Whole Grain Rice Krispies Treats

September 15, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

I just happened to walk down our cereal isle the other day and noticed that Kellog’s is now making a gluten free version of their rice krispies cereal. To be honest, as weird as it may sound I was excited to see them, if for no other reason than having a real homemade rice krispie treat. The pre-packaged gluten free versions that are on the market today are just lacking the taste and texture that you get from the ones that you make at home. So I bought a box and went home to make my family a batch. I have to say they were everything that I had hoped for, they tasted exactly how I remembered them tasting, and the texture was crispy, not mushy like the others that I had tried recently. To ensure the safety of this cereal they have eliminated the barley that the original recipe contains, and it is being produced in a separate facility with batches being tested regularly for gluten. So buy a box and treat yourself. If you do not remember how to make them, the recipe is on the box.

Delicious Doughnuts

August 17, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

I had the opportunity to try Kinnikinnick’s gluten free chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon and sugar doughnuts a few days ago and have to tell you I was very impressed. If you didn’t know it was a gluten free product you would think that it was a regular cake doughnut. The texture was not light and fluffy like our bakery’s doughnuts, so you should buy them knowing that they are a little heavier than the doughnuts that you may be used to. But, with that said, the flavor of these doughnuts was phenomenal, no gritty nasty after taste that you get with so many gluten free products. And the best part about Kinnikinnick’s doughnuts is that they are low in fat, they use only non-hydrogenated oils and contain only six grams of fat per serving as compared to 20 grams in a regular doughnut. You can find these and other great Kinnikinnick products in the healthy living frozen section of your favorite Harmons store.

Wheat Starch Study

August 3, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

I have heard a lot of talk about wheat starch possibly being gluten free, so I did some research and came across this article on celiac.com about a study in Finland. Please keep in mind that this study was performed in Europe, where they do have different standards as far as acceptable gluten intake for celiac sufferers, so take it with a grain of salt and do not think I am endorsing the consumption of wheat starch. I personally have chosen not to take the risk on wheat starch until more research has been done mostly because there is no way to get all of the gluten out. As and as far as I am aware, no study has been able to fully answer what a safe level of gluten is. In the US, our government uses 20ppm (parts per million) as our maximum standard and time will only tell if that standard will remain.

Researchers recruited 90 adults who had been eating a strict gluten-free diet for at least a year, and randomly assigned them to one of three groups. Depending on the group assignment, participants consumed drinks daily containing wheat-based glucose syrup, wheat-based maltodextrins, or a placebo with no wheat starch. The amount of glucose syrup or maltodextrins given to the participants in the first two groups was comparable to the amount of gluten a person might consume while eating an average amount of processed foods.

Effects of the wheat starch products were tested in several ways. To determine whether the trace amounts of gluten were sufficient to trigger an immune reaction, researchers examined biopsies of the small intestine for signs of inflammation and damage, and tested the blood for specific antibodies that are elevated after gluten consumption.  Small intestine biopsies taken after 24 weeks of wheat starch product consumption did not show increased damage or inflammation compared to biopsies taken before the study began, or compared to biopsies of subjects consuming the placebo.  Similarly, levels of antibodies were not increased by daily consumption of this very small quantity of gluten.

Because eating gluten reduces nutrient absorption in people with celiac disease, blood levels of iron, folic acid, and calcium were tested in all three groups before and after the 24 week study.  Concentrations of these nutrients did not decrease in any of the groups during the study, indicating that nutrient absorption was not affected by this amount of wheat starch consumption. Additionally, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, indigestion, constipation, abdominal pain, and gastro-esophageal reflux, did not increase significantly in any group and none of the patients who suffered from dermatitis herpetiformis developed a rash during the study.

Results of this study suggest that the trace amounts of gluten in processed foods containing wheat starch products were not harmful for most people with celiac disease. Although additional studies will help clarify the issue, it may be unnecessary for people to avoid these products, making it easier to adhere to a “gluten-free” diet.

Kaukinen K, Salmi T, Huhtala H, et al. Clinical trial: gluten microchallenge with wheat-based starch hydrolysates in celiac disease patients:  a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study study to evaluate safety. Alimentary Pharmacolgy
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Aug 17.Departments of Gastroenterology and Alimentary Tract Surgery, University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland

Tasty, healthy and quick snacks

July 20, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

If you have been looking for a great tasting and healthy gluten free snack, then your wait is over. Head over to our produce department and check out all of our chef prepared salsas, guacamole, and fresh cut fruit. The best part about buying from our produce department is that it is all cut, prepared, and packaged right here in our store so there is no risk of cross contamination like there is with warehouse prepared product from the national brands. Not only is there no risk of cross contamination, but our produce department also takes all necessary steps to ensure the highest quality produce available is used to prepare all of their fresh cut produce. They also use an anti microbial victory wash on all produce that is used in production to eliminate anything that may be harmful to you, the consumer. Please go check it out, I highly recommend the guacamole, but have liked all varieties that I have tried.

