A GF Football Question for Drew Brees

What does the team chef and nutritionist prepare for you during the season to keep you from starving?

My son is a 14 year old celiac in two-a-day preseason football right now and I can not believe the copious amounts of food he is shoveling into his mouth.  He is absolutely FAMISHED, but not quite all of his choices are “optimal” for good nutrition.

Here is what he had consumed so far today:

A bowl (more like a trough) of Chex cereal with milk for breakfast before session one.

A G2, grape flavor, during a break.

Then home for the following for lunch:

Almond milk, banana and peanut butter smoothie….approximately 16 oz., an apple, an Udi’s Lemon Muffin (inhaled in two bites), a ham and cheese sandwich on Udi’s white bread, a Glutino Strawberry toaster pastry, an Enjoy Life S’mores bar and a bunch of Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle cookies.

There is a lot of nutritious stuff in the mix but a lot of sugar in there too.  I just get out of the way when he comes in the door with that “I’m-so-hungry-I-could-eat-the-furniture” look in his eye.  But, I would LOVE some guidance on some better gluten-free carbohydrates or snacks to fill him up before going back out for session two.

Anyone have some good ideas?

Kendall Egan

Cosi has GF Options!

cosi rice bowlCosi #1

I love it when “fast food” restaurants become aware that they are able to offer gluten-free food options and serve dishes that are labeled with a GF for the consumer.  Cosi, for me, is a “fast food” option right up there with Chipotle…good, fresh, simple food.  I just wish the flatbread was gluten-free because the smell is so enticing.

I was meeting someone for a cup of coffee this morning, but I cannot wait to go back and try a rice bowl.  This is particularly great for my celiac son who has ventured into Cosi several times with his friends.  Now he has an option other than a salad, which he doesn’t really like, when he goes there!  Thank you Cosi for adding these items.

Kendall Egan

Um..Which one is gluten-free?

I am almost embarrassed to write this post since it shows the rather processed food dinners I served my kids this weekend BUT the real story is the difficulty I had telling the gluten-free version of the meal apart from the gluten containing meal.

I had “designer dogs” for dinner on Saturday evening.  Fresh from the butcher hot dogs grilled and served on a fresh from the baker hoagie roll.  The gluten-free version was actually an Udi’s baguette from the freezer with a designer dog but I had to mentally remember that the gluten-free bread was “on the left.”  The two dinner plates looked so much alike that it was confusing.

Even the bread texture on the hot-from-the-oven rolls was totally similar.  The gluten-free version was golden, the crust was crackly and crispy when pierced with a knife and the white innards had a fluffy, spongy consistency.  Seriously, my rule of thumb when serving up gluten-free and gluten-containing meals in one household is to stick to my golden rule of gluten-free “to the left, to the left.”

Yes, it does stem from a Beyonce song, but it really becomes more and more important as the food looks more and more similar.

Last night we were home from the beach late and watched the Little League World Series from the DVR and by the time we finished, I was only up for throwing some Belle and Evans chicken nuggets into the oven.  The GF box is black, the regular nuggets have a blue box.

Once you get the packages out from the box, it is time to really pay attention!  I got out two different size cookie sheets to start and I was mentally focused that GF nuggets were on the larger cookie sheet placed on bottom shelf of the oven.  Once cooked, I took them out and placed them to the left.  They do not get as golden as the gluten-containing nuggets but it is REALLY close.

Whatever works for you…way back in the day this was never an issue because the gluten-free version either did not exist, like GF baguettes or GF chicken nuggets, or they looked so materially different (meaning gross) that no one would ever confuse the two.

Nowadays…you need a kitchen strategy!  “To the left, to the left….”

Kendall Egan

Lobster Roll “sans” Roll

SHcafe

For as far back as I can remember, we spend at least one of our vacation weeks in Dennis, MA and for years we have had one or two meals during vacation week at the Sesuit Harbor Cafe.  The cafe was honored this year as a “Best of Cape” winner which was deserved but made the lines for food a wee bit longer.

Each year I stared in envy at the lobster rolls consumed by other members of my family.  No pity party, I typically ordered a lobster plate or some grilled fish…but I really wanted the lobster roll.  I don’t get a kick out of cracking the shell and doing all the work and I get royally skeeved by the tamale if that intestinal gook is in great abundance.

I had considered ordering the lobster roll and just eating it out of the bun, but that is like taking the cheese off a regular slice of pizza (guilty).  It really isn’t the type of behavior I want to model to my celiac son. Plus, ordering a roll-less lobster roll is just weird, it is not the same thing as a bun-less burger.

