Tag Archives: GlutenFreePDX

All New Site!

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Hi there. So, if you’ve visited GlutenFreePDX recently, you’ll notice that it’s all new! The old site had outgrown the platform on which it was built, and it was in need of an upgrade. The new website is cleaner and simpler, and we think you’ll find it loads pages much faster, and should be easier to navigate. Oh, and it has great support for mobile devices, so browsing on your smartphone is a breeze!

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In the coming weeks we will be adding much more content, including the awesome reviews of our new team member Rachel, in addition to more localized maps, articles on health, etc.

Thanks to your support, we’re now in our fifth year, and have more content than ever! We continue to rely on our community for tips about the newest gluten-free-friendly establishments, so please give us a shout if you have comments or suggestions! Our Facebook page is ever-growing, and we love having readers give us feedback there, so join the conversation.

Thanks again, and happy eating!

-Ben VanderVeen, founder

EatWell

The Oregonian on GF Diets

Focus on gluten: Avoiding it requires diligence

Via the Oregonian:

Chances are you know someone who avoids eating gluten, the stored protein found in wheat, rye, barley and several other common flours.

These are the people who spend more than $2.6 billion a year on gluten-free food at the supermarket. The ones who pass on cake and cookies at the office, think twice about pastry and pizza and bring their own food when you invite them over for dinner.

They have their reasons. Some believe they are gluten sensitive and say they feel better, physically and emotionally, when they don’t eat it. Others, those with celiac disease, cannot consume even a tiny amount of gluten without pain or damage to their small intestines.

Estimates are that as many as 18 million Americans, 6 percent of the population, are gluten sensitive. But because there is no reliable, scientific test for the condition, many doctors remain skeptical, says Dr. Peter H.R. Green of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. (Take his quiz on celiac disease here.)

“Many physicians would roll their eyes and say, ‘God, another crazy person with food sensitivities,’” he says, but evidence is mounting that gluten sensitivity exists apart from celiac disease. He and other experts recommend first ruling out celiac disease and other forms of intestinal inflammation and then trying a gluten-free diet. Critics argue that people who jump on the gluten-free bandwagon without first consulting a doctor may be avoiding gluten unnecessarily, paying more for gluten-free food and wasting time and energy on monitoring their gluten intake.

On the other hand, an estimated 3 million Americans, about 1 percent of the population, do have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that leaves them more vulnerable to a variety of complications, including cancer. That’s more than the number of people with epilepsy (2.7 million) or Parkinson’s disease (1 million), according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.

Help in cutting out gluten
A handful of resources on gluten-related disorders:
Magazines
Gluten Free Living, $34 a year.
Living Without, $23 a year.
Books
“Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic,” revised and updated, by Peter H.R. Green and Rory Jones, (William Morrow, 333 pages, $25.99).
“Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide,” expanded and revised, by Shelley Case (Case Nutrition Consulting Inc., 368 pages, $26.95).
Websites
Americanceliac.org, the American Celiac Disease Alliance, tracks U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines on gluten-free food.
Glutenfree-registry.com, a state-by-state guide to gluten-free restaurants, bakeries, caterers and grocers.
GlutenFreePDX, the first Portland-centric dining guide for those seeking gluten-free restaurants and shops.
Support groups
Metro Portland Gluten Intolerance Group, meets 10 a.m. to noon on the second Saturday of each month at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, 501 N. Graham St. No cost to attend meetings. Website lists gluten-free restaurants in the Portland area and includes a running blog, graindamaged.blog-spot.com. See gigbranches.org for branches in other cities and states.
Grocers
New Seasons markets offer free gluten-free tours and product tastings. Check the schedule at newseasonsmarket.
com/assets/files/gf-winter-tours-2012.pdf.
Lingonberries Market, 6300 N.E. 117th Ave., Vancouver, specializes in gluten- and wheat-free products and allergy-friendly foods.

More than 300 medical complaints have been associated with celiac disease. One physicians’ manual, “Recognizing Celiac Disease: Signs, Symptoms, Associated Disorders & Complications,” includes a 164-page chart. Experts say doctors often misdiagnose celiac, which means it can take years for patients to find out they have it. Then begins the painstaking process of eliminating gluten from their diets.

