Friday, November 22, 2013

Gluten-Free Hanukkah Recipes

From your Friends at SensitiviTees: There wasn't a whole lot of information out there so below represents 
the best we could research for you:

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah is one of the easiest holidays for gluten-free diets. Potato latkes (pancakes), one of the classic Hanukah foods, are usually made with flour or matzo meal, but it's very easy to use gluten-free flour or potato starch instead.
Typical Hanukkah foods such as potato latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) tend to involve a lot of oil. If you want to avoid the oil, there's also a recipe for gluten-free Hanukkah cookies in the list below. Chocolate too is popular, especially little chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil.
Why the oil? In 165 B.C., the Jewish Maccabees won a military victory over the Greek-Syrians and were able to recapture the Jewish holy temple. The Temple had been desecrated, and during its re-purification, one day's worth of oil (all that was left in the desecrated temple) burned for eight days until more oil could be brought. Hanukkah commemorates this eight-day miracle of the oil. (You can learn more on's Judaism site.)
Below are links to recipes for Hanukah foods. And don't forget -- if you're too busy or not in the mood to cook from scratch, the Manischewitz Potato Pancake and Sweet Potato Pancake mixes (sold in many supermarkets) are both gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Hanukkah Recipes from

Elsewhere on the Web

From Jewish Women International (formerly B'nai B'rith Women) 
Gluten-Free Hanukah Cookies and Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)
From The Gluten-Free Goddess
Potato Latkes served with Cinnamon Applesauce
Egg-free latkes from The Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
If you can't eat eggs, you can still have these egg-free potato latkes!

More Gluten-Free Recipes for Jewish Holidays

How to stay Gluten-Free and still love the Thanksgiving feast by Mary MacVean

Depending on who sits at your Thanksgiving table, you may already have figured out how to serve vegetarians or guests who are allergic to nuts. But more people are choosing to eat gluten-free or learning they must do without gluten. And with pie crusts and dinner rolls and stuffings, making sure those diners are grateful can pose a holiday challenge.

Turkey is generally gluten-free, but as many diners will tell you, the turkey is often a mere delivery device for dishes like gravy that frequently have wheat — the main food in our diets that contains gluten.
Problems can occur, however, in just about any dish on the holiday table. Kyra Bussanich, who owns the gluten-free Kyra’s Bake Shop in suburban Portland, Ore., was at a big Thanksgiving feast last year, she says, “and there was a turkey — I jokingly said, ‘This is gluten-free, right?” Turned out the cook had used beer in the brine — and beer has gluten in it.

“You have to be really vigilant, ask questions. Let the host know,” Bussanich says. One reason to do that is so the host won’t be insulted about what you don’t eat.

A person who has celiac disease can become very sick by ingesting the smallest amount of gluten, even flour dust that spreads during a pie-baking binge. But gluten-free diets also have become rather a craze, and those people may decide the holidays are a time for fewer restrictions. So figure out your guests’ requirements.

“There’s no reason why people on a restricted diet can’t enjoy festivities as much as other people, it just takes cooperation and understanding from the food preparers," said Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center.

The cooks don’t always take issues seriously enough, especially because eating gluten-free has become a fad as well as a response to a serious disease, he said.

“With it being a fad, it may make it seem less important for some people,” he said. And despite the attention that’s been given to gluten recently, he said, a recent survey with chefs showed that many of them didn’t understand gluten or what foods contained it.

To avoid gluten, read every label. And seek out alternatives. Rice or almond flours may work in pie crusts, for example. Or make a crust with other ground nuts or with ground gluten-free ginger snaps. For stuffings try wild rice with mushrooms, and for gravy try cornstarch.

Rather than dinner rolls, Bussanich suggests pão de queijo, a traditional Brazilian cheese bread that’s made with tapioca flour and is sold frozen at many stores.

Debbie Adler has a 5-year-old son with several food allergies, so she always goes to parties with a dessert that he can eat. “There’s no judgment involved. It’s hard to understand if you don’t live with it,” says Adler, who has an L.A.-based mail-order bakery, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes.

Her book, “Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats,” includes several holiday-friendly recipes, including pumpkin spice doughnut holes, a pumpkin corn bread and acai berry truffles. And Bussanich, whose new book is called “Sweet Cravings,” suggests apple crisp with vanilla ice cream.

