• Rice Is Nice

    March 12, 2013

    A bunch of you guys have asked me how my digestive system deals with gluten, and, unfortunately, I don’t have a straight answer to share. The jury’s still out! During a flare, gluten (and wheat) definitely upset my stomach. (TMI: They make me gassy and it sounds like a pack of wolves is running through my intestines!) When I’m feeling better, however, gluten is totally fine with me, especially if it is eaten in moderation. This past weekend, for example, I felt a lot better, so I pretty much ate and drank what I wanted (in moderation, of course), and I didn’t experience a single digestive issue. (Since the beginning of the year, I’ve pretty much had non-stop cramping 24/7, but this weekend was the first time in over two months, I didn’t feel a single cramp. I honestly don’t understand it all. Good drugs, I guess?)

    You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been posting as many meals on CNC as I normally do, and it’s only because my meals have gotten really boring lately—lots of rice, chicken, sausage, spinach and green juice (I’m constantly battling anemia because of my bleeding insides). My meals are starting to bore me, so I know they would bore you, too. Long story short, I’ve started to experiment with gluten-free products as a way to spice up my meals. I am seriously so sick of eating the same things over and over again, so I am trying out some new foods.

    Awhile back, my dad sent me an email with all sorts of suggestions for helping my colitis. I don’t talk about my dad much on CNC, but I do have a father and he’s alive and well. In a nutshell: he’s an interesting and intelligent man, who loves the Internet. (I guess it runs in the family! Ha!) My dad is also really interested in food, food politics, production, and where our food comes from, so he’s sent me a few emails with his recommendations for what I should and should not eat to help my digestive system. One thing he wrote was “rice is nice,” which encouraged me to start eating rice on a more regular basis. Since then, rice has been a godsend for me, and it’s totally a food I can count on when my intestines get wonky.

    IMG_8083-700x700
    [image source]

    Ok, where am I going with all of this? Oh, yea, I’ve started to buy more gluten-free (often rice-based) products to liven up my meals. Some of them are okay, but most of them are terrible. These products are often pretty pricey, so I hate feeling like I wasted my money when I buy a crappy product, so I’m going to start highlighting some of the gluten-free products I try on CNC, so you guys don’t end up wasting your money too.

    Just quick note so the food police aren’t after me: I’m not going gluten-free. I’m simply exploring what’s out there on the market as gluten-free options since I’m incredibly bored with my current eats and they seem to better jive with my digestive system than the gluten-filled stuff. Eating these kinds of foods are working for me right now.

    The first product I’m going to review: Trader Joe’s Gluten Free, Dairy Free English Muffins. As a gluten-free option, these babies are pretty good. They definitely need to be toasted to get the right texture, but even a regular English muffin needs some toasting, right? When toasted, the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free, Dairy Free English Muffins are soft, spongy, and a little crumbly, so I could tell they weren’t a “real” English muffin, but they’re a great alternative. The flavor isn’t exactly like an English muffin, but with a good, solid toast and little melted butter, it was pretty darn close. I will definitely buy these again.

    004

    Breakfast

    This morning’s breakfast was a toasted Trader Joe’s Gluten Free, Dairy Free English Muffin with two wedges of Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread with sliced strawberries. Delish!

    260

    The Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread is from my friends at The Laughing Cow. I actually have a really exciting announcement about my new role with them coming soon. I’m pumped!

    010

    Health News & Views

    If you’re avoiding gluten in your diet, but don’t want to miss out on fun and good taste when it comes to dessert, here’s a sweet recipe for you!

    These cookies combine dark chocolate with dried cherries and coconut flour for a delicious cookie–firm on the outside and oh-so-soft on the inside. You won’t even know it’s gluten-free!

    Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

    The Paleo Slow Cooker Giveaway

    Thanks to everyone who entered to win a copy of The Paleo Slow Cooker! Here’s your winner:

    Haley @ fullnfit

    My fave paleo AND slow-cooker recipe is simple… Chicken, chicken broth, salsa, cumin, cayenne, garlic.. YUM!!! It is great on top of a salad or as a lettuce wrap. :)

    Congrats, Haley! Please email me at tina@carrotsncake.com with your full name and mailing address to claim your prize.

    Question of the Day

    What are your favorite gluten-free products?

    Pin It

    { 94 comments… read them below or add one }

    Tina March 12, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    My favorite GF bread is the 90 second english muffin recipe you posted a while back. I use 1/4 cup GF all purpose flour and it’s honestly the most moist and true to texture bread I’ve in the last 1.5 years. In fact, I think I make them TOO often. And sometimes with chocolate chips. Oops! Thank you! :)

    Reply

    Audrey @ In Shape Cupcake March 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    I find a lot of cheap gluten free snacks at tjmaxx in the food section. I just got two of them the other day. They were chocolate chip pecan cookies and veggie tortilla chips. I posted them on my blog. Good ingredients too. I personally, would love to go gluten free (it’s hard to get the whole family on board) just because what I’ve been learning about how gluten isn’t actually the best thing for our stomachs….so, I’m totally on board with your gluten free experiment!