“When you get a celiac diagnosis, the next thing you do is get a stronger pair of glasses,” says David Ward, 65, of Salem. “You have to read all the fine print on every label.” Ward says he’s discovered gluten in places most people wouldn’t look for it: in a common over-the-counter pain reliever, in the adhesive on imported envelopes, in bulk bins of Halloween candy prominently labeled “gluten-free” but manufactured on equipment also used to process wheat.

Ward suspects he’s had celiac disease for years without realizing it, figuring that his main symptoms — feeling tired, depressed or angry — were “normal.” Since his diagnosis in 2004, his wife, Nancy, 65, has reorganized their kitchen, creating a gluten-free zone and dedicating several drawers to a variety of alternative flours and baking mixes, all marked “GF” and dated. She bakes her own gluten-free bread, packs gluten-free pretzels on road trips and takes gluten-free dishes to church potlucks, though fears of cross-contamination mean the couple don’t go out much anymore.

“I’d make him a dish of baked beans and put it on the table,” she says.

“And by the time I got there, some croutons from the Caesar salad had fallen in the beans,” he adds, shaking his head.

Despite their best efforts, Ward says the longest he’s managed to “stay clean” (avoid eating gluten) is about eight months. He says he knows within five or six hours that he’s been contaminated, and it can take five or six weeks to feel good again.

“But, you know,” he says good-naturedly, “it does no good to complain.”

Patty Hatten, 53, of Northeast Portland doesn’t complain either, though she has struggled with abdominal pain before and since her celiac diagnosis in 2001. Hatten suspects that despite her best efforts, she’s “getting gluten somewhere.”

“I’ve checked everything I put on my skin, and all my medications,” she says. Her kitchen is divided between her gluten-free area and “glutopia,” where her husband and grown children prepare their food. She says she’s meticulous about keeping her kitchen and cooking utensils clean, and she hasn’t let celiac disease keep her from baking. She’s adapted and perfected some recipes — the biscotti she baked at Christmas, for example — and experimented with new ones.

“This is a good time and a good place” to live with celiac disease, she says. Portland offers an abundance of fresh, whole “real” food free of gluten.

“I love food, I love preparing food,” Hatten says, but she thinks about celiac disease and its implications “all the time.” She doesn’t eat out in cafes and restaurants very often, and when she’s invited to friends’ homes she takes her own food.

“I want to say to them, ‘Please don’t be offended, I want to enjoy your company,’” she says. “This disease could shorten my life. This diagnosis has changed my world.”

Dr. Lisa Shaver has heard that before. As manager of the Portland branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group, she’s part of a national network that supports patients with gluten disorders. The Portland group meets on the second Saturday of each month at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in North Portland.

“I guess I’m an optimist, a ‘the-glass-is-half-full’ kind of person,” says the naturopath and acupuncturist who has been gluten-free for four years. She sees a gluten disorder as an opportunity to eat better, to shun processed food and focus on healthier choices. And, she adds, a diagnosis of celiac disease often comes as a relief to patients.

“The knowledge that there is a reason why people have been so ill is usually elating. These people aren’t crazy, and they have found a reason for their symptoms,” Shaver says. “And it’s managed by diet, great news, not an onslaught of new medications.”

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are the most fundamental of holiday cookies. Here is a recipe for people who have to avoid gluten.
This easy recipe can also be adapted for stained glass ornaments or jam thumbprints.
From Crazy About Cookies (Sterling, $17.95) by Crystina Castella.
Ingredients: 
  • 2 cups brown rice flour, plus more for rolling out dough
    1 ½ cup sweet rice flour
    1 cup potato starch
    1 tablespoon xanthan gum
    1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
    1 cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup vegetable shortening
    ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    3 large eggs
    2 tablespoons vanilla extract
    Royal icing (recipe below)
Preparation instructions: 

Combine the rice flours, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the sugars, shortening and butter until fluffy on medium speed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla.

Gradually add the flour mixture until combined.
Divide dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll dough out to ¼ inch thickness on a work surface dusted with brown rice flour. Cut out with cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheets, 1 inch apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until just golden. Transfer cookies to cooling rack and let cool completely.
Decorate with royal icing.


Makes about 20 large cut-out cookies.

