Thursday, November 25, 2010

Caveman vs. Celiac: winner eats loser

2010 is almost done and we (I'm looking at you- Laura, Natalie, Mike) have not written a single post this year. We loose at blogging! So here it is, the one (and probably only) post of 2010:

My roommate is currently on the "Caveman Diet," or the "Paleolithic Diet" if you prefer. So back in the 70's this dude theorized that the "ideal" human diet is the one that the pre-agriculture hunter/gatherers ate. He felt that a lot of our health problems came after man's diet changed with the development of agriculture and "animal husbandry." Proponents claim that we are "genetically adapted" to eat as our first ancestors did. There's a whole philosophy behind it that I won't get into, but the basic gist is you should cast aside the indulgences of those reckless Neolithic gluttons that ruined everything, and start hunting and foraging in order to live longer.....unless you plan on living past the age of 35, in which case I do not recommend this diet.

On the Paleo Diet...
you cannot eat: legumes, grains (anything with gluten), dairy, potatoes, refined sugar, anything with preservatives, salt, processed oils, etc., etc. Basically you can't eat anything fun, it's like the G.F. diet in hell.
you can eat: meat, seeds, berries, plants (not to be confused with vegetables which are "farmed," while plants can be "foraged"), meat, some nuts (NOT peanuts, those are legumes silly), oh and meat. 

 Featured on the Paleo Diet website under "Footwear for Hunting and Gathering." For those times when shoes are too much, but feet aren't quite enough. Do it like the cavemen would have (if they'd had access to nylon and Chinese factories).
To be clear, my roommate is not doing this diet to connect with his inner Troglodyte. The Paleo Diet has been embraced by a lot of athletes and fitnessy people. It is supposed to be a great way to help gain and maintain muscle quickly and healthily when you are training or doing aggressive fitness routines. Roomie is on a get-ripped-quick-kick right now, and while I am not a proponent of fad diets, I get why he's into this. Frankly it could be way worse, and my house is always stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, I do love steak and I've gotten to eat a lot of steak lately, so that's cool.

Tyra knows.

I am learning that people who can't eat certain things get frustrated with people who won't eat certain things. Since Paleo is the uber gluten-free diet, of course I talked to my favorite Celiac Scientist, Amy, about it. It was kind of hilarious. Amy's response to me explaining the Paleo Diet: "well there were obviously caveman doctors that made really good notes about how healthy cavemen are." AWE SNAP!  Celiacs are sassy. (PS- I did not know I was saving my gchats until I remembered this conversation and did a search. I will no longer be saving them and will be deleting all previous gchats after this because I am not a creep).

Anyways, the moral of the story is: people seem to keep finding reasons to not eat bread when there are people in the world who can't eat bread. I say, eat a cracker for a Celiac. Because every time you pass on a wheat product for no reason, a Celiac kicks a kitten (that is a lie). 

eat the croissant or this kitten gets it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Celiacmas!

At the request of my very good, very gluten-free friend, Amy, I have decided to muster the strength for a blog post. Merry Christmas, this is all I could afford to get you this year.

I would like to discuss Amy's recent glutening at P.F. Changs. They got her good. She said when she received her food there was brown rice all mixed in with her white rice. Sloppy P.F. Chang...very sloppy. So they gave her a gift card or a voucher or something for a free meal. It always makes me laugh when I hear that stuff, as if you are eager to go back to the place that put you through hell. Someone once told me a story about finding a bug in a candy bar and getting a voucher for unlimited whatever-the-hell candy bar it was for the rest of his life. Really? Because if I bit into a Snickers and it bit me back, you can be damn sure I am never eating a Snickers again. (To be clear, I have never been bitten by a Snickers. I would be happy to have that lifetime voucher thingy.)

I'm not sure if I would eat this even without the bee.

