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

Friday, July 24, 2009

I've got my swimsuit, and my flippity-floppies

I hoped to post two more reviews/stories before we left for vacation, but time, medicine, and a massive yard sale have all gotten in the way.

So...I'll be off the grid until at least August 10. During that time I'm be doing a lot of GF research on the Carnival Cruise Line, in New York, Hartford, and Boston. Thank GOD lobster is gluten free.

Anyway, I'll be back with a couple of new posts when I return. While I'm away, Jeffrey will have a vacation of his own at Papa and Mary's house. WOOHOO

Oh, before I go -- mark your calendars if you're in Middle Georgia. The middle Georgia GIG is meeting August 15.

Much love, and the alarm is set, the mail is held, the suitcases are packed, and we are outta here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Survey on GF Food, Products

A PR agency friend sent me this survey today. His client, a national company, is looking for participants who will comment on the gluten free food market.

The only requirement is that you live in the United States. (Sorry, Canadian friends...)

He wrote, "One of our clients, who is investigating the "gluten-free foods" market, would greatly appreciate your participation in this survey. Please pass this on to colleagues, acquaintances, friends, or family members who fit
in this category and would be willing to share their opinions and
experiences in an anonymous and confidential manner. It is also
critical that the individuals completing the survey reside in the US as
this is the focus of our analysis. The first 100 responses will be

Double-click on this link to complete the survey:

Your involvement in helping us better understand this important
condition is extremely appreciated. Thank you for your time and

I took it, and except for using the word "wheat allergy," it asks about products, prices, etc.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I interrupt my Friday evening guilty pleasure "What Not to Wear" marathon to bring you news I alluded to in my last post.

Starbucks has indeed discontinued the delicious GF Valenicia Orange Cake that I blogged so gushingly about in May. Its reasons are sketchy at best -- complaints of stringy orange peel? Complaints that the calorie count is too high, and it's too much of a treat? Complaints it can't be eaten all day?


THIS, from a company that sells a coffee drink worth 1,000 calories of sin in a glass. THIS from a company that provides several dozen gluten-filled, butter rich pastries available 24-7. THIS from the company that encouraged us to comment, that lured us to believe it cared about us.


Well, like Peter Finch's character in Network, we in the GF Community are "As Mad as Hell and We're Not Going to Take This Anymore ." (If you've never seen Network, watch the clip.)

The wonderful Annette Robertson at Triumph Dining wrote me today and asked me to spread the word.

There is a petition to bring back the cake. As Annette wrote me, "Our goal is to collect 5,000 signatures and to present the petition to Starbucks corporate headquarters. Please join us in our quest to get more options for gluten-free people around the country."

SIGN THE PETITION HERE AND PASS THE WORD. Yes, I know I'm shouting. And when you're done, go to the website and add your comment and protest. Trust me, there are plenty there already -- you can just add an "amen" or "ditto," but let your voice be heard.

And if you're NOT GF, but you love someone who is (like ME!) do it for that diner.

And finally, if you're as riled up about this as I am, write the president of the company!

Howard D. Schultz, CEO
Starbucks Corporation
Mailstop R-CR1
2401 Utah Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98124

We in the gluten-free community deserve better treatment. And it's my hope we won't keep quiet about it.

Much love, and pass the word!

P.S. Suddenly I feel like Joan Crawford (played by Faye Dunaway) in Mommie Dearest! (Warning: profanity in clip.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cereal Killer, Part II

The other cereal I've been eating handful by handful this summer is the new collection of General Mills Gluten-Free Chex. There's Cinnamon, Chocolate, Honey Nut. Corn. Rice and Strawberry GF Chex for the buying.

I've tried them all (except strawberry), and trust me, they're all delicious. They're also readily available in mainstream stores like WalMart and Kroger.

The Cinnamon is a lot like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a cereal I have always loved, In small batches, it's perfectly appropriate for a diabetic diet. The Chocolate is really decadent. I wondered what it would taste like with almond milk, but I didn't have any left from eating them straight from the box. The Honey Nut is a lot like the taste of Honey Nut Cheerios, which of course aren't GF.

Frankly, I've always loved Chex, and with the introduction of all these, I feel very....mainstream. It will be easy this Christmas to make a big batch of GF Chex Mix with available GF pretzels and peanuts. And if you check that link above, you'll see a lot of cool recipes for these Chex.

This message, sadly, has an much as I've loved testing their GF product, they have to go on my banned substances list for a while.

As most of you, my sweet readers know, I have Type II diabetes and and a stomach motility issue called gastroparesis fighting each other in addition to the gluten-free needs Celiac disease introduced. I've been diagnosed as a Type II diabetic for 18 years, getting by on pills; I was on insulin when I was pregnant with Jeffrey 27 years ago. Yesterday, my diabetes turned a corner I'd hoped to avoid -- I am now taking insulin to control my blood sugar. Because of this, I have to more strictly monitor my carb and sugar intake. And while these cereals are great in moderation, I'm no bastion of for a while, I will have to lay off them.

I will have to now begin to balance eating and GF and insulin...oh my. It's another new challenge for me.

