Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September Recipe of the month

Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and making awareness of it my pursuit, I have been blessed with many opportunities and amazing experiences involving the gluten-free community. One of the highlights has been the honor of reviewing a gluten-free cookbook. A beautiful woman named Gretchen Brown who is the author and creator of a popular gluten-free website, Kumquat blog, decided to fulfill a dream of hers by writing a cookbook.

Gretchen is a registered dietitian and, unlike most in her profession, she has been blessed enough to spend most of her career in a kitchen as opposed to a hospital. Her husband is military like mine and believe it or not, her sister Laura was my teacher in eighth grade. Laura was one of my favorites and we have kept in touch all these years. Laura told me about Gretchen's health struggles and how she did an elimination diet and found that after she stopped eating gluten her body felt like new. When Laura heard I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and was gluten-free too, she connected Gretchen and I so we could talk about our new lifestyle.

Click the photo to buy this amazing book!
Gretchen believes that those of us who eat gluten-free still deserve to eat food that makes us sing, awaken and delight our sense and brings back old memories. So, she put all of her heart into recreating and discovering recipes that fit this description. All of her hard work will be published in a book next month and in honor of that, I wanted to share one of her recipes.

Pork Tacos with Avocado & Tomato Salsa

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided (I omitted this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red onion (I don't really like red onion so I cut this amount in half)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Optional: sour cream, for serving
Cook the onion in pre-heated oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the pork to the pan; sprinkle the pork with chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, thyme, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in the water; scrape brown bits from the bottom of the pan and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Meanwhile, combine the avocado, tomatoes, 1/4cup red onion, cilantro, remaining salt, and remaining pepper in a small bowl.
Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon the pork mixture evenly into each tortilla. Top each evenly with the avocado mixture and sour cream.
ENJOY! Serves 8

Saturday, September 15, 2012

3rd annual Gfreek Awards

Every year has awards to honor those in the Gluten-free and Celiac community. GFreek is a website started by parents of a Celiac child who quickly realized that that spending $7.00 on a box of cookies and tossing them in the trash after one bite wasn’t the way to go. They didn’t have the health or financial freedom to experiment with the new food products and services. They wanted good tasting gluten-free food and a reasonable cost without the added frustration. The GFA will be the quickest way to identify that a product or service has met the quality standards set out by the Celiac and Gluten Intolerant population. 
Each year, people that consume or use gluten-free products and services are able to vote on their favorites. The results will then be posted onto the website for everybody to use. The purpose is to provide quick and easy information to two separate parties. The consumer uses this information to make purchase decisions based on availability, price, quality, and affects. The producers use this information to make business decisions based on their consumers feedback.There are regional awards as well which is a great way to let others in your area know the resources that are available to them.
Click the picture below to head the their website and cast your vote! Voting ends December 22nd and results will be announced in January 2013!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September Gluten-Free Support Group meeting

Please join me for the September Gluten-Free Support group meeting at Natural Pantry on Old Seward Highway. We meet in the Natural Pantry Cafe located in the University Center Mall from 6-8 pm. See you there!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Help me heal Heart Disease

1 in 3 people in our national will die from cardiovascular disease. It is the number 1 killer of men and women in our nation. Imagine the impact if we reduce death and disability from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20% by 2020!  I’m joining the 2012 Anchorage Heart Walk to promote physical activity to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Please support me in helping to reach this lifesaving goal by giving a donation today! 

Did you know that heart disease claims the lives of more people than the next 3 leading causes of death combined?  Here is how your online donation will help:

-$25 gives 50 people educational materials that teach them how to personally reduce their risk of heart diseases and stroke
-$50 delivers the message of healthy nutrition to elementary school students through lesson plans and activity guides
-$100 allows one hospital to teach its patients, caregivers, and health professionals about the risks of stroke – the nation’s No. 4 killer

Chances are you or someone you know has a connection to heart disease or stroke - forward this message to your friends and family.  Thank you, in advance, for your support!

Click here for a link to my page and help me stop the #1 killer of men and women in our nation!

