Sunday, March 16, 2014

A New Journey

Truhte, four months old - Photo by J.Stahl

Today, we are bringing home our very own Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Her name is Truhte and she is four months old. She comes from a town just a stone's throw away (or "Katzensprung") from where we live, and her mama and daddy are equally as gorgeous as she is. They are absolutely wonderful and sweet. I am very happy to have met them.

A little about Cavalier King Charles Spaniels:

I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with my diet-specific blog. Well, due to my dietary concerns and dermatitis herpetiformis, I require any pets we own to be gluten free. I've been doing a lot of research and trying to find the best toy breed for our family needs, to keep me company and also get me out the door daily to get my dose of sunshine. I found my baby!

Truhte will be joining us for some combination feeding - some cooked, some raw and some store-bought dog food that is gluten free.

Starting this month, I will be working with her on potty learning (the way we do it is more at Elimination Communication), basic commands and teaching her how to go on walks. (At this age, walking = mostly carrying and getting used to apartment life until she understands leashes and such.) She is still so very little that she is just now being old enough to learn some of these things. This may mean pulling back somewhat from my social media. However, it may bring some new great things to this blog.

Here are some photos from our "getting ready for baby"/"coming home day" preparations:

First things first - be absolutely sure that your preferred dog food is labeled properly.
Grain and gluten free! Check.
Pat yourself on the back for finding such great deals at
Kik Textilien, REWE and Fressnapf

Get an idea what you're working with and clean the kitchen before final set-up.

Remember: children will be tempted to feed between meals.
Find a place high up in the bathroom to put the food and extra bowl.
Receive a package with new gluten and grain free treats.
Place them high up as well.

Look at bed that came in the same package.
Place in kitchen, where you are 4 times a day.
Receive another package. Proceed to put the popup tent/carrier together.
Congratulate yourself for your taste in carriers and
that this fits perfectly in the room so your pet is included,
but allowed to retreat from involvement if she wants.

Take it all in. Enjoy the idea of this cool carrier.
Remember Kik Textilien has a sale on pet items.
You wanted a bag dispenser for potty trips. Go buy it!

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with what we have ordered and how pretty it all is. I hope that Truhte enjoys it all and that she feels at home with us.

One of my main questions and biggest apprehensions about our new baby is what kind of diet she had. I was so anxious. I know how careful we have to be adjusting to new foods and such as the environment changes for her. When I found out that her diet is almost exactly the same what it will be at our house!! I'm really excited. All we are changing is the kibble will be gluten free, and anything we cook will be as well. Otherwise, same diet, same foods.  This is a massive load off of my shoulders.

Part of my research has included finding out what gluten free dog food brands are out there, and also what kind of care items are out there now, as the last time I had a dog was almost a decade ago. I've found this to be a very positive and encouraging excursion to a couple of stores and also viewing online for those that are further away.  Another really cool option for a lot of owners is that many of your pet stores in Germany now have a freezer section with fresh meat so you can cook your own food for your pet if they have any dietary need for such.

Example Freezer Section at pet store - Photo by J. Stahl
In this freezer section, there is everything from Turkey and Chicken to Beef and there is even Ostrich, Fish and Kangaroo!  I was very impressed by the reasonable prices for the bulk and smaller packages of meat.

I have been researching how to safely transport our new puppy in the car, and for those who did not know, there are specific road rules here in Germany about that. Here is a helpful PDF that I found on the subject. I followed the links provided to check out various carriers for car use and camping from there, and then checked out a couple of pet stores online and in person, as well as cross-checking prices between them on

The most reliable and price effective websites I have found for our area are:

I had been helping my sister who is training Charlie to be a service dog, and as such we've been collecting some cool recipes and training ideas. You can find some of this on my various dog-related Pinterest boards.

If you are in Germany and interested in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, I would recommend you check out these two links.

I would like to welcome you to follow along on our journey, and this year will be a fun year of experimentation, trying out some treat recipes to keep our costs down, and come October, a birthday party for Truhte!

