Every day news is made regarding celiac disease and its only treatment: a gluten free diet. Whether it is information about gluten free foods, recipes, scientific research, school tips, eating out, or the basics about the disease symptoms that come with having celiac, we talk about and report on it here using reliable sources and key experts to create great content.
If you have celiac disease, a non-celiac gluten sensitivity or are eating gluten free for other reasons, our one goal is to empower you with information to live a healthy gluten free life.
Our family loves a good pancake or waffle. So upon my husband’s and my return from vacation late late on Saturday night, we had to get up early, drive across town, pick up our kids and then get one of them to a soccer scrimmage. The disadvantage: having to get up at 6:00 a.m. and drive in snow (after getting home around 1:00 a.m.). The advantage: Original Pancake House was on the way home after the game.
This was our first time going and had heard they had gluten free pancakes. But what we found was that they have so much more than that.
The gluten free menu at our restaurant in Roseville, MN (across the street from Rosedale Center) showed french toast, pancakes, waffles and crepes (and tons of toppings for them)! Plus they have eggs, bacon and hash browns that are gluten free. We could get a full breakfast here.
The Skinny on Gluten Free Food at Original Pancake House
It appears every Original Pancake House restaurant is different. The one in Roseville is new and was built with gluten free in mind. They put in a separate griddle for the gluten free pancakes, waffles, french toast and crepes.
When I contacted the company headquarters about the gluten free menu, they didn’t give me much information. General Counsel and Corporate Chef of OPH Franchising, Inc., Jon Liss, replied to my email but only addressed my question about whether the gluten free menu was in all locations. He said no it is not and he said he was giving me the stock answer which he sends to every gluten free inquiry, “We have asked each franchisee to consider offering gluten “friendly” pancakes, made with gluten free flour.” Then he attached the list of locations. Click here to see the list as of December 2013. Locations with a gluten free menu are in blue. He did not respond to my additional questions of other possible cross contamination with eggs, omelettes and more.
All of the Minnesota locations have the gluten free menu according to the aforementioned list. When I talked with Jane Smalkoski who runs the franchises in Edina, Eden Prairie and Roseville, MN, she said Roseville was their only location with the separate gluten free griddle. She and another manager helped me get to the bottom of other questions I had related to cross contamination.
- Eggs and omelettes are all cooked in their own separate pans
- Bacon is cooked on a cleaned off area of the griddle. But it is a shared griddle with the sausage that is dredged in flour. Smalkoski says they haven’t had an issue with this process.
- Hash browns are gluten free and all cooked separately from the gluten
- They have a separate toaster for gluten free toast
- There is a separate waffle iron for gluten free waffles
- They use separate utensils for cooking gluten free
- They use colored plates for gluten free items (that could be questioned as gluten-containing like pancakes. The eggs still come on a standard white plate. In the photos you can see ours were gold in color)
Again, this is only for one restaurant. But I encourage you to contact your local Original Pancake House and ask your own questions about handling of the gluten free food.
We had a great experience and will most certainly go there again. Emma had her first-ever gluten free Belgian-style waffle and she liked it better than the pancakes.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are a huge topic of discussion these days. Are you cooking with GMO or non-GMO foods? Do you go to a restaurant that is concerned about this? Add that into the gluten free discussion and you have a very popular gluten free news item.
Since a study came out last week from the Institute of Responsible Technology (IRT), suggesting a possible link between GMOs and gluten sensitivity, I have seen a lot of reports:
- Genetically Modified Foods Proposed as Trigger for Gluten Sensitivity (Institute for Responsible Technolgy, News Release November 25, 2013)
- Report Suggestions Link between GMOs and Gluten Sensitivity (Whole Foods Magazine Published November 25, 2013)
- GMOs Linked to Gluten Disorders Plaguing 18 Million Americans -Report (RT.com, Published November 26, 2013)
- News Release, GMOs Linked to Exploding Gluten Sensitivity Epidemic (GreenMedInfo.com, Published November 25, 2013)
- Are GMOs Responsible for your Gluten Intolerance? (Care2.com, Published November 27, 2013)
- New Study Links GMOs to Gluten Disorders that affect 18 Million Americans (CollectiveEvolution.com, Published November 29, 2013)
These articles are all based on the initial IRT news release.
