Showing posts with label cross contamination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cross contamination. Show all posts

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Gluten Free Risk In Everyday Life

Those who know me, love or hate me. I say that jokingly, but it's true. My life is very difficult as I'm very serious to strive for ultimate gluten-free health and protecting our legit gluten-free movement. As an ambassador for gluten-free transparency, heck, call me a trail blazer or whichever word you decide, gluten-free living is as serious as a heart attack.

If anyone tells you that adhering to any level of gluten-free lifestyle is easy or simple, they're lying and probably secretly very ill without people knowing.  If they're telling you it's an everyday challenge, but accept the lifestyle and take the bull by it's horns give them a high five and support them! I have lived it, seen it, heard it and here to help by overcoming my own demons of over 20 years of being a diagnosed Celiac. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Gluten Free Cheerios Evil Joke On Celiac Disease

What is with Gluten Free Cheerios evil joke on Celiac Disease? First, in 2015 Cheerios launch resulted in a recall of 1.8 million boxes. Two years later in late 2017, Canada rejects gluten-free Cheerios uncommitted attempt at legit gluten-free cross contaminated product safety and removes it from the country. Zoinks! Advocates from Canada our northern neighbor of USA deem Cheerios from parent company General Mills not suitable for gluten-free consumption.  Still eating fake GF Cheerios? Too many gluten-free consumers either don't know this news exists, aren't showing symptoms or living ill and in denial of gluten-free issues. Who can we jump on to blame?

No Definition or Standard For Gluten-Free Exists

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Cross Contamination Is A Secret Killer

Stop using the phrase "Gluten-Free" 
and start using "Reduced Gluten"

In over 20+ years of managing Celiac Disease, I proclaim to you from the top of my lungs and bottom of my heart that gluten cross contamination is the #1 health issue facing gluten-free consumers today. Yet majority of gluten-free consumers do not take gluten seriously and lack a huge education to eat safely.  Most have either no idea of the phrase "cross contamination" or simply don't care how dangerous it is to consume a little bit of gluten in a public kitchen which scares me even more! It's my belief that these everyday cross contamination risks are damaging the entire gluten-free movement and keeping people secretly sick while they carry out their "normal" fake health focussed lives.

Have you worked at a restaurant or at least peeked inside a busy restaurant kitchen? It's a mad house of mastery with multiple chefs, cooks and runners on the line slicing, dicing, sautéing, baking and preparing dishes. In fact, it's quite beautiful at a nice restaurant to watch this unfold. You probably have at least seen it on TV or online cooking shows. However, when any gluten ingredients are involved, especially, wheat flour, an entire kitchen becomes cross contaminated and risks go up for you and me.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Gluten Free Experts

Who gives you advice about living strictly gluten-free? Some random gluten free expert on Instagram with tons of followers, a blogger with gluten sensitivity, a yogi mom with a few auto-immune children living a strict paleo diet, a fellow Celiac with a ton of Twitter followers, but why? 

I ask myself the same question over and over and do not understand why any of them have authority over another. If their pretty food posts, creative recipes and stories of restaurant socializing are inspiring you then it's important to find out who is not living symptom free, and if you're finding yourself often ill when you're supposed to be committed to healthier and smarter gluten free choices. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Gluten Free Menus And Their Risky Disclaimers

Living with a gluten related auto-immune disease, wheat allergy, or gluten intolerance can be extremely difficult. None of these are the same though yet that have a lot in common. From Celiac Disease to a wheat allergy we all decide on different lifestyle choices. Some illnesses can be life threatening and others are not because you can treat yourself and remove risks. A very common everyday risk remains though, when you dine in at a restaurant and order from a gluten-free menu or from a server explaining their GF options, there is little to no chance you're receiving a 100% gluten-free meal. In turn, you have accepted the responsibility for potential G.I. intestinal trauma, diarrhea, exhaustion, or another delayed auto immune reaction. A restaurant may provide you with a degree of 1-on-1 attention to make you feel safe, warm and fuzzy, but the risk is real, every time, you're taking a conscious risk of cross contamination in the kitchen. These decisions are very risky!

