Friday, July 31, 2009

Ask the Coach: What is a blog carnival?

This question came from some fellow bloggers as well as a few readers:

Q: What is a blog carnival?

A: A blog carnival is like a virtual magazine, where several different authors contribute to the same issue. Issues have an overall topic, and some editions of the issue will be of a certain theme. Issues are generally posted weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly. Often, the same series will be "hosted" by different bloggers each time it is published. This helps to introduce readers to various blog sites, opinions, etc.

Check out the blog carnival website to find topics you are interested in. There are blog carnivals for almost everything! One carnival I participate in on occasion is Living With Food Allergies, currently being hosted at Rational Jenn. Check it out!

I noticed that there wasn't a carnival specific to the gluten free lifestyle, so I'm starting one. The first edition will be posted tomorrow, August 1st, right here at the The Food Allergy Coach. We'll be publishing monthly on the first of each month. If you are a blogger that would like to contribute an article to the next issue, click here. Be sure to check back tomorrow for some great tips, product reviews, advice/support, and, of course, recipes!!!! ...and FYI, the September 1st issue will be hosted at Gluten Freeways.

Also, I contribute to Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free - this is not so much a carnival but more of a recipe roundup around a certain theme. The current theme (which will be published later today) is Make Me a Happy Camper! Check it out at Gluten Free Easily.

Hope that's helpful!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recipe: Anytime Veggie Fritters

In my quest to get my eating habits more in line with The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I discovered a recipe for latkes on the SCD recipe website. With some minor changes, I gave them a try and my husband and I both liked them a lot! They involve a few steps, but it's worth it! We decided that they are going to become one of our staples. Here's the basic recipe with some ideas for different variations - they are pretty versatile, hence the name:

Anytime Veggie Fritters

1 medium cauliflower
3 large zucchinis, grated
2 small onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic
2 eggs, beaten
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Chop up the cauliflower and steam it until tender.
  2. While the cauliflower is cooking, grate the zucchini either by hand or using the grating blade on your food processor. Put it in a bowl, add salt and set aside for 10 minutes to get the water out.
  3. Now dice the onions and brown them in a bit of oil.
  4. When the cauliflower is done, mash it up using a potato masher. Salt it and set aside for 10 minutes to get the water out.
  5. Put the zucchini into a tea towel and squeeze all the water out. Add it to a mixing bowl.
  6. Do the same with the cauliflower.
  7. Heat a skillet with enough oil to cover the bottom.
  8. Add the cooked onions, beaten eggs, salt, and pepper into the mixing bowl with the zuc and cauli and thoroughly combine (your hands will work best).
  9. Drop by spoonfuls into the hot oil and lightly pat them with the back of the spoon.
  10. Cook for about 5 min on the first side - they will be golden and hold together. Flip and cook for another 3 min or so. (Ours got a bit dark b/c we did them outside on our grill burner - it was too hot last night to cook inside!).
  • Top with apple sauce
  • Serve with bacon or sausage at breakfast time!
  • Add some spices to the mixture (maybe some curry and turmeric for an Indian flavor, or basil and oregano for Italian)
  • Top with thinly sliced chicken, pork, or beef
  • Put a dollop of chutney or salsa on them
  • Substitute some grated carrot for some of the zucchini
  • Use as a side dish at dinner (we had ours with grilled rib eye steak and grilled veggies)
This recipe is linked to What can I eat that's gluten free? at the Gluten Free Homemaker.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Interview with Mary Waldner, a.k.a. Mary's Gone Crackers

What is your background? How did you get involved in developing allergen-friendly foods?

I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and was in private therapy practice for 26 years in Oakland, CA before starting Mary’s Gone Crackers. I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 1994 (as was my son) and began baking alternative products at home. I have been eating organically for probably as long as organic has existed and was not interested in most of the gluten free products that were on the market back then (it’s gotten a little better) so my experimenting went in the direction of healthier whole grains and healthier fats. I have always enjoyed baking and experimenting, so finding out that gluten was my problem was a happy challenge. I had been so ill for so long, I was thrilled to be able to do something that made me feel so much better.

How did you come up with the concept of your product?

I had the idea for the dough using whole grain brown rice and quinoa but I wasn’t sure about the form. I wanted a healthy, transportable gluten-free snack for myself. After playing with it for many months, the cracker turned out to be the best form for that dough and I really liked them, so that’s what I started making. I made them by hand for many years, bringing them with me to parties and restaurants so I would have something to eat. I watched others eat them—from little children, to teens and adults—and there were very few people who didn’t go wild for them.

How did you decide on your brand name?

This is actually a great story. My husband (he’s my business partner) and I had been searching for the perfect name for quite a while. I went to my women's support group monthly meeting and told them of our dilemma. One of my friends said “The company should have your name in it, like ‘Mary’s cracking up’ or something” and then my other friend said “Yeah, like ‘Mary’s Gone Crackers’!” There was a very pregnant pause in the room at that moment and we all knew that the name of the company had just been found! By the way, my women’s group has been meeting for almost 15 years!

