Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Resources

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Apr 17 2014

Is Cricket Flour Gluten-Free?

There are many things that those who follow a gluten-free diet must avoid, but cricket flour is not one of them. Cricket flour is gluten-free and exactly what you think it is…flour made from ground crickets. Why crickets? Read on…

Insects are exceptionally nutritious. They are high in protein and low in saturated fats and sugars. They are a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids, and are also high in micronutrients such as iron, calcium and B-vitamins. Crickets, for example, contain substantially more iron than beef.

Insects have marginal environmental impact. They produce virtually no methane, reproduce extremely quickly, and require minimal feed, water and space.It is estimated that crickets are 20x more efficient to raise for protein than cattle.

Exo created three different protein bars that contain roughly 40 crickets per bar. At first thought, this creeped me right the heck out, but I kept an open mind and read more about the process.

We work with a couple of domestic cricket farms to change their traditional rearing practices for human consumption. Our crickets are raised in specially designated areas and are currently fed a Certified Organic grain-based diet. We are constantly focused on optimizing the feed and are experimenting with various options including organic matter like orange peels and cornhusks.

After cleaning the crickets, we dry them to remove the moisture and mill them into fine flour. The result is slightly nutty tasting flour that is high in protein and micronutrients.

My brain initially stopped at the word “crickets” and I didn’t even think about how they would be processed for consumption. I had visions of someone chasing crickets around in the woods and then immediately grinding them up into a bar. Obviously, that is not the case, just as we don’t eat other protein sources straight from the field or barnyard.

The different varieties of Exo bars are:

  • Cashew Ginger
  • PB & J
  • Cacao Nut

Each bar contains 10 grams of protein and is free of soy, dairy and gluten. The Cashew Ginger and Cacao Nut are also free of grains, but the PB & J contains gluten-free oats. The bars can be purchased online. It is important to note that those with shellfish allergies may be allergic to crickets as well.

Would you consider trying Exo bars made with cricket flour? At first I thought that there was no way I would try them, but after reading through the website, I am game. Who knows…they may become my favorite protein bar!


Apr 16 2014

Gluten-Free Homemade Granola

There is nothing better than homemade granola. Making granola and/or granola bars at home allows you to control the ingredients. You may find a recipe that you fall in love with and make it the same each time, or you may enjoy mixing things up and creating a new flavor journey each time. A good friend has been kind enough to share her granola recipe with us below. The recipe is gluten-free and can be made dairy-free by making some easy substitutions.

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Recipe:

Melt 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup almond (or other nut) butter, and 2/3 cup honey. Stir, remove from heat. While it is melting, toast 1 cup chopped raw unsalted almonds or walnuts in a 325 degree oven.

Mix in big bowl:

  • 5 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • Pinch salt
  • The toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels for dairy and soy-free)

Pour melted mixture over all and stir. Press into lightly oiled 9 x 13 pan (or use parchment paper). Bake at 325 for 30 -35 mins til golden.

You can slice into bars while warm, but don’t lift them out til completely cool or they crumble. The crumbles make great granola, so no worries there!

Recipe and photo courtesy of Margie Myers, Power & Grace Yoga.

I don’t know about you, but I just made my grocery list and made sure to include what I needed to make this!


Apr 15 2014

California Pizza Kitchen – Beyond the Pizza

When I dine at California Pizza Kitchen, I normally order pizza. Yes, they have plenty of non-pizza gluten-free offerings, but since I feel that I can get those things anywhere, I splurge on the pizza. I met a friend and her children for lunch yesterday and finally had something other than pizza for the first time. I quickly fell in love and wonder what took me so long!

Menu items that are gluten-free are clearly marked with a “GF”, making it easy to order. There were so many salads to choose from, I almost had to write them all down on separate pieces of paper, toss them in a hat and pick the one I was going to order. I ended up settling on the Moroccan Chicken Salad and my friend chose the Caramelized Peach Salad with Grilled Chicken.

Photo 2

Moroccan Chicken Salad – Roasted butternut squash, dates, avocado, toasted almonds, beets, red pepper, chopped egg & cranberries – tossed in a Champagne vinaigrette.

Photo 2

Caramelized Peach Salad – Field greens, spinach, warm caramelized peaches, cranberries, red onions, toasted pecans & Gorgonzola – tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette.

The online menu is put together differently, but it is still easy to tell which foods are gluten-free.  California Pizza Kitchen has locations across the US. 

Have you tried any of the other gluten-free menu offerings at California Pizza Kitchen?


Apr 14 2014

The Real Story: Jules Shepard

I have known Jules Shepard for years. She has been a great friend who took lemons and made them into lemonade, all while doing wonderful things for the gluten-free community, including bringing the gluten-free community together and building an 11-story cake to get the FDA’s attention. Those changes go into effect August 2014.

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Jules founded Nearly Normal Cooking, LLC in 2006, but as steam picked up and it took off, she could no longer keep up with the growth. She took on business partners in late 2008 to help run the day-to-day business.  These partners did not invest cash, but exchanged work for half of the company that Jules founded.

When it became evident last year that Jules and these partners didn’t have the same visions for the company, the relationship deteriorated, Jules knew it was time for her to move on.

Jules tried to resign, but the partners didn’t respond and unfortunately things have taken a turn for the worse. Jules is doing what she has to do to protect herself and her interests. She started a new website and is trying to rebuild her business from the ground up. If you know anything about starting a business, you know this is no easy task. Jules is in the process of negotiating contracts for production and shipping, securing certifications and producing new logos and labels. Would you like to help Jules rebuild? Check out the many ways you can help out.


Apr 12 2014

Kashi Simply Maize and Indigo Morning Now Gluten-Free

I was a huge fan of Kashi cereals before starting the gluten-free diet, so seeing that they now have two varieties of gluten-free cereal makes me a happy camper. The Simply Maize and Indigo Morning cereals are varieties that are gluten-free.

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Simply Maize: Organic Whole Grain Corn, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Salt, Organic Molasses.

Indigo Morning: Organic Whole Grain Corn, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Organic Freeze-Dried Blackberries, Organic Freeze-Dried Blueberries, Salt, Organic Molasses, Natural Flavor, Organic Vanilla Extract.

I don’t recall seeing these cereals in our local grocery store, but I wasn’t really looking in that area, either. I plan to keep my eyes open to see if I can grab both varieties and sample them. Check the store locator to find the store nearest you.

Have you spotted or tried these new gluten-free Kashi cereals?