Kristine Kidd, a chef who has celiac disease, has published a recipe for gluten-free mushroom gravy. It has the bonus that it's make-ahead.

The availability of gluten-free food has exploded, and many companies -- including Udi’s, Pamela’s, King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill — have all-purpose flour substitutes or mixes for breads and rolls, as well as packaged baked goods. In her shop, Bussanich makes stuffing mix with gluten-free bread, which people could do with the bread they already use.

So is there anything she misses at the holidays? There was — a Brie en croute that her family always served. But she’s figured out a way to use a “super flaky pie crust” rather than puff pastry and it’s “absolutely delicious.”

For anyone avoiding anything on a holiday table, it might help to remember that the food is not the only point. Bussanich says, “It’s about family and traditions and being together and celebrating.”

Courtesy of

Friday, October 4, 2013

Seafood Allergies Can Make Serious Waves for Adult Allergy Sufferers

Seafood comprises finned fish and shellfish, and both types of aquatic creatures can be allergens. Unlike many other food allergies that affect toddlers and young children (such as wheat, milk, or nut allergies), seafood allergy is more likely to start in adulthood and therefore less likely than other allergies to be outgrown. According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) about 40% of people with fish allergy and 60% with shellfish allergy experience the onset as adults.

People who are allergic to finned fish are not necessarily allergic to shellfish and vice versa since these are different species with different allergy-producing proteins.

Fish Allergy
FARE states that the most common species to cause fish allergy are salmon, tuna, and halibut; other types are cod, pollock, snapper, eel, and tilapia. It may seem easy to avoid any one of these species if you have fish allergy but unfortunately, people with allergies to one type of fish are likely to have (or to develop) allergies to others. This cross-reactivity is due to the culprit protein, parvalbumin that is present in many fish species. Therefore, people with an allergy to one fish should steer clear of all fish.

In adults, an increased risk of severe asthma is linked to fish allergy. An allergist can perform comprehensive allergy testing and advise you on whether or not you may include certain, less reactive types of fish in your diet.

Besides the obvious fish salads and cooked fish dishes (such as ceviche, cioppino, and bouillabaisse), beware of hidden fish ingredients in foods you might not be aware of such as Caesar salad dressing, caponata, and Worcestershire sauce (which contain anchovies), Omega-3 supplements (there are vegan/plant-based varieties available), and gelatin which may be made from a fish base. Many soups and stews are also prepared with fish stock (fumet) so always ask if you are dining out. Don’t forget caviar (fish eggs).

Relatively mild symptoms of fish allergy are similar to those of other food allergies—swelling, itchy mouth, rash, wheezing; more severe reactions include anaphylaxis. More on that below.

Shellfish Allergy
Shellfish include two types of marine animals, each with their own types of allergy-producing proteins. Crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, lobster and similar species make up one class. Mollusks are a more diverse group; there are bivalves (such as mussels, oysters, scallops, and clams) gastropods (snails, abalone, limpets, periwinkles), and cephalopods (such as cuttlefish, octopus, and squid). Someone allergic to one type of shellfish may also be allergic to the others, or could only be allergic to the one type that causes allergic reactions.

You’ll know within minutes of eating shellfish if you are allergic. Mild symptoms are hives, rash, and itching, or a tingling in the mouth; moving up a notch is swelling of oral tissues or other parts of the body. As with other food allergies, shellfish allergy also may present with more severe (and sometimes life-threatening) symptoms such as congestion or trouble breathing, abdominal pain and gastrointestinal distress, lightheadedness or fainting, and even anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis constricts your throat and interferes with your breathing, and causes a severe drop in blood pressure which may lead to shock or loss of consciousness. It is advisable for individuals who are prone to severe reactions to carry injectable epinephrine to administer immediately to alleviate symptoms (often before going to the ER to be checked out).

Be advised that shellfish by-products are used in cosmetics, medicines, and creams so scrutinize labels or call the manufacturer with questions about ingredients. If you suspect shellfish allergy, a skin test or blood test can confirm this.

