So summer is here and I have been feeling the heat. My son and I love to cool off with a nice frozen treat. What would summer be without ice cream, slushies and popsicles? The conundrum comes when trying to find reasonably healthy and allergen friendly options. Individuals that suffer from Fibromyalgia, Lyme and Lupus can often reap health benefits by avoiding sugar, artificial sweeteners, and gluten. That doesn’t leave many options for the quintessential summer pastime of kicking back with an ice cream cone.
This year it seems that a self-serve frozen yogurt fad is taking over my town. There is an Urban Swirl, Orange Leaf, Pink Walrus, and Red Mango; a tantalizing treat on every corner. Fro-Yo places are springing up all over the place. So many flavors of yogurt — so many toppings to choose from. But is it safe to indulge?
Some of these fro-yo places make it difficult to tell what allergens are contained in each flavor. Most of them are have yogurt that is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors. If you are following a strict gluten free diet, The Red Mango is the only chain that I know of that has every flavor of frozen yogurt certified gluten free. Plus their yogurt has the benefits of having probiotics added for your digestive health which means it is extremely beneficial for Lyme patients and those individuals with Celiac Disease.
At the Red Mango, the yogurt tastes like yogurt. The flavors are tart, not overly sweet. I love to pair my fro-yo with the fresh fruit toppings on the sundae bar. Fruit is always gluten free! If you have severe allergies, you will need to ask about the toppings as they very from store to store. The clerks will also cut your fruit fresh in the back if you are concerned about cross contamination.
We absolutely love the Red Mango. Give it a try and maybe it will become your new obsession!
Finally the results are in from my Celiac blood panel and they show that I do not have Celiac Disease. The doctor says that this doesn’t mean I should start eating glutinous foods again since I have shown so much improvement healthwise following a g-free diet. However, my blood work did show that I have a Vitamin D Deficiency, so much so that my endocriniologist is putting me on Calcitriol to help raise my levels more quickly.
When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia my Endocrinologist checked my vitamin D levels at that time. They were low then, but not worrisome enough I guess to put me on prescription medication. This was also about two years ago when a lab gave faulty lab results to doctors.
Vitamin D deficiency is now being linked to Fibromyalgia, which imitates osteomalacia that is caused by Vitamin D deficiency. It is no surprise that Celiac patients become deficient in many nutrients, including Vitamin D due to malabsorption issues. But what came first, the chicken or the egg? Does vitamin D deficiency cause Celiac or vice versa? Hopefully by following a gluten-free diet and taking my new Vitamin D supplements my fibro flares will be few and far between.
EDIT: Please see the comments for this posting for a great explanation from Mark Clute of Turtle Mountain, and their assurance that their products are gluten free. We apologize for our assumption that their product caused problems for my wife.
Well after finishing the carton of Purely Decadent Dairy Free Ice Cream I purchased, I think I realized what may be making me sick. I thought it was the chai I was drinking, but is it this lovely carton of ice cream that is organic and seemingly gluten-free? Apparently the Organic Brown Rice Syrup, can be made through a fermentation process in which barley is sometimes added. See this posting Is Brown Rice Syrup Really Gluten-Free? by Liz Schau
The food labels are so confusing. The FDA definitely needs to better regulate these food labels. For now here is a list of ingredients to avoid at Celiac.com
Update: This posting was revised on March 4, 2010 in response to a comment by Gabriella. She was nice enough to post a web address to the allergy information on the products made by the company, Turtle Mountain, the maker of Purely Decadent. There is now a link directly to their listing of gluten-free products on the recommendations page.
I originally verified this product for being gluten-free by using the online database, Zeer.com. They identify the Brown Rice Syrup as potentially containing gluten.
I picked up another carton of the Purely Decadent Peanut Butter Zig Zig today at the store. Last night when I ate a cup of this ice cream, I did not suffer from an upset stomach, so I am back to believing that it is was the organic chai, or perhaps my stomach wasn’t ready for the whole milk I mixed in the chai. This is all very confusing to me and any further recommendations about going gluten-free would be greatly appreciated.
Update: On March 9, 2010 a comment was received from the quality control manager at Turtle Mountain, the manufacturer of this product. He has explained that Turtle Mountain has never used Brown Rice Syrup in this product, and instead uses Tapioca Syrup. This is an “and/or” statement on the list of ingredients. Click on the comments link to see his full remarks about the product.