Tag Archives: Gluten free Portland

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:
Gluten Free Living, $34 a year.
Living Without, $23 a year.
“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).
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.
New Seasons markets offer free gluten-free tours and product tastings. Check the schedule at newseasonsmarket.
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 Gourmand’s Blueberry Scones

Gina Kelley is a friend and she runs the site Gluten Free Gourmand.  Her recipe for gluten-free whole grain blueberry scones looked good enough that we had to share.

The Best Whole Grain Blueberry Scones

These whole-grain scones are gluten-free and delicious.  Have them with your afternoon tea or for a hearty breakfast treat.  These scones are made with the traditional method and all the traditional ingredients – minus the gluten.

What is gluten anyway, except an impediment to soft, delicate scones?  With wheat flour you have to be careful not to manipulate pastries too much for fear the gluten will make them tough.  You don’t have to worry about that with these gluten-free scones: they will come out soft and delicious.

Whole-grain Blueberry Scone Recipe

The secret to getting the right texture of scones is to keep everything cold while mixing.  Some people put the pastry cutter, butter, and bowl in the freezer for a few minutes before starting to keep everything cold enough. The coldness is necessary so the chunks of butter can form little pockets in the dough when they melt away in the oven.  This creates air space for the baking soda to do its work and rise.  The scone should come out a soft, flaky pastry.

I have provided the ingredients in metric for my international audience as well as those conscientious bakers who like to weigh their ingredients for better accuracy.

Heat oven to 400 F/ 205 C.

Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 3/4 cup Teff flour (122 g)
  • 3/4 cup Sorghum flour (106g)
  • 2 Tablespoons Tapioca flour (12g)
  • 2 Tablespoons Potato starch (17 g)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (65g)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (make sure it’s GF)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Cut into pieces and drop in:

  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter (90g)

Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives, coating the pieces with flour as you go, until the largest pieces of butter are pea-sized. Keep this mixture cold, chilling it in the freezer if the butter starts to soften.

Whisk together in a separate bowl:

  • 3/4 cup chilled cream (175 ml)
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tsp orange or lemon zest (optional)
  • 1/3 cup fresh blueberries (55g)

Add the wet ingredients to dry the ingredients. Stir until the mixture starts to hold together, then gently knead the dough a few times with your hands. If the dough is too sticky to handle once it’s combined, you can add about a tablespoon of flour to coat the surface of the dough for easier handling. If the dough seems dry and won’t hold together easily, add 1-2 Tbsp more cream and knead it in, being careful that your butter chunks don’t melt into the dough.  If the dough starts to get too warm during mixing, chill it in the freezer for a few minutes before proceeding.

Put the dough on a large baking sheet. Gently push the dough into a flat disk about one inch high. Cut into eight equal pieces and arrange them on the baking sheet about one inch apart. Brush some cream onto the tops of the scones. Bake for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one comes out clean.

Let cool slightly, then enjoy your scones!  These can be eaten warm out of the oven, or at room temperature.

Looking for a vegan scone recipe?  Try my my Gluten-free Vegan Scones.
If you liked this recipe, you might also like:

Expanding Diets, Creatively

Chef Aaron Woo prepares a melon and tomato salad at his Natural Selection in Northeast Portland.

Food creatives expand restricted diets’ horizons

Via the Oregonian:

For diners at Northeast Portland’s Natural Selection, the seasonal, vegetarian, mostly vegan, often gluten-free restaurant doesn’t always go far enough.

“I had one person call who couldn’t have any sugar of any kind, natural or refined,” says chef Aaron Woo. “I said I could make them something with agave, maple, all kinds of stuff, but I can’t do a dessert without anything. They couldn’t even have fruit juice.”

With a week’s notice, Woo is usually willing to design a menu for almost any diet, no matter how restrictive. That’s partially because the chef, who trained at four-star restaurants in San Francisco, believes in good customer service. It’s also because he’s been there himself.

Woo is one of a growing number of Oregon chefs, restaurant owners, bakers and brewers who, faced with their own allergies or serious health concerns, have decided to open businesses offering food they can eat. Accommodating special requests isn’t new — just think of the gluten-free pizza crusts available at many pizzerias — but some business owners are going further, with entire menus conforming to Paleolithic, vegan or (most frequently) gluten-free diets.

Three years ago, Woo lost the lease on his other Northeast Alberta Street restaurant, the Vita Cafe, and moved across the street. At the same time, the 42-year-old chef was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, a hyperthyroid condition that can be brought on by stress.

Woo’s naturopathic doctor suggested eliminating certain items from his diet — including gluten and dairy — then gradually bringing them back to figure out what was damaging his body.

“It was very vegan but not totally vegan,” he says of the diet. “No eggs. Very little fish. No red meat aside from wild game. Anti-inflammatory. No gluten. No corn. No nightshade vegetables, like peppers, eggplants.”

Woo stuck to the restrictive diet for more than four months. The most difficult part was finding places to eat out. Breakfast was doable, but most restaurants serving suitable dinner options were “all casual, really hippie-dippie,” he says.

