Friday, April 25, 2014

Preventing Food Allergies: Finding the why behind the when by Julianne Wyrick

Nearly four out of every 100 children in the U.S. have a food allergy, according to CDC data from 2007. Avoiding common food allergens, such as peanuts, eggs, tree nuts and fish, for the first few years of life was the prescription for prevention for many years, but in 2008 the American Academy of Pediatrics reversed these guidelines, noting little evidence existed to say the avoidance was preventing food allergies. Newer expert recommendations have even suggested introducing these foods early could play a role in preventing allergies. An idea known as the “dual-allergen exposure hypothesis,” which has to do with when and how children are exposed to allergens, could be a reason why.
Last month, I had the chance to listen to allergy expert Gideon Lack speak on the hypothesis at an allergy panel discussion during the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) annual conference.
The dual-allergen exposure hypothesis is the theory that exposure to food allergens through the skin can lead to allergy, while consumption of these foods at an early age may actually result in tolerance, as Lack explains in a 2012 article. Depending on the balance of these exposures, either tolerance or allergy will “win.” Children with eczema, for example, have a disrupted skin barrier that could allow exposure to food proteins in the environment – such as peanut oil in creams or peanut residue on tables. Under the hypothesis, if these children avoid peanuts but are still exposed to them in the environment, they might be more likely to develop peanut allergy.
Lack told the audience about two studies that could shed some light on researchers’ understanding of the hypothesis and the development of food allergy.  One study is the LEAP Study, which involves a group of children assigned to avoid peanut-based foods until three years old and another group assigned to eat a peanut snack three times a week. The other is the EAT study, which is comparing breast-feeding plus feeding of allergenic foods with breast-feeding alone. However, Lack noted that very few evidence-based recommendations currently exist about when children should start eating allergenic foods, as health reporter Sandra Jordan explains in her blog on the AHCJ panel. With the prevalence of food allergy today, it will be interesting (and useful) to see where the future evidence from these studies falls.
Courtesy of Scientific American

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SensitiviTees' Recipe for Gluten Free French Toast...yum!

We love to make French toast w Udi's gluten free white bread. 

Here are the ingredients you will need:
One egg beaten

Cinnamon and sugar mixed together 

3 slices of Udi's bread

Here are the simple to follow directions to make:

Melt butter or a dairy free substitute like Earth Balance in frying pan. 

Dip bread in beaten egg, sprinkle one side with cinnamon/sugar mixture and place in pan with the sugar side down.

Sprinkle second side of bread with sugar mixture. 

Repeat for other slices. 

Brown both sides, eat, smile. 

Don't forget to stop by our online t-shirt store to support your Gluten Free Lifestyle! 

Here are some of our designs (below)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

May is Celiac Awareness Month and we have lots of shirt selections with special emphasis on Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diets

SensitiviTees Graphic Apparel Company Unveils Updated Website Featuring New Gluten-Free Designs in Time for National Celiac Awareness Month. E-Commerce Site Sells T-Shirts with Messages about Common Food Allergies, with Special Emphasis on Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diets

May is Celiac Awareness Month. To help support celiac sufferers and to bring more awareness of celiac disease to the public, SensitiviTees, “the sharing caring clothing company” has launched a new e-commerce website, Consumers can purchase t-shirts for children and adults that bear messages about celiac disease and food allergies “to help others be more sensitive.” The company was started in July 2010 by two mothers whose son suffers from food allergies and celiac; they developed a novel approach to remind family, friends, and teachers about their son’s food restrictions, with a specialty t-shirt line that delivers the message.

“We wanted to come up with a fun way to convey a serious issue regarding our son’s condition and that of other children,” said co-founder, Stacy Tankel. “After doing some research, we realized that many people are in this position of always having to warn others about dietary restrictions and issues around certain foods. Out of that research and the experience of parental concern, we came up with the idea for SensitiviTees.” The company sells short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts with whimsical, colorful designs to help make others aware of gluten-free restrictions and wheat allergy, dairy and milk allergy, fish and seafood allergy, and nut and peanut allergy.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the small intestine when the individual ingests gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. This inflammation, which affects the villi, can lead to malabsorption of nutrients which, in addition to digestive problems can lead to complications such as anemia, bone loss, increased risk of other autoimmune disorders, infertility and neurological problems. It is difficult to diagnose but symptoms can be reversed and managed by adopting a completely gluten-free diet. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness ( notes that about 1 percent of the population has celiac disease; of that number, an estimated 83 percent of Americans with celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.  

