Monday, May 18, 2009

Stress and My Gut

Before I post, I want to share the good news...our next issue is on press! It's a really good one and all of our energies have been focused on print media for the past couple of weeks.

I've been preoccupied for a bit longer and can't believe how much time has elapsed since my last post. I find that stress doesn't do much for creativity.

I don’t recall a period of my life where I’ve been under so much pressure. When I look at the cost of college and I look at what happened to my college savings, when people all around me are getting laid off, when my advertising pages are off their usual numbers, when, as an "elected official" in my town, I am swept up in nasty small town politics…the stomach acid just flows. You know what I am craving? Saltines.

Saltines are those bland, sodium laden crackers that are just perfect for an acid gut and I can’t eat them. I’ve tried toast. I’ve tried plain cereals. I’ve tried a variety of rice crackers. Nothing is taking their place right now.

I always felt bad for my celiac son when the 24 hour flu bug hit the house. Everyone else eased back in to eating after a killer attack of the vomitrociousness with ginger ale and saltines. Of course, he’s been on a gluten-free diet for so long that he doesn’t know what he’s missing. He thinks plain toast is what you eat after you’ve been ill.

So in lieu of Saltines, I have been planning a reunion with my high school friends. I read in the paper this weekend about the benefits of life long friends and figured these ladies who knew me when I was a total lurch with buck teeth would quell the acid in my stomach far better than any food. But, if anyone has the perfect gluten-free answer to Saltines…by all means, let me know.

Kendall Egan

Monday, May 4, 2009

First chance to try Starbuck's gluten-free cake, last chance to comment on gluten-free labeling study

We are really, really busy working on the next issue of Gluten-Free Living, but I wanted to take a minute to remind you that tomorrow, May 5, is significant in two ways for those following the gluten-free diet.
First, Starbucks is expected to launch it's new gluten-free Orange Valencia cake nationwide. Not a lot more to say about this than we can't wait! It is supposed to be in the pastry case and clearly marked gluten free.
Second, if you are interested in commenting on the FDA's experimental study of gluten-free labeling the deadline is also tomorrow.
To comment on the Internet go to So far the FDA has only posted seven comments. I am not surprised by the low number, given how difficult it is to understand exactly what kind of comments the FDA is looking for.
At this point the FDA is only interested in comments on how the study is set up. In about two months, the agency will start to collect consumer input on the actual point of the study, which is to determine what consumers think of labels like "free of gluten," "without gluten," and "no gluten." The FDA also wants to know what consumers think of advisory statements like, "made in a gluten-free facility."
Michael Herndon, an FDA spokesman, said the study is designed to test how effective gluten-free labeling options being considered by the agency are. The FDA is working on a definition for the gluten-free label because it is required to come up with one by Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.
Specifically, the FDA wants to see if study participants understand what gluten-free labels mean or if the labels cause them to make incorrect assumptions about gluten-free food.
About 5,000 people will participate, including those have celiac disease or gluten intolerance or care for someone who does. A review of the public comments should be the last step before a final definition is approved, but the FDA has not said how long that will take.