  • Royal Icing
    Ingredients:
    2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    1 teaspoon powdered egg whites
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    3 tablespoons water

Preparation instructions:
Combine all ingredients until blended. Add more water or confectioners’ sugar until tick and stiff.
Divide icing into small cups or bowls and color with food coloring if desired. Use a new (and clean) small paintbrush to apply icing to cookies. You can wash the brushes in between colors.
Add decorating sugars, nuts or other items to the cookie while icing is still wet.
After decorating cookies, let the icing dry before storing them in an airtight container in a single layer. Use waxed paper to separate layers

Variations:
Ornaments: You can make “stained glass” ornaments to hang from your tree. Crush Lifesavers or other hard candies with a mortar and pestle. Cut out small shapes in the cookie. Place on baking sheet and fill cutout shapes with crushed candies. Bake cookies as described above. Allow cookies to cool slightly on baking sheet before moving to cooling rack. Decorate cookie with additional frosting if desired.

Gluten-Free Jam Thumbprints: Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Press each ball with your thumb to make an indentation. Fill with your favorite fruit jam then bake. To shape the cookies, take a slightly bigger ball of dough and press flat into a 1-inch cookie cutter. Push through the cutter to remove. Make indentation with thumb and fill with jam and bake.

New Site Sponsor: Sina Baking, a.k.a. Pãobread!

In the age of Google, it’s clearly evident that you as an internet user have a billion choices to find your information. We also know that within our own realm, there are a handful of gluten-free guides for our part of the Pacific Northwest.  So we strive to make GlutenFreePDX the most used GF dining guide around.  The site now boasts over 120 dining/drinking establishments with verified gluten-free choices, as well as dozens of other businesses that cater to a gluten-free audience.

We’re also hoping to keep the site active, updated and local, and relevant, which is why we seek local sponsors to support GlutenFreePDX.  We’re excited to share our latest local sponsor, Sina Baking, better known for their awesome baked goods, Pãobread!  Jewelie Schultz of Sina has become a monthly sponsor, and you can see her ads on our site, here.

There are three awesome varieties of Paobread, and we’re big fans of it. Indeed, we made some to share over Thanksgiving, and  our non-gluten-free friends were very impressed.

So, we wanted to say thanks again to Sina Baking for their support, and make sure to check out our post about their Brazilian cheese bread here!

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Turkey

Gluten Free Girl remains ‘royalty’ in the world of gluten-free food writing. We read her page often, and are excited to try this recipe for our turkey this Thanksgiving!

Gluten-free Turkey for Thanksgiving

I love a good roasted turkey, the skin crisp, the flesh juicy. Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t start for me until I have stolen a piece of skin from the bird just out of the oven.

For that reason, a dry turkey that flecks off the bone and makes me reach for the gravy boat is just plain depressing.

(I’m not the only one who looks forward all year to that glorious turkey moment. Did you see Kim Severson’s piece about Thanksgiving turkey in last week’s New York Times? Of course, you also have to read the flip side, Julia Moskin’s piece about how much more she enjoys the sides than the bird. Where do you stand?)

Thankfully, since Danny came into my life, the only reason I have to reach for more gravy is that it’s delicious. Even if it is gluten-free.

Did you know that some frozen turkeys can have gluten in them? The turkeys with pre-injected basting might. Seriously? You don’t want those anyway.

We put in our order for a free-range turkey, raised locally, never frozen ja few days ago. I can’t wait for that first taste.

Of course, there are plenty of you reading who don’t like turkey for Thanksgiving. If not, what are you cooking? Another meat? Or something vegetarian? I’m sure we’d all like to share. This NY Times article about going meat-free for Thanksgiving fascinated me.

roast turkey breast

Brine for Turkey

It seems that many of us avoid turkey during the rest of the year because it’s so darned dry. Well, I’ve learned that turkey has a bad reputation for no reason. All it takes to make the best turkey you have ever eaten is a little brining.

We’ll be making this brine on Wednesday evening and submerging our 12-pound turkey in it overnight. If you are making a bigger turkey, make more brine.

  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 head garlic, peels and all
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, toasted and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons white peppercorns, toasted and crushed
  • 2 lemons, juice and hull
  • 10 sprigs rosemary
  • 20 sprigs thyme
  • 10 sprigs sage
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 bay leaves

 

Combine all the ingredients and stir well.

You have brine.

Our Spice Rub for Turkey

Last week, Danny and I had the privilege of spending three days in northern California, at Kingsford U. (You can read all about it here, and we hope you do.) We had the privilege of learning from Chris Lilly, pitmaster and champion of barbeque competitions, whose book, Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book, is now our barbequing bible.

His class on putting together spice rubs changed the way I will be making them from now on. Each meal needs its own special blend. Chris taught us to think in terms of balancing sugar and salt in different ways, depending on the protein we are cooking, of how much heat we need, of transitional spices to fill in the spaces, and signature flavors that announce themselves strongly. (We’ll be writing a full post about this soon, over on the other blog.)

In that class, I smelled and tasted and thought and played, until I came up with a spice rub I loved. Chris liked it a lot. Danny thought it was better than his. And we like it so well that this will be the spice rub for our Thanksgiving turkey. We think you might like it too.

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado (or demerara) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen (or ground fennel seeds)
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Combine everything together. Blend well.

To make the final turkey, brine it overnight.

The next day, pat it dry, as dry as you can.

  • Preheat the oven to 450°.
  • Coat the turkey in some sort of fat (Danny suggests canola oil. Butter or duck fat would be great too.)
  • Spread the spice rub, liberally.
  • Put the turkey in a roasting pan. Put it in the oven.
  • Roast at the high heat for 20 minutes.

Turn the heat down to 375° and roast the bird until it is golden and juicy, about 1 1/2 hours.

You need to take its internal temperature. Most official guides say take it to 180°. We’re seeing a lot of chefs cooking poultry to 175° these days. You should do more reading and see what feels right to you. But please, don’t overcook the bird.

Take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest, for about 15 minutes, before carving. This would be the time to make the gravy.

Cut into that juicy golden turkey and enjoy.

Update: The wonderful Karen Robertson made this suggestion about what to do after brining the turkey.

“Shauna,
The folks over at Cooks Illustrated (Nov/Dec 2000)suggest letting the bird air dry for a day and here is why…when the bird sits overnight uncovered in the refrigerator (after brining) “the residual moisture left in the skin from brining evaporates during the overnight rest in the refrigerator.The skin crisps in the oven rather than steaming from the excess moisture.”
If you have time it might be worth a try. We follow this method each year with fantastic results.“

We’re going to try this too.

Paobread

If someone were to ask you to name some national dishes of Brazil, what would you say?

Well, up until recently, I would have drawn a blank. But thanks to Jewelie Schultz of Sina Baking, I now have a great answer: Paobread!

Jewelie came by today and we talked about her small business, making this unique bread which she discovered while studying abroad in Brazil in the late 90s. Today, she runs Sina Baking, which makes three different kinds of Paobread.  It’s a unique, chewy biscuit/roll pastry that could be the Brazilian equivalent to a bagel in New York.  And naturally gluten free! As someone who doesn’t do much baking, I was thrilled to give them a try, and after a mere 22 minutes in the oven, I had warm, steaming orbs of deliciousness.

I don’t wax poetic about food very often, but I thought the Paobread was fantastic.  A great texture and flavor, I would definitely recommend you eat these right out of the oven.  Jewelie brought over the original, jalapeño, and her new flavor, garlic and onion, which was beautifully rich with flavor.  The savory aspect make them go beautifully with a meal, and while the packaging says two are in a serving, I may have eaten more than my fair share. ;)

The Paobread is sold frozen, a dozen to a bag. They are super simple to bake, and I highly recommend all three flavors that Sina Baking offers. Available in a wide variety of shops around the Portland area, including News Seasons and Whole Foods.  You can find a list of places to buy here.

Thanks again to Jewelie for sharing her treat, we’d love to hear what the community thinks!

Going For It: World’s Largest Gluten Free Cake

World's Biggest Gluten Free Cake, at a massive 16 layers tall.

As a kid I used to be drawn to the ‘Guinness Book of World Records‘ books like a fly to a lightbulb.  Seeing glossy photos of biggest, oldest, oddest was addictive. I’m glad to say I outgrew that phase, but I’m never one to pass up a good record if I see it.

And John Forberger is making that record, with the world’s largest gluten-free cake. Diagnosed as someone with extreme gluten intolerance, he works as a manager at Oxford Communications.  His cake is a collaboration with author Jules Shepard, and follows up on their website 1in133.org, a nonprofit that is working to push the FDA into compliance with the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.  The website’s name comes from the Celiac Disease Foundation statistic that 1 in every 133 people has the disease.

Via Rutger’s University:

John Forberger is all about getting the message across.  He majored in film studies while at Rutgers, which he says taught him to think “about the bigger picture at all times.”

For Forberger, part of that big picture extended beyond his clients at work and into his life.

Forberger has what is diagnosed as “an extreme gluten intolerance,” where ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, triggers chronic pancreatitis. It’s so severe that gluten reactions have sent Forberger to the hospital more than a dozen times.

This intolerance brought Forberger, who is also a triathlete, closer to the celiac disease community. For the 18 million Americans who suffer from celiac, gluten will trigger the person’s immune system to attack itself, specifically the villi of the small intestine. Villi are how your body absorbs food, and if destroyed by a gluten-triggered response, can prevent the body from getting crucial nutrients.

This can then lead to a host of problems: in the short term, abdominal pain, lactose intolerance,nosebleeds, hair loss, ulcers, even seizures and, in children, delayed growth and delayed puberty; in the long term, autoimmune disease, bone disorders like osteoporosis, intestinal cancer, anemia, infertility and liver disease. There is no cure.

Forberger and Shepard

Credit: Charles Votak | John Forberger and Jules Shepard launched 1in133 to advocate for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

Making gluten intolerance even more difficult to manage, it isn’t easy for those with celiac or gluten sensitivity to know if the protein is in their foods. There isn’t exactly a “gluten” space listed on the side of the box, and, right now, no standards for what can and cannot be labeled “gluten-free.”

In 2007, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act ordered the FDA to finalize standards for gluten-free labeling. FDA officals were supposed to get their recommendations back to Congress in 2008.

As of 2011, they hadn’t done so.

“Although there are many trustworthy manufacturers providing delicious gluten-free options, the industry is a self-regulating one . . . anyone can slap the words ‘gluten-free’ on a product and charge a premium,” Forberger says.

Forberger connected with Jules Shepard, an author and celiac-patient expert, on Twitter. After one phone call in which Forberger dared her to make the world’s largest gluten-free cookie, they decided to form 1in133, a nonprofit that aims to push the FDA to comply with the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. The group’s name comes from the statistic from the Celiac Disease Foundation that 1 in every 133 people has the disease.

Forberger and Shepard connected with the American Celiac Disease Alliance and created a drive to send 5,000 letters to the FDA to standardize gluten-free labeling. They also started an online petition signed by more than 10,000 people with the same message.

And then the icing on the cake – literally (and gluten-free). In May,  Forberger and Shepard  launched the Gluten Free Food Labeling Summitt in Washington DC. The event included a representative of the FDA and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who sponsored the original Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, as well as the world’s largest gluten-free cake, all nine layers of it.

The summit and letter writing campaign worked. In August of this year, the FDA announced that it would once again invite comments from the public on gluten-free labeling with the goal of creating a uniform and enforceable definition by next summer or fall.

“Purchasing gluten-free food for many people is a medical necessity, and until there’s a cure for celiac disease, eating foods free of gluten is the only treatment,”  says Forberger, who graduated from Rutgers-Camden in 2002. He credits his college experience for helping him hone his organizational and communication skills.  “I met so many people of different backgrounds, which equipped me early on in my career to rightly communicate with anyone from anywhere..”

Over 600 pounds of frosting were used in the cake.

Teamwork for the giant cake.

Nearly finished with the enormous cake.

For more information on 1in133, visit www.1in133.org. You can also find out how to submit comments on what should be required for a “gluten-free” label here.

Local Sponsors Wanted!

Hi GlutenFreePDX readers,

It’s fall! The hot sunny days are (probably) behind us, and it’s as good a time as ever to get back to work.  First we wanted to say thanks a lot for your awesome support in making our site as popular and well used as it is.  This autumn is going to bring a lot of new additions to the site, with cuisine-specific listings, improved maps, reviews, and lots more.

We also hope to switch the site from a partially Google Adwords supported model to one that is based off of full local sponsorship. What better way to keep the site relevant than to bring in local businesses who want to support our project while also promoting their businesses?  We think it’s a win-win, and we’d like to extend the offer to you, and your business.  In the next few weeks you’ll see some new local sponsors show up on our site’s main pages. These sponsor ads are small and unobtrusive. You won’t ever find an annoying flashing ad for lower insurance rates on our site. Hopefully, it’s businesses like TarBoush, one of our local sponsors who serve great Lebanese on Hawthorne. They have a wealth of gluten-free items, all of which are well marked on their menu.

