Archives for October 2012

  • Eat Seasonally: Pear Galette | 10.31.2012

    Pears, like apples and raspberries, are members of the same plant family as the fragrant rose.  With over 3,000 varieties, pears appear in many shades of red, purple, yellow, green, and brown.  Peak pear season ranges from late summer to early winter, when common varieties like Bosc, Bartlett, and Red Bartlett are readily available.  Look for juicy, exquisite French varieties like D’Anjou seasonally. When ripe, pears change from a green to yellow hue visible through their primary color.  Pears are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.  Add chopped pears to a quinoa and spinach salad or try an open-faced sandwich with arugula, Camembert and grilled pears on a baguette.

     

    Pear GalettePear Galette
    Posted with permission from www.strongertogether.coop

    Serving Size:  6 servings
    Total Time:  1 hour, 25 minutes; 30 minutes active

    Ingredients:

    Dough:

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 large eggs (1 for dough, 1 for egg wash)
    • 1 teaspoon milk
    • 5 tablespoons  butter, cold and cut into small pieces

    Filling:

    • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
    • 2 largeAnjoupears
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • Pinch of ground nutmeg

    Preparation

    1. To make the dough, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together one egg and milk. Add half of the egg and milk mixture to the dough and mix to incorporate. Mix in the remaining egg and milk, and make the dough into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. After refrigeration, roll out the dough into a 9 to 10-inch circle and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top surface of the dough with the apricot jam, and return it to the refrigerator until the pears are ready.
    2. Preheat oven to 425°F. While the oven is heating, quarter and core the pears, then slice them lengthwise into quarter-inch slices. Place the pear slices in a fan shape on the chilled circle of dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Drizzle melted butter over the pears and then sprinkle with sugar and nutmeg. Gently fold the edge of the dough up and over the pears to form a rim. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and brush the rim and edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Place the galette in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until the edges are browning. Let rest a few minutes before slicing.

     

    Serving Suggestion
    The beauty of this fruit tart is in its irregularly-shaped handmade crust. Serve warm with French vanilla ice cream or brandy sauce and whipped cream.


  • The Non-GMO Project: Preserving a Future for Ourselves and our Children | 10.17.2012

    You have the right to know what’s in the food you’re eating and feeding your family. Most governments agree—nearly 50 countries around the world, including Japan, Australia, Russia, China and all of the EU member states, have either banned genetically modified organisms (GMOs) completely, or require that food containing them be clearly labeled.  The experimental technology of genetic engineering forces DNA from one species into a different species. The resulting GMOs are unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional breeding. GMOs have not been adequately tested, and have not been proven safe for human consumption.

     

     

    In the U.S., we do not have mandatory GMO labeling, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require safety assessments of GMO foods or even review all of the GMO products hitting the market. Meanwhile, close to 75% of our conventional packaged foods now contain GMOs. In response to this dire situation the Non-GMO Project was founded, with a mission of protecting consumer choice and preserving and rebuilding our non-GMO food supply. By offering North America’s only third party standard and labeling for non-GMO products, the Project helps fill the information gap for the increasing number of Americans who are concerned about the health risks and environmental pollution associated with GMOs.

    This October is the third annual Non-GMO Month – an event created by the Non-GMO Project to help raise awareness about the GMO issue and celebrate Non-GMO Project Verified choices. As part of our participation in Non-GMO Month, we are sharing this article to help you understand what Non-GMO Project Verification is all about.

    Since late 2009, the Project has verified over 5,000 products to its rigorous standards for GMO avoidance, and this number increases daily.  Companies enroll in the Non-GMO Project for many reasons. For some, it is part of their company’s mission.  For other companies, verification is driven by the demands of retailers and consumers. Doug Foreman, the founder and chairman of Beanitos says, “We were totally unaware of what GMOs were until a health food store questioned us on whether we were verified Non-GMO. This was an eye-opening moment for us. We found an abundance of evidence revealing possible problems with genetic modification in our food supply and immediately began the process of verification.”

