Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Exhaustion and Comfort Food: A Review of EnviroKidz Panda Puffs

I'm exhausted. So much so that I'm too tired to even tell you about it. When I get this worn down, my first instinct is to fill my bed full of comfort food and dive straight in. Two birds with one stone! One dirty, dirty inedible stone that also makes an awful pillow. 

I think I've purchased one box of cereal since developing my gluten allergy in a moment of weakness last summer. It was a box of Fruity Pebbles,* which are like Rice Krispies but neon and frooty.** Rice Krispies are not gluten-free unless you buy the ones specifically marked as such, by the way. The Fruity Pebbles were disappointing in both their frootiness and mooshiness, and then they turned my toothbrush orange just like they did when I was a kid. 

But lately, all I want is cereal. While cereal is actually a lot of effort to prepare, especially in the early morning, this one totally worth it. Panda Puffs are amazetastic! They're clearly labeled as gluten-free, which makes them a no-brainer when I'm standing in the store. They have a pleasant peanut butter taste that plays really nicely with milk. Panda Puffs are kind of like the Reese's Puffs (WARNING WARNING WARNING: that link is obnoxious... proceed at your own risk) but without the ass-nasty aftertaste. Plus, they hold their crispness in milk but don't cut your mouth the way that Cap'n Crunch does.*** 

Long story short, Panda Puffs are a great cereal option for glutards who still have their childhood sweet tooth!

*Totally gluten free, in case you want some!
**The misspelling is to denote the lack of real fruit contribution to the fruitiness.
***I was really into kids' cereal prior to my allergy, in case you couldn't tell. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rage Against The Grain 2012 Recap: The Force Was Strong With These Two

I'm posting on time for once. Yay me!

So even though I wasn't actually serious when I posed the Rage Against The Grain 2012 Challenge, two of my coworkers attempted to go gluten-free for a week. 

One of them has taken a serious dive into the minutiae of g-free eating. She was curious if raging against the grain might help alleviate some of her minor health annoyances. I am happy to report that she has been doing really well with her g-free trial. Her and I even shared some miniature gluten-free cupcakes to ease her into the new diet! Plus, I was just debriefed on her first attempt cooking with Quinoa, The Wondergrain!  

The other coworker took a less detailed approach and attempted to cut the obvious sources of gluten from her diet just to see what it was like. She began her challenge after finishing a loaf of homemade bread, which reminded me how I waited to start my new life until I had one final glutenous cupcake. I am happy to report that she also did really well! ...Until faced with a decadent chocolate Valentine's Day cake. We all stumble sometimes. 

Watching my coworkers navigate the g-free lifestyle as rookies reminded me of what my transition was like. It takes a while to get the hang of everything and for label-reading and cake-avoiding to become second nature. Watching them also reminded me how lucky I am to be surrounded by curious people who are not intimidated by dietary restrictions. Finally, it was fun to share what I've learned to boost their gluten-y awareness and g-free kitchen skills.* So if you're a young Luke Skywalker out there and want help from your very own glutard Yoda, feel free to drop a comment at the end of a post.** Share my knowledge and encourage you I will. 

*Probably why I like writing this blog, too :P
**I also welcome comments from handsome Han Solos or Lando Calrissians 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Slow Down and Think about Fast Food

In case you've been in a hurry lately, here are some tips for navigating fast food as a glutard: Gluten Free Fast Food Options (via CeliAct)

I second their recommendation for Wendy's and In-N-Out. Wendy's even has a list of gluten free offerings -- looks better that it is, though, because they include condiments and sodas. I tend to choose Wendy's over others because they went through the effort of making a list. ...Reinforce the behavior you want to see. Wendy's staff has also generally been able to answer my questions accurately and often have dedicated fryers for fries. I mean, what's the point of fast food if you can't eat the fries??? I'm jealous of anyone who lives in In-N-Out territory. Their food is simple so you don't have to worry too much about a bunch of crappy additives. I always hit them up as a fast food treat whenever I am in range. 

I second CeliAct's advice to stay away from Taco Bell. T-Bell is a ginormous disappointment for glutards. Spoiler alert: their "meat" contains a substantial amount of fillers, including oatsIn addition, I haven't had any luck at Burger King (who is inferior to Wendy's in every way anyway). 

I want to add Chipotle to CeliAct's list of good options. Like Wendy's they also have a super clear allergen list. Plus, you can eat ALMOST anything here as a glutard. Just no flour tortillas. Chipotle has been so good to me (unlike Qdoba, which I have had varying luck with)

Wherever you end up going on the run, be sure to check any available allergen info available (it can change regularly) and don't be afraid to make requests to avoid cross-contamination. 

Happy Junkfood!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rage Against The Grain 2012 Challenge

I've been hungry lately. And people tend to be uninformed about gluten intolerance. So I came up with a genius way to remedy both situations:

Rage Against The Grain 2012 Challenge

In this challenge, participants attempt to eat gluten free for a week. TRULY gluten-free, not half-assed gluten-free. No wheat, barley, rye, or oats (unless the oats are explicitly labeled as gluten-free or Irish). Reading labels for modified food starch and maltodextrin from unspecified sources. Keeping your eyes peeled for soy sauce (unless explicitly labeled as gluten-free) and additives in 'no-brainer' foods like ketchup, lunch meat, and margarine. Being mindful of cross-contamination in food preparation. 

Paying such detailed attention to ingredient lists, preparation practices, and the diversity of more-and-less tasty products might be quite an eye-opener. To ensure you're abiding by an entirely gluten-free diet, serious Rage Against The Grain challengers can make me a meal and I'll come over to evaluate it for safety and deliciousness. You can hone your basic and advanced skills through consultation about flour blends, ingredient substitutions, and dessert offerings. 

Rage Against The Grain 2012 promotes awareness of both the ubiquitous nature of gluten in the typical American diet and my insatiable appetite, while taking real steps toward alleviating my hunger. Obviously a win-win for all involved. Best week ever. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fun with Food Allergies!

Oh Portlandia, thank you for this gem:

Except if I were in charge of the gluten float, it would be the "Glutenless Guerillas" instead of the "Wheatless Wheelers" and we'd look totally bad ass. We'd be standing imposingly over proverbial chaff that is the rest of the parade. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Someone else should get on this...

I live my life g-free, but there are folks out there advocating for living g-maxxxx: The Maximum Gluten Diet

Different strokes for different folks. ...And this seems like a great stroke for folks who enjoy kneading stiff dough for 20 min.