These delightful treats contain extra calories, sure. For some, however, the caveat of extra caloric intake is only a small issue in comparison to the presence of wheat in a product.
For those who suffer from celiac disease, consuming wheat isn’t an option — even for a one-time splurge.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness details the specifics behind the disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. According to the NFCA website, 1 in 141 Americans has the disease, although “83 percent of those who have it are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.”
Dr. Philip Miner, a local gastroenterologist, said celiac can do damage to the inner workings of the digestive process.
“And therefore it impairs the absorption of nutrients,” he said.
He emphasized the difficulty of an all gluten-free diet.
“It is not an easy feat,” said Miner, who is also president and medical director of the Oklahoma Foundation for Digestive Research. “It is not as easy as going home and microwaving a prepared meal. A lot of thought and conscious energy must go into everything one eats.”
Diet restrictions are neither fun nor easy. For those with celiac disease, a conscientious diet is not seasonal — it’s for a lifetime.
Fortunately, many businesses and stores around the metro cater to those with gluten allergies, making the adoption of a wheat-free diet tasty and convenient.
Green Goodies, 5840 N. Classen Blvd., is one such business. Tiffany Magness opened the shop four years ago thanks to inspiration from a family friend.
“At the time, I didn’t even know what gluten was,” she said. “But we saw a need for baked-from-scratch wholesome treats that would appeal to all populations, including a few that are often neglected, including the health-conscious, gluten-intolerant, vegan and diabetic.”
Located in Classen Curve, Green Goodies offers eight gluten-free cupcake flavors daily, as well as gluten-free chocolate-chip cookies, frosted and unfrosted.
“My personal favorites are the frosted chocolate-chip cookie or the strawberry cupcake made with fresh strawberries,” said Magness. “Although, the best seller might be the salted caramel cupcake.”
Green Goodies prides itself on baking every single item daily and from scratch.
“We use high-quality ingredients including cage-free eggs, hormone-free milk and unbleached flours,” Magness said. “We care about what we put in our bodies and yours.”
The Cupcake Lounge, Simply Sweet, Gigi’s Cupcakes and Emma J’s Bakery are a few other local bakeries that offer gluten-free sweets.
To cool off — gluten-free style — during Oklahoma’s scorching summer months, Arctic Zero is a frozen dessert brand that offers gluten-free ice cream and frozen chocolate bars.
Arctic Zero, based in Southern California, launched in early 2009 and has been growing ever since. The brand began as a soft-serve, but with high customer demand, it expanded nationwide.
“We wanted to change the way people experience desserts,” said Jeff Norton, vice president of marketing at Arctic Zero. “And I think we have. It’s amazing to see peoples’ faces light up as they enjoy their dessert … especially when they have had to previously limit themselves because of medical conditions.”
Arctic Zero sells its ice cream by the pint (for less than 150 calories per pint!) and is suitable for lactose intolerant consumers, as well as people with Type 2 diabetics. Its products are available at Akin’s Natural Foods, Whole Foods Market, Sunflower Natural Foods Market and Homeland stores.
“I think gluten-free options have grown considerably, especially over the last few years,” said Magness. “Most people now recognize the term gluten-free, and it is exciting that many restaurants now have gluten-free menu options.”