Things to Keep in Mind When Dining Out
Unfortunately, fish proteins become airborne during the cooking process so if you suffer from severe fish or shellfish allergy, certain restaurant environments may pose a big problem. Steam tables and stove tops in commercial or home kitchens can be danger zones depending on the severity of the allergy.

Also, just as with wheat and celiac disease, it’s important to avoid cross-contamination of the allergen on cooking utensils, pots/pans, and work surfaces—even cooking oil. Fish may be friend in the same oil as chicken or even vegetables. Ask in advance about whether the kitchen can use separate cookware or prep areas to prepare your food if this is an issue.

Suffice to say, with either kind of seafood allergy, sushi restaurants are probably not the best place to be, even if you choose vegetable sushi. See if the sushi chef can make your rolls with different mats and knives.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Got Milk? Not if You Have Milk Allergy!

Along with wheat, milk is among the top allergens for children if not the leading allergy for babies under one year old. As with all allergies, milk allergy is a case of mistaken identity by the immune system; in this case, it mistakes the proteins in milk as foreign invaders and releases histamines to vanquish the attackers.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may affect the digestive tract (vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, gas, abdominal pain), the respiratory tract (coughing, sneezing, wheezing or shortness of breath, runny nose, watery/itchy eyes), or the skin and soft tissue (eczema, hives, red rash, or swelling of the face, mouth, throat, tongue, or lips).

Most people with a milk allergy must avoid not only cow’s milk but sheep and goat’s milk as well, since the proteins in these milks are all similar and will cause an allergic reaction.

Although there are multiple proteins in cow's milk that can cause allergic reactions, casein (80% of milk protein) and whey (the other 20%) are the two main components. Casein is the curd that forms when milk is left to sour and the watery part (after the curd is removed) is the whey.  Who knows, maybe “Mary, Mary quite contrary, eating her curds and whey” might have been feeling contrary due to milk allergy!

Side note: There is a subset of people who are allergic to and cannot tolerate milk but can safely ingest other dairy products if baked (subjected to high heat) in a dessert or food.

Appearance of Milk Allergy
As with many food allergies, milk allergy is seen more commonly in children than in adults. Between 2-5 percent of infants develop milk allergy but many outgrow this; however, statistics about the percentage of children that outgrow milk allergy are all over the map. A Johns Hopkins study, cited on, reported that just 20 percent of children in its studies outgrew their milk allergy by age 4 and 42 percent by age 8. By age 16, almost 80 percent were allergy-free.

If your baby exhibits reactions to milk-based formula or to dairy foods as he/she gets older, consult a physician to determine if milk allergy is the culprit. Symptoms may include rash, upset stomach, lack of weight gain, or breathing problems.

If your baby tests positive for milk allergy there are two ways to treat it depending on the baby’s food source: eliminate milk proteins from nursing mothers’ diets or switch to a formula-fed baby to an amino-acid-based formula which is non-allergenic. Older babies and toddlers who cannot tolerate cow’s milk might do fine drinking goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or soy milk (these alternatives are available in many grocery and health food stores).

Another side note: It has been observed that milk allergy symptoms may change over time from affecting one bodily system to another (for example, to move from digestive symptoms to respiratory symptoms).

Lactose Intolerance is Different
Although the symptoms may appear similar in some cases, having a milk allergy is not the same as being lactose intolerant, which is very specific to lactose, the sugar found in dairy products. People who are lactose intolerant lack the lactase enzyme to properly digest this sugar. This causes digestive distress such as stomach aches, gas, or diarrhea. It does not affect other systems.

What to Eat, What to Avoid
There are obvious milk-based foods to avoid—butter, all types of cheeses, yogurt, cream (heavy cream, light cream, sour cream, ice cream), pudding, and custard. And there are many foods that contain cow’s milk protein, such as: candies, gum, and chocolates; cake mix and baked goods; coffee creamers, malted milk, margarine, salad dressings, cereals, sherbet, canned and processed meats, and mashed potatoes. Check all labels!

