Cheeri-Oh-Nos, Not GF Says Canadian Celiac Association!

In the summer and fall of 2015, I spent a lot of time blogging about the sloppy processing and testing of General Mills “Gluten Free” (GF) Cheerios. Not only are they not using certified GF Oats, they are using sub-par testing methods to make their”GF” claim! Hence the nickname that I gave them; “Cheeri-Oh-Nos”! The Canadian Celiac Association has just advised those with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity not to eat them.

What happened and why have I been perpetually banging my head against the proverbial brick wall for over a year? How can this be so?  You just won’t believe it, so here is the re-cap and update.

Basically, the problem is that General Mills (GM) is using contaminated oats and “shaking” them in order to get off the offending wheat, rye and barley. Then they are using a testing method known as “means testing” to get their final ppm. A product must test below 20ppm to be called Gluten Free. So, if they make a batch of cheerios, they will  take out several samples…if one sample is 21pm, one is 80ppm and one is 5ppm..they would combine those to get the actual parts per million. Then they would keep adding in batches at lower ppm to get their 20ppm score. That is dangerous because in the end, you can mix them together over and over but there is still a high likelihood that some or many boxes will test higher than 20ppm.  The big problem is that they were not testing the final batch or boxes.

This practice resulted in many Celiacs getting sick and complaints to the FDA. Eventually GM had to recall 1.8 million boxes of GF Cheerios.  How can this be? Well, it is simple folks, the FDA does not mandate testing or a particular method for testing..they suggest that each company regulate themselves.  Yup, GM is NOT looking out for those with Celiac Disease or allergies to wheat, rye and barley!

A regular (celiac) customer came in last month and told me that his blood levels were elevated and he was having stomach problems and could not figure out why because everything he is eating is GF. He told me he would be going in for new endoscopy and biopsy in the next few weeks. I asked him, to tell me what he was eating for breakfast and he said “GF Cheerios”.   I asked when his issues started…he said around that time. He was shocked when I filled him in on the happenings. I directed him to my blog articles from last year and suggested he also do a google search and read what Gluten Free Watchdog has been saying and also suggested he remove the “GF” Cheerios and see how he does.

If you are a Celiac, Gluten Sensitive, or have an allergy to wheat, rye or barley; you are playing a game of Russian Roulette if you are eating GM’s GF Cereals.

Many of us have been outraged that the Celiac Associations in the US have not been more vocal about this. Last month the Canadian Celiac Association recommended that those with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity not eat them.  Gluten Free Living Magazine just wrote an article about this. Click Here to Read Article

bang head here

 

 

Study: Gluten Sensitivity; “Celiac Lite Disease”, My Genetic Testing & More

Wow! According to an article in Reuter’s Health (July 29, 2016) written by Marilynn Larkin; a new study out of Spain by Dr Fernando Fernandez Banares found that a subset of patients with Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) may actually have “Celiac Lite Disease”.  A NCGS diagnosis is only given when a person is actively consuming gluten and test negative on Celiac Blood Panel and intestinal biopsy (showing normal villi..no damage or atrophy to the villi).  If you have not had these specific tests done and just went off gluten, you don’t know if you are Celiac or not and that is dangerous..especially if you get minimum exposure to gluten via cross contamination!

As I was taking this all in, I thought about so many customers, friends and family members who are in this situation. I wanted to share this study with all of you who tested negative for Celiac and have NCGS, those of you who have not had genetic testing or have not had their skin rash biopsied for Dermatitis Herpeteformis (Celiac disease showing on skin only). I also share the results of my genetic testing for Celiac Disease.

  1. Study findings of Dr Banares: 

“… these patients (the 91%) were characterized by gastrointestinal clinical symptoms within the clinical spectrum of celiac disease, presence of HLA-DQ2/8+, Marsh stage 1 lesion (increased intraepithelial lymphocytes but no villous atrophy), and a clinical and histological response to a gluten-free diet, the question remains as to whether this condition should be considered a ‘minor’ or ‘low-grade’ celiac disease (also called ‘celiac lite’ by some authors) or NCGS.” 

