counter on blogger
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

Labels: , , ,



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! 

Labels: , , ,



Thursday, March 31, 2016
CDF National Conference & Gluten-Free EXPO Early Bird Pricing Ends Tomorrow
Join me at the Celiac Disease Foundation National Conference and Gluten-Free Expo on April 30-May 1, 2016. This is sure to be an informative and exciting event for the celiac community. Saturday the 30th has a list of top celiac disease experts and Sunday, May 1st has a gluten-free expo where you can eat and meet with your favorite brands. There are also some expo hall speakers, including me! Join me as I talk all about planning your gluten-free vacation and top celiac travel tips.



CDF National Conference & Gluten-Free EXPO
Saturday, April 30 - Sunday, May 1, 2016
Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena, CA

The CDF National Conference & Gluten-Free EXPO will offer invaluable insight from world-renowned experts. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, or if you care for someone who does!

Your $99 full-day Conference ticket includes:

  • Admission to all of our thought-provoking presentations
  • Opportunity to ask questions of experts and talk and share with your peers
  • Complimentary 100% gluten-free breakfast AND lunch
  • Complimentary 2-day access to our massive FOOD. FACTS. FUN. Gluten-Free EXPO 
Click here to get more information about our lineup of speakers and to register.  

REGISTER TODAY

For more information, visit celiac.org/cdf-conference or email info@celiac.org

See you there!

Labels: , , , , ,



Monday, March 7, 2016
New Santa Cruz California Celiac Group


One of the hardest parts about leaving New York City and moving to California was leaving the NYC Celiac Meetup group. I led that group for more than a decade and many of the members became some of my best friends. I put endless hours into running that group, planning more than 300 events, and making newly diagnosed celiacs feel like they weren't alone in this gluten-filled world. I got so much out of running that group and I was sad to leave behind such a supportive community.

When I got to Santa Cruz, California, I discovered there had been two separate groups, one gluten-free group and one celiac support group. Sadly, neither group really met in person anymore nor did they know about each other. As a support group leader, I know how it feels to be burnt out. You work hard to plan plan plan and then you hope for people to show up to your events. When people don't show up, it's disappointing. When you've made reservations and have no-shows, it is embarrassing. Both of these women had been what I had been through in New York and seemed like they needed a break from their groups but were still interested. After meeting with both of them, I am hoping to join forces to revitalize the celiac disease support community and make an even bigger and better group in Santa Cruz County!

Community and support is such an important part of the celiac disease journey. I can't tell you how many people I've met over the years that tell me they felt lonely and like they were the only one in the world with celiac disease. They met just one person that they can talk about gluten-free with, and their whole perspective changes. They suddenly realize they are no longer alone and that someone understands EXACTLY what they are dealing with being on a medical gluten-free diet.

Given my own personal journey for a support community as well as the desire to help others, I created the Santa Cruz Celiac Facebook group. My plans with this group are to build both an online support system as well as coordinate in-person events for people in Santa Cruz and surrounding areas for people with celiac disease. If you or anyone you know will benefit this group, please feel free to join. In coming months, I will definitely host face-to-face events for the community. Thanks for sharing and hope to meet you all soon!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/santacruzceliac/



Labels: , , ,



Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Win It Wednesday: Gluten-Free Pretzel Crisps
If you aren't following me on Instagram, you should be! I take pictures of my gluten-free food, my travels across the globe, and much more. I also host giveaways that are Instagram only.

Today's giveaway is a three-pack of gluten-free Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps including GF Original Pretzel Crisps, GF Original Minis and GF Salted Caramel Minis. I happen to know from personal experience that the salted caramels are so yummy. (crunch, crunch, crunch).

These pretzels are baked and certified gluten-free. Please note: The GF Pretzel Crisps line is not manufactured in a dedicated GF facility, but the machines are thoroughly cleaned to meet all of GFCO’s strict manufacturing guidelines.

Do you want to win? Follow me on Instagram* at @glutenfreeglobetrotter and enter to win today by tagging a friend!

Learn more about the gluten-free options from Pretzel Crisps here:



No Instagram? No problem! Leave a comment below and tell me which gluten-free Pretzel Crisps flavor you are most interested in! Don't forget to leave an email so I can contact you if you are the winner.

Winners will be chose using Random.org on March 8, 2016.


Labels: , , ,



Friday, February 26, 2016
Save the Date: Gluten-Free Fun with the Santa Cruz Socialites
One of my biggest worries about moving out of NYC to California was losing my gluten-free network and friends. I worked years to build a strong gluten-free community both in person and online and I was concerned that leaving New York would break those bonds. But then I realized so much of my support system is through this website and my social media channels, making me quite location independent. My readers (YOU) all sent so many kind words and I received a ton of encouragement through my NYC Celiac Meetup group. Soon I had Friends introducing me to friends, gluten-free locals making suggestions of where to eat, and so many of you giving me the motivation I needed after my cross country move!

For those of you who know me personally, you won't be surprised to hear that I dove head first into networking here in Santa Cruz, CA. I knew if I sat idle, I would have been even more homesick than I was. (Yes, it happened/happens. I miss NY!). I joined the Santa Cruz Challenge, a 12-week boot camp that lets me explore the beautiful west coast, meet others, and get a hardcore daily workout on the beach. One of the very first people I met through the Challenge was Monica Karst, the founder of Santa Cruz Socialites. The name alone struck me as very "Housewives of Santa Cruz" but it is the exact opposite. The Santa Cruz Socialites is a community and online directory of prominent and powerful female business owners across Santa Cruz County. Monica's mission with the Santa Cruz Socialites is to "bring the diverse women in our [Santa Cruz] community together, creating an empowering network of resources, education and inspiration." I left thinking I might have met my new West Coast people!

A few weeks after I initially met Monica, I met up with her again after one of my bootcamps. Covered in sand and sitting in the sun (yes, this is how I take my meetings now), I told Monica all about GlutenFreelancer, my gluten-free consulting business. I also told her about my years of living with celiac disease, my Gluten-Free Fun and Gluten-Free Globetrotter websites, and my gluten-free adventures. Immediately, she felt like I would be a good fit for the Santa Cruz Socialites community.

Each Tuesday morning, the Santa Cruz Socialites hold a "Take Away Tuesday" phone call full of information, inspiration, and motivation for entrepreneurs to use in life and business. I am thrilled to announce I am the guest host next Tuesday, March 1, 2016. I will share my gluten-free expertise and lifelong celiac experiences with the Santa Cruz Socialites community. I am so excited to introduce myself to the Santa Cruz Socialites network and hopefully make some new business connections here in Santa Cruz County!



The best news? You don't have to be a Santa Cruz Socialite to join in! You can dial in at 9am PST on Tuesday if you want to hear me make my Santa Cruz Gluten-Free Debut!


Santa Cruz Socialites 
TakeAwayTuesday with Erin Smith
9:00am PST 
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Dial in number: (712) 775-7031 
Meeting ID: 572-832-217

Labels: , , , ,



Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Win It Wednesday: Lawless Jerky


Last summer, I discovered Lawless Jerky at an event at McCarren Park in Brooklyn, NY. I usually just breeze by tables that I think are full of gluten, but something lured me to the Lawless Jerky table. I was not disappointed, especially when I discovered it said GLUTEN-FREE right across the packaging. Sunny day, Brooklyn park, gluten-free snack! I was definitely winning that day.

Jerky is one of those foods I never even tried until I was an adult. That is probably because it used to be rare to find gluten-free jerky. Now, I tend to try any (gluten-free) jerky or meat snacks I can get my hands It is a great high-protein snack to carry with you and a nice alternative to the usual crackers/chips/bars/carbs celiacs usually snack on. Lawless Jerky also comes in a convenient resealable bag which makes it a great travel snack to throw in a carry-on bag.

Lawless Jerky offers "seven world-inspired flavors, including Sweet Sriracha (beef), Aloha Teriyaki (beef), BBQ Spare Rib (pork), Honey Chipotle (beef), Mango Habanero (beef), [Pho (beef) beware: not gluten-free], and Japanese Curry (beef). All flavors are thoughtfully handmade with consciously raised meats, including 100% grass-fed beef and hormone-free, antibiotic-free pork." Please note the only non-gluten-free flavor they have is the Pho on account of the wheat ingredient in the plum sauce. My personal favorite is the Honey Chipotle!

Lawless Jerky is for sale across the whole country with heavy distribution in both New York and California. Looking for a store near you? Check here. You can read a full list of ingredients and nutritional information as well as purchase Lawless Jerky at their website.

