Theater District

Gluten Free City’s Theater District highlights the best in audio and video related to living a gluten free lifestyle. We will be discussing podcasts, videos and television shows that can help you in your quest to eat gluten free.

Dr. William Davis (“Wheat Belly”) Interview on CBS

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What if the celiac blood test was negative?

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A Tale of Two Pizzas

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Okay, maybe things aren’t quite as dramatic as that, but the dual announcements of Gluten Free Pizza over the weekend by Domino’s Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese could not have been more different. One heralded inclusion and safety while the other caution and dashed hopes. Surprisingly, to me at least, the restaurant chain that made the right move was Chuck E. Cheese. Take a look at the videos from each restaurant and see the direction they are heading.

Chuck E. Cheese addresses two very important issues for it’s customers right away, those of food safety and inclusion. Being a diet-restricted kid, especially due to Celiac Disease, is not always easy. Adding the stress of bringing your own food or forgoing the meal altogether is an extra burden for the kid and their parents. By stating that they can offer a gluten free pizza and dessert, they allow the child to stop worrying about food and enjoy a party with their friends. The parents can be assured that the food is prepared safely and free of cross-contamination. They give the parent a wrapped disposable cutter and let them open the bag with the pizza. That is a lot of piece of mind.

The other thing that they are doing is rolling out the program slowly. This is something that they obviously don’t want to screw up. The memory of the attempt that California Pizza Kitchen made into the GF Pizza market was likely on their minds. They also partnered with well known gluten free food companies to produce the pizza (Conte’s Pasta) and dessert (Fabe’s All-Natural Bakery). These are made in gluten free facilities and show the depth of Chuck E. Cheese’s committment to their customers. If you are interested in learning more about what goes into a GF Certified facility, check out this article from Kinnikinnick Foods.

Will their GF pizza taste as good as their normal pizza? Like Domino’s, they rolled out a new recipe recently. Chuck E. Cheese’s motto is “Where a kid can be a kid” and simply needs a passable pizza for the parties.

There’s only four things we (Americans) do better than anyone else:

  • music
  • movies
  • microcode (software)
  • high-speed pizza delivery

– Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

Domino’s, on the other hand, is “The World Leader in Pizza Delivery“. They have a different market than Chuck E. Cheese. You can tell from the tone of their pitch for their gluten free pizza. It is hip, edgy and, most importantly, makes fun of the fact that they need a disclaimer about who should eat this product. It is treated as a buzzkill that they even have to bring us all down with a mention of some icky disease. If you didn’t catch that, please go back and watch it again. Like the other video, Domino’s shows their pizza being prepared. Unlike the other video, they seem to brag about their lack of cross contamination prevention procedures. They can’t change gloves or buy another pizza cutter?

One thing Domino’s did do was hire the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to approve this product. The NFCA gave them an entire set of pages on their site devoted to explaining why a “Gluten Free” product was not okay for Celiacs. They also used the term “cross-contact” instead of “cross contamination”. They have also spent a lot of time and effort reaching out to gluten free and celiac bloggers to get the word out. They even engaged in some interesting backpedaling when someone said that the NFCA “certified” Dominos. The response from NFCA was that they “consulted”. They also awarded them a GREAT Kitchen designation, but that isn’t a certification…

Exchanges like the one below happened at several different times over the past day and I really don’t understand the NFCA response.

If it wasn’t feasible, why did they go along with it? Despite the disclaimers, celiacs and gluten sensitive people will eat this pizza and, given that they aren’t even using ANY separate equipment/utensils, some people will get hurt by this. Their own website says that 95% of celiacs are undiagnosed and that a 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for celiac today.

Why did they go along with this? I don’t know. I haven’t researched the funding behind this transaction or the organization as a whole. I don’t know if there was any dissenting voices among the NFCA. I am hoping to read more about this in the coming weeks. This post by Amy Leger at Savvy Celiac documents her discussion with the founder of the NFCA and sheds some light on things, but I think there is more to be learned.

Domino’s has used twitter to reach out to many of the well-known gluten free celebrities. Since there is much consternation in the GF/Celiac community about the dedication of these folks to a gluten free diet that is, well, gluten free, this also hit a lot of people the wrong way. Here are some of the tweets issued by @dominos yesterday to tennis players Murray and Djokovic, Miley Cyrus, Juliette Lewis and Gwynyth Paltrow:

But today, they returned to their usual job. Saying “Sorry” for messed up orders.

Oh yeah, Gluten Sensitive folks, you will be just fine. Domino’s cares.

One more quote:

Remember the basic rules #glutenfree folks. Glutenfree pizza crust+shared lines+shared utensils/sauce/toppings+shared oven. Safe for #gf? NO — Shirley Braden, @shirleygfe (Gluten Free Easily)

There have been several very well written blogs about this topic already and not all of them have the same view that I do. In case you want to read more, I would recommend the following posts:

SpinningSpoons – Why Gluten Free Pizza and Dominos Does Nothing For Me
Savvy Celiac – Domino’s Gluten Free Pizza, Who is it for?
GlutenDude – Domino’s Goes Gluten Free. Or Do They?
Breaking Up With Captain Crunch – Domino’s Is Trying to Kill Me (Again)*
East Bay Celiac – A Day In The Life of a Celiac Day 7
Food Allergy and Intolerance Ink – Sort of gluten free pizza (Thanks for the tip, GlutenFreeMrsD!