 “Previous studies have shown that the intraepithelial lymphocyte (IEL) count and/or the presence of anti-transglutaminase (TG2) deposits in the mucosa are biomarkers of celiac disease. In the present study, these tissue celiac markers were present in around 55% of patients at inclusion, despite their being on a gluten-free diet, suggesting a ‘celiac lite’ disease.”

Previous studies of celiac disease with (villous) atrophy have shown a permanent increase in IEL, even after a gluten-free diet, (suggesting) that this marker may provide a clue for celiac disease diagnosis and offering the possibility of identifying celiac disease patients when they are on a gluten-free diet, even when histological examination of the biopsy shows recovered mucosa.”

“This ‘proof of concept’ study suggests that there is a ‘minor’ form of celiac disease with negative celiac serology that should be taken into account in the differential diagnosis of NCGS. The presence of increased IEL count and/or TG2 deposits in the mucosa could be of help in the diagnosis of these patients. We are routinely using this diagnostic strategy in our outpatient clinic, and we think that the intraepithelial lymphogram study adds important information to the diagnostic work-up of these patients. Our recommendation is to use it in clinical practice”.  Click Here for Full Article

2. GENES: This stuff is simply amazing and easy to understand! (Who should get genetic testing? See graphic at the end.)

In the study above they looked at those who have genes that predispose them to Celiac. Those genes are HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8; found on Chromosome 6. (However, there are more than 40 genes that contribute to Celiac Disease via different versions of HLA DQ2 and HLA DQ8 genes).  The risk is definitely lower but having a full Celiac genetic blood test ordered by a Gastroenterologist is something worth doing. Cheek swab testing is not capable of testing for this! The full Celiac Genetic Testing is a specific blood test that will look at all of the alleles/versions of DQ2 and DQ8 that you carry which contribute to the development of Celiac Disease. So, which genes are we talking about?

“Susceptibility to CD is linked to certain human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles, especially in the HLA-DQ region. HLA molecules are postulated to present gluten antigens to T-cells which in turn induce tissue damage.2 Approximately 95% of patients with CD have the HLA-DQ2 heterodimer encoded by the DQA1*05 and DQB1*02 alleles, while close to 5% have the HLA-DQ8 heterodimer encoded by theDQA1*03 and DQB1*0302 alleles.1 Rarely, patients will carry only one of the DQ2 alleles; ie, eitherDQA1*05 or DQB1*02.3 The HLA-DQ alleles are also found in 48% to 65% of first-degree relatives of patients with CD and up to 73% of patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus; thus, these individuals are at increased risk of developing CD.1 Other high-risk groups include those with autoimmune thyroiditis; Down, Turner, or Williams syndrome; selective IgA deficiency; or individuals with symptoms of unexplained iron deficiency anemia or premature-onset osteoporosis.”  Click here for Genetics Info

So, 95% of Celiacs have gene HLA DQ2.  However, there are hundreds of different versions (alleles) of those genes.  Meanwhile; 5% of Celiacs have different versions of those genes that can definitely lead to Celiac Disease; although the chances are smaller.  As usual, I will use myself as an example and share my genetic test results below.

After my brief gluten challenge, I had positive intestinal biopsy (showing villous atrophy) and negative blood test for Celiac. I also have Hashimoto’s Disease  (Autoimmune Thyroiditis that is most often found in those with HLA DQ2). I also had many severe vitamin deficiencies and other autoimmune diseases (many autoimmune diseases run in my family).

I was really curious about my own genetic makeup. Last month my gastroenterologist ordered the full Celiac Genetic Blood work. (Cheek swabs don’t do this type of work up..it can only be done via blood work). My long time doctor thought that I would definitely have both DQ2 and 8 based on my medical history. He was very shocked at the results when he called me!

