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Monday, July 25, 2016
Find Your Freedom! How to Live Without Food Allergens

When Delicious Living and Enjoy Life Foods team up, you know it is for a great reason. They recently put out an e-guide on how to live life with food allergies and how to "find your freedom" to avoid your allergens.

This free eGuide will help you:

  • Identify food allergies and sensitivities
  • Eliminate problem foods
  • Stock a Free-From pantry
  • Make great-tasting allergen-friendly recipes 
This guide is perfect for the newly diagnosed as well as a good reminder for those of us living with food allergies for a long time! (In addition to celiac disease, I also have a shellfish allergy.)


Want a sneak peek? Check out this pages from inside the guide. 



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Thursday, July 21, 2016
Back by Popular Demand: GF Alphabet T-Shirts


Every time I wear this GF alphabet t-shirt to a celiac event, people love it. I wore it to Camp Celiac last week and many of the campers and staff asked me where to get one. I haven't sold these in a few summers, but now it is back by popular demand. I have a limited quantity, so be sure to order yours today! Shirts are $20 plus $1 PayPal fee. Shipping and handling are included! Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Once you get your shirt, send me a picture! I would love to feature you in my Facebook album. Go ahead and click through to all of the smiling gluten-free faces!

How to order: Simply click this link to email me and let me know what size you want (adult S-XL available). Discounts will be given for multiple t-shirt orders!





Tuesday, July 19, 2016
35 Years of Living with Celiac Disease
I cannot believe it has been over a month since I last blogged here. I have been (slowly) redesigning things behind the scene and really trying to figure out what is next for my website. I have always loved connecting with celiac readers through Gluten-Free Fun, but these days I mostly keep in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  But I hit a HUGE milestone this week and I couldn't let it go unmentioned.

This month, I am living with diagnosed celiac disease for THIRTY-FIVE YEARS!!


My doctor records from 1981, the first time they thought celiac disease.


Whoa, let that sink in for a minute. First of all, my brain still thinks I am in my 20s so I am not quite sure how I've had celiac for longer than I feel in years. Second of all, that is a damn long time to have celiac. Three and a half decades of living gluten-free with celiac disease. I literally have a lifetime of experience with celiac disease, as I was diagnosed as a toddler. I recently met a few more "lifers" (those of us who don't remember life before gluten) and I am always impressed that we have survived and thrived so long in a gluten-filled world.

I am a celiac pioneer. I was eating gluten-free before it was cool. It wasn't until I was a teenager in the 1990s that I even met another person with celiac disease. This year, I attended a food expo with more than 70,000 people talking about healthy living and gluten-free food. I went to an international conference full of people with celiac disease. Just last week, I went to a summer camp with a week dedicated gluten-free for kids with celiac disease. This blows my mind. I am in awe of the kids of today who have so many gluten-free options across the globe that never existed when I was a kid.

35 years of living gluten-free!


So today, I leave you with this... You are not alone in this crazy celiac and gluten-free adventure. There are tens of thousands of us living in the US that know exactly what you are dealing with on a daily basis. There are ups and downs, especially when first diagnosed with celiac disease. There is a learning curve to adjusting to the gluten-free diet. But you are not alone and we can all relate. Reach out if you need help, I am happy to be there for you. Email me any time! gfreefun@gmail.com






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Thursday, June 9, 2016
Tiny B Chocolate Brigadeiros Deserve To Be Savored By All

If there was ever a time I wish you could reach into your monitor and take a sample of what I am showing you, it is today!

Last month, I received a beautiful box of brigadeiros from San Francisco-based company Tiny B Chocolate. I had no clue what brigadeiros were and had only just read a rave review from my friend Gluten-Free Mike a few days earlier. I learned from Tiny B Chocolates that brigadeiros are very rich, creamy chocolate truffle, the national dessert of Brazil, and a traditional Brazilian wedding treat.

TinyB owners Renata & Andrei set out to make the tastiest, highest-quality chocolate they could and it ended up being gluten-free. Score for us celiacs! I couldn't wait to dive into the beautiful box.



There are five tinyB classic flavors in every box (dark, milk, almond, pistachio & coconut) and other flavors can be purchased upon request. Some of the speciality flavors include Brazilian coffee and chocolate, raspberry and white chocolate, and spicy dark chocolate. Visit the tinyB flavors page for a complete list. 