What is the biggest challenge of being a part of the healthy foods market?

There are many challenges of bringing a food product to market, whether it’s in the health food side or not. For us, since we are manufacturing products that are unusual, we have had a lot to learn on the manufacturing side, and we are still improving. On the sales side, getting our products into distribution and onto the store shelves takes a huge amount of work. There has been a lot of consumer demand for our products, so that helps tremendously—buyers are much more willing to take a chance with something new when they know that people love the product already.

What is the most useful advice you have for people new to the gluten free lifestyle?

There is often a lot of focus on what you CAN’T have on a gluten free diet so in the beginning there can be a lot of emphasis on finding gluten-free versions of foods that are not that healthful to begin with, like sweets, pizza, etc. Not that we all don’t need treats on occasion! However, being diagnosed as gluten intolerant is an opportunity to look at your food choices from a whole new angle. We all know that we are supposed to be eating whole real food, rather than the refined, processed choices that flood our markets. Instead of seeing being gluten free as a deprivation, look at the benefits of not being able to go into a white flour bakery and eating everything in sight! I am grateful that I finally found out what was making me ill (I was 43 and had been sick since I was very small.) Being pain free, having energy, not being depressed and fatigued has given me a new life! There is grief in the beginning when you have to change your diet so drastically, but remember how much better you will be feeling and how much you can learn about eating healthfully—you are a pioneer! There are so many more fresh, whole foods that are available that don’t involve wheat, barley, and rye—explore, invent, create and enjoy!

What are some of your favorite foods?

I eat my crackers and Sticks pretty regularly. I’m loving quinoa again these days—I made a great shitake mushroom, onion, kale and quinoa stir fry for dinner recently. I’m big into greens—broccoli, chard, cabbage, kale—and eat them in salads and lightly steamed often. When I’m home I can eat more simply and seasonally and I really enjoy that—like eating fresh watermelon right now! I have to travel a lot since starting this company, so the challenge for me is not to eat more than I really need, and to stay away from sugar, which can be my downfall.

Can you share something about what you are currently working on?

My line of gluten-free, organic and vegan cookies (“Mary’s Gone Kookies”) are almost ready for market. They are fabulous and I’m very excited about the healthful ingredients we are using. After that, I think I’ll be working on breakfast bars.

Mary's Gone Crackers is providing samples for Food Sensitivity Resources upcoming FREE workshop: Going Gluten Free. Thank you, Mary!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recipe: Triple Coconut Crusted Chicken

I know, I know...more recipes incorporating coconut. I just can't help myself! This is definitely worth a try - my can-eat-anything husband RAVED about these! The coating was crispy and flavorful and stuck to the chicken without any trouble.

Triple Coconut Crusted Chicken

Ingredients (serves 3 - 4):
1/2 can coconut milk
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast cut into strips
salt & pepper
1/3 C coconut flour
1 egg
1 T water
1 C unsweetened flaked coconut
Oil for frying

  1. Pour 1/2 can of coconut milk into a plastic bag. Add chicken strips and marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken.
  3. Heat a thin layer of oil in a fry pan (does not have to cover chicken).
  4. Beat egg with 1 T water.
  5. Dip each chicken strip first in coconut flour (shake off excess), then in egg wash, then in coconut flakes.
  6. Place chicken in fry pan. Do not over crowd.
  7. Cook until golden brown - about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until golden brown on all sides.
  • Serve with a drizzle of agave or honey.
  • Serve with a mango curry sauce (my husband whipped this up): stir together 1/3 C coconut milk, 1 T red curry paste, and 1/4 C diced mango. Salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ask the Coach: Gluten Free on a Budget?

Happy Friday everyone! I've been asked this question both via email and in person many, many times...

Q: How can you eat gluten free on a budget?

A: I find that, when people are first diagnosed, the focus is to try to find "replacement" foods, like cereals, pasta, cookies - things that are processed, quick, easy, and tasty. This was where my thoughts were at 9 years ago. I soon noticed that the GF versions of my favorite things were costly - in some cases, 300 to 400% more than the non-GF counterpart. That wasn't going to cut it for me. Additionally, I learned that, just because something is labeled gluten free, it doesn't mean it's healthy. Keeping these two lessons in mind, I got creative and started to think outside the box.

My article, The Coach's Top 23 Tips for Eating Gluten Free on a Budget on details many years of being gluten free while also being budget conscious (my financially-minded hubby wouldn't have it any other way!). Check it out, and please share your ideas!

Hope this was helpful.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Product Review: Marys Gone Crackers STICKS & TWIGS

I try not to eat too much processed, packaged foods - when I do reach for something pre-made, I like to make it a healthy choice - not that I'm always successful at it! This time, I hit the nail on the head - I've been a fan of Mary's Gone Crackers Herb Crackers for quite some time. They are made with organic ingredients, contain no sweeteners, have an incredibly nutty flavor (although contain no nuts), and pack a darn good nutritional punch. Oh! ...and they are manufactured in a dedicated gluten and nut free facility.