Hopefully we can do some Google Plus cooking hangouts on air. Maybe she'll be like my favorite cooking celebrity, Francis, from Cooking with Dog one day. One can hope, right?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gluten Free King Cake

Store bought or home made? - Gluten Free King Cake
Photo by J. Stahl

In honor of Karneval, I decided King Cake was in order. Tuesday the children are celebrating at Kindergarten, so my husband and I put our heads together to get this made.  For whatever reason, baking with yeast never turns out well for me. However, my husband is able to make magic happen with yeasty goods.

So our plan was that he make the dough and bake everything while I worked on the decorating aspects. We modified the Gluten-Free King Cake recipe from Celiac Family.

Here are our modifications:

  • 2 (.25 oz.) packages of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 Cup warm water (100 – 110 degrees F) 
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 Cup milk  (Alternatively, use Coconut, Rice or Soy Milk)
  • 1/4 Cup butter (Alternatively, use dairy free butter)
  • 2 eggs (can be substituted with flax-water mixture)
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2-1/2 Cups white rice flour (fine)
  • 1 Cup potato starch
  • 1/2 Cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp guar gum (Alternatively Xanthan Gum, or Pixie Dust)

Nut Filling:
  • 1 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup melted butter (or butter replacement)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts

  • 2 Cups powdered sugar, run in the food processor and sifted again to remove lumps
    1/4 Cup fresh orange juice
    1 tsp butter, melted and cooled (or butter replacement)
    1 tsp almond extract
    2 tsp vanilla extract
 Additionally needed:
  • three small sandwich-sized ziploc bags with 1/2 cup fine white sugar
  • purple, yellow and green Wilton icing colors
  • toothpicks and paper towels

Mix all dry ingredients together, including yeast in your mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time. Add milk once the eggs are incorporated into the dough. Add the butter immediately after. You may or may not need the water depending on your weather and altitude.

Separate your dough into two balls. Roll out the dough on a large baking sheet with baking paper. Make your filling by combining all ingredients and place carefully in the middle of the dough in a long line.  Roll the dough together very carefully and pinch the sides together. Roll again very carefully while pinching the ends together so that they are on the bottom of the dough as you put the ring together.

It will look something like this:

Yeast has risen on this King Cake - Photo by A. Stahl

When both rings are done, rise carefully in the lowest temperature in your oven for an hour and a half. Remove from oven and heat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

When the oven has reached the appropriate temperature, fill an oven safe glass dish with water and place it on the bottom rack of your oven. Place one king cake inside and bake for 20 minutes. You may need to cover it halfway through with aluminum foil. (we did!)

When it comes out of the oven, it will look like this:

King Cake, finished baking - Photo by A.Stahl

 It has cracked a little, but this is fine. The icing and the sugar will cover this and no one will notice!
 Allow the cake to cool for about an hour. Allow the other cake to bake for 20 minutes while you begin making the icing and coloring the sugar in ziplock bags.

The icing is a very thin icing. For me, it is easier to decorate once I have removed it from the kitchenaid bowl and put it into a glass to more easily manipulate while pouring over the cake. I would highly recommend placing the cake back on the parchment paper as this will get very messy!

Carefully cover each cake around the ring with icing. Don't worry about being "cheap" at first. You can always fill in later with left over icing!

To make the colored sugar, simply use a toothpick to dip into the Wilton icing colors. At this juncture, you simply mix this in the plastic baggies by hand, making sure there are no lumps of dye in the sugar, and no clumps. It's easy work and you can quickly make it happen by asking your preschooler to help mix a bag or two. (wink!)

Put your colored sugar crystals into cups and distribute evenly on both cakes. There are many ways to decorate your King Cake with sprinkles or sugar crystals.  When you are finished, it will look something like this:

King Cake - photo by J. Stahl

You can transfer the cake onto a decorative plate or cake stand once the icing has quit dripping and the sugar has settled. I would recommend asking a friend or spouse to hold the pan while you use a spatula or cake knife and server to transfer it from the pan to the plate.

Since we had two cakes, one of them is for us to have today during lunch.  Here is how the filling looks when you cut a slice out.

King Cake filling - photo by J. Stahl


Slice of King Cake - photo by J. Stahl

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cupcakes and cakes inspired by Annalise Roberts

Alien Cupcakes - Photo by J.Stahl

One of my favorite cake recipes comes from Annalise Roberts' Gluten-Free Baking Classics.  I make her Yellow Layer Cake for every single birthday. We modify if we wish to have chocolate and only deviate if someone wants to have marble cake or pie instead.

