Nima , Gluten Free Pizza and Pasta in Restaurants, plus Farms!

There's some interesting news about the "gluten free" options at restaurants.  It's about a study that tested restaurants across the country for gluten contamination in menu items that are claimed to be gluten free.  Most Celiacs who have been at this a while know that restaurants with mixed menus are risky and require extensive quizzing of the server and food preparer.  Something as simple as failing to switch gloves before arranging a salad plate can leave a gluten sensitive person in agony for days or weeks.  And there's no visual way to know that it happened.

It's also interesting that the commercial product, Nima was used to do the actual testing instead of sending samples of food to a lab for testing.  There has been significant backlash about Nima in well respected corners of the Gluten Free community.   And the study is crowdsourced:

"Adherence to a gluten-free (GF) diet is the mainstay of therapy for celiac disease. Until now, those wishing to avoid gluten in restaurants had to rely on menu labels, word of mouth, intuition, and restaurant workers' advice, with a relative dearth of supporting data. We used crowd-sourced data from users of a portable gluten detection device to estimate rates of, and identify risk factors for, gluten contamination of supposed GF restaurant foods." Part of the abstract, from:

 So opponents of using Nima, or of cleaning up the act of restaurants (not implying that they are the same groups) will surely want to criticize the significance of this study.  However, it's something we've experienced so often, that now there are lawsuits about gluten exposure in restaurants, and about lack of gluten free options in colleges.  Since colleges have a captive audience for the first two years of all young adults who are living on campus, most of the press is about accommodation in college rather than harm to random customers at restaurants.

Some in the GF community have even spoken out against the lawsuits. But the camel has already entered the tent, so to speak, because it's not just gluten, but all allergens that are being litigated.  And that's more people than just those with Celiac Disease. This is going to be tougher on restaurants than colleges I think.  The kitchens in college cafeterias have enough space to designate an allergen free area.  And they don't have 'themes" like an ethnic restaurant would. Restaurants have shallower pockets and less kitchen and refrigerator space. 

Whichever way this goes, it's still true that we're taking a risk every time we go to a restaurant, so  please be careful. As always.

Photo by from Pexels

Local Farms Were on Display

 This past weekend was the Piedmont Farm Tour!  I didn't take pictures but I had a lot of fun at Reedy Fork Farm, the only one that participated and has organic meat as well as vegetables.  The listing of local farms is an annual gift to everyone who's keeping healthy in Raleigh-Durham.  If you missed it, you can still find the listing and contact farmers you're interested in.  Some farms offer farm tours by appointment too, so you haven't missed out.

Reedy Fork  Farm also provides organic feed to local and national organic producers, which is an essential element in Organic farming.  Without proper feed, there would be no organic meat producers.  So this is a big thank you from me!  🌟  And you can pick up the feed for any homestead animals you're keeping, at various locations in the area.  Their farm has a store which stocks liver, kidney and hearts as well as more ordinary cuts of beef and they have a program that sells off the oldest chickens to a processor who resells them as stewing hens.  As a fan of "chewy" chicken  and rich chicken soup, I was thrilled to hear of it.

We talked about why it's so hard for many farmers to switch from "we use organic techniques" to "we are certified organic" (cost), the amusing snobbery of chickens, and the vagaries of cow social structure.   On their farm, "until the cows come home" still has meaning.  I hope that will never change. And if you're interested in the A1/A2 casein debate, you'll be pleased to know that they have a crossbreed of both Jersey and Holstein cows.

Doug and I had the liver yesterday with some local greens from the Durham Farmer's Market and agreed it was the best we've had in the area.  Super thin slices, and each package is perfect for two people. How are you doing with re-introducing healthy organ meat to your diet?  I'm happy to offer advice or congratulations, as needed. 🌞

More about Reedy Fork:


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