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FlavorIce, Otter Pops, and Pop Ice

Otter Pops

Otter Pops are Another Gluten Free Treat!

If you visit a grocery store in the summer, chances are you pass by Flavor-Ice, Otter Pops, or Pop Ice.  Or if you ever attended a summer camp, vacation bible school, or summer school, you probably snacked on one of them for a treat.  You would think they contain water, flavoring, and sugar, but with Celiac, you never take anything for granted.

So we wanted to find out for sure if these summer treats were gluten free.  It took awhile, but we finally found the parent company, JelSert (http://www.jelsert.com/).  JelSert makes many other products, including Wylers drink mixes, Royal pudding and gelatin, and Hawaiian Punch.  When you visit their FAQ page, the frozen treats are at the top of the list, with no indication about gluten content.  As you scroll down, through other products, you see things like Wylers drinks and various Royal flavors being gluten free.  Finally, in scrolling quite a ways down, you do see a listing of all the JelSert products classified as gluten free:

JEL SERT GLUTEN STATEMENT

The following Jel Sert Products do not contain Wheat Gluten:

  • Mondo Fruit Squeezers
  • Fla·Vor·Ice Freezer Bars
  • Fla·Vor·Ice Light Freezer Bars
  • Fla·Vor·Ice Plus Freezer Bars
  • Pop Ice Freezer Bars
  • Otter Pops Freezer Bars
  • Otter Pops Plus Freezer Bars
  • Wyler’s Italian Ice Freezer Bars
  • Royal Puddings and Gelatins
  • Royal Flan
  • My*T*Fine Chocolate Pudding
  • My*T*Fine Chocolate Fudge Pudding
  • My*T*Fine Vanilla Pudding
  • My*T*Fine Lemon Pudding
  • Wyler’s Light Sugar–Free Powdered Soft Drinks
  • Wyler’s Powdered Soft Drinks
  • Flavor Aid Powdered Soft Drinks
  • Hawaiian Punch Drink Mixes
  • Hawaiian Punch Freezer Bars
  • ICEE Freezer Bars
  • Sipahh
  • Soda Pops
  • Diet Snapple Drink Mixes
  • Tampico Freezer Bars
  • Jelly Belly Freezer Bars
  • Jelly Belly Gelatins
  • Kool Pops Freezer Bars

Quite a few things, including the ICEE Freezer pops.  Glad to know so many ‘traditional’ treats are gluten free.

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Image used under Creative Commons license by flickr user nmoroder

Our Favorite Summer Treats!

WRAL 7 Day Forecast

The Weather Outside Is Frightful, So Stay Inside with GF Treats!

The dog days, or melty days, of summer are on us in Raleigh.  What type of gluten free treats do you like in the summer?  Do you struggle to find great, quick treats, that also contain no gluten?  Here are some of ours from the past:

  • Summer Time Means Dairy Queen (June 1, 2010)–nothing but ice cream comes to mind when you think of summer.  Luckily, DQ does contain many gf treats, even including some Blizzard flavors.
  • S’more Smores (April 24, 2010)–When the temps do cool off (some) in the evening, find out how to make gluten free Smores with gf graham crackers!
  • GF Ice Cream Cones (June 14, 2009)–if you buy one of the many ice creams in stores, you need somewhere to put it–a gluten free cone

So there are just a few yummy summer treats.  We’ll begin reviewing some others, including Popsicle brand treats, Flav-O-Ice, and others.  And in the meantime, remember–it DOES get cold in Raleigh too–check this post to look back:

http://www.raleighcelkids.com/?p=417

Popsicles

Popsicles

Popsicles Can Be Gluten Free--Check the Label!

While many brands of popsicles exist, usually we refer to the Popsicle brand when discussing Popsicles.  For the longest time, we were unsure about the gluten status of Popsicle brand pops.  Of course, reading those labels and understanding the ingredients takes a doctoral degree in Chemistry.  Recently, however, we became more confident about their labeling.

When visiting their website, when you click the ‘Ask Popsicle’ link at the bottom of the page (http://f0122a2k9rd.realdialogdirect.com/AskPopsicle), you can type in a question.  I typed in gluten, and receive the message to the left, that their labels will clearly contain ‘wheat flour, rye, barley, oats, and malt’ on the label.  While it goes on to say they cannot list gf products on the website as ingredients do change, I feel relieved in another company working to list gluten ingredients clearly on the label.

Another yummy summer treat that Celiacs can enjoy!