In my case, I did not have the straight up HLA DQ2 or DQ8 genes, but I had other alleles (versions) of those genes that can lead to the development of Celiac Disease. When combined they can form the “perfect storm” scenario. Given the results of the genetic testing; I was confused, was I still a Celiac? The chances were smaller (it was 1 in 2,000) but it is likely, based on genetic testing and the versions of the genes that I carry. Along with a biopsy showing villous atrophy, clean biopsy two years later and autoimmune thyroiditis (seen in those with HLA DQ2) and other health issues that I have. Basically, a “perfect storm” has to form and I most likely formed it. My doctor and I will go over results in more detail when I see him next.  You might ask, does it mean that I can go out and eat gluten…..absolutely not, I am still considered a Celiac!  (My doctor thought I would carry both genes straight up but the full genetic work up made sense) See graphic below of those who should have HLA Genetic Testing Done.

3. DH: Your Celiac Diagnosis is hiding in a skin rash; often misdiagnosed as Eczema.

Often a person with DH (Dermatitis Herpeteformis) will test negative on blood tests and intestinal biopsy  and nobody is looking at their skin rash!  So many Celiacs get missed this way.  Those who are tested have a skin biopsy that tests positive for the disease. If you have the skin manifestation of Celiac Disease (DH); which I had, the rash can be biopsied and tested for Celiac Disease.  15-25% of those with Celiac Disease also have the DH rash.

DH can show up anywhere..in the mouth, nose, scalp, arms, legs, face, abdomen, ankles, genitals, etc. I had a raging case of DH and the worst was on my scalp. I was sent to the top dermatolagist at NIH back in the early to mid 80’s and he could never figure it out.  I took steroids, I applied steroid creams and nothing worked. He never took a biopsy of the rash and never considered food (gluten) being a cause.

Finally, when my gastroenterologist said the words “Celiac Sprue” and I went off of gluten..the rash went away..it took about 8 months for it to clear up. If I have an accidental glutening, it returns and takes 8 months to fully clear up.  If I get glutened again I get 8 more months of this rash. It keeps piling on..so if someone keeps getting gluten in their system, the rash does not go away. For me, the severity of my DH depends on how much gluten I accidentally ingested.   Currently they don’t know why some Celiacs only damage on their skin and not in their intestines and more research is needed in this area.  See a gastroenterologist well versed in Celiac Disease first and they will refer you to someone who can do the biopsy correctly (it is very specific and must be done by someone who has done it before and knows what they are doing)! Click here for info on DH

Clearly, this shows that there is so much they still don’t know about Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity.  Please support those who are actively working towards solving the puzzle such as the Center for Celiac Research at Mass General! Click Here for Center for Celiac Research

HLA Testing graphic

 

Canadian Study: Why GF/AF Food Costs More!

A Canadian study looked at the increase in cost for GF (Gluten Free) foods in grocery stores and it will blow your mind! If you or a family member have been recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease or Food Allergies you have probably noticed how much more you spend in the grocery store.  Also, you may notice the increased cost when dining out (if you are able to dine out safely). This is something I hear about from customers who are new to GF (gluten free) and some who just like to complain first and think later.  Most with serious food allergies can’t eat anywhere safely, unless they come to One Dish Cuisine Cafe, Deli & Bakery and they don’t ever complain about the prices because they understand what it takes to do what we do in order to safely feed them.

I was reading the Celiac Disease Digest newsletter from Children’s National Medical Center and they referenced a study done in 2008 by Canada’s Dalhousie Medical School. They looked at 56 ordinary grocery items that contain gluten and then they looked at 56  GF versions of the same products. All of the GF products were more expensive. On average, they were 242 % more expensive!

gotta be kidding me

My reaction exactly;  but wait, there’s more! I know that our food is more expensive than mainstream restaurants, but we are nowhere near 242% more expensive because we price our products as low as we can and we don’t make near the profit as a mainstream restaurant. If that was true in my restaurant; we would be saying “That Reuben will be $41.00 please”. They did this study based on the cost of food in grocery stores.