Recently, I discovered a new addition to the Mary's family - Sticks & Twigs.
The description from Mary's website: "Made with our unique blend of whole grains and seeds, these crunchy snacks will make you wonder why you ever ate a pretzel or a chip, when you can have a delicious and nutritious Sticks & Twigs! Like our crackers, we add no oils or fats, so you taste the rich, toasty flavors of the grains and seeds. Contains a whopping 550 mg. of Omega-3s in every serving! Available in 3 mouthwatering flavors: Chipotle-Tomato, Curry, and Sea Salt. In two sizes: 8 oz. bag or single serve 1.25 oz. bags. Great for munching on their own, or served with hummus, peanut butter, or your favorite dip. Kids love them!"

I tried both the curry and chipotle-tomato flavors and I can honestly say that I am hooked! (I got my sister hooked as well). They are incredibly crunchy and flavorful - and they satisfy my snacking urge big time! It's a bonus that I don't have to feel guilty about eating them. Can't wait to try the cinnamon flavor, which should be available soon.

You can order Mary's Gone Crackers products online or use their store locator to find where these awesome snacks are sold near you. Check back next week to read my interview with Mary Waldner, founder of Mary's Gone Crackers. She will be talking about the inspiration for her product line, how she came up with her brand name, and new products coming down the pike!

Just a reminder: I do not receive any compensation for product reviews. I only discuss products that I have purchased for my own consumption - when they are good (or particularly awful, for that matter), I like to pass that on to you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Recipe: Roasted Garlic & Eggplant Dip

I've been re-reading Breaking the Vicious Cycle and gearing up to take more of my diet cues from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) articulated in the book. I'm at the point where I've successfully killed the yeast overgrowth and kicked sugar to the curb. I've eliminated and challenged many potentially problematic foods and have learned a lot. I know that I feel better when I eat less grains and starchy foods in general. I'm thinking that, because I had candida running ramped, there also might be other things out of balance. So, I'm going to be making some more changes.

One thing I eat a lot of is hummus - it helps me to get my raw veggies in. The main ingredient in hummus is chick peas, which are not on the SCD list. A great alternative is this Roasted Garlic & Eggplant Dip:

6 - 8 cloves of garlic
1 medium eggplant, cubed
2 T + 2t olive oil
1/2 t pepper
salt to taste

  1. Place the garlic cloves in a pouch made out of tin foil. Drizzle the 2 t of olive oil all over and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the garlic is lightly browned and soft. I like to do this in my toaster oven - it uses less energy and won't heat up the kitchen!
  2. While the garlic is roasting, cube the eggplant and place in a food processor with the remaining 2T olive oil, the pepper, salt, and the roasted garlic. Puree until smooth.
  3. Serve chilled or at room temperature with veggies, crackers, flat bread, etc.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We're back from our 3 day Montreal get-a-way. It was a blast! So much to do - so much going on...festivals, parades, performances, and of course, lots of great restaurants to try! A quick note - I was hoping this blog would be full of our pictures, but our camera lost it's charge on day 1...and neither of us thought to bring the charger! What a pain...

Before heading out, I googled GF restaurants and was pleased to find tons! Also, I packed up some fruit, veggies, and coconut-berry muffins for snacks and breakfasts.

Thursday: We arrived at our beautiful hotel located in the heart of everything, the Hyatt Regency. It has a great balcony with seating so that you can watch all the frenzy go by on the street below. We relaxed for a while, then headed out to walk around. After a less than appetizing meal at a place called La Femme (they thoroughly understood gluten free, but we didn't know that lobster could be ruined like that!), we stopped at Frites Alors for a late night snack. They specialize in - get this - FRENCH FRIES! YUM! They only fry french fries, so they were safe for me...YIPPEE! They have lots of GF sauces to choose from. I was in heaven!

Friday: We went to the open-air Jean Talon Market to marvel at all the produce, meats, cheeses, etc. I spotted some GF pasta that I had never seen before. We picked up some fresh fruits, veggies, some artisanal tortilla chips, and other treats for our picnic, then hiked up Mont Royal. Definitely a must! The views of the city were beautiful. We had our picnic at the park while fending off the fattest, most sly and scary squirrels we've ever seen. Afterwards, we drove around the sections of the city we hadn't seen before (this was my 2nd trip and my husband's 4th). At night, we headed out to Au Pied de Cochon, a unique place we read about in Gourmet Magazine. They understood GF and were able to meet my needs. We shared the beet and goat cheese salad and the sausage for appetizers, and I had the Happy Pork Chop for my dinner - and it was to die for!