As a reminder, our blog is frequently updated with helpful information about celiac, gluten-free foods and recipes, common food allergies and tips for healthful living. There is also a resource page with links to organizations that offer education and information on celiac disease and gluten-free foods.

In addition to consumer sales, SensitiviTees offers a reseller program. For more information or to shop the line of graphic tees, visit or contact us at .

Monday, April 7, 2014

Passover Is Becoming the First (Mostly) Gluten-Free Holiday by Michael Antonoff

Something magical happens this time of year for people with celiac disease: It's called Passover.
An important holiday for the observant, it's also becoming a great time for anyone to find gluten-free products in special Passover aisles. It's time marketers took notice.
Celiacs need to avoid certain Passover foods, of course. Most matzo, for example, is made from wheat, which they cannot eat. Regular matzo ball soup doesn't turn into gluten-free chicken soup by removing the matzo balls after they've leached into the broth, and a gefilte fish will be gut-wrenching if made with conventional matzo meal.
But finding gluten-free matzo ball mix or boxes of gluten-free matzo isn't difficult in early spring. And the holiday's dietary restrictions, which include avoiding leavened bread, have led manufacturers to offer numerous gluten-free options.
Shortly after Lent, my wife, Jackie, who isn't Jewish but is seriously celiac, begins to salivate over what the local Stop & Shop will be stocking for Passover. She says she dreams about a Jelly Roll Cake from the Oberlander Bakery Co., a Classic Seven-Layer Cake from Zemer Cookies & Cakes or a Gluten Free Swiss Chocolate Roll from Shabtai Gourmet.
There are potato pancake mixes, brownie mixes and several flavors of macaroons. A company called Yehuda Matzos not only makes gluten-free matzos but offers them in "Toasted Onion," "Cracked Pepper Crackers," and "High-Fiber" varieties.
But she knows from experience that her window of opportunity lasts only a couple of weeks.
Mintel, a market research company, estimates that the gluten-free food and beverage industry is now a $10.5 billion business. By 2016, it will produce more than $15 billion in annual sales. According to Mintel, "some 24% of consumers currently eat, or have someone in their household who eats, gluten-free foods. Perceptions of gluten-free foods have moved from being bland, boring substitutes for gluten-containing products to everyday items that appeal to those with and without a gluten allergy. Three quarters (75%) of consumers who do not have celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten eat these foods because they believe they are healthier, despite the lack of any scientific research confirming the validity of this theory."
All this attention to Passover and gluten-free by people who don't even celebrate Passover seems to have been lost on marketers. It's time for the grocery industry to subtly brand Passover as the first gluten-free holiday.
Presidents' Day has been branded a national sales holiday, Thanksgiving as the start of Christmas shopping, and St. Patrick's Day as a time for all-day partying. So, while recognizing that many people uphold Passover traditions for religious reasons, why not also brand Passover as the season of the gluten-free?
Courtesy of Crain Communicfations

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Best and Worst Foods for a Gluten Free Diet by Traci D Mitchell

The Best and Worst Foods for a Gluten Free Diet
Foods for gluten free diets are absolutely everywhere right now. But should you be eating them? The short answer: some, but not all. Before I get into the best and worst foods for a gluten free diet, let me explain what gluten is, why some people must avoid it and how shifting gears to a processed gluten free diet could be nothing but trouble for you.
What is Gluten?

Gluten is simply a protein found in grains including wheatryebarley andoats*.
Keep in mind, grain derivatives that contain gluten include: triticale, spelt, semolina (durum), einkorn, bulgur, farina, seitan, cous cous, matzo, beer and soy sauce.
*Technically oats don't contain gluten, however, they're are often affected by cross-contamination with other glutenous crops. If farmers rotate their crops from season to season, growing wheat one year and oats the next, remnants of the wheat may still be in the soil.
Who Should Avoid Gluten?