    More and more people are looking for the Non-GMO Project Verified label, and asking their favorite brands to participate, but what does that really mean? The butterfly on the “Verified” seal is a real eye-catcher, but many people are still curious about what it takes for a food producer to earn that lovely lepidopteran.  When you see the Non-GMO Project Verified seal on a product it indicates that the product is compliant with the Non-GMO Project’s Standard – a transparent document requiring producers to meet strict requirements for GMO testing, segregation, and traceability. The butterfly’s cute, but it represents a tremendous level of commitment on the part of the brands that have earned it.

    Here’s an overview of what it takes to become Non-GMO Project Verified…

    First, an interested manufacturer, farmer, or restaurateur reaches out. The Project answers basic questions and helps them understand what to expect.  The company shares basic information, such as product names, ingredients and number of production facilities.  All this info helps the Project’s technical advisors to pinpoint high-GMO risk ingredients and facilities, sketch out a rough idea of what any individual verification will entail, and figure out what the verification process will cost.

    As a mission-driven Non-Profit organization, the Non-GMO Project works to keep the cost of verification as low as possible – after all, the more Non-GMO options, the merrier!  For the many brands that do decide to pursue Verification, contracts are signed ensuring that confidential product information stays confidential, and that products only get to use the Verification Mark once they’ve completed Verification. It’s all legalese to many of us, but it’s an important step in making sure that shoppers can trust any product bearing the butterfly seal.

    Even more important is the Verification process itself.  Companies provide hard data about the products they are enrolling: ingredient lists, production facility information, test results from approved laboratories, etc. Once the data upload is complete an evaluator with FoodChain, the Project’s technical advisor, begins the review process – and what a process it is!

    To quote Brian Ray of Garden of Life, “Our Multi-Vitamins, for example, can contain 50 to 60 different food based ingredients.  It’s a staggering amount of work to evaluate each product. And the Non GMO Project auditors are extremely thorough. Even though we collect certifications from every supplier verifying that each ingredient is GMO-free, the auditors work tirelessly UP the food chain, challenging each statement and requiring that suppliers prove through adequate agricultural controls and regular DNA testing protocols that GMOs are not unintentionally introduced.”

    For companies with low risk ingredients the process can be quite a bit simpler.  In describing their verification, Doug Foreman of Beanitos says, “The process itself took just a few months to complete. The longest part was waiting for our supplier’s 3rd party lab tests proving their commitment to sourcing Non-GMO ingredients. One of our seasoning suppliers couldn’t guarantee that the milk in our cheddar was sourced from hormone free cows. We subsequently moved to a supplier that is just as dedicated to Non-GMO as we are.”

    If a product contains only low-risk ingredients, with no GMO varieties on the market, testing is not required, but FoodC hain conducts a thorough review of ingredient specification sheets for an in-depth assurance that there is no risk of GMO presence.

    For companies with major high-risk ingredients in their products, the Non-GMO Project standard requires ongoing testing of those risk ingredients. High-risk ingredients are any derived from crops grown commercially in GMO form–from corn and canola to the occasional summer squash. After testing, ingredients must remain segregated from other GMO risk factors, and traceable from that point on.  This ensures ingredient integrity through to the finished product.  To ensure that everything’s being produced properly, manufacturers must pass on site inspections of any facility that uses high-risk ingredients.

    Upon successful completion of the verification process, the manufacturer receives a certificate of compliance, and can start using the Verified seal on their packaging. Even at this point, manufacturers who have committed to Verification aren’t off the hook – they must continue testing every single batch of their high-risk ingredients, and complete an annual audit process to remain verified.

    As you walk through Good Earth Market this October, then, keep an eye out for the many Verified products we sell. 

    In honor of Non-GMO Month, we’ve taken the time to hang special tags so they’re easier to find, and many of the sale items on our promotional displays are verified, too.  Pick up your copy of GMO FAQ’s to assist you in purchasing non-GMO products. 

    Supporting manufacturers who have committed to Non-GMO Project Verification sends a powerful message about what you want on your family’s table, and helps support some of this country’s best farmers.

