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If you like baking with gluten, how do you bake gluten-free?

A very overdue post today, courtesy of one of Emport LLC’s very own team members, Steph. While Steph doesn’t have any food intolerances, several of her loved ones must avoid gluten. How does she handle baking treats for them, when her usual recipes won’t work? Read on to find out!

Gluten intolerance and sensitivity has seen a huge increase in visibility and more than ever we are aware of the dietary restrictions of those in our lives. As someone who claims to have an iron stomach I cannot even imagine having to cut out something so prevalent as gluten, but having several people in my life unable to consume gluten I am interested in creating great food even they can enjoy.

I like the challenge. It’s easy to add flour to anything for the texture, but it lacks taste or even much nutritional value. So I put the flour on the top shelf and try not to reach for it. What do I reach for instead? Nut flours, egg whites, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, etc. You need fluff or volume; whipped egg whites work really well and are packed with protein. Nut flours have flavor, density, and texture while also being more nutritionally valuable than wheat flour. Powdered sugar is tasty and fluffy, but be careful about adding too much because sugar easily crystalizes to become candy-like and chewy/hard. Cocoa powder is an interesting solution.
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GlutenTox Home via Military Mail

Shipping GlutenTox Home outside the USIf you’ve tried to ship GlutenTox Home to an address that is not in the 50 United States, you may have noticed that it isn’t possible via our online shopping cart.

Those of our customers who are located in Canada or Puerto Rico, or have an APO / Military Mail address only, never fear! We are still able to ship GlutenTox Home to you, there are just a few extra steps.

If you are shipping Military Mail / to an APO address, we suggest ordering through the Celiac Sprue Association via their online shop (you’ll see a category for GlutenTox Testing Kits). Kits will then be shipped via USPS via Parcel Post unless otherwise requested. You can also contact us directly and we can take your order over the phone or via email/PayPal.

If you are in Canada, please use the contact form on our website to get in touch with us. We will connect you with the appropriate party in Canada and get you testing foods for gluten right away! Plus, you won’t have to pay weighty customs and duties fees since your test kits will be shipping domestically.

If you are in Puerto Rico, or anywhere else for that matter, please also use the contact form on our website to get in touch with us. If we cannot ship directly to you, we can connect you with the appropriate reseller.

Meet Emport: Introducing Susan

If you call in to our Pittsburgh office, you just might get Susan on the other end of the line. So that you know who’s answering your questions, here’s a quick introduction to our Susan-of-all-trades, in her own words:

I’ve been working for Emport for a couple months now, and wanted to take a moment to say hello! A little background: I’ve been living and working in Emport’s home city of Pittsburgh since 1998, doing a lot of different kinds of things for all sorts of organizations.

About two years ago, my niece was diagnosed with a sensitivity to gluten. Since then, I have watched her tackle some of the diet issues that affect her quality of life. Luckily, she is not hypersensitive and with reasonable precautions, she has found more enjoyment in her life. She’s always looking for new snacks, and trying new recipes. I think she is getting pretty good at making bread, but she doesn’t try very often. It just doesn’t fit her current lifestyle to commit an afternoon to breadmaking! I am glad that I am working with a company that is directly involved in this issue, since I have been able to learn more about how serious this issue is.

I returned to Pittsburgh after quite a few years on the west coast, and in many ways it’s as if I have never left. Whatever free time I have is taken up by my lifelong interest in the arts. Pittsburgh has always had a lot to offer on the cultural scene, and this is one of the aspects of the city that drew me back. I am happy to be here.

Guest Post on Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom: ELISA vs Lateral Flow Tests

Thoroughly pleased to be pointing you over to Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom today, where there’s a post from our very own Emily. The post covers the differences between testing for gluten with Lateral Flow Devices (like GlutenTox Home) and ELISA tests (like the G12 ELISA, which we don’t carry here at Emport, LLC).

The post also goes into the differences between Sandwich and Competitive ELISAs, the two most commonly-seen forms of ELISA test.

While you’re there, be sure to check out the other awesome things on Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom: recipes, menu plans, super-informative videos from Dr. Vikki Petersen, etc etc etc.

Alimentaria Presents: Testing for Gluten in Swedish Snack Foods

(ed.’s note: Below, a post written and translated by Mo, our lovely intern, originally posted at El Blog Sin Gluten!)

You know that game that kids and psychologists alike play “What´s the first word that comes to mind when I say…?”

Let´s play.

What the first word that comes to mind when I say Sweden?

What did you think of? Snow? “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”? Well, I thought of three things: cold, happy people, and high quality furniture.

However, after recent events, my answer has altered dramatically. Now, I hear Sweden and I think: bananas, coconuts and goji berries. Crazy, right? So what caused this extreme change? Read More…

Does it matter if your gluten-free foods are certified?

There’s been a lot of talk about the FDA’s hesitation in declaring a national standard for what can or can not be considered gluten-free. And it’s true: there’s still no clear indication of what “gluten-free” means when it’s on a label in the supermarket: does the manufacturer test their ingredients? Their final product? Are they careful with their facility?
Mawcarse Harvest
But an even-larger question is: what about foods that aren’t labeled gluten-free at all? If the ingredients listed are naturally gluten-free — but the package doesn’t make any gluten-free claims — is the food safe to eat for people who have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive?

