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Mainstream Gluten Free: Betty Crocker Give-Away, Elisabeth Hasselbeck & Celiac Genetic Testing from Home

When we discovered that Celiac was the reason our daughter was so ill, the world was just starting to gain awareness of the disease and it’s cure, being completely gluten free.Β  In the two years that have passed since our family began its journey into gluten free living, the world has grown leaps and bounds in awareness.Β  The result? Easier living, simpler choices and feeling more “normal” for those who must live gluten free.

Some people are gluten intolerant without being Celiac, these people feel significantly healthier by eliminating gluten from their diets.Β  Others have Celiac disease which causes life long health issues if not treated by removal of gluten from their diets.Β  Some bloggers have questioned if gluten free is the new fat free… a fad diet that is “cool” to jump on board.Β  To that, I say “poo-poo”.Β  Being gluten free isn’t fun, it isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t something one does just because.Β  (Stay with us after the jump for gluten free recommendations and a give-away.)

I’ve been reading Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s new book, The G Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide.Β  When household names become a spokesperson for a disease, awareness grows by leaps and bounds.Β  This is the first gluten free book I have purchased and I can’t quite pinpoint why, but having a hands on manual is important to gluten free living and my children feel more important when they see me becoming better informed about our dietary needs.

Today, I received a large box of products from Betty Crocker (a General Mills company).Β  I really pondered if I should post here about these new products, afterall, they are a packaged baking mix and therefore not the best option in nutrition.Β  They are also NOT organic, which I’d love to see change, however I felt that gluten free awareness is vital to the well being of many Americans and therefore sharing this here was okay.Β  If you don’t agree, then don’t read it.

General Mills began labeling Chex cereals Gluten Free a few months ago after they removed barley malt from the formulations.Β Β  Now, Betty Crocker has introduced four new baking mixes (all produced in a gluten free facility).Β  The baking mixes are: devil’s food cake, yellow cake, chocolate chip cookies and brownies.Β  Frostings are not yet labeled gluten free, though the ingredients look safe to me… but we make our own because we also avoid artificial flavors, preservatives and colorants.Β  Betty Crocker intends to have the frostings labeled gluten free this fall.

What we like: the mixes do not contain any artificial flavoring, coloring or preservatives (which is my one issue with Chex, they still contain BHT).Β  I also LOVE that these mixes have Box Tops for Education on them, as we feel this is an important contribution to our school.

What we love: on Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free site, you will find several recipes to fancy up your baking.Β  I am thrilled that many of these recipes add a bit of health to the treat. (Today we made banana cupcakes with browned butter frosting, which is amazingly tasty and the resulting cupcakes look just like traditional ones).Β  There are also directions for preparing the mixes without butter (for those who can’t have dairy).Β  We simply use Earth Balance Soy Free Spread to replace butter in our recipes, but it’s nice to have these handy directions available. I was thrilled to see these mixes in the baking aisle at our local grocer, having them right along side all the “normal” foods is a welcome sight!

On another note: if you are one of the many American’s wondering if they might have Celiac disease, you can now order a home test kit to see if you carry the DNA markers (indicating the likelihood that you or your children will develop the disease at some point).Β  The test is offered through MyCeliacID (Prometheus Laboratories).Β  The home test kit is $329 which is about a third of the blood genetic testing our pediatric GI ordered through the same laboratory.Β  There are many reasons one would choose to test for the DNA marker for Celiac, but it does not diagnose Celiac disease.

Comment here to win (leave your GF story or favorite recipe from Betty Crocker’s site in the comments) a prize pack of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking Mixes. Your prize pack includes 1 each: yellow cake, devil’s food cake, brownies and chocolate chip cookies.Β  It also includes two “free” coupons for GF baking mix of choice, a shopping tote, magnetic shopping list and a pen.Β  Open to residents of the United States only.Β  One winner will be chosen at random on August 1, 2009.Β  Comments will close at 8am PST on 08/01/09.

Eat Well.Β  Be Well. Gluten Free may be the key to your health.

Update: Comments are now closed. Congratulations Mary Frances.

135 comments
  1. Lily

    I started slowly but surely going GF at 14. I’m 25 now. I haven’t been tested for the DNA markers yet, and because of a mother who’s anti invasive procedures, I never had a stomach biopsy.