DeBoles Gluten Free Pasta Recall

Deboles Logo

DeBoles Pasta--One Variety Recalled By FDA

Thanks to Rebecca F. and the AllergyEats website for this heads-up.  Seems the FDA reports DeBoles, maker of many varieties of GF pasta, will voluntarily recall one of their gluten free pasta lines.

According to the press release (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm219994.htm):

July 21, 2010 – DeBoles Nutritional Foods, Inc. announced that it is recalling one lot code of DeBoles®Kids Only! Gluten Free Tubettini Corn Pasta because it may contain undeclared whole wheat alphabet pasta. People who are allergic to wheat run the risk of an allergic reaction, which may be serious or life-threatening if they consume the recalled product.

A little scary.  When you rely on a product to provide special food for an intolerance, you expect it always to stay the same.  Definitely a great wake-up call for all the Celiacs–we can never become complacent and assume just because something always was gluten free, it will continue indefinitely.  Being ever vigilant (love that phrase from AllergyEats) is crucial to staying informed!

New Nut-Thins Flavor

New Nut-Thins

New Flavor of Nut-Thins

We reviewed Blue Diamond’s gluten free Nut-Thins awhile back (http://www.raleighcelkids.com/?p=334).  Blue Diamond produces a wide variety of snack crackers and nuts (http://www.bluediamond.com/), and recently began selling the gluten free Nut-Thins.

While shopping with the girls the other day, my youngest spotted the new flavor, Barbeque.  Or as my daughter mistakenly referenced them: chocolate.  I guess she just saw the brown box.  She was disappointed for awhile, but got over it.

They definitely did not go lightly on the barbeque seasoning.  They really taste like a bag of bbq chips, but the girls (and Mom and Dad) really like them.  We like that we see companies, not traditionally ‘gluten free’ by start, continuing to research and offer new gluten free products.  This definitely makes us happy for the long term!  Stop out to Kroger for some of these Nut-Thins!

School Starts Now and Later!

Gluten Free Snack Listing

A Definite Must To Give To Your Child's Teacher!

Now for Year Round and Later (just a month) for Traditional schedules here in Wake County.  With our oldest starting kindergarten, we wanted to share our experiences so far.  We definitely came a long way with Celiac since she was diagnosed four years ago.  Celiac Disease definitely entered the main stream in that time, with all the various gluten free products out there in traditional stores and restaurants.

So how to prepare for school?  Well, we printed out the Gluten Free Snack List (http://www.celiaccentral.org/SiteData/docs/Gluten-Free-Candy-List/370e802df5a4b099ad419d940cf8fe22/Gluten-Free-Candy-List.pdf) for the first step.  We definitely encourage you to look the list over, and highlight definite gf items, as we did.  This list is about 2-3 years old, so some things may not be accurate any longer, and we highlighted those we felt safe with our daughter eating.  We provided copies of the list to her teacher and teacher assistant, just as we did for preschool.  They assured us they would keep tabs on things.

Other good tips:

  • We prepped a ‘gluten free snack sack’ for her to keep at school.  While students bring their own snacks in daily, no more communal snack, we know there will be ‘surprise’ treats at times.  And birthdays.  And parties.  So this will allow her to pull out a treat and not feel left out
  • We encouraged her to never put her lunch down on the bare cafeteria tables.   “Eat over your containers’ we told her!  Even without Celiac, we would encourage her to do that!
  • We took a deep breath and believed in our girl!  While we know so many of these things are out of our control, we need to leave it up to her to make good decisions for her own health.  She will need to be accountable for those choices, and with all the prep over the years, we definitely know she can do it!  (-:  Kindergarten and this–talk about letting go…

Cel-Kids Event–Morrisville PlayNation–August 14th

PlayNation Parties

Site of August 14th Cel-Kids: PlayNation of Morrisville

Get ready for the next Raleigh Cel-Kids Event!  Come play at the Morrisville PlayNation (Cel-Kids Google Map for Directions) on August 14th from 3-5pm and also participate in a pizza tasting with Happy Tummy Baking Company

Happy Tummy Baking Company

Come for a Pizza Tasting!

(http://www.happytummybaking.com/).  Maria will be on hand to answer questions and let us know where we can purchase Happy Tummy Pizzas.

Please make sure to bring socks for your child(ren), be prepared to sign a waiver, and plan to purchase drinks, as necessary.

Please email raleigh.celkids@gmail.com to let us know how many will attend from your family.  We need this information to share with Happy Tummy Pizza.

Hope to See You There!

Gluten Free Stomach Relief

Stomach Relief

Generic Pepto Bismol--Gluten Free!

Many people new to Celiac do a good job at checking all food they eat.  One thing that often slips their attention, however, is medicines and common household items such as toothpaste.  Many of these products do indeed contain wheat or gluten.

One thing, we recently discovered, that does not contain gluten is Equate brand Stomach Relief.  Equate, made and found at Wal*Mart produces many popular medicines at a cheaper price.  In this instance, they produce a generic brand of the popular Pepto Bismol stomach relief medicine.  We found this very helpful, as, at times, our girls do suffer with stomach ailments under a gluten free diet.  We recently found the Equate brand clearly labeled as Gluten Free.  So helpful, and a continuing trend for Wal*Mart.  They continue to do a good job of labeling their products, whether gluten free or not, and we hope that the largest store in the world will spur others to do the same.

General Mills Hamburger/Chicken Helpers

Betty Crocker Chicken Fried Rice

Betty Crocker Dinners--Gluten Free Offerings

Did you all hear the rumors?  Apparently General Mills will increase their gluten free offerings, already providing gluten free cake mixes, frostings, fruit snacks, to include gluten free BISQUICK, Hamburger Helpers, and Chicken Helpers.  Obviously not all of the Helper dinners will be gluten free, and the Bisquick will be a special gluten free blend, but SCORE!  Gluten free, easy and quick to cook dinner and breakfast mixes.

While shopping the other day at the Wake Forest Kroger, we found the Gluten Free Chicken Fried Rice Chicken Helper.  I think this one always may have been gluten free, but now they clearly label the box.  Kroger also had 10 for $10 on sale last week, so we picked up a few.

We cooked one up yesterday, and the girls actually liked it.  The dinners do contain a high amount of sodium, especially the Chicken Fried Rice, but nice to be able to pick up a $1 gluten free boxed dinner.  We can’t wait for the gf Bisquick and Hamburger Helpers, set to release this fall!

Allergy Eats Online Restaurant Guide

Allergy Eats Logo

AllergyEats--Your Online Guide to Allergy Free Eating Out

As all of us definitely do, the internet can provide a wealth of information for discovering information on gluten free living.  As with any information, you take everything with a grain of salt and test the information with your own children, but we use the websites as a good start place.  On that note, we recently were contacted by the operator of Allergy Eats website.

Paul Antico contacted us, and to provide some background information, I’ll just quote him:

As a father of 5 children, 2 of whom with food allergies, I am very aware of the difficulties and anxieties that go along with having to manage food allergies and intolerances on a daily basis. In my experience, dining out has been one of the greatest challenges and sources of frustration.

So Paul create a community run, online guide to allergy-friendly restaurants.  AllergyEats (www.allergyeats.com) allows users to easily search through a wealth of community-posted reviews of restaurants for a variety of food allergies.  You choose your allergy/intolerance, type in an address, and can optionally put in a restaurant name.  Since this site relies on user contributions, you then either select to search for restaurants or enter your own review.  Paul claims that the site includes over 600,000 US restaurants, which I assume includes chains.

To test the site, I entered ‘wheat’ and ‘gluten’ as my allergens, then entered our North Raleigh location.  Right away, the first thing I see is the disclaimer:

This is a guide, not a guarantee. The ratings have been created by peers, NOT allergy experts. Always inform restaurant staff about your allergies and restrictions upfront. Ask questions and remain vigilant, as always.

I like that.  Many folks, new to an allergy/intolerance take everything they find online as gospel.  We at Raleigh Cel-Kids, along with most sites, try to reiterate that information is just that: information.  I like the phrase ‘remain vigilant,’ as we do need to do that as well.  Things change, unscrupulous people mention foods as gluten free when they are not (Raleigh’s bread company anyone?)  So they did well to put that disclaimer at the top of the search results.

Restaurant Listing

What's Gluten Free in North Raleigh?

Now, what did we find?   In the image to the left, you’ll see some of the listing.  Some common ones, Rosie’s, Mellow Mushroom, but then some others I was unaware of.  The top hit, Coquette Brasserie, was one I had not heard of.  So I clicked the DETAILS & COMMENTS link.  In this case, only one reviewer talked about this restaurant in North Hills.  They mentioned calling and the chef telling them everything gluten free.  Again, take it at your own risk, but the whole point of the site is to generate user content.  By reviewing this site and adding YOUR own content to it, we can grow this site even more.  I definitely encourage all of you to add content.  A great idea, an easy-to-use interface, and a good tool.