Example of a gluten-free menu & disclaimer... a complete contradiction of gluten-free definition.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day With Celiac Disease Is Rough

One, two or three bars of chocolate, that is an important question of many for today's purchases on Valentine's Day. 

Then I would get a pit in my stomach and think about where would I search for safe gluten-free chocolate, knowing it's not commonly available at most stores. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Epic Acquisition by General Mills Big Food

Has the small guy taught the big bully how to be nice? Only time will tell, but how much time and how much change? 

Hooray or Hmmm?

Have you ever eaten one of these delicious Epic Bars? You can find Epic at nearly every natural food market and grocery, along with some of the local stores and big food chains. They're amazing, any flavor actually (beef, chicken, bison and bacon). Epic products are gluten free, paleo friendly, low in sugar and scream about their grass fed animals and epic changes of land regeneration, sourcing and certifying humane treatments of animals. As of today, Epic Provisions is now part of the General Mills family of brands. Are we excited?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Everbest Bakery and Pastry Shoppe Gluten Free Fail


Interesting photo to asses here. Why? We have a traditional bakery and a uniquely dedicated gluten free retail store, side by side, in East Northport, Long Island. Although it may be difficult to see from a distance, on the right is the "Strictly Gluten Free" retailer and "Everbest Bakery & Pastry Shoppe" (couldn't find their website) on the left. Yet these opposite businesses are both promising gluten free products. Hmm mm m, this is going to end bad unfortunately for one of them, can you guess who? 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Going Grainless Is Gluten Free

Is grain free healthy, what is the truth?

If you're reading here then you're already a step ahead in health conscious behaviors. Which ones you decide to abide by and where you cross the line if you do, is up to you and your choices. So you're probably not surprised about grainless (paleo) lifestyles and how they've trended fast and furious to the mainstream. And when I say trend I mean it, because it's a proven, conscious, educated way of living that's not based on a false claim or a silly spokesperson like in the past fad diets of old. Grain free is gluten free and it's a real lifestyle based on our ancestors from thousands of years ago who were hunters and gatherers. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Cheerios Fails Gluten Free Launch With Recall of 1.8 million

Cheerios Recalls 1.8 million Boxes of Their Cheerios

I'm somewhat speechless yet I have so much disappointment and rage. I'll leave it for what it is because if you've done your research and live a risk-free life as a Celiac Disease consumer, or wise gluten-free shopper, you wouldn't have bought "gluten-free Cheerios"...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Expo East 2015 Gluten Free Findings

Gluten Free Food Trends

It was another successful natural products expo east in Baltimore, MD this year. Crowds of business pros united conducting meetings, showcasing new offerings and opportunities, that one day may result in new product launches for the rest of the shopping world. I set out on the show floor, and I'm here now to report on trends, unique findings, see if GMOs are here (hope not) and educate to you our natural and gluten free community.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Natural Products Expo East 2015

Education & Events 

September 16–19, 2015

Trade Show

September 17–19, 2015


Baltimore Convention Center, MD USA

It's one of the most important occasions of the year for natural products. The "natural" here is legit and that term cannot be used loosely anymore. The Natural Products Expo East show is striving for supporting the increase of organic, non GMO (genetically modified organisms) and sustainable industry! Manufacturers, distributors, brokers, retailers, suppliers, services, speakers, leaders and agents of change connect to uplift the natural industry to continue it's acceleration into overtaking the new mainstream way of living. Why? Because most produce in the grocery store is GMO and the packaged goods also use a lot of low quality ingredients :( 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Do You Bag Your Own Groceries?

Are you the type of shopper who helps bag your own groceries or stands there watching? Bagging groceries is not a new concept at the grocery store. It doesn't matter where you shop: Whole Foods, HEB, Sprouts, Wegmans, Public, Shoprite, Stop N Shop, etc. standing at the cashier and watching people bag for you instead of lifting your hands is not acceptable. This is a problem for you, as other people watch with disbelief. I've gone to the grocery store multiple times over the last month observing shopper's behavior. Here are my findings, they're quite simple. Where do you belong in this analysis?

