Whats for breakfast?

One issues those of us who follow gluten free diets have is what to eat for breakfast. If you think about it almost all traditional breakfasts are based on gluten ingredients. The obvious one that doesn't is eggs. Don't get me wrong, I like (maybe even love) eggs, but I can not eat them every single day, although I did try for a while! And who has time to cook them every morning? I sometimes eat gluten-free frozen waffles, but not every day. I love to cook gluten-free pancakes, but once again it's time consuming. Fruit? Yes, but it doesn't fill me up.

Lets face it, there isn't anything as quick and easy and satisfying for breakfast as cereal. A stroll down a typical cereal isle will reveal about 50 to 100 types of cereals. Until recently 2 or three of those may have been gluten free, depending on the store. Several stores had no gluten-free options. The problem with most gluten free cereals that are out there is that they are very expensive. A 12 ounce box could easily cost $6 or more. This is not to say that these aren't good values. Typically these cereals are made form high quality ingredients in dedicated gluten free facilities. Also they are produced in small runs, so the pricing is appropriate, but in this day and age I just can't afford to pay that much for breakfast.

So finally one of the big manufacturers with wide distribution has payed attention to the emerging gluten free market. General Mills simply changed one of the ingredients (containing barley) in Rice Chex and it became gluten free. Just like that a tasty, widly available and resonably priced (under $3 for 12.8 oz.) gluten free cereal was available!

Evidentially Rice Chex has been received so well that General Mills has announced that is introducing 5 new gluten free cereals. Corn Chex, Corn Chex, Honey Nut Chex, Strawberry Chex, Chocolate Chex, Cinnamon Chex are not currently gluten free but are in production.
According to Cecile M Davidson, General Mills Consumer Services, "All 5 products should be widely available across the U.S. by June 1, 2009." Make sure that the box says "Gluten Free" before you buy it.

Lets hope that other manufacturers will take notice and start producing more gluten free cereals. There are many products out there, Rice Crispys for example, that have barley as a inconsequential ingredient.

Preventing Cross-Contamination in Kitchens

By now, anyone who has celiac disease knows that gluten can be hard to avoid at times; not only is it a part of common wheat products, but its also prevalent in a lot of processed foods that you would otherwise think wouldn’t contain gluten. But the threat of cross-contamination is something that not as many people are aware of, especially the folks out there who don’t have celiac disease, making this a big issue when celiac and non-celiac people are using the same kitchen. As someone who lives with five people who eat "normal" gluten-containing food I am very aware of what it take to prevent gluten exposure. So I’d like to pass along a few simple ways that will hopefully keep everyone healthy and happy when there’s gluten in the kitchen.

You Can Never Keep Things Too Clean
Cleaning your kitchen early and often, especially countertops, utensils and other forms of dinnerware, is the best way of making sure that no crumbs or other glutinous food fragments are left lying around. It goes without saying the longer that excess crumbs build in your kitchen, the greater the risk of cross-contamination. Using products such as a crumb-catching cutting board can greatly reduce the risk of this occurring but the most fail proof method is the most basic one- cleaning frequently!

Gotta Keep ‘em Separated
The best way to ensure that no cross-contamination occurs during the cooking process is to use separate kitchen utensils for gluten and gluten-free foods. This is especially practical for some items, such as toasters, pans, and cutting boards, that frequently come into contact with any type of baked good, since this is the most obvious source of cross-contamination. Buying two of each of these items can be costlier, but it is the only way to make sure that all gluten-free dishes aren’t at risk of exposure.
It might also be a good idea to purchase separate containers for condiments such as butter, mayonnaise, jam, and peanut butter that are prone to contamination through bread crumbs.

Labeling and Separating
Someone with gluten intolerance will certainly be eating some foods that are different, and if you follow the last point, they will also be using or eating from different utensils and using different types of cookware. This makes labeling and separating very important, as you want to make sure that none of the gluten-free products are used accidentally. This is especially true if you happen to live with a child.

These tips should hopefully help in keeping a celiac household safe and well-fed. The best form of cross-contamination prevention is education. Keeping non-gluten intolerant housemates educated about celiac disease and how to live with people who have it is the best way to maintain a healthy kitchen