This week, I may have met my match. I was talking to my sister about the absolute joy of creating something no one ever has. There is a non-traditionalist deep inside of me that thrives from the loose term "unexpected". And this is just what I found at the beginning of my stint interning as a dietitian at Andrea's Gluten-Free Bakery.
It was unexpected for me to end up here, unexpected to get to "play" (food scientist), and unexpected to see the satisfaction that comes from making a quality product that busts people's expectations. Is it possible to create a muffin without milk, butter, eggs, or wheat? Try Andrea's best-selling Pumpkin Spice Muffin, and you won't turn back. They even sell their dinner rolls to Maggiano's and stock their baked goods at Whole Foods. Their products speak for themselves.
So what's the deal with "gluten-free"? Most of Andrea's clients have Celiac disease, a condition where the body reacts against itself in the presence of gluten. It's not an allergy, it is autoimmune. This means the villi that absorb nutrients from food in the small intestine are absolute goners. No absorptive capacity? Look for chronic GI discomfort, bone loss, anemia, infertility, and muscle weakness. So the fix requires elimination of gluten from the diet. Key areas to omit are wheat, barley, rye and any food that comes in contact with these 3 during processing.
According to the Celiac Sprue Association, "only 3 percent of people with Celiac disease know they have their condition, leaving an estimated 2.1 million people unaware and undiagnosed."
Don't get scared now. Before self-diagnosing and swearing by a gluten-free diet, a simple blood test is the first step to take. Many celebrities have gone "gluten-free", claiming how much better they feel. My hypothesis is that simple moderation of refined flours and an increase in a variety of grains is what is helping them along.
Whether by choice or not, consumption of gluten-free products are certainly on the rise. And thanks a lovely business like Andrea's, your taste buds have no reason to be in want.
For pick-up or delivery, they always welcome sampling. Check out their full-line.
(This is me and Laura, the expert cake decorator and production genius. She will be famous someday. In the meantime, she saves lives one cupcake and wedding cake at a time.)