We went for dinner on our second night of vacation and I had a delicious grilled sea bass.  The way if works is that you stand in line, order your food and then hover over the tables in the picnic area with your cooler until a table clears.  It is a BYOB, so people come in with all sorts of good beverages.  The really smart people bring bug spray and candles too because this is “au naturel” eating and the bugs get fierce and the sun sets!  Many of the picnic tables are what I would call “communal” so if you are open to it, there is fun conversation and a great opportunity to check out what other people are eating.

SHpicnic area

Three young women who were gabbing away about their triathlon training were next to us which was great because I felt myself sitting up straighter and sucking in my stomach.   When they had their dishes delivered by the waitress, one of them had a garden salad with a gi-normous portion of lobster salad heaped on top.

I leaned over and asked if she had made a special request or if that was on the menu.  It was on the menu!  I had missed it all of these years because why would I be looking at the salads when all I really wanted was a lobster roll?

SHblackboard

I turned to my family and said that we were coming back for dinner, not breakfast, because I really, really wanted that salad.  And sure enough, on our last night of vacation, we headed back to the Sesuit Harbor Cafe where I ordered my garden salad topped with lobster and a side order of potato salad.  That seems like a lot, but their potato salad is the best!

I am not exaggerating when I say there were at least three lobster claws….maybe even more because we stupidly forgot our candles…and the lobster was at peak sweetness.  I was in heaven.  Can’t wait to order the same thing year after year after year on future Cape Cod visits!  A perfect gluten-free end to a perfect week.

Kendall Egan

Everyone Makes Mistakes

Two days ago I whipped up a batch of cookies that my family happens to adore.  They are my gluten-free version of oatmeal butterscotch cookies.  I had my King Arthur Flour Cookie mix, my certified gluten-free Glutenfreeda oatmeal and Nestle butterscotch morsels.  I thought I was good to go since I had made these before.

As everything was mixing I happened to read the label on the butterscotch morsels and there it was, play as day, right in front of my eyes…barley protein…listed right there in the ingredients.  Barley protein is not gluten-free. 

I went to the web to check it out and apparently I should have been buying the Hershey butterscotch morsels…at least according to the posters on various blogs.

The point is that even after careful adherence to a gluten-free diet for the past seventeen years, it was foolish of me not to read the label on something I just assumed to be safe.  It is actually a cringe-worthy mistake because I know I have made many, many batches of these cookies.

Lesson learned…even when you think all that could possibly be in something is sugar…you have got to read the label.  The rest of my family very much enjoyed these cookies, I did not!

Kendall Egan

Breakfast Berry Cheesecake

I have a new refrigerator coming tomorrow so we have had some eclectic meals as we try to empty out the freezer and fridge of most of the contents.

I went a little crazy buying berries at the farmers market…again.  Last night I took the black raspberries and made a sauce.  With a little bit of water and one scant teaspoon of sugar, the berries just melted in a sauce pan into a deep purple preserve.  Most of it went on top of the remnants of ice cream we had in our freezer.

This morning, I had “berry cheesecake toast!”2013-07-15 09.13.01

Toasted Udi’s gluten-free Multigrain bread, all natural cream cheese and a healthy “schmere” of black raspberry preserve.  The sauce had thickened overnight in the refrigerator and was the perfect tart/sweet topping to the cream cheese.

I used to put this combination of toppings on Van’s gluten-free waffles when I was newly diagnosed and I still love the combination.  It really does taste like a berry cheesecake without the calories!

Kendall Egan

FINALLY…an FDA definition of “gluten free”

First off, big thanks to Amy Ratner, the editor of Gluten-Free Living magazine for following this FDA decision for five or six years and reporting on the slow pace of progress to get to this moment.  Here is her blog about the decision: http://www.glutenfreeliving.com/2013/08/02/gluten-free-labeling-rules-finally-approved/

What does this mean to me?  I am excited because a lot of food will now be labeled.  Vendors with a gluten-free product might not have labeled it as such because there was no definition of gluten free.  Now they have a definitive basis to test the product in order to decide that the product is or is not gluten-free based upon a real definition.

I am so glad the FDA stuck to the 20 ppm since that seems to be the acceptable definition elsewhere.  Glad there was time for public comment and sane discussion.

The really good news is that this decision is finally DONE for those of us who have celiac disease and while incredibly delayed in coming, this is the culmination of a lot of effort from people who really, really just want food choices that are safe.

Wonder if it will take this long to get GMO labeling done….

Kendall Egan