Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Coeliac Society – A Great Resource

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease, finding all the resources you can is important to learning about your condition. The coeliac society is one of the organizations that you should become familiar with as they are a tremendous source of information and support. In this article we’ll give you a quick overview of this great organization along with some contact information and tips for getting involved.

What is the Coeliac Society?
Coeliac Society is a UK based charity dedicated to helping people who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). They provide a great service in the UK offering support, research and campaigning. Anyone who has been diagnosed by their physician with coeliac disease or DH can join the charity. They currently have over 50,000 members and hundreds more join each month.

The coeliac society is a great resource for individuals in the UK (and also out of it) when it comes to finding information on gluten free foods, gluten free recipes and following a gluten free diet. In addition to all of the support they provide their members, they’re also very active in raising money for much needed research. One of the great benefits of being a member is the monthly updates they send out on the research and advancements that are being made in treating coeliac disease.

Types of Coeliac Society Support
For £20 per year, you can join the coeliac society if you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease or DH. You can also join if you are the parent or guardian of someone who has been diagnosed. There are significant benefits of becoming a member of the coeliac society. Some of those benefits include:

  • Food and Drink Directory – Their gluten free products list is amazing. Over 10,000 products are listed and the directory is updated each month. It’s available online.
  • Food and Drink Hotline – This live help hotline can provide information on the ingredients of foods and drinks.
  • Dietician Hotline – Speak to a dietitian about your condition. You can also ask submit questions via an internet form.
  • Crossed Grain Magazine – Their 3x yearly magazine provides information and inspirational stories.
  • eXG – A monthly online newsletter that gives the food and drink directory updates along with news and medical advancements.

Coeliac Society Contact Information
High Wycombe office
3rd Floor
Apollo Centre
Desborough Road
High Wycombe
HP11 2QW

Switchboard: 01494 437278
Fax: 01494 474349
Helpline: 0845 305 2060

Being diagnosed with coeliac disease or DH is a life changing experience. By joining groups like the Coeliac Society you can draw on a huge wealth of knowledge. Having knowledgeable people to call or email can make a world of difference as you’re trying to learn all you can about this serious condition. You’re not in it alone and the Coeliac Society can help.

Avoiding Foods with Gluten – A Quick Reference Guide

Learning any new skill takes determination and time to master. This definitely holds true of learning to identify foods with gluten containing ingredients. However, if you suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance, becoming an expert in short order can mean the difference between comfortable happy living and serious health issues. In this guide we’ll give you some easy to follow guidelines and a list of foods with gluten in them so you can have a head start.

Types Foods with Gluten in Them
It’s important to note that the vast majority of raw foods do not contain gluten all. Gluten comes from wheat, barley and rye. Oats are generally lumped in with these grains, not because they contain gluten (they don’t!) but because they are almost always processed alongside gluten containing grains. Outside of these grains, everything else is gluten free. That said, there are a significant number of products that have wheat, rye or barley as an ingredient – and they can be tricky to spot.

Here is an introductory foods with gluten list:

  • Gluten containing grains: wheat, rye, barley and oats (unless specifically labeled gluten free oats)
  • Breads and bread products containing gluten containing grains: Bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, scones, muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc,
  • Hidden ingredients: Malt, malt flavoring, partially hydrogenated protein, fillers, flavorings, starch (could be corn but can also be wheat),
  • Soy sauce

If you’re ever in doubt about whether an ingredient contains gluten, contact the manufacturer. Most will be happy to answer questions about any ingredients. You can also try an internet search for the particular product – many times others have already inquired and have posted the answer online. While this is not a comprehensive list of foods with gluten it’s a good start. As you find other gluten foods, add to this list. More importantly, begin your own gluten free products list that you enjoy that can serve as a shopping list.

Gluten Free Alternatives
While it may seem that there are a ton of foods with gluten, the bright side is that there is also a huge variety of gluten free substitutes. From gluten free cakes and cookies to gluten and wheat free bread to gluten free pizza dough, you can find a gluten free version of almost everything. Check with your local grocery store and your local health food store.

Depending on where you live there may also be a gluten free bakery in your area which can be a tremendous benefit. There’s nothing better than a freshly baked gluten free cake that you didn’t have to make yourself. Combine that with a hot cup of coffee and great atmosphere and you’ve got a winning combination.

Foods with gluten can be difficult to avoid but with some advance planning it can be done. The trick is to stay organized, create a list of gluten free foods, keep a positive outlook and you’ll quickly see the benefits of eating gluten free.

Your Local Gluten Free Bakery

When you first began learning about gluten free food, chances are wondering how you were going to get gluten free bread and other baked goods was high on your priority list. For most people, purchasing gluten free products from a health food store or grocery store is the way to go – for both ready-made baked goods like gluten free cookies and also for ingredients to bake. In this article we’ll discuss another avenue for getting amazing gluten free snacks – your local gluten free bakery.

Gluten Free Bakeries
As the demand for gluten free products has increased, so has the availability of local gluten free bakeries. Some of these bakeries offer a limited but unbelievably tasty variety of products. Some may only carry bread and gluten free cake for example. Others may have a full line of gluten free pastries, cookies, wheat free bread, biscuits, muffins, gluten free cheesecake, gluten free pizzas and possibly custom foods like gluten free appetizers. If you have a gluten free bakery in your area make it a priority to give them a try. Sample a product from each category if you can. A local gluten free bakery can be a great resource for custom orders like gluten free crackers – not to mention just a place you know you can get wonderful baked goods that will be healthy as well.