I will give you a couple of examples:

1lb of chicken wings here costs $11.99 and a local restaurant in Maryland charges $10.99 for their allergy filled and gluten filled wings (we are about 9% higher..nowhere near 242%). The local restaurant sells their gluten and allergen filled Reuben for $11.99 including fries.  We sell our Reuben Sandwich for $14.99  (add fries to it and the cost is $17.99 or 20% more because of the homemade GF/AF bread & hand cut fries and handmade condiments, etc.)  Mmmmmm….

Our Reuben costs   20 % more                      Our Wings cost        9 % more

Yup and our last price increase was in January of 2015, more than a year ago and some customers stopped coming because it is too expensive. We are nowhere near 242% higher than other restaurants!  But each week you pay an average of 242% more in a grocery store.

According to the study, the average cost of a GF product was $1.71 and the average cost for the gluten filled counterpart was $.61. Unit cost was based on 100 grams. Hence; 242%.

The study cited the following as the main reasons that GF/AF Products cost more:

Here are some of the factors that increase costs in gluten-free manufacturing:
  1. Thorough and regular cleaning of factories, which increases production costs
  2. Less competition due to a limited number of manufacturers that meet production standards
  3. Gluten-free foods are often made with more expensive ingredients such as brown rice flour, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat; some also contain special sweeteners such as honey, agave, or coconut sugar
  4. A limited supply of gluten-free products, available only in stores with higher margins
  5. Simple supply and demand; until more people are diagnosed with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or prefer to purchase gluten free foods for other reasons, the products will remain limited.
Can J Diet Pract Res. 2008 Fall; 69(3):147-50. Gluten-free and regular foods: a cost comparison. Stevens L1, Rashid M.
But wait, there is still more. Last week I was reading a post on a GF Facebook page and they were talking about the need for more completely GF restaurants and many of the comments were…”we need GF restaurants but please don’t price gouge us”.  I thought to myself, “are you kidding me”…we don’t price gouge anyone! We only feed between 1 and 5% of the population and every day is struggle to keep prices so you can afford to eat and we struggle to get people in the door….we serve a small sliver of the population. We don’t have the luxury of falling back on the high mark up that accompanies alcohol sales. Alcohol does not need to be labeled for gluten or any allergen, it is not regulated by the FDA, so we don’t have it here.
At Home Challenge: Pull open that drawer where you keep all of your Carry Out Menus and see for yourself. Reality Check; look at the prices on our menu (on our website) and compare them to your local gluten and allergy filled restaurant and see how we compare to their gluten/allergen filled food and any “GF” item they may offer without any guarantee. We are nowhere near 242% higher as you see in a grocery store.
You will see the biggest price difference on items that involve breads, pizza, pastas and baked goods because of the high cost of GF flours.  Look at what you pay for a small GF Pizza in the freezer isle or from a “I hope it is really GF Menu” in a mainstream restaurant:
$ 11.99- 10″ Round (79 sq inches; .15 sq inch)
  for pre-made frozen pizza and hope it is GF at a hot fired oven place.
$7.99- 8″ Square (64 sq inches; .12 sq inch)
  for square pizza & hope it is GF at this place known for its’ rectangle pizza.
$ 16.49- Rectangle 9x 12  (108 sq inches; .15 sq inch)
  for One Dish Cuisine and you have leftovers.
It costs nothing in one comparison or 3 cents more per square inch in the other comparison in order to eat a safe pizza at our completely GF/Allergy Friendly Cafe, Deli & Bakery.  So, when I hear someone say we are “price gouging”, I want to bang my head against the wall!
When you walk into a completely GF Restaurant you are no longer in the “land of gluten and honey”!  In our case we are completely free of most allergens and we have two separate kitchens using about 2x as much square footage as a mainstream restaurant kitchen, 4 times the amount of ovens and refrigerators & freezers, 3 or 4x the labor cost because we have to make everything in house to ensure it is safe. We make our own bread, and desserts, make our own salad dressings, croutons, sauces, slice our meats fresh and we hand cut our own french fries because we can’t buy them commercially without a coating of gluten or soy on them.  A 25 bag of wheat flour costs about $8.50 and our specialty GF Flour cost about $30-$35 per 25lb bag.  But wait, there is more. We take the worry out of dining out for you.
Many of you have seen me discuss prices in previous newsletters. I thought this study was great information to share, especially because the study was done by someone other than  me. In closing, I hope you will rejoice that we don’t have a 242% mark up in our cafe, deli and bakery; if we did that Reuben would be  $41.00! P.S. I need a blown up version of the photo below to put on my office door; it just might come in handy.
 bang head here

 

Drink the “Drano”; Dining Out Part 2

Last week I told you all about the anxiety I was going through prior to meeting an elementary school teacher and classmates out for dinner in Annapolis.  In this post I will tell you all how I handled the situation and then touch on the stigma that we all live with when it comes to Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, or Food Allergies and how we can get the message across about how serious our illness is to the “doubters”. (We get to the “Drano” which is a blue liquid, toxic, drain de-colgger at the end)

I arrived early at the Thai Restaurant and talked with the waitress. I told her about my experience a couple of years ago.  She said they get a lot of requests for GF meals and that they use clean pans and utensils but can’t make any guarantee that my meal will be GF. Then she added that she has been there for a year and a half and has never been told that they got anyone sick.  I asked her if they see many people with Celiac Disease and she said that the majority are just making a “dietary choice” and not Celiac. I explained that I have Celiac and I did get sick last year and that a person who is just making a “dietary choice” probably would not know if they were exposed to gluten or not.  I told her that I appreciated her honesty but could not take a chance dining there. She clearly understood me and the seriousness of my situation.

My friends arrived and we enjoyed some wine. When it came time to order I just explained that I have Celiac Disease and it is not safe for me to eat there and that I planned ahead and ate at home.  Everyone understood, one “teared up” and I explained that it is no problem for me and I just want to enjoy everyone’s company. That was the end of that and we all had a great time.

I thought about how lucky I was that this went so smoothly and was so thankful that I did not hear any of the nonsense that we all have heard from family and friends at one time or another. We have all heard the term “drink the Koolaide”.  Well, I have my own term “Drink the Drano”. Below are the insane things we often hear from doubters followed by my standard answer that I give. Many of you have heard me say this in my restaurant and in previous articles. People are very “visual” I have seriously considered carrying a little plastic container of blue dish soap with me. It would be my prop of “Drano” and would come in handy in every situation. (see photos at bottom)

“Just a little won’t hurt you”“Really? Drink this Drano first and let me know if it hurts you”

“What is the worst thing that can happen?”“Drink this Drano and find out”

 “It won’t kill you”“Drink this Drano and let’s see how you make out”

“I am a vegetarian; I know how you feel”“Drink this Drano and let me know if this is how you feel when you don’t stick to your vegetarian diet”

“Are you trying to lose weight?”“Drink this Drano and tell me if it would be worth avoiding at all costs”

“I heard that is a FAD.”“Drink this Drano and let me know if avoiding it will be a FAD or a way to avoid illness for you”

“I read on the internet that you can have sourdough bread and wheat grown in Germany”“Drink this Drano and let me know if you want to buy into that nonsense”

“How can you survive without bread” “Drink this Drano and you will see why not eating bread is the only way I can survive”

“It is gluten free; there is no wheat in it.” (Chef to Celiac who was questioning why there is Barley Soup on the GF Menu..yes; it was real barley in the soup). – Run to the nearest exit!

I chose to make a stand for myself and for all of those with Celiac Disease and Food Allergies by telling the waitress that it was not safe for me to eat there!

What are your thoughts? Will you make a stand? Would the “Drano Challenge” help you when your Celiac/Food Allergies or Gluten Sensitivity are not being taken seriously?  Feel free to leave comments here on the blog.

