Tag Archives: gluten-free news

Wait, wait…don’t gluten me! (I’m talking to you, Trader Joe’s.)

I hope you’re in the mood for some shenanigans. It’s the Friday before a long weekend, which means it’s time for one thing only: limericks about gluten.

In 2011, we learned that 21 percent of young people get most of their news from the Daily Show and Saturday Night Live. Judge that as you will. I myself am among the unreported mass of people who get the majority of their news from podcasts of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Are you?

Who doesn't love this guy?

Who doesn’t love this man?

For me, it means that I’m always at least a week behind and that I occasionally mistake the fake news stories on the show for real news. It also means I have a thing for Carl Kasell.

In Carl’s honor, I hereby introduce to you the first ever installment of Wait, Wait…Don’t Gluten Me! I’ll share three gluten-related tidbits I recently discovered, in limerick form.

Guess the missing word in each and you’ll win my voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Just kidding—you don’t want that. I don’t even want that.

Here we go:

Limerick #1

There once was a blind brownie test,
the results of which couldn’t be guessed.
Some with gluten, some not,
twenty mixes were bought.
And GF Betty Crocker was ____.

Highlight for answer:    BEST   

Stunning underdog victory! Full results here.

Stunning underdog victory! Full results here.

I’ve never tried this mix, but it seems I should—and fast. (May I remind you again that it’s Friday?) 

Have you tried the Betty Crocker mix? Does it live up to the hype if so? What’s your favorite brownie mix or recipe if not?

*

Limerick #2

I wanted to eat something green;
Trader Joe’s prices weren’t too obscene.
Skimmed the salad greens bag,
and I thought I might gag!
Wheat in lettuce? Now that’s just plain ____.

Highlight for answer:    MEAN   

photo (2)

Hey, at least it’s kosher.

Ugh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten TJ’s greens over the past months. I know, I know, “If it has a label, read it.” It just didn’t occur to me that the rule would extend to lettuce! Yet another reminder to maintain “constant vigilance.”

What’s the most surprising place you’ve discovered potential gluten contamination?

*

Limerick #3

What triggers this illness? Not sure.
It’s genetic but likely there’s more.
BacteriaTrauma?
No milk from your momma?
Who cares? Please just find us a ____!

Highlight for answer:    CURE   

433px-Injection_Syringe_01

Photo © Armin Kübelbeck
Shots! (Once again, my friends…Friday.)

Do you think they’ll figure out a vaccine in our lifetime? What’s your pet theory about the cause of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity? 

Mine is that it’s all in our heads.

*

That’s it! If you got ’em all right before looking at the answers and feel you deserve a reward, come back next week. I’ll be sharing a test of a different sort, giveaway included.

In the meantime, tell me: What intriguing gluten-free news have you come across lately? (Limericks encouraged but certainly not required.) And do you love NPR as much as I do?

If you’re new in these parts, welcome! Please check out my About page or skim the index to see what I’m about (hint: it’s not all limericks). If you’d like to stick around, scroll to the bottom to follow me via Facebook, Twitter, email, WordPress, or any blog-reading platform your heart desires.

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Turns out Dunkin’ Donuts ain’t no fool

Looks like the top donut dunkers at a certain nationwide pastry shop got word of my April Fools post and decided to make it a reality. Thanks to my friend Jessica for tipping me off to the Bloomberg article saying so.

mall-334-e1359140947345According to the article, Dunkin’ Donuts “will sell gluten-free cinnamon-sugar doughnuts and blueberry muffins across its U.S. stores this year.” That’s confirmed by real spokespeople at the company, and it beats my prediction of a 2015 nationwide rollout by two years. Not too shabby. (Given my stellar forecasting abilities, I hope that all you GF Cancers are getting ready to heed my predictions when I roll ’em out in a few days. I promise to have everything right, give or take two years.)

No word yet about going all gluten-free by 2020, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed if you keep yours.

I’m excited that there will be more opportunities for all of us to try a Dunkin’ Donuts GF treat very soon, and it’s nice to see our “needs” being recognized by such a large industry player. By the way, the Bloomberg article claims Dunkin’ Donuts will have “the fast-food industry’s first gluten-free pastries nationwide,” which I imagine might have Au Bon Pain a little annoyed, considering that they partnered up with GG’s Original back in 2012 and have been serving gluten-free congo bars and other goodies since then. (Then again, Au Bon Pain may not be quite “fast food,” and congo bars may not be quite “pastries.” Webster tells me pastries are “sweet baked goods made of dough having a high fat content”…but what does that mean? Discuss).

Whoever came first, it seems other national chains may soon follow their lead. Stay tuned. My crystal ball tells me Starbucks is next.

Alongside breaking the good news and highlighting the recent rise in demand for gluten-free products, the Bloomberg article also quotes some buzzkills who point out the false health halo surrounding gluten-free goods. If you happen to have stumbled across this post in search of a miracle weight loss trick, I must warn you that donuts—gluten-free or otherwise—probably aren’t it. (And, at 350 calories and 36 grams of sugar, neither are congo bars.)

Gluten-free Cronuts, on the other hand…those will take inches off your waistline in seconds. Just as soon as someone gets around to developing some.

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Sprue News: What’s Funny About Your Honey

Photo © Ano Lobb | Flickr

Photo © Ano Lobb | Flickr

Do you buy local honey?

I don’t. I buy the cheap stuff, the kind that comes in an anonymous plastic bear. Every time I go to the store or farmer’s market to stock up, I go with the intention of upgrading this time around. And every time, the price differential meets me halfway and knocks me right back down to the generic bear priced juuust right.