    Reply

    julia March 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    i’m so glad you’re going to start highlighting good gluten-free foods! I’m newly gluten free, and so this is so helpful and relevant for me.

    Reply

    Monica March 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I bought that cinnamon Laughing Cow spread when I was at the store the other day. I love it! I’m going to have to try it with strawberries on an eng muffin-sounds yummy!

    Reply

    Christine March 12, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Tina,
    I totally feel you on the crappy gluten free food out there. I have been gluten free for 2 years because I developed hives every time I ate wheat when I was 37 years old. Weird. Anyway, I LOVE Kinnikinnick English muffins. If you can find these in your area, eat them. They actually taste amazing!!

    Reply

    Megan March 12, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Oh man do I miss those gf english muffins!!! I left Boston just over a year ago (miss it like crazy!) as well as those yummy muffins. They don’t sell them in my new town and it’s so sad. Every time I come back for a little visit I head to TJ’s and pick up a bag. I also highly recommend the French rolls they sell. When toasted and topped with butter they taste like croissants but beware, they mold quickly!

    Reply

    Stephanie March 13, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Food for Life makes my favorite gluten free English muffins, Glutino products tend to be pretty good in general– I’m currently obsessed with their table crackers. Schars bread and rolls honestly tast almost exactly like normal bread, but a bit drier. It’s easily solved with a bit more butter.

    I have yet to find a decent gluten free pasta product and it’s been a year long search.

    I know you say gluten doesn’t bother you when your intenstines are feeling better, but be aware that if gluten is an issue you can build up a larger reaction, it isn’t always immediate.

    Reply

    Debbie March 13, 2013 at 1:14 am

    My fave gluten free products are made by Katz. http://www.katzglutenfree.com/ They are based in NYC. They make the best baked goods. I haven’t tried their gluten free donuts yet but they look amazing and if they are half as good as their other baked products then I know they will be scrumptious. I also love Dr. Lucy’s cookies http://www.drlucys.com/
    All of the cookie flavors are amazing. You would never guess they are gluten free. I like a crisp cookie and these are very crisp and delicious

    Reply

    Tina March 13, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Thanks for the suggestions! :)

    Reply

    Christine March 13, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Hi Tina, I have celiac so gf diet is a must. I didnt have symtoms (the doc caught it on a blood test). I get it when u say that some products are total crap but recently I have tried some new ones that taste good and are healthy. Have you tried Vans. I recently was given a free sample of their new crackers and gronola bars and they are very tasty. And you can’t go wrong with homemade stuff:)

    Reply

    De @ Cooking for the Other Half March 13, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Like a lot of other people, I tend to feel better when I eat GF foods. I’m not entirely gluten free, but I try to incorporate GF products into my meals and groceries. I like the Vans products, and there’s a rice flour bread that I find at Trader Joe’s that’s also really good.

    Side note, that Laughing Cow flavor looks awesome!!!!!! I haven’t seen it yet!!!!!

    Reply

    tammy brown March 13, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I love laughing cow cheese’s. However, I have stopped buying years back since the milk don’t come from healthy cows. Any cheese I buy now must be organic. Sure wish they would come out with an organic line.

    Reply

    Tina March 13, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Why do you think the milk doesn’t come from healthy cows?

    Reply

    tammy brown March 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

    @Tina: I prefer to not drink milk that comes from cow who are not RBGH & RBST free. Plus, more then likely they are fed a vegitarian diet vs. a greass fed deit which cows were made to eat. Not corn and other junk they are fed.

    Reply

    B March 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

    My daughter is allergic to dairy, wheat, and peanuts so when I was nursing her I had to cut all that out of my diet as well. Not fun! But similar to you, it led me to experiment with different foods and products. Kinnikinick (sp?) and Udi’s are pretty reliable. Trader Joe’s and Wegman’s both make pretty good wheat free frozen waffles. Bob’s Red Mill makes great gluten free cornbread and brownie mixes. Good luck!

    Reply

    Adrienne B (archaichocolate) March 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Hi Tina,
    My nutritionist has told me to stay away from wheat as a whole (he is not a huge fan of modified gluten-free flours) which I have been doing for the past year. Surprisingly, he suggested that I start eating spelt based bread products. Even though there is still gluten in the flour it doesn’t seem to have a bad effect on me. I also don’t notice a huge taste difference and its a great substitute for pretty much any dessert or bread I make! Since you are not officially going gluten free you could give it a try and see how it effects your body!

    Reply

    Alyssa March 13, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Kinnickinick is probably one of the best brands on the market, followed by Glutino. They have mastered the flavor/texture battle of GF baking. Tinkyada is the best pasta and if you are ever in Cali, you MUST go to Mariposa’s GF bakery. They are GF baking wizards. Best stuff I’ve ever had :-)

    Reply

    Muriel March 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Tina,
    I am also a GI trouble-sufferer. I have IBS symptoms, and I just had my colonscopy, I am waiting for a diagnostic but they have found ulcers in my Ileum. Perhaps Crohn’s disease.

