I’m just pounding out a whole whack of Gluten-Free Food Reviews like a boss. You know, if you have a product you’d like me to review, new or existing. I’ll gladly give a 100% honest review of it. I’ll even talk about how creepy your mascot is (if you have a mascot. Sorry about your luck Nature’s Path).
Before I continue, I just realized how gross/awesome the title of this blog is. If you think this is a 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight fan fiction website, you came to the right place. Because I am sure going to start doing that… just kidding.
If you live in town, near me, then this Gluten-Free Food Review is right up your alley, but if you’re out of town then maybe you might want to sit this one out. I got my hand on these little balls called, well for lack of a better word; Balls. Handmade, homemade, delicious little balls. When you look at them you might think they look unappealing, and if there is anything I learned from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is that looks can be deceiving.
There are four ingredients, all gluten-free; dates, almonds, cranberries and cinnamon. All natural.
I kept asking the person who made it, blogger Janine Fournier from Whole Nine Health (click HERE for her website) if there was chocolate in it, she kept telling me no. I swear there was chocolate, but then again, maybe she discovered the trick to making all natural organic chocolate by combining all these ingredients together. Even after berating her about it, she still says there is zero chocolate in these Balls.
I ate one of the GF balls to taste test, and they tasted so good, I had a bother and another and another, and just like that I had eaten all four of the Balls I was given to taste test and review. They have a great combination of chewy and sweet, my taste buds took over and forced me to eat them (which is nice because the one time I had these Balls way way back in September I was not impressed).
If you’re local to me in the Greater Toronto Area, then you can obtain Janine’s Balls from a little yoga studio just down the road from me. You can only get them there and if you crave something a little different as a snack or hell, even breakfast, you have to get yourself to Simplicity Yoga and ask for Janine’s Balls.
The only thing I wished that I had knowledge about prior to eating four snacks filled with dates is that, the next morning would be a mad dash to the washroom.
So I guess I did learn something: coffee and dates is a great way to get clean…if you know what I mean.
Oh you’re going on a trip? Are you flying? If so, better do some research to see if your airline provider offers a gluten-free meal, or at least a gluten-free snack. Chances are they do, but always be careful, sometimes they can get you good.
Back in 2009 I travelled with a group of friends to Hawaii for a cruise and then 5 days in Waikiki, and to make it cheaper we flew with connecting flights, and since the one flight was a solid six hours we were provided food. Some of those details are a little fuzzy, but when we booked our trip, my wife specified that I would require a gluten-free meal. I think the airline was United, but still fuzzy. Well, guess what, they screwed up and I got no Gf meal. Which sucked. At the time they offered something akin to a gluten-free meal, but it wasn’t that popular at that time. Either way, they didn’t have one when I got on the plane. Lesson learned: always take your own snacks. In fact Air Canada almost encourages you to bring your own (I think it’s because sometimes our little requests are lost in their sea of not caring).
On our way back from Hawaii, the airline did in fact have a gluten-free meal for me. That’s cool, at least they got it to me. The best part is, the meal was just a regular meal without the sandwich. So I got cheese, a banana and juice. Ah, life of a Celiac.
These days, gluten-free airline meals are a little easier to come by. I’m travelling in the next little bit and of course would require one of these inflight meals. But when it comes down to brass tacks, I don’t need one. I’ll just bring my own bars or Skittles or whatever then to attempt to put my needs before the guy in 17D. It’s not the fact that I don’t want to burden them with a Celiac’s problems, it’s that because I feel that they could care that much less about me, that I would just rather deal with my own shit. Simple and effective. No fuss, no muss, no gluten.
I travel maybe once a year on a plane and these days it isn’t 10 hours to Hawaii, it’s three to Florida or five to Las Vegas, and those short hours I can live without worrying about airline food. I’ll just ask for a Pepsi when they come around and eat when I land. Once again I am travelling like I said, its only a three hour flight, so no big deal, but I looked into what they could provide me, so here are the airlines I looked up to see what could be done in terms of Gluten-Free meals.
Air Canada. American Airlines and United Airlines. But make sure you always call to ask them yourself, or check and double check with your travel agent, because if you’re heading to Ireland and need a GF meal and they mess up. Boy oh boy, that’ll be a long flight.
If you’re travelling on March 30th, look for me. I’m the guy with the beard watching Tangled with his daughter… for the 100th time.
Having Celiac Disease means giving up a lot of your favourite foods and switching to eat 100% gluten-free. Well, that also depends if you’re diagnosed at an early age and never have to worry about any other food, but if you were diagnosed when you were 28 and still remember awesome food and now can’t have it.
If that description is close to you, boy do I have a story for you.
As early as January 2014 (click HERE to read that) I was talking about food that I was enjoying up until the end of 2013 and then found out it could have been ruined by gluten with cross-contamination during the manufacturing process. A food I always enjoyed, a junk food, but a food I liked. Then, I looked back all the way to June 2013 (now, click HERE to read that) and I even wrote a Celiac Woe about a similar food where the spices and flavouring wasn’t GF and it was something I had enjoyed with my buds in the basement while watching Cable Guy. That was always one of the hardest parts about discovering you had Celiac Disease when you’re 28 years old. Giving up foods that were detrimental to your health because they weren’t gluten-free.
