Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Treatment for Celiac Glutenization

Well, it's a very rare occurrence, but I got glutenized a few days ago. Yucko. It happens to all of us occasionally. I ate a frozen dinner that listed only soy and milk as allergens and read the label really well, but either cross-contamination or something snuck in. Yucko.

I'm not merely sharing my tummy ache for the ick factor but because I have a palliative treatment for glutenization. It's not a miracle cure. You'll still be sick, but it's better than nothing.

As soon as you figure out you've accidentally ingested some gluten, take a dose of Pepto-Bismol and a couple Simethicone (Gas-X) tablets. You'll still have some tummy cramping, but it won't be as bad.

In addition, avoid all NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like Advil, Motrin, Aleve, any generic ibuprofen or naproxen, prescription COX-2 inhibitors, even aspirin, etc.) because these make the gastrointestinal lining more permeable (leaky), thus increasing the amount of gluten available to the immune system for a reaction. Avoid NSAIDs for several days. If you want a pain killer, stick to Tylenol (acetaminophen.)

One good thing about getting glutenized: I can't believe that I used to feel like that all the time. I feel so much better now that I stick to a GF diet.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Should Celiacs Take a Multivitamin Pill?

For celiacs, nutrition is a whole different ball game. Before we even take a multi, we need to read the label and ensure that wheat or any of its evil cousins aren't lurking in even a nice, safe vitamin pill. But everyone should take a multi, right?

If there’s one decently healthy thing that a lot of people do, it’s taking a basic multivitamin. Good grief, taking a little pill with decent amounts of the essential micronutrients and minerals keeps you from getting scurvy, right?

Right. Most people don’t eat sufficient fruits and vegetables. Most people don’t get enough vitamin C over the course of a week to keep them from getting low-grade scurvy, unless you’re one of the smart few who toss back an orange juice shot in the morning.

(Just for the record, I imbibe espresso shooters in the morning. I’m not getting up on my high elliptical strider and being healthier-than-thou. We’re all on the same dusty rowing machine, here.)

However, you should consider your special circumstances before you even decide whether or not to swallow that vitamin pill.

There are also some very interesting studies relating the regular use of vitamin pills with an increased risk of cancer. Contrary to the expectations of the researchers, one study linked Vitamin A supplementation with an increased risk of lung cancers in male smokers.

In addition, taking a multivitamin increased the possibility of deaths from prostate cancer in men. Why would that be?

The multivitamin-cancer correlation suggests an interesting hypothesis.

In the past, our ancestors, probably even our relatively recent ancestors in the 1900’s, likely experienced transient malnutrition. In the winters, especially, they had less access to fresh, nutritious produce and almost certainly experienced cyclical vitamin deficiencies.
Thus in the winter, a budding cancer cell with its blazing metabolic furnaces would probably starve to death for the lack of vitamin C and vitamin K, which would manifest itself as only a very mild case of scurvy or a few nosebleeds in an adult and would be rectified when tender spring greens appeared.

Now, with our year-round produce and megavitamin pills, we do not experience these cyclical, transient vitamin deficiencies. We are super-nourished, and thus our cancer cells grow robustly in this rich stew of essential nutrients.

Before you give up your daily multi, however, there are some very important things to consider.

People with the highest levels of vitamin D (available in supplemented milk, pill form, and sunshine,) had lower levels of cancer and osteoporosis.

If you’re a woman of childbearing age, taking a daily multivitamin during any trimester of pregnancy or in the month before pregnancy decreases the risk of neuroblastoma in the infant by 30% to 40%. Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer seen in infants and accounts for about 10% of all pediatric cancers. Not to mention that whole folic acid—neural tube defect thing. Taking a big preggers prenatal multi during pregnancy is very, very likely the best course of action.

Also, non-smokers who do not have heart disease who use multivitamins that include A, C, or E reduced risk of dying from heart disease by 15 to 18%, and heart disease kills far more people than cancer does.

So, for a general rule of a healthy thumb, if you’re a smoker, avoid vitamin A, even if you have to take a handful of single-vitamin pills instead of a general multi.

If you have prostate cancer, stop taking your multi.

If you don’t smoke and you don’t have prostate cancer, a multivitamin is probably the best course of action.

If you want hedge your chances, however, here’s an idea: there’s some very good research that supports the hypothesis that eating 300-500 fewer calories per day extends lifetime and, more importantly, extends robust lifetime. That’s right. Eat less.

Some good research came up lately that showed that mice that ate normally every other day and semi-fasted (eating 15% of normal calories) on the off days had essentially the same life extension and reductions in heart disease, cancer, and inflammation. If you try alternate-day semi-fasting, don’t take a vitamin on those days. Taking a megavitamin on feasting days will nourish your body well.

Fasting is associated with life extension and with reducing the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy.

For celiacs, however, taking a multi is more important. Especially in the first few years after diagnosis, your gut is healing. You haven't been absorbing nutrients normally, and you may have low-grade vitamin deficiencies. One of the most common co-morbidities for celiac disease is iron-deficient anemia.

