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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Celiac Disease Spirit Award
Friday night was seriously one of the most exciting nights for me in a long time. I was honored to be a part of the NY Mets Spirit Awards on Celiac Awareness Night. The NFCA invited me to come on the field during the pre-game awards ceremony and I was beyond excited. Also attending the night was Kevin Burkhardt, SNY sports reporter, Elisabeth Hasselback, R.O.C.K.-LI, NYNJROCK, and of course the NFCA. The information booths, the gluten-free samples of Nogii bars and Shabtai Gourmet, and the gluten-free concession stands made for an amazing night at Citifield. I really can't get over how much fun I had that night. My mom and two old friends were there, as well as Sue from GlutenFreeLI who I met at the game last year and has become a great friend since then. I also finally met the awesome Gabrielle, founder of NYNJROCK, who I have been emailing and Tweeting with for months. Check out my photos of the event in the slideshow below.

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Monday, May 30, 2011
Helping Out Fellow Celiacs in Joplin, MO
I originally read this on the Gluten Free Works website last week. Given the nature of the content, I am reposting the letter from Barbara Hicks the leader of the Tri Lakes Celiac Support Group in Kimberling, MO. I urge vendors to make a donation to the tornado ravaged community!

Hi Everyone,
I am sure that by now you have heard about the tornado that hit Joplin.  It took out a major portion of the town including the two major grocery stores where celiacs there were able to access GF foods.   Much of the town is without electricity and due to contamination issues, their water is also contaminated.   Those that still have a home and access to water are under a boil order.
Many of these folks have also lost their jobs because of the businesses that have been destroyed in the storm. It is a difficult situation for people without food issues, let alone someone with celiac disease.
I have been in contact with the leader of the new support group there and she is one of the lucky ones who still has a home and power.  She and her husband have offered to be a contact point to hand out GF supplies to celiacs in their community.
If anyone, individual or company, would be willing to provide GF items to them for distribution, please let me know and I will provide their contact information.  She mentioned that there would be a particular need for shelf stable items that folks can keep without refrigeration/freezing and also require minimal preparation like GF bars, crackers, etc.
Some folks that have been relocated to friends or relatives homes might be able to use mixes, but not have access to safe cookware.  Maybe disposable foil pans would be a good idea if you send mixes. 
Thank you so much for your willingness to read this message and perhaps help out fellow celiacs in need.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.
Barbara Hicks
Tri Lakes Celiac Support Group
Kimberling City, MO

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Friday, May 27, 2011
Betty Crocker's First Ever Gluten Free Recipe Contest and Giveaway

Betty Crocker® Announces the Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest
Minneapolis, MN – May 24, 2011 – Hold the gluten, grab your aprons, and start your ovens!  The Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest, Betty Crocker’s first-ever gluten-free recipe contest, is now open for entries. Now through June 30, 2011, gluten-free bakers from across the country can enter online at for the chance to win a Grand Prize of $5,000 and the chance to be featured on a Betty Crocker® Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick® Gluten Free baking mix package and/or be featured in a Betty Crocker publication. Entrants will be challenged to create an original gluten free holiday-themed appetizer, bread or dessert recipe, using any Betty Crocker Gluten Free dessert mix or Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix.

Submitted recipes must be entirely gluten free and will be judged on five key categories: taste, creativity, ease of preparation, consumer appeal and appearance. On or about September 20, 2011, Betty Crocker will announce the 10 selected finalists, who will each receive a Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking gift basket filled with baking items and Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes (estimated retail value of $119). The finalists’ recipes will be voted on by the public on, and the finalist whose recipe receives the most votes will be announced as the winner on or around November 1, 2011.

“We’re excited to offer this opportunity to the gluten free community,” said Allison Miller, Marketing Manager, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Mixes.  “The Betty Crocker Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest is a great way for gluten free bakers to share their innovative creations and show the world how delicious living gluten freely can be.”