There are also many processed foods with hidden milk in them, often in the form of whey or casein—even in “non-dairy” products. Be sure to check labels very carefully or contact the manufacturer about ingredients if this is a concern. These ingredients contain milk proteins:
  • Casein, caseinates (sodium caseinate)
  • Whey, whey solids, whey products
  • Curds
  • Cream
  • Ghee (clarified butter)
  • Buttermilk solids
  • Milk solids
  • Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
  • Lactose, lactoglobulin, lactoferrin, lactulose
  • Rennet
  • Hydrolysates
  • Artificial butter or cheese flavor
Dairy Substitutes
Just because you or your child suffers from a dairy allergy, don’t let that stand in your way of enjoying food and life! In a prior blog post we talked about dairy substitutes for cow’s milk which can be used in baking and cooking, as a beverage, over cereal, and are popular in alternatives to traditional ice cream. Many people eat pizzas with soy-based cheeses, use almond milk in their coffee, or love coconut milk-based frozen desserts. What are your favorites?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

SensitiviTees to Attend The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo in Secaucus, NJ in September

Please look for us wearing our Top-Selling Designs specifically for the Gluten-Free and Food Allergy Community!  Here's a sneak peek...

Adorable...right?  We told you so! Here's another one...

Looking forward to meeting you!  

See you at the Meadowlands on September 7 - 8 , 2013.

P.S. We are re-designing our website and we will be available to unveil it by the show!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that 6% of children younger than 3 years old have some kind of food allergy; among the most common is peanut allergy. Peanuts are actually legumes (not nuts) that grow in the ground. However, the proteins in peanuts are similar to those in tree nuts so people who are allergic to peanuts could also be allergic to the nuts that grow on trees.

Tree nuts are the nuts of hard-shelled fruit and include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, macadamias, Brazil nuts, hickory nuts, pine nuts, pecans, and cashews. You should be tested for both types of allergies to determine if you need to avoid both groups.

The Allergic Response
Since the body erroneously identifies the proteins in peanuts or tree nuts as hostile invaders, it mounts an immune response by creating specific antibodies to those proteins. These antibodies trigger the release of certain chemicals into the body such as histamine. Allergic reactions differ from person to person, from mild to severe. Some people outgrow certain food allergies as they get older but for most people, peanut and tree nut allergies are for life.

Peanut reactions can be very severe, even with minimal exposure to peanut protein. In general, most reactions to food allergies last less than a day and may affect:
  1. Skin. Itchy, red, bumpy rashes (hives), eczema, or redness and swelling around the mouth or face.
  2. Gastrointestinal system. Belly cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  3. Respiratory system. Runny or stuffy nose; itchy, watery eyes; sneezing to the triggering of asthma with coughing and wheezing. In severe cases, anaphylaxis may occur; this sudden, potentially life-threatening reaction causes airways to swell and blood pressure drop. The person may have trouble breathing and could lose consciousness.
  4. Cardiovascular system. Feeling lightheaded or faint, can lose consciousness.

How the Reactions are Triggered
Typically, an allergic reaction to nuts occurs through ingesting nuts or peanuts or products containing them, or from cross-contact from cooking/food prep—but it could occur from breathing in airborne particles or handling them. Therefore, keep the offenders out of your home and ask questions before visiting or dining at other people’s homes.

The obvious sources for peanuts and tree nuts is peanut butter and nut butters extracts, and flours, but you might be surprised to discover nuts used in a wide range of other products as thickeners, emollients, and flavoring agents: baked goods, candy, frozen desserts, cereals, soups and chili, breads, meatless burgers, sauces (such as pesto and mole), and salad dressings, plus shampoos and soaps.

KidsHealth ( has a great instruction sheet regarding peanut/nut allergic reactions:

Taking Precautions
·         Read every label and if you have any questions, call the manufacturer to confirm the presence of absence of any nuts in the manufacturing plant or process. Check the ingredient lists of international foods which use nuts extensively in their recipes.

All packaged food products sold in the U.S. that have tree nuts as an ingredient must list the specific tree nut on the label. Some manufacturers use advisory labels (“May contain …”) but this is voluntary and without specific guidelines. However, the FDA—which just announced regulations for labeling gluten-free packaged goods—is said to be developing a long-term strategy to help manufacturers use these statements clearly and consistently; that way, consumers can be informed about the potential presence of the eight major allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, soybeans, milk, wheat, shellfish, eggs, fish). 