Her cake recipe is one of the absolute fluffiest cakes I have had in ages! Everyone we've introduced it to has been quite pleasantly surprised that it has been gluten free.

The photo above of the Alien Cupcakes was made four years ago for my husband's birthday. We were stymied what to make and I figured aliens would be fascinating. The only thing I forgot to take into mind was that food coloring is usually off the table when it comes to Germans and cake. Oops. You live and learn, right?

The icing was made using Wilton's Buttercream Icing recipe, and I topped off all of the aliens with some gluten free fruit candy, gluten free pretzel sticks and chocolate candies. 

That same year, I made hamburger cupcakes using the same recipe.  I split the recipe and made half chocolate (remember to remove about 1/2 cup of the flour specified and add in the same amount in cocoa powder).  I colored the icing with red and yellow food coloring and left some white so that it would look like each cupcake had been given mayo, ketchup and mustard. Again, everyone was pleasantly surprised how delicate the cake was and how little sugar was used to make everything for this. The cupcakes were simple and held up well for my birthday party.

Hamburger Cupcakes - Photo by J. Stahl

If I could recommend any cookbook, and any one recipe out of a cookbook, this would be it!  If you can't afford a copy, please do be sure to request one in your local library.  It always helps for librarians to know that you are looking for specific books so that other people, like ourselves can find what they need when they go.  Just imagine if every library was equipped with a healthy selection of Gluten free books and cookbooks!

 Do you have a gluten free cookbook that you like? Any specific cake recipes that you would just love for the world to know and try out? Feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear about it!

Florintine Cookies

Everything you need to make Florintiner, J. Stahl

Today, Id like to share what you need to make Florintine cookies. I'd been purchasing these every time I go to Starbucks, and decided it was time to figure out how the heck to make my own because the ones we get are smaller than this and cost around 2,50€ a pop.  The only thing missing from this photo is the cream that is required to make this.

The first thing you will need, that is probably not normally found in the store is the paper wafers. If you are in Germany, you can find them at Glutenfrei-Supermarkt or Querfood. You may also be able to find them at a Reformhaus, Drogerie Markt or Tegut/Alnatura. These wafers are about 2 inches across and come 75 to a packet. Really, they are not that large.

Wafer paper, J.Stahl

What you will do is place these at the bottom of your cupcake mold/paper and then line them with a few chocolate drops if you want this to simulate the Starbucks Florintiner. If you do not, you will be placing the pastry right on top, and this will make it easier for it to lift out of the cupcake liner.

When they are done, this is what it will look like on the bottom:

Wafer paper and Florintine, J. Stahl

Today's recipe is coming to you by way of Marion's Kochbuch. I did not religiously follow the recipe, but my Florintines did come out absolutely awesome. I have only half a batch left, so I will make another batch using raisins instead of the candied fruit mix. This will have the recipe mimic Starbucks a bit better.

I chose the cupcake forms so that the cookies would not spread, and to also mimic Starbucks. I wanted something simple and not too messy for the children, to be perfectly honest.

 You will need the following for this recipe:

  • 25 grams of melted butter
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla)
  • 125 grams cream
  • 100 grams candied fruit or raisins
  • 100 grams almond slices
  • 75 grams chocolate for the bottom of the form or melted chocolate to drizzle after baking
  • 12 wafer papers
Measure everything out for ease of production. I found that using an ice-cream scoop made things easier for my hands when dipping these out into the cupcake forms. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/400°F. You will be baking these in the oven for around 10-12 minutes.

To begin, take a small pot and melt your butter on low heat. Add in the vanilla and sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar is well incorporated and it begins to brown. Add in your cream and continue mixing until the liquid begins to resemble honey. Allow to boil on low heat while stirring. When it does resemble honey, remove this from heat and add in your nuts and candied fruit. Mix well and dip out into the form. Once you are happy with how these look in the form, place them on the middle rack in the  oven and bake for around 12 minutes, or until they have lightly browned on the top.

If you like, you can cover these with melted chocolate. Alternatively, you can make these without wafer paper (Starbucks does not use any for theirs) and bake these either on baking paper or in mini muffin forms. Just be sure to line with pastry paper cups (also called "mini cupcake liners") as this is extremely sticky and will NOT come out of your muffin tin otherwise.