Therefore, it's probably best for celiacs to take a multi, especially in the first five years after diagnosis and the diet.

TK Kenyon
Author of RABID: A Novel, a novel of autoexperimentation, unwitting guinea pigs, and green-glowing rabies virus, and CALLOUS: A Novel, a story about free will, neuroscience, fate, the nature of memory, and the End of Days.

Friday, August 29, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free at The Black-Eyed Pea

The Black-Eyed Pea is a home-cookin' kind of establishment with restaurants in Colorado and Texas. They also have a full bar. The usual admonitions about beer apply. Locations here.

They have several options for us celiacs. If you like your GF food hearty, try the Black-Eyed Pea.

Soups & Salad
Classic Caesar Salad without the dressing
Signature House Salad with Grilled Chicken not fried and Red Wine Vinegar & Oil dressing

Vegetable Garden
Black-eyed Peas
Sweet Kernel Corn
Tender Green Beans
Steamed Broccoli

Home Style Favorites
Slow-Roasted Half Chicken
Roasted Turkey Breast Dinner without cornbread dressing and turkey gravy

From the Grill
Top Sirloin Steak without onion rings
Charbroiled Chopped Steak without seasoned rice and gravy
Grilled Chicken breasts without seasoned rice
Ranch Style Pork Chops

Colorado Combos
Grilled Chicken Breast
Grilled Atlantic salmon without seasoned rice

Grilled Atlantic salmon without seasoned rice
Grilled Cajun Catfish without seasoned rice
Baked Cod without seasoned rice

While they don't list it on the GF info, I'll bet a basic baked potato is also a safe choice.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Celiac Maniac's Very Easy Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

This was one of the first recipes that my grandmother sent me when I found out that I couldn't eat flour anymore. It's so easy, and it uses no funny flours or specialized ingredients. Plus, the cookies taste really good!

These cookies are also casein-free (CF), corn-free, potato-free, etc., and even grain-free, but not low-carb nor low-fat. They contain peanuts, mais oui.

  • 1 Cup peanut butter (I use Creamy Jif)
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 teaspoon GF vanilla (Many pure vanillas are GF. Many artificial ones are not.)

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Spray a measuring cup with GF cooking spray (most are GF, except for the "baking" ones that have flour in them.) Measure the peanut butter in this cup.

Microwave the peanut butter on the "defrost" setting until it is warm but not hot.

Stir in the egg, then the sugar and vanilla. A whisk works well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls (about 1 Tablespoon-size) onto a cookie sheet. Press a criss-cross pattern on top with a wet fork. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffed and beginning to brown at the edges.

Immediately and carefully remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool on paper towels. The cookies will be soft and delicate while hot, but they firm into crisp cookies as they cool.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

GF Cookbook Review: You Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free by Robin Ryberg

I am hesitant to give a low review to anyone's GF cookbook, if for no other reason than there just aren't enough GF cookbooks out there and any cookbook is a good addition to the GF lexicon.

However, I recently perused a copy of You Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free by Robin Ryberg. There are some problems with it.

There are no major errors or dangerous problems with Ryberg's cookbook. Several years ago, one "GF" cookbook that I bought included recipes with spelt, an ancestral wheat, which is absolutely verboten to us celiacs. Ryberg's book is safe, as far as I read. I admit that I didn't extensively delve into the book, but she seems knowledgeable.

However, there are some problems.

First, in many recipes, the author/chef uses one or two, maximum, of our funny flours. It's like she's knocked us back to those terrible old pre-Hagman monoflour days of crumbly breads and hard-baked paste. This is the largest shortcoming of the book. Most of the recipes look like they'll be bland and crumbly.

Next, the cover states that it has 500 recipes in it. Well, sort of. For many recipes, probably most, the author remakes the recipe four times with four different flours, and most recipes utilize just one flour.

For example, a biscuit recipe might have a "rice-based" biscuit, made from just rice flour, a "corn-based" biscuit, made from just cornstarch, a "potato-based" biscuit, made with just potato starch, and one biscuit recipe from one other starch.

That's four recipes down, only 496 to go!

Last, most of the recipes are quite nutrition-free. Granted, I'm a bit of a health nut. Before my diagnosis, I ate 15 grain bread. Once, I found 18-grain bread and was in multi-grain Heaven. The bread that I make is whole-grain and has lots of fiber and protein.

Most of Ryberg's recipes make Wonder Bread look like a loofah sponge. They are based on starches like cornstarch or potato starch instead of whole grains or legume flours. If I ate the stuff in this book, I would never poop again.

I'm sure that Ryberg worked hard in writing this book, and I'm sure that she was meticulous in testing the recipes. This is not a personal attack on her. Indeed, if you are allergic to several grains or other funny flours, this might be a good book for you, due to its alternate versions of each recipe.