    In this day and age, it can take a lot of extra energy to provide reliable Non-GMO products, but as Doug Foreman says, “Being verified by the Non GMO Project has been a 100% positive for us. Consumers want to eat food that is safe, and being Verified is a big part of making sure that happens.”


  • The Staff of Life? Not for Everybody… | 10.11.2012

    How can people become sick from eating wheat?  While wheat and related grains (barley and rye) have been staples of the human diet for thousands of years, there are an increasing number of kids and adults that become sick after eating these grains. There are several distinct reactions that someone can have after eating these grains: Celiac disease, Wheat Allergy and Gluten Sensitivity. They are not the same thing and have different symptoms and dangers.

    What are the differences in these diseases?

    Wheat Allergy is the only reaction to wheat that is a true allergic condition.  It is the same type of allergy people can have to eggs, peanuts, or other foods when their body develops antibodies that react after eating that particular food . The reactions are relatively immediate and can manifest as lip or face swelling, welts(hives), severe itching , breathing difficulties, abdominal cramping and even shock (anaphylaxis). People with severe wheat allergies may need to carry an emergency dose of epinephrine with them in case they are accidentally exposed to it to avoid going into shock. Some children may grow out of a wheat allergy later in life, but it is also possible to develop a new allergy to wheat as an adult.

    Celiac disease (CD) is a completely different condition than wheat allergy involving a different part of your immune system. In this case our immune cells (T-cells) view gluten (the protein in wheat, barley and rye) as the enemy and attack it in the gut. Every time the person with CD eats wheat, the immune system attacks it. Over months to years this attack causes inflammation of the small intestine and damages the intestinal wall making it difficult to absorb vitamins and nutrients.

    The classic story of CD is one of a young child with diarrhea, a big bloated abdomen, and poor growth. This actually represents the minority of cases, as CD can present with a host of symptoms and at any age. Medical experts have dubbed CD as “the great imitator” because it can mimic many other diseases, or like no disease at all. Chronic abdominal pain or constipation, unexplained anemia, brittle bones, chronic rashes, chronic fatigue are all possible ways in which celiac can show up. The older the patient, the less “classic” the presentation of CD. It is estimated that 90% of Celiacs are currently undiagnosed, and delayed diagnoses of years is common.

    Gluten Sensitivity was considered for many years an “alternative medicine” diagnosis but is now being recognized by many western physicians as a real condition. It is different and unique from celiac disease and wheat allergy. It can look very much like celiac disease, with abdominal pain and diarrhea, and many cases of irritable bowel disease are thought to involve gluten sensitivity. Other symptoms of gluten sensitivity include chronic headaches, fatigue, “brain fog” and depression. 

    Are these diseases really rare?

    Not at all! Current estimates are that 1% of the population has Celiac Disease, 0.5-1% has wheat allergy and as many as 6% of Americans may be “gluten sensitive”. That means as many as 1 person in 12 may be getting sick from wheat and not even realize it! All allergic diseases are becoming more common for reasons we don’t understand, so these numbers are likely to keep rising. It is very likely that someone you know has some type of negative reaction to wheat.

    Am I at risk for getting one of these diseases?

    People at higher risk for having or developing celiac disease include those with immediate relatives with celiac, people with Down or Turner Syndrome, Type 1 diabetics, and persons with thyroid or other autoimmune disease.  Type 2 diabetes does not increase your risk. If you or someone you know has one of these conditions, they should be screened regularly for CD. Anyone with chronic gastrointestinal complaints (abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, IBS) or unexplained anemia or brittle bones should be screened as well.

    How do I get screened?

    Talk to your doctor. There is a simple blood test called a tissue transglutaminase or TTG that is 95% accurate in diagnosing CD. Confirmation of the diagnosis may require an endoscopy, which is a small flexible tube used to look at and take tiny samples (biopsies) of the first part of the small intestine to look at under the microscope. A positive blood test and evidence of intestinal damage on biopsy confirms CD.

    Wheat allergy is diagnosed by a blood test for IgE (immunoglobulin E) to wheat, and/or by a skin test using a small amount of wheat protein to see if the body reacts when wheat is scratched into the skin.