I had seen it floating around just before Thanksgiving and I wanted to learn more. So when a friend of mine on Facebook sent me the latest article while on vacation this week, I had to find out more. I wondered if the study was true and what the experts in the trenches of gluten sensitivity research thought about it.
Is the GMO and Gluten Sensitivity report true?
Tuesday, December 3rd I emailed the Center for Celiac Research at Mass General in Boston. Alessio Fasano, MD is the Medical Director for the Center for Celiac Research, Chief in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition for Mass General Hospital for Children and he sees both adult and pediatric patients. Overall, his opinion is backed with tons of knowledge, research and experience and he, as well as other researchers, are actively looking into gluten sensitivity.
I asked what Dr. Fasano thought about this story about GMOs possibly being linked to gluten sensitivity. Today, he told me in a quick email this, “…there is no evidence whatsoever that GMOs are responsible for gs [gluten sensitivity].”
Then I saw the very day I asked Dr. Fasano my question, the Celiac Disease Foundation and a plant geneticist also “challenged” the IRT report. The Celiac Disease Foundation went on the record with FoodNavigator-USA.com calling the study “speculative” and that there is “no sufficient evidence” linking GMOs and celiac. You can read much more on the in-depth article on Food Navigator’s website.
Last week’s news release from the Institute for Responsible Technology, ”proposed” the GMOs may be an “important environmental trigger for gluten sensitivity”. Truth: we do need an environmental trigger for celiac disease (to activate celiac you need the gene, the gluten and a trigger). But what the experts in gluten sensitivity are saying is there is no connection with GMOs triggering gluten sensitivity.
We should also be clear that at this time no genetically modified wheat is being sold in the world (according to GMO Compass). The wheat has been hybridized however. Corn, soy, zucchini, canola oil and sugar from sugar beets are just a few of the common products that are often genetically modified.
Many people in this country eat GMO foods, many others eat non-GMO foods and some eat both. Please keep this information in mind when making your GMO decision.
I am in the middle of paradise. Just after Thanksgiving wrapped up, my husband and I took off for Roatan, an island off Honduras, for a scuba diving trip. Now before you say to yourself, I didn’t know Amy was a scuba diver, I am not. We’ll technically I am, but it really is not for me. So I left 20 degree weather in Minnesota to come with my husband to support his diving habit, soak up some sun and relax for a week.
We are staying at CoCoView Resort in Roatan. It is a resort geared toward the scuba diving experience. I feel like it is an adult campground: rustic, a mess hall/club house with ping pong, pool, board games, a bar and more. Then many different places to stay like cabanas over the water.
Now as you know, my daughter has celiac disease, I do not. Since she is not here, I have not worried about the food. But when I came down for breakfast this morning, I saw a plastic cereal container with the gluten-free Rice Krispies box logo taped on it.
Hmm. It got me thinking about their gluten free options. A note of caution, I do worry about those reusable containers (like bulk containers at grocery stores) being reused between gluten free and gluten containing ingredients without being washed, so that is a inquiry you should always make. In this case I asked the employees if the Rice Krispies were really the gluten free kind, and I was assured they were.
Later during a resort orientation, I met the managers of CoCoView and inquired further about their gluten free accommodations. Deb Karlson, co-manager, said on average they feed one gluten free person a week. Wow! Each meal has consisted of a protein (last night shrimp and chicken), rice and a vegetable, all of which looked like they could most easily have been gluten free. They really weren’t messed with that much. But again, it is always good to the cooks or managers at your particular resort to confirm.
There are other places to try as well. Shirley at Gluten Free Easily posted a review about her experience eating at Little Cayman Beach Resort. Plus, a quick search on TripAdvisor.com and I viewed several more reviews that hailed the chefs and their gluten free accommodations.
As always I recommend a email or phone call to the resort to arrange gluten free meals because you don’t want to go out of the country only to not be able to eat.