How to Find a Gluten Free Bakery
The easiest way to locate a gluten free bakery is to do a search online. If your town doesn’t have a bakery, try the next largest city. If you have a gluten free bakery within a reasonable driving distance it’s worth it to investigate. Gluten free bakeries follow strict guidelines to ensure that all of their products are gluten free. Imagine walking in and knowing that everything is on the ‘approved’ list for folks with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Gluten Free Ingredients
How do gluten free bakeries do it? Instead of using gluten containing ingredients like wheat flour or products that contain wheat, rye, barley or cross contaminated oats, they use 100% gluten free ingredients. Rice, amaranth, tapioca, sorghum and teff flours are all used in a variety of products. Xanthan gum is added to improve the texture of flours that don’t have natural elasticity. Potato starch and cornstarch are also used. Gluten free bakeries also make sure to incorporate gluten free versions of baking soda, baking powder and every other ingredient that goes into their products.

When you first begin to experiment with gluten free cooking there are hits and misses. We’ve all had our experiences with cakes that turn out like hockey pucks or cookies that just didn’t make the grade. A gluten free bakery is a resource you can draw on when you want a gluten free item and you want it to be perfect without having to go to all the work yourself.

How to Create Your Own Gluten Free Recipe

One of the fun parts of cooking is gaining enough experience to create your own recipes. It can be even more rewarding to create your own gluten free recipe because you know that it will be a great healthy alternative.  Here are a few ways to get started creating a successful gluten free recipe.

Get Inspired
The first step is to get some experience with existing gluten free recipes. One great source is a gluten free recipe book. Gluten free recipe books are tested and will produce great results. They can also be a great source of general information about gluten free cooking and baking.

Recipe Journal
Recipe journals can be a great source for gluten free recipe ideas. Each time you make a recipe from a book or from an online gluten free recipe, make a note of how it turned out in a cooking journal. Add any notes about how you would improve it next time. For example, maybe you found an amazing gluten free cheesecake recipe, but the crust was not gluten free. Write that down in your journal – you now have an idea for your first gluten free recipe: the perfect gluten free cheesecake crust.

Organize Your Pantry
In order to be successful at creating your own recipes, you need a well stocked pantry. Be sure to have on hand gluten free flours, gluten free baking soda and powder, gluten free pastas and any other staples that you enjoy cooking and baking with. That way, when the inspiration hits you’re already prepared and don’t need to make a special trip to the store.

Experiment and Take Notes!
Once you’ve found the type of recipe you’d first like to create, it’s time to head to the kitchen. Plan on trying several variations of your target recipe to find the perfect version. As you make each version, write down your ingredients and preparation notes. Then, once you’ve had a chance to try each one, rate them!

Fun with the Family
Sometimes it can be more fun to cook with others. Ask your family what special meal or dessert they’d love to have – then invent the recipe together! Maybe they’d like a gluten free version of chicken and dumplings. What a fun way to spend a Saturday – in the kitchen, covered in rice flour, learning how to create gluten free dumplings. You could even prepare a gluten free appetizer as well. Cooking with your kids and spouse can be a bonding experience. It will be even more so when you sit down to eat a meal that you created yourself – down to the gluten free recipe.

While creating your own gluten free recipe is time consuming, it is extremely rewarding. If you do enough of your own cooking and baking you may even be able to create enough recipes to create a gluten free cook book.

Foods that Contain Gluten – A Guide

One of the hardest parts about starting a gluten free diet is knowing where to begin. What foods are OK to eat? Which ones are gluten foods and should be avoided? Does this really mean that breads and cookies are now out the window? Do I have to prepare separate meals for the family? The key is to take things one step at a time and the first thing to do is create a list of foods that contain gluten. In this guide we’ll give you a head start by giving you a list of foods that contains gluten that you can add to as you explore your new lifestyle.

Foods that Contain Gluten
While it would be difficult to compile a complete list of foods with gluten, we’ve done our best. We’ve organized items by category to make it easier. One way to manage this list is to copy it into a word processor and add to it as you discover more foods that contain gluten. Better yet, use this list to eliminate foods and start another that is a Gluten Free Products List that can work as your shopping list when you go out.

  • Grains – Wheat, Barley, Rye and Oats (unless specifically labeled gluten free oats)
  • Flours – Any flour made with any of the grains listed above. Other flours may also share equipment with wheat, barley and rye so check the packaging. If it doesn’t say “gluten free” it may not be. Check with the manufacturer to be certain.
  • Beer – Many beers are made with wheat, barley or rye. There are gluten free versions available however.
  • Baked goods – Breads, cookies, cakes, muffins, scones, bagels.
  • Breakfast foods – Waffles, pancakes, french toast, most cereals
  • Pastas
  • Hidden Gluten, check labels for: Starch, Malt, Malt flavoring, binders,  fillers, colorings, coatings, dextrins, gum base, maltodextrin, hydrolized protein, vegetable gum

While this is not a complete list, the basic rule is: avoid all foods containing any direct or indirect source of wheat, rye, barley and oats. Keep in mind that there are tons of gluten free flours and grains on the market that can provide an alternative set of ingredients for baking or cooking.

It’s a fact that there are an abundance of foods that contain gluten and wheat everywhere you look. The trick is to understand what these foods are and then create a plan to avoid them. You can eat amazingly delicious gluten free foods, it just takes a little time and planning. The health benefits are well worth the effort – and this list will help you on your way.