Unfortunately, if you're planning to buy a new GF cookbook, skip this one.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Celiac Maniac's Mighty Fine GF Muffins

I added a picture to my GF muffin recipe. Be kind. I'm just beginning to learn food photography.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free at Outback Steakhouse

TK Kenyon, the Celiac Maniac, is pleased to tell you that the ubiquitous Outback Steakhouse has a gluten-free menu, and they're good about training their waitstaff and chefs about cross-contamination. I've always had attentive, reliable service, there.

When you go in, ask for the neatly printed gluten-free menu. The only caveat is that you may want to ask for a regular menu, too, as the GF menu does not have prices on it.

Many of Outback's menu items are GF or can be slightly modified to be GF. (I hate it when "GF menus" are basically a list of meats and a baked potato and an admonition to avoid any sauces, seasonings, or anything that might make it taste good.)

Good news: many of the salad dressings are GF, as are the Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and the BBQ sauce.

Bad news: The Bloomin' Onion cannot be made GF.

Outback even offers three desserts, though the "Cinnamon Apple Sundae" turns out to be vanilla ice cream with pecans and caramel sauce, after you remove the gluten-containing items. The "Chocolate Thunder from Down Under" is GF through and through. Just order it and slide into an Aussie chocolate coma.

Menu Main Page: (Click GF PDF on the left side.)

PDF of GF Menu:

Find an Outback near you:

Don't forget that they have curb-side take-away and online ordering:


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Finding Gluten-Free Restaurants, Grocery Stores, etc., While Traveling

Though the Gluten Intolerance Group has a very nice website, the Gluten-Free Registry at has a much more extensive listing of restaurants, plus it's searchable by city and state, as well as by zip code.

Gluten-Free Registry also lists grocery stores with GF sections, caterers, and bakeries. Woo-hoo!

They also have a mini-site for mobile phone reference:

You can even download GPS info directly onto your GPS system:

Now that's a FANTASTIC resource.

Monday, June 30, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free at Subway

For folks with celiac disease, eating out without getting glutenized is tough. It seems like everything is suspect.

Subway sandwich shops, however, at least make an effort to not lace everything with wheat. Go to this link and scroll down to "Information for People with Food Allergies."

Of course, all the buns are out. Don't order a sandwich or BYOBun.

The salads, however, are pretty straightforward. With the exceptions of the the Meatball Marinara, Seafood Sensation, and Sweet Onion Teriyaki Chicken, all the other salads are safe if you tell them to hold the croutons. Meat, cheese, veggies: it's all good.

As for the salad dressings, the only one with wheat is the "Atkins Sweet as Honey Mustard." All the other ones are free game and GF. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free at Ruby Tuesday's

The following information is from the Ruby Tuesday's website, under the general FAQ. While RT has been snotty in the past, at least they've put up some info. Good luck.

Currently all of our fried food is prepared in soybean oil. Our French
fries are fried in the same oil as our breaded items.

Please be aware that we do serve white and wheat hamburger buns which all contain wheat flour. Our premium knot roll and rolls used for Ruby Minis are white bread, while our Golden Bun used for most burgers is a wheat bun. All are made from wheat flour.

The following menu items are acceptable for guests with a gluten
intolerance or Celiac Sprue disease:

Steaks (with Ruby's seasoning only)
Chicken Oscar
Chicken Fresco
Any burger without bread (EXCLUSIONS: turkey burgers, the onion tanglers on minis, French fries)

Broccoli as currently prepared
Mashed potatoes as
currently prepared
Baked potato without sour cream
Salad bar with discretion (excludes prepared salads on the salad bar)

Acceptable salad dressings:
Bleu Cheese
Lite Ranch
Thousand Island

Unfortunately, for all other food items, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. cannot provide a listing of allergens that might be present in our menu items for the following reasons:

It is always possible, as we are preparing food in over 800 restaurants every day, that one item will be substituted for another, and that the substitute product's contents may be different from the ingredients in the products we normally use.

As food is being prepared in our restaurants, it often comes in contact with other food, so even though a specific item may not contain allergens, it could be affected by another food item that does.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Celiac Maniac's Mighty Muffins (Gluten-Free) Recipe

These muffins are moist and have great cell structure. They're even relatively low-fat.

The batter is very thin, so don't try to put strudel or more than a light sprinkle of sugar on top. It will fall through the muffin in a "China Syndrome" meltdown and end up on the bottom.

This easy recipe can be stirred together in a mixing bowl. I let my preschooler mix the batter together in a big bowl set on the floor with a whisk. Have been doing this for two years.

Easy substitution below also makes these muffins dairy-free (casein-free and lactose-free).

You can also add up to 3/4 cup pureed vegetables to make these more nutritious in a "Sneaky Chef" way. Pureed carrots work great.

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup Celiac Maniac's Muffin Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons corn oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk or non-dairy liquid (soymilk or non-dairy creamer works best)
1 teaspoon GF vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray 8 cups of silicone muffin pan with GF cooking spray. (These rather low-fat muffins will stick to anything else, even paper liners. Spray 9-12 muffin cups if adding pureed veggies.)

Sift dry ingredients together to eliminate lumps onto waxed paper. Single-sift is fine.