Each and every brigadeiro is such a decadent sweet treat. My favorites were the milk chocolate and dark & pistachio, while my boyfriend Victor loved the mint and dark chocolate. There wasn't a flavor we didn't enjoy. The tinyB treats can be kept at room temperature for 2 weeks. Honestly, I cannot imagine these lasting two weeks anywhere considering we devoured the entire box in less than two days!



Oh, and as if the box of chocolates aren't enough, you can also get a full spread of Tiny B brigadeiros for your wedding or special occasion. OH MY BRIGADEIRO, look at this spread!



These Tiny B Chocolates would make a wonderful treat for anyone whether they are gluten-free or not. With wedding and graduation season upon us, I highly suggest buying these treats for your favorite someone. I am so excited to offer my readers 20% off all orders using code GFfun. These handmade treats are a bit expensive but SO worth it!

Please note, Tiny B uses gluten-free ingredients and dedicated equipment that's not used for other purposes but the facility is not entirely gluten-free nor do they test their final product. I had no problems except for that they were gone way too fast!

ORDER NOW!


NOTE: While the complimentary sample box was sent to me by Tiny B Chocolates, all opinions are my own and I only post about products I can say I truly enjoyed. 

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Thursday, June 2, 2016
10 Surprising Gluten-Containing Foods (Infographic)
This infographic from Delicious Living is a great reminder of places where gluten lurks! While labeling has gotten better, you still must ALWAYS read the ingredients before you try something new. Even if it is a favorite product, be sure to scan the ingredients in case anything has changed!


Source: Delicious Living

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Friday, May 27, 2016
Gluten-Free vs. Gluten-Reduced Beer (infographic)
This infographic from the naturally gluten-free Coors Peak beer is a great reminder of the differences between gluten-free and gluten-reduced beers. Please note, there are differences! Many of the gluten-reduced beers (also known as crafted to remove gluten, gluten-removed, less gluten, etc.) have very deceiving marketing which could be confusing even to the most gluten-free savvy consumer. Don't let the ads fool you. Know the differences.



If you are noticing gluten-reduced beers in the gluten-free section of your store, print this out and show it to the manager. Let them know that outside of Oregon, the beers cannot be legally be labeled gluten-free if they are only gluten-reduced. For more information about labeling laws for beer, click here. Please share with others.


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Monday, May 23, 2016
Celiac Awareness Month eCookbook
If you are like me, you might get stuck in a food rut. You know... eating the same things week after week because you know what is easy to make for your family. Thanks to Beyond Celiac for their free eCookbook in honor of Celiac Awareness Month it is time to get inspired in the kitchen again. This cookbook is full of recipes for appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts which are all 100% gluten-free. The book is free to download, so be sure to grab your copy today. 


Download the Beyond Celiac eCookbook

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Friday, May 20, 2016
Gluten-Free Events This Weekend (May 21-22, 2016)


There are so many awesome gluten-free events going on across the country this weekend. I wish I could go to all of them. Which one do you plan on attending? Did I miss your event? Put it in the comments below!

Saturday 
May 21, 2016

Greater Philly Gluten-Free Expo
Oaks, PA

The Rochester Gluten-Free Health and Wellness Expo
Rochester, NY

Gluten-Free and Wellness Expo with G-Free Foodie
Whole Foods Monterey
Monterey, CA

Gluten Free Taste Fest
Plum Market West Bloomfield
W. Bloomfield, IL

Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event
St. Louis, MO

Gluten-Free Tasting Expo
Sunset Foods Market
Long Grove, IL

Gluten-Free Wine and Dessert Night
Davio's Manhattan
New York City


Sunday 
May 22, 2016

The Fifth Annual Mid-Hudson Walk for Celiac Disease
Poughkeepsie, NY


Have a great weekend! 

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016
60 Seconds for Celiac Disease
If you are reading this blog, you are already taking the time to learn and continue your education about celiac disease. I encourage you to take another sixty seconds to watch this video and then visit BeyondCeliac.org for even more information about living with celiac disease.

 



 Have another 10 seconds? Share this video on Twitter by clicking below! 

Tweet: Take #60ForCeliac with @gfreefun and @BeyondCeliac! #celiacawareness http://ctt.ec/y1lId+


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Thursday, May 12, 2016
Would You Eat Gluten for $160?
A very interesting email popped up in my inbox yesterday that got me angrier the more I read it. The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center is recruiting patients for a clinical trial for a pill to treat celiac disease. I've said it before but I would never want to take a pill for celiac disease. I would rather pay attention to the food I am ingesting daily. I've been doing it for almost 35 years now so adding another medication to my body is of no interest to me! On the flip side, I do know many of my readers are interested in some kind of medication to manage celiac disease and might be willing to be in a clinical trial.

