Chocolate: a recommendation for a 90% cocoa brand that appears to be both gluten free, and virtually dairy free!
I treat dark chocolate as another food group, myself. There's nothing like a small little sliver of dark chocolate to add some get-up-and-go to a morning. According to highlights from the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, May, 2011, dark chocolate contain flavenols, which "
Yogurt: great with chocolate shavings, great with fruit: but is it gluten free friendly? A short survey.
Update: Sep 18, 2017: I have received a reply from Dannon about the gluten free status of their products; please keep reading, below.
Throughout this website, please note that unless a post is extremely recent, it is always a good idea to call or check a producer's website re gluten free status.
Isn't it funny how gluten free diners become "detail people" whether they've ever considered this skill set part of their natural constitution or not?
Take the case of yogurt. Some of it is labeled gluten free -- and a lot of it isn't labeled either way.
Consider just a few yogurts produced in the Pacific Northwest, for instance. Nancy's yogurt, out of Oregon, doesn't seem to contain any gluten ingredients -- I have e-mailed them (April 15, 2018) about the gluten free status of their products..
Yami yogurt, out of Auburn, Washington, is labeled gluten free. And, in keeping with the trend towards Greek yogurt,
Yami has a gluten free Greek yogurt as well, called Zoi. I love Zoi -- it is very thick and very creamy -- in the tradition of Greek yogurt.
Also, Siggi's yogurt (or, more precisely, "Icelandic milk and skyr") is also gluten free; I have enjoyed it. Siggi's states on its website that its products are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).
Some of you may remember a previous post when I interviewed my friend Iris, picking her brain about Greek yogurt and the best brands.
As Greek yogurt seems to be enjoying a resurgence (at least two brands are being advertised on television currently), I contacted Dannon, which makes a Greek yogurt called Oikos, about Oikos and the gluten free status of other Dannon products. Their September 18, 2017 response is reproduced, below. (please remember that it is always a great idea to re-check a website or call the company's customer service number whenever a length of time has elapsed since a post or update)
"September 18, 2017
Dear K T,
Thank you for contacting the Dannon Company, Inc. We sincerely appreciate your interest in our products.
Gluten Free Products:
Activia, Activia Light, Activia Greek, Activia Greek Light, Activia Drinks, Activia Fruit Fusion, DanActive, DanActive Light, Danimals Yogurt, Danimals Smoothies, Danimals Squeezables, Danonino, Dannon Classics (Plain Fullfat, Plain Lowfat, Plain Nonfat, Coffee, Vanilla) FOB, LNF, LNF Carb & Sugar Control, LNF Greek, LNF Smoothies, LNF Greek with Chocolate on Top, LNF Greek Mousse, Dannon Drinks, Oikos Traditional, Oikos 0%, Oikos Triple Zero, Oikos Triple Zero Drinks, Dannon Whole Milk Yogurts.
Products that are NOT Gluten Free:
Activia Fiber, Dannon Parfait (sold in Food Service venues only), Oikos Low fat Greek Frozen Yogurt, Oikos Crunch, LNF Greek Crunch, YoCrunch.
The Gluten Free Certification Organization (“GFCO”) has certified many of our Dannon® products as Gluten-Free, which we define as containing equal or less than 10ppm of gluten.
As always, we appreciate your interest in our products and are always available to answer any questions or concerns that you have. We are pleased with your interest in our products. If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, now or in the future, please feel free to contact us at 1-877-DANNON-US (1-877-326-6668), Monday through Friday, 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. Eastern Time."
So, there you go. My friend I informs me that Costco (at least her local Costco) no longer carries her favorite brand of Greek Yogurt, as noted in my interview with her, here.
Creative Commons image credit, below.
Hi, all. What could be better than an amazing warm, Seattle night, the Mariners, and gluten free food, all in one? It's a shot out of the park!
I am posting a portion of the PRESS RELEASE from the Mariners:
SECOND ANNUAL GLUTEN-FREE AWARENESS NIGHT AT SAFECO FIELD
Special section and discount tickets for Friday, August 26 when the Mariners meet the White Sox.