Saturday: We road our bikes all around Old Montreal and popped into some cool art galleries. Lunch was our leftovers from Friday's picnic. For a snack, we stopped at the smoothie place on Place Jacques-Cartier (diagonally across from Ben & Jerry's in center of the street). It didn't seem to have a name, but they did make yummy smoothies using coconut milk and alternative sweeteners (honey and maple syrup, if you want). We took the metro out to Parc Jean-Drapeau, were there was another festival happening. We checked out the Biosphere and the casino. We thought we'd get a snack at the casino (the ones near us in CT have gourmet fare), but the food not only did not look appetizing, there wasn't much that would be safe. At one of the bars that served food, I was told that a burger couldn't be trusted to come without the bun. No thanks. Instead, we headed out to see the street performers and enjoyed a delicious meal at a microbrewery (the name is escaping me right now). Not sure that I want to mention this place anyway, as the waitress never had anyone order a burger without the bun before. Later, we bought some cider (there are 3 different kinds of ciders made in Canada - the hard stuff is on tap everywhere! We didn't have a chance to go to a cidrerie this time, but I highly recommend it) and sat out on our hotel's balcony.

Sunday: Before we left, we did a little shopping at Complexe Dejardins. They have a Franx Supreme in their food court, where you can get GF poutine (If you can do cheese, this stuff rocks! I did have a little taste)! We also hit Rotisserie Romado’s on Rue Rachel, a Portuguese rotisserie chicken place recommended by Gourmet Mag. We wished we had discovered this place earlier in our trip! Outstanding!

If you decide to check out Montreal, remember to double check on any foods or restaurants mentioned here - things change fast! Something that is safe now might not be safe next week. Overall, I found that this city is quite educated about food allergies and intolerance. Wait staff in general had a lot of knowledge, and there were many signs in both French and English about food allergies and contamination risks.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream!

I had a hankering for chocolate ice cream the other day - big time - and I didn't want to hop in my car and drive 25 minutes to the store I know carries Luna & Larry's dairy, gluten, and sugar free ice cream.

I was left to my own devices. I had coconut milk in the pantry, so I decided to do some online research to see how to make ice cream myself. Turns out, many folks have used coconut milk to make ice cream with great success. I did a bit of reading then made some adjustments given what I had laying around and my own tastes - I prefer a more chocolaty ice cream as opposed to real sweet.

I served this to my no-food-restrictions and very pregnant friend, Emily, when she was here for dinner. She loved it!

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

2 cans of coconut milk (I used a kind with guar gum in it to help with the creamy texture)
2/3 C+ 1 T cocoa powder
5 T Agave
1 t vanilla extract

  1. Use a stick blender to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 1 hour.
  3. Pour into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions (mine took 25 minutes).
  4. Serve immediately for a softer version, or allow to harden in freezer.
This really hardens quickly. When serving it from the freezer, allow to defrost on the counter for 15 minutes or so first.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, just allow it to remain in the freezer for about 2 hours in step 2 - it won't be as creamy, but it will still be yummy! If you like your ice cream, I might consider buying an ice cream maker - they cost about $36. A pint (2 C) of Luna & Larry's costs about $6. This recipe cost less than $3 total and made about 5 C.

Eat it straight up or...
  • Top with cacao nibs (that's what I did)
  • Top with unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Mix in some nut or seed butter
  • Top with coconut whipped cream (don't shake the can - take the cream off the top and whip it with a little Agave)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Product Review: Little Bay Baking Company

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Sanders, the genius behind the Little Bay Baking Company. Helen has been GF for almost 30 years! Her husband and two children are, too. Helen started Little Bay in her home, and it's been such a hit that she had to expand. She gave me a tour of their new, larger location in Dover, NH. I learned a lot about all the thinking that needs to go into producing allergen-friendly products. I have to say that I have a new appreciation for folks in this line of work...

Little Bay Baking Company is a dedicated gluten and nut free facility. The directions for how to make the products are all dairy free. The ingredients used in each mix are listed on the website.

Meeting Helen was an extra special treat for me, as I have always been a HUGE fan of the pumpkin bread mix - I have made it for my family for the past 3 Thanksgivings and Christmases - always to rave reviews, even from non-GF folks. The GF crew would have to have an elaborate plan of hiding this and our other goodies from those hungry non-GFs!

The bread is moist and sweet with all those typical spices you want in a pumpkin bread. The smell of it baking is intoxicating! I've got to stop describing it because this is one of the things I'm going to truly miss this holiday season, since I can't do sugar anymore...

Little Bay also produces a waffle/donut hole mix (does not contain sugar, which means I will need to try it), corn bread mix (also no sugar), sponge cake mix, ginger bread cookie mix, cookie bar mix, yellow cake mix, and an all purpose breakfast mix. Helen likes to hand her mixes and recipe ideas over to people who don't cook and bake much to make sure they are easy. This great way of testing has produced lots of easy recipe ideas on the website for various things you can do with each mix.

