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. 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. 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. Others have Celiac disease which causes life long health issues if not treated by removal of gluten from their diets. Some bloggers have questioned if gluten free is the new fat free… a fad diet that is “cool” to jump on board. To that, I say “poo-poo”. Being gluten free isn’t fun, it isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t something one does just because. (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. When household names become a spokesperson for a disease, awareness grows by leaps and bounds. 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). 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. 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. 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. Now, Betty Crocker has introduced four new baking mixes (all produced in a gluten free facility). The baking mixes are: devil’s food cake, yellow cake, chocolate chip cookies and brownies. 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. 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). 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. 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). There are also directions for preparing the mixes without butter (for those who can’t have dairy). 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). The test is offered through MyCeliacID (Prometheus Laboratories). The home test kit is $329 which is about a third of the blood genetic testing our pediatric GI ordered through the same laboratory. 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. It also includes two “free” coupons for GF baking mix of choice, a shopping tote, magnetic shopping list and a pen. Open to residents of the United States only. One winner will be chosen at random on August 1, 2009. Comments will close at 8am PST on 08/01/09.
Eat Well. Be Well. Gluten Free may be the key to your health.
Update: Comments are now closed. Congratulations Mary Frances.