Oh, and I have to make a very special F.O.C.U. shout-out to my other Amy, who is now officially gluten-free as well! Amy's of the world beware- it is an epidemic! This particular Amy held out much longer than my first g.f. Amy. It basically took her arm almost falling off from some horrible gluten-induced vitamin deficiency for her take the plunge and go totally g.f. I am happy she is playing it safe now and happier that she did not loose an arm in the process. I am not sure if it is going to be helpful or confusing that the two Amy's in my life are Celiacs, but this blog is now dedicated to A2 .


I just found a new site called Celebrity Diets. The site seems to take itself pretty seriously, so I won't be spending much time reading it (boring!). I'm just looking for the really juicy stuff, the dog-food-and-Tang diet and things of that nature. Success! The baby food diet.  And, double success, there is a mention of gluten in the article!

"Jennifer Aniston believes the ‘purer, nutrient-packed, gluten-free’ pots help to maintain her trim figure; Reese Witherspoon told a US TV show she’s careful not to crash diet on infant food and makes sure to have one adult meal a day; while Marcia Cross ditched junk food snacks for baby food to keep hunger pangs at bay."

So baby food is the new finger-down-your-throat? It could be worse. I think my biggest problem with this particular diet is that is sounds humiliating. Can you imagine sitting down to eat with your friends and being like, "hold on, let me crack open my jar of dinner."


I was briefly a nanny when I was in college and, I won't lie, there were several occasions when I made a longing glance or two at the jar of bananas (I really like bananas).  I just can't see making this a lifestyle though. It seems to me that once you are eating baby food on a regular basis you have crossed a point of no return in the dignity department. It is only a matter of time before you are having your maid/boyfriend chew up nutritious gluten-free food and regurgitate it down your throat for you.

smootchy time or lunch time? 

 I think the only way this will ever be cool is if Gerber starts a line of jarred food specifically for adults. It will be the same as the baby food, but with better branding.

Maybe I should have contacted Gerber with a pitch before I gave away all my brilliant ideas? I could have just robbed myself of a potential fortune.

That's all I have till next year. Happy Gluten-free holidays to all Amys and non-Amys and Celiacs and non-Celiacs!!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Man's Best Friend is Now Gluten Free

As a complete joke, I decided to look into the secret life of gluten free diets for your pet. I expected to find no such google search results.

But then I remembered we live in a society of reality tv, high heels for your crawling infant, Bradgalina and people that seem to enjoy John Mayer, so I was not too surprised when google yielded search results for "gluten free diet for your pet", when in Rome...

Your gluten free body is a wonderland

Why a gluten free diet for your pup you ask. Well it is simple really. Dog food, dog treats and yes, even some cleaning products you might use on your pup can contain gluten. If you are a celiac, you will know better than anyone how easily cross contamination can happen and the consequences that can follow.

Not as exciting as how a baby is made, but you get the idea

Now, I find it hard to believe that a person with celiacs (or most people for that matter) would use their hand to fill their dog's food bowl, and then without washing that hand, shove it into their mouth - thus carrying out the cross contamination. But, I guess shit happens.

I am not into people dressing their dogs, doggy hotels or bling for your pup, so I fall a little bit on the skeptical side of having to put your dog on a gluten free diet just because you are.

Adorable or horrible? Truly, I am conflicted.

HOWEVER, I have seen the evil side of gluten and what it can do. My friend Amy cannot go into a restaurant where she can see the kitchen - it freaks her out. Try to carry on a conversation with her with that kitchen in view - you can't. She is like a hawk waiting for Mr. Chef Man to touch a bun and then handle her lettuce - it literally makes her a paranoid woman. Not cool gluten! Because of this act of crazy (although, understandable) I can fall on the side of the fence that might consider making your pet gluten free. BUT YOU BETTER REALLY HAVE CELIACS CAUSE IF OPRAH TOLD YOU TO PUT YOUR PET ON A GLUTEN FREE DIET FOR NO REASON I SWEAR I AM COMING TO YOUR HOUSE TO BURN YOUR MAILBOX!!

I digress. There is also another reasonable reason to make your pet gluten free. Just like us complex and weak humans, pups can get sick from gluten. According to an article I found on, "dogs can get eosinophilic gastroenteritis (a chronic disease that disrupts the normal function of the intestines) and it is believed that gluten is the cause." How sad. Imagine if Turk was gf!

Holy crap, puppy Turk should really be illegal.

In conclusion, I learned something today. Sometimes something you think is an absurd idea can actually be beneficial to certain people. Theoretically, Amy COULD get glutened from feeding her dog - I don't see it happening, but then again I never envisioned Amy not being able to eat bread. I supposed it is something for her to take into consideration. Remember kids, gluten is a sneaky son of a bitch, it lives in places you never think to look. With that in mind, let us all try to keep man's best friend, man's friend that doesn't accidentally gluten their owner.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cheeseburger en ParaĆ­so (menos el gluten)

Last night Amy read me something that was sent to her by a resort in Mexico. She, her husband, and in-laws will be visiting this resort soon and she emailed them to find out if they could accommodate her dietary needs. They could...and then some. Not only were they abundantly familiar with her needs and restrictions as a Celiac, they sent her this letter with the instructions to print multiple copies and bring them with her to present to the chef at every meal. The letter is written in both English and Spanish and perfectly summarizes the needs of a Celiac.

We were laughing as she read it because it seems so funny on paper, but in reality it is a perfect and concise letter. I think she should just bring it with her everywhere she goes indefinitely. Including giving it to friends and family members that may want to cook for her. It is definitely a good reminder of how serious Celiacs really is.

So remember kids, gluten doesn't just hurt people in English, it is equally dangerous in Spanish as well...probably even German. Not Japanese though. They just eat rice and sharks and puffer fish. That's probably not true. Sharks could be filled with gluten for all I know.

Be jealous. Be very jealous. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

F.O.C.U. Tip #6

Ok, so I have climbed down from my soap box and I am ready to resume my friendly, big-sister-with-advice-to-share tone. Today's lesson is about cooking for your gluten-free friends. Don't do it. OR, if you are absolutely hell-bent on cooking for your gf friend, there are a few simple rules you should follow: 

1. Trust no one. 
Not a website that tells you what is and is not gluten-free, not the grocery store "gluten-free" section,  not even the packaging on food. Only your gluten-free friend knows what he/she can eat and it came from trial and error, not a label. 
2. Plan the meal with your friend.
Surprises are lovely, but not when they involve hours curled up in the fetal position. 
3. Keep all the packaging from the food you used so your gf friend can inspect before eating.
See Natalie's story below
4. Trust no one. And you do not talk about fight club.

So this whole blog idea came from an experience I had a few weeks ago. I was on the Women's Health website looking up recipes. Their recipe looker-upper thing is pretty cool, you can filter down your search criteria to things like "cooking method," "occasion," and "dietary needs." Long story short, I decided to look up some gluten-free recipes that I might one day make for my gf bf Amy. 

Let's look at the first ingredient of the first item that popped up after I selected my filters, including "Wheat/Gluten Free":

Awesome. Luckily, I am a smart girl, and I am able to deduce that my wheat-gluten free friend cannot have whole-wheat pizza crust. For someone not as naturally gifted, this could lead to a disaster. Our friend Natalie is very smart too, she does Science. But even a Scientist is no match for the gluten-monster. What follows is her story.

Natalie's Semolina story. 
About a year ago our friend Natalie had the good intentions of cooking an awesome meal for Amy. Back then Natalie was pretty new to Glutenfreelandia, but she was determined to get it right. She went directly to the "gluten-free" section of her local supermarket and found the perfect noodle to make her gluten free vegetarian lasagna with....the semolina noodle. It was in the gluten-free section, near the rice noodles. It sounded gluten-free (never mind that there was a picture of wheat on the package). Back in my newbie days, I would have done the same thing. 

Amy loved the semolina lasagna. She loved it so much she had two large servings. Then we did what any good friends would do when their Celiac has just been glutened, we took her to a corn maze. Amy developed super-human powers that night, she was like a machine. She guided us through that corn maze as if God him/herself was whispering the directions in her ear. Left, then right, then right again, she was a woman on a mission.

one of us: "Hey, I think we should make a left here."
Amy: "No. It's a right. We are going right."

And it was a right. Amy survived the corn maze that night, but still suffered a gnarly glutening that she felt for the next few days. All because a supermarket put semolina noodles in the gluten-free section.

Moral of the story = trust no one. The end.


Do You Know The Gluten Free Muffin Man?

As a bf of a gf, it is important to me to make sure that I have options. Amy and I live a mere 2,402 miles apart, but when she comes to visit, I want to make sure we can go out to eat at least once. I did an extensive search throughout the bay area, noting gluten-free food here, potato vodka there and weird hippy shit everywhere (not necessarily gluten-free).

What I found is a celiac's baked good dream castle, Mariposa Bakery. Mariposa is strictly a gluten-free facility, which means no chance of cross contamination, which in turns means as a celiac, you can eat there stress (and gluten) free.

Mariposa has a wide selection of baked goods, from biscotti, brownies, coffee cake, cookies, bagels, tea loaves and even pizza crust.

Brownies, tea cake, coffee cake and biscotti - gluten free delights @ Mariposa

When Amy was visiting, she had the luck of visiting during Mariposa's anniversary party, which meant all the mentioned items above were free in sample size to the public (along with a gluten-free beer tasting next door). Amy was treated to items such as red velvet cupcakes, apricot pizza, lemon poppy seed cake and chocolate chip cookies. I mean, look at this spread:

Amy on the happiest day of her gluten-free life

Now, as a wheat-eater and a hard core dessert eater - I would not have been able to tell that any of these items were gluten free. In fact, I think I preferred many of the item to gluten filled desserts I have had (based solely on taste NOT as a diet or a trend).

Although Mariposa is located in Oakland, California, do not fret. They ship their goods all over the country priority (to make sure those goods are still good when they get to you) at a pretty reasonable price. Let's face it, gluten-free food is expensive, but once you try a garlic bagel from Mariposa, you'll happily throw down the $8.00 for a bag of them.

They also offer gift sets - come on, chrismahaukakwanzanewyearmas is coming up - think of all the food your gluten-free friend is going to miss out on, all i am saying, is give celiacs a chance!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jenny, I got your number

Jenny McCarthy rant to supplement Laura's Oprah rant:
This woman has been on my “celebrities that need to shut the f-up” list for quite awhile. I’m not going to get into her whole ridiculous vaccines = autism crap because this soap box will not support my weight long enough for 2 rants. Today’s rant is about how Jenny McCarthy thinks that a gluten-free diet CURED HER SON’S AUTISM. Yes, you read that correctly.

I can’t ….I don’t even…..this HURTS MY SOUL. Now I am not a doctor (I am not even a Celiac for that matter) but isn’t this the equivalent of saying “Becoming a vegetarian cured my Dyslexia”? To make matters worse, I found this little nugget of awesome while doing blog research on none other than the “Living Without” website. “Living Without” is (I thought)  a respected publication for people with allergies and food sensitivities. Way to feed the celebrity I’m-going-to-give-you-uneducated-and-possibly-dangerous-medical-advice-because-I-am-famous-and-I-can machine. Is Jenny McCarthy really going to help your sales that much? Now desperate parents of autistic children are going to deprive their kids of an entire food group on the say-so of a moron. Shame on you Living Without! And to think I almost bought Amy a subscription for Christmas, screw that!

 yup, this person looks totally qualified to give medical 
and nutritional advice

According to the LW article, health expert Dr. McCarthy and her partner in crazy, Jim Carrey, are both gf as well. Funny, the gluten-free diet didn’t seem to do anything for their mental disabilities? 

is it just me or is Jim Carrey starting to look like "Killer Bob" from Twin Peaks?  

 I get it lady, you love your kid, you want the best for him blah, blah, blah. But how happy is your kid going to be when he gets older and realizes he is responsible for a generation of children that have contracted Measles and weren’t allowed to eat Oreos. I hope all this money you are making spouting your nonsense is enough to pay for the therapy your child is going to need.

maybe she does have Celiacs?