70% of Customers Don't Bag Groceries

-Trader Joe's Cashier-

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Gluten Free Cheerios Are Disappointing, I Say

The efforts put forth by General Mills Cheerios to be gluten free safe for the community in my opinion are only rated: C. Would I eat a product and trust it because they received a C, the answer is probably NO. I've read the stories and interviews and analysis and they do a good job of trying to remove gluten contamination and ensure a safe product, but is it perfect, no. And is the company a good one, I'm sorry but from a food industry perspective, the answer is No.  Is Cheerios ideal for someone with Celiac Disease according to the FDA regulations, yes, but not according to someone who has higher standards than the, FDA, a corrupted organization in the food industry known to have ties to Monsanto and GMOs which makes them untrustworthy. As a Celiac my interests are health and safety for you. The reason gluten free Cheerios are far from perfect is because General Mills is lazy and non-committed in my personal opinion to truly participate in the gluten free mission. You must higher your health standards.

General Mills Uses GMOs (Cheerios are not clean food)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gluten Is Everywhere Including Probiotics

More than half of the top-selling probiotic supplements analyzed in a study contained gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye that is harmful to people with Celiac Disease.Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

I have to say that I'm not surprised, were you? Trusting in the free world has gone way out the door.  Vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the FDA and probiotic supplements, albeit are vital to your gut health, are just not being watched enough. Gluten can be used as fillers, coating, and simply all over the tools and machinery in a  manufacturing facility. Therefore,  foods of all sorts are being contaminated even with some form of "gluten-free" claim. Small and large companies are likely, all culprits according to the NY TIMES article via Many Probiotics Taken For Celiac Disease Contain Gluten from Wed, May 19th. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Gluten & Allergen Free Marketplace

Shop at Strictly Gluten FreeFinally, a trusted gluten free marketplace!

I've been searching high and low for a place to easily find gluten-free trusted and credible products. Sure, there are websites out there that sell gluten free products, but many of them lack transparency behind the gluten free claims, lack detailed information about the products, also these sites may even sell gluten containing products or are just confusing to navigate and that's frustrating to actually buy effectively. If I can't find a product online, understand the price and shipping information then I leave. Or I'll simply drive to Whole Foods, Sprouts, or local healthy natural market where I can speak to educated staff to find, learn and buy. The problem is that driving is a waste of time to go wait in lines and search forever in a store that carries limited gluten-free products when a lot of the good gluten-free products are available online at Strictly Gluten Free

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Udis & Smashburger Unite To Devastate Gluten-Free Safety

I can't tell you how upset I was after reading about Gluten Free Dude's finding that Smashburger used Udi's Gluten Free Bread (a once gluten-free leader) and failed an obvious cross contamination gluten-free test with a gluten free customer.   

Let's be very clear to those who manage a restaurant, servers and chefs along with those who are responsible at home to cook for gluten free family and friends:
  1. It's not okay to serve gluten free products in a cross contaminated area so wash, clean and/or separate all utensils and food much better.
  2. It's not okay to pretend you're promoting gluten-free options but exclude those with actual gluten related illnesses. Duh!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Natural Products Expo West 2015 Hosts 70K Smilers

Attending Expo West was a highly awaited year long promoted event. Therefore, you don't just stroll through without a plan at a massive industry natural products trade show such as Expo West. This year it held over 70,000 attendees whom all seek the same mission - introducing, seeking or analyzing manufacturers, services and/or networking with leading natural industry professionals. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shame On Better4UFoods: An Expo West 2015 Fail

If you've ever attended a food show as a trade professional or even as a shopper who loves seeking the healthy and sustainable food, beverages and services, you'd assume food allergies and gluten health risks are a top priority! This pizza manufacturer, Better4UFoods, was so clueless that it's now time I share this story of ignorance in the gluten-free and allergen marketplace. Health and safety concerns can no longer be tolerated. 

Better4UFoods Pizza Ruins My Expo West

Unfortunately, my expo west was cut short due to a brand, Better4UFoods, that had no idea what legitimate, safe gluten-free food is all about.  I'm not upset at Expo West, more at myself along with Better4UFoods who has a pizza company that decided to enter the gluten-free market to capitalize on profits of the growing industry. Better4UFoods is a classic example of what not to do as a manufacturer in the gluten-free market because of how they do not comprehend the seriousness of gluten-free lifestyles.  