Want to win a sample pack of Lawless Jerky? Enter below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway




Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Win It Wednesday: Garden Lites

Gluten-Free? Check
Easy to prepare? CHECK
Health ingredients? CHECK


Garden Lites have been a favorite product of mine for a while now. These veggie-based products are super easy to make, taste delicious, and are chock full of vegetables. According to Garden Lites, they are "on a mission to create DELICIOUS foods that are truly healthy because every one of [their] products is veggie-rich with vegetables as its first ingredient." 

The Garden Lites product line includes muffins, bakes, veggie bites, and entrees. There is a wide variety of flavors to please every palette. My personal favorites are the roasted vegetable souffle and the chocolate muffins. Who doesn't like a sweet dessert that has a serving of veggies? (Trust me, they taste much better than you might think a veggie muffin would taste!) 

NOTE: Not all of the Garden Lites products are gluten-free so be sure to read all ingredients before you make your purchase! Garden Lites states: 
Currently, we offer many gluten free products including Muffins, Souffles, and some Bakes. We recently introduced a Mac & Cheese that does contain gluten. Please refer to the Allergy Statement on all products. In order to maintain the gluten free status on the respective items, we only use dedicated lines and regularly test both our machinery and products. Garden Lites ranks in the top 1% of the country with our HAACP Level 2 Safety Certificate and we make it our top priority to ensure food safety in all of our products.


The New York-based company is now available nationally so I was super excited to learn I could find them in the stores near me in California. Use the Garden Lites store locator to find a store near you! 

Want to try Garden Lites products? Now is your chance! I am giving away three sets of coupons for free and discounted products. Enter below using the Rafflecopter widget. You can get a bonus entry by leaving a comment below telling me which is your favorite Garden Lites product. Three winners will be chosen at random on Sunday, February 21. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, February 15, 2016
Breaking the Udi's Bag Tag Code
Did you ever pick up a package of Udi's Gluten-Free Bread and look all over the package for a "good until" date only to never find one? This recently happened to me at the discount store Grocery Outlet in Santa Cruz. I found an EXCELLENT deal on the large loaves of Udi's bread but had no clue if it was still good or not. That is until I called Udi's/Boulder Brands customer service and was told how to "break the code"!




This was one of the first times that I ever took my phone out and called a manufacturer right from the store. I know other people with celiac disease who eat gluten-free do this all the time, but not me. I just couldn't let the deal pass me by so I was eager to get some information on the fly.

According to Udi's:

"We use a Julian Calendar to reflect our production date. It will be a five to six digit number on the bread clip for bagged goods and on the packaging for our other products. The first two digits are the year (15 for 2015 or 16 for 2016) and the next three digits reflect the day’s number in the year (ex 015 will be January 15th since it is the 15th day of the year). The last digit is simply for production and doesn’t mean anything regarding the date. 

Our products, unlike our competitors, can be left at room temperature so it can be eaten soft without being toasted. Some of our vendors now sell our bread and baked goods in the bakery rather than in the frozen section. The bakery department should re-date the product to reflect the 7 day use-by-date (just like gluten-filled breads). 

Here is the recommended shelf life for our products: 
• At room temperature: 5-7 days
• In refrigerator: 21 days (the refrigerator will prolong the life of the product,but since it’s a baked good, it may dry out) 

• In freezer: 6 months 

Please note our breads do not spoil, as with any other bread products, it will mold. So as long as it's not moldy, you can refreeze or refrigerate the product. 

Based on the Udi's tag code and the information from customer service, my bread was baked on September 28, 2015. I bought it in the beginning February 2016 so the loaf was about 4 1/2 months old. It was frozen and appeared to be in good condition, so I decided to buy it. I was not disappointed, the bread was totally fine and I had more money in my wallet from the money I saved.  Now that I understand the codes on the bag tags, I will use this information for future shopping trips!

Labels: ,



Friday, February 12, 2016
Refractory Celiac Disease Clicincal Trial Participants Needed
Do you have refractory celiac disease and not respond at all to a gluten-free diet? This medical trial might be for you. Please use the contact information below for more information.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota is seeking individuals diagnosed with Refractory Celiac Disease.

While most people can treat celiac disease with a strict gluten-free diet, a small number of patients fail to respond to a gluten-free diet and continue to have significant and severe symptoms. This is called refractory celiac disease and can increase the risk of mortality and developing lymphoma.