Safeco Field already features a number of gluten-free options at concession stands such as fish and chips at Sound Seafood at Section 248 that are made with rice flour, as well as Mariner Dogs, turkey, bacon, Swiss and avocado sandwiches, vegan soup, hummus platter, veggie burgers, veggie dogs, and a variety of snacks, all available at The Natural stand near Section 131 on the Main Concourse. Gluten-free Redbridge beer, made from sorghum, is available at several concession stands around the ballpark.
Representatives of the Gluten Intolerance Group will be outside Section 319 to answer questions about the condition. The group is a leader in patient and professional support nationally through outreach programs and services. GIG fulfills its mission of supporting persons living with gluten intolerances through programs directed to consumers, health professionals and the public. GIG programs provide support and education, awareness and advocacy, research awareness and support.
Creative Commons image credit, below.
It's an easy enough thing to do. You're roaming the grocery store chip aisle, seeking variety and adventure. You've already scoured the gluten free friendly brands, and probably have a few die-hard standards that always find their way into the basket (especially if they're on sale!). Two of our go-to brands are Que Pasa (yellow, blue, or red) and Garden of Eatin' Red Hot Blues.
Anyhoo, so, all of a sudden a different variety within a brand you trust pops out at you -- maybe the package is particularly fetching, maybe you're just hankering for something borrowed, something blue, something new.
So, you're in a rush, and you just put the bag in the basket -- it's got to be O.K., right? Every other variety you've tried within the brand has been gluten free, after all.
Whoa. This is where one can get into trouble -- as I recently did with Garden of Eatin' Multigrain Blues. And, the worst part was, I didn't even catch the gluten -- my boyfriend did (after I'd consumed three-quarters of the package)!
Ooh, la, la! To make this mistake really a doozy, I found that not only did these chips contain wheat, but also barley and rye!
Now, I don't believe that I've seen any Garden of Eatin' chips labeled gluten free -- even when they have no gluten ingredients. So it was entirely my fault that I didn't read through the ingredients before I chipped and dipped. Venture safely, my little chip hounds!
Creative Commons image credit, below.
A vitamin-packed vegetable snack or side dish for busy people everywhere.
garlic cloves, crushed and minced
fresh ginger root
gluten free bread crumbs
parmesan cheese, sliced thin or crumbled
Cut an equal number of scrubbed parsnips and carrots into small bite-size pieces: don't peel either! Use organic if possible; organic carrots aren't that more expensive! Four carrots and parsnips each is a good amount for two, with some left over; cut more if you wish.
Spread out a single layer on cookie or baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle liberally with rosemary. Crush and mince several garlic cloves and sprinkle over mix. Mince about a teaspoon of fresh ginger; sprinkle that as well, along with sea salt and pepper.
To cook more later, the mix may be spread out on other cookie sheets, covered, and refrigerated for up to four days. Put a cookie sheet onto the top rack of oven; put oven on broil. Leave the mixture for 2 minutes; check and move the mix around with a large spatula. Keep broiling and checking for a few more 2 minutes intervals; then, sprinkle breadcrumbs over top of mixture, and follow that with parmesan for the last 2 minutes or so, until vegetables are soft. Voilà!
Copyright, Karen Fleur Tofti-Tufarelli, 2011, all rights reserved
Creative Commons image credit, below.
Those of us who are gluten free inevitably become foodies. We may be the sort who wholeheartedly embrace the foodie lifestyle; or, we may be the type who stand in a grocery store wondering why we are reading through lists of ingredients seemingly as long as website disclaimers, and punching out manufacturer's 800 numbers and websites to check on gluten content. Sigh. Would we rather be watching a movie, or pitching a new account, or climbing a mountain? Maybe, maybe not.
But, whichever type of gluten free foodie we are, let's just try this challenge: can we go for a day without uttering the word "gluten?" It might be good for us!
Creative Commons image credit, below.