But this trial rubbed me the wrong way. If enrolled in the study, you need to eat gluten bread, go in for six study visits, have blood drawn, provide stool samples, and get an endoscopy in exchange for a whopping $160. Wait, what??? 

First of all, I would miss multiple days of work if I had to eat even one quarter of a slice of regular gluten bread. Traveling to and from the trial would become impossible unless I had a toilet nearby! I would also miss a full day of work for an endoscopy. That is approximately 3-4 days of missed work and is worth way more to me than $160.

Second of all, I don't believe there is not enough evidence about the long-term damage of eating even a little bit of gluten on someone with celiac disease. Have the trial coordinators considered this in their preparation?

Lastly, I would like to understand UPFRONT the way Montelukast will treat celiac disease and how symptoms will be monitored. According to the Mayo Clinic website, Montelukast has side effects that include: "abdominal or stomach pain, flu-like symptoms, general feeling of discomfort or illness, headache, joint pain, shortness of breath or troubled breathing, and unusual tiredness or weakness."
Sorry University of Chicago, but you won't get a clinical trial study out of me. I don't know about you, but I have at least two or three of these symptoms (if not all) every time I ingest gluten. NO THANK YOU.

What do you think about this trial? Do you think you would participate? If not, why? I would love your comments below!



A Pill to Treat Celiac Disease?
Now enrolling patients to a clinical study! 

WHO: you may be eligible for this study if:

  • You are age 18 and older
  • You have celiac disease
  • You have been on a gluten-free diet for at least one year
  • You are willing to eat gluten (bread)

WHAT: testing of Montelukast (a drug that has been approved by the FDA for treatment of asthma) for the treatment of Celiac Disease

If enrolled, you will be given the drug or a placebo and asked to:

  • Come to up to 6 study visits
  • Have multiple blood draws, endoscopy with biopsy and brushings, and provide stool samples
  • Answer some questions regarding your health


WHERE: University of Chicago Medical Center

Subjects will be reimbursed up to $160.00 if all visits are completed and will receive parking vouchers.



NOTE: This is the exact email I got about the trial. If you have questions, please contact the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center directly. 

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Monday, May 9, 2016
Spread the Word About Food Allergies
Today is the beginning of Food Allergy Awareness week. As someone who has both celiac disease and a shellfish allergy, I think it is important to assume others don't know much as you know about your personal allergies. It is important to educate others and this is a great week to start!

I love these posters from FARE that are created for those who play a supportive role in managing your food allergies. Please share them with your family, friends, and employers. To see all of the Food Allergy Awareness Week posters, visit www.foodallergy.org








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Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Celiac Disease and Food Allergy Awareness Month Resources
There are so many wonderful resources for celiac disease awareness month and food allergy awareness month, that I wanted to share them all! I appreciate all of the hard work and resources that these national organizers have put together for our community. If I am missing any key resources, leave a comment below!

Please click on the image for more information and a direct link to the resource page. 











Gluten Intolerance Group




Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America



Kids with Food Allergies



World Asthma Day
Global Initiative for Asthma

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Monday, May 2, 2016
Happy Celiac Awareness Month
I am one day late kicking off the 2016 Celiac Awareness Month because I was in a non-stop weekend of celiac and Gluten-Free Fun! I had the pleasure of both attending and presenting at the Celiac Disease Foundation National Conference and Expo in Pasadena, CA this weekend. I have so much to report back on including all of the yummy gluten-free food I discovered, the scientific research and information I learned, and more importantly all of the wonderful people I met. I have always blogged about how the supportive celiac people are more important to me than the food and this conference reinforced how important community is to living with celiac. More to come but in the meantime...


HAPPY CELIAC AWARENESS MONTH!!!


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Thursday, April 28, 2016
Gluten-Free Summer Camp 2016

It's that time of year again to sign up for summer camp. If your child has celiac disease, you don't have to worry at these camps. They can all cater to the gluten-free diet and many are 100% gluten-free for the week mentioned below. Do you have a camp I should add to this list? Email me at gfreefun@gmail.com

LET'S GO TO CAMP!

May 29-June 3, 2016
Camp Weekaneatit
Warm Springs, GA

June 10-12, 2016
Gluten-Free Family Camp
Milford, PA

June 12-16, 2016
Camp Gluten Freedom
St. Paul, IN
Note: Camp will accommodate gluten-free and allergen needs all summer long!