·         Avoid them all? Food Allergy Research & Education notes that someone who is allergic to one type of tree nut has a higher chance of being allergic to other types; therefore, many experts advise patients with a tree nut allergy to avoid all nuts. Individuals may be advised to also avoid peanuts (and vice versa) because of the higher likelihood of cross-contact with tree nuts during manufacturing and processing. 

·         Talk to school/camp. Schools and camps are well aware of the dangers of nut allergies and the concerns parents have for their children’s well-being. Separate dining tables or instructions to other parents about what is allowed for lunch or snack are often offered. However, we recommend you speak with your school administrator and school nurse about steps to create a safe, allergen-free environment for your child.

·         Carry medication. As we noted in last month’s post about wheat allergy, many families carry injectable epinephrine for emergencies away from home. For people with milder reactions, an oral antihistamine might be all you need. Consult your doctor!

As with any food allergy, your best course of action is to research and become as well-informed as possible. Be sure to let others know about your child’s allergy to avoid any unpleasant situations or upsets. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

The FDA Creates Standard Regulation for Gluten-Free Foods

On August 2, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration made history for those with celiac and gluten sensitivities by finalizing (at last!) a standard definition of what constitutes “gluten-free.” This means that food labeled as gluten-free must now adhere to a uniform standard in the U.S. The standard also applies to foods labeled "without gluten," "free of gluten," and "no gluten."

The new regulations state that a food must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in order to bear a “gluten-free” label. This is the lowest level most people with celiac disease can tolerate in foods, and researchers support this threshold as safe for those with celiac and other gluten-related disorders to consume. 20 ppm is also the lowest level that can be consistently detected in foods using valid scientific analytical tools.

This threshold is in line with what is accepted overseas; Europe has been ahead of us on this issue for a long time.

Why is this so historic?
First of all, it’s a long time in the making. The FDA first proposed the standard in 2007 in response to a 2004 law on food-allergen labeling that required a definition of gluten-free.

Second, until now, the term “gluten-free” had no clear definition in the food production field. Consumers have had to trust that companies where being truthful, honorable, and adhering to production practices that did not cause cross-contamination.

Having a published federal regulation and guideline will help people with celiac disease, wheat allergy, or those who choose gluten-free diets for other reasons.

More about the FDA Standard
The FDA’s web page about this regulation states that:

In addition to limiting the unavoidable presence of gluten to less than 20 ppm, FDA will allow manufacturers to label a food "gluten-free" if the food does not contain any of the following:
  1. an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
  2. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
  3. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten

With a clear and enforceable standard in place, consumers now have more certainty about how food producers label their products and people will celiac disease are assured that gluten-free brands meet the FDA requirements.

The regulation will be published on August 5 and manufacturers have one year to comply and ensure that all relevant food packaging (and the actual food in those boxes and cans) meets the published criteria set by the FDA.

There are more details about this important ruling on the website of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and the organization will be posting a fact sheet that outlines the new regulations at The organization is also planning a free webinar about the FDA’s rule; see NFCA’s Webinar Schedule.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wheat Allergy or Celiac Disease?

As different as wheat allergy and celiac disease are, people often confuse them.

Wheat allergy is an allergic reaction to foods containing wheat and is a common food allergy in children. It usually develops in infancy or toddlerhood; it is less common in adolescents and adults. As with many allergies, children may outgrow a wheat allergy as they age.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, an abnormal immune response that is triggered by ingesting gluten, and affects the small intestine. Autoimmune diseases mistakenly attack the body’s normal tissues. This is a permanent condition and may present in childhood or adulthood.

A wheat allergy generates an allergy-causing antibody to a wheat protein (there are four, including gluten), which then generates a range of mild to severe symptoms during the allergic reaction. In celiac disease, the gluten protein is the culprit. Any suspicion about you or a family member having either of these conditions should prompt a medical exam and testing to accurately diagnose the problem.

It is possible for a person to have both a wheat allergy and celiac disease. 

Both share the common challenge of how to satisfactorily eliminate certain (and often similar) foods from the diet. They both also call for parents and guardians to adequately train their children to say “no” to certain foods, become comfortable asking about ingredients in what’s being served outside of the home, and read labels or learn to recognize certain words relating to deleterious ingredients.