  • Currently, there are no established treatments for refractory celiac disease 
  • The goal is to study a new treatment for refractory celiac disease 
  • The drug targets the effects of a signal (IL-15) in the body that is believed to cause much of the damage in the intestine
  • It is hoped that this drug will lessen the damage in the intestine and/or lessen the severity of refractory celiac disease 
  • The study involves multiple trips to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; Travel and lodging expenses qualify for reimbursement for required visits 

If you are interested or want more information, please contact: Carol Van Dyke by telephone at (507)-266-7842 or email Vandyke.Carol@Mayo.edu.

Source: Beyond Celiac

Labels: , ,



Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Win It Wednesday: Enjoy Life Foods Valentine's Day Gift

Yes, my posting over the past two months has been sporadic, but it doesn't mean I love and appreciate all of my readers. In order to share my appreciation for you all, I am kicking off a new series called "Win It Wednesday." I have done giveaways in the past and they are always super popular. Now, this is going to be a regular feature on my website!

The first Win It Wednesday gift is a Valentine’s Day Sweet Freely Box stocked with Enjoy Life Foods Pancake & Waffle Mix, Dark Chocolate Morsels, a FREE product coupon and a heart-shaped pancake stencil! Enjoy Life products are free of the top 8 allergens and made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. This prize pack is the perfect way to show your love for your favorite gluten-free person!

You can enter by tagging @enjoylifefoods with your favorite allergy-friendly Valentine’s Day treat using #SweetFreely on  Instagram. Enter by 2/14 at 11:59 PM PST.

You can also enter through my Gluten-Free Fun Rafflecopter widget below. A winner will be chose on Valentine's Day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Labels: , , , , , ,



Monday, February 1, 2016
Happy Gluten-Free Funuary
Whew... it's been a really crazy few weeks (months, really). I moved to California. Yes, this life long New Yawker packed up her bags and headed west. I had a wonderful cross-country road trip with my boyfriend Victor that showed me beautiful parts of this country that I've never seen before. I also ate my way across this country and have lots to report back on from gluten-free bakeries to not-so-gluten-free-friendly truck stops. Can't a girl get a banana!?!

Now that is February and I am almost settled into a permanent place to live in gorgeous Santa Cruz, California, it is time to get back on track. I have product reviews, personal stories, how-to information, and so much more for you. But I also want to know what do you want more of? Do you want to know where/what to eat? Do you want to hear personal "wins" in the gluten-free world? Do you want recipes. TELL ME! I want to know what my readers want and I want to bring back this blog from a slow end of 2015 and almost non-existent start to 2016. Please leave a comment below and tell me what you want what you really really want. (Sorry, may or may not have listened to some Spice Girls on the way from NYC to Cali!)

In addition to this blog, you can also find me at Gluten-Free Globetrotter, my gluten-free travel blog. I am also Gluten-Free Fun on Twitter and Facebook. Stop by, leave a comment, and let me know you are still reading or if you are a new reader. Thanks!



I live here now. Um, WHAT????? Still in shock! 
A photo posted by Erin Smith (@glutenfreeglobetrotter) on

Labels: ,



Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Nine Years of Gluten-Free Fun

Nine years ago yesterday, I launched Gluten-Free Fun. In the midst of packing for a cross-country move, I forgot! But I couldn't ignore this major milestone. I never could have imagined that growing up as a celiac and rarely talking about being gluten-free would turn into a blog that is almost a decade old where I share my life with strangers.

I definitely could never have pictured meeting all of my wonderful readers, social media followers, and gluten-free friends when I started this blog. As a kid, I never knew more than a handful of people that knew what being gluten-free actually means. Now, I know thousands! I always imagined only my family and a few close friends would read Gluten-Free Fun. Today, there are more than 10,000 of you that stop by each and every month. This blog has turned into more than anything I could have ever imagined.

Nine years is basically fifty years in blogging years. Recently my blogging has slowed down as life has gotten in the way. (damn you job, moving, second blogs, etc.) But I have BIG plans for Gluten-Free Fun in 2016. A MUCH needed redesign is slowly coming along. I am also more active than ever on social media and hope you will continue reading this website, tweeting with me, and posting to Facebook.

Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and readership over the past nine years. You have know idea how much you all mean to me! 

Labels: ,



Friday, January 1, 2016
Happy New Year from Gluten-Free Fun

I wish you all nothing but the best for the new year. Much love, prosperity, and good health in 2016.

Happy New Year! 



I am starting off the new year with a cross-country drive to California from New York City!
Stay tuned for updates from the road. 



Thursday, December 24, 2015
Merry Christmas from Gluten-Free Fun
Wishing all of my wonderful readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. 




© 2007, © 2013 Gluten-Free Fun
footer