Despite knowing I don’t buy it that often and that I can probably afford to pay a few extra bucks when I do, and despite the insistence of every locavore ever that the taste difference is worth it, I just can’t seem to make myself fork (spoon?) over the extra money for my honey.

But that might have to change.

Mark Bittman posted about “honey laundering” in his This Week in Food post last week. He linked to this summary of the issue on the Business Insider blog. Apparently, he and I are both a bit late to the party; this story has been unfolding for years. Back in August of 2011, the headline being picked up by every blog was “Asian Honey, Banned in Europe, Is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves.” (By the way, am I the only one who hears honey is “flooding” the shelves and immediately imagines a viscous tidal wave of honey verrrry sloooowly and stickily overtaking the grocery stores? Is that the whole point of the headline? I don’t know; it took me an embarrassingly long time to get the “honey laundering” joke, so maybe my pun-dar is on the fritz today.)

According to the Food Safety News article, “A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.” Yikes.

According to that same 2011 article, “Another favorite con among Chinese brokers was to mix sugar water, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, jaggery, barley malt sweetener or other additives with a bit of actual honey. In recent years, many shippers have eliminated the honey completely and just use thickened, colored, natural or chemical sweeteners labeled as honey.” As of February of this year, sophisticated laser technology has confirmed that your “honey” bear may be another beast entirely.

Photo © brixton | Flickr

Photo © brixton | Flickr

Apparently much of the “Chinese” honey back in 2011 was actually from India, where it was known to be produced in such a way as to include these dangerous contaminants. Although the EU was firm in rejecting it (apparently they’re more grossed out by tainted honey than horsemeat), the FDA made excuses to welcome it in. Honey contamination is an issue made difficult to control by its international scope and all kinds of export and import regulations that I’m not qualified to explain (read the real news coverage).

If you search the United States Department of Justice archives for honey, you turn up stories about honey smuggling dating back to 2009 and earlier. (You also learn about such fascinating things as honey oil, which is apparently another name for hash oil, “a concentrated, honey-colored liquid” that is “produced by steeping cannabis in liquid butane” and was seized by police in a drug bust in 2005, along with “cheesecake, nut ball, 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies, cookie dough, and 10 pounds of butter”—enough munchies for the entire squad.) Now, finally, the Department of Justice is recognizing the issue and dealing out some charges.

And I’m finally thinking about making some changes to my personal honey consumption, too. Why? Is it because buying cheap honey supports an international smuggling operation? Not really. Is it because the cheap honey might contain antibiotics or lead?

No! It’s because it might contain GLUTEN!

Let me roll that one back for you: cheap honey may be largely composed of sugar water, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, jaggery, barley malt sweetener or other additives. Barley malt? That has gluten! It’s why I can’t eat regular Rice Krispies (though I tried the brown rice ones recently and they’re fine by me).

Since I don’t know whether or not my container of honey includes barley, and this is clearly not a case where I can call the manufacturer directly (since the manufacturer could be in Thailand, or China, or India, or just about anywhere), I’m tossing that silly old bear from my cupboard and replacing it with a brand I can trust.

Is it totally backwards to care more about potential gluten contamination than potential lead poisoning? Maybe. But whatever gets you there, right?

Have you been following the honey controversy and have you ever had a problem with contaminated honey? Do you avoid generic brands and if so, what kind do you prefer to buy? Do your purchasing decisions in general take this kind of issue into account?

P.S. I focused on this particular news story today because it actually relates to the theme of my blog. I did want to note that I’ve been following the story of the explosions in the Boston Marathon and that, thankfully, none of my Bostonian friends and family were anywhere near there. If your loved ones were affected, know that my thoughts are very much with you.

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Gluten-free runs on Dunkin

Have you heard the news about Dunkin Donuts? Apparently their introduction of gluten-free treats in select Massachusetts and Florida stores was so successful that the stores couldn’t keep them in stock. From what I’ve heard, the two varieties they introduced went over very well, and many people in the celiac community appreciated Dunkin’s cheeky disclaimer, “Still really unhealthy.” Didn’t stop folks from snapping ’em up like hot cakes, but it’s nice to see a chain bucking the trendy “go gluten-free, lose weight” angle.

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Did you have a chance to try one? I intended to on my last visit to Boston, but I didn’t manage to get to one of the few stores that carried them.

Turns out, it doesn’t matter much, because the success was so great that DD is rolling out gluten-free options nationwide. By 2015, all of their ~7,000 stores in the US will carry gluten-free options, and not just the cinnamon sugar donut and blueberry muffin they started out with but also other flavors currently being developed.

ht_gluten_free_dd_jp_121231_wblogThe spokesperson said people reported liking the gluten-free pastries better than the usual goodies on offer (perhaps, I’d wager, because they were shrinkwrapped rather than left out to get stale). He even confirmed there was talk of making all their products gluten-free by 2020, which would make Dunkin Donuts the first large mainstream franchise to go 100% gluten-free. This will be amazing for our community, both in terms of awareness and in terms of available donuts.

To be honest, I’ve never been much of a donut person. When I was younger, I had this odd insistence on only liking one flavor at any given time, so for a few months I’d accept only the powdered sugar donuts, then only the plain, old-fashioned donuts, then only the chocolate glazed donuts. Finally I just admitted defeat and moved on to the muffins (also the “healthier” option, each with only 100 to 300 calories more than the average donut).

Still, having grown up in its native Massachusetts, I do have a huge soft spot in my heart for Dunkin Donuts, mainly caused by a few too many iced coffees with cream and sugar. At the very least, I prefer DD to Starbucks. Less pretension, better coffee.

So I’m super excited for Dunkin Donuts to be all gluten-free by 2020! Are you?

ONE_TASTE_outlined

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