Wheat Allergy
Since ingesting wheat protein causes the immune system to go into attack mode to try and get rid of the allergen, avoiding wheat is the primary way to avoid wheat allergy.

We can all list the obvious foods where wheat and wheat proteins are found such as baked goods, cereals, and pastas but some foods might surprise you, as wheat protein is also in many prepared foods such as soy sauce, condiments, beer, flavorings, candies, and much more. People with wheat allergies should read every label of every item they purchase in the supermarket, including cosmetics, to ensure they are not inadvertently exposed to the allergen. If in doubt, contact the food manufacturer—better safe than sorry! You can find a list of foods containing wheat here.

When switching to a wheat-free diet, try alternate grains such as amaranth, barley, corn, oat, quinoa, rice, rye, and tapioca. However, people with wheat allergy may also be allergic to barley, rye, and oat due to them containing similar proteins so ask your physician if you can eat these.

Wheat allergy symptoms usually appear within minutes to a few hours of eating something with wheat in it. They are similar to those of many other allergies: swelling, itchy mouth, eyes, or skin, trouble breathing, and intestinal distress. In severe cases there may be anaphylaxis. This is life-threatening, with its own subset of extreme symptoms: swelling of the throat and trouble swallowing, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, dizziness or fainting, change in color, and severe breathing difficulty. Many people with severe allergies carry injectable epinephrine with them to dispense in an emergency. A call to 911 is strongly advisable whenever anyone suffers an anaphylactic reaction, even after administering the injections.

Celiac disease
In celiac disease the body is highly sensitive to gluten; the condition can result in poor absorption of essential nutrients from your food because it attacks the small intestine, where absorption takes place. If left untreated it can cause serious complications including malnutrition and intestinal damage, but a completely gluten-free diet and lifestyle will lead to healing. Permanently removing gluten from the diet, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats, is the only treatment for celiac disease. (Gluten-free oats are available and are found in many gluten-free foods.)  

After omitting gluten, the intestinal villi will heal and absorption of nutrients will improve.

Symptoms of celiac disease are often different in children and adults. In children, parents may notice irritability along with various digestive symptoms such as:
  • Vomiting
  • Poor weight gain or slower growth
  • Abdominal bloating or pain
  • Persistent diarrhea, abnormal stools
  • Tooth discolorations/defects
  • Delayed puberty

In adults the symptoms may be related to other organ systems including:
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Arthritis, bone and joint pain, osteoporosis, fractures
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Seizures
  • Canker sores
  • Irregular menstrual periods, infertility, miscarriage
  • Itchy, blistering skin rash

As with wheat allergy there are foods to avoid—many more in this case—and care should be taken to read labels and ask questions about hidden ingredients.

It’s not hard to put together a healthful, well-rounded diet. There are many gluten-free starches and grains that celiac sufferers can enjoy; fresh fish and meats (no breading or coating!), fruits and vegetables, most dairy products are good to eat, and wines and distilled spirits are allowed (no beer, which contains forbidden grains). For desserts and sweets, there are many choices today but make sure the product is clearly labeled as gluten-free. As with wheat allergy, beware of what could have surprising ingredients in them.

You can see a list of allowed and prohibited foods for those on a gluten-free diet here and the National Foundation for Celia Awareness is a wonderful resource.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Who doesn’t love a cold treat on a hot summer day? For those with dairy allergies, ice cream is off the menu. However, there are many delicious substitutes that people who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy can enjoy.

A quick trip down the dairy aisle as well as the frozen dessert aisle will show you that plenty of cow milk substitutes are available beyond Lactaid: there are several specialty brands of almond milk, hemp milk, rice milk, soy milk, and coconut milk. Each has a slightly different texture and “weight” and all come in unflavored or vanilla and some come in chocolate flavor. Even better, many of these are also the basis for traditional ice cream alternatives.

You can find frozen desserts made from rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk from brands such as Rice Dream and Almond Dream, Organic Rice Divine, So Delicious, Purely Decadent, and Coconut Bliss; some brands use organic ingredients and some support non-profit organizations for an extra feel-good factor. Some are lighter or more granular while others are creamier and feel more like the real thing (particularly the coconut milk varieties). Some are sweeter than others. They come in a range of flavors—such as butter pecan or chocolate almond fudge—and some are gluten free as well (check those labels!). You should sample several flavors and brands as they are all quite different.

