There is always one rule when you go shopping and you have Celiac or need to be gluten free for some reason, check the labels. How much can we as a community support this one rule? How many times do we all have to get in your face and tell you to check the label? Just pick up the bag and look at the fucking label. Simple. Check the label.
I didn’t check the label.
We all know by now that every store has a gluten free aisle or a natural foods aisle, whatever the case is. It’s that one aisle to get us in there to buy what we need. There is a food at every store in the neighbourhood that has something that another store doesn’t have and we as diagnosed Celiacs have to go to each and every store to get what we need to finish our list.
The bulk foods store has a gluten free aisle, and rightly so it should. It’s the compendium of baked goods and should have a plethora of food stuffs. They have cookies, mixes, boxes of crackers; it really is a Celiacateers paradise. While not every brand of GF food is there, you will be guaranteed to find something you like at the local bulk foods store. This one particular day, hanging at the end of a hook smack dab in the middle of the gluten free aisle was a new kind of snack food. Small bag and the flavour was right up my alley, so without looking, I snatched it off it’s hook, bought it and didn’t even think about reading the label. It was in the gluten free aisle why would I even give it a second thought?
Half way down the road in the truck I opened the bag and started eating. I was half way through the bag when it dawned on me, I never checked the label. I broke the cardinal rule and let my stomach do all the thinking. What if some half hearted reject from a monster movie decided to put up wheat based food on that hook? What if the new guy had no clue about what gluten free means and just threw up the snack anywhere there was space?
Boy was I in trouble.
My heart skipped a beat when I looked down at the half eaten bag and realized it was gluten free, says so right on the bag. Big bolt letters right on the front.
I was saved.
But I pulled a boner when I didn’t read the label.
So, check the label or else next time, it might be a handful of something worse than hurt pride.
Staring at the product I’m going to review today and thinking ‘The Bushman’s Bar actually sounds kind of dirty’.
I was really curious about what The Bushman’s Bar was all about (more HERE). It’s an independent Canadian company that makes these natural bars. Manitoba is not a place you’d expect to find something like this, and the official/unofficial mascot for the company is a the bushman himself JoJo. How could I pass up something like that? A gluten-free food that is made and based on wild and natural food found in the northern parts of Canada, I’m all over that.
I first came across The Bushman’s Bar at the Gluten Free Expo in Toronto, it was a busy booth that I wasn’t able to get close to. I listened to others talk about the food and was able to sneak a tiny sample for myself. At the time I wasn’t sold. Of course it was a small sample and could have been sitting out for a while, but I really wanted to get my hands on more more MORE!!!
Boreal Berry Bar Inc was more than happy to send me some proper wrapped samples to give a try, and I wasn’t disappointed.
This bar is made of wild rice and all natural ingredients that make a flavour pop in your mouth. This dense bar is a purple colour that reminds me of a fancy bar of soap, but the taste is no where near that. It’s sweet. It’s denseness means you need to give the chewing power an extra munch and chomp, but it’s worth it. This is a great gluten-free bar. Jeff Willerton author of Fix Canada have one quote on the Boreal Berry Bar Inc website which sums up what I think of this product: “All I want is one bar a day for the rest of my life. Is that too much to ask?” and I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve been eating these bars for breakfast, with my breakfast, as an after work snack and a decoration on the counter. There is a place in my life for these bars, and now that I know they are available for purchase online, I might just be getting a few more, take them camping, and then everyone else might be getting some for Christmas.
I am no medical professional, but really, if there is another person in your immediate family that is diagnosed with Celiac, and your child exhibits signs of Celiac, then they should get tested. I think that is a given. But what age should they be tested? Is there a start time at which you can get the little tykes checked?
Generally, it’s ages 2 or 3. Anyone under that, the tests might not be too accurate because for the blood test the antibodies might not be present. If the kid is on a full and regular gluten filled diet, there really should be no problem. Don’t let the age fool you though, just like adults getting tested for Celiac Disease you’ll need to do the full run of tests to achieve a correct result: blood and biopsy.
There are at least 200 symptoms of Celiac Disease, and while Celiac Disease is the most common autoimmune disease on the planet, the symptoms could be other tricky little things. Other diseases like Crohn’s or Cystic Fibrosis share similarities and that’s why we get tested for Celiac.
Especially if you have a family member diagnosed with Celiac Disease. It’s hereditary.
Undiagnosed Celiac can destroy your body, and imagine if a toddler had Celiac and went untested for years? Malnutrition, stunted growth, bowels all messed up, cancer. All things that can happen if someone goes undiagnosed with Celiac (provided they have it). It’s important to have children checked for Celiac if they are showing signs of the disease. It’s an easy test, and it’s an easy thing to maintain. A 100% gluten-free diet is so easy and much better than taking pills the rest of your life.
Out of all the diseases, Celiac is the jackpot. It’s manageable with diet. It’s unique that all you have to do is avoid gluten and your body will repair itself from the damage done by gluten poisoning your body.
A child who can’t speak can’t tell you what’s wrong. We have to trust our instincts and parents and trust our parenting instincts with what our doctors think. Some doctors aren’t on the celiac train and pass it off as something else, but if you can arm yourself with enough information then you can attempt to get the results you need.
I am no medical professional, I only feel deeply about children getting checked if they have the signs of Celiac. A child going undiagnosed or a child who isn’t even checked for Celiac (with signs) could develop a lot of problems in their future life, so for their sake, get them tested.
We all love a good guest post, and today is no exception. From our good buddy Pam Jordan of imaceliac.com has graced my webpage with her wit, wisdom and whimsy all about travelling gluten free. SO PAY ATTENTION!!!
…and now Pam will start. 🙂
Travelling Gluten Free
You can let being Gluten Free keep you trapped in your home or you can get out there and enjoy new things! I choose to do the latter. I’d rather go to new places, try new food and experience life. I travel a lot for work, family and with my blog, ImaCeliac.com. My travel schedule has me gone about 1 weekend a month. This means eating in new cities, eating on planes and taking road trips.
Eating Gluten Free can be difficult and intimidating when you are out of your comfort zone. I get it. There are some simple steps you can take to enjoy a Gluten Free trip.
1. Be prepared
Do your research about where you are traveling. Use phone apps, websites and blogs to find safe Gluten Free places where you can eat. I have experienced amazing food based on other people’s recommendations.
2. Take snacks
You never know when or where hunger will strike. You also do not know if you will be able to find a safe option close by. That means you need to have snacks handy. I never travel anywhere without at least a Gluten Free protein bar. I also bring small snacks of nuts, chips, granola bars and Gluten Free on the go meals. A side note is that airplane food is a danger zone for Gluten. It is safest to bring your own food.
3. Shop local
When you arrive at your destination, find a local grocery store. Load up on fruit, veggies, Gluten Free cereal and other snacks. When we go on family vacations we save money by cooking most of our meals. This means I also create a weekly meal plan for us and buy all the groceries we need for the week.
4. Be flexible
Life happens and so does Gluten. Do the best you can to find safe places ahead of time that you can eat at. But know that sometimes plans change and you can end up at a random restaurant that you have not done your research on. In those instances just order water, a salad with no dressing and enjoy the company of your family and friends.
Don’t let living Gluten Free keep you trapped! You are free as a Gluten Free person, so get out there and live your life!
Thanks Pam. Now, make sure you check out her site imaceliac.com, then look at these two links to her books.
Family Approved Gluten Free Meals http://bit.ly/FamilyGfree
Succeed at Living Gluten Free http://bit.ly/SucceedGFree
In case you missed those book links.
Family Approved Gluten Free Meals http://bit.ly/FamilyGfree
Succeed at Living Gluten Free http://bit.ly/SucceedGFree
Every grocery store now has it’s own little gluten-free section, usually coupled with the natural or organic foods aisle. Sometimes the GF area is so small you blink and you miss it, then other times, well, huge. I saw a gluten-free aisle end cap at the local pharmacy that was pretty small, and since it was an end cap, you’d totally have to be searching for it to see it. Here’s the thing, if you run a store or an establishment, get in on the gluten-free band wagon, you’ll make mad money.
Now all of a sudden you think I’m promoting the gluten-free food markup agenda, I am. Why not? if 1 in 133 people has Celiac Disease (like me and my Mom), why wouldn’t you try to capitalize on this? It’s good business sense. My disease can only be maintained buy utilizing a strict gluten-free diet so I need my GF food; companies know this about me. The gluten-free marketing gurus also know that close to 22% of the Canadian population is eating gluten-free for non-medical reasons, so why not get in on that?
So why the almost 2.5% markup on gluten-free food?
Celiacs. We need it. Plain and simple. Well, not that simple. It’s also because of those people who choose to eat gluten-free for non-medical reasons. The ones who think it’s a good idea to be like us Celiacateers. Without gluten-free food Celiacs would be lost. Without gluten-free food Celiacs would just be a bunch of people in the fetal position while at work or at the mall. A population 330,000 Canadians just sitting on the can for half the day.
You could make the claim that being a straight up vegetarian could relieve all this gluten-free nonsense, but I want my bacon (smothered in maple).
The expense of living gluten-free is gigantic, and every time you talk to someone about GF food they always bring up how expensive the food is. We have to accept the truth: being gluten-free equals large grocery bills.
Can you find away around the huge prices attached to gluten-free food? Yes. It really is simple, you just need to eat and buy fresh ingredients. Bananas for breakfast as opposed to cereal. Could you get any more simple than that? Maintaing a gluten-free diet doesn’t have to include manufactured food. Those are all just special foods, like potato chips and chocolate covered pretzels (okay, two of my favourites). Late night snacks could easily be cucumbers or a dope ass fruit salad.
It is nice to see that companies that have always been gluten-free in their processes are now starting to label their foods as such, all while not increasing their price, just taking that extra step to joining the GF parade (and that’s good business).