“So I thought, why isn’t someone doing fine-dining, or upscale cooking, with a lot of care, that’s vegetarian or vegan-based but isn’t loaded with pasta or wheat?”

As Woo bounced around the idea, the space next door to Vita Cafe became available. He signed a lease, and, after a brief stint honing his skills at Napa, Calif.’s high-end vegetarian restaurant Ubuntu, opened Natural Selection at 3033 N.E. Alberta St. last March. The restaurant quickly earned accolades for transcending the limitations of its menu. In September, The Oregonian gave the restaurant an A- review.

Lisa Clark, 26, of Petunia's Pies & Pastries, holds one of her pumpkin-maple-gingerbread layer cakes. Clark's vegan and gluten-free baked goods are available at area cafes and Whole Foods stores.

Gluten-intolerant baker

Lisa Clark was a freshman at the University of Oregon when she found herself overcome with digestive problems. More than one gastroenterologist diagnosed her with IBS — Irritable Bowel Syndrome — but after doing her own dietary experimentation, she found that cutting gluten and dairy from her diet improved her digestion, energy level and even her skin. She lost 60 pounds.

Clark found that she had a gluten intolerance, meaning her body had difficulty digesting the substance found in wheat and other grains that gives bread its elasticity. She’s not alone. Diagnoses of gluten intolerance, and the more-extreme celiac disease, have been consistently rising. A 2003 study suggested as many as one in 133 Americans have the disease. Or, as Clark puts it, “Now everyone and their mom is gluten-free.”
After college, Clark moved to Portland and found work as a baker at Papa Haydn’s Southeast location.
“I learned a ton about production, but I couldn’t eat anything that I was making,” Clark says. “I was doing research on vegan and gluten-free baking, but when I first started, it was all based on potato flours, bean flours. I just thought, this stuff’s terrible, I’m going to do it another way.”


Clark discovered flours, including quinoa and flax, and other ingredients, such as hazelnut meal and coconut oil, that could make moist, delicious vegan baked goods that didn’t taste like beans.
Her business, Petunia’s Pies & Pastries, sells vegan, gluten-free pastries (though Clark isn’t vegan: she skips dairy, but eats meat). After two years selling baked goods at area farmer’s markets and Last Thursday events on Northeast Alberta Street, today she’s scouting locations for a brick-and-mortar shop in the Pearl District or Northwest Portland.

Paleolithic restaurateurLaughing Planet Cafe owner Richard Satnick played rugby for 12 years. The grueling sport wreaked havoc with his joints, causing arthritis that he suspected was being exacerbated by his diet.

Doing his own research, he came across books, including Robb Wolf’s “The Paleo Solution,” advocating a return to the types of foods early humans would have eaten — the so-called caveman diet. Working with chef John Huyck, he developed a diner-style restaurant concept serving food designed to ease Satnick’s persistent inflammation.
The first Dick’s Kitchen opened at 3312 S.E. Belmont St. in 2010 with a menu heavy on fresh vegetables and light on grains. Since the concept is a diner, they even have a 100 percent grass-fed burger — just hold the bun. The concept has proved so popular that Satnick has already opened a second location, 704 N.W. 21st Ave.
Satnick, whose Laughing Planet now has 10 locations in Portland, Eugene and Corvallis, says he’s noticed the growing trend of diet-specific restaurants.
“It’s probably (due to) the sheer number of potentially knowledgeable consumers,” Satnick wrote from his hospital bed, where he was recovering from quadruple-bypass surgery (his doctor says he might have avoided surgery if he had started the Paleolithic diet earlier). “Either that or we’re a bunch hypochondriacs.”
Woo, Clark and Satnick each say their primary concern is making delicious food, no matter the dietary restriction. At Natural Selection, that means sometimes going beyond the already diet-friendly menu to accept customer requests.
To the diner looking for a sugar-free dessert, Woo made a suggestion:

“How about a clean, refreshing salad?”

Michael Russell

Gluten Free Vacations

Here’s a discovery that makes the IFC show Portlandia look prescient. Row Adventures out of Medford, Oregon is offering a gluten free vacation adventure

Rogue River – Gluten Free Vacation:

Gluten intolerance is widespread and ROW Adventures is proud to offer this special trip to meet the needs of those people that are gluten intolerant. The trip is accompanied by registered nurse Nadine Grzeskowiak who is a gluten-free expert and has her own business, “Gluten Free RN.” In addition to Nadine, a special chef will accompany the trip to prepare delicious gluten free cuisine that will test to less than 10 parts per million. Fresh, organic and free of allergy substances, this trip is also ideal for anyone with food allergies.

Below you will find information on the trip offered this spring/summer in Oregon.

Rogue River – Gluten Free Itinerary

August 18, 2012  Adult $1,199 Youth $1,139

DAY 1 – We offer an orientation meeting the evening before the trip at our meeting point at Morrison’s Lodge, or meet us there at 8:15 a.m. the morning of the trip. We’ll transfer in our van to the Rand Boat launch on the Rogue River, just 15 minutes away. At the river’s edge we’ll provide a thorough safety orientation, fit everyone with a PFD (personal flotation device) and then board the rafts and inflatable kayaks. You’ll have your choice of riding in an oar-powered raft, paddle raft or inflatable kayak.