 

 

General Mills Cheerios Recall, 1.8 Million Boxes!

-10/05/15: General Mills recalls 1.8 Million Boxes of Cheerios produced over a 17 day period. This blog post will give you the lot numbers and information about how General Mills was testing their product.  Over the past two weeks, I  warned you about contamination in GF Cheerios.  Then I was accused of spreading a “hate campaign” against General Mills and their Gluten Free Cheerios. Now, it appears that General Mills is an active participant;  voluntarily spreading their own “hate themselves campaign” with a very real and very scary recall of their NOT GF CHEERIOS!

Gluten Free Watchdog updated their information again today. I encourage everyone to throw out their Cheerios if they bought them. (I am sure you will be horrified after reading the information below.)

-To the Gluten Free Watchdog Community:

This afternoon General Mills announced a recall of certain lots of regular Yellow Box and Honey Nut Cheerios. According to the press release the lots impacted were produced at the facility in Lodi, California during a four-day period for Yellow Box and thirteen-day period for Honey Nut. If you have boxes of Cheerios in your pantry please check the Better if Used By Date for the following:

Honey Nut Cheerios Honey Nut Cheerios Honey Nut Cheerios  Yellow Box Cheerios
12JUL2016LD
13JUL2016LD
14JUL2016LD
15JUL2016LD
16JUL2016LD
17JUL2016LD
18JUL2016LD
20JUL2016LD
21JUL2016LD
22JUL2016LD
23JUL2016LD
24JUL2016LD
25JUL2016LD
14JUL2016LD
15JUL2016LD
16JUL2016LD
17JUL2016LD

According to General Mills, this recall is due to wheat flour being accidentally introduced into the oat flour. However, if the testing on final product Cheerios is as good as General Mills thinks it is then these lots of Cheerios never would have left the plant and made it to market.

My very strong recommendation at this time is to avoid Cheerios until General Mills improves their testing methodology and protocol.

Just a reminder of how General Mills tests Cheerios for gluten contamination:

General Mills pulls 12 to 18 boxes during a 24 hour production cycle, grinds the contents of each box, takes a sample from the contents of each box, mixes all the samples together and regrinds, tests 12 sub-samples, and averages the results to provide a lot mean.

When I visited General Mills I was shown extraction values for some of the lots of yellow box Cheerios produced during the gluten-free validation phase (these Cheerios did NOT go into boxes labeled gluten-free). One extraction from one of the lots was above 90 parts per million of gluten. Because the other extraction values were so low, the lot mean was somewhere in the range of 10 to 13 ppm gluten. As a result this lot was viewed as “good to go.”

My recommendation to General Mills in person and online has been and continues to be the following:

In the opinion of Gluten Free Watchdog, if test results on a composite sample of 12 to 18 boxes of Cheerios include any values at or above 20 ppm of gluten, General Mills should explore the reason for these findings via testing of the individual boxes of Cheerios used in the composite. A result at or above 20 ppm should not be discounted as simply a random hot spot (e.g., due to an errant small fleck of barley) just because the lot mean is below 20 ppm of gluten.

And now I add the following:  General Mills …

If you had investigated high test results from your composite sample testing versus blaming these results on errant barley flakes this never would have happened.

If you had taken consumer reports of illness seriously from the beginning maybe this situation would have been detected sooner, preventing so many from getting sick.

If you had not been so darn sure of yourselves maybe you would have listened to those who were trying to help prevent this from happening.

Gluten Free Watchdog will be testing eight boxes of Cheerios involved in the recall to determine the gluten level in these products.

I agree with GF Watchdog and I think the bigger problem is the lack of Federal Regulation, because anyone can put a GF label on a product, but the FDA does not require testing, nor do they oversee those making GF claims on their products. Scroll down to read my two previous blog posts to get the history on this saga and who  accused me (Maureen)gluten-free-cheerios-safe-or-not-fb of spreading a “hate campaign” against GF Cheerios.

