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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sonny Perdue proclaims May Celiac Disease Awareness Month in Georgia

Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our own Celiac Disease Specialist, Jennifer D. Harris, once again our governor has proclaimed May Celiac Disease Awareness Month in Georgia.

Much love,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Product Review: Cormier's Gold

When I received a bottle of Cormier's Gold Double Garlic Marinade and Sauce  last month, I had one idea in mind:  Double Garlic Grilled Eggplant.  I wanted to grill slices of baby eggplant til almost caramelized, then I wanted to toss it in the sauce with a mix of sauteed onion, garlic, and ginger.

I never got there.  I used the whole bottle on a big huge cookout batch of chicken.  I marinated it overnight, and then I grilled the chicken. 

The taste of the double garlic was delicious, even though I made a griller's major mistake -- I left it on the grill too long, and the delicious sugars in the Cormier's Gold (molasses) got a little...crispy.

This is a product endorsement, though, one I hope you'll consider.  Cormier's Gold can be used as a sauce, marinade, glaze, and topping.  Here's what owner Glenn Cormier said on the website:

"Read my label, what you won't find is water, other sauces in your local supermarket are cutting their product with water. I DON'T.  With Cormier's Gold, you are getting flavor not water.  Get some of my sauces and do your sense of taste a flavor."
-- Glenn Cormier

The sauce is available through the company, and at a cost of $2.75 a bottle, it's a reasonable price. There is a case price available for $30, too.  So now that it's grillin season, it's time for you to find some Cormier's Gold for your next cookout...

Or garlic eggplant dish.  I'm still hopeful....

The sauce is gluten free -- it includes a soy sauce without wheat bases, and there is no malt or barley in the Double Garlic Sauce.  I checked it on the label.  

I hope you'll give it a try!

Much love,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A call to action

My friend Karen Russell reminded me that at least I get pitched by people who reach out to gluten-free bloggers. The text of this letter below is one way I was pitched in the last two day.

It moved me to action. I hope it will move you to action.


I hope that you will feel better soon… (she reads my blog. I appreciate that...)

I know that I am a complete stranger for you but I need your help.

My husband I are the quiet type who often sit in the back of the room. But things have changed for us. Now I am knocking at very door hoping that people would listen to my plea.

After a year of having a sick child and being constantly told “everything is normal”, our 2 year old son was diagnosed with Celiac. I couldn’t look at it without feeling this overwhelming sadness and anxiety. It has been an emotional rollercoaster. It has only been a month. I still wake up at night worrying about him, about his life, about his future and his health.

As you very well know, there is no cure or treatment for Celiac. It is all about the food you eat or don’t eat. It sounds easy but it is truly challenging. The lack of labeling standard infuriates me. Many food companies still don't disclose the presence of rye & barley in their food products. That’s when I decided that I can no longer stay quiet hoping that things will change. I want to make this world a safer world for my son.

Only Congress has the authority to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to expand the definition of a major food allergen to include rye and barely. So I wrote to the congress to beg them to mend the law.

I am urging all Celiac sufferers & their friends and family to send an email to their members of congress. It will only take 5 mn but it may make a huge difference for all of us... I'd appreciate if you can ask your friends, family & readers to do the same….

The law won’t change tomorrow but it will one day…I don’t want to be a bystander anymore. I want to make it happen with your help & the help of the entire community…

I included a sample letter below.

Find your members of Congress by clicking on your state on the map:

To Whom It May Concern:
Several of my friends and family members have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, an inherited, autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye.

More than two million people in the United States, or about 1 in 133 people have the disease. According to a study conducted by the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University along with CIGNA HealthCare, the annual mean medical cost of an undiagnosed Celiac patient is 8500$ per capita compared to 7100$ for Celiac patients on a strict gluten free diet. Thus an adherence to a gluten-free diet could significantly reduce the overall medical cost on the health care system.

However, living a gluten free diet is extremely challenging with the current FDA regulations on food labeling. The FALCPA (Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act) requires that the eight most common allergens be declared in food products (eggs, milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and wheat). However, Celiac sufferers have to avoid rye & barley in addition to wheat.

I am requesting an amendment of the FALCPA to include barley and rye in the list of common allergens. This amendment will ensure that individuals, particularly parents of children with Celiac and others providing food to those children, can easily and accurately identify food products containing gluten ingredients.

I am aware that the FDA is scheduled to make a final rule on the use of the term “gluten-free” on food labeling. However this new term is for voluntary use in the labeling of foods. The proposed amendment to the FALCPA will legally require the food companies to explicitly disclose the presence of wheat, rye and barley in their products, making it easier for Celiac sufferers and their caregivers to identify foods that are safe to eat.

