Did You Know… There Are Politics In Your Food!?!

Just when I thought I was on the right track, eating all organic, no soy, no dairy… etc. I found out most of the almond and rice milks I have been drinking (along with other things come to find out) have this toxic additive called carrageenan in them. Learning about this has just motivated me further, and hopefully will move you too, to opt for natural foods or ingredients that I can pronounce and/or know what they are.

Carrageenan is extracted from red seaweeds, has multiple forms and is used in cooking and baking. Similar to gluten, carrageenan works as an emulsifier and thickener keeping ingredients from separating, and while once was a natural additive, has become a highly processed additive. Carrageenan is known to cause gastrointestinal inflammation which disrupts the digestion process which can result in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, IBS, and even scarier there are links to colon and breast cancer. Although it is naturally derived from algae, studies since the 1930′s have questioned the safety of carrageenans. Despite the fact that some forms are “deemed safe for human consumption by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives” and FDA, there is a LONG history of debate of the safety of carrageenans.(1)

Through my research I found a very interesting website that caught my attention because it discusses both the health concerns and politics of carrageenans. Further confirming my point that we should always be aware of what we are consuming and a reminder that these big food industries DO NOT have our good health in their best interest! Just one example of what I read is that after a long and lucrative relationship between the Philippines (who became one of the main exporters) and the United States, it was not “until 1984, when the United States’ FDA questioned the safety of a Philippine product called “Semi-Refined Carrageenan” (SRC) and banned it from use in ‘the lucrative food additives market in the U.S.’ Not surprisingly, this ruling (which was also enacted by the WHO and the United Nations’ FAO), severely handicapped the Philippine economy. Then, in 1990, the FDA reversed its ruling and allowed SRC back into US food products.”(2) Scary!!!!

While the FDA and JECFA have approved carrageenan, the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board was said to vote at the end of May on whether it should be removed from the list of approved ingredients in organic foods.(3) In the meantime I wanted to list some commonly ingested foods or used items that you might want to be aware may contain carrageenans: desserts (cakes, ice creams, gelatins, pies, biscuits), dairy based foods, beer, toothpaste, shampoo, soy and almond milks, diet sodas, infant formulas, flavored milks.

Ever Onward,

Jennifer Esposito

1. wisegeek
2. scdrecipe
3. cornucopia

Other informative websites I found:

Good Turkey? Or Bad Turkey?

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays!!!! The stuffing, the sweet potato souffle with melted marshmallows, the biscuits, everything that I loved!!!!! The first gluten free Thanksgiving however was difficult to say the least. All those favorite dishes now had to just pass by me as all I could get now was get a whiff. HORRIBLE! Well at least I could eat the turkey, right? Not so fast.

It wasn’t until last year when I started to reconfigure and create all these new recipes so that I could enjoy one of my favorite holidays again. I recreated everything, the sweet potatoes were now made without butter and with gluten free marshmallows, the stuffing was made without bread …  but what about the turkey? I had read somewhere that some turkeys were injected with stock or preservatives that most likely contain GLUTEN! REALLY? Even in our turkeys? So I did some research and came up with some options for your fear free Thanksgiving!

Here are a list of brands that offer all natural gluten free turkeys. You could also check by calling the company that you normally buy from. One would never think that turkey has gluten but unfortunately some of them do. So be safe and eat well. Happy Turkey Day!

  • Mary’s Free Range
  • Shelton’s
  • Foster Farms
  • Aaron’s Best
  • Butterball
  • D’Artagnan
  • Honey Suckle White
  • Jennie-O
  • Shadybrook Farms
  • Smithfield Farms
  • Wellshire Farms

Ever Onward,

Jennifer Esposito

Hemp Milk


I recently wrote a blog on carrageenan, a food additive that is used as a thickening agent in foods. It’s a substance in many foods that includes yogurt, beer and non-dairy milks; everything from soy to hemp to almond to rice milk.

Why we would want to ingest this stuff is beyond me. I do hate giving you information like this with no alternative. The alternative at the time that I posted was “make your own”, which is a great option but if you’re busy, making almond or hemp milk or cashew milk is not a luxury that many of us have. So since then, I’ve been searching the shelves, up and down, scouring the Internet for non-dairy milks that didn’t have carrageenan.

 One is O Milk, which is sold in Dean & Deluca and also online. O Milk makes a beautiful almond milk and a cashew I believe others. Their milks are made with absolutely nothing in them except what needs to be in them: water, something kind of sweetener, almonds, or hemp, etc.

 If you can’t get your hands on that, then another good product is, Pacific All Natural Hemp Milk, I jumped up and down and made a bit of spectacle of myself to actually find a hemp milk that didn’t have this nasty carrageenan in it. Like I said, I’ve been looking for months! If you recall one of my recent blogs about food rotating, I mentioned that I was having way too much rice milk, until I found that beautiful hemp milk on the shelves.

I really do get that excited when I find something that I can eat. I’m sure a lot of you Celiacs understand, so I bought about four boxes full and went home and enjoyed! Hope you do, too!

Ever Onward,

Jennifer Esposito

Vegan, Gluten Soy & Dairy Free Sweet Potato Scone For Your Heart Health and Smile :)

As most of you know having celiac disease is an ever and on going journey. Every meal needs to be looked at, even vitamins and minerals need to be monitored from time to time to make sure your getting all your nutrients. This lifestyle can definitely be a struggle at times. And for me the last couple weeks have been a struggle to say the least. In efforts to find relief I started doing more research to find ways I can get even more vitamins and minerals in to my system to supplement what I have been low in which is vitamin B and my vitamin D is always in constant conflict. One thing I kept coming to in my search to feel better was the sweet potato. A beautiful orange sweet potato. I used to love these as a kid! I would load them with butter and eat hot or for Thanksgiving I’d make them as candied yams and bake them with marshmallows on top… ohh so good!! But these days I eat my sweet potato brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with a little bit of cinnamon, turmeric, and salt and it makes me just as happy! Or I make sweet potato fries which always makes a great snack or side. Not only are there many ways to prepare sweet potatoes, they are inexpensive AND are so good for you!

As I was feeling down and not so great I thought let me go back to the friendly sweet potato that keeps coming up in this search for answers. And before I get to the new recipe I created let me tell you some of the MANY health benefits besides being absolutely delicious! The sweet potato is very high in vitamin B6 which is so necessary for the bodies immune and nervous system, decreases inflammation and is great in preventing degenerative diseases including heart disease. It is a great source of vitamin B which wards off cold and flu and plays an important role in digestion and blood cell formation. It also accelerates wound healing and protein production. And if you don’t know – collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in body, which helps maintain the skins youthful appearance which we all love! The sweet potato is a great food to fight against cancer and contains high levels of vitamin D which is so important for us Celiacs and anyone! Actually, there are studies stating most people are suffering from vitamin D deficiency, and low vitamin D can then lead to depression. Sweet potato is wonderful for proper immune function which Celiacs definitely need, a great source of magnesium which aids in relaxation and an anti stress mineral – a reason I should be eating a sweet potato everyday of my life! And finally a great source of potassium, that maintains healthy levels of blood sugars in the body unlike sugars consumed from a sugary cereal or treat because white or refined sugars are released in to the blood stream quickly. The sugar from a sweet potato (that is loaded with fiber as well!) is a different kind of sugar and helps stabilize the blood sugar in body instead of making it spike which causes fatigue and weight gain.

The rich orange colors in a sweet potato means that it is high in beta carotene which is a great boost for immunity to disease and has powerful anti-oxidants! And like I said before, there are a variety of ways you can prepare them – you can roast them, bake them, steam them, grill, and/ or puree them. In this recipe, however, I decided to use pureed sweet potatoes to make a SCONE! And they turned out so good!! My Troop Franky Beans was circling me like a shark because of the warm sweet smell in the house! I paired the sweet potato with some wonderful cinnamon, cloves, and maple syrup which makes it all the better. I also decided to use quinoa flour which is a wonderful fiber and wonderful grain. If you have not experimented with any quinoa yet I highly recommend you do (also numerous way to cook/bake and eat)! And almond flour because it is full of protein and fiber. Those two flours are the majority flour in this recipe followed by brown rice flour. These scones are vegan, dairy free, gluten free, and soy free. But NOT taste free as always with my stuff!! This recipe is super easy to make, so eat up and know when you are eating these scones you are doing something beneficial for your body and mind.