As an interesting note, Florintines are actually not from Florence. You might find this blog post interesting:

It is much more likely that today’s Florentine biscuits come from France, the country whose patisserie shops are known for the best cream and butter-filled delights on the planet, from flaky croissants, chocolate éclairs to heart-shaped palmiers. Not only are the main ingredients typically French but the fact that the base for Florentine biscuits is essentially a roux, an oh-so-French cooking technique, should also signal the true origins of this delicate tea-time cookie.
The Truth about Florintines

Thursday, September 12, 2013

About Messianic Mommy's Diet Journey

Plum Tree, Photo by A. Stahl

I wanted to write a bit about my blog for some of my newer readers and help get you caught up with what caused me to create it.  There's been some questioning as of late as to why many of the recipes in the blog are not (as of yet) GAPS recipes. I plan on clarifying that, which is a complicated matter.

I primarily wanted to create this blog to help ease us into a GAPS/Paleo/Primal-ish diet when we were in the process of finding out what was causing my youngest son's cyclic vomiting.  I have a husband who wishes to lose weight (morbidly obese) and myself, a celiac, who has iron deficiency anemia. At the time, this seemed like the most logical choice. Shift towards more clean eating, while pursing an education in dietetics and nutrition, as well as educating myself further in celiac studies and news.  I discussed that a bit in a previous posts here and here.

Generally speaking, I'm not one to keep information to myself, so I wanted a way to disseminate the knowledge that I have been amassing with others, as our ""local"" Celiac Support Group is about an hour away by car, and we do not own a car. I can hear the questions now about why we don't, but suffice it to say, in Germany, cars are quite cost prohibitive and it's easier when you're lower to middle-middle class to save your money and simply plan trips, shopping and so forth around public transportation. It actually is less expensive to live life that way. My in laws have graciously allowed us to use their van, but I can't drive that distance regularly due to gasoline being so expensive. (To give you an idea, the last time I filled our tank half way, it cost over 80€.)

I had a slow cooker, but it broke down this summer in June. I've been actively pricing crock-pots and slow cookers ever since. The one I have my eye on is over 60€. For most people, that's a "Oh, well, that's not too expensive." But, that is rather an investment for us.

Normally this would be OK, I could just do some things here and there without a slow cooker, but I've been having some unexplained medical issues. I've begun to get extremely tired and unable to function. I went for medical tests and everything is in order, except for my ferritin. My iron deficiency is playing up again, even after having had iron infusions in several months, even after having GAPS meals that I've not had time (or energy!) to blog about, and doing all the right things diet wise to improve my condition.

I've been to the dentist and found that I have five cavities. This is not unheard of with someone who has Celiac and Iron Deficiency Anemia. We are addressing this later in the month... and after that, I get to do iron infusions again.

This is what I look like on a good day:

 I asked about doing Paleo/GAPS at my kids' kindergarten and they asked that we stick with their menu. So, I can send things that are Paleo/GAPS with the children, but their entire meals cannot be one or the other. This is frustrating, but it is their right. If we want this to change, we have to cut the children's time at kindergarten by one hour and do meals at home. The difficulty with this choice is compounded with my invisible illness - I have no energy to make a meal and then enforce mealtime. I can do one, or I can do the other. We also cannot afford a mother's helper, Nanny or Tagesmutter to help us out.

Germans are kind of funny about invisible illnesses, especially those that can lend themselves towards depression or isolation. The "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" mentality is still deeply entrenched here. Everyone supposes if I just get out in the sun, or I'm around more people, or do more - I'll have more energy.  It doesn't work like that!

I don't know if you've ever heard of the spoon theory, but that's basically how I have to plan my days. [If you've never read it before, stop here and read it!] I've talked about it a bit before on my other blog, when I mentioned how difficult it is for those of us with invisible illnesses.

 I would do OAMC (once a month cooking). but we don't have a large enough freezer for that. Freezers are an investment... The one we would need to have is over 2,000€.  I just finished investing in a new pantry in our basement and we've not sold the excess shelving that we have from before, or any of the other things we cleaned out, therefore, nothing to put as a down-payment for the freezer.

