Monday, July 27, 2009

Peaches Bakery and Deli

If you are newly diagnosed with celiac disease in the Nashoba Valley area, one of the first resources you are going to hear about is a place called Peaches Bakery and Deli. It is located on Ayer Road (Rte. 111)  in Harvard, Massachusetts, very close to Route 2. Last week my husband and I stopped in to check it out.

I love muffins. I have tried to make gluten-free muffins numerous times and they are awful. Peaches has awesome gluten-free muffins. We got one of each flavor, split them in half and tried them out.   We had blueberry, chocolate chip, cranberry almond, and banana nut chocolate chip. My favorite, hands down, was the blueberry muffin. It tasted the way I remembered blueberry muffins tasting (it has been at least 13 years since I had one.) The texture was great. (Note: the biggest problem with my muffins is they come out with a rock-like texture). My husband, who is not gluten-free, thought the texture was a bit different, but thought the muffins were very good.

While I was there, I also picked up a couple of cupcakes. One was a chocolate cupcake with butter cream frosting that was delicious. The other was a mostly allergen-free carrot cake with a dairy-free frosting. They were both delicious. It was nice having the lactose-free choice since so many people diagnosed with celiac find out they are lactose intolerant too.

If you are in the area, check them out. Their website has their menus, directions, and a short history of the bakery. If you want to stock up on muffins (they freeze well), call the day before and let them know because they go fast.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Questions About Celiac Disease

You want to know something amazing about celiac disease? It is entirely controlled by diet. No pills, no shots, no invasive procedures, just a gluten-free diet. There are very few chronic conditions that are that easy to control.

That said, celiac is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions around.  I have read and heard of people being diagnosed with a myriad of different diseases (IBS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Crone’s Disease) over a long period of time before a medical professional thinks of testing for celiac. The numbers I have seen cited are 1 in every 100 people in the US has celiac disease and 90% of them don’t know it.

So, with those facts in mind, I have a few questions. I will start with this one:

1)   Why aren’t more restaurants catering to the gluten-free diet? I was recently at a celiac support group where a member shared that she was asked to leave a well-known chain restaurant because they were afraid to serve her. And as part of this question, why aren’t more restaurant workers being trained about food allergies and sensitivities? It is irritating when servers think that gluten is sugar.

The good news about restaurants is there are some that aware of the gluten free diet, and actually cater to people who are on it. Stone Hearth Pizza and Pizzeria Uno both offer gluten-free pizza. Carraba’s Italian Grill and Outback, both in Tyngsboro have a gluten-free menu. Most Ninety-Nine restaurants have one too, and they have a deep fat fryer that is just for French fries at the one in Westford.  Do you know what a treat it is to get fries! If a restaurant prepares other fried food in the same fryer as French fries, the breading contaminates them.

For years, the only place I felt REALLY comfortable going out to eat was Legal Seafood. No matter which one I went to, the chef would come out and talk to me when I said I had celiac. Well, it is still one of my favorites. They have a very good gluten-free menu that I highly recommend. You can actually get a good fried shrimp or scallop dinner.

I will keep you posted on other restaurants where you can feel safe and get good gluten-free meals. Please tell me if you know any…I will check them out and report back here.

Next blog: Why aren’t grocery stores carrying a good variety of gluten-free products?