    I’ve had a revolving door of diagnosis applied to my problems, but in the end it always boils down to one thing: when I eat gluten, I get sick. I can’t live my life, and deal with my other medical issues, when I do. Without gluten, I don’t feel deprived anymore–I haven’t felt that way since I was a teenager.

    Going GF? It shook up how I ate, how I shopped, what I put into my body. I live with a great guy, and we keep a GF kitchen. He committed with me to staying healthy and being happy while I do it.

  2. Kiana

    I am thrilled that these mixes are coming out. As the parent of a teen who can not have gluten, I am always looking for ways to make things that she enjoys Betty just made that easier!

  3. patsy hagen

    To my knowledge,I have never tried Gluten Free anything, but if it is good for me and my family, I’m all for it.

  4. Diana Tresco

    I am excited to try the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cookie Brownie Bars. They sound yummy! My niece is limited to gluten free products and I want to make special cookies for her and share the info about this product line with my sister in law.

  5. Silly Yak

    I agree that raised awareness is great for celiac, but with these we are just replacing an unhealthy gluten filled diet with a gluten free unhealthy diet. Celiacs need to focus on whole foods and clean eating, not replacing white wheat flour with white rice flour.

  6. Melissa

    My gluten free story comes from the spouse of a gluten free person. My husband hadn’t been following the diet, he’s been diagnosed for 20 years now. He limited his amount he ate but no longer went completely g-free. About 2 years into the marriage he declares he must return to the diet due to health issues. I’m all for it but clueless. I understood what gluten was, after all I had baked breads, cookies, pastries my whole life. I have a book of ribbons and medals to prove I understood gluten. I didn’t understand what it meant to remove it. I started researching, reading, studying everything about Celiac and gluten free flours. He told me it was next to impossible to find them around here so I found them on Amazon.com. I ordered a case of gluten-free flour substitute. It said that it was cup for cup replacement. I was excited. When it arrived, I was like a kid in a candy store. I ripped open that package, grabbed a box and ran for the kitchen. I was going to make bread. I used the tried and true family recipe that I was now the fourth generation to be making. I made the bread just like always, knead it, let it raise, punch it down, let it raise, make it out, let it raise, bake it. All the punching down and raising is what makes it so light and airy and gives it that great tooth. I popped it in the oven to bake. My chest was so puffed up with pride it wasn’t even funny. When it came out, I was slightly disappointed with the browning it didn’t have the deep brown I was used to. Oh well, I’m sure it would taste fine. When it was time to cut it, I about died. I could use it for a brick in the patio. It was horrible. I cried for days. I gave up. I bought mixes, something totally against my training but I did it. Fast forward 3 years, I still use some mixes from time to time but I’m baking more and more from scratch and now, they aren’t turning out like bricks. Plus my local grocery store, here in the sticks, now carries most of the flours that I need. Gluten – free isn’t near as scary now.

  7. Mary Thomas

    I have three daughters and each one has food allergies, while I have specific food sensitivities. I am always keeping an eye out for new products that either one or all of us can enjoy.

  8. Kim

    I too am thrilled that Betty Crocker and General Mills are making Gluten free products. I hope more manufactures will follow!

  9. Nola

    I am a celiac who is also egg and dairy free. So far I have tried the cookie and chocolate cake mixes and am very pleased with the results. I used a mashed banana instead of the egg in the cookies and they were wonderful. For the chocolate cake, I used EnerG egg replacer and made fewer cupcakes than I suspect I would have gotten had I used real eggs, but they were a tremendous treat. Instead of the butter I used Earth Balance margarine sticks. Thanks to General Mills I feel like I’m reentering the mainstream.

  10. Deborah R

    I have to be honest and say that I know very little about gluten free diets, but I am hearing a lot of buzz about how living gluten free is making people feel better. Your article is pushing me to find out more about it. I’d like to try Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Carrot Cake recipe.

  11. Leta

    My story: I wrote a blog post back in 2005 about creating my own gluten-free “Pop-Tarts.”* It wasn’t a serious recipe, just me being silly about making a virtue out of something I’ve always done.

    It bumped up the traffic to my blog enough I wrote to Whole Foods and told them that I was positive that if they make GF “toaster pastries,” they would sell.

    More people still find me as one of the early returns for “gluten-free pop-tarts” than any other way.

    *The “recipe”: Toast a slice of GF bread, spread GF frosting on top, fold over, eat. I’ve always had a liking for toast with frosting instead of jelly or jam.

  12. Dddiva

    The little middle’s bf is gluten free and knowing there are options like this make a world of difference for him. He has had a rough road to hoe and now that it is becoming more common and companies like BC are doing what they can to help, his diet is a lot more varied and he is a lot more confident trying new things.

  13. Jessie at Blog Schmog

    Oh man, I have so much to learn from your site. I’m glad you posted the link at OnlySometimesClever!

    I too prefer to bake from scratch and use white rice flour sparingly but I would like to try these new mixes.

    Cookie Brownie Bars for me please! :)

  14. Gina

    I absolutely am impressed with General Mill and Betty Crocker, jumping on the Gluten Free Wagon. I cannot wait to try the Lemon Lover’s Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

    If you know how to cook and you’ve been gluten free long enough, you can convert almost any recipe for your diet. Be adventurous. Live your gluten free life extraordinarily. Cheers

  15. sara marcy

    i am so excited to see these mixes come out, my grandson has autism and is on the gluten free diet, and its very hard to find this stuff, that any kid would love to eat, the german chocolate would be the first one i try!!!

  16. Emily R.

    The Marble Cake sounds yummy! Our 3 year old son is on a gluten free, dairy free diet & I’m glad more products are coming out that he can enjoy.

    mscoffee77(AT)juno(DOT)com

  17. Tenille

    Oh how I want to try these! They aren’t in my local stores yet!

    My daughter was diagnosed “gluten intolerant” just as she approached her second birthday, and various parts of our family have been gluten free ever since, including the two kiddos we’ve added.

    I am firmly convinced a) all three of my kiddos have Celiac’s. b) that I’m not especially interested in doing what it takes to get my hands on that diagnosis.

  18. Justin

    My daughter has been diagnosed with celiac. She finally started growing and stopped crying about everything. I’m so glad the doctor kept looking until we found out what was wrong.

  19. Connie G

    I am looking forward to the time when these are available in my area. The Cookie-Brownie Bars sound great.

  20. Lentil

    I’ve been GF for nearly ten years. Awareness and availability of GF foods have grown exponentially over that time I’m wary of guten-free being a fad diet for some people, because those people will move on to the next thing soon enough and in the long run that hurts those of us who need to be GF. But, I think a lot of those people actually do need to be GF. Soooo many friends have described bloating and pain they get from eating breads and pasta, yet it never occurs to them maybe they have some form of gluten intolerance, even when they know my story!

  21. Carla

    Nice! I didn’t know Betty Crocker made gluten-free cake mixes. I buy some gluten-free mixes, but usually just make my cookies & cakes from scratch with gluten-free flour, as most of the mixes are expensive, and I’ve always baked homemade, anyway.

  22. Cheryl Harvison

    I have only been diagnosed for 4 months with celiac’s. I think these will be great and would love to try them. Thanks

  23. Karen Joy

    We don’t use white rice flour for everything, everyday (as you know, Jamie!); it’s my constant goal to get everything I bake to be as healthy as possible — whole grain, organic, etc… but sometimes, in moderation, dessert should just be DESSERT. And, even though 98% of what I bake is from scratch, it’s still great to have a mix in the pantry just in case something pops up and I need to pull something together fast and easy. For that reason, I am SO THANKFUL to General Mills/Betty Crocker for providing easy-to-make, easy-to-find mixes that aren’t overpriced. :)

  24. Connie G

    We can’t find these mixes in our area yet, but when we do I’ll make the carrot cake for my daughter.

  25. Cindy Merrill

    I made a Gluten free apple pie using Quinoa flour mixed with rice flour for the crust- great hit.

  26. Jennifer

    The Ooey-Gooey Rocky Road Bars look delicious! I’m going to buy them next time I’m at the store!

  27. RJ MC DOWELL

    I’m thrilled to learn that Betty Crocker is coming out with these. My husband was recently diagnosed with Celiac & finding GF foods is not fun (especially the prices!) I’ve been using “The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy” cookbook (by Betty Hagman) as it has a lot of easy, tasty recipes. It even has recipes to bake bread in my bread machine! My husband chose his favorite bread recipe & I make it about every 5 days. He slices it & pacakges it 2 slices to a baggie & freezes it, so he can pull out a bag to make a sandwich.