Our Sponsor adspaces are simple and affordable, and we will work with you to get your ad looking great. Simple is good, right?
Contact us for the coming fall season, and we’ll get your sponsor ad up within a couple of hours.

Thanks again for using GlutenFreePDX.com!


For Many of Us, It’s Not a Fad

I found this article to ring true for a lot of us with Celiac Disease or a true medical condition that prevents us from eating gluten.

Via Weekly Herald:

Gluten-free not fun for all

GOOD HEALTH | By Katie Murdoch, Herald writer
advertisement | your ad here

Although going gluten-free has become the latest diet trend, it’s a way of life for people with Celiac disease.

Celiac disease has been documented in the medical literature for more than 100 years, but until 10 years ago most doctors knew very little about it, said Nick Rose, nutrition educator for PCC Natural Markets.

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, damages the lining of the small intestines in people with Celiac disease, gluten intolerance or allergies. This can cause constipation, severe abdominal pain and nausea.

Experts recommend omitting gluten for three primary reasons: treating patients with Celiac disease; helping people with gluten intolerance and allergies; and as a way to rule out possible food intolerances.

Those with gluten intolerance will see reduced symptoms of bloating and headaches, but the diet won’t necessarily benefit everyone, Rose said.

Health concerns, specific symptoms and supporting a family member have led to the diet gaining more attention, he said.

That attention wasn’t always beneficial, said Amber Wester, co-owner of SmartEats, a Mill Creek specialty store stocked with gluten-free products.

Misdiagnoses led to over diagnoses, the media hyped it and then celebrities got involved, leading to gluten-free’s fad status, she said.

“It distracts from the people who have health issues,” Wester said.

At PCC, gluten-free products are included in an online data base of foods in the store and marks gluten-free products with eye-catching orange tags.

Rose recommends people on a gluten-free diet read food labels carefully, as there is no uniform standard used when labeling food as gluten-free. There is also concern about cross-contamination in the oven, toaster and cutting board.

“Celiacs pay dearly if they fall off the wagon,” he said.

Recipe books are hitting bookstores to help people find tasty alternatives and still consume nutrients.

Nutritionist Janine Whiteson was contributing editor to “The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook,” which hit shelves this month. The book was in response to letters from readers asking for help, Whiteson said.

The recipe book offers education about vitamins and nutrient sources and portion sizes and warns about hidden sources of gluten, including bleu cheese, cough syrups and salad dressings.

“We’re taking the fad out of it,” Whiteson said. “This is a healthy, safe way.”

Petunia’s: A Wealth of Flavor

Even in a city Portland’s size, distinct communities are tightknit and close. The Gluten Free community in Portland is growing, but still small enough to be approachable.

I know Lisa Clark of Petunia’s Pies & Pastries from the gluten free community, and have been trying to catch her at the PSU Farmer’s Market for a number of weeks. Not only do her treats tend to run out during the day, but Lisa herself is busy enough that she is sprinting from event to event, providing custom GF catering.

I was thrilled, however, to catch her and her great co-baker on a recent Saturday morning. Their stand at the market was already abuzz, despite the absolute treasure trove of other food and produce options.  Apparently, word-of-mouth really does work.

Lisa was charming and helped me pick out a huge number of baked goods, from pie to cupcakes to donuts and cookie bars.  What I really like is the inventiveness with flavors, and the expression they put into their baking. Cookie bars rivaling anything out there, donuts that would look at home in a Voodoo donut case, and decadent, fresh cupcakes. She didn’t even let me pay!  The freshness of everything was apparent, and I struggled to think how I would carry all of these treats home by bicycle.  I didn’t. With the charm of the market sounds and smells, I sat down and dove right in, tasting tart berries, coconut and peanut butter blend beautifully.

Indeed, Petunia’s has gotten the recipes for their inventive baked goods down, and are delicious. A great resource for Portland, and great people, which make it all the sweeter.

Thanks, Petunia’s!

Visit Petunia’s at the PSU Farmers Market every Saturday 8:30am-2pm for an exclusive selection of specialty pastries & desserts!

Find their sweets everyday at Whole Foods markets, Blossoming Lotus, Cloud Seven Cafe, Ruby Jewel Scoop Shop, Spoke Coffee, Mississippi Pizza & Seven Virtues Coffee.