But really, the price of flour, other than bleached white wheat flour, is astronomical. So when you’re baking or cooking with anything else you’d have to expect a huge price jump. Right?
I have Celiac Disease and in order to maintain my health I have to be on a strict 100% gluten-free diet and the food at the supermarket is a must for me (I don’t eat as much fresh food as I should, I dig my morning cereal and hotdogs).
Man I love hot dogs.
Of all the gluten-free food I have reviewed, Tiger Nuts are by far the best named. Here’s the messed up thing, this gluten-free healthy snack isn’t even a nut, its a small tuber. A root vegetable that grows like a potato or a carrot (I wrote this and then realized that’s pretty much what it says on the Tiger Nuts package).
Tiger Nuts asked if I wanted to review their supreme peeled, seriously healthy snack food, and I am never one to turn down that offer, so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on something I’ve never seen before. Especially a gluten-free snack coupled with a list like: lactose free, nut free, natural, and low calorie.
A quaint brown package reminds me of an independent company and the small plastic window reminds me of the small plastic window in an envelop to show your address. Getting mail is supposed to get us all excited, so I am sure when marketing devised the plan to put a small window in their Tiger Nuts bag they though the same thing.
Before I get to taste, lets look at the product.
With only a few in my hands it felt like air. No real weigh to them. So how could this food pack all the nutritional benefits that are claimed to be inside if it’s so light? Eat a healthy homemade granola bar, that shit weighs a quarter tonne and would just stick to your insides. The Tiger Nuts are like drops of snacks air. The look of them remind me of what Sugar Crisp cereal looks like, or maybe what popcorn looks like after you run it under water.
My wife did not like these at all. She ate one. Then none.
Me. Initially I was on the fence about how they tasted. There is this small sweetness to them, its subtle, but it’s there, but yes I did like this little food. They are tough to chew, and if you put a handful in your mouth it’s like attempting to eat wet paper, but the snacks taste good. Tiger Nuts do have some sweetness to them, but still maintain the dull texture and background flavour of a boring ass potato. They’re different than late night snacks, but they’re good tasting. Tiger Nuts are marketed to you as a healthy snack packed with fiber, iron and high levels of vitamin E, it’s supposed to have a dull taste. That’s the curse of healthy food.
Go to the Tiger Nuts webpage HERE and buy a bag and try it. I would recommend this for something different. I’ve never had quite such an original food. A tuber as a snack is interesting. I liked the dull/sweet taste, and I like that they’re marked to me as ‘supreme peeled’ as in, they peeled the outer shell off for me, like that would be a selling point.
Tiger Nuts. My word that’s a pretty awesome name.
You have Celiac Disease? I have Celiac Disease. Seems we have a lot in common, so let’s talk about that.
What do you do when you’ve accidentally ingested gluten? Every person who is a diagnosed Celiac or NCGS will have to deal with it no matter what they tell you, and no matter how careful they are. It’s a simple fact that you will have to deal with one of the many symptoms of being glutened or glutenized or whatever you want to call it (I personally like glutenized, sounds a lot like a robot move or something).
So how do you deal with it? What is the best method you’ve ever come up with to get a handle on the agonizing defeat of your own body?
Everywhere I looked the same thing kept coming up: water. Drink plenty of water. Water is the element that brings life, and there is no more important thing that you need. So, when your body starts to fight off the poison that is gluten, you need to drink water. I’m no medical professional, but drinking water is a no-brainer. It helps to keep your shit going and flush all that junk out of you. Yeah, it’s gonna be a bumpy road for the next little bit, but by getting that H2O into you, you should be right as rain… in whatever amount of time it takes. No one said it would be easy.
I feel that with every ailment, someone has a home remedy or old wives tale about how to deal. Ginger, turmeric, valerian root powder all seem like something that could be tossed around the front porch as the old knitting folks talk about Celiac and getting glutenized. Home remedies work as well as your mind thinks they do, lets just call them placebos.
You know what I don’t recommend? Vomiting.
Treat it like you’re dying (in some cases it seems that way), take some gas pills to ease the bloating, drink water and lay in bed. Just chill out, and keep a close eye on the can. Last thing you need is to have to make the 100 yard dash to the toilet and someone is occupying it. Make it known you’re going to be a monster for the next little while and wait it out. Sad fact, but being glutenized is one of the single worst things to happen to a Celiacateer and anyone needing to be free of gluten.
Across the board, there is no right answer. What works for one person might not work for the next. It’s like pizza, not everyone likes pineapple on theirs. Different strokes.
There is always one way to deal with getting the dreaded gluten out of your system, don’t eat gluten. I sound like a jerk by saying it, but it’s mostly a statement aimed at the GF cheaters, because cross contamination is the thorn in the side of all of us.
Getting glutened is a terrible thing and I’ve passed a kidney stone, the single handed worst pain I have felt in my entire life (and I’ve stubbed my toe on a coffee table before) and I would still sometimes take that kidney stone over not being glutened. At least when the stone passed, the pain was over. Getting glutenized… not so much.