I'm telling you this small detail in my personal life because I think, once again, it will change how I've been blogging about food. I've said many times I wish I was as dedicated to staying away from sugar/GF carbs as I am as staying away from gluten. Well, guess that's about to happen now. I won't lie, I'm scared and worried about this new development. It is a wake-up call I'd prefer to sleep through.

But I won't. Just hang in there with me as I make this new transition. We'll see where it takes us. To health, I hope...

Much love,

P.S. Starbucks has announced on Twitter yesterday that it is discontinuing its gluten-free Valencia Orange Cake and instead will carry Kind bars for the GF needs of its customers. I will no longer be a customer because of this. I can and will buy my Kind bars at the grocery store. Sorry, Starbucks. You just lost me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cereal Killer, Part I

A Product Review

I've been eating a lot of cereal lately. All summer, actually. I think cereal makes a great meal for someone with my digestive issues, so I've been dining on cereal with unsweetened almond milk at least one meal a day.

There's nothing like a good bowl of crunchy gluten-free cereal, sweetened (artifically, sadly) and topped with icy cold almond milk.

Ay, as Hamlet said, there's the rub. Is there such a thing as a GOOD bowl of gluten-free cereal?

Yes. Yes. Remarkably, yes. Several of them from a company called Erewhon, part of U.S. Mills

What you see above is Erewhon's newest product, Strawberry Crisp. I won a box at Grandma's Gluten Free Twitter Party, and the nice folks at Erewhon also sent me Corn Flakes and Crispy Brown Rice to try.

I tried. I liked. A lot.

So here's the bottom line: If you miss Special K being gluten free, try the Erewhon Strawberry Crisp. It tastes like I remember Special K tasting. The brown rice cereal makes a great pan of Crispy Brown Rice Treats (seriously, no one could tell the difference) and the corn flakes were just....delicious. With a banana, of course.

Plus, check out this nutritional data! For those of us who are being calorie-conscious, this is a good deal.

So here's what you're looking for on your grocery shelves. Don't take my word for it. Try it. It will brighten up your mornings, or your midnight snack, or your lunch....

Much love, and stay tuned for part II later this week!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to my baby!

Rockin' the hat!

Goin' to the casino!

Jeffrey's homage to Michael Jackson

Chillaxin' at the mall

Always with his CD player

Jeffrey is 27 today. Oy! I'm old.

He celebrated all last week with Randy and me in Tampa, visiting the aquarium, the Hard Rock Casino, and every Best Buy and Target and mall in town. Tonight he's going to dinner with his girlfriend Dee and best friend Ms. Pam, and tomorrow Papa and Mary are coming in to celebrate. Last night, he had dinner with his Dad to begin the weekend's festivities,

I just wanted to use my personal blog space to mention a couple of things about my dear and only son. First, he continues to thrive at the Life Enrichment Center, and in the last year, he has learned to play the electric guitar. He still loves Dee, but admits to a camp flirtation with the lovely Sarah. And he never tires of sneaking up on Dad Randy, only to scream "Uncle!"

As hard as it is to parent an adult with autism, I wouldn't trade it for the world. And while my friends see their children grow and fly the nest, I do feel envy, but I wouldn't change it.

Here's to many more years of love and growth and challenge with the greatest, coolest, dude in the world.

Much love, always, to my Jeffy-pop!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mainstream GF from Betty Crocker!

I've been meaning to post this product post for a couple of days now, but power outages have plagued my internet use.

This is in praise of that gluten giant, General Mills, and its new attention to Gluten-Free Products. So mainstream it is it has garnered the attention of the Wall Street Journal!

It hasn't been too long since Gluten Free Rice Chex showed up on the market, and now we have GF Corn, Honey Nut, Chocolate and Cinnamon Chex to go with it. (I made a fool of myself with the Honey Nut Chex. Seriously....)

And now, Betty Crocker has produced FOUR GF mixes that show up on the main baking aisle at the store. And it's promising more to come!

Somebody pinch me! When you lack the baking gene as I do, you live for this kind of thing! I can rock a cake mix!

True, they're a bit pricier than old BC mixes (I paid $3.49 for the Devil's Food Cake Mix) but in terms of ease and taste, this is wonderful. Sure it only makes one layer, but it's easy -- cut that layer in half, either long ways or across, and frost. You either have a two layer cake or half a two layer cake. Either works fine!

I made the Devil's Food Cake round Sunday night in my convection oven. It took about 32 minutes (instead of 43) in my rubber pan. I let it cool and frosted it with Pillsbury GF Reduced Sugar Chocolate Fudge frosting. We ate it while it was still warm.

And it was delicious!

I kept it in the microwave (tell me you don't use your microwave as a bread box, now really) without covering it for three days (yes, it lasted that long!) and it was still moist and delicious as I scraped the final crumbs from the plate.

Licked, really.

I will still be a patron of the gluten-free companies (Bob's Red Mill, Pamela's, and Gluten-Free Pantry all come immediately to mind,) as those as my mainstays) that have served our community so well--I'd hate it if a company that has been so dedicated to the GF community lost business because of this -- but I am seriously thrilled to see these products on the mainstream shelf. Somehow having this on the main baking aisle seems so.....normal.

Betty Crocker, I thank you from the bottom of my gluten-free tummy -- and heart.

Much love, and pass the cake!