  I've thought of meal planning, but I don't know how many "spoons" I will have in my reservoir on any given day. Not even a great night's sleep will predict whether I will have more, or less, energy in a given day. (For what it is worth, I slept awesomely last night, but I have no energy today and have made only one meal. I need to make birthday cake for my mother in law.)

I'm unsure how many of you have heard about the inflation we're having with our food, but I've watched as gluten free convenience foods have changed, the boxes have gotten smaller, and more expensive. I've also been watching our produce and it is insane the prices that we are paying right now.  My last grocery trip was for one week's worth of food and I spent over 130€.  You can imagine what it is costing us for a month's worth of food, and this doesn't include anything processed.
I generally go to a local Turkish store for our fat and bones. We've begun being charged for it due to the trouble to set it aside for us, even though we purchase the bulk of our meat goods there. What was free, is now costing us 5-10€ a month in addition to our 60€ meat purchase that lasts us about a month and a half.

My husband, who was terribly gung-ho about the diet, has backed out and said he will only do it when or if I am the one who does all the planning, cooking, purchasing and so forth. I'm not happy about having that much more on my shoulders.  People talk like stay at home moms don't do anything when they stay at home, and I can tell you I do more than my husband who goes to work for 10 hours a day and commutes. While he helps with the children, I do *everything* that has to get done. This includes any errands. He doesn't/cannot drive, so that falls to me. Basically, I single parent. He sleeps here and gets food here, and that's about it right now.

I've been too sick to keep up with all of my reading, so I've not finished Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, or It Starts With Food and I can't afford to invest in the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book or Internal Bliss - GAPS Cookbook. I know that sounds like whinging to some of you, but getting a copy of Internal Bliss here would cost almost $20US in shipping costs alone, causing the book to be $40 and me paying more taxes on it due to that. I keep hunting up a cheap copy, and keep coming up empty.  So, I've been going through literally thousands of blogs and printing up recipes and organizing them in my own folder so I know what to do when I can get where I can cook again.

My GAPS Diet Recipe compilation - 4" 2 Ring Binder - full to the hilt!

I came to the stark realization a couple months ago that I can't be the one to go on the diet by stage and detox, because, well, I'm the only one running the house.

I would make more soup, but neither my children, nor my husband will eat it. They will choose to have sugar crashes and starve, rather than eat soup. We have three times a month that the children have soup on their menu, and three times a month they will pick the food out and spurn the soup.  I can't afford the waste involved. So, when we eventually go further into the GAPS diet, we will be doing a FULL GAPS Diet rather than by stage.

I found out a couple months ago that my husband is undergoing a huge shake-up in the company that he works for. This means that we're now receiving bankruptcy payments from the bank and for a couple months in a row, our pay has not been in place when we were expecting to have cash in hand for groceries and to run the automatic payments for our housing, heat, water and so on. Also, I found out that my husband not really good at managing our finances. I've now one more thing I have to shoulder, because the other grown adult at the house cannot do it right.

This translates to my food budget has being cut in half, which is making going GAPS almost an insurmountable mountain to climb. I am still holding out hope.  I have cried over the increased prices in food costs, and the no help angle.  If you've heard of the five stages of grief, I've been thought that lots lately.

While all of this has been going on; I have had several people that are newly gluten free that have been begging me for help and recipes for things like the cakes, pies, canning and bento boxes that you've seen regularly featured on my blog as of late.  I have a long, long time of being gluten free and keeping that knowledge to myself or off of my blog (which is my outlet) is rather, well, rude. 

I am trying, above all things holding me back, to hold myself to my mission of making this a primarily GAPS blog.  While doing so, I will be inclusive and share non-Paleo & non-GAPS recipes.  The name of this blog is, after all, Messianic GAPS Diet Journey. This includes the messy bits of figuring that out, and days of not keeping the diet 100%.

Since this is my space, I'm welcome to make it as inclusive as I darn well please.  I will label all of the blog posts as to whether or not they are compliant with GAPS, Paleo/Primal or not. Those that are not; I will do my utmost to include modifications that would help change the recipe to fit those diets.