Are Better4UFoods Amateurs?

I'm asking for your opinion on more of the details. As shown above, Better4UFoods' Expo West booth served regular pizza in an oven while their entire trade show booth backdrop had their gluten-free banner, and had a Gluten Intolerance Group certified gluten-free sign on their table near their pizza samples. Let me ask you, would you expect their pizza on the table to have gluten knowing this?  

Better4UFoods Cross Contamination Fail

On Saturday afternoon at Expo West, Better4UFoods failed the gluten-free test. Their booth had a few people, and the staff behind the booth were talking about their products and options such as Daiya cheeses they source with an interested trade pro. I listened in  as they talked about gluten-free, analyzing their booth and the certified gluten-free sign blatantly at the front of the table.  Although, I was at Expo West since Wednesday, I admit my fatigue got the best of me. I already had what seemed like a few hundred gluten-free conversations, so I mistakenly "assumed" this booth was gluten-free safe due to the signs everywhere.  Wow, was I wrong and upset, utterly devastated to make the mistake that I haven't made in over a decade of my life, assuming food is gluten-free without asking. 

Why Wasn't Better4UFoods Trade Show Staff Educated?

I asked the woman and man behind the table what was in their gluten free pizza, while handing off my business card on their table,  elaborating that I was a gluten-free blogger. As I tasted it, they said, "We aren't serving gluten-free pizza now." So I said, "excuse me, this is not gluten-free pizza on your gluten-free table?" They looked around puzzled, scared and in that silence, I did what any other Celiac Disease diagnosed patron would do... I ran off to the bathroom to eliminate all of the recent samples I just ate by all means necessary. I had no other choice! My trade show and my health would be at risk if my body has an auto-immune attack. Therefore, I tried my best to remove the food from by stomach asap. 

Be wary of supporting gluten-free products from those who know little to nothing of a category that is rooted by actual health concerns - Celiac Disease. 

Better4UFoods tricked me and likely many other innocent gluten-free trade professionals at Expo West 2015. I encourage others to come forward and claim if they were sick after eating at Better4UFoods Expo West 2015 table. We can't stand for this ignorance in our natural food industry. The time to educate all and stop turning your head is now!

Better4UFoods Never Apologized 

I waited over a week to write this article because during this encounter I had left my business card. The woman and man behind the the Better4UFoods booth apparently didn't care that they "glutened" me. My card says that I'm a  gluten-free blogger, my phone, email, social sites and that have Celiac Disease since 1997 are clearly noted on the business card. I received no phone call, email, text or outreach whatsoever. One would think that a company with a backbone of either allergens or gluten related illnesses wouldn't stoop this low. 

Trust is only earned. Never assume, and never trust anything is gluten-free until you read labels and talk to people behind the company. Use your eyes, ears and heart or say NO. 

In our natural products industry, we know that gluten-free isn't a fad, and it only has one strict definition. It's not easy. I repeat, gluten-free is not easy. Clearly, gluten-free guidelines by the FDA issued in August 2014 only helped out a little bit. Gluten-free ingredients and risks of cross contamination must be proven gluten-free safe via product testing <20 ppm per FDA. For those with Celiac Disease, we prefer testing <10 ppm and ideally <5ppm due to so many contamination risks.  Better4UFoods had gluten pizza in the same oven cooking on a table that had gluten free certified signs, and banners everywhere. It's a disgrace in 2015 at a natural food show that gluten health risks still exist by manufacturers who are empowered to set examples.  Yet Better4UFoods tried to save themselves by putting up an "allergen risk" sign on their booth. 

I would never buy a product from Better4UFoods when they conducted this type of health risk in public at a natural products respectable industry trade show. Who knows what happens behind the kitchen oven and in their manufacturing facility. That's my biggest concern to other healthy gluten free consumers and business professionals who trusted them.

Until next food show, I move forward, but I'll never forget.  Have you had a glutened experience and didn't share it? Please share it today so that we can learn from each other.