Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Potato, Po-TAH-to: What's the difference

I've had a bee in my bonnet lately, and it is about to hit your local bookstore. (Boy, that was a mixed metaphor). I don't mean to make this a rant,'s gonna happen.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck and I certainly don't share political views, and she has never been my favorite on The View. But when I became gluten free two years ago (and later, when diagnosed with celiac disease) I felt that Elisabeth was a kindred spirit, a proud voice to my intolerance of gluten and its derivatives. My sister in Gluten Freedom, even.

In a few days, though, there's going to be a new book by Hasselbeck, called "The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide," in your bookstore. Now, I'm going to be mean here, but she does something that really upsets me.

She implies that Celiac Disease is merely a wheat allergy.

And I wish she wouldn't.

Take for instance this item in the recent Rachel Ray magazine. She talks about her "wheat allergy."

No no no. Say it ain't so!

And she Tweets some things like this that aggravate me greatly: ' i would try all g-free...only way to tell...hang in there. it will take a few weeks to feel completely better. :" A few WEEKS? Try a year. Six months. We see gradual improvement, but I've been totally 100 percent (no cheating at all) gluten free for TWO YEARS and I still have problems. Of this that she wrote to someone called Spicy Magnolia: "you can! more energy, better fitness...more bang for the bite! try with just gfree-ing 1 meal a day, or snacks are all gfree."

Uh, not if you have Celiac Disease, folks. That's not gonna cut it. That isn't going to make someone newly diagnosed with celiac well. Ever. Now if you're gluten free for some vanity reason, well, that's different. But she's not. And most of us out there aren't either.

I find myself with torn emotions. I'm all about spreading public awareness and information. That's why I have this blog. And I'm happy she's got a GF success story to share. But you can't have Celiac Disease and do it half way. And it's really not an allergy, even if that is the easiest way to explain "keep your bread and croutons and soy sauce etc." to a restaurant person (and in the interest of full disclosure, that's the only time I say I have a "wheat" allergy, by the way).

But really, let's call a shovel a shovel and be honest. Give people the real deal, Elisabeth. You demand that standard on The View, and we in the Celiac community need you to do that as far as celiac is concerned.

Being "G-Free" is about SO MUCH MORE than having an allergy. Don't tone it down, on Twitter or on television. You're a powerful spokeswoman for the Celiac community, and we NEED you to tell it like it is.

You're a Survivor (pun intended, of course). And we in the Celiac Community are looking to YOU as our ambassador.

Do us proud with the truth about being G-Free.

Much love, and please don't get me started on Jenny McCarthy and autism....


Friday, April 24, 2009

Try this one, for the Halibut

Heehee. I made a funny. Oh, and it's Friday, so I'm writing about GREAT fish! Starfish Gluten Free Halibut also passed the Ging Taste Test. Even Jeffrey loved it -- we actually fought over the last piece of fish!

Actually, this is an update on the wonderful breaded fish I wrote about earlier in the week, from the wonderful folks at Starfish. I got a handful of questions answered by Eric Larsen, the company's wonderful representative.

For instance:

These fish products are not from China. I know a lot of people are wary of the products from China, but Eric assured me the fist comes from the north Pacific and North Atlantic.

The cost depends on the fish. The halibut, which is mighty tasty, is a bit pricier than the cod and haddock. The cod and haddock run in the neighborhood of $6, and the halibut is about twice that cost.

You can find these products for now at Whole Foods, But there's good stuff in the works...I can't disclose now, but I'll share when I can.

BTW, check out my GF brother from another mother's (aka Gluten Free Steve's) review of this product. See? It's not just me. This product is getting rave reviews!

Oh, and I might just have some coupons available for you readers in a couple of days. Stay tuned!

Much love, and happy Friday!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oh my, Cod!

I was recently offered some samples of the Starfish Company's assortment of gluten-free battered fish, and I have to tell you, I am one happy girl.

I received a sample of all three battered fish products -- cod, halibut, and haddock -- and I just dined on the cod.

Terrific. Simply terrific. If you're one of those gluten-free folks who misses the Long John Silver's style battered fish, you'll love this product WAY more. The fact that it's a careful gluten-free product with a great environmental policy makes me happy to tell you about it.

First, the essentials: a 10 oz package of cod has about three servings at 200 calories and 5 fat grams each, and my pack had seven nice-sized pieces.They are wild and all natural, according to the label. I baked them in the oven at 450 degrees for about 18 minutes, and they were crispy and not a bit greasy. The outside crust has a deliciously seasoned flavor (I tasted a little hint of onion and garlic, and sure enough, there's powder in there). Best of all, the fish is wheat free, soy free, milk free, egg free, with 0 grams trans fats. I can't wait to try the other brands (and will fully report on them, too).

I ate them with my own homemade tartar sauce (Duke's Mayo, dried shallots and sugar free pickle relish). It was a wonderful dinner and I have plenty left for tomorrow's lunch.

I found this information about the product and company on the Internet, and I feel like this would be a product I'd buy for myself.
I like it a lot more than my usual GF fish stick purchase (which I like a lot, too).

I know from some research on other internet sites that this company is very careful to prevent CC issues. You can read about that in this blog post here.

I'd like to thank Eric Larsen for sending these to me. According to the website, though, these aren't available in the east yet. Bummer. And I don't know how much a package costs, though I know I spend about $5 for fish sticks now, so cost might not be an object if I see these at Whole Foods.

But if you're in need of a gluten free quick fish meal, try it.

And rumor has it they're getting shrimp on the market soon. Sign me up for that!

Much love, and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A "tweet" gluten-free experience

Are you gluten free? Are you on Twitter?