At first the river is gentle and gives us time to perfect our paddling skills and settle in. After an hour or so we reach Grave Creek where the road ends and the federally-protected Wild & Scenic section of the Rogue River begins. We stop for lunch near the impressive Class V rapid called “Rainie Falls.” Guides run the boats through a fish ladder while guests walk around the rapid. The day continues as we ride the waves through a number of fun Class II and Class III rapids. Around 4:30 we arrive at the Black Bar Lodge, check into our rooms and get settled in. You might want walk and explore the property, relax in the surrounding forest or even take a nap. There’s time to sit and visit with friends while our gluten free meal is prepared by our chef including some wonderful hors d’ oeuvres. Around 7:00 we assemble in the lodge’s charming dining room for a family-style dinner. The remainder of the evening is yours to enjoy in the lodge or outside under the stars.

DAY 2 – We meet about 7:30 a.m. for breakfast then pack up and head back to the river. We launch around 9:00 a.m. and begin another day of serenity and excitement rolled into one beautiful Rogue River canyon. We run a series of exhilarating Class II and Class III rapids, gaining confidence around every bend. Lunch is enjoyed on the river’s edge…usually at a historic site or a location where we can take a short walk. In the afternoon we visit the historic Rogue River Ranch that is a step back in time and a chance to learn about the early pioneers of the river.

We float just a little farther to Marial Lodge where we end our day of rafting. Just as they did the night before, Nadine and our chef prepare hors d’ oeuvres. Nadine is available to discuss the challenges of living a gluten free life and offers helpful tips and lively discussions. Our family-style dinner is served at 6:30. Then we head out on a nice hike on a gentle trail near the lodge to view the canyon and a lovely waterfall. Once back on the lodge, relax on the deck before heading to bed.

DAY 3 – Nothing is better than waking up to the song of birds and the quiet of the forest – such a soothing alternative to an alarm clock. Breakfast is served about 8:00 a.m. and then it’s time to pack up and head to the rafts once again. We start the day boating through Mule Creek Canyon, followed by Blossom Bar (considered by most to be the most thrilling rapids of our journey) and finally the Devil’s Staircase. Soon we’re floating in gentle waters and keeping eyes peeled for wildlife such as black bear, great blue herons, osprey and deer. We enjoy lunch on a sandy beach on river’s edge and then continue to the take-out at Foster Bar. Usually we arrive at Foster Bar at 3:00 p.m. Here we load our gear into the vans and then have a two-hour drive back to our starting point. We try to have guests back to their vehicles by 5:00 or 5:30 p.m.

  • Trip is designed and accompanied by RN Nadin Grzeskowiak, an expert in gluten free food and diet who will monitor all foods to be sure that they do not exceed 10 parts gluten per million as well as share her tips for living a gluten free life.
  • Food served will be organic, fresh and delicious and prepared by a knowledgeable chef.
  • We provide talented whitewater guides as well as our gluten free experts.
  • Lodge-to-lodge trip featuring fun, exciting whitewater during the day and comfortable, private cabins at night.

Thanks to Ashleigh Chatel for the tip!

New Gluten-Free Beer From Dogfish Head!

Via Huffington Post:

According to Dogfish Head, the beer customers request most often at its pub, brewery and website is a gluten-free beer. Ask and ye shall receive!

“It seems as if lots of folks who have gluten-tolerance issues are pining for an interesting beer,” says Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione, “While there are a few well-made examples that mirror traditional beer styles, there aren’t any off-centered offerings.” Enter the fruit-forward, gluten-free beer Tweason’ale. The classic barley foundation of beer has been replaced with a mild sorghum base, according to a press release e-mailed to The Huffington Post. The beer contains hints of molasses and pit fruit, as well as strawberry notes and an added complexity thanks to buckwheat honey.

Celiac disease affects one in 133 Americans. According to Celiac.com, people with classic celiac disease are intolerant to barley, an ingredient typical of most beers.

Tweason’ale will be released in late January 2012 in 12-ounce four packs. It will be released four times a year. The full label is below.

Check back in after the New Year for behind-the-scenes look at this beer (and more!)


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!

Whole New Category to Choose From!

Hi Readers,

Constantly trying to improve GlutenFreePDX to make it as useful and innovative as possible. It has been a challenge to keep up with all of the dining spots in Portland, as many of them change their menus, close up shop or get added to the scene in rapid-fire successsion.

After some planning, we have launched a page dedicated to Cuisine, starting with Pizza and Thai, and expanding rapidly into different categories.  Did you know there are over 15 places in our community that offer gluten-free pizza dough?

Not only that, but now it’s super simple to follow your tastebuds to just the right place for lunch or dinner.

Did you know there are over 15 places in our community that offer gluten-free pizza dough?

We hope you like the new page, it’s going to be rapidly expanding over the next few months, thanks for visiting!