Unfortunately there’s no easy answer, but a landmark study from 2010 is extremely illuminative. In the study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 22 “inherently gluten-free grains, seeds, and flours not labeled gluten-free were purchased” and sent to one of the country’s best labs for gluten detection and analysis.

The test performed on these foods was the R5 sandwich ELISA, and samples were homogenized and tested in duplicate to lessen the risk of any hot spots of gluten in the samples giving atypical results. The foods purchased included, “white rice, brown rice, white rice flour, corn meal, polenta, buckwheat, buckwheat flour, amaranth flour, amaranth seed, flax seed, millet flour, millet grain, sorghum flour, and soy flour.”

So, were these foods gluten-free? Not nearly as gluten-free as we might like to think. Of the 22 samples, only 13 (59%) tested below the limit of quantification, which was 5ppm at that time. The other nine samples (41%) contained more than 5ppm of gluten, and seven of those nine (32% of the total samples tested) contained more than 20ppm of gluten — more than the FDA’s proposed limit and the Codex Alimentarius’ internationally-recognized standard for gluten-free labeling.

What does this mean for your average grocery shopper on a gluten-free diet?

Many unlabeled items found in your normal grocery store are going to be safe for celiac consumption, but many of them are not. Certified ingredients, while more costly, are going to be a safer bet. That extra cost isn’t just for show: it goes towards the manufacturer testing incoming ingredients for gluten (often with GlutenTox Pro or GlutenTox Sticks!), thoroughly cleaning production lines in between runs of gluten-containing and gluten-free foods, and having third party analysis and inspection to ensure compliance with the certifying organization’s rules and regulations. In short: the money goes to keeping you safe if your gluten-free diet is a medically necessary one.

And what if there is no certified gluten-free option for the food you’re buying? Or what if you’re sensitive below 10ppm (the threshold most gluten-free certification organizations test to)? GlutenTox Home can be a great solution for foods, drinks or cosmetic / personal care products that might contain trace amounts of gluten. You can use the test kit to detect cross-contamination from wheat, barley, rye and even oats — and because you can adjust the test’s threshold down to 5ppm or 20ppm, the test is helpful for even very supersensitive celiacs.

Have you used GlutenTox Home to test any non-certified items and found hidden gluten? Tell us about it!

What Does a Gluten-Free Diet Cost in Spain?

As many of you know, GlutenTox is produced in Spain — a country with plenty of (delicious) options for the gluten-free traveler. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live gluten-free in Spain? 

If so, this report from Biomedal will surely be of interest! 

Everybody knows that currently there is neither medical treatment nor cure for celiac disease; the only way to avoid or alleviate symptoms is by following a gluten free diet.

That being said, its impossible to imagine the possibility that one with celiac disease could live a normal lifestyle without the inconvenience of a gluten free diet, due to the risk of developing an autoimmune disease or even lymphoma. Fortunately, thanks to medical advances and the increase in awareness among the general population, it has become easier to find gluten free products in grocery stores and local supermarkets. The drawback is that these products require a particular manufacturing process and in some cases special ingredients, which are therefore reflected by a higher price.

So realistically, how expensive is a gluten free diet in Spain?
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Celiac Disease: worldwide travelers

Today, we’re very happy to share this repost from Biomedal’s El Blog sin Gluten:

Biomedal Diagnostics is happy to have Tina Turbin the multi award-winning children’s author of the acclaimed Danny the Dragon children’s series as a guest for our GlutenTox blog:

Tina Turbin on Gluten Free TravelAs celiac disease patients and worldwide travelers, where do you find it most difficult to keep a gluten free diet? It is most difficult to keep a gluten free diet in most restaurants. When we grocery shop and cook for ourselves that is far easier. One always run the risk when eating out because that cross contamination can occur. Relaying we have celiac to a waiter or waitress in detail is very important

Is there any food you find while traveling abroad that you wish you had easy access to at home? Read More…

Accessorizing Your Test Kit

Everything you need in order to test for gluten is included with every GlutenTox Home kit … but there are still a few items that can make testing a bit easier.

Specifically, it’s helpful to have:

  • a mortar & pestle, to grind up harder samples
  • a timer, so that you know your sample is shaken and settled for long enough
  • a digital scale, in order to weigh a precise gram of sample (alternately you can use the provided plastic spoons!)

You might have these things around your house already, but if you don’t we recommend having a look at these in particular. All of the items featured are not only available via Amazon.com, but eligible for Amazon’s free shipping (clicking the images will take you to their site):

Mortar & Pestle Timer Scale

Wahoo! Our New Website is Up

You might notice things looking a little different around here…www.glutentox.com got a bit of a makeover!

As we fine-tune everything, you might encounter the occasional hiccup. If so — please do get in touch. If we’re not already working to fix it, we’ll add it to the list and make it right ASAP.

If, for any reason, you are having trouble using the shop on the website, there is also one on our facebook page (just click “Shop” on the lefthand menu).

We hope you’re enjoying the new site!