People with celiac disease need to absolutely avoid gluten. Celiac disease is a condition triggered by glutenous foods that affects the absorption of nutrients in the small intestines. When gluten is eaten by people with celiac disease, their body produces an autoimmune response, essentially attacking itself. This response can be very painful. What's more, as nutrients are not absorbed properly, people with celiac disease can become deprived of essential vitamins and minerals needed to maintain optimal health. It's estimated that 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease, or about 1% of the population.
Symptoms of celiac disease:
  • Skin Rash
  • Weight Loss
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Anemia
  • Joint Pain
  • Constipation
  • Acid Reflux
  • Tingling in Hands and Feet
A larger group of people have what's become known as gluten sensitivity, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, meaning the body reacts to gluten, but not by mounting an autoimmune response. There is no allergy. While not everyone in the medical community is yet convinced that gluten sensitivity exists, it's estimated that between 5 and 6% of the American population has gluten sensitivity.
Symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity:
  • Gas or bloating after eating foods containing gluten
  • Inflammation or sudden swelling throughout the body
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Eczema or rash-like condition on skin
  • Migraines
As similar as these symptoms are to celiac disease, the only true way to determine if you have an allergy to gluten is through a blood test administered by a medical practitioner. If a blood test comes back as negative for celiac disease, you may be sensitive. In either case, completely avoiding foods containing gluten (and there are many) is the only way to eliminate symptoms.
Should You Eat Gluten Free Foods?
Fortunately, many foods that are found in nature are gluten free. It's the processed gluten free breads, cookies and crackers that are nothing but trouble. On the upside, a person with celiac disease can enjoy a convenient gluten free treat, however, these foods are no healthier than any other super sugary food out there. Gluten free breads, cookies and crackers are still breads, cookies and crackers…just without the gluten. They're not a health foods, they're a gluten free food.
So should you eat gluten free foods? If you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, absolutely! If you think you might have a gluten sensitivity, cut out gluten for a couple weeks, then reintroduce it slowly. If you start noticing that you don't feel as good as you did when you were gluten free, it's your body's way of telling you to cut out the gluten.
The Best Foods for a Gluten Free Diet
It should come as no surprise that the best gluten free foods are found in nature. You eat them every day and don't pay extra for the glutenavocado_grapefruit free price tag. They include:
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fresh Meats*
  • Most Dairy Products*
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat (does not contain gluten)
  • Rice
  • Amaranth
  • Oats**
  • Flours: Almond, Rice, Potato, Taro
*Note: Deli meats, prepared burger patties and meats in prepared sauces often contain gluten. Unless stated on the package, bleu cheese contains gluten from bread mold. Ice cream products often contain derivatives of gluten.
**Oats are technically not a glutenous product. Many oat products are labeled as gluten free. Some people with celiac disease would do best to avoid oats altogether, but some might be able to tolerate them.
The Worst Gluten Free Foods
Again, a processed gluten free food product is still a processed food. Eat these foods as sparingly as you would any other snack food. gluten free cocoa pebblesThey're no more nutritious that anything else.
  • Sugary Cereals: There are plenty out there that are gluten free. Look at the amount of sugar. If it's over 10g per serving, put it back.
  • Cookies:  Cookies are just cookies, even if they're gluten free. The possess no power to help you lose weight or increase energy. 
  • Savory Snacks: Gluten free snacks, like tortilla chips and corn puffs can still contain a lot of unhealthy additives.
  • Breads: Some brands might be ok for a sandwich, but gluten free sandwich bread is not only calorically dense, it often contains very little nutrient value, something people with celiac disease should avoid.
  • Dressings: The same rules apply here as they do for dressings containing gluten. Bottled salad dressings usually contain loads of ingredients, including flavor enhancers and stabilizers, that don't help you in any way.

Courtesy of About ChicagoNow

The 15 Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains by Sarah Klein

Navigating a restaurant menu when you have food allergies can zap all the fun from dining out.
But it doesn't have to -- if you know where to eat.
In that spirit, AllergyEats, an online guide to allergy-friendly restaurants, has released its annual ranking of chain restaurants that best serve customers with food allergies. "These restaurants have demonstrated a superior willingness and ability to accommodate guests with food allergies," Paul Antico, founder and CEO of AllergyEats, said in a statement. "We applaud their exemplary efforts around food allergy protocols, training and education."
The ranking was compiled based on ratings for each restaurant, as provided by the tens of thousands of AllergyEats users who rate restaurants they've visited, similar to how diners, food-allergic or not, can voice their opinions on Yelp, an AllergyEats representative told The Huffington Post in an email. AllergyEats then broke down the rankings into three categories of restaurants. Large chains have more than 200 branches, medium chains have 50 to 200 and small chains have fewer than 50.
Taking allergies into consideration is a smart move for the businesses themselves, Antico, who has three children with food allergies, pointed out. "Statistics have shown that maintaining a more allergy-friendly restaurant leads to increased traffic, customer loyalty and, ultimately, profits."
Here are the top 15 choices, according to AllergyEats.