Many people also have a soy allergy and at one time, soy milk or soy-based products were the only dairy alternative on the market. That is no longer the case so go ahead—enjoy an “ice cream” cone your way!

All these milk substitutes are also great ingredients for refreshing summer smoothies as well. Go ahead – throw in those fruits (berries, bananas, and apples are great), nuts, or greens in the blender with soy, almond, rice, or coconut milk (even coconut water) and let ‘er rip. You won’t be disappointed. Want to make it more of a milk shake? Use your frozen treat instead of milk.

For those who are craving ice cream but shouldn’t or cannot eat it, you’ll come pretty close to the real thing and enjoy your summer treat. You can find out more about some of the non-dairy ice creams and get great dairy-free recipes here. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Celebrating the Gluten-Free Dining Outside Your Home

by Bridget Murphy of, May 3, 2013

The Gluten Intolerance Group is gearing up for the May 2013 “Chef to Plate” Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program. The program is in its fourth year, surveying restaurants that offer gluten-free menu options around the world, including the United States, Canada, Turkey, and Italy.

The campaign serves the dual purpose of celebrating restaurants that are successfully working towards gluten-free awareness and options, while also working to spread awareness and education about what constitutes a gluten-free menu.

This grass-roots campaign seeks to spread gluten-free awareness in the promotion of restaurants that allow the gluten intolerant and Celiacs to safely dine outside their homes. As part of the campaign, the Gluten Intolerance Group asks restaurants to post education materials that highlight to statistics and facts about gluten-free eating as a sign of support for their gluten-free diners throughout the month of May, Celiac Awareness month.

Aside from their effort towards gaining support from restaurants during the month of May, the Gluten Intolerance Group offers Food Service Training and Management Certification Programs, working with food service establishments to inspire confidence and accurate education about gluten-free cooking and service practices to the staff of restaurants. These programs help to ensure safe and accurate gluten-free service in establishments that may otherwise be unaware of what it truly means to be “gluten-free.”

Look for the GFFS logo
on menus to be sure you’re eating in a safe environment, or find a certified restaurant near you by visiting

Monday, May 6, 2013

National Celiac Awareness Month Puts a Focus on the Family

May is National Celiac Awareness Month; at SensitiviTees we are particularly aware of this specially designated month that promotes awareness of and information about celiac disease because our son has it. At first this diagnosis turned our household upside down but it answered so many questions and mysteries about his digestive problems and concomitant health issues. Once we understood what foods to avoid, which precautions to take, and the intricacies of maintaining a strictly gluten-free diet, we all settled in to our new normal. And our son feels so much better!

What’s more, his condition and diagnosis—and subsequent changes in our diets and our lifestyle—were the inspiration for SensitiviTees. Our gluten-free purple people eater was one of our first designs as a result.

This year the theme is “Fuel the Family,” with a focus on family testing and education. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness  (NFCA) has great materials and information for people with celiac disease and their families. For example, you can download the organization’s first-ever toolkit and get information about the value of family testing. Celiac disease is genetic so it’s important if you or a family member has celiac, to encourage all first- and second-degree relatives to be tested for it.

Living with celiac is not impossible but it certainly has its challenges. However, we found over the past couple of years that there are many other families just like us, who lived through the concern about a loved one’s health before diagnosis and are now figuring out how to live happily and healthily in a gluten-filled world. We have also discovered a wonderful community of families and individuals who are sharing their experiences, insights, and delicious gluten-free recipes for anyone with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten insensitivity.

The website,, has lots of valuable resources and helpful information about celiac disease, how to talk to family members about it, how to discuss testing, and much more. You can also read stories from gluten-free bloggers who are featured on the website, check out the gluten-free product of the day, and share gluten-free tips. There is also a kids’ page with games and information just for children, and a section where youngsters can share their personal stories and create their own community.

We recommend you check out the NFCA’s website often, as new products are always coming to market, and new information is always becoming available. And we recommend that if you or someone in your immediate family has celiac disease, that you be tested for it so you can maintain your optimal health.

You can purchase any of our designs (above) by logging on to our website: