Gluten Free Blog Posts
DNA Testing for Celiac Disease
If you take the DNA test from 123 and Me, you may find if you have celiac disease. That's a big maybe.
One of the tests that 123 and Me perform is the presence of the rs2187668 and rs7454108 genetic variants. These have been linked to the HLA-DQ2.5 and HLA-DQ8 haplotypes which are associated with a higher risk for celiac.
Okay, that's a lot to take in. Let's break it down...
rs2187668 and rs7454108
The rs2187668 genetic variant is associated with various traits including Celiac disease, Diastolic blood pressure, Collagenous colitis - which is a condition that affects your large intestine,
The rs7454108 genetic variant is associated with pemphigus vulgaris - which causes blisters on the skin, anti-neutrophil antibody associated vasculitis - a rare destruction and inflammation of the kidney, stomach, intestine and lungs.
Important Reminder - Just because rs2187668 and rs7454108 show up in the DNA test doesn't mean that person has any of the conditions. It basically means that some people that had those conditions had rs2187668 and rs7454108 in their DNA.
HLA-DQ2.5 and HLA-DQ8
In recent years, scientists have been able to identify two specific genes that tend to appear more common in people that have celiac disease. They put these into two groups of gene complexes known as human leukocyte antigen (HLA):
- HLA-DQ2.5 - which is found in about 90% of people confirmed to have celiac disease.
- HLA-DQ8 - which is found in eight percent of that same known celiac population.
HLA-DQA1 belongs to the group of genes with crucial roles in inflammation and autoimmunity. One variant in this gene has a robust association with celiac disease. 90% of the people that have celiac have the HLA-DQ2 gene.
The National Library of Medicine has a detailed report called, "HLA-DQ2.5 genes associated with celiac disease risk are preferentially expressed with respect to non-predisposing HLA genes: Implication for anti-gluten T cell response." It's a very technical report to understand the HLA-DQA1 link to an autoimmune disorder.
As for the HLA-DQ8 - I would highly recommend reading the HLA-DQ8 and the Genetics of Celiac Disease article. Its very well detailed about why the HLA-DQ8 is an important gene complex.
123 and Me Test Disclaimer
The legal department of 123 and Me put out the following disclaimer:
Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person's overall risk of developing the disease. The test is not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment.
The Celiac Disease genetic health risk report (i) is indicated for reporting of the rs2187668 variant in the HLA-DQA1 gene, which tags the HLA-DQ2.5 haplotype, and the rs7454108 variant near the HLA-DQB1 gene, which tags the HLA-DQ8 haplotype and (ii) describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing celiac disease. The variants included in this report are common in many ethnicities but are best studied in people of European descent.
Basically, if you have rs2187668 varient with the HLA-DQA1 gene, don't assume that you have Celiac Disease. Your best bet is to get tested for Celiac Disease.
2021 Halloween Candy
At this time of the year, I usually take a look at some of the Gluten-Free Halloween candy options. Here are some of the blog posts that I have done in previous years:
Various "Fun Size" Candies
This year I found out that the best way to know which Hershey candies are gluten-free is to read the ingredients. According to a Hershey's Chocolate representative, some of the candy ingredients change and the best way to know what's in them is to read the ingredients on the label. (I don't think they will add wheat to the Hershey Chocolate bar.)
Most Popular Candy in 2021
According to CandyStore.com, these are the top ten most popular candy in 2021. I added an emoji to which ones are known to be gluten free:
- Reese's Cups
- Hot Tamales
- Sour Patch Kids
- Hershey Kisses (Not the Hugs variety)
- Tootsie Pops
- Candy corn - Not 100% Safe (Brach's Candy Corn is processed in a facility that also processes wheat)
According to my daughter Reese's Cups are the candy to get this year.
Halloween Candy Box
This Halloween season Hershey is doing something unique - for those that are handing out candy. They put together a creative assortment of Halloween candy in a treasure chest. This is something different than getting a bunch of candy bags and putting them in a bowl.
The box contains six different types of individually wrapped candy: Kit Kat, Rolo, Reese's, Hershey Kisses, Jolly Ranchers, and Twizzlers
There are 488-pieces in the box and it cost $29.98 for the box or $.29 an ounce.
The box is nicely decorated with eyes on the front - I guess Hershey wants people to present the box to the trick or treaters.
The popular "Hershey's Halloween All-Time Greats Candy Assortment, 100 Count" 2-pound bag is cheaper at $9.94 but cost you slightly more per candy at $.30 per ounce.
For Celiac users, there are only two candies types that you can't eat - Kit-Kat and Twizzlers. (Most people don't know that Twizzlers contain wheat!)
This isn't the largest candy set. Walmart sells a Now & Later with Nerds 600 pieces set for $29.98.
You can only find the Hershey Treasure Box at your local Walmart. They are selling out fast!
Get a box and see if you go through all 488-pieces. Don't forget to ask your trick or treaters if they have any allergies!
Ocean Edge Resort is a fun place for enjoying everything Cape Cod. They have a great 18-hole golf course, swimming pools, and beach. When you are hungry, there are a couple of restaurants on the property.
One of the popular places is the Linx Tavern. It's a popular place to get a beer and snack after 4-hours of golf.
We recently visited for a family dinner. I selected this place because we have eaten here plenty of times in the past and the food is good.
Five Things I Learned
As usual, my daughter ordered the 19th Hole Burger with the gluten-free bun. (They had to double-check that they still had Gluten-Free bins) The bun looks to be Udi's Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns.
There's only one appetizer that was gluten-free that my daughter wanted to eat - that was the Chicken Wings. She loves Chicken Wings and if it's on the menu and gluten-free - she is likely to order it. The one thing we weren't 100% sure about is which sauce was gluten-free - turns out they both were. We went with the Mumbo sauce as it wasn't going to be as spicy.
After we placed our order, the server came back to confirm our order - which we thought was weird. Turns out that shortly after we ordered a couple of the servers quit. Lucky for us our server was the restaurant manager. We don't know why they quit. The manager came over to our table to let us know and said it shouldn't impact our order. Our order did take a while, but it didn't bother us too much as we kept speculating on why two waiters would quit on the same night.
When we ordered the burger, the server didn't say anything about the side dish. When the dish came, it came with French fries. It wasn't until we got home that I realized that we didn't order fries in the past because it wasn't cooked in a dedicated fryer. The waiter should have caught that there might be some cross-contamination issues when the order was placed.
My daughter ate most of her burger and some of the fries. We took the leftovers home and she had the burger for lunch the next day. The Chicken Wings were also a hit - there was a few left to bring home.
Despite the weird experience with the waitress quitting, we'll certainly be going back. Everyone enjoyed their meals and it was a fun night out.
My daughter didn't get any reactions to eating the french fries. I don't know if they are 100% safe but it's good that she didn't get sick.
We have been big fans of Chick-fil-A when it opened in Framingham, Massachusetts. (Grand Opening was February 2, 2016.) We go at least once a week - typically to get a snack or a drink.
Chick-Fil-A has a gluten-free option that makes it worth going. My ten-year-old daughter is happy to get a bite to eat.
Five Things We Learn
Best Option - Only Fast Food restaurant where we can get a decent lunch and dinner. No other major fast-food restaurant offers a good gluten-free meal that a ten-year-old will eat.
Usual Order - She orders the Grilled Chicken as part of the kids meal. She orders Sunjoy instead of a soda. SunJoy is 1/2 Ice Tea and 1/2 Lemonaid.
French Fries - The French fries are safe because they have a dedicated fryer for their French fries - unlike McDonald's and Burger King which use the fryer to cook gluten foods.
Gilled Sandwich - We have tried the grilled chicken sandwich with the gluten-free bun but prefer the grilled nuggets. Probably because she is addicted to the Chick Fa la sauce.
Breakfast - unfortunately there isn???t any good options for breakfast. She can order Hash browns, yogurt, and fruit cup.
This week we stopped at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts for lunch. We were meeting up with relatives who came to visit from out of town.
The Wayside Inn started in 1716, making it the oldest continually operating inn in the United States. In 1862, the poet Henry Longfellow wrote the poems Tales of a Wayside Inn here. Henry Ford once own the Inn, in fact he was the last private owner.
We have eaten at the Wayside Inn plenty of times, but this is the first time we brought our daughter. We needed to make sure that there was a gluten-free dish for her.
Five Things We Learned
The Wayside Inn offers inside and outside seating. Everyone that worked at the restaurant wore masks. At the time we were eating, the town of Sudbury had a mandatory mask mandate - which requires everyone to wear a mask when inside a public place.
When we checked in, we told the host that someone in our party has a gluten-free allergy. They gave us a gluten-free menu.
The gluten-free menu has lots of options, but nothing really for kids. My daughter doesn't like seafood at all. Lunch options such as Boston Scrod, Salmon Dijonnaise, and Broiled Sea Scallops wouldn't work for her. She's 10 and we're not going to order the Roast Prime Rib. We ended up ordering the Tavern Burger without a bun and chips instead of the fries since the waitress told us they don't have a dedicated fryer. (I am guessing the Fish and Chips are fried in the same fryer.)
After we placed our order, someone came around with a basket of bread and placed it in the middle of the table - right in front of my daughter. The Wayside Inn doesn't have any gluten-free bread as part of the table appetizer.
My daughter liked her burger, she ate most of it. She didn't eat much of her chips, probably distracted from all the conversations. She said it was a good burger.
Gluten Free Lunch Menu at the Wayside Inn.
We'll Be Back!
We enjoyed our meal. The restaurant was fairly quiet - there was some construction going on that made it slightly noisy. (Not sure why they had to make a lot of noise during a busy lunch hour.)