To the point…
If you have not already discovered that Nacho Cheese Doritos are now in fact certified gluten-free then, as a Celiacateer, you must not be living.
Close to 3 years I hadn’t had Nacho Cheese Doritios. I missed the flavour and the gross orange colour it left on my fingers. The way it made my breath smell so much so that my wife won’t kiss me. Still in the end, none of that matters, a food I couldn’t eat because it contained gluten has now become gluten-free and I couldn’t be happier. By now you all know my love of junk food so it should come as no shock that I was all up on a bag of these.
I told the world about my find in Walmart. Okay, I told my sister. This was news. This is a great Celiac Pro. You just never know what will happen when you read the back of a bag. It all comes back to what we all know, is that double check ingredients because they can change over time from being gluten-free to not Gf, and even the opposite way.
This one time, it swayed in my favour.
Doritos like a boss!
There are a lot of fictional characters that you could add to a list of diagnosed Celiacs, but none would be more convincing than Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz.
Not convinced? Let me take you a journey so that you can see what I have seen.
The movie itself is about a girl that is sucked up in a Kansas tornado and is transported to a magical world where munchkins live, trees talk and horses change colour right before your eyes. Traditionally, there is no Oz. The movie takes place inside of Dorothy’s imagination when she’s hit on the head by a broken window. While I concur that the entire movie takes place inside her head, I propose her dream starts much earlier in the film.
Right after Dorothy falls in the pig sty earlier in the film she is rescued by a farm hand and Auntie Em comes along shortly there after with baked treats… Dorothy eats one. You have to assume that this treat is baked with wheat flour. Based on the time period, an age when alternate means of baking weren’t either, available or readily known. Right after we see Dorothy’s take her first bite (which we all know is a huge no-no for Celiacs. There is no way that cookie/pastry thing wasn’t gluten-free), Auntie Em tells Dorothy to stay out of trouble and she ponders if there is such a place.
This is when she lapses into a powerful brain fog brought on by her gluten filled Aunt treat and our first glimpse at her subsequent and undiagnosed Celiac Disease.
Her world is transformed into a musical. This is where the singing starts, with Somewhere Over the Rainbow and she makes this bat-shit crazy plan to steal away with Toto to protect him. She becomes a young girl fuelled by gluten madness, even when she meets with Professor Marvel and befriends him with no thought to her safety. We might think she may be a friendly girl, but I theorize that Dorothy is in fact a loner who is cooped up in a Kansas estate with her Aunt, Uncle and the three farm hands. Her only friend is Toto, the littlest and cutest dog, who she brings with her everywhere. Dorothy Gale is a loner with no friends outside of those living with her. The view of other people and strangers is due to brain fog and gives her skewed perceptions when she ingests gluten. She sees Elmira Gultch transform into the Wicked Witch right before her eyes. Isn’t that proof enough for a terrible gluten reaction, what is? Then again, she could just be a psychopath.
This is only a small point of which I touch on. The movie Wizard of Oz is littered with notions to support my theory.
When Dorothy first meets the Scarcrow, who in her head is the personification of wheat/gluten, he is confused and can’t help her choose a way to the Emerald City. He is made without a brain and can’t fully comprehend an idea through out the course of the film. He represents brain fog better than anyone.
First coming across Tin Man and his stiff joints – a classic Celiac Symptom. At the time of the film and it’s release, Celiac Disease is barely a word across the medical field, so treating stiff joints would have required home remedies or basic Aspirin. The Tin Man is always battling stiffness during the film and being warned not to cry and stay out of the snow to keep him loose. Dorothy and Scarecrow warn him, trying to keep the system moving. The Tin Man having no heart plays into the possible feral state we all get when glutened. No one wants to be around someone when they’ve got the gluten in them, the Tin Man may be a gentle guy, but at the end of the movie when he gets his axe and starts chopping away at the door to where Dorothy is trapped: WATCH OUT!
Now, you might be wondering what the Cowardly Lion represents. He’s scared all the time. He’s a big furry cat and just complains a lot, well, he is the fear that Dorothy feels when it comes to all of these things happening to her body and inside her head. Because Celiac at the time is relatively unknown she wouldn’t be able to just talk about it with someone. So she goes undiagnosed and deals with her symptoms no matter how scary they are. A feeling we can all relate to in the beginning of our journeys with Celiac Disease or even NCGS.
This is just a sampling of what the main characters represent. There are little things dotted through out the movie that also lead me to believe what is happening to Dorothy and her undiagnosed Celiac: the talking trees that throw apples at her, representing her brain telling her to eat non-gluten filled food. At that time fruit, veggies and meat were really the only gluten-free option. The Wicked Witch stands on the roof of a hut in the middle of the forest and tosses balls of fire at the adventurers, acid reflux?
You could make a case with any movie and any fictional character that they have Celiac Disease. It’s not hard, but next time you watch The Wizard of Oz, take a closer look at all the little things that could be calling cards to a young girl with undiagnosed Celiac. I could go on about the yellow brick road being the small intestine and the various lands she passes through are the villi. The lands which are made smaller due to the presence of the witch’s power. The yellow brick road ends at the Emerald City which itself is the image of… well… poop. Another classic symptom of Celiac is runny stool, diarrhea, just gross poop stuff. The end of a terrible Celiac’s reaction to gluten is the Emerald City and the end.
The Wizard of Oz has been used to be a scapegoat for a lot of things. A lot of the ‘at the time’ conditions. Does Wizard of Oz sync up to the events in your life? If you look closer you will see that I really could be onto something.
Or I could just be a lunatic.
I do love my snack cakes, so let’s do a Gluten-Free Food Review about them.
There was a time when I lived with my Mom and in the corner of the kitchen in the corner cupboard she had hidden a treasure trove of lunchtime snacks: Flakies, Ah Caramels and Jos. Louis. Since I have been diagnosed, of course I haven’t been able to feast on these treats since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and all the gluten-free goodies that have come out will never NEVER be as good as those snacks. Well, as you might have guessed it, I was able to find and eat and love a snack cake that tastes so close to a Jos. Louis, you might slap my face and tell me otherwise.
All But Gluten (click HERE for the website) is a Canadian company that you can find in Walmart and they sell the usual bad for you food like cookies and coconut macaroons, they have bread too, so don’t think they’re all bad. This one time I was walking past the All But Gluten section at the local Wallymart I saw this box and I had to have it. I had to taste it. I had to know if they in fact tasted like my old favourite: the Jos. Louis.
Traditional Jos. Louis are chocolate cakes with a vanilla cream frosting. I opted for the vanilla cake/cream combo. I was not disappointed. The dipped chocolate was good, of course. The cake itself isn’t super moist, but it was the closest thing to a Jos. Louis us diagnosed Celiacs will ever get. They even come wrapped individually in clear plastic.
The explosion of flavour was enough for me to buy another box and try out the chocolate version. There were two things I noticed about it; 1) it doesn’t taste as good and 2) the top and bottom halves of the cakes kept sliding around using the cream as a weird slip and slide. In a world where poorly made gluten-free bread might crumble in your hands, having a snack cake try to escape my mouth wasn’t cool.
Having Celiac sometimes means that we need to choose healthier items when having dessert after lunch. I really don’t want to eat baby carrots every day after my sandwich. It’s nice to see that All That Gluten is expanding it’s line to include these snack cakes. I feel it’s just for me. While you might think the 1 out of 133 people diagnosed with Celiac might have something to do with it, you don’t. It’s all me. I want them, so I get them.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if that was the case? You just want a GF alternative to something and then it happens? Yeah, and unicorns are real.
Hope I didn’t kill anyone’s dreams with that realization?
Has the media figured out Celiac Disease?
It’s a question that gets tossed around a lot in the blogging circles. But does it get answered?
Has the media shuffled off from the gluten-free diet fad and moved onto different things? I hear Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is a big new ticket item these days.
I’m slowly discovering that yes, there is a a slower out-flux of GF jokes on the TV and in the media. I digress though, I don’t watch a lot of television, and I get a lot of my own answers by looking on the internet, reading what other bloggers have said and just plain old googling. It has become the way of the world to rely on the information of others to get what we need: news.
I haven’t heard a peep out of Rachel Ray, Kathie Lee or Jimmy Kimmel in a while, all when it comes to gluten-free. Though when you look at these celebrities, do they mention Celiac Disease? Usually it’s just the overrunning of gluten-free. Using the latest fad to mock and ridicule. Still, 2014 has been a quiet year for us Celiacateers. Are we in the clear? Our advocates are amazing; four people come to my mound when I think of Celiac: Gluten Dude, Celiac and the Beast, Jennifer Esposito and my Mom. Each has brought Celiac Disease attention, all in positive ways and really are our champions. All has a spot within the media to speak for us. And I like that.
If you google Celiac Disease you get a first page of medical jargon. okay, simple. That’s our education to the masses, to the curious people who wonder what Celiac Disease is. We all do our best locally, or within our homes to let people in on what our deal is and why we’re eating gluten-free and why we can’t use their toaster.
The Celiac media are the bloggers. Now google ‘Celiac Disease and the media’ and see where you go…half way down the page you’re taken to a blogger. It’s something I’m just now realizing after a year of blogging, and a few years of being diagnosed with Celiac.
Bloggers. I like that.
Has the media figured out Celiac Disease? No.
The media has only started to figure out that Celiac Disease is here to stay and it itself isn’t a fad disease.
CAN the media figure out Celiac Disease? Just give it time. It took a while for the public to accept a new Kermit the Frog voice when Jim Henson died.
Okay, I’m not a wierdo or anything, but Dracula 2000 is awesome, seriously. It has Shane West in it. Do you know who Shane West is? He’s just a cool actor who is cool and awesome. Incredibly underrated and whatever the hell happened to him?
And yes if you’re keeping score, I did in fact compare Celiac Disease to Kermit the Frog.