Stir wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Dump dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. Whisk or stir thoroughly. (You don't have to worry about toughening the gluten.)

Ladle the batter into the sprayed muffin cups.

Bake at 375F for 20 minutes.

If eaten right away, muffins are a little crunchy on the outside and tender in the middle. Placing warm muffins in a sealed plastic bag (like a Ziploc) will soften the crust.

Muffins stay moist in a sealed plastic bag for up to a week at room temperature, or freeze in an evacuated Ziploc bag for up to 3 months.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free: Chipotle Grill

TK Kenyon, the Celiac Maniac, is pleased to tell you thatChipotle's Mexican Grill is a great place for celiacs to eat gluten-free.

According to their allergen card, the only thing that we can't eat is a flour tortilla. Indulge in corn tortilla tacos, bowls, rice, beans, meats, and salsas. Yummy, yummy, yummy! I'm an Arizona native, and I know good salsa when I taste it. The salsa is GREAT! When I'm traveling, I look for a Chipotle.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free: Bonefish Grill

TK Kenyon, the Celiac Maniac, is pleased to tell you that the Bonefish Grill is a nifty, upscale seafood and landlubber restaurant with many locations in the US.

 The downloadable GF menu includes a couple starters, most entrees, two sauces (mango salsa and lemon butter,) most sides, and even TWO desserts: the flourless brownie and berry creme brulee.

Gluten-Free Menu can be downloaded here.

Location finder here.

Friday, June 6, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free: Taco Bell

TK Kenyon, the Celiac Maniac, is here to tell you that Mexican food is one of the mainstays of the celiac diet. Its reliance on corn and beans makes it especially amenable.

Taco Bell, the ubiquitous fast food restaurant in the US, has some options for us gluten-free folks.

Try the following:

  • Tostada
  • Fiesta Taco Salad (order Chicken instead of Beef; order without the shell and without the Red Strips)
  • Express Taco Salad (order Chicken instead of Beef)
  • Zesty Chicken BORDER BOWL® (order without the Zesty Dressing and without the Red Strips. I use Hot or Mild Sauce instead.)
  • Southwest Steak Bowl (order without the Creamy Jalapeno Sauce)
  • Pintos N Cheese
  • Mexican Rice
  • Fruitista Freezes
  • Hot sauces (Mild and Hot, not Fire or Tomatillo.
For what to eat at 60 Chain Restaurants, including Taco Bell, Wendy's, and Burger King, consider the following ebook: 

Contrary to common sense, the hard tacos are not GF.
The beef is not GF. Contains wheat gluten. 

Taco Bell is really problematic with their gluten info on their website. For example, they say that all the hot sauces are ok, when the Fire and Tomatillo Sauce packets list wheat right on the packet. They also say that the Steak and Flatbread thingee is gluten-free, when the flatbread is obviously bread.

At this point, Taco Bell is Not Recommended for GF folks, due to serious, ongoing concerns with information from the company.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free: In Your Sandwich

If your favorite celiac sandwich on GF bread has been giving you stomach aches, it's not the bread.

Luncheon meats are a hidden source of gluten and a real pain in the gluten-free celiac's diet. It's meat, right? Says so on the front the package. Turkey.

When you turn the lunch meat package over, however, you find not only a huge list of preservatives, but also modified food starch, wheat starch, and just plain wheat gluten.

Boar's Head Luncheon Meats are all gluten free. As a matter of fact, All Boar's Head meats, cheeses and condiments, as well as Hans Jurgen Pickles are gluten-free. They even have hot dogs and brats.

For the folks with other food sensitivities, many of Boar's Heads products are accepted by the Feingold Program for folks on the Feingold Diet. A bunch of products have also been approved by the American Heart Association as low-fat and heart-healthy.

Luckily for us, Boar's Head makes the best lunch meat, anyway. I mean, why buy "Boxcar Myrear" when the good stuff is gluten-free?
Boar's Head products are available in many supermarkets and delis. Even my Farmer's Market carries them. They're sliced fresh, so ask at the meat counter.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Legal Seafoods is Legal for Celiacs!

Legal Seafood Restaurants, which have many locations on the East Coast, has a nifty gluten-free menu!

First, find a location near year on this page, then click on the menu icon on the right. The one near me has a whole gluten-free menu. They even have GF croutons for the salad, GF Cajun spice, and a junior menu with fish sticks coated in garbanzo bean flour!

Besides several locations in major malls, Legal also has restaurants in Logan (Boston) and Reagan (Washington, DC) airports.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Parchment Paper: Nifty and Non-Stick for Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten-free baking for celiacs is tough. The cookies are tough, the bread crusts are tough, and scraping the GF crud off your pans is tough, too. GF baked goods, especially low-fat ones, stick to the pans, and greasing them and dusting them with rice flour makes the outside of loaves gritty.
Enter: parchment paper.
Rip off a good-sized piece of parchment paper. Set your pan on it. Mark the corners with a pen. Cut from the dots to the corners of the paper with scissors or an X-acto blade. Fold the paper: first, from dot to dot, making a rectangle; then, the corners, kind of like inside-out wrapping paper. Put the parchment in the pan. Bake as usual.
When the loaf or cake is finished, lift the loaf out with the edges of the paper. Peel the paper away from the loaf. Perfect, easy crust. No rice flour grit or cornmeal pebbles. The pan cleans up with a damp cloth for psychological reasons, even though the dough or batter never touched the pan.
An added bonus: because you use no oil or butter on the pan, baked goods that rise (like bread) can "crawl" up the paper, like in gluten-ful angel food cake recipes, thus increasing rise and tenderness of bread.
Why didn't I think of this sooner?
Got easy GF baking tips? Tell me in the comments!