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Let’s Dish (Gluten Free)

Let’s Dish is a cooking show on the Live Well Network, a “lifestyle” channel. It is only available in about 60% of the U.S., but most of the shows appear to be on the website. Some good stuff there.

This episode, Gluten Free Recipes, has four segments. The embedded episode above is the full show.

Here are links to the individual segments and recipes.

Segment 1
Gluten-Free Mushroom Crepe Tortes

Segment 2
Gluten-Free Asian Noodle Salad with Sauteed Shrimp

UPDATE: In the video, he simply says “Soy Sauce” and, as you might already know, Soy Sauce is made with gluten. The recipe on the page, however, indicated that a gluten-free soy sauce should be used. Sorry I didn’t notice that sooner.

Segment 3
Gluten-Free Chicken Tortilla Soup

Segment 4
Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Can’t wait to try out the Mushroom Crepe Torte. That just looks tasty!

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Relearning how to eat is one of the things you need to do when you find you can’t eat gluten. Eliminating an entire class of processed foods is difficult. The other “food groups” had to fill in the gap. More meat, more fat and more vegetables was what we did. I feel like I have eaten more vegetables in the past year than the 10 before it combined.

Supermarket produce departments are often a crapshoot. Even those that have organic veggies are getting them from thousands of miles away or even overseas. These simply aren’t fresh. We have paid a lot more attention to the sources of our food lately, but after seeing the movie Ingredients (2009), we realize we need to do more. It has prompted us to look at what we can grow at home and to make more of an effort to visit our farmer’s markets.

The filmmakers present a very good case for Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) by interviewing small farmers and restaurant owners/chefs. I think the best thing about this film is that it isn’t heavy handed in any way. It could have gone after industrial agriculture in a big way, but respects that you likely don’t have to hear Monsanto’s crimes read to you one more time.

This is not a film just for vegans or paleo or gluten free. It is for anyone who cares about what they eat. Although the segment on lambs will probably make vegans uncomfortable, please watch.

You can see this movie in the following places:

Official Site — DVD, Arrange local screening
Netflix — Watch Instantly (Streaming)
Amazon — DVD, Purchase Download and Rental (Streaming)

I was turned on to this film by Andrew Badenoch, who recommended it on Twitter (@evolvify). Thanks!

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The American Diet – A Historical Perspective

This is a must see lecture by Stephan Guyenet. He explains how we got so large and unhealthy in 16 minutes. You can read more about this at his site, Whole Health Source.

Thanks to @balancedbites for tweeting this video today.

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Interview with Dr. Tom O’Bryan

Sean Croxton at Underground Wellness interviews Dr. Tom O’Bryan about testing for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. It is a great introductory video and it also has technical details about the latest testing advances. Disclaimer: Dr. O’Bryan owns the testing lab. Regardless, his Gluten World section has a lot of good articles and I have enjoyed hearing him interviewed before on the UW podcast.

Hat tip to @evolvify for posting the original link to this video on twitter.

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An Introduction to Celiac Disease

An Introduction to Celiac Disease (2:43), from Alicia Woodward, the editor of Living Without magazine. A “just the facts” presentation, highlighting the number of undiagnosed people with celiac disease, the obvious symptoms (Gastro-intestinal) and the not-so-obvious (migraine). It also is very clear about the only way to deal with it. Don’t eat gluten.

Hat tip to @glutenfreebee for tweeting about this video.

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Keeping an eye out for celiac disease

This is a short video from YNN (Your News Now – Time Warner Cable, Austin, TX). In this “Child Wellness” segment, a doctor discusses the many warning signs of celiac disease in children. Pretty basic stuff, but it is good to see this kind of coverage. Didn’t know that crayons could have gluten.

Hat tip to @JulesGlutenFree for tweeting this (and pointing out that Crayola crayons are gluten free.)

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“The Mourning Period”

“The Mourning Period” from Lillian’s Test Kitchen.

This is so very true. My relationship with food has changed so much since the beginning of the year and I have made my peace with many of those changes. But I am still hanging on to a few things I shouldn’t.

My quixotic quest for a Gluten Free (and now Dairy Free) pizza that isn’t a glorified tomato flavored rice cracker should show that I have some work to do here.

I saw a coworker gently daub excess grease from a beautifully orange NY style slice today at lunch and about lost my mind! I really wanted a piece of a middle of the road pizza that I would have likely passed on a year ago. Running it back through my mind, I know I would trade an awful lot just to be able to eat that pedestrian pie without getting sick.

Do you have a food you are clinging to from “the before time?” Have you let go?

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