June 12-17, 2016
Camp Waluhili
Chouteau, OK

June 19-25, 2016
Free to Be Camp
Roscommon, MI

June 19-25, 2016
Camp Manitou-Lin
Middleville, MI

July 11-14 and July 14-17, 2016
Camp Celiac
Livermore, CA

July 17-22, 2016
Gluten-Free Fun Camp
Annandale, MN

July 24-27, 2016
Celiac Strong Camp
Ithaca, NY

July 24-30, 2016
Great Gluten Escape
Gilmer, TX

August 2-4, 3016
Gluten Detective Camp
Bloomington, MN

August 7-12, 2016
Camp Celiac
Vashon Island, WA

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Gluten-Free Fun at the Ramos Strawberry Farm

I had the joyful pleasure of visiting Ramos Strawberry Farm in Watsonville, CA two weeks ago. I was beyond excited since this was my first visit ever to a farm in California AND my first visit to a strawberry farm in the whole world! I was a guest of the California Strawberry Commission for both a farm tour and lunch at Ella's at the Airport, surrounded by a bunch of equally enthusiastic food bloggers.

Me with Farmer Miguel Ramos, owner of the farm

From the moment we met owner and grower Miguel Ramos, I could tell this man lived and breathed strawberries. He spoke passionately about his farm, his strawberry crops, and the fundamentals of working on a strawberry farm for more than 30 years. Mr. Ramos also threw in a few funny strawberry stories from his years on the farm which made the group laugh. (Stolen strawberries?! Not on his watch!) My favorite quote of the day was when Ramos said "Strawberries are the shape of our hearts and the color of our blood." Clearly, this man LOVED his strawberries which helped make our tour even better.

Mr. Ramos showing off his beautiful strawberries

Throughout the day we learned interesting facts about strawberries, which are definitely are an integral part of farming in California. According to the California Strawberry Commission, "California's 400 family strawberry farmers sustain their communities. They create 70,000 jobs, have funded more than $2 million in scholarships for children of field workers and invest 97 cents of every farm dollar back into their communities." (source) As we learned from Mr. Ramos, who lives in the area, many strawberry farmers both live and work in the communities where they farm. Protecting the health of the neighbors, the land, and the environment is their top priority.

Once we learned about strawberry farming practices, we were let loose on the farm. I was so giddy to bend down and pluck strawberries right off the vine to eat. I got to try different varieties and consumed strawberries as big as my palm! I even got down and bit one right off the vine which was the winning #StrawberrySelfie of the day. (see below)

Caught taking a #strawberryselfie


It doesn't get fresher than this! The winning #StrawberrySelfie

After I think I consumed my weight in strawberries, it was time for lunch at Ella's at the Airport. Of course, we had a strawberry-themed lunch. My favorite dish of the day was the strawberry, pineapple, and pancetta-encrusted goat cheese skewers. Look at these delicious things!

Simple to make, yet so delicious!

I had such a great time meeting California-based bloggers on the Ramos Strawberry Farm. This was my first non-NYC blog event and everyone was so friendly. We bonded over strawberries and all left that day with a strawberry-stained smile on our faces and our bellies full. I have always been a fan of strawberries since they are naturally gluten-free and full of flavor. The visit to the farm made me truly appreciate where my strawberries come from and the labor of love that goes into growing them. Thank you to the California Strawberry Commission for a wonderful day! 

The CA Strawberry Commission, bloggers, and Miguel Ramos on the farm.


I did not go home empty handed. Strawberries for DAYS!!!

DID YOU KNOW??

  • Research suggests that eating just 1 cup (#8aday) is good for the whole body, promoting heart health, diabetes management, supporting brain health, and reducing the risk of some cancers.
  • With year-round availability and a 12-month growing season, California strawberries are an easy way to pack a nutritional punch in your daily diet!
  • With more vitamin C than an orange and loaded with nutrients, California strawberries are a nutritious and versatile fruit to enjoy every day.
  • Strawberries are naturally sweet but low in sugar -- only 7 grams and 45 calories per cup!
To learn more about California Strawberries, please visit the following websites

Twitter: @CAstrawberries  
Instagram: CAstrawberries  



NOTE: This is post is sponsored by California Strawberries. All opinions are my own. With or without this trip to the farm, I will always be a fan of strawberries! 

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