Monthly Archives: May 2014

Do you know what Gluten Is?

So, this Jimmy Kimmel clip has been making the rounds on the internet this week:

It turns out that lots of people who have gone gluten free because they think it’s healthy have no idea what gluten is. Some people knew it was somehow related to wheat and flour, but their understanding stopped there. Bakers and Alton Brown fans might know that gluten is the reason you don’t overmix baked goods– mixing too much leaves you with tough, chewy treats, which is not a happy thing when you’re going for a light fluffy bread or cake. Recently, gluten-free diets have taken off as an approach to lose weight and get healthy. Patrick and I have started to try to eat gluten free during the week because gluten sensitivities are sometimes linked to auto-immune reactions. There are tests for gluten/dairy/etc sensitivities that can be run by a doctor that could save us the effort of trying an elimination diet, but meal planning for a few weeks seemed a little more straightforward than finding a specialist and having the tests run. I haven’t noticed any significant difference in my reaction to the lack of gluten, but subbing fruits and veggies for cookies and crackers does leave me with more energy (not too surprising). We’ve avoided most gluten free snack food substitutes; this might be an option if one of us does seem to have a real reaction to gluten containing products, but for now, it’s probably a healthier option to stick to real food based snacks.

Anyhow, back to the point of this post: as Jimmy explained in the start of the video, gluten is a composite of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is the major culprit in celiac disease and gluten sensitivities—the body develops antibodies to gliadin, causing an immune reaction to the presence of gluten in the body. It takes nearly two years of a gluten free diet for someone with the most common anti-gliadin antibody to allow these antibodies to return to normal levels. For the 15% of people that have elevated levels of these antibodies, a gluten free diet is important to decrease their immune response and any related complications. Gluten sensitivity seems to be a lot trickier of a situation—some people with sensitivities don’t always generate elevated levels of the anti-gliadin antibodies.

While it is possible that gluten sensitivities and wheat allergies are more common now (in the same way other food allergies are less unusual), the gluten free diet trend has really taken off. It reminds me a bit of the fat-free craze from a while back. Gluten free diets might be great if you fill in the gaps in your diet with fruits, veggies and other real, whole foods, but subbing your wheat based food for gluten free substitutes made with simple alternative carbs isn’t much of a healthy diet option.

Did you know what gluten was? Has a gluten free diet made a difference in your health?

Note: I am not a trained dietician or nutritionist. This post is solely based on my understanding of protein science and biology and not meant to advise.


HOCO Blogs Petit Louis Event

I know this is a bit late and I apologize to those of you who may have been waiting. I did finally get to sit down with the wine list to share my thoughts on Petit Louis with you!

Last Thursday I had a chance to attend my first blogger event, and it was a good one! HoCo Blogs teamed up with Petit Louis to put on an event to celebrate the opening of their outdoor patio space. I rounded up a couple friends and Patrick and we had a great time sampling some of the restaurant’s amazing house wines and small munchies. I was having too much fun to remember to take too many pics but I’ll share the few I did take!

We had the opportunity to try four of Petit Louis’ house wines, all of which were delicious. The first was a bordeaux blanc (Chateau Reynon “Cuvee de Louis” 2012). It was delicious, not too dry and went well with the salty waffle chips, olives and the passed terrine (a duck and chicken pate, picture below) with mustard on a baguette. The second wine, a Chablis (Domaine Verget “Terre de Pierres” 2011), was probably my favorite and would be great for summer drinking on their patio. It was a chardonnay, but tasted more like a vino verde to me, much more crisp, acidic and dry than your typical chardonnay.



The third wine was a rose, Coteau D’aix en Provence’s, Cammanderie de la Bargemone Rose, 2013. For those who like the traditional white zinfandel, this is not your typical American sugary rose, and is fairly dry, but smelled deliciously fruity and would hold up better to the dinner and lunch fare served at Petit Louis (a quick Google search suggests that you could probably buy a bottle of this for $15 or less and it’s one of the commonly recommended affordable rose wines, something to keep in mind if you’re a fan!).

Our final tasting was of a red, Beaujolais Villlages’ Setphan Aviron, 2013. I’m typically not a big red fan, and often only find myself enjoying Italian reds (Nebbiolos in particular), but this was pretty tasty, and I might consider ordering it to pair with one of the richer and heavier menu items.

We also had the chance to sample gruyere puffs, a bite of endive filled with pickled beets and goat cheese, and a selection of cookies and macaroons, all delicious (unfortunately for you all, I was having too much fun at that point to remember to take any photos). I’m fairly certain that everything that comes out of that pastry kitchen is delicious—you can try most of their goodies in the Comptoir next door to the restaurant.

Not only were the food and wine excellent, but the service was wonderful. The wait staff and sommelier were happy to answer all the questions we had about the food and wine, and the bartenders seemed more than happy to serve and chat (as any good bartender should). As the weather continues to improve, this area by the lake will probably be the place to be in Columbia, and a meal on Petit Louis’ patio space is a great way to enjoy the weather while people watching, or perhaps to cap off an afternoon on the lake in a rented paddle boat!