Ice cream sandwiches. I remember a potluck where the usual dessert suspects were beautifully arrayed: brownies, cookies, pound cake smothered with strawberries - you know the drill. Then someone mentioned that ice cream bars were waiting in a chilled bucket, and my hopes rocketed. Could they, hope beyond hope, be gluten free?
But, of course, the ice cream bars turned out to be ice cream sandwiches. Uh-oh. My hopes dashed, I consoled myself with the figs that I, myself, had brought. They were pretty darn good.
But, recently, at one of my gluten free meetings, one woman shared a tip re gluten free ice cream bars (anytime two or more gluten free folks get together, you know how it is: the goods on gluten free favorites are passed around like secret currency!)
The revelation? Jule's Lemon Yogurt with Vanilla Cookies ice cream sandwiches. Haven't yet tried them myself -- but they sound amazing! Let us know if you've sampled them . . .
Photo unrelated to Jule's -- it's just a great image licensed by Creative Commons.
Greek yogurt: It's being discovered anew: Two major yogurt manufacturers are now advertising their own varieties of Greek yogurt. Why now? Who knows: maybe, after a surfeit of low-calorie this and low-calorie that, people are craving rich tastes.
Every Greek yogurt that I've seen is gluten free -- but one still needs to check the ingredients! For instance, Dannon -- one company entering the advertising fray with its Greek yogurt -- does not at this time give "gluten free" nutritional information on its website. I e-mailed them to inquire. It turns out that while many of their yogurts are gluten free, some aren't. See my post and their response, here. If you are reading this post some weeks or months in the futre, please recheck their packaging, website, or customer service number, to see if anything has changed!
Another benefit of yogurt besides taste? It often includes several different strains of probiotics -- "good bacteria" that help with the digestive tract.
Coincidentally, a few months ago, over a gluten free lunch of clams, my friend Iris waxed enthusiastic over her love for the stuff. Iris -- a cultural maven with the mostest -- is from New Jersey; and, like many other warm and funny people from the opposite coast, she has opinions on many things! She consented to share her journeys and knowledge about this creamy treat with us:
Karen: Which is the best Greek yogurt and why?
Iris: Fage is the best because it is the creamiest. I have not checked the nutrition facts with any of the others [something I would normally do] because there is no way I am giving this up! Also, it is gluten free.
Karen: Where does one buy Fage yogurt?
Iris: The best value for this brand is now at Costco. 35.3 oz, Zero fat, is currently selling for $4.99 [Karen's note: at one Costco in the Pacific Northwest; don't hold Costco to this price!] No other store sells this size that I am aware of.
Karen: What distinguishes 'Greek" yogurt from just a regular, full fat yogurt?
Iris: Its creaminess and unique recipe; I cannot find any other brand that comes even close. Also, I cannot tell the difference between Fage's Zero fat and their 2%, and since that's what Costco is featuring, that's what I'm buying.
Karen: what are your 2nd and 3rd choices for Greek yogurt?
Iris: There are no 2nd or 3rd choices....if they stop selling it I will have to give up yogurt. [Karen's note: I have also enjoyed "Greek Gods" brand Greek yogurt; the website states (as of February 19, 2018 -- if an appreciable amount of time has passed after this date, you may wish to re-check) that Greek Gods products are gluten-free, kosher and made with non GMO ingredients.
Karen: When did you first start eating Greek yogurt, and why?
Iris: I have tried yogurt many times in the past and have never liked it. I am very receptive to advertising; so, when Fage came on the U.S. scene, of course, I had to try it -- and all the other "Greek" knock-offs, just to be sure.
Karen: Any other thoughts on Greek yogurt?
Iris: I have to thank Trader's Joe's for introducing me to Fage. . . .
Karen: Thanks, Iris! Hope to see you soon!
Note: Photo is unrelated to any specific brand of yogurt; it's just a nice picture licensed by Creative Commons.
Summer drinks-and-nibbles soiree to attend? Perfect gluten free offerings that will be appreciated by all!
Invited to a summer soiree? The average summer get-together is a little less serious than a potluck affair, where at least one casserole usually anchors the table. In the summer, we find drinks, a little salad, some sliced red peppers, crackers, maybe some cheese. Or, even better -- marinated artichoke hearts, shrimp cocktail . . . are you hungry yet?
What gluten free items will be a hit -- not only with your tummy, but with the other guests as well? Luckily, summer is an amazing time to highlight all those yummy-and-good-for-you seriously healthy foods that are also naturally gluten free.
Try olives: preferably from an olive bar, not out of a can! At one local upscale grocery store, I looked through at least nine varieties of delectable olives: from large, bright green plump varieties to the more traditional black. Soaked with olive oil, olives are a hearty, healthy treat that anyone should love.
Now, cheese is a luscious, primarily gluten free standby! The only issue with respect to gluten may arise with bleu cheese. One major gluten awareness organization maintains that all bleu cheese is gluten free. However, I have e-mailed farms in Europe who told me that their cheese could not be considered gluten free. Read the label! If it says "contains wheat," then don't buy it. But, just as an aside, I have never had an adverse reaction after eating bleu cheese. One favorite that received rave reviews from friends at a get-together recently? Dubliner cheese - it's totally distinctive -- and not too expensive.
Nectarines, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries (preferable organic): these are sweet sensations that go well with cheese, wine, olives -- anything! How can anyone resist plump tasty fruit?
Other favorites -- let us know!
FDA reopens its comment period - for another 60 days - allowing comment on proposed "gluten free" labeling provision.
Creative Commons image credit, below.
As many of you know, the FDA has not yet determined the standard for "gluten free" labeling. In other words, when one sees something at the store labeled "gluten free," that is a manufacturer assertion: absent any FDA standard, the manufacturer is determining not only what constitutes "gluten free," but that its product meets that standard. Organizations such as the Gluten Intolerance Group do give gluten free certifications to products that meet its standards; however, gaining certification by GIG or any other organization is a voluntary step undertaken by the manufacturer.
The FDA proposed a rule for gluten free labeling in 2007; they're still soliciting comments! Now, by submitting your own comment, you have the opportunity to influence public policy and the first-ever FDA standard for gluten free labeling.
(From what I understand, that proposed FDA rule follows the E.U. (European Union) standard)).
This morning, after being alerted that the FDA had once again opened its comment period by Twitterer @ LeahMcGrathRD, I was lucky to get the FDA press pointperson on the phone right away.
I discussed a few fine points with the FDA media rep -- Siobhan DeLancey -- which I want to clarify with her first before noting them here.
In the meantime, I've included portions of the FDA press release:
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today reopened the comment period for its 2007 proposal on labeling foods as “gluten-free.” The agency is also making available a safety assessment of exposure to gluten for people with celiac disease (CD) and invites comment on these additional data.
One of the criteria proposed is that foods bearing the claim cannot contain 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten. The agency based the proposal, in part, on the available methods for gluten detection. The validated methods could not reliably detect the amount of gluten in a food when the level was less than 20 ppm. The threshold of less than 20 ppm also is similar to “gluten-free” labeling standards used by many other countries."
. . . . "The proposed rule conforms to the standard set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in 2008, which requires that foods labeled as “gluten-free” not contain more than 20 ppm gluten. This standard has been adopted in regulations by the 27 countries composing the Commission of European Communities."
. . . . The FDA encourages members of the food industry, state and local governments, consumers, and other interested parties to offer comments and suggestions about gluten-free labeling in docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 at www.regulations.gov. The docket will officially open for comments after noon on Aug 3, 2011 and will remain open for 60 days.
. . . . To submit your comments electronically to the docket go to www.regulations.gov
1. Choose “Submit a Comment” from the top task bar
2. Enter the docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 in the “Keyword” space
3. Select “Search”
To submit your comments to the docket by mail, use the following address:
The Division of Dockets Management
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
Include docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 on each page of your written comments."
Happy commenting! Photo unrelated to the FDA; it's just a nice image licensed from Creative Commons.
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