  28. Kim Hartson

    Gluten free can take the fun out of eating and it sucks to always feel like you are disabled when trying to eat out or with friends. These baking mixes really allow me to feel like I am normal again. Who cares if they are just replacing an unhealthy gluten filled white flour mix with an unhealthy gluten free white rice mix, even the healthiest person cheats a little every now and then and for those of us with Celiacs, it is giving us so much more. It’s not like I will be eatting this stuff (even if it were organic) every week, however for the first time, my friends and family (who may not be the most gluten aware and who dont shop at health food stores like i do) can find a way to make a treat that we all can enjoy.

    my favorite recipe on the site: gluten free carrot cake!

  29. annalene

    The recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake sounds amazing! It also sounds very easy to make, so that is a huge bonus! Thank you so much for the giveaway :)

  30. Stephanie Charles

    My son has Autism, so we have experimented with a lot of gluten-free foods to see if it helps with some of his behaviors. Many of the GF foods on the market taste horrible, so you can’t imagine how surprised (and happy) I was to learn that Betty Crocker now has their own gluten-free line of baking products! I cannot wait to try them out!

  31. Alice

    My ten-year-old grandson cannot have gluten and last summer we took a vacation in Disney World. The entire park was incredibly helpful in preparing a gluten-free option for my grandson and when we thanked the chef at our hotel, he responded, “No, it is my honor to serve him…I’m happy to prepare something for him to enjoy.” I guess I just want to let people know that Disney has really made an effort to help people with all sorts of food requirements and gluten-free is definitely one of them.

  32. Mary Frances Feord

    Hello. My story to a diagnosis of Celiac Disease is a long one. I first became ill in 1992, and was increasingly sick over the next 11 years. I was hospitalized for various maladies, including GI problems, over 100 times. Finally, I read an article in the Washington Post in early 2003 which described CD, and asked my doctor for a blood test. The rest is history.

    I was tested for many ailments, but never for CD and I believe that this is because I was overweight. I was hungry all the time and could not stop obsessing about food. Since going gluten free, I have lost close to 60 pounds, and no longer think of food except when hours have passed since my last meal.

    I believe unresolved hunger is a symptom of CD when a person has been deprived of vitamins and nutrients because of an inability to absorb them. It is my sincere hope that people become aware that CD is not an illness limited only to those who are under or normal weight.

    I would love to win these products because I remain ill and cannot bake from scratch. I fondly remember making Betty Crocker products and would love to do so again. Thanks for this contest. Mary Frances

  33. Becca

    This may just change the way I bake!!! The first thing I did was find out where they sell these! Can’t wait to get some and try them over and over!

  34. Sheri

    One of our favorite cakes to make uses the yellow cake mix baked as directed, slice the one layer into two & fill with lemon curd(can be homemade or purchased but we prefer homemade). Place the cake on an oven proof plate & make meringue & cover the whole cake, top & sides. bake in the oven just until golden Top with fresh lemon peel, raspberries & mint leaves. This makes a beautiful gluten free dessert & our son loves it as well as the entire family. Enjoy!!!

  35. mary l.

    I am always looking for gluten free mixes for my son’s school. There are so many children on the autistic spectrum who absolutely do not eat gluten ever. It’s hard to find easy ways to save time making them special baked goodies for parties and birthdays. Thanks to Betty Crocker, there’s a great delicious solution!!

  36. shirley Hicks

    im so glad to see more products are gluten free…..i have a 14 yr old son who is autistic and its hard to find products without gluten

  37. Carla

    I have Crohn’s Disease and since I’ve taken gluten from my diet (and when I don’t have too much caffeine and chocolate-two of my favorites) I have no symptoms. And I haven’t had to take medication for it.

  38. Jillian Veit

    I love german chocolate cake! and this would be perfect for my best friend. she found out about 6 months ago that she has celiac’s disease we’ve been doing all sorts of gluten free food tasting to find out what she can eat.

  39. angie

    I have heard so much about glutten free diets. It sounds like a healthier way to eat. The recipes looks so good, especially the cookie brownie bars.

  40. michelle robbins

    One of my friends was recently diagnosed. I’d love to make some of these goodies to help support her.

  41. Lisa W

    My Aunt found out she needs to eat a glutten free diet about 2 years ago. She’s on a fixed income, so I try to send her some glutten free treats a few times a year. I’m excited to see that Betty Crocker has items available. I’m sure they will be a welcome treat when I send some!

  42. Terri Dell

    I am definitely going to try the Banana Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting. I always end up throwing away over-reipe bananas. This is a great way to use them.

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