Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Louis Kestenbaum, Mix Critic

Betty Crocker does gluten free - yippee! I was so excited to see the new line of Betty Crocker's gluten free mixes: chocolate chip cookie, yellow cake, devil's food cake, brownies. I scooped up 2 of each to try. They did not disappoint! The yellow cake mix was terrific - No texture issues, no over-moistness issues, no overly ricey flavors. It flashed me back to the good old days of my mom serving me her yellow (box mix) cake with chocolate frosting. Yummmmmy! Next, I tried the cookies. Texture was not quite as good in this case. The cookies fell flat a bit and fell apart when I tried to remove them from the pan. However....They tasted fantastic!!!! Just the right amount of chocolate chips, sweet but not too sweet, just absolutely delish! Stay tuned, I'll let y'all know how the brownies taste next...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Louis Kestenbaum may be able to safely eat gluten again some day?

I find the idea of being able to eat gluten again (safely), after taking some little pill, intriguing. Having said that, though, I have to wonder about the ramifications for those of us who seem to suffer from things like "brain fog" or fatigue after gluten hits our systems...I somehow suspect that these pills would not help in that respect. In any case, it's fun to think about occasionally being able to splurge and eat some forbidden, gluten treats again!

By Randy Key

Published: June 3, 2009

UNDATED—For Jax Peters Lowell, celiac disease is one for the books. She’s written several on the topic, having had an undiagnosed case of the autoimmune disease for years.

Jax Peters Lowell, celiac patient: “Before I was given the gluten-free diet, I just got thinner and thinner and sicker and sicker.“

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. In celiac patients, it wreaks havoc in the digestive tract.

Anthony DiMarino, M.D., gastroenterologist: “When it’s ingested, it sets up a chemical reaction which releases cytokines or chemicals which injure the intestine.“

Symptoms include stomach cramping, pain, bloating, diarrhea and weight loss. Untreated, there are long-term complications like osteoporosis, anemia and other autoimmune disorders like lupus.

Dr. DiMarino: “A gluten-free diet is the only accepted treatment, right now.“

But, what if you could take a pill before a meal to block gluten, and eat anything you want? That’s the idea behind a new experimental drug.

Alessio Fasano, M.D., Mucosa Biologist: “The ultimate goal is to go back to a regular life. To eat whatever you want, whenever you want. How feasible this will be with this kind of treatment? Only time will tell.“

The drug inhibits zonulin, a protein that regulates the absorption of nutrients. Its job is to open and close spaces between tightly-packed cells that line the small intestine, letting vital nutrients in, and keeping destructive proteins, like gluten, out. Too much zonulin…and the space gets jammed open.

Dr. DiMarino: “What you have is a gap in the cells and then things can get through that otherwise would not get through.“

Including gluten, Doctor DiMarino is heading a study on the new drug called AT-1001. He says, so far, the pill seems to keep those spaces between cells closed so gluten can’t get in.

Dr. DiMarino: “It seems to be blocking the things you want it to block. Patients seem to be able to tolerate the gluten with minimal or no side effects.“

Jax took part in the study and is encouraged by the news.

Jax: “To have maybe the pill in my purse and instructions as to how many hours you have to take it ahead of time and have some pizza. Just grab a slice just like anybody else.“

It doesn’t mean the end of a gluten-free diet, but it could allow for an occasional splurge.

---And don't forget, Louis Kestenbaum Twitters

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cow Burps - Gotta love it!

I'm a huge Stonyfield Farm fan. Love the fact that their yogurts are certified gluten free, taste great, and don't have that horrible high fructose corn syrup in it. This article cracked me up. Very interesting info regarding cows and greenhouse emissions, which I never thought to consider:

Stonyfield Farm Takes on Cow Burps with First North American Program

The first program in North America to naturally decrease global warming gases caused by cows' burps (enteric emissions) has been announced by environmental pioneer Stonyfield Farm, the world's leading organic yogurt company ( An unexpected benefit of the program is that it also significantly increases the nutritional value of the milk.

"This is a watershed moment for the US dairy industry," said Stonyfield President and CE-Yo Gary Hirshberg. "By changing the feed we give our cows, we can simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve milk's nutritional content in a way that may help reduce cardiovascular disease and obesity."

The Stonyfield Greener Cow pilot program began in late 2008 with 15 Vermont Organic Valley farms which supply the milk for Stonyfield's yogurts. The company learned about this approach from its global partner French-based Groupe Danone. Stonyfield had been measuring its carbon footprint for over a decade, and had known milk production was the biggest part of its footprint. While it developed programs for emissions from growing feed for cows, manure, transportation, and farm energy, handling its greatest source of milk emissions, the natural digestion of the cow, was a challenge.

The pilot program works by feeding cows a diet high in natural omega-3 sources, such as alfalfa, flax and grasses. This results in an increase in the milk's omega-3 content and decrease in the levels of saturated fats. Through intensive, ongoing analysis of the feed and the cow's milk, the pilot program re-balances the cow's main stomach or "rumen." This results in a reduction of the waste by-product methane, a greenhouse gas, which the cows emit primarily through burping.

The milk from the pilot program is tested in the lab of milk lipids expert Dr. Adam Lock at the University of Vermont using gas chromatography, an analytics technique for determining the fatty acid composition of milk fat. From the fatty acid analysis, in a process patented by French nutrition company Valorex SAS, the enteric methane emissions are determined. (For more on enteric emissions and further program details, see the program's scientific backgrounder, available upon request.)

"Stonyfield Farm has been able to reduce the enteric emissions from the cows by as much as 18%, an average of 12%. If every US dairy were to adopt this approach, in less than one year, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we could reduce would be the equivalent of taking more than half a million cars off the road!" announced Nancy Hirshberg, Stonyfield V.P. of Natural Resources and the director of the Stonyfield Greener Cow Project.

The omega-3s in the milk increased by nearly one third (29%) without adding anything, such as omega-3 rich fish oil to the milk, she noted. Increasing the omega-3 level in the feed also lowers the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, a balance that regulates key human physiological functions.

"The Stonyfield Greener Cow program is changing food in exactly the ways we need it to be changed," said Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D., international authority on essential fatty acids and former chair of the Nutrition Coordinating Committee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to her book The Omega Diet, what we eat today contains too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3. This 'hidden imbalance' makes us vulnerable to heart disease, cancer, obesity, autoimmune diseases, allergies, diabetes and depression.

Only plants can synthesize omega-6 and omega-3. By eating animals that have consumed plants high in omega-3, humans get this important nutrient. Over the past 50 years, though, our diets have changed and we now consume more omega-6 rich foods such as oils from corn, palm and soy. We also changed what livestock eat by increasing the amount of corn and soy in their feed, and decreasing grass, which is high in omega-3. The result is that eggs, meat and dairy have less omega-3. Thus, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in our diets -- which used to be about 1 or 2 to 1 -- is now out of balance with about 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3.

"There is an environmental cost to these changes," stated Nancy Hirshberg. "Clearing forests for palm and soy has caused ecological devastation. For every piece of rainforest or prairie that is destroyed to grow soybean or palm, our bodies pay the price with an imbalance in the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Put simply, our health and nutrition are tied to what animals eat. We are what they eat!"

Stonyfield CE-Yo Gary Hirshberg iterated the company's plans to make its findings available to support other interested dairy processors by late summer.

Link: Louis Kestenbaum crackup of the day