Friday, September 7, 2012

September product of the month

In September, most children have returned to school. The long, lazy summer days are winding down and the scheduled days of school and other commitments return. I usually like to cook everything from scratch but, sometimes, I just don't have time and it can be difficult to find a ready-made product that fits my dietary restrictions. The product of the month for August, Eat Pastry cookie dough helps me save time and make my hubby smile when he comes home! ;)
I found this cookie dough when I was at Fred Meyer's in Eagle River the other day. I actually purchased it to just have a little raw cookie dough to eat but I found that it has a bit of an after taste so, I baked it instead. (Novel idea, don't you think?) They definitely taste even better cooked than the raw dough and if you can get one warm right after its come out of the oven, it reminds me of a fresh Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookie.These were easy to bake and taste wonderfully!  The cookies turned out soft, chewy, and I found it difficult to eat just one!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Austism linked to undiagnosed Celiac Mothers

Many of us with Celiac Disease know that we are more at risk for other autoimmune disorders because of our Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease, when untreated, increases the risk of developing more advanced autoimmune diseases such as Diabetes type 1, thyroid disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis. However, a recent research study showed that mothers who have undiagnosed Celiac Disease are at a greater risk of having an autistic child.
This is a particularly interesting discovery considering that Autism and Celiac Disease have increased significantly in the last 10-15 years. Read more at the links below.

Research abstract can be found here.

Full free text of research article can be found here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Short Wheat Challenge Offers an Easy, Reproducible Method for Detecting Immune Response to Gluten

by Jefferson Adams 08/13/2012 - "Research has indicated that giving small amounts of wheat-rich food to people with Celiac disease, who are on a gluten-free diet, will trigger interferon (IFN)-γ-secreting T cells in the bloodstream. These T cells react to gluten, and can be easily detected.
Photo: CC--SD DirkHowever, very little is known about how this procedure might be reproduced in the same patient groups that underwent two, or more, gluten challenges. A team of researchers recently set out to assess the reproducibility of this short wheat challenge method for detecting immune an response to gluten.
The research team included A. Camarca, G. Radano, R. Di Mase, G. Terrone, F. Maurano, S. Auricchio, R. Troncone, L. Greco, C. Gianfrani. They are affiliated with the Institute of Food Sciences-CNR, Avellino Department of Paediatrics and European Laboratory for the Investigation of Food-Induced Diseases, University of Naples, Naples, Italy.
They evaluated fourteen Celiac patients in remission who consumed wheat bread for 3 days, along with thirteen patients who underwent a second gluten challenge after 3-10 months on a strict gluten-free diet.
The team then analyzed the immune reactivity to gluten in peripheral blood by detecting IFN-γ both before and 6 days after patients began a a gluten-inclusive diet. They found that gliadin-specific IFN-γ-secreting CD4(+) T cells increased significantly by day 6 of the first challenge.
These cells arose as prevalently human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DQ restricted and with a phenotype of gut homing, as suggested by the expression of β7-integrin. They also saw a reaction to gliadin after the second wheat consumption, although the responses varied by individual at each challenge.
The study showed that a short wheat challenge offers a non-invasive approach to investigate the gluten-related immune response in peripheral blood of people who are sensitive to gluten.
Moreover, the study showed that the procedure can be reproduced in the same subjects after a gluten wash-out of at least 3 months. The results of this study mean that we can likely expect this procedure to find its way into clinical practice in the future."

**So what does this mean in plain language? Well, usually, if one goes off gluten before getting properly tested then the blood tests will not be accurate. The recommendation for those who want to be properly tested for Celiac Disease after going gluten-free has been to go back to eating gluten for a minimum of 10-12 weeks. Usually a half of a slice of toast per day is enough.
However, for those who has severe pain upon ingesting gluten or who manifest other symptoms that interfere with activities of daily living, this is not an option. I know that for me, you couldn't pay me to eat a slice of regular toast. This study and its reproducibility give hope that in the future those who want definitive confirmation will not have to go back onto gluten very long to get accurate results. ***

Original article can be found here.

Research abstract can be found here.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Jennifer Esposito spreads the word on Celiac Disease

Gluten-free living is one of my favorite magazine for those living on a gluten-free diet. Recently, they wrote a piece on Jennifer Esposito, actress of the popular show, Blue Bloods. She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2009 after years of struggling with her health. She is currently working on raising awareness about her illness and a gluten-free flour for bread mix! Read more about her story and get one of her favorite recipes from the article published by Gluten-free Living here.