Monday, May 12, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free: Fast Food French Fries

When you have celiac disease, eating out can be an adventure, like adventuring into a jungle filled with glutenful tigers, ready to tear your guts out.

Even the simple French fry can be fraught with gluten dangers.

However, some fast food restaurants are better than others.

McDonald's French Fries are not only fried in contaminated oil, they sprinkle gluten-laden stuff on them made out of wheat. McCeliac McDeath. AVOID.

Wendy's French Fries are fried in oil with other glutenful items, but at least they don't sprinkle wheat on them. AVOID. (However, the baked potatoes are a good choice.)

Burger King French Fries really are GF! They're sprinkled with salt, not weird concoctions, and fried in a seperate fryer dedicated to french fries. GF King of the Celiacs. Let the rejoicing commence!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What to Eat Gluten-Free at Burger King

TK Kenyon, the Celiac Maniac, is pleased to tell you that if you show up at Burger King with no GF bun in your bag, there is still something you can eat.

The TenderGrill Garden Salad with TenderGrill Chicken has no wheat nor, as far as I can discern from the ingredients, any gluten. It has "natural flavors," which can sometimes be contaminated with gluten, but at least it's a safe start. The allergens list (link below) also lists the TenderGrill as containing no "wheat."

For salad dressings and sauces, GF options include: Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, Ranch Dipping Sauce, Zesty Onion Ring Dipping Sauce, Buffalo Dipping Sauce, and all Ken's salad dressings.

In addition, BK's French Fries are fried in a dedicated fryer that only fries French Fries. Onion Rings, French Toast, and other gluten-ful items are fried in a different fryer, in different oil. All their oil has trans-fats in it, so it'll eventually kill you, but at least you won't have a gluten reaction while you have a heart attack.

If you do show up with your own bun or a nice-sized lettuce leaf, your choices expand. The original beef patty (100% beef) and the Steakhouse Angus beef patty (beef, beef fat, "flavorings," dextrose) and the aforementioned Chicken TenderGrill are safe.

The Garden Veggie Patty is NOT safe. It lists wheat gluten as an ingredient. Neither are breaded items, of course.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cheap GF Flours: Look in Ethnic Stores

Your local health food store sells millet flour for $8/lb and brown rice flour for $4/lb. Sorghum flour can run you $7/lb, too. What's the frugal celiac to do?

Shop in ethnic stores! Indian (like, relating to India, not Native American,) grocery stores in particular have a wide variety of gluten-free flours, including types that your local health food store will never carry, and their prices are great.

(Caveat: I live just north of New York City, and prices up here are higher than in many parts of the country. A gallon of milk, right now, runs $3.30-$4.80, depending on where you shop. Therefore, please don't say, "Oh, millet flour at my health food store is only $6/lb," because your Indian grocery store prices should be correspondingly lower, too.)

The problem with Indian grocery stores is that many of the GF flours are labeled with Indian names. These are generally labeled in the English alphabet, so figuring out which ones are our funny flours is a matter of learning a few new words.

Brush Up on Your Hindi

Garbanzo bean flour is called BESAN. A superfine grind is best. Maya, from Maya Overseas Foods, makes a nice product. A 2 kilogram bag (= 4.4 lbs.) was $5 in my local Indian store, which works out to $1.14/lb. I substitute besan for garfava flour because I think the flavor is milder and it works as well or better.

To contrast, Authentic Foods Garbanzo bean flour from the Gluten-Free Mall is $6.62 for a 1.25 lb bag, or $5.30/lb, plus shipping and handling.

Sorghum flour is called JOWER flour. Kanaiya brand is a a soft, well-ground, light beige flour. Avoid brands were the flour looks lavender. A 2 lb. bag from my local Indian store was $4, or $2/lb.

To contrast, Authentic Foods sorghum flour from the Gluten-Free Mall is $6.38 for a 1.25 lb bag, or $5.10/lb, plus shipping and handling.

Millet Flour is called BAJRI flour, and Jalpur brand makes a good grind. A 1 kilogram bag, (2.2 lbs.) from my local Indian store was $5, or $2.27/lb.

The Gluten-Free Mall doesn't list millet flour, but my local health food store charges $6.50 for a 2 lb bag, which works out to $3.25/lb.

Finding Little India in Your Neck of the Woods

Your best resource is still your local yellow pages book. If you live in a major city or a university town, you probably have an Indian grocery near you.