    I have almost been IBS free, when my dietician at the Hospital advised me to follow a low FODMAPs diet. It is an elimination diet. I am now starting to add the food that I have eliminated.

    I have noticed that in your mealds you eat a lot of high FODMAPs : avocado, broccoli etc..

    Have you tried a low FODMAPS diet.

    Thanks for the blog, it is very interesting. Yes! Rice lately has been a blessing for me, and boiled potatoes!!!!

    Reply

    Barbara March 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Hi Tina,
    I am new to reading your blog, but seeing that you have Colitis I thought I could offer some personal experience that hopefully will help you out!

    My little sister got diagnosed with Colitis when she was only 9 years old! She had a similar experience where she started going to the bathroom consistently and basically could not keep anything in her system! After trying many different diets (cut out dairy, cut out gluten, hollistic treatments, etc.) and none of them working, she was finally diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and given some medications that were supposed to help with the inflammation and flare ups. Unfortunately things did not get better for her and she actually had to have surgery to remove her entire colon because it was so full of ulcers! I know she had an extreme case, but her diet now is what mainly helps her from using the bathroom so much!

    She mainly eats a lot of chicken/fish/bread/rice/bananas/plain crackers & cookies (think goldfish, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, etc.)/easy veggies to digest- bell peppers, peas, edamame/cheese/tortillas and she avoids anything with artificial sweetner (gum, diet soda, etc.), anything like berries/raisins/dried fruit, veggies like broccoli/cauliflower/carrots/even lettuce can be hard for her to digest as well!, and anything super high in sugar she keeps to a minimum (smoothies/ice cream/fruit juices/sauces), oh and anything fried is also hard for her!

    I know this seems tough and obviously she has times where she eats things she shouldn’t, but overall her days are greatly affected by what she puts in her body! Anything hard to digest for a person with normal digestion is going to be even harder on your body and I know it seems like you have to make great sacrifices, but in the long run I think you will be much happier!

    Trust me when I say I understand how hard it is and have seen my sister crying because she spent the entire night on the toilet or is embarassed to go anywhere because she doesn’t want to explain to people why she has to go to the bathroom so many times! However, she has made great progress and actually found a lot of support within the Crohns and Colitis community, so let me know if you need anything or any advice because my family literally knows all the ins and outs of it after dealing with it for about 6 years now!

    Reply

    Tina March 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks, Barbara!

    Reply

    Katie March 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Try Schar’s brand. I promise you will NOT tell a difference between their bread and regular bread, especially the white bread. It’s the best I’ve ever found.

    Reply

    GJ March 14, 2013 at 4:22 am

    Hi I know I am late to this. I am sorry about your health problems. I don’t have this but have a chronic nerve condition that keeps me in pain 24/7 and impacts my life on every level. I have been for many treatments and on meds with little success. Anyhow I often read about alternative treatments and some with my condition have found benefit of gluten free which I have not tried yet but was tested for and did not have. Anyhow from what I read though that it can even take 6 months to feel a difference and that one has to be completly free of it so one can’t have it sometimes if it is impacting them. I know it sounds hard and I know you sometimes eat free of gluten but other times not. If you feel it may be impacting you though from what you just stated you are really not sure have you thought of giving it up completly for X amount of time?
    I really enjoy your blog by the way. Also your question about gluten free product well I have not tried many but I do like Chex which is now gluten free well the rice and corn at least that I have.
    Hope you feel better

    Reply

    Don March 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    A warning on the rice. I was told recently by someone who worked in the agricultural industry that rice is literally the worst in terms of pesticides and dangerous chemicals. It was something that surprised me. Apparently the conditions in which rice is grown is such that they have to put loads of chemicals on it to keep it free of pests. It seems like nothing is safe to eat these days – Monsanto has made corn inedible, gluten wheat (although I am fine with that..does not bother me), etc.

    Reply

    lauren March 20, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I love this discussion! I avoid gluten 95% of the time because it makes me inflamed, joints, migraines, digestion – I’m better without it.
    I should give those english muffins another shot, my first package wasn’t that good, but TJ’s breads can be hit or miss. Sometimes the expiration dates are SO close! I had a GF english muffin at the hyatt regency in boston that was AMAZING. Still trying to find out where they get them! I like Udi’s (and Rudi’s) breads toasted. Mediterranean snacks has some good lentil crackers. For pasta, I like tinkyada brown rice and ancient grains quinoa pastas.
    I try to limit how much brown rice I eat because of the high levels of arsenic in (much) of the brown rice in the south and midwest. Lundberg farms is from California, so I try to buy their products and other California based rice products when I can.
    I bake a lot of recipes from gluten free goddess’s website and often sub rice flour for sorghum, which she has been doing for awhile. I just made some awesome GF trail mix muffins from the Healthy Everythingtarian and The Wannabe Chef has a lot of great almond flour recipes as well!

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    { 2 trackbacks }

    Previous post:

    Next post: