butter with canola oil. So what about Cross Contamination? The email from the corporate dietitian reads: "Please keep in mind that Great Harvest is a whole grain bread company and that we have lots of flour dust in the bakery. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten free product." Rebecca, from the Chapel Hill Store, seems very motivated to meet the needs of those needing to consume a safe GF product and is willing to consider testing for the presence of gluten in their product. I plan to provide them with further information on reliable testing of products. My daughter and I have tasted both varieties of their bread without any noticeable negative reactions. The quality of the bread is very good and the slices taste good both toasted and freshly sliced. If these products test less than the 20 ppm level, they will make a nice addition to a gluten free diet.

Location and Hours:

229 S. Elliott Road
Chapel Hill, NC


Great Harvest is open:

Tuesday-Friday 7am-6pm
Saturday 7am-4pm

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Food Allergy Walk This Saturday

This Saturday, November 7th, 2009, there will be a walk to raise funds and awareness for Food Allergies held in Cary. The walk is sponsored by The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and NC FACES (North Carolina Food Allergic Children Excelling Safely) support group. This will be an excellent opportunity to shine the spotlight on food allergies and how they affect millions of Americans. If you have not seen my Food Allergen Restaurant Poster Petition, click here.

Walk Details
Date: Saturday, November 7, 2009
Time: Check-in begins at 9:00 a.m.; Walk begins at 10:00 a.m.
Location: Bond Park, 801 High House Road, Cary, NC 27513
Distance: 2 miles
Event Web site (visit this site to create or join a team or give
Email Contact: Christa Davidson
Restrictions: No pets, glass bottles, bikes, roller skates, or skate boards. Baby strollers and wagons are welcomed.
Target Fundraising Goal: $70,000 (currently have raised nearly $14,000)

About FAAN
FAAN is a national network offering support and education for people with food allergies. There is a ton a great information on their Web site. The group was established in 1991. FAAN’s membership now stands at close to 30,000 worldwide and includes families, dietitians, nurses, physicians, school staff, and representatives from government agencies and the food and pharmaceutical industries. FAAN serves as the communication link between the patient and others. FAAN focuses on awareness, education, advocacy, research and many other areas (a lot of the same goals for this blog). FAAN is (and has been conducting Food Allergy Walks all over the US for years now. Click here for the Walk Web site. There was also a race in Charlotte this past September which raised more than $25,000 and had over 300 participants.

NC FACES was started by local parents in 2003 who had children with food allergies. The group began by getting together for play dates and has now grown to over 200 families. They focus on providing local social and emotional support for food allergic families. The group usually has quarterly meetings and other events like Easter egg hunts, Halloween fun and games at the Durham Bulls. They are also a big reason for the local FAAN Walk. Click here for the groups Web site or click here to email for more information. You can also check out the group on Facebook.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Armour Chili Recall-CONTAINS WHEAT

According to the USDA's Food Safery and Inspection site issued October 28, 2009
Pinnacle Foods Group LLC is recalling “ARMOUR Chili with Beans, Original” due to mislabeling in the packaging and may contain wheat.

The product was distributed to retail stores in Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, NORTH CAROLINA, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The 15-oz. cans come in a case of six with a plastic over-wrap that incorrectly states the product is "Gluten Free," while the product actually may contain wheat. The label bears an “EST. 2AD” number inside the USDA mark of inspection with dates ranging from August 26, 2009 to October 28, 2009. 91,125 pounds of chili is under recall.

Consumers with questions may call (800) 253-5882.