For people with Celiac, eating gluten will cause serious irritation and severe inflammation of their guts. For my loved ones who suffer from Celiac disease, avoiding gluten is not a choice, it is a medical necessity and a matter of survival.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Much love, Ging

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to insult a Gluten-Free Blogger

Today I got this email from someone who clearly found my blog on an aggregator of some sort.

Hi Ginger,

I know this email is out of the blue, but I just posted an article on my blog entitled “50 Incredibly Useful Links for Gluten-Free Living." Anyway I figured I’d bring it to your attention in case you thought it interesting enough to drop a quick mention on your site about it as I’m trying to increase readership of my blog.

Either way, sorry for the unsolicited email and hope you have a good week.

Teresa Jackson

OK, so I looked at the list. I was not on it.

Hmmmm. Not sure how I feel about that one. I like to think that my blog is incredibly useful to gluten-free people -- I have readers and followers who say it is. So now, I'm not on some list.

There are a lot of great blogs that aren't on that list, which brings to mind this question: Is there a good, concise list of GF Bloggers that includes ones that really serve our community?

This is a start. Not for me, of course, but for those on it.

So yes, Teresa, I shared it. You're welcome. Even if I am disappointed you don't find me important enough to list.

Much love, and sadly in a bitchy mood today,

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Come to the Picnic!

For more information, contact Carol Hinton

(Don't know if my health will permit me to attend next week -- I hope so!)
Much love,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Coming Clean, Part One

image via Mr. Clean website

So about three weeks ago, my GF blogger buddy Shirl of Gluten Free Easily! and I were having a discussion about healing and gluten-free prepared items. We were on Twitter, and we went back and forth about the use of prepared gluten-free products in the diet.

Since I went gluten-free, my policy has been that the moderate use of gluten-free products can enhance one's diet -- and the key, of course, is moderation.  Moderation, my friends who know me know, is not something we're especially good out around the Casa del Whack. 

But Shirl, who is one of the converts of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (something I admire) noted that a diet with minimal processed GF foods is much better than one laden with them.

We agreed to disagree. My reason, of course, is embedded in who I am as a gluten-free blogger. I enjoy reviewing and trying new products and sharing them, especially on Twitter. I like to think that I'm a credible source among the product lines AND the gluten-free community.  Goodness know, I try to be. It is a role I've adapted to over the years. It is, frankly, a role I adore.  I have made great gluten-free friends this way, and though many of us haven't met, I love and admire them so very much.

 I say that about these friends, because many of them were the people I turned to a few weeks ago when I first got sick. 

Yes. I am sick.  I have been sick since March 29 when I developed a debilitating, vascular migraine headache for a solid week.  On Easter weekend, I lost the vision in the lower half of my right eye.  And weeks of tests and MRIs and bloodwork ending tomorrow with a biopsy, and we are closing in on a diagnosis. I don't want to go too far, but it is an autoimmune disorder -- another one, to add to the other four I have already.  Not cancer. Ruled out lupus and MS.  But I've had FOUR MRIs and 29 blood tests....And finally I ended up with a rheumatologist.

First part? Take 100 mg of Prednisone every day. For a while. (Immune system? What immune system?)

 And the second part of the pre-diagnosis, from my Rheumatologist:  Give up all processed and preserved food.  If it isn't meat, produce, fruit or dairy (and isn't on the gastroparesis diet already)  DON'T EAT IT. ESPECIALLY, she said, do not eat gluten-free processed food unless it fits the description

Ah Shirl. Deja Vu all over again.  I am now part of the solution -- the revolution, not part of the problem. 

I'm trying to laugh, but I am in mourning the loss  After trying to find a gluten-free bread I loved, I discover Udi's -- and now it's off the menu.  Sandwich Petals? Nope. My much loved Starfish GF Battered Fish? Nope.  I didn't even get my shrimp sample yet!  And my Glow Gluten-Free Ginger Snaps?  Snickerdoodles?  ick. Betty Crocker Brownies? GF Bisquick? Pamela's wonderful items? Shelley Ritchie's fabulous brownies and cheesecake.

No. Nope. Nada. FML

I don't think I am that strong. My gf friends, they think I'm that strong -- they keep telling me that -- but I don't know. But I remind myself by the minute that the results could be more devastating than the loss of a taste treat. It could mean the loss of...well, of my livlihood. My vision. Even my life. I'm not ready for that yet. 

And so today was day one of Coming Clean: Actually, I came clean yesterday, throwing out the packaged processed foods in the fridge and replacing it with better choices. But there are a MILLION GF items in my house.  I can't save them for a rainy day any more.

It's already pouring.

I've wanted to seed a GF Food Bank in Milledgeville, so I am in talks with a former student who can make that happen.  I don't want stuff to go to waste -- so I am also sending it to the ROCK camp in Fort Yargo on Monday or Tuesday. I'm sure they can make use with more than pretzels. 