Sweet Potato Scones

preheat oven to 400*, bake 15-17 minutes

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup grape seed oil
1/3 cup maple sugar (or can use coconut sugar, date sugar, or lastly brown sugar just has less nutritional value)
3/4 cup rice milk (or milk of choice)
1 tbls fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbls baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh dried vanilla, or 1 tsp liquid vanilla
1/2 of 15 oz can of sweet potato puree
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/3 cup maple syrup (for brushing on top of scones)
One baking sheet lined with parchment paper

1. Whisk together sweet potato, rice milk and lemon juice (if using liquid vanilla add here).
2. In a separate bowl combine all flours, xanthan gum, maple sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves (and pecans if choose), whisk out lumps.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine with a wooden spoon.
4. Take a tablespoon of batter and drop on cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
5. Place in oven for about 15 to 17 minutes (want firm texture and/or slightly browned bottoms).
6. After about 11 minutes or when tops of scones get a bit firm brush maple syrup over top and then continue to bake. ENJOY!!


Ever Onward,

Jennifer Esposito

Did You Know… There is a Link Between Celiac Disease and Depression? Did You Know… Feb 10 is P.S I Love You Day?

Did you know celiac disease and depression are linked? Did you also know 90% of the bodies supply of serotonin (which is linked to depression) lies in your digestive tract? Serotonin is a chemical manufactured in the brain and when at “healthy” levels we feel balanced and happy. In short it regulates our mood. So if our gut is off then we are off! And since we, Celiacs, already have a decreased ability to absorb crucial vitamins and nutrients, we may not be absorbing enough of the important protein that create serotonin. We have millions of brain cells and serotonin affects most of them directly or indirectly – which will then affect our mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, and some social behavior. And that’s only to name a few! This is why it’s so VERY important we are aware of the nutrients are body needs and may or may not be getting, and the HUGE role this plays in our path to a happy life!!

I suffered with unexplained depression my whole life so when I found out I was Celiac and about the serious link to depression things started to make sense. Now gluten free for 3 years the depression is much more understandable and manageable. I know that my mood is directly linked to what I’m eating and the nutrients I’m getting. As you know, since you are on this site, that my passion is to scream from the mountain tops everything I’ve learned on this journey. It pains me to think that people are suffering in so many ways including living with depression and that maybe their eating can be a factor in helping them to live a happier life. The millions of people on anti-depressants in this country is astounding. Even worse the numbers of suicides. Which brings me to my next point.  

For the many of who understand what I’m talking about when I speak of depression you understand how devastating it can be on your life – spirit and soul. The isolation you feel sometimes feels unbearable. Hopefully you have the support of friends or family in these times. Sometimes a hug or kind words can help you through those hard days. For me it’s words.

I was watching the Today show recently and saw an interview, followed by a YouTube clip, with a young woman addressing depression and suicide and the role it plays in her life. After her father killed himself due to depression she started a movement by creating P.S. I Love You Day in honor of him and asks everyone to wear purple to remind people they are loved. And since I deal with depression at times this touched me on deep level. Her message of how just a few kind words are more powerful than you would think to someone who is feeling low and powerful in so many ways. Words can harm but more importantly can HEAL. Dealing with depression can make you feel extremely isolated, so to hear something that connects you to another human being can truly save someones day, maybe even a life.

This blog is written with love and in purple in tribute to P.S I Love You Day, February 10th. PLEASE take a few minutes to watch this video clip:

P.S. I Love You from The Troops!

Ever Onward,

Jennifer Esposito

For more information on serotonin we visited these sites:

1. webmd

2. wiki

3. yourlife

4. everydayhealth

Did you know…. Tea Tree Oil kills Mold!?

Did you know tea tree oil is a great alternative to using harsh chemicals such as bleach?! I thought since I just posted a blog about tea tree oil’s amazing antiseptic and anti-fungal benefits for health reasons I would write a quick follow up so you have yet ANOTHER reason to go out and buy a bottle!

Besides using tea tree oil topically for my health, the other main use is as a great house hold cleaner and specifically for killing MOLD! Tea tree oil is one of the only true methods of killing mold – not just removing it or discoloring the area so that it appears to be gone, but the only great and healthy way to kill mold. I use a spray bottle and poor about 5 drops of tea tree oil per 2.5 cups of water. It is very important to remember most “commercial” cleaning supplies contain hazardous chemicals that you do not want be inhaling or putting on surfaces that you are then going to be touching- they are not good for anyone and will especially irritate those with allergies and asthma!