The only hitch in this plan is,  there are certain holidays that have specific foods that will not lend themselves to the GAPS diet. (Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah,Tu B'Shevat and Purim) Due to our religious beliefs, and having no allergies that preclude forgoing those festive food items; I will feature those on the blog for other people of faith that require gluten free alternatives. Finding truly gluten free recipes for all other holidays than Passover are quite difficult in the Jewish Community, as the five biblical grains (Wheat, Barley, Rye, Oats, Spelt) are so valued in Judaism and in Jewish cuisine.

I do hope that you all understand and that you stick with me while I work out these kinks in our journey. I never expected to be in the diet fully by this time this year, but I had expected to be further along. We had many strides forward off the blog, and all of that was knocked down to it's foundation in July.

Considering my line of knowledge, education, and proclivity to amass great bits of information on the Celiac diet, I will continue to share medical journals and such, even if they do not apply wholly to the GAPS or Paleo/Primal diets. I will also feature new gluten free foods and reviews of those foods that are available in Germany. These items are not Paleo/Primal or GAPS - but this is something that individuals I know in Germany can use.

 If I come upon news articles or studies on the GAPS or Paleo/Primal diets, I will share those as well.

Hopefully this clears up any questions you have about the blog, and I hope that I am able to further help you along. If you have any questions, feel free to just pop those into the comments.

Thank you for sticking with us,


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Interesting articles I've read over the summer

Cat and Kitten, 2008  Photo by A. Stahl

I wanted to share a few interesting news articles that I've been reading over the summer. You see, I never really stop reading. I have friends who ask questions about "gluten free" or celiac disease, or whether or not a certain cross-reactive food is passed on in animal milk and that sort of thing... and I get the bug to go researching.

The only problem with this bug, is that I haven't been trained as a dietician or nutritionist, so I can only access whatever medical paperwork is publicly available or readily found via search engines. So, while these things are interesting, it's best to discuss these papers with knowledgeable gastroenterologist, dieticians and nutritionists who are well versed in Celiac Disease.

I read an eleven page document from The New York Times on "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food" by Michael Moss. My take-away from the article was that we need to be very proactive and aware of the psychology of marketing and that if we are to partake of junk food, that we keep it to a very limited amount. Not because it is too sugary or too salty - but because it is so addictive and it can affect us for a long time to come.

The more interesting articles I was reading happened to do with the evolving spectrum of celiac disease. I've long believed that "gluten sensitivity" or "intolerance" happens to be part of celiac disease, even if it is as of yet, not recognized as such. Voilá, attitudes are changing in the medical community.
"Gluten Sensitivity (GS) is a state of heightened immunological responsiveness to ingested gluten in genetically susceptible people. It represents a spectrum of diverse manifestations, of which, the gluten sensitive enteropathy known as [Celiac Disease] is one of many."
Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: The Evolving Spectrum
"It is now becoming apparent that reactions to gluten are not limited to [Celiac Disease], rather we now appreciate the existence of a spectrum of gluten-related disorders. The high frequency and wide range of adverse reactions to gluten raise the question as to why this dietary progein is toxic for so many individuals in the world."
Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification

"Sub-clinical, or hidden, gluten intolerance is a health problem at epidemic proportions in certain populations in the United States and remains largely unrecognized by conventional medicine."
Dr. Daniel Kalish

Some acquaintances of mine were discussing some myths that were driving them crazy about Celiac Disease and I mentioned that wheat grass being gluten free was one of my major concerns, after seeing it featured in "Bedtime Stories" and another film ("Working Mom"?) as a safe option for Celiacs who wish to keep a healthy diet.

The problem is not that wheat grass is gluten free, but that the processing involved often causes the actual product to not be gluten free, and really that Celiacs need not be eating any of the grains (sprouted or not) provided from gluten containing grains because it is just too risky for accidents to happen. It took a lot of looking on my end to find an article that discussed these issues with wheat grass, and I found it at's Celiac section.

"...while wheat grass and barley grass in their pure forms are considered gluten-free, it matters how they're harvested and how products containing them are produced.
...if a farmer allows some of the grasses to begin producing seeds prior to harvest, then that particular crop will contain gluten.
...if a manufacturer of supplements produces gluten-containing products alongside or on the same equipment as it's using for gluten-free labeled products, then those products can be cross-contaminated unless special precautions are taken, and they may contain gluten."
Are wheat grass and barley grass gluten-free?