Another GF Bakery/Cafe Closes It’s Doors

BlogLogo

Another GF Bakery/Cafe Closes!  It always makes me very sad when I see a gluten free business close.  A couple of years ago we saw Freedom Bakery in Severna Park, MD close it’s doors after 3 years.  Magnolia Cafe in Byhalia, MS, closed in June, great food but in a town with only 3,000 people; they did not last long. Now we have Betsy’s Bakery in Harrisburg/Camp Hill, PA closing their doors after 3 years. They notified the public via their facebook page on 8/1; with their last day being 8/8. This got me thinking about why this happens and ultimately, if they have a great product, it is usually from the reduced number of customers that these specialty bakeries/cafes struggle to serve. If people don’t come in, they can’t pay their bills.

However, other factors can contribute to the demise; such as an inferior product and poor management. Most could weather the storm if they have a great product and the number of customers stayed constant. Betsy’s had a great product! We all know that gluten free and allergen free is more expensive.  Why is it more expensive? It is supply and demand; business owners just can’t control that market factor which makes our cost of doing business much higher than regular restaurants or bakeries.

The next big hurdle is the labor or manpower that it takes to make everything from scratch. When I talk with other GF business owners, our biggest frustration is that some of our customers say that they want a product that won’t make them sick; which we deliver, and then they complain about the cost. I hear that from customers too. They pay more in the grocery store for GF/AF products, why would it be different in a restaurant?

Here is an example:
A customer goes to a local “coal fired” pizza place and gets a pre-made 10″ GF crust that is topped on site and they pay $11.95 for a 79 sq inch individual pizza and agree to the disclaimer that they cannot guarantee it to be GF when they place their order! Or the other place that makes square pizzas that are not guaranteed to be GF and pay $7.99 for 8″ pizza (64 sq inches) that is not guaranteed to be GF either. Our small pizza is 12×9, 108 sq inches for $16.99. Below is the price comparison per square inch:

-Coal Fired: 11.99 divided by   79″ =  15.1 cents per sq inch for 10″ round pizza; hope it is really GF!

-Square:       7.99 divided by   64″ =  12.4 cents per sq inch for 8″ square pizza and hope it is really GF!

-One Dish:   16.99 divided by 108″ = 15.7 per sq inch for 12×9 fresh pizza & know it is safe & have leftovers too!

Knowing the above, when people come in and complain about the price when ours is made fresh, in our dedicated GF & AF restaurant, vitamin enriched and less than 1 cent higher in cost than the coal fired place and 3.3 cents higher than the square pizza place, it is all I can do to control myself!

So, in summary, many reasons contribute to the closing of completely GF restaurants and bakeries and the biggest factor is the lack of customers compared to other mainstream restaurants/bakeries. The regular restaurants out there feed 95% of the population and we only feed 5%.

Often I hear this statement from some in the gluten and allergen free communities; “there is no place safe to eat”. I don’t see how they can make that statement when they are not supporting the one that is safe and is within 5, 10, 20 or 30 miles of them!  Here is an example. Last week, we had customers in for the first time; who live 12 miles away and have known about us since we opened. Two of the family members are Celiac and they just got around to coming in here; three years after we opened! They were so nice and I am so glad that they came in; I always say “better late than never”. However, GF/Allergen Free restaurants really need your support  when they first open and throughout the year. You don’t want to make the trip only to find out that they went out of business last week; something that I think will be happening in Harrisburg/Camp Hill for a while!

There is so much excitement in GF media when a chain starts offering GF menu items.  Where is the excitement for the completely GF/AF place?

It is my hope that customers will realize this and support their local GF/AF free restaurants, who have risked it all in order to safely serve them. These restaurant owners are the ones who give it all, risk it all and lose it all if they are forced to close. So, if you live near a dedicated bakery or cafe that offers a great GF/AF product, please support them. If they close and have a great product, it is usually from not enough customers; especially if they have been in business for a while.