    There is no accurate blood or skin test for gluten sensitivity even though expensive tests are advertised. The best and only way to diagnose it is to remove all wheat, barley and rye from the diet for at least 2 weeks. If symptoms improve, and then reappear when wheat is added back to the diet, the diagnosis is made. It is completely safe to remove all wheat and related foods from the diet.

    How do you treat these diseases?

    Essentially the only treatment for all three is a gluten free and wheat free diet. There are now more gluten free foods available than ever before, and labels are now stating if a product is gluten free. There are numerous health food stores in Billings and across Montana that carry a variety of gluten free foods.

    For more information about celiac and gluten free questions, here are some resources:  www.montanaceliacsociety.com    www.gluten.net   www.cdhnf.org 

    Tom Flass MS, MD is a Pediatric Gastroenterologist with St Vincent Healthcare, and treats conditions of the digestive tract and liver in Children. He completed medical training in Denver at the Children’s Hospital Colorado and has a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from Colorado State University. Tom has celiac disease and has been gluten free for 18 years.


  • Gluten: A Hidden Killer | 10.10.2012

    Today, 1 out of 133 people suffer from Celiac Disease, yet only 4% have been accurately diagnosed. In people who have celiac disease, the proteins in wheat, rye and barley act like a poison in the small intestine. To protect itself, the body rebels, generating an autoimmune response against the gluten. In the process of this inner war, tiny nutrient-absorbing hairs in the small intestine called villi get eroded and become flattened.

    When your villi are damaged, your body can’t absorb the nutrients you need. Different people react to this malabsorption in different ways with different symptoms-and sometimes with no symptoms at all, even as internal damage rages on.  Those suffering from celiac disease who eat gluten can experience diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss. If gone untreated, people with celiac disease can develop iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, miscarriage, cancer and death.  There is no known cure for celiac disease.

    Diagnosing yourself with celiac disease is a dangerous game as the disease is very serious and can compromise your health in permanent ways – a gluten-free diet is the only therapy. If one does not get tested and just decides celiac disease is the problem, one may not be as strict about a gluten-free diet, deciding a little gluten here and there can’t hurt when you crave a cookie or a sandwich. To someone with celiac disease, this lapse can be very dangerous.

    Some other diseases may resemble celiac disease, so it is very important not to diagnose yourself with celiac disease. If you put yourself on a gluten-free diet and feel better but still unwell, you could be ignoring something serious like lymphoma or intestinal cancer. Self-diagnosis can prevent one from seeking the treatment that could make you well again.

    Some people argue that even without a diagnosis of celiac disease, if a gluten-free diet makes you feel better, then it won’t hurt to follow it. If you don’t test positive for celiac disease, only you and your doctor can decide together whether a gluten-free diet is appropriate for your individual situation. Get tested first, just to be sure, and if you still feel sick, keep seeking an answer. In other words, leave the diagnosis up to the experts.

    As of January 2006, life got a lot easier for people with celiac disease and others who can’t eat wheat or gluten. Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act which requires that all foods regulated by the FDA must clearly list the presence of common allergens like milk, eggs, peanuts and wheat. Reading food labels carefully is essential when following a gluten free diet. If one cooks from scratch, it is easy to avoid gluten, but processed foods are popular because processed food are fast and easy to prepare. Processed foods tend to be full of gluten.

    A great deal of new findings have been discovered for those who have celiac disease. Many new foods that are gluten free are being developed on a regular basis. Those who must remain gluten free must keep abreast of new developments because being “gluten ignorant” can be deadly. To keep informed, join our gluten-free support group and watch the GEM blog.

    Carl Solberg, president of the Montana Celiac Society, is passionate about educating people on a gluten-free lifestyle.  The Montana Celiac Society offers information and support to those with Celiac Disease, hosting conventions and regular support group meetings and providing other resources, such as complimentary new patient packages.  For more information, visit their website at www.montanaceliacsociety.com or write to Montana Celiac Society, %R. Jean Powell, 1019 South Bozeman Avenue #3, Bozeman, MT  59715.  Stay tuned right here for a monthly blog from the Montana Celiac Society!