What the article doesn't discuss is that there is a propensity of people with celiac disease to also be allergic to wheat, barley, rye or oats. If one doesn't know that they are additionally allergic, as well as intolerant -- this can cause some massive issues that are just not worth it.  If you do wish to go there, it is best to be sure you only acquire gluten free certified wheat or barley grass, and that you are certain you are not additionally allergic like I am.   It is very unpleasant if you are, and react as I have been.

Another article that I found was related to gluten traces in gluten free foods. This study was referenced in a recent DZG magazine and I went to find the actual article to read on my own. Basically, the DZG translated the article for a German audience, so I had the benefit of the study in both languages. Double plus! The study is entitled "Might gluten traces in wheat substitutes pose a risk in patients with celiac disease? A population-based probabilistic approach to risk estimation." and was put out by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  The "short" of the article is that there has not been enough study and that some Celiacs are more sensitive than others and will react to trace amounts while others do not. We need to adopt the 20mg/kg gluten threshold for the United States.

I have been hearing some things out there in cyber space about fermentation of grains making it gluten free or suitable for individuals with celiac disease. This is patently untrue, and mostly has been skewed from a few, very small sample-size studies.

Here are the basics:
"Because enzymatic breakdown of gluten proteins often leads to small, difficult to degrade, toxic peptides, the partial breakdown of wheat, rye, or barley proteins during seed germination or in the malting process probably will not usually eliminate toxicity even when there is no trace of the large original proteins remaining. Thus, malt extracts and other hydrolysates of wheat, rye, or barley proteins (including beers) might retain some toxicity. Nevertheless, when such extracts are used in a product in very small proportions, as a flavoring, for example, the amount of toxic peptides present in the final product might be so small as to be negligible. Again, however, good scientific studies are lacking."

"The sourdough fermentation may enhance the recovery from intestinal inflammation of coeliac patients at the early stage of the gluten-free diet.
This study aimed at investigating the effect of corn, rice and amaranth gluten-free (GF) sourdoughs on the release of nitric oxide (NO) and synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines by duodenal mucosa biopsies of eight coeliac disease (CD) patients."

There was a study done in Italy with 13 patients:

"The Italian study was designed to assess how 13 Celiacs responded to eating baked goods made with wheat flour treated with lactobacilli and fungal protease. The study, Safety for Patients with Celiac Disease of Baked Goods Made of Wheat Flour Hydrolyzed During Food Processing was published in the January 2011 issue of the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology."
"...methods used to assess gluten damage in the participants -- blood tests for anti–tissue transglutaminase antibodies and small bowel biopsy have potential for false negative results. "
Is fermented sourdough wheat bread safe for Celiacs?

"These results showed that a bread biotechnology that uses selected lactobacilli, nontoxic flours, and a long fermentation time is a novel tool for decreasing the level of gluten intolerance in humans."
Sourdough Bread Made from Wheat and Nontoxic Flours and Started with Selected Lactobacilli Is Tolerated in Celiac Sprue Patients

The only issue with the studies is that it is such a small sample size, it was not done with a double-blind and they did not test individuals with the rather broad spectrum of celiac disease. There is no long term study, and you could not sign me up for this test with the reactions I have. Heck, I'm reacting to gluten grains in the fields now!

The other interesting bit of research I went into was the myth of there being traces of gluten in dairy products from animals. Based on testing, no significant amounts of gluten peptides have been detected in cow’s milk.

However, Lactose Intolerance Can Be A Symptom Of Gluten Intolerance. That actually was one of the many symptoms I had as a teenager before we figured out that my entire health issues could be pinned on Celiac Disease.

Here's the research I was able to find:

Here's hoping that you had a wonderful Summer and are easing gracefully back into school.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Summer Reading - Magazines

Gluten Free Magazines

This summer has been full of surprises. I thought I would have a little more time on my hands to do some blogging while the children were out of kindergarten for four weeks. Well, I was mistaken.

However, I did receive two copies of Simply Gluten Free Magazine, and I had a little time to read the latest DZG (Deutsches Zöliakie Gesellschaft) Magazine.