We'll be back. This is a beautiful restaurant with some interesting history, we had a good experience and everyone enjoyed their food.
Fenway Franks at Fenway Park
A few years ago, I blogged about the location of the Gluten-Free buns at Fenway Park. The location to where you get Gluten Free Fenway Franks has changed, here's the latest information based on our recent visit to the park.
Gluten Free Hot Dogs
The cart is gone. The Glue Free Hot Dogs are now located at the Home Plate Concourse. This is located against the back wall towards Yawkey Way and not towards the field. Specifically, its located across from the "GrandStand 17-20, Lodge Box 121-130, and Dugout/Field Box 36-44" sign.
Next to the concession stand is a "Bank of America ATM."
Once you get to the counter, ask for a Gluten-Free Hot dog. They will ask you to step aside while they get it for you. You can watch them warm up the hot dog bun in the microwave.
After you get the hot dog, go to the register and pay for it.
The red pin on this map shows where the Gluten Free Hot Dogs are in the Concourse Level.
The "Home Plate Concourse" entrance is where you walk in from Gate D.
Gluten Free/Friendly Fenway Foods
Where to find Gluten-Free foods in Fenway Park. Your best bet is to visit the Home Plate Concourse, as mention above, for all your Gluten Free needs.
Franks with buns
- Home Plate Concourse
- Home Plate Deck
- Gate E Concourse
- Big Concourse
- Home Plate Concourse
- Pavilion Level
- Home Plate Concourse
- Coca Cola Deck
- Big Concourse
Hot Table Panini
One of the newest restaurants at Shoppers World is Hot Table Panini. A Massachusetts/Connecticut based sandwich chain restaurant.
The restaurant features all sorts of unique paninis such as: Cranberry Turkey Club, Chicken Pesto, Chicken Parm, Southwest Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, Cheese Steak, Swiss Steak Mushroom, Black & Blue, Spicy Bbq Pulled Pork, Cubano, Italian Cold Cut, Turkey Club, Turkey Honey Dijon, Classic Tuna, Santa Fe Veggie, Pesto Veggie, and Caprese.
You can also get salads and soups too.
Gluten Free Panini!
Did you know that that they offer Gluten-Free rolls? Yup, you can get any sandwich they make on a Gluten-Free bun.
Three Things We Learned
The gluten-free bun is only available in a small size. I supposed if you are really hungry you can get two sandwiches. The small portion is ??? well ??? small. It???s a good size for my ten-year-old - who doesn???t eat much.
Your sandwich will get toasted! They don???t have a dedicated panini maker for Gluten Free sandwiches. They wrap your sandwich in tin foil and put it in the panini maker. They serve you the sandwich still wrapped in tinfoil.
The gluten-free sandwich is delicious! It???s a hit! My ten year loves the sandwich and eats it all in one sitting. She likes that she can pick out what she wants on the sandwich - just like everyone else.
Finding Hot Table
The Hot Table restaurant is located next to Chipotle in Shoppers World.
Which Panini should you start with? Any one of them. They are all excellent!
We love to have pizza every once in a while. Usually, we have frozen pizzas but every once in a while we'll order pizza for delivery. It's not hard to find a pizza place that offers Gluten-Free pizza - but finding one that has really good pizza is very difficult.
My 10-year old daughter is picky when it comes to pizza. She'll usually settle if there's nothing open or we are traveling. When we are at home she loves Liberty Gluten-Free Pizza.
What makes Liberty Pizza stands out is the sauce. The tomato sauce is really good - its the same sauce they use on the regular pizza. It's pretty much the main reason why we all enjoy getting pizza from Liberty.
The Gluten-Free pizza is only available in small. The pizza cost an extra $2.20 over a regular small pizza.
The pizza crust is good. Usually, my daughter saves 1/2 the pizza for another day - rumors have it that she eats some as breakfast on a Saturday morning.
Finding Liberty Pizza
Liberty Pizza is located in the Pinefield Shopping Center in Framingham (61 Nicholas Road)
The Oregon Club
The Oregon Club is hidden gem located on the backroads of Ashland. It's a unique place as it started out as the place to go to get drinks during Prohibition.
Five Things We Learned
- Reservations Recommended - There's very limited seating. Reservations are highly recommended.
- Quiet Restaurant - The inside dining room is small and has the feel of being at someone's house and not at a restaurant. There is a piano in one of the dining rooms, but it was more of decorations.
- Lots of Gluten-Free Options - The waitress worked with us on what meals they were able to make Gluten Free. They were very knowledgeable on what meals could be made safe for her. My daughter selected the Roasted Chicken.
- Appetizers - We went with the Roasted Pears with Prosciutto for the appetizer. It seemed to be the only one a 10-year old might like. She didn't like it. I thought it was pretty good.
- Roasted Chicken - The Roasted Chicken was good. The only problem was that it contained bones, I think she was thinking more of chicken strips than 1/4 of a chicken. She had coleslaw and baked beans as a side dish. She enjoyed it.