Tea Tree Oil is so multifunctional and so powerful that a little bit will go a long long way and well worth the purchase!!

Ever Onward,

Jennifer Esposito


For additional household uses for your tea tree oil check out:

For bleach info:

Did you know… link between celiac disease and diabetes!? A Honey Zucchini Muffin to the rescue!

Did you know that there is a genetic link between Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease?! Did you also know that celiac disease and diabetes are inflammatory disorders and share common genes??

The two disorders are more closely linked than previously understood. Since celiac disease is also an autoimmune disease it puts us at a higher risk for all other autoimmune diseases including diabetes. Having celiac disease is hard enough without adding another health issue on top of that, especially diabetes.

What can we do? Start to really read the labels of most of the gluten free products out there on the shelves right now. They are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates which turn into sugar. This means we really MUST make better choices when eating gluten free! We must be aware of our sugar and carbohydrate intake in each product. Unfortunately we can not rely on the words “Gluten Free” stamped on a box to mean that it is healthy. With the increasing demand for gluten free foods the big food companies are seizing this money making opportunity and starting to put gluten free labels on their products while having no regard for the insane sugar content, preservatives and absolutely no nutritional value in them. Remember that all gluten free foods are not created equal! Start choosing foods that are made from a protein base like almond flour or bean flour. Or a high fiber base such as brown rice flour and quinoa flour. Stay away from white rice flours, tapioca starches and potato as MAIN ingredients.

Even with the endless amount of research I have done on this subject I did not know about this close link between diabetes and celiac disease. So what did I do? Got right in the kitchen and started to create some super high protein, low carb, low sugar and high in fiber treats. None of my recipes ever have a high sugar content but I figured out how to lower them still. I don’t ever eat or use white or brown sugars. Also not a fan of the highly controversial agave or fake sweeteners either. The one sweetener I do use is maple syrup which is loaded with anti-oxidents but even that is a form of sugar. Some other options to play with is coconut sugar, which goes into the bloodstream slower, or honey when baking. Also Stevia, which is a natural sweetener made from a leaf, is the only sweetener I’ve found that does not spike blood sugar or support yeast growth. While I have experimented with it only once or twice, I can not say I love it.

I created a scrumptious Zucchini Honey muffin recipe with all this in mind and not only is it delicious but ideal for people with celiac disease or diabetes, and perfect for people on a Candida diet or the Paleo diet. Remember you must take your health into your own hands. Read those labels, make better health conscious decisions and start to feel better!


Zucchini Honey Muffins

Preheat oven to 350, makes 12 low sugar and high protein muffins that are YUMMY

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup grated zucchini
1/4 cup grape seed oil (canola or olive oil are also options)
1/3 cup honey (wild pure honey best option)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbls almond milk

1. Grate zucchini and place between a few paper towels to get out excess water and set aside.
2. Combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.
3. In a separate bowl beat eggs for a minute or two until fluffy.
4. Slowly add the oil to eggs and combine.
5. Add honey and lemon zest to egg mixture.
6. Start adding dry ingredients slowly adding the almond milk intermittently until combined.
7. Lastly mix in the zucchini and then fill muffin tins lined with muffin holders and bake for 20 to 25 minutes depending on your oven. Toothpick should come out clean from center of muffin. Enjoy!!


**Here are some websites that you may find informative to further breakdown the connections between celiac disease and diabetes:

Ever Onward,

Jennifer Esposito


Charcoal Contains Gluten

Did you know… even charcoal can contain gluten!? Just when I thought I could sit back with some friends and My Troops and enjoy a summer of BBQ’s using my new grill, I realized gluten was sneaking in my diet somehow and somewhere. I knew gluten was not only in foods but in cosmetic products, but it was only after research I found out that it was the charcoal making me sick! There is a wheat starch that acts as a binder and when burning the ash can contaminate the food. Sometimes it seems as there is no escaping gluten! But not to worry – for next BBQ season know there are a few alternatives such as lump charcoal which is made from large pieces of wood. I’ve learned with time and research there is always a solution so that I continue doing and eating the things I love.

Ever Onward,

Jennifer Esposito