Time for a Change

As many of you know, my blog “CeliacSavvy” was active for several years. For those of you who were not familiar with it, this blog was the result of raising a daughter with celiac disease from the early ‘90s, when, as I like to say, we were “gluten-free before gluten-free was cool.”  Over the past 25 years since my daughter was diagnosed, the gluten-free world has made great strides. Recently, I was telling a friend that shortly after my daughter was diagnosed, I was making doughnuts, bagels, and pizza from scratch (yes, really). While I’m sure many of us have made our own pizza dough, I’m talking gluten-free pizza dough, which--as anyone who’s tried to make it knows--is a whole other animal. Back then, the only gluten-free flour available was white rice flour (yuck). And as far as the bagels go, I joked that I probably could have gotten a job alongside Kramer at H&H (and if you don’t get the Seinfeld reference, who are you??).  Anyway, it’s still no picnic to have celiac disease, but there are so many more options these days for people who do have it, and it’s great to see how much progress has been made.

That progress brings me to what I’m posting about today. I like to think that I’ve made a valuable contribution to the gluten-free world over these past 25 years, and I think that those who have known me since my daughter’s diagnosis—as well as those who have  met me in recent years—would probably agree. I’ve been humbled by the title of “gluten-free expert” but been thinking that it’s time for me to move on and share my passion for new things with a new blog. 

I’ve been discovering what I think is some really cool stuff these last several months, and I’m inspired to share my finds with you.  I won’t lie to you--you’re probably going to see a lot of beauty products in this new blog (shocking, I know!) but it will also cover whatever my “latest obsession” is—a product or service, a book (I know, another shock), an app, a song, or whatever.  It may even be a person (but I promise not in a stalker-ish way). My plan is to keep it fresh and interesting. As it goes along, I'd love to know what you think.

 So stay tuned for “My Latest Obsession.”

(And for those of you that were fans of “CeliacSavvy,” you can rest assured that if I encounter any great gluten-free finds along the way, I’m certainly going to continue to  share them with you.)

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Christine

Book Review: Your Nutrtion Solution to a Healthy Gut

Book Review:  Your Nutrition Solution to a Healthy Gut
by Kimberly A. Tessmer, RDN, LD
(New Page Books, 2015)
Reviewed by Christine A. Krahling

I had the pleasure of working with Kim Tessmer when she asked me to contribute a “Tip for Living Every Day on a Gluten-Free Diet” for her book, Tell Me What to Eat if I Have Celiac Disease (New Page Books, 2009) so when I heard that she had written a new book, I requested a copy for review. Your Nutrition Solution’s subtitle says the book is a “meal-based plan to help prevent and treat constipation, diverticulitis, ulcers and other common digestive problems.” Celiac disease is also discussed. Tessmer says in her introduction: “The whole idea is not the mask your symptoms with medication but to determine what is causing them and then treating the issues accordingly.”

According to a statistic from the U.S. National Institute of Health (noted on page 17), some 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by some type of digestive disease or disorder. Tessmer adds that “the health of our gut may not just affect our gut but may affect our overall health.”
I think many would agree. Tessmer discusses what it means to have a healthy gut and whether or not there is a relationship between certain gut bacteria and disease. Conditions and diseases associated with the gut are mentioned, including peptic ulcer disease, diverticular disease, chronic constipation, IBS (and why it’s considered a “syndrome” and not classified as a “disease,”) and gallstones. Leaky Gut Syndrome is also included.

In Chapter 2, “The Nutrition Connection and Beyond,” Tessmer discusses the role that certain carbohydrates and fiber play in regulating gut health, as well as the role that food intolerances and sensitivities play in digestive issues. The FODMAP diet approach is also covered. It’s a fairly detailed chapter and offers a wealth of information. (Celiac disease is discussed on page 72.)

The “Five-Step Nutrition and Lifestyle Solution,” found in Chapter 3, offers tips for “cleaner eating,” suggestions for boosting daily fiber intake, ways to limit sugar intake, how to choose  whole grains, and how to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Additional “Gut-Favorable Lifestyle Changes” are offered, including exercise and stress management.

In “10 Foods to Avoid and 10 Foods to Include” (Chapter 4), both asparagus and bananas are listed as“Foods to Include;” however, on p. 58 they are listed as foods to avoid if one suffers from gas, so just keep that in mind. This chapter also includes a handy guide to “gut-friendly” herbs and spices, something you don’t hear about too often.

Chapter 5 (Menu Planning and Shopping Guide) includes some fabulous gems such as a “Swap it Out” chart with suggestions for using honey instead of table sugar, etc. There’s also an aisle-by-aisle guide to navigating the supermarket, which can be extremely helpful when changing to a new diet, especially for newly-diagnosed celiacs. Information on food labeling is also provided as are menu-planning tips.

Tips for stocking your kitchen are offered in Chapter Six, along with a 14-day menu guide. Each chapter includes a “Your Nutrition Solution Tidbit” section which offers additional, thought-provoking information based on the topics covered in each chapter. 

Though I did receive a review copy of Your Nutrition Solution, all opinions expressed herein are my own.

If you’re looking for a meal-based plan for common digestive problems, I would highly recommend this book. It is laid out nicely and is easy to follow, and has many helpful tips, especially for those who are newly-diagnosed with an unfamiliar condition.  

Thanks, Kim, for being not only "CeliacSavvy" but "GutSavvy" as well!



 

 

GFAF Expo Time!

GFAF Expo Logo.png

Great news! I’ve been selected as an official GFAF Expo Blogger! What’s the “GFAF” Expo you ask? Only the THE BIGGEST Gluten-Free, Allergen-Friendly event in the United States! I’ll be attending the
NY Metro Show on October 3 and 4 in Secaucus, New Jersey and 3 lucky followers can join me, FOR FREE! (See how below.)

The fabulous folks at The Gluten Free Media Group—the same people that bring you the Send Me Gluten Free orange goodie box subscription and the Find Me Gluten Free app--are making this expo happen, along with assistance from some great sponsors. (For a full list of sponsors, visit www.gfafexpo.com.)

I’m excited to attend this event for a few reasons: I get to (finally) meet the great folks at The Gluten Free Media Group, fellow bloggers and, I hope, those of you who follow my blog and social media accounts (CeliacSavvy is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest—check it out!). I’m also looking forward to becoming even more “CeliacSavvy” by attending classes led by Dr. Peter Green, Jen Cafferty, Jenna Drew, Amy Fothergill, Carol Kiciniski and Silvana Nardone!  And let’s not forget all the yummy samples from the great gluten-free vendors! Whoo-hoo!

I have 3 Free One Day Adult Passes to give away. Here’s how to get your hands on one:

  • Send an e.mail to Christine.Krahling@gmail.com. Include your full name, address and cell phone number so that I can verify your request.  
  • “Like” my CeliacSavvy Facebook page and send me a message inquiring about a free ticket.
  • Follow me on Twitter @celiacsavvy and tweet me there about a free ticket.

The first 3 people to respond will receive a code to redeem (1) free ticket.

If you’re not a free ticket winner, don’t despair! I also have a special discount code for 20% off an Adult One Day Pass (regular price is $20 plus a $2.09 fee). But don’t wait! This discount expires October 2!
Kids’ tickets (for ages 3-12) are available for $5 plus a fee of $1.27. (Children three and under are admitted free.)  To purchase tickets and redeem the 20% off code, go here:
http://ow.ly/PXnsx.

In addition, if you purchase a ticket using the discount code OR if you redeem a code for a free ticket, you will also receive a FREE one-year subscription to DELIGHT GLUTEN FREE MAGAZINE!

For more information about Send Me Gluten Free, visit www.sendmeglutenfree.com.

Let’s get excited about this great event--because it’s a great time to be gluten-free!

Hope to see you there!

Hello Beautiful! Svelte Organic Protein Shakes (Product Review)

I recently posted about finally finding healthy snack bars that are both filling, great-tasting and gluten-free (See "Gluten-Free Indulgence, July 31, 2015). I had been on a similar hunt for protein shakes and was hoping--in addition to meeting the above criteria—that I’d find a shake that was both gluten- and dairy-free, and not loaded with sugar. When my Send Me Gluten Free goodie box arrived in July, I found nirvana in the full-size CalNaturale Svelte Organic Protein Shake that was included. And not just any shake, but their Chocolate flavor (score!) in a carton that reads “Hello Beautiful.” How could you go wrong?    

The company’s website (www.drinksvelte.com) states that Svelte can be enjoyed as a meal replacement, before or after a workout, or “as an anytime ready-to-drink snack.” I usually enjoy mine mid-morning to bridge the gap between breakfast and lunch.

So let’s talk sugar content (my latest obsession): Just 6 grams for an 11fl oz. shake (the sample I received was 15.9fl. oz. and came in at 9 grams).  So that converts to just 1.5 teaspoons of sugar, which leaves a bunch of wiggle room for the rest of the day.  

Now let’s talk price: I recently picked up a 4-pack of 11fl. oz. shakes for $6.98 at a Walmart in South Carolina. The 15.9fl oz that I received in my goodie box is also carried at some Wegmans. Check Svelte’s website for stores near you.

Svelte's other flavors include Banana Crème, French Vanilla, Cappuccino and Spiced Chai.  The Chocolate has a smooth, creamy taste; rich but not too rich. (Think Yoo-hoo for adults, only better!). The shakes are also vegan and made from non-GMO organic soy.

Svelte’s carton boasts that its goal is “to improve health and wellness with the best-tasting, most nourishing foods possible." I would say that they are definitely on their way this product. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with next--because it's a great time to be gluten-free!

(I received a Svelte Protein Shake as part of a paid Send Me Gluten Free subscription. I was not compensated by CalNaturale or Send Me Gluten Free for this review. For further information on Send Me Gluten Free, visit www.sendmeglutenfree.com.)

Review: The Gluten Free Cheat Sheet: Go G-Free in 30 Days or Less

The Gluten Free Cheat Sheet
by April Peveteaux
Reviewed by Christine A. Krahling

When April Peveteaux’s publicist asked if I would be interested in reviewing her new book, The Gluten Free Cheat Sheet: Go G-Free in 30 Days or Less, I was thrilled. A fan of Peveteax’s since her first book, Gluten is My Bitch was published (2013), I couldn’t wait to see what she had come up with next. Fans of Peveteaux’s blog (http://glutenismybitch.wordpress.com/) as well as her column in Gluten Free and More magazine know what I’m talking about. Peveteaux has walked the walk when it comes to how it feels to be “glutened” (both before and after her celiac disease diagnosis in 2011) and she talks the talk about how to handle it, once again, in her new book.  With an upbeat introduction and her trademark sense of humor, Peveteaux does not disappoint.

Upon picking up Cheat Sheet, you may be tempted to skip right to Chapter 5: “How to Rock your First 30 Days,” especially if you are a newly diagnosed celiac; however, I highly recommend reading the book in order. And I say this not just because I am a Class-A bookworm but because I think you’ll miss out on some great information if you skip ahead. If you can’t help yourself, then go ahead and read page 69 for “Five Snacks to Keep on Hand When you Just Can’t Deal,” and then promise me you’ll go back to the beginning.

In Chapter One, “The Problem with Gluten,” Peveteaux discusses the three most common medical reasons to go gluten-free (emulating your favorite gf celebrity is not one of them) as well as the difference between having a gluten sensitivity and a wheat allergy.  She also sheds light on whether or not those with celiac disease should be telling restaurant wait staff that they have an allergy rather than an illness.

For those who love a good science lesson, Peveteaux defines gluten and its proteins. She also offers gentle caveats for those wishing to try the gluten-free diet who may not be medically required to do so, and dispels the (many) myths out there about going gluten-free.

Chapter Two, “A Quick Lesson in What Foods to Avoid and What to Eat Instead,” includes the dreaded cupboard-clearing lesson (a sad day for most celiacs) as well as advice on how to cook gluten-free pasta (wish I’d had this back in the ‘90s when my daughter was diagnosed). And then there’s the “Replace This with That List,” a godsend for the newly diagnosed. 

In “Can’t Someone Else Just Cook for Me?” (Chapter Three), Peveteaux offers cuisine-by-cuisine advice, including information on cross-contamination, which is helpful for those who want to continue to enjoy dining out, special dietary needs or not. After all, the palate wants what the palate wants.

Kudos to Peveteaux for going where others sometimes fear to tread: a discussion on depression, anxiety and “general crankiness,” (Chapter Five). As a celiac—or for anyone on a special diet, for that matter-- feeling anxious prior to dining out is normal, though others may not understand where you’re coming from. That’s okay, though. With Peveteaux’s help, you’ll educate them. It’s also important to enlist the help of a supportive gluten-free community, (“GFFs” if you will) made up of a combination of friends and family (those who are up to the challenge, not the non-believers; you know who they are) rounded out by bloggers, knowledgeable health food store staff, and a local support group.  Having a gluten-free “tribe”--as Peveteaux puts it--is a great help when navigating your way through the maze of a new lifestyle.  

The remainder of the book includes cooking methods, panty essentials, a 30-day meal plan and 100 recipes. The recipes include both the foolproof (for quick weeknight concoctions) and the“fancy stuff.” (You know, for when you’re having people over who don’t believe you can eat well while eating gluten-free. See “non-believers,” above).  Recipes on my list to try:

·         Breakfast Strata

·         Easy Chicken Soup with Rice

·         Zucchini Pasta and Meatballs

Resources include Support Groups, Conferences, Books and Cookbooks, Chain Restaurants With Gluten-Free Menus, and—my favorite—Best Local Food Blogs (by state).

Lucky for us, Peveteaux realizes that it is a great time to be gluten-free! Enjoy the book, and let me know what you think. Happy reading!

(While I received a complimentary copy of The Gluten Free Cheat Sheet: Go G-Free in 30 Days or Less, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.)

Gluten-Free Indulgence

As a longtime fan of Bethenny Frankel (of Real Housewives of New York City and Skinnygirl Cocktails fame), I'm always interested in what she's coming up with next. You can image how excited I was when I found out that she's now got a line of Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars.  Having been on the hunt for GF bars for quite some time for my celiac daughter (and then for myself after discovering my own gluten sensitivity), I'd grown frustrated and nearly gave up on finding ones that actually taste good and fill you up so that you're not trolling for another snack an hour (or less!) later. I've gone the raw bar route (yuck!) and tried those other bars that claim to be "kind" with nothing positive to report (so I didn't report!). While many bars claim to be low in fat and calories, they're often loaded with sugar, eliminating any real health benefits. 

Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars range from 120-180 calories per bar, offering 6-10grams of protein, depending on the variety, as well as 5-7grams of fiber, again, depending on the variety. Now let's talk sugar and sodium content: My favorites, the Dark Chocolate Pretzel and Chocolate Peanut Butter with Sea Salt, come in at (8) and (11) grams of sugar, respectively. When you do a quick grams-to-teaspoons sugar conversion, that amounts to (2) and 2.75grams of sugar, respectively. According to the American Heart Association, (www.heart.org) women should be striving for no more than (6) grams of sugar per day (men can have 9 teaspoons--go figure). While most women I've talked to find this guideline nearly impossible to follow, we need to do the best we can to make informed decisions about our health. I'm not sure how much lower in sugar you can go and still come up with a great-tasting snack bar. Sodium content in these bars range from the ridiculously low (45g in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough) to the ridiculously high (280g in Chocolate Peanut Butter with Sea Salt). 

Now that we've gotten the health stats out of the way, let's talk taste: To call these "granola bars" would not do them justice as, in my opinion, they are "better than your average bars." You know how sometimes snack bars will have a kind of waxy taste (yuck!)? Not these. The Dark Chocolate Pretzel variety combines chocolate, almonds and pretzels that make for a delicious combination. The Chocolate Peanut Butter had me at Sea Salt. Other flavors include Banana Oatmeal Dark Chocolate, Lemon Swirl, Dark Chocolate Almond with Coconut, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

I would be remiss if I did not point out that the Dark Chocolate Pretzel variety lists brown rice syrup as one of its ingredients. As celiacs know all too well, this can be derived from fermented brown rice (yay!) or barley (boo!).  An e.mail from Skinnygirldaily.com told me that their manufacturer reports that the brown rice syrup used in these bars is gluten-free. (You can e.mail them at info@skinnygirldaily.com if you'd like. Response time was just one business day for me.)

If you're wondering why I titled this post Gluten-Free "Indulgence" the reason is two-fold: The great taste and the price. A box of (4) bars (that's right, just four) can be found at Target for about five bucks. Yikes. That's ten bucks a week if you want to enjoy one every day. Online, at www.skinnygirldaily.com, you can order a 12-ct box for $21.99 (again, yikes). How much one spends on (quality) gluten-free snacks is, of course, a personal decision. I'm choosing indulgence, my friends.

If you try the bars, let me know what you think. I'm thrilled that Skinnygirl has jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon and realizes the importance in identifying the source of the brown rice syrup. Here's to you, Bethenny--because it's a great time to be gluten-free!

(This post was written based on my own personal experience purchasing and trying Skinnygirl Tasty Nutrition Bars. This is not a sponsored blog post, meaning, I did not receive any compensation--either monetary or product--for writing it.)

Product Review/Update: Girl Scout "Toffee-Tastic" Cookies

Back in February (see post from 2/24/15) I reported on one of two new gluten-free Girl Scout Cookies distributed this year and promised to report back when I had tried the second one. Well, I tried the second one, life got in the way, and I'm just now getting around to posting about the Tofee-Tastics. I do hope that the Scouts will bring back both of these cookies next year. The box describes the Tofee-Tastics as, "Rich, buttery cookies with sweet, crunchy toffee bits." They are delicious, and you cannot tell that they are gluten-free. At 140 calories and 90mg of sodium per two-cookie serving, they may not be the healthiest option but hey, that's not why we eat Girl Scout Cookies, right?

For anyone wanting to get a jump-start on finding out what next year's cookie season may bring, you can check out www.littlebrownbakers.com.

So glad that the Scouts agree that it's a great time to be gluten-free!

 

Product Review: Girl Scout "Trios" Cookie

Girl Scout Cookies: Gluten Free Trios

Girl Scout Cookies: Gluten Free Trios

As a huge fan of the Girl Scout's gluten-free chocolate chip shortbread cookie, last year, I eagerly awaited the news that it would return once again. While I'm disappointed to say that it did not, I have managed to get my hands on one of the two gluten-free cookies that the Scouts are offering this year--the "Trios." Described by the Scouts as, "Chocolate chips nestled in a gluten free peanut butter oatmeal cookie," this tasty snack doesn't disappoint. If you normally enjoy this combination of flavors, you will love this cookie. A cross between crunchy and soft, the Trio boasts just 170 calories per three-cookie serving, and makes for a great after-school snack.

Once I've tried the gluten-free "Toffee-tastics," I'll report back. Until then, support your local Girl Scouts because they're doing good in the world and they, too, realize that it's a great time to be gluten-free!

It's Cookie Time!

For those of you who made that New Year’s resolution to hit the gym but knew better--rejoice! It’s Girl Scout cookie time! As a former Girl Scout leader, cookie time brings back a bunch of memories for me. I will, say, though, that it was a dark time for many before the Scouts came out with a gluten-free cookie. Last year, they introduced a chocolate chip shortbread that was TO DIE FOR; however, it is not available this year.  Major bummer.  So what’s a girl to do? Try the new gluten-free cookies, of course. This year, there are two: Toffee-tastic, described as, “Indulgently rich butter cookies with sweet, crunchy, golden toffee bits.”According to the Scouts, this variety is being offered in select markets only, while supplies last.

The other cookie is called the Trio and is comprised of “chocolate chips nestled in a gluten free peanut butter oatmeal cookie. Made with whole grain oats and real peanut butter, the Gluten Free Trios (are) premiering in a number of test markets this year.”*

You can easily find cookies for sale by using The Girl Scout Cookie Finder Mobile App, which is available from the App Store and for Android on Google play.

Thanks to the Girl Scouts who must agree--it’s a great time to be gluten-free!

*Source:  Girl Scouts Cookie Finder App

Oh, Blogger, Where Art Thou?

Hi folks and Happy New Year!

Since my last post, I created a "CeliacSavvy" Facebook page (thanks for "Liking!") and am planning to be more active on Twitter. I love the "favorite-ing" and re-tweeting, so thanks,  too, for that support. While I plan to continue to blog, my 2015 schedule seems more conducive to spending more time sharing my message via social media. Of course, if I come across news that's "blog-worthy" (and 140 characters just won't cut it!) or if the muse is on my shoulder, I'll be sure to post.

I hope you'll spread the word and have your family, friends, colleagues, and whomever you think would benefit from keeping up with "CeliacSavvy" check out and "Like" my Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter (@CeliacSavvy).

Here's to a great 2015--because it's a great time to be gluten-free!