As always, thank you to all of our customers who keep us going here at One Dish Cuisine Cafe, Deli & Bakery. Also, a big thank you to all of those who have given all and started a GF Bakery/Restaurant to serve their communities!

Betsy's Bakery Cafe, Harrisburg/Camp Hill, PA
Betsy’s Bakery Cafe, Harrisburg/Camp Hill, PA

Science Sounds The Alarm on Your Brain and Gluten

Science Sounds The Alarm About Your Brain and Gluten!   
From July 2015 Newsletter:
I think this is the area where we are going to see the most breakthroughs in medicine as it relates to celiac disease, gluten and our brains. I experience severe neurological symptoms when I accidentally ingest gluten as do many customers and one of my close friends.  Recently, after a severe glutening and neurological complications as part of her response, my friend saw her gastro; who sent her to a neurologist. The neurologist confirmed the complications from gluten exposure after her ran tests and ruled out MS.  So, it is great to see this being acknowledged by neurologists.
Allergic Living recently did an article; about the scientific proof and the devastating effects that gluten can have on your Brain. Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou was the first to study this!  He said that the patients had “significantly less” brain density. The study showed that there were changes to the cerebellum (balance center) and to the thalamus which conveys sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex, and to areas of the brain associated with depression. For some it is just the inability to think clearly or being diagnosed with ADHD or Autism, when actually it could be Celiac Disease.

“We have to think of the bowel, not as where the disease occurs, but as an innocent bystander where the gluten crosses to do its damage,” Hadjivassiliou says. “It’s imperative that we change the mindset about celiac disease and brain dysfunction.”

10-30% of those with Celiac Disease have some form of neurological complications. It can be headaches, the inability to walk in a straight line, fumbled speech, walking into things, being off balance. The doctor even advocates for questions about headache and loss of balance to be asked when they go over a celiac symptom checklist! Those with bowel complaints are easy to diagnose, but many don’t have bowel complaints because their only symptoms are neurological!  Unfortunately for those without bowel issues; by the time they get to their neurologist it is too late because the nervous system does not regenerate like the intestines do.

When this is the case, the gluten free diet will only halt the damage in it’s tracks but not reverse the damage. This motor control condition is called Gluten Ataxia; where grey matter accumulates on the brain and can shrink areas of the brain! The gluten free diet can halt additional damage, but it does not mean they will be able to walk again.

“With grey matter damage, you may have balance issues, problems speaking or sensory symptoms. With white matter damage, you may suffer headaches as intense as migraines, have tingling sensations in your arms and legs, experience extreme fatigue or suffer from insomnia.”

While most mild cases won’t show up on brain scans, Hadjivassiliou’s research shows that repeated incidents of getting “glutened” or “cheating”  on the diet can lead to more serious, long-term brain effects.

Dr Dan Leffler of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is studying this too and said:
“This is an issue that is very real and very common and the big problem is misdiagnosis because it just doesn’t get enough attention.”

Gluten actually causes increased intestinal permeability by inducing a compound called zonulin to be released. Zonulin causes tight junctions to not be so tight…thus increased intestinal permeability. The large gluten molecule is able to molecularly interact with our body and cause our body to increase zonulin production…zonulin then causes increased permeability…and then this large gluten molecule is able to get into our body. The gluten molecule is too large to normally enter our body therefore when it does gain access to our body through our small intestine, our immune system perceives it as a threat and for some people it starts the cascade of a chronic disease.

So how does this all come together???? Thanks to Dr Alessio Fasano at the Center for Celiac Research, we know that gluten causes increased intestinal permiability (little holes in the walls of the intestine) which causes a compound “Zonulin” to be released which allows the gluten molecule to get into our bloodstream thru the little holes in our intestines. Once it gets there our immune system sees it as a “threat” and for some it causes a whole list of chronic diseases. Also, zonulin causes cellular reactions throughout the body, not just within the gut. For some people this will never happen, for others it will!

Check out my blog under “brain” for past articles from newsletters where I wrote about this as well!