However, the internet has its tentacles in everything nowadays.

State-by-state listing
Searchable Listing
Online Indian Grocery Store -- Delivers to your front door

TK Kenyon
Author of CALLOUS: A Novel, a story about free will, neuroscience, fate, Schrodinger's Cat, and the End of Days.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Amazon Oops Again!

Amazon has jumped the gun and is offering my new novel, CALLOUS, for sale ahead of its May publication date ( ) . When RABID was released last year, Amazon sold out and even sucked dry its wholesaler, so they had to backorder the book from the distributer and it took a couple weeks to get the fresh meat.

If you want to read CALLOUS any time soon, muscle your way to the head of the line and snatch a copy from some milquetoast's virtual shopping cart now!

TK Kenyon

Monday, April 14, 2008

Celiac Maniac's Muffin Flour Blend

This easy flour blend works great for muffins, cakes, sweet breads, or other moist baked goods. Recipes using it soon.

5 parts garbanzo bean flour (besan)
1 part rice flour
1 part sorghum flour (jowar)
1 part tapioca starch

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cookbook Review: The Gluten-Free Gourmet Makes Dessert

"The Gluten-Free Gourmet Makes Dessert" is one of the best of the GFG series for the extra information it includes.

While all of the books have the Bette Hagman's basic GF mixes (combinations of various GF flours that makes a more stable product,) this book has a great table of the protein, fat, carb, and fiber content of many of our "funny flours" (p26-7). It's fantastic for figuring out what flours to try substituting with if you're trying to increase the protein or fiber content of a recipe.

"Dessert" also has an example of how to take an ordinary cake recipe and make it GF, and suggestions for how much xanthum to use (p30-1). There's also a great troubleshooting chapter that starts on page 33.
One of the good things about the whole GFG series is that Bette put a lot of recipes in all her books. Unlike some recent books that have 20 to 30 recipes total, Bette packs 'em in.
The "cakes from mixes" chapter is less than exciting. It's where you take a GF cake mix and then add so much stuff to it that you could've started from scratch.

Steer clear of the brownie recipe on page 138. It was rock hard on the edges and underbaked in the middle, and was more like a blondie with flecks of chocolate than a proper brownie. I just use a regular recipe and, with the help of the guidelines on page 33, make good cocoa brownies. I'll publish that recipe soon.

The Black Forest Cupcakes on p113 turned out watery-tasting rather than moist and fell a little in the centers. Use some drier flour, perhaps substitute some rice flour for some of the Four Bean Flour.

Favorite recipes:

  • Pumpkin cake p64
  • Banana cake p61 (These are both like really good breads.)
  • Toll House cookies p157
  • Chocolate Mousse cake p282 (One of the better flourless choc cakes I've had)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

How to Find Restaurants Anywhere in the US that are Gluten-Free Friendly

There's a great resource at Gluten-Free Restaurants from the Gluten Intolerance Group that allows you to search by zip code to find a restaurant near you that participates in their GF program.

It's a great resource, especially when one is traveling within the US. While it does not list all restaurants, especially a shocking lack of P.F. Chang's, it is a great place to start your research.

All the Outback Steak Houses are listed, which are great places to eat at. I'll review them formally later, but YUM! Even a dessert! Even a chocolate dessert!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Thai Kitchen: many boxed meals are gluten free!

There are very few boxed meals that celiacs can eat, so when we find some, it's great.
Thai Kitchen, makers of fine Thai food, make many gluten-free products, helpfully labeled as such on the package. TK's experimental tummy agrees that they are indeed GF. In addition, their Stir-Fry Rice Noodles, a fettuccine-like substitute for pasta, are the best GF rice pasta around.
When I was first diagnosed, I bought probably 5 brands of GF pasta (rice, corn-rice, quinoa-rice, whatever,) and they were all simultaneously gritty and slimy. Thai Kitchen's noodles, on the other hand, are forgiving (meaning if you boil them a minute too long, they won't turn to mush) and have a nice texture. I often mix Thai Kitchen's rice noodles and the soybean noodles below to balance protein and carbs.
Many of Thai Kitchen's products are gluten-free, and a number are other allergen-free, too. Their site includes an excellent allergen information page and also has excellent recipes.
Thai Kitchen labels their GF products "Gluten-Free" under the ingredients list and often on the front. Do look for this tag as a few of their products are not GF. Thai Kitchen products are available in most general grocery stores and many health food stores.

These products get a "Best" rating because they're excellent food that happens to be GF.

GF products include:

Thai Peanut Stir Fry Noodle Meal Kit
Original Pad Thai Stir Fry Noodle Meal Kit
Lemongrass and Chili Stir Fry Noodle Meal Kit

ALL Instant Rice Noodle Soups (They look like Ramen packages.)
(Bangkok Curry, Spring Onion, etc.)

Roasted Garlic Instant Rice Noodle Bowl
Mushroom Instant Rice Noodle Bowl
Spring Onion Instant Rice Noodle Bowl
Lemongrass and Chili Instant Rice Noodle Bowl
Thai Ginger Instant Rice Noodle Bowl

ALL "Noodle Carts" (Rectangular boxes.)
(Thai Peanut, Pad Thai, etc.)

Original Pad Thai "Take Out Box"
Thai Basil and Chili "Take Out Box"
Ginger and Sweet Chili "Take Out Box"

ALL Jasmine Rice Mixes
(Green Chili and Garlic, etc.)

ALL Rice Noodles, Coconut milks, Sauces, Curry Pastes, and Simmer Sauces are GF.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Chili's Baby-Back Ribs: Gluten-Free!

Chili's Baby Back Ribs at Chili's chain restaurants are gluten-free in these varieties: Honey BBQ, Original, Memphis Dry Rub, and Honey Chipotle.

Chili's has excellent allergen information here. Skip to Page 9 for gluten info.
Disclaimer: I have not personally tried all these flavors to ensure GF-ness with my own tummy, but the allergen info looks good.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Safest Ice Cream for Celiacs: Breyers

Breyers All Natural Ice Creams are tasty and generally gluten-free. Other brands may include odd ingredients like modified food starch (that old devil!) or other, obscure fillers, so Breyers really is the safest choice.

Of course, avoid any ice cream flavor with gluten ingredients, like cookies or brownies, and always read that label to make sure nothing has changed.

Maltodextrin is Generally Recognized As Safe

In the US, maltodextrin is derived from corn and should be gluten-free.

It's in pretty much everything, too.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Recent Celiac Diagnosis: Gluten-Free Kitchen -- What you need to buy new

Congratulations on your recent celiac disease diagnosis!

Yeah, it's a weird thing to be congratulated on, but if you had to choose an autoimmune disease, with celiac, you don't have to take drugs or injections or lance your fingertips every day, you aren't going to gain weight from any steroids, you aren't going to pass away, and you are going to feel better within a couple days of going on the gluten-free diet.

Considering how sick you have been feeling, and you probably have been feeling pretty sick or else you wouldn't have gone to enough doctors to finally find one that can accurately diagnose celiac, that's a pretty good disease to have.

So, what now?

For this article, I'm going to assume that you're going entirely GF. Just make your house GF. Especially at the beginning, that's the easiest way to do it. It's not like going cold turkey from cigarettes. It's more like cleaning up the spilled paint to avoid tracking it everywhere.

Things you will need to buy new:
  • Toaster -- Absolutely necessary. There is no way to clean all the crumbs out of a toaster. Start with a new one.

  • Toaster oven -- if you use one. Same reason.

  • Cast iron skillets, if you have cast iron. Because cast iron pans build up a layer of "seasoning" that is non-stick and keeps the pan from rusting, this layer has gluten trapped all the way through it. I like the "Emeril" brand at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They're reasonably priced and have a "helper handle" on the far side. They're also perfectly flat for glass cooktops.

  • If you have non-stick or steel skillets, inspect them carefully for a layer of burnt oil build-up. Stainless steel can probably be scoured with a steel wool pad until it is shiny and new-looking. Non-stick (Teflon) skillets, especially if they are the kind with recessed ridges, should be closely inspected and discarded if you see anything sticking in there.

  • Baking sheets and pans that have become "dark." Again, layer of burnt-on oil that has trapped gluten.

  • Wooden cutting boards, wooden spoons, or other wood items.

That's really all that you need to buy new. A good cleaning, perhaps a trip through the dishwasher, should suffice for pretty much anything else.

More on setting up your GF kitchen next time.

Did I miss anything? Send me comments!


Del Monte Creamed Corn -- NOT Gluten-Free

Del Monte Sweet Corn Cream Style is not gluten-free. Don't use it. The label includes "modified food starch," which is usually derived from wheat and often a source of gluten, and I definitely had a reaction to it. It wasn't a huge reaction, but there was definitely a "celiac poke" in my tummy after using DM creamed corn as an ingredient in a large recipe.
Green Giant creamed corn specifies "modified corn starch" as has hitherto not caused any celiac reactions.
AVOID Del Monte Sweet Corn Cream Style.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Chi-Chi's Corn Cake Mix: Gluten-Free and Yummy!

Chi-Chi's Fiesta Sweet Corn Cake, a mix based on the sweet corn cakes from the now-defunct Chi-Chi's Mexican restaurants, is tasty, sweet, and has never given me tummy troubles.

I use this mix for a carb base for spicy chili or baked beans. With fresh, smashed strawberries and whipped cream, it's a great dessert.

This is a mix, and you add butter, water, and a can of creamed corn to the mix, scrape it into a bread pan, and bake for 45 minutes. I usually bake it at 400F instead of the 350F that the pouch recommends.

BEWARE: Green Giant creamed corn is gluten-free. Del Monte contains modified food starch and is thus suspect. I believe that I had a minor reaction to Del Monte creamed corn.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kosher for Passover can mean gluten-free but read labels

It's nearing Passover, which for folks like myself who live near a large Jewish community, means that the Kosher for Passover items are hitting the shelves. Passover for 2008 begins at sunset on Saturday, April 19, and runs 7 days until April 26.

During Passover, observant Jews avoid chametz -- any food that's leavened and/or allowed to ferment or rise. That means no yeast, baking soda or powder, but also anything made from wheat, spelt, oats, rye and barley, such as pasta, cereal and beer (unless it is made with matzoh.) Matzoh, matzoh meal, and farfel are, of course, entirely off limits because they are made with wheat flour and are a major source of gluten.

However, some manufacturers make potato starch-based products that are matzo- and gluten-free. Many kosher manufacturers even label their potato starch-based mixes as GF. However, you still must read the ingrediants label and decide for yourself whether you want to chance it.

For example, I found a kosher-for-Passover frozen pizza at my local grocery store. It was clearly marked "Gluten-Free!" and I rejoiced.

However, I flipped over the box and read the ingrediants. After potato starch, sugar, blah, blah, blah, the label specified modified food starch.


Modified food starch can be wheat-based and, in my experience, is often contaminated with enough gluten to cause a major reaction. I skipped the pizza. It's not worth the risk or the tummyache.

I did, however, find a KfP cake mix that I'm dying to try and will report on.


Monday, March 24, 2008

GF Food Review: Green Soybean Pasta from Nutrition Kitchen


All the rice- and corn- and even quinoa-based pastas that I tried when I first was diagnosed turned out gummy or dead-tasting.

Green Soybean Pasta from Nutrition Kitchen, however, is great! It's very forgiving in the pot, meaning that you can overcook it and it still turns out firm but noodly. It also means that you can boil it, then toss it in sauce and cook it some more without it turning to mush. I use it in Thai, Chinese, and Italian dishes.

Health wise: huge amounts of protein and fiber. It's better for you than whole wheat pasta.

While not indistinguishable from wheat, tastiness plus good texture plus forgiving nature plus healthiness earn this pasta a BEST rating! I'm going to try the black and gold versions, too.


Friday, March 21, 2008

CORNBREAD: TK's Southern "Company" Gluten-Free Corn Bread

I adapted this recipe from a gluten-ful one, as none of the recipes in the GF cookbooks satisfied me. This one is light, with a solid crumb and moist texture, almost indistinguishable from Marie Callendar's cornbread. It is not low-fat. Rather than a GF flour mix, this cornbread comes out best with just cornmeal and besan.

"Company" cornbreads were light, fluffy concoctions that used flour, eggs, and sugar, all luxury ingredients.

9-inch cast iron skillet or heavy cake pan

1 1/2 C cornmeal
1/2 C garbanzo bean flour (besan)
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs
1 1/2 C buttermilk (or same amount of sweet milk soured with 1 1/2 T lemon juice)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 C sour cream

  1. Spray skillet with GF cooking sprary and heat it over low heat until medium hot. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together into a bowl or onto waxed paper.
  3. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and sour cream in a bowl. Add dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
  4. Pour batter into hot skillet. It will sizzle but should not boil.
  5. Bake at 425 F for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Cornbread: Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread p151 -- Review

Contrary to the description at the beginning of the recipe, this cornbread from GFGBB is dry, heavy, and yet easily crumbles into dust. Soaked in honey and topped with significant amounts of melting butter, it is passable, but so is a week-old mud pie.

Skip this recipe.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Taste Rating System for GF Food

Because some GF food is compressed GF sawdust, and some is excellent, here's a 5-point rating system for quality and taste.

Don't bother. Not worth the calories or time it takes to eat.

OK in emergencies. Not similar to gluten-ful version.

Pretty good. Will not be confused with gluten-ful version. Average for GF products or passable food in restaurants.

Really tasty. Close to gluten-ful version or tasty in its own right. For restaurants, enjoyable and tasty.

Reserved for the best products, recipes, and places. Indistinguishable from gluten-ful version or extremely close. For restaurants, excellent GF food and friendly GF service.

Happy Tummy Legend for Restaurants and Foods

This legend is for informational purposes only.

Please remember that reactions vary by individual to minute concentrations of gluten, that products vary batch-to-batch, and that restaurant experiences vary by the chef or waitstaff’s knowledge and care.

5 Happy Tummies = No gluten reaction.

4 Happy Tummies = Possible, very minor reaction. May be due to cross-contamination in a restaurant or product assembly line or cross-reaction by my own tummy. Use caution. Monitor your response.

3 Happy Tummies = Probable, very minor reaction. May be due to cross-contamination or trace quantities of gluten-containing compounds like modified food starch or in “natural flavors.” Use great care if a restaurant or avoid.

2 Happy Tummies = Definite very minor reaction. May be due to cross-contamination or trace quantities of gluten-containing compounds like modified food starch or in “natural flavors.” Avoid.

1 Happy Tummy = Definite minor reaction. Probably due to trace quantities of gluten-containing compounds like modified food starch or “natural flavors.” Avoid.

0 Happy Tummies = Definite major reaction. Probably contains significant amounts of gluten. Avoid.