I had only very recently subscribed to Simply Gluten Free, so imagine my surprise when just a few weeks later, I received the current (July-August) issue! I was very impressed with the lay out, the simplicity of the index and the fact that there were basically two indexes for items so that you could not miss anything at all in the magazine.  There's also a great deal of advertizing in the mag, but it's tons of products I had not been hearing about from other people I know in the US and Canada that are gluten free. 

There were some really great articles that I appreciated reading, including:
  • Healthy children at home, at school and on the go
  • Gluten Free Dating 101
  • Understanding probiotics and prebiotics
  •  Cross-reactive foods
  • Explore: Amsterdam - Gluten-free friendly
  • The best four years of their lives? For gluten-free students, college choice largely impacts quality of life
  • Simple Substitutions cheat-sheet for popular food items
 One thing that I noticed in the cross-reactive food article was that Dr. Vikki Petersen mentions that to go on a successful elimination diet for dairy, you need to be fully off of dairy for thirty days for it to be effective. She also mentioned that if you are doing an elimination diet off of other cross-reactive foods, that you need to be off of that one reactive food for three months and then reintroduce it slowly. I thought that one month was enough as an idea, but I found out differently! 

 I loved the article about Amsterdam. I was trying to talk my husband into a trip to Denmark, but we were uncertain what the gluten free options available to us would be like. I did plan on visiting Amsterdam, but I am unsure if we would be able to afford to stay in the city or not, and planned to stay in a smaller, nearby town if possible. Knowing that we could go out to eat, not just keep bread with us and get fresh food to add to that - is quite encouraging!!  Though, staying gluten free in Europe does tend to be tons easier than it is in the US.

 I checked my mail last week, and I received the September-October issue of Simply Gluten Free! It was just as impressive as the earlier issue I had received, and filled with just as many, if not more, recipes than the previous issue. I do so love that they include paleo options for people who need to be grain free for whatever reason.

The articles that I really enjoyed in this edition were:

  • Strengthen your immune system naturally
  • Food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities - What's the difference?
  • Educate, empower, empathize - helping your children cope with celiac disease.
  • New Gluten Free Cookbooks
  • Gluten free baking without gums with Dr Jean Layton

I really loved the article on food allergies, intolerance and sensitivities. It was very detailed, well done and while the medical terminology was quite prevalent, it was not presented in a manner that would be confusing or cause one to feel like they are being talked down to.

Some of the companies featured in the two magazines were:

  • Hodgson Mill
  • Sam Mills
  • Real McCoy Snax
  • Home Free
  • DeLand Bakery
  • Plainville Farms
  • Dr. Praeger's Sensible Foods Kids
  • Contes Pasta Company
  • Food for Life
And many others I'd heard of in passing or had never heard of before I moved to Germany.
After I had read my English magazines, I went ahead and read my German Celiac Association magazine. (Issue 03/2013)  I wish I had this one last month, as it discussed Fructose Malabsorption in great detail.  I could have used that information when we were doing a Fructmal diet for my youngest son, to see if that was the source of his gut issues.  Other interesting articles included:

In the ads, I noticed that Schär has revamped some of their noodle offerings, and there are several new options. Schär is also coming out with some new pastries and breads. The pasta I mentioned in an earlier post from Schneekoppe was discussed. So far, positive reviews.  There's a new product line from a company called Cenovis, which I had never heard from. They're making boullion, soups and spices that are certified gluten free and organic. Glutano has two new breads out, one of which we have recently tried out - Bauernbrot (a white sourdough variety) and Suße Brötchen (Sweet bread - it's comparable to Schär's Bon Matin). Almondy has rolled out five new flavors of cake and it looks like they may have eliminated their Smarties cake. 3 Pauly has rolled out organic cornflakes. (This will be helpful with some of our cooking.)

I've been reading a lot of medical and dietician-related articles that should help people with Celiac Disease get on better.  I plan on sharing those all later, as I'm still sifting through them all. I have two more PDFs to read and print before I'm comfortable sharing what all I've been up to these last 4-5 weeks.

I do hope that you excuse my absence, as my children were more in need of my presence than my blog was.  I hope that you all had a wonderful summer with your families and if you're in the US, that you have a wonderful Labor Day.


P.S. I've not been paid in any way to mention any of these companies or magazines. I honestly love reading this stuff and sharing information I find. It's too interesting to keep to myself!