If your answer to both is yes, you're part of a new, growing network of gluten free people who have discovered Twitter, the micro-blogging site. Simply searching the word Gluten Free will find you a sea of people you already follow here in the blogosphere!

And if you're not -- get thee to Twitter and join the revolution.

In a nutshell, Twitter is a micro-blogging site where you answer the question, "What are you doing?" It's like a mini Facebook status update, but most people use it for so much more. We promote goods, products, information, services -- you name it.

I admit I didn't get it at first, but now my senior PR classes are all on Twitter, and it's an integral part of my communication structure. I'm even going to a whole event to make me a better user of social media because of Twitter!

10 days ago, I had a wonderful experience there when Bonnie Sayers of @AutismFamily held a a gluten-free "Tweet up" with three panel discussions on gluten-free living throughout the day.There was great lively discussion all day and into the night (I was online until after midnight!) PLUS there were some great giveaways! I won a case of cereal that I will be blogging about here as soon as I try it!

As a result, I'm now following more gluten-free people than ever! I love this, as we discuss what we're cooking, what we're trying, and what we're reading in 140 characters or fewer every day.

A lot of my blogger buddies listed here are on there -- Kate Chan, Gluten-Free Steve, Ginger of the North (Fresh Ginger), Gluten Free Sox, Gluten Free Shaolin, Seamaiden, Ginger Lemon Girl, Karina of Karina's Kitchen/Gluten Free Goddess, and even the Gluten Free Girl, Shauna James Ahern-- they're all on there. In a sense, it's another way to grow us closer together on a topic we're all passionate about -- gluten free living.

The gluten-free community on Twitter also features a number of parents who have children who are GFCF because of autism. While this doesn't apply to my Jeffrey, I support them in their search for an alleviation of their condition.

If you're not on Twitter, give it a try -- you'll find a whole new world of gluten freedom on there.

Oh, and when you get there, follow me! GingerCM, at your service.

Much love, Ging

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A love for story for the ages

On a cold February day in 1957, Margaret Bennett drove Mollie Rudeseal to the maternity center in Rome, so Mollie could give birth to her only daughter -- me. Two years later, Mollie repaid the favor to her dear friend Margaret, who has married Winton Cooper in 1957, and drove her to hospital for the birth of their only son.

These are just some of the roots of friendship between my parents and Margaret and Winston Cooper of Valdosta, Georgia. It was a friendship of more that 50 years that stretched through Georgia Power Company triumphs and transfers, travels in retirement, children, marriages, grandchildren, and life. When my mother died in 1998, Margaret and Winston were at my Daddy's side. They graciously and lovingly embraced my Dad's wonderful life partner, Mary, when she joined the picture a year later.

They were family.

On Sunday, Margaret Cooper died at age 92 following a series of strokes. Our family was deep;y saddened, and my Daddy and Mary made plans to attend Margaret's visitation and funeral on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But somehow, the Lord, who works in mysterious ways, intervened and changed everything for everyone who knew and loved Margaret and Winston Cooper.

You see, Winston woke up Tuesday, read the paper, ate a breakfast cooked by his dear daughter-in-law -- and then he died of a heart attack. In an instant, he joined the love of his life in eternity.

I literally screamed when I found out on the funeral home's web page Tuesday, and I called Daddy and Mary, who were in Macon on the road south. I made the immediate decision to join them at the funeral, a decision I am glad I made. A few hours later, David called to ask me to let my Dad know -- he didn't want Daddy to find out when he arrived at the funeral home that night. In his time of pain, he was reaching out to others. Just like his parents, he was giving.

I had been blessed to talk to Winston only the night before, and I'm glad I got a chance to tell him I loved him and Margaret. He even scolded me me for not stopping by to see them as I flew down I-75 on my way to Tampa to see Randy. I truly have thought about it every single time, and now, oh how I wish I had stopped. He sounded tired and sad. I told him I loved him and that I'd be there in spirit Wednesday.

What we experienced at the visitation last night and at the funeral today was unusual, and I will never forget it for as long as I live. I've heard news stories before about spouses who die within hours or days of each other after long marriages. I just never knew anyone. Just imagine the shock so many felt last night when they arrived to pay respects to Margaret and found Winston there beside her.

But all this was a part of a greater plan. What a blissful way for a couple so in love to go. A tragedy for us, to be sure, who are here mourning their passage, but they are together in heaven in a garden so beautiful we can only imagine. I'd like to think my Mama and Margaret are riding around for old time's sake.

As my Daddy said, "once the dominos started falling, well, I can't think of a better way to go."

David, their strong and wonderful son, put it this way. "Daddy's job was to take care of Mother. When he'd made all the arrangements for her service, his work here was done, so he went to join her." A friend nearby added, "I can almost see your Mother, standing at the Pearly Gates, telling St. Peter 'I'm not going in until he gets here."

Their pastor said in the eulogy that Margaret and Winston were a testimony to Christian marriage, a marriage built on God, love and respect. There was always caring -- he was always taking care of her -- he always held the door for her, and he always opened the car door for her. Mary told me that Winston had become Margaret's "social secretary," sending emails, buying groceries, etc., as her health failed in the past years. Daddy and Mary told several folks there about how they'd had New Year's Day lunch with Margaret and Winston on their way to see us in Tampa this year. It was a joyful visit for them that included a fresh lemon pie, baked that morning by Margaret.

The pastor ended the service with a references to the Sermon on the Mount and its mention to the light of the world and salt of the earth. That summed them up perfectly, in all they did for their friends, their church, their community, and their family.

Light and salt. Margaret and Winston.

Together forever.

Much love,