But a pantry purge of gluten-free products? I never dreamed it would happen. I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to. But I'm not, so I don't...wait, that's Janet Jackson.

I'm eating CLEAN.  Lori is my CLEAN buddy. Coming Clean, part one, is on. 


Now, here's the initial blog game plan:  I have about five product reviews I "owe" some wonderful companies, but sadly, I got some products I'm not going to get to try.  So I'm going over the next few weeks get those done, as best I can, and then I'll share the products they sent me that I can't eat with a gluten-free friend who can -- and will -- blog or tweet about them.

And let me throw out there, there's something I've always known in my three years gluten-free, about the community -- it is a bonded community that cares.  And I'm thankful to all of you for that.

As my dear BGFF Jennifer Harris says, this is Dr. Ginga's wild ride.  Hang on, people. I don't know where this is headed. But at least we're in Georgia. Finally. And I promise, it won't be boring. 

Much love, GF and all

PS Specific Prayer Request, if that's your thing: If not, good thoughts.  Biopsy tomorrow at 11 a.m. EST.  We want answers, people.  Don't make it clean. Make it PROVE something.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Sizzlin' Summer Contest just for you!

There's a great gluten-free summer contest coming your way this month, and now's the time to get ready to enter to win some great gluten-free products!

Angel Burch, the delightful host of Gluten Free Life TV,  (@gflifetv on Twitter) is working with some of my favorite gluten-free products to produce the Summer Sizzler 2010! 

To quote Angel's website:

"Gluten Free Life TV and its parent company Feathers Everywhere Productions, wish to invite you to join us and our sponsors in grilling the summer away the Gluten Free way.  All you have to do is purchase one of our sponsors products listed below (this list is growing daily until May 12th so keep watching for your favorite products), have a bar-b-cue and invite about 10 of your friends, take an interesting picture using the sponsors product and email it to us here!  Simple!"

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? There's a lot of good reasons to do this beginning in May, after all. First, it's the gateway to summer, with Memorial Day coming up soon.  (Will there be white shoes in your photo? Or is that just a southern myth that is debunked on What Not To Wear?) 

May is also Celiac Disease Awareness Month.  I think this is a wonderful (and a splendid way) to let your friends know that gluten-free meals and cookouts can be delicious, creative, and in no way bland or boring. I mean, considering the options of the products right now -- wow. You can sure do a lot with these folks. AND there's a separate fundraising component, which goes to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Find this logo on the entry page to read more about the donation you can help secure for this great Celiac organization!

The sponsors, so far:

Glow Gluten Free Cookies

Maranatha Nut Butters

Mixes From The Heartland

Custom Choice Cereal

I've got a great relationship with three of these sponsors, and I've written reviews of of these products.  I have to say, there's a lot of good stuff to work with in this contest.

For instance....I invision creating a photo of my new invention, the Glow Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle S'More.  Only this time, done on a grill, not in the microwave.  And I can smell a delicious sizzling entree made with a combo of Norlander's Teriyaki Sauce and some MaraNatha Almond Butter....(think kabob with your favorite protein, pineapple, onions, bell peppers....ok, that's what I'm thinking, with a dipping sauce...)  And maybe a Mixes from the Heartland casserole to go alongside?  I just got some to sample...and I can't wait.

Ready for the rules? I copied them verbatim so I wouldn't mess anything up....


Note:  There is only ONE entry allowed per household


1.  Participants must purchase and use one of our Sponsors products.

2.  All participants must have a grilling party with at least seven of your friends.

3.  Each participant must use the sponsors product in some way at their grilling party

4.  Participants must take a picture showing the use of the sponsors product and at least seven guests.  Be creative!  Find funny ways to include your guests in the picture without using nudity or any suggestive images and you could be chosen by our panel of judges.

5. Email your pictures along with your name, address, and phone number to: between May 31 and August 30. Each participant's picture will be posted on for all the world to see!

6.  Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges not affiliated with Gluten Free Life TV or Feathers Everywhere Productions and announced September 11, 2010. Winners will be notified by email and by phone.  The winning picture will be posted on our Website in a prominent position for all to see for a period of 22 days.


One GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive a brand new Gas BBQ Grill From! A Grand Prize worth more than $300!

One winner will win a prize package with all of the sponsors products included.  Products will include (So Far...):

Norlander's Original Gluten Free Sauces

Glow Gluten Free Cookies

Maranatha Nut Butters

Mixes From The Heartland

Custom Choice Cereal

Additional Contest Rules for all Gluten Free Life TV Contests are HERE.

But wait....there's more!  I know how you can get an extra entry into the grill contest.  Click here to read Angel's wonderful blog to see how you can get an additional entry into the contest! Click here....

Much love, and What are you waiting for? Huh?