What are the benefits to eating Gluten Free?
A gluten free diet is a medically prescribed treatment for gluten intolerances diseases such as celiac disease (CD) and dermatatis herpetiformis (DH). Celiac disease is considered to be the most under-diagnosed common disease today, potentially affecting 1 in every 133 people in the USA. It is a chronic, inherited disease, and if untreated can potentially lead to malnutrition, gastrointestinal symptoms, weight loss, and has been linked to osteoporosis, anemia, type 1 diabetes, and autoimmune thyroid disease. For more information about the recently published multi-center prevalence study of celiac disease visit, www.celiaccenter.org.
Many people are on a gluten free diet simply because it is a healthier alternative. A gluten free diet can alleviate many chronic intestinal complaints and boost energy.
Many believe that the gluten-free diet might help in the treatment of autism and a host of other disorders, including schizophrenia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, attention deficit disorder, migraines and even fertility problems. There have not been clinical trials of adequate size to date to provide clear evidence that this diet offers treatment or not. But after hearing many stories, I think that the diet benefits a subgroup of people. In the absence of formal medical evidence, many people rely on anecdotal reports of improved health and personal observation after reducing and removing gluten, soy, sugar, animal products and dairy from their diet.
Why are you also soy protein free? Isn't soy a healthy alternative?
Yes, soy is a healthy protein alternative for some people, but soy protein allergies are VERY common allergy in the United States today, and soy is genetically engineered which concerns us. Soy is used as a filler and emollient in all sorts of products. We’ve found soy in shampoo (and reacted!) for goodness sake…
Soy naturally contains estrogen hormones. If you don’t want or need anymore hormones, avoid or limit your soy intake. We’ve also chosen to eliminate soy from our ingredient list because our kids are maturing more and more rapidly, and for us if there’s a chance to help slow this down even a wee bit, we’re all for it! We applaud those of you who enjoy soy and hope that you won’t hold it against those of us who don’t partake.
Soy is a hidden ingredient additive, used similarly to gluten. For those of us who have bad things happen with soy, finding products without soy is a challenge that we’ve found exhausting. So the bakery is soy free for our own peace of mind. The biggest challenge in this quest is to find an emulsifier to replace soy lecithin. But we accept that challenge and will charge forth.
Will we EVER use soy? Well, never say never, we do use soy lecithin, an emulsifier, which contains no proteins. Any other soy containing ingredients we use would only be by deliberate decision, after considerable study and reflection. We might consider using tofu for protein in some products… if loads of customers requested it. Even then, we would still not use soy as a filler, in any hidden ingredients, or as an additive.
What do you do to prevent cross-contamination?
At The Gluten Escape, gluten containing ingredients never deliberately enter the doors. Soy proteins are not in our products, even in oils.
For those of you who have cross-contamination concerns, we know nuts are the worst. We understand the scary consequences of nut allergies. We have NO peanuts in our bakery, The Gluten Escape. To protect against nut concerns we take four deliberate actions: we batch bake all products, we clean between batches and products, we store nut ingredients separately, and we make all nut-containing batter and dough on Wednesdays. Lastly, we’ve invested in a technology for packaging our nut-containing products which completely seals the products. Some folks think we go overboard, but we’re not sure they understand the risks as well as we do.
Some of our suppliers do process their products in facilities that also process nuts and seeds. We try not to use them, but in some instances we have to. We know those patrons who live in the allergen world will understand this limitation.
What kind of sweeteners do you use?
For most of our baked goods, we use unrefined natural sugars. We also use agave syrup. Agave is an all natural, low glycemic sweetener derived from a cactus for most of our baked goods. It is commonly safe for type II diabetes with non-insulin dependency.
We have a few products which contain raw sugar product. If you ever have a question about sugar, please ask.
Are you nut free?
We are peanut free, but we are not nut free. We do make products without nuts, but we cannot refer to ourselves as a “nut free” facility. (Especially if you knew our fun-loving team!) But we ourselves understand allergies and we have production and packaging protocols for addressing cross-contamination concerns (see above).
Select products contain almonds, pistachios and walnuts or pecans. We do not use peanuts. Coconut and its oil have recently been declared by the FDA as a tree nuts although the plant is a member of the palm family. We do use coconut in select products. In our experience most people with nut allergies report that they enjoy coconut. If we’ve included nuts in a product but you’d like a nut free version, contact us and we’ll try to give it a whirl!
What if I am allergic to dairy?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! We do NOT use dairy ingredients. People who like dairy can find it many other places. We know that people who don’t enjoy dairy and lactose have challenges finding dairy free choices.