Little Bay is now a distributor for Expandex, which, if you've looked for it, you know it's hard to find. Helen is also starting to offer pre-packaged, already baked items. In my opinion, Helen has definitely made her goal of giving GF, DF, peanut and tree nut free folks baked goodies that "taste like you remember."

So your mouth is watering and you need to find these products? Check out the store locator. If you are not in the northeast, mark my words, Little Bay Baking Company products will be on shelves across the country in no time! But, you can order via the website. Right now, they are running a special for free shipping over $30.

Oh! We also had lunch at the 99, which now offers a GF menu. On the website, they've got a handy matrix with allergen info. The one in Dover says that they have a dedicated fryer just for the fries, which was a very special treat!

One more thing, my wonderful husband and I are off to Montreal for a long weekend, so you won't be hearing from me for a few days...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Torte

Last Friday, my husband and I had dinner with a group of folks I used to work with. One of them, in particular, is a real jokester. In the flurry of emails flying back and forth prior to our potluck dinner and in response to my email that I would bring dessert - 1 healthy experiment and 1 regular old fashioned, sugar-laden dessert - he joked that he would bring beet soup. He thought that this was real funny (he's not familiar that it can be soooo tasty!), so I thought, "I'll show him."

I had seen a recipe for a flourless chocolate cake made with beets online - One place in particular was Elana's Pantry. I made a few changes and this is what I came up with. I brought it to the potluck along with real ice cream (not for moi, but the other 5 people don't have any food restrictions), raspberry sauce (2 T fruit sweetened jam that I heated up with a couple drops of water), and fresh raspberries.

I told them they didn't need to eat the cake - they didn't know what was in it, just that it was an experiment. To my surprise, it went over quite well - everyone gobbled it up. When I revealed that it's mostly beets, they couldn't believe it. I'd say we have a winner! It's not real sweet, so the toppings made it perfect. I would say it wasn't as dense as I would like - next time, I would use unsweetened baking chocolate squares instead of cocoa powder - that would help.

Flourless Chocolate Torte (a.k.a. "You can't BEET this cake!")

2 ½ C diced beets
3/4 C Agave
4 eggs
½ C oil
3/4 t vanilla extract
1/2 t chocolate extract (optional)
3/4 C cocoa powder
½ t salt

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the beets and agave to a boil, then cover. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, until beets are soft
  2. Transfer beet-agave mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth
  3. Blend in eggs, oil, vanilla, almond extract, cocoa and salt until thoroughly incorporated
  4. Pour batter into a well greased 9-inch round cake pan
  5. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean
Serving suggestions:
  1. The above mentioned raspberry sauce (or other flavor)
  2. Fresh fruit
  3. Chocolate ganache (I'm going to experiment with a dairy free one soon)
  4. Ice cream
  5. Whipped cream (you can make this by taking just the cream off the top of an un-shaken can of coconut milk, adding a sweetener, and beating it)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Camp T.A.G

INTRODUCING CAMP T.A.G. - A Safe Place for Food-Allergic Children and Their Siblings

My name is Eleanor Garrow-Majka, President and Founder of "Camp T.A.G. - A Safe Place for Food-Allergic Children and Their Siblings!" Camp T.A.G. was named after my two children, Thomas Andrew and Anne Garrow. They share the "A" as they share their lives and this bonding experience of living with food allergies. Thomas has life-threatening food allergies, eosinophilic esophagitis (EE), and asthma; Anne does not.
Forming a nonprofit organization and providing a safe place for our food-allergic children and siblings to attend camp has been a dream of mine, which is now coming true! Camp T.A.G. will be 95% FUN and 5% educational with a curriculum designed by medical, ley, and restaurant professionals who specialize in food allergies.
* This 1-week camp will be a 4-hour camp for 5 days, from 8:30am-12:30pm.
* Ages to attend Camp T.A.G. are ages 3-12 (Age groups: 3-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10-12)
* Camp T.A.G. will be held at a local venue in your area, where the children may be inside, weather-permitting.
* Camp T.A.G. will be held near a hospital and ambulance service.
* A Registered Nurse will be on staff the entire week.
* Only fresh fruit and juice/water will be provided for snack.
* Educational activities, games, sports, and crafts will be age-appropriate for each group.
* There will be a Parent Education Day PRIOR to their camp site for those interested in attending to learn the curriculum their children are learning throughout the week, FREE of charge.
* Entertainer, Kyle Dine, has committed to work with ages 8-12 on Day 4 and providing Live Music on Day 5. Kyle Dine has life-threatening food allergies and composes/performs food allergy music for children. Please visit his website for more information:
There will be opportunities for Teen Camp Counselors at each camp site. Teen Camp Counselors must be between ages 13-19 and must have either food allergies, EE, celiac disease, or be a non-allergic sibling.
This nationwide research survey will help to determine both the desire for and the need of a special camp for children with life-threatening food allergies, eosinophilic esophagitis (EE), and celiac disease along with non-allergic siblings.
Camp T.A.G. will launch Summer 2011 in Illinois, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, and Texas. Depending on the survey results, other locations may be added to the launch. As Camp T.A.G. grows, locations will be added every year and expand into a National Camp.
Please take a minute to fill out this survey on Survey Monkey for Camp T.A.G.
* Please insert your name, address, email address, and/or phone number in the last question if you are interested in getting on Camp T.A.G.'s email distribution list, mailing list, and receiving more information when the website becomes available.
Thank you very much for taking the time to complete this survey. I look forward to meeting all of you and your children in the very near future and hope we can all benefit from Camp T.A.G.!
Kind Regards,

Eleanor Garrow-Majka
President and Founder, Camp T.A.G.
Founder, Parents of Children Having Allergies of Will County (POCHA)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ask the Coach vol 3: What do I do with all that left over juicer pulp?

This question has come from many folks in person and via email. It's something that I wondered about myself when I first got my Champion Juicer - so much so that I wouldn't use it until I found ways of not wasting all that fiber-y goodness in the pulp!

Q: What do I do with all that left over juicer pulp?

A: In order not to waste the pulp, I freeze it by putting it in a freezer bag and mashing it down to form a 1" disc (so that I can break it off as I need it). When juicing things, like cucumber, that I don't want to use in a cooked recipe (did that once - not so good), I juice it last to keep it's pulp separate and freeze it in a different bag for raw use. Here are some ideas, many of which I have tried. Let me know what you've done and how it worked!

The Coach's Top 18 ways to use juicer pulp:
  1. Add 1/2 C into soups - any soups. It makes a nice thickener!
  2. Add 3/4 C into chili - it disguises nicely.
  3. Add 1/3 C into your crab cake mixture then fry 'em up!
  4. Add 1/2 C into your homemade sausage.
  5. Add 1/2 C into your meatball mixture.
  6. Carrocado Mash = 1 C juicer pulp, 1 pepper (diced), 1 large avocado, 2 t salt. Mash all together.
  7. Use cucumber and/or fruit pulp to make delicious frozen drinks - add a little rum when it's the weekend! Cucumber and watermelon and/or cantaloupe are particularly refreshing.
  8. Compost it to add nutrients to your garden.
  9. Add 1/2 C to homemade or store bought marinara sauce.
  10. Make winter salad by adding pulp to some grated horseradish.
  11. Add 1/2 C to your meatloaf recipe.
  12. Make basil crackers: carrot or vegetable pulp from juicing (about 5 cups), 1 clove crushed garlic, 1/2 cup basil, chopped or dried handful cilantro, chopped, 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped, 1 cup (or more) sprouted and crushed nuts (almonds, sesame, sunflower...etc.), sea salt, dulsebraggs to taste. Use a spatula to spread over teflex sheet in dehydrator or pan in oven and dehydrate for about 8 hrs or until completely dry. Wonderful with guacamole or other dips! You could also do these in the oven - they just won't be "raw" or
  13. Mock tuna salad = pulp, mayo, cumin, diced celery, scallions...
  14. Make fruity coffee cake: in a 9x12 casserole dish, layer juicer pulp (add fruit if it's not fruity enough) then spread a simple coffee cake recipe batter over the top sealing in the edges, topped with the crumbly topping and nuts and baked.
  15. Muesli Bars - Soak rolled oats in water (do not make them soggy) - if using quinoa flakes, you can skip this step. Add to them pulp (preferably a sweeter pulp). Then add a combo of chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, linen seeds, and sultanas (whatever you can tolerate) . Add honey or agave to taste. Mix thoroughly together and then put and flatten into a baking tray. Bake at 350 F until nice and dry.
  16. Make pulp muffins:
  17. 2 cups flour (for GF, a rice flour based mix works best)
    1 tsp. baking soda
    3/4 tsp. sea salt
    1/2-1 tsp. nutmeg
    1 cup lightly packed juicer pulp
    1/2 cup juice or (non-dairy) organic milk
    1/2 cup apple sauce
    1/3 cup maple syrup or agave
    1/4 cup oil (canola, sunflower, safflower...)
    1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

    Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add juicer pulp, juice or milk, apple sauce, maple syrup and oil. Mix just until all the flour has been absorbed. (If you had beets and carrots in your pulp the batter may look a little like salmon mousse. Don't worry, the colour will change when baked.) Pour in cider vinegar and mix quickly, just until evenly distributed through batter. Spoon into a lightly oiled or paper-lined muffin tray. Sprinkle tops with a little bit of nutmeg and sugar (optional). Bake for bout 20 minutes. Test with a skewer. Makes a dozen muffins. (If you were gonna bake it as a loaf it may take around 45 minutes to bake at 350 F.)

    17. Carrot pulp marmalade:

    3 oranges
    4 cups of water
    3 cups of carrot pulp
    4 tablespoons of lemon juice
    3 cups of honey
    1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
    1 package of store-bought dried pectin

    Peel all three oranges and cut the rinds into very narrow slices. Cook the slices in four cups of water until they're tender ... then let 'em sit at least seven hours (or overnight).

    Once the peelings have had a chance to stand for seven (or more) hours, add the carrot pulp to them and boil for 10 minutes. Next, chop the oranges into a bowl and remove all seeds. Then introduce the oranges, lemon juice, honey, and ginger to the pulp/peelings mixture and boil for 20 minutes more.

    If—after 20 minutes-the marmalade has begun to jell on its own ... terrific! Pour the mixture into hot, sterile canning jars and seal. Otherwise—if the jam hasn't thickened-you should stir in the dried pectin at this point. (I don't know why, but sometimes you'll need the pectin and sometimes you won't. All I can say is, when in doubt . . . use the pectin.) Boil the pectin-enriched marmalade for another 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, but continue to stir for an additional seven minutes. Finally, pour the marmalade into hot, sterile canning jars and seal.

    18. Pulp cookies

    3/4 cup of water
    1 cup of pulp (preferably a sweeter pulp)
    2/3 cup of vegetable oil
    2/3 cup of honey or agave
    1 egg
    2 cups of flour (for GF, a rice flour based mix works best)
    2 teaspoons of baking powder
    1/ 2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon of pure lemon extract

    Add the water to the carrot pulp in a small saucepan and cook over a very low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often to keep the pulp from scorching. Meanwhile, beat the oil and honey together in a bowl, then beat in the egg. Stir in the cooked carrot pulp, the flour, the baking powder, and—if you wish-the sea salt. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts, stir, and spoon the dough out onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes in a pre-heated 400°F oven.

    Hope this was helpful! Happy eating (and juicing!)!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Recipe from the Coconut Files: Pancakes!

Light, fluffy, and totally delicious! A warning - they seem to burn easily. Watch them carefully and you will be rewarded! Also, because they are quite delicate, I didn't have good luck with adding fruit to them. I tried pineapple (I was inspired by something I saw on the Food Network for pineapple upside down pancakes), but I didn't cut it up enough. I think you'd be better off using those tiny wild blueberries or shredded apple. Better yet, puree the fruit and pour over the top!

Ingredients (makes about 5-6 small pancakes):

2 eggs, beaten
2 T oil
2 T milk substitute (I used Hempmilk)
1 t agave
¼ t salt
2 T + 2 t Coconut Flour
¼ t baking powder


Blend together eggs, oil, whichever milk you are using, agave, and salt. Combine coconut flour with baking powder and thoroughly mix into batter. Heat 1 T of oil or DF margarine in a skillet. Spoon batter onto hot skillet making pancakes about 2 ½ to 3 inches in diameter.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Celiac Disease is Unusual but it is No Longer Rare"

Over these past two weeks, my inbox has been buzzing with lots of info pertaining to celiac disease, so I thought I would share some snippets. I've included links in case you'd like to read more about each:

The Wall Street Journal did a story about the new GF Betty Crocker mixes. It talks about how Betty Crocker is not spending as much money to advertise these products as they normally would. Maybe that's because they know that our tight-knit community is so good at spreading the word to each other - they don't need to work so hard! reported a study that suggests a link between recurrent mouth ulcers and celiac disease, especially in those that did not respond to traditional oral medications. "It has been reported that in 5 percent of celiac disease patients, aphthous stomatitis may be the sole manifestation of the disease," write Dr. Farhad Shahram, of Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Another important symptom to be watching out for when making the diagnosis.

Zeer Select has recently launched it's online database with over 30,000 foods - they assign all products a gluten free status: labelled as gluten free, appears to be gluten free, may contain gluten, contains gluten. Each status has a different picture associated with it for easy reference. I got a brief tutoring session while attending the Healthy Villi spring meeting. It seems to be very user friendly, and it certainly does a lot of the thinking for you! You can take a free tour on their website. Subscriptions costs $14.95/month.

Last, but certainly not least, there's been a whole host of articles pertaining to the Minnesota study that seems to indicate that more people are being diagnosed with celiac not because education and diagnosis have improved, but possibly due to an environmental factor. They examined blood samples of Air Force recruits from 50 years ago and found that celiac is four times more common today than in these samples.

The study has stirred the pot, though it is fraught with holes. Dr. Fasano told ABC News that, although he believes the findings are important, "This paper has tremendous limitations. One is that because of the design and the population they have available for the study -- the Air Force -- there were only males and definitely this is not representative of the population," said Fasano. "Two, unfortunately, this is a cross sectional study. You take a snap shot in 1950 and then you take a snapshot today and hope its representative of the true situation of the general population. Ideally, to do a study like this you would like to have the same people. Let's say 5,000 people from 1950 to follow over time."

There has been lots of speculation as to why celiac might be more prevalent today. The "hygiene hypothesis" (that we live in a clean environment which is freaking our immune systems out) has been thrown out there. My personal favorite is that the increase might be due to changes in the way wheat is grown and processed and/or the influx of processed foods in the typical American diet.

What I know for sure is that more research is needed and this kind of media coverage is very good for raising awareness, which helps!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Recipe: Quinoa Salad with a Kick

Yet another recipe I tried out on my family at my nephew's backyard graduation party (I love introducing people to ingredients that they haven't used before). Quinoa Salad with a Kick was a big hit! The colors make a nice presentation.

Since figuring out that rice and I are not as good of friends as I had thought, quinoa has been my grain of choice. Nutritionally, it packs quite a punch - all by itself, it has 5g of fiber and 8g of protein per serving. ...and it's totally yummy! Give this version a try - with the smokey Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce * (which you can find right near the salsa at your supermarket), this makes a great side dish at summer BBQ's. ...or take it camping! It doesn't have any mayo, so it won't spoil easily.

Ingredients (serves 8-10):

1 twelve oz box of Quinoa
2-3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, finely chopped + 2 T of the adobo sauce (remove the seeds for less kick) *
1 T salt
2 t pepper
4 t olive oil
1/2 c scallions, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced

Cook quinoa according to directions on the package. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. As soon as the quinoa is done, transfer it to the large bowl and mix it all together (doing this while it's hot makes the quinoa take on more of the flavor). Let cool. Serve room temperature or chilled.


* Be sure to read the label on the chipotle in adobo can. Some brands contain wheat. Or make your own! Take 7 or so dried chipotle chiles. Remove the stems and slit lengthwise. Add them to a pan with 3 C water, 1/3 C diced onion, 5 T vinegar, 3 cloves of garlic (crushed), 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t pepper, and 1/4 C ketchup (for one that does not contain sugar, I like Wholemato Agave Ketchup). Cover and simmer on low for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the mixture has reduced to 1 C.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Product Review: Hormel Turkey Pepperoni

I always love when I can find allergy friendly products in the regular grocery store - it means one less trip for me (to a specialty store), and that it's probably easy on the wallet. In our house, we are big fans of Hormel Turkey Pepperoni slices. Although I try not to eat too many processed foods, when I need something quick and easy, this is what I reach for. Not only is it a great topping for pizza, I throw it on salads, add it to chili and soups, dip it in hummus, or eat it straight out of the bag.

I definitely eat it more in the summer, since, before it is opened, it does not need to be refrigerated. A great thing to take camping, to the beach, or on a trip - we just brought it with us to New Jersey last weekend (where I experimented with the "No Way" Brownies.).

The turkey variety has 70% less fat than the original. It has a nice spicy flavor. I remember when I did Weight Watchers eight million years ago, it was 2 points for 17 slices! Not bad...

The label on the package states that it is gluten free. When I called customer service to ask if it is processed in a facility with products that contain gluten, dairy, peanuts, or tree nuts, they said that it is not. I asked if this means that the chances of cross contamination with these ingredients is slim to none, they replied "yes." I prefer to get these sorts of claims in writing - it just makes me feel better. If you give this pepperoni a try, you might want to double check with customer service on this, especially if you are dealing with a true allergy.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ask the Coach: Gluten Free Sunblock?

updated 8/27/09.

While speaking at a celiac disease support group here in NH, a member posed the question:

Q: Which sunblocks are gluten free?

A: First off, let me say that there is a lot of contradictory info out there about whether or not gluten can be absorbed through the skin, and if it can cause problems for people with celiac disease. The more I read and talk to people, it seems as though that this is not the case. To my surprise, even dermatitis herpetiformis is caused by ingested gluten, not contact with gluten. A true wheat allergy is different, and people who are very sensitive do need to be concerned with products that contain wheat. Products that are likely to be near the mouth, like lipstick, are something to think about when it comes to gluten issues. I do think that, if you have an autoimmune disease, it is smart to reduce the amount of chemicals you are exposing yourself to.

As a side note, I did recently learn that I've been exposed to gluten - not through ingestion, but I've asked my doctor to run celiac blood screening test for antibodies again (last one done a while ago) to see what the numbers look like. It'll be an interesting experiment.

Anyhow, here are some sunblocks that I have received confirmation from the manufacturer stating that they are wheat and gluten free (as always, formulas can change overnight, so always check labels and ask questions of manufacturers):

* Keys Care Solar Rx Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunblock

* Carole Maggio Facercise Inc.'s Protective Sunblock

* Lavera Sunblock SPF 40

* Jason SunBrellas Chemical-Free Sun Block, SPF 30+

* SIRJJ Organics makes an SPF30 Day Cream

* I'm told by the consumer care help line that all Neutrogena adult sun blocks except for the sensitive skin SPF 30 are GF

Here in the northeast, we haven't needed sunblock for quite some time - it's been very depressing. I'm hoping this is going to change soon!