Texas Toast

June 22, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

One thing I have struggled with since I started eating gluten free is that everything you prepare for dinner is very time consuming since you are basically making everything from scratch. I don’t know about you, but for my family that gets even more difficult in the summer time. It seems that there is so much more going on like baseball games, yard work, and just simply enjoying the weather. For most people the solution is simple, stop by your favorite fast food place and pick up a burger or a bucket of chicken, but for someone with celiac disease it’s not that simple. First of all, if there is something on their menu that is gluten free there is a very high probability of cross contamination and a general lack of knowledge that often leads to unintentional mistakes. I was recently eating at a chain restaurant that does have a gluten free menu. When I placed my order I was filled with confidence thinking that since they have this gluten free menu they must be educated about what gluten is, but sadly when my order came out of the kitchen there was a big piece of texas toast right on top of my steak. I wasn’t angry, mistakes happen, but if it can happen at a place with a special gluten free menu I figure it can happen anywhere. So, the alternative is to make it at home and take it with you. I like to take our Harmons rotisserie chicken and remove the bones, cut it in to bite sized pieces, and toss it in a nice green leaf salad with onions and bell peppers – it only takes five minutes to prepare and the end result is delicious and satisfying.

So you can make healthy quick gluten free meals it just takes a little creativity, and some thinking out side of the box.

Grilling time is finally here!

June 8, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

For those of you who have been waiting all these long cold months for grilling season to get here, the wait is finally over. Lucky for you, shopping at Harmons means that you get the finest freshest product available to throw on that grill of yours, and you may be surprised to find out that you can cook things other than meat on your grill.

Two of my favorite items to grill are pineapple and corn on the cob. Grilling these two items adds a distinctive depth to their flavor that is to die for. But if you want to stick with the classics, our meat department does carry the absolute best beef, pork, chicken, and lamb available. We have a full line of gourmet burgers, kabobs and prime grade all natural aged Angus beef steaks available in our full service meat counters ready for you to take home tonight. Most of the items in our full service meat case are gluten free, but for piece of mind here is a list that may help: Continue Reading »

Gluten Free Granola

May 25, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

I had the opportunity to try Bakery on Main’s granola a few days ago, and I am very excited to tell you that if you are a granola fan that we now sell a great tasting gluten free granola. We currently carry five different varieties; Apple Raisin Walnut, Nutty Cranberry Maple, Extreme Fruit and Nut, Cinnamon Raisin, and Triple Berry. My personal favorite was the Apple Raisin Walnut, but they all have a very distinct flavor and were all very tasty. The best part is that they won’t break the bank costing only $5.99 each, which I don’t have to tell you is very reasonable for a high quality granola, let alone a gluten free one. You can find Bakery on Main, and many other great gluten free products, in our gluten free section which is located on the cereal isle in most of our store locations.

Bakery On Main - Gluten Free Granola

Are Harmons fresh meats gluten free?

May 11, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

I have recently had several customers ask me the same question, “Are your fresh meats gluten free?” So I did a little research and found out as long as they are not breaded or seasoned in any way it is a safe to assume that they are gluten free.

Many poultry producers do use a wheat based feed for their chickens, but studies have shown that the gluten in their feed does not get into the meat. So, regardless of what the animal is fed, its meat will be gluten free.  As well as having concerns about the animals’ feed, you may also be concerned about possible cross contamination of the meat. As far as our full service meat cases go this is a very real possibility since non breaded, non seasoned product shares space with products that are breaded and/or seasoned. If you would like to purchase some of our gluten free ready to cook products just explain your situation to one of our friendly knowledgeable meat associates, and they will be happy to make you a new one that will not have a possibility of having been cross contaminated. We also have a very large variety of products in our self service or grab and go cases that is produced completely separate from where the gluten containing products are made so there is very little to no risk of the products being cross contaminated. If you are still concerned just ask one of our meat associates how and where the product you would like to purchase was produced. We want you to feel confident in your purchase from Harmons, as we are always concerned about the health and safety of our customers.

Gluten Free Flours

April 27, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

There are so many different types of gluten free flours out there that it can be hard to make sense of them all, or know what you are supposed to use with which recipe. Most gluten free cooks agree that most gluten free flours work better in a mix, and there are many that you can buy like Grandpas Kitchen that are pre mixed, or if you like to experiment and try new things you can make your own flour blends that are suited to your own tastes.

The one thing that you must remember before making your own mix is that these flours do not contain gluten, and as I mentioned in a previous post, gluten is literally the glue that holds wheat bread or wheat baked goods together. So, you will have to add something that will mimic gluten’s properties in your recipe. There are several ways you can do this. The easiest way is to add eggs to your recipe, but remember that eggs will make your recipe heavier. You can also use either guar gum or xantham gum to accomplish this. (I generally use guar gum because it is about a quarter the cost of xantham gum and accomplishes the task just as well.) So here is a list of GF flours and their uses: Continue Reading »

Watch more than your food

April 13, 2011
Dave for Gluten Free

Dave, Gluten Free Advocate

Sometime ago I was surprised to find out that it is not only food that you must worry about being gluten free. The truth is that gluten is used in all sorts of daily use items that you would never have fathomed contain gluten. My wife and I bought Flintstones vitamins for our kids not even thinking that they might contain gluten, and as it turns out they do. So, that got us thinking, if something like a kids multi-vitamin could contain gluten what other non-food items could pose a possible risk to our health.

The list might surprise you!!! So here is a list of items to watch out for; toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, bar soap, hand soap, lip balm, lip stick, make up, hair gel, play dough, and vitamins.

It’s hard not to get disheartened, but just like most food products, there are gluten free alternatives to all of the above mentioned items. Just be careful and do your research, and if you are unsure about a product contact the manufacturer directly. Since celiac disease has become more prevalent, affecting an estimated 1 out of every 133 people, manufacturers are aware and usually have a statement prepared as to whether an item contains gluten or not.