For gluten-free recipe inspiration and more information about the Betty Crocker Baker’s Challenge Gluten Free Recipe Contest, visit today. In addition, through the end of June, save 20% on the purchase of any of the five of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes at

Contest Abbreviated Rules
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open only to legal residents of the United States, 18 years of age or older. Submit your entry online. Entries must be received by June 30, 2011, Void where prohibited. See Official Rules for details. Sponsored by General Mills Sales, Inc., One General Mills Blvd., Minneapolis, MN 55426.

Get your baking hats on. I'm giving away a Betty Crocker Prize Pack to inspire you for this contest courtesy of MyBlogSpark. Leave me a comment below with your email address and tell me about a recent baking success. A winner will be chosen on Friday, June 3rd. 

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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Exciting News for Gluten-Free Fun!!
The NY Mets will honor the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and R.O.C.K. Long Island with a Spirit Award in an on-field presentation before the start of the game on Friday night. I am beyond thrilled to announce that I will be a recipient of one of these Spirit Awards before the game! Join me at the game on Friday night and look for me on the jumbotron before the game!!! 

Um, have I mentioned I am excited?!?!

Celiac Disease Awareness Night
Friday, May 27 @ 7:10 p.m.

One in 100 Americans have Celiac Disease but 95% don't know they have the disease. Celiac Awareness Night at Citi Field will benefit R.O.C.K. Long Island, who offer free support to parents, families and friends of kids on the gluten-free diet for any reason, and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) offering educational programs for the general public, healthcare professionals and the gluten-free industry.
  • Show your support while enjoying a Mets game at Citi Field.
  • Sit together with fellow members, friends and family in our Left Field Landing & Promenade Reserved seating.
  • All participants will receive a Mets Ticket Holder and Lanyard (with advance purchase through this offer).
  • A portion of each ticket purchased through your promo code (CELIAC) will directly benefit R.O.C.K. Long Island and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)!
To buy your tickets visit:


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The Celiac Diva Interviews Celiac Kicker
This video is about a month old, but these are two of my favorite people in the NYC gluten-free community. Both of them are making such a positive impact and difference for those of us with Celiac Disease. Please enjoy this video from Lauren-Lucille Vasser, aka The Celiac Diva, and Craig Pinto, Guinness Book of Records World Record holder and founder of Kicking 4 Celiac.

Thanks Craig and Lauren-Lucille for all you do. Keep up the great work!

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Monday, May 23, 2011
Celiac Disease Awareness Night with the NY Mets 5/27
Celiac Disease Awareness Night
Friday, May 27 @ 7:10 p.m.

One in 100 Americans have Celiac Disease but 95% don't know they have the disease. Celiac Awareness Night at Citi Field will benefit R.O.C.K. Long Island, who offer free support to parents, families and friends of kids on the gluten-free diet for any reason, and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) offering educational programs for the general public, healthcare professionals and the gluten-free industry.
  • Show your support while enjoying a Mets game at Citi Field.
  • Sit together with fellow members, friends and family in our Left Field Landing & Promenade Reserved seating.
  • All participants will receive a Mets Ticket Holder and Lanyard (with advance purchase through this offer).
  • A portion of each ticket purchased through your promo code (CELIAC) will directly benefit R.O.C.K. Long Island and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)!
To buy your tickets visit:


Left Field Landing Ticket = $36
Left Field Landing Ticket with $18 of food/beverage/merchandise credits = $51
Left Field Landing Ticket with $30 of food/beverage/merchandise credits = $61
Promenade Reserved Ticket = $21
romenade Reserved Ticket with $18 of food/beverage/merchandise credits = $36
Promenade Reserved Ticket with $30 of food/beverage/merchandise credits = $46
Kevin Burkhardt, Mets Field reporter for SNY, will join us for pre-gamefestivities in the Left Field Landing that will include a silent auction of sportsrelated items. All participants will receive a Mets Ticket Holder and Lanyardwith advance purchase.

For further information or to bring out a group of 25 or more, please contact Mets Group Sales Account Executive Christina Andrews at 718-559-3069 or

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Friday, May 20, 2011
Gluten Free Book Signing & Vendor Fair
May 25, 2011
Whole Foods Union Square

Celebrate celiac awareness month & gluten-free eating at Whole Foods Market Union Square. We have all the products you're looking, plus this special event. Join us for a book signing with Nicole Hunn, author of "Gluten Free on a Shoestring," plus a tasting from her cookbook by our Culinary Demonstration Specialist. Learn more about Nicole on her blog at or watch her here on ABC 7 New York at

During the special event, we’ll also have gluten-free vendors lining our aisles throughout the day. Some of our guest vendors include:

  • Asherah’s Gourmet
  • Caveman Cookies
  • Emmy’s Organics
  • Kathy’s Foods
  • Tumeric Alive
  • Andean Dream
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers
  • My Dad’s Cookies
  • Pamela’s Cookies
  • Tasty Bite
  • Dr. Praeger’s
  • Gilbert’s Goodies

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011
New Planet Beer Now Available Online
Ever since I tried the gluten-free New Planet Beer back in 2010, I have been a big fan. Unfortunately, New Planet Beer is not sold on the East coast and they have only recently expanded their distribution outside of Colorado. Recently, I was thrilled to learn that New Planet Beer is now sold online. This means I can get their beer sent right to my door which is fine by me. Until New Planet Beer comes to New York City, I am happy to know I can now enjoy it at home by mail. Click here for more information about buying New Planet Beer online.

I tried the Off Grid Pale Ale recently. On first sip, it had a much sharper flavor than I remember the Tread Lightly Ale having. Although it did fulfill my beer craving after an especially aggravating day at work, I liked the original Tread Lightly Ale much better. Actually, I think the Tread Lightly was the best of the three gluten-free beers New Planet offers and one of the best gluten-free beers on the market. Period.

New Planet Beer’s Six Guarantees
  1. New Planet Beer is made from 100% gluten-free ingredients: Sorghum, Corn, Hops and Yeast. With one beer made with brown rice instead of corn for those who also have corn allergies.
  2. Every batch is tested in a lab to guarantee 100% gluten-free beer.
  3. Their brewing facility takes extra cleaning measures to eliminate cross contamination.
  4. New Planet Beer delivers a great taste without sacrificing natural ingredients and alcohol content.
  5. New Planet Beer gives a portion of proceeds to environmental programs that support sustainable living.
  6. New Planet Beer makes a gluten-free beer for every style of beer drinker: Enjoy a light flavor, fruity flavor or a beer with a little extra hop.

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Monday, May 16, 2011
NFCA’s Blogger A Day: Gluten-Free Fun

During Celiac Awarness Month, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is featuring a Blogger a Day and today is my day! I am really excited to be featured today on the Bits and Bites blog. As you know, I have always been a fan of the NFCA. I have actually featured the NFCA on my blog 15 times since 2009, making it one of my hottest topics here on Gluten-Free Fun.

If you don't know already, the NFCA has an amazing website. There is a tremendous amount of free content that is available to everyone. There are printable guides, recipes, links to bloggers including this website, training for doctors, and so much more. If you aren't visiting the Celiac Central website on a regular basis, you are really missing out! Even as a veteran Celiac, there is always something I can learn from the NFCA website and the materials they have put together for the Celiac community.

Want to learn more about the NFCA including where they are headed in 2011? Visit their website today!

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Thursday, May 12, 2011
Enjoy Life Allergen-Free Granola
Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to get a package with the new Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunch nut and gluten-free granola inside. I first learned about this product from CMO Joel Warady at the gluten-free Food Fete event back in March right before they launched this new product at Expo West.

When I hear the word "granola", I usually just ignore it because I assume that it has gluten or oats which I always avoid. Not this granola. The Enjoy Life Double Chocolate Crunch is wheat-free, tree nut-free, fish-free, dairy-free, shellfish-free, egg-free, peanut-free, soy-free and obviously gluten-free. It is also made without casein, potato, sesame, and sulfites. Just because it is free of all of these allergens doesn't mean it is flavor free. It is actually quite the opposite since it is made with the EnjoyLlife semi-sweet chocolate mini-chips. It is chocolatey and crunchy goodness in a bag. I actually had to put the bag away because I knew I would sit at my desk at work snacking away all morning if I didn't. I think this would be a good add-in to some plain yogurt or enjoyed with a glass of milk, for those of us that are not lactose-free!

Brown Rice Flakes,Chocolate Chips (Evaporated Cane Juice, Chocolate Liquor, Non-Dairy Cocoa Butter), Evaporated Cane Juice, Brown Rice Syrup, Water, Rice Bran, Rice Crisps (Rice Flour, Rice Bran, Raisin Juice Concentrate, Honey, Salt), Natural Process Cocoa Powder, Inulin (Chicory Root Fiber), Ground Flaxseed, Natural Chocolate Flavor, Honey,Vanilla, Expeller-Pressed Vegetable Oil (Safflower Oil and/or Sunflower Oil), Salt, Rosemary Extract


Visit Enjoy Life today!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Meeting the Needs of the Mature Celiac: Free Webinar
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is offering a free webinar catering to the Celiac who is 60 and older. For those of you who are unfamiliar with webinars, these are conferences that take place over the Internet in the comfort of your own home. The only requirement is pre-registration and a computer with the Internet. If you are reading this, you are already halfway there.

You can pre-register here. More details are below.

“60+: Meeting the Needs of the Mature Celiac”
Wednesday, May 18th at 1 pm ET/10 am PT

Join NFCA as Veronica Alicea, MBA, RD, a well-known dietetic consultant in the celiac and gluten-free fields, leads an hour-long discussion on the increasing number of celiac diagnoses in the mature adult population. The webinar will also provide expert advice for fellow dietitians on how to best care for this unique population.

Veronica will:

  • Discuss the growing prevalence of celiac disease among adults who are 60+
  • Address the unique needs of mature celiacs, such as diet compliance
  • Offer tips on how best to adjust to a gluten-free lifestyle when diagnosed later in life
  • And more!

Sponsored by Crunchmaster, this Webinar is free of charge. The only requirement is a working Internet connection!

About the Panelist
Ronni Alicea is a consultant dietitian for residential care facilities where she assures proper food and nutrition services. She manages a private nutrition practice, consults for several gluten-free and allergy-free companies and recently started Celinal Foods, a food company that addresses gluten-free challenges of noncommercial foodservice staffing. Her social media presence can be viewed on twitter as @glutenfreerd, LinkedIn as Ronni Alicea and Facebook as Celinal Foods.

Veronica earned a BS in Human Foods and Nutrition from Rutgers University and an MBA from Seton Hall University. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association, Consultants Dietitian in Healthcare Facilities, Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Dietitians in Complemtary Care and Dietitians in Gluten Intolerant Diseases, School Foodservice Professionals and Dietitians in Culinary Practice.

Register today!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Gluten-Free Giveaways from Mambo Sprouts
Mambo Sprouts is a marketing company that focuses on healthy, natural, and organic products. They provide educational materials, samples, and coupons for many products including gluten-free products. Their  interactive website also includes a blog, recipes, and contests. Also at their website you can sign up for the Mambo Sprouts Messenger and e-coupons. The Messenger is sent out five times a year and includes great articles, product information, and e-coupons. Sign up today!

This month, in honor of Celiac Awareness Month, they are sponsoring 10 gluten-free giveaways from sponsors including Barbara’s Bakery, Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery, Cocomama, Nature’s Path, San-J, thinkThin, Udi’s Gluten Free Foods and Crunchmaster Crackers! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on the sponsor product pages. Here is the link to start entering today!

You can also find Mambo Sprouts on Twitter at @mambosprouts and Facebook.

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Monday, May 9, 2011
From the Mouths of Babes: GoGoSqueez Review
A couple of weeks ago, I sampled GoGoSqueez at the FoodFete event in NYC. These are 100% fruit applesauces originally from France that are totally kid-friendly. They come in flavors packaged in handy little pouches and their mantra is "Simple and clean ingredients. Great taste and lots of fun." This is exactly what you get with GoGoSqueez. I am not usually an applesauce fan because I don't like the texture, but this GoGoSqueez was actually really good. It had a smoother texture than regular applesauce and a pleasant flavor with no aftertaste. Since these applesauces are 100% natural fruit ingredients, they are also naturally gluten-free. They come in five flavors including AppleApple, ApplePeach, AppleBanana, AppleStrawberry, and AppleCinnamon. I tried the orignal and the AppleCinnamon and I liked the AppleCinnamon the best. It tasted like the filling of an apple pie.

This weekend I had the perfect opportunity to do a tasting testing with my three-year old twin nieces, Anna and Emma, who are both gluten-free. These girls are the loves of my life. They are beautiful, smart, and really funny. I love spending as much time with them as possible and had a great mother's day weekend with them at my sister's house.

After they both inhaled their first pouches, I made a deal with Anna and Emma that they could have a second pouch if they gave me their honest review. Well, for those of you that know three-year-olds you know they are probably the most honest people around. They tell it like it is and they don't mince words. You can see for yourself what the girls thought about their AppleApple GoGoSqueez.

For more information about GoGoSqueez, please visit their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday, May 6, 2011
TCBY's Super Fro-Yo is Here and Free for Moms on Mother's Day!
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Tim Casey, the CEO of TCBY, at Food Fete in New York City. It is not every day you meet the CEO of a major company and it is especially surprising when you learn this particular CEO has Celiac Disease and has been gluten-free for 10 years. I was excited to talk to Mr. Casey and his chief food scientist on staff, Dr. Wayne Geilman, all about their new line of Super Fro-Yo at TCBY. I grew up eating TCBY's white chocolate mousse at a local store on Long Island, so it was great to chat with Mr. Casey and Dr. Geilman while I tried their all new Super Fro-Yo white chocolate mousse. (Delicious!) TCBY's new Super Fro-Yo is a really great option to satisfy your sweet tooth. All of their soft serve flavors are not made with gluten containing ingredients. 

It looks like big things are in store for TCBY with their Super Fro-Yo as they try to "redefine the healthy nature of the frozen yogurt industry". Read on for more information...

Special Note:  For the fourth year in a row, TCBY will offer free frozen yogurt to moms on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8. Moms will have the choice of their favorite flavors such as popular White Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry or limited time offer Watermelon Sorbet served in a cup or cone.

Families, Seniors, Active Lifestylers, Fitness Enthusiasts, and Athletes Can Finally Have Their Just Desserts Without the Guilt
SALT LAKE CITY (May 3, 2011) – Dieting, eating right, going organic, exercising... all continue to weigh heavy on the American way of life, coupled with the ongoing guilt associated with our love of dessert.  TCBY, The Country’s Best Yogurt, says you can not only lose the guilt but potentially gain some meaningful health benefits by choosing its “Super Fro-Yo” frozen dessert, a new classification of frozen yogurt that distinguishes between the industry’s baseline nutritionals and TCBY’s “super” elevated nutritional levels that will redefine the healthy nature of the frozen yogurt industry.
Super Fro-Yo, TCBY’s frozen yogurt packed with Vitamins A & D, probiotics, dietary fiber, protein, calcium and so much more, is a great tasting, healthy alternative to treats high in saturated fat and empty calories.  Although there are many forms of beneficial yogurt in the market today, TCBY’s Super Fro-Yo sets a new standard for healthy nutritionals.  To qualify as Super Fro-Yo, frozen yogurt nutritionals must meet the following guidelines per serving:
  • Must have a minimum of three grams of Fiber
  • Must have a minimum of four grams of Protein
  • Must have a minimum of seven types of Probiotics
  • Must meet a minimum of 20% DV of Vitamin D
  • Must meet a minimum of 20% DV of Calcium 
In addition to the above nutritionals, TCBY’s Super Fro-Yo also contains 120 calories or less, a minimum of 10% DV of Vitamin A, one gram or less of saturated fat and a minimum of 20 billion live and active cultures per serving at manufacturing.
“We are in the business of selling indulgence to the American consumer,” states Timothy Casey, CEO of TCBY.  “However, we believe it can be done in a legitimately healthy way without compromising taste and that sense of indulgent satisfaction.  The ‘Super Fro-Yo’ classification is important to us for two reasons:  One, not all frozen yogurt is created equal and we want consumers to be clearly educated and informed as to why TCBY is better, and;  Two, as we place our ‘Super Fro-Yo’ nutritionals up against ice cream and other frozen yogurts, we are confident our customers will feel a great deal better about enjoying TCBY products.”      

With a research and development yogurt division headed by noted food scientist Dr. Wayne Geilman, TCBY has worked diligently over the years to set a higher standard for frozen yogurt in America.  Many brands within the category have attempted to follow TCBY’s product innovation, which has been positive for the overall category.  However, continuous advances in formulating TCBY products have made it possible for Dr. Geilman and his team to go beyond a product that is simply healthier than ice cream, which is where the category had been historically.   With Super Fro-Yo, TCBY has a product that packs a punch of probiotics, vitamins, fiber, protein and cultures not found at such high levels in most other frozen yogurts available today.

As a leading innovator in the frozen yogurt category for the past 30 years, TCBY invests in the latest technologies to deliver a healthy indulgence with what the company calls a “Bundled Health Enhancement System.”  The TCBY Bundled Health Enhancement System uses balanced combinations of nutrients that work together in a synergistic manner to improve the overall sense of well being.  In developing this proprietary system, TCBY focused on supporting certain health benefits that include: digestive health, weight management, bone health and the aging process, without sacrificing great taste.

“We recognize that the fro-yo category as a whole is doing a better job of including live active cultures or probiotics in their products, distancing itself from the pure indulgence of the ice cream category.  However, the degree to which TCBY have formulated our products is so far and away different today that we felt it warranted a separate classification,” explains Dr. Wayne Geilman.  “We are purposefully transparent about the requirements for ‘Super Fro-Yo’ because in addition to providing a great tasting product full of ‘Super’ nutritionals, we are trying to educate the population about the importance of dietary fiber, calcium and probiotics.  The research tells us that the average consumer knows at some level that live probiotic cultures, for example, are good for you, but they don’t understand how good and why.  ‘Super Fro-Yo’ is a great platform to educate the marketplace and hopefully change behavior.”

TCBY “Super Fro-Yo” flavors available at participating locations include:
  • No Sugar Added (NSA) Vanilla, Chocolate and White Chocolate Macadamia, as well as NSA and fat free, Strawberry, Peach and Mountain Blackberry
  • Traditional flavors include Golden Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Old Fashioned Vanilla, Fat Free Dutch Chocolate, White Chocolate Mousse, Cheesecake and Cake Batter

About TCBY

Based in Salt Lake City, TCBY, The Country’s Best Yogurt has been a frozen yogurt innovator from the day its first shop opened in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1981.  Ever since, the great-tasting, low-fat frozen yogurt concept has received an enthusiastic response from an increasingly health-conscious public. With more than 600 locations both in the United States and internationally, TCBY - Best Tasting, Best For You™ has long been a healthier alternative for consumers looking for a treat or snack.  To learn more check out

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Thursday, May 5, 2011
Celiac Disease on ABCnews Health
Here is an interesting video that was posted on ABCnews Health yesterday.

Activists Protest Delayed Gluten-Free Label Standard

By JANE E. ALLEN, ABC News Medical Unit
May 4, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration has dragged its feet in setting a standard for gluten-free foods, say activists who today are assembling a one-ton, 15-foot-high gluten-free cake symbolizing how much their lives depend upon strictly avoiding a protein found in most bakery goods, pasta, beer and even some cold cuts and salad dressings.

Read on...

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Chef Ming Tsai Endorses AllergyEats
Chef Ming Tsai Endorses AllergyEats,
The Biggest & Fastest Growing Source for Finding Allergy-Friendly Restaurants

AllergyEats Offers Valuable, Peer-Based Feedback
About How Well (or Poorly) Restaurants Accommodate Food Allergies

BOSTON, MA (May 3, 2011) –Chef Ming Tsai, owner of popular restaurant Blue Ginger in Wellesley, MA and host of Simply Ming on public television, has endorsed AllergyEats (, the biggest and fastest growing source for finding allergy-friendly restaurants. Chef Tsai, the father of a food allergic child, is a passionate advocate for food allergy issues, and was a pioneer in the formation and passing of the groundbreaking new food allergy law in Massachusetts.

“As a chef, father of a food allergic son and food allergy advocate, I applaud AllergyEats for providing valuable, peer-based information about how well individual restaurants accommodate guests with food allergies and intolerances,” said Chef Ming Tsai.  “Dining out should be a pleasurable experience, but as I know from personal experience, it can be stressful and frustrating for those with food allergies or intolerances.”

“As a FAAN ambassador, I’m actively involved in increasing awareness and improving restaurant protocols so people with food allergies can eat out safely.  I’m pleased to endorse AllergyEats, which allows users to quickly and easily access peer reviews and allergy-friendliness ratings in order to make more informed decisions about where to dine,” Chef Tsai continued.

Chef Tsai’s restaurant, Blue Ginger, happily accommodates food-allergic guests, and has just launched their new gluten-free menu to meet the needs of diners with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivities. 

“I’m thrilled and honored to have Chef Tsai endorsing AllergyEats.  I have tremendous respect for Chef Tsai, who works tirelessly to champion for food allergy issues.  His restaurant is incredibly accommodating to people with food allergies, and it’s no surprise that they’ve received consistently high allergy-friendliness ratings on our site.  The new gluten-free menu is yet another demonstration of Blue Ginger’s commitment to those with special dietary requirements,” said Paul Antico, founder of AllergyEats.

AllergyEats, a free website, lists well over 600,000 restaurants nationwide, which food-allergic diners can rate.  The site also offers information on restaurants’ menus (including gluten-free menus), allergen lists, nutrition information, certifications, web links, directions and more.

This free, user-friendly website provides valuable peer-based feedback about how well (or poorly) restaurants accommodate the needs of food-allergic customers.  The peer ratings and feedback allow food-allergic and gluten-intolerant diners to quickly and easily find restaurants that will more likely cater to their special dietary requirements – and avoid the ones that won’t.

Most restaurant review sites include information about establishments’ food, ambiance or service, but AllergyEats is singularly focused on food allergies, with peer reviews spotlighting where people with food allergies or intolerances have more comfortably eaten.   AllergyEats has significantly improved the way food allergic and gluten-intolerant individuals find allergy-friendly restaurants.  

AllergyEats now has more than 15,000 monthly users, 8,000+ daily Facebook views and 3,000+ food-allergic fans regularly sharing ideas through the AllergyEats Blog and their associated social media sites. 

“When you dine out, whether your experience was positive or negative – or somewhere in between – please help the entire food allergy community by rating the restaurant on AllergyEats (  Rating a restaurant is simple and quick (it takes less than a minute) and helps other food-allergic individuals determine which restaurants to visit, based on the peer ratings and feedback,” Antico added.

AllergyEats has been endorsed by highly-respected food, health and allergy organizations, including the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Gluten Intolerance Group, Massachusetts Restaurant Association, Chef Ming Tsai and more. 

For more information, please visit

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Expanded Gluten-Free Menus Make it to the Big Leagues
Levy Restaurants Increases Gluten-Free Menu Offerings at MLB Ballparks and MLS Soccer Stadiums and NBA Arenas

[Chicago, IL] – Levy Restaurants, the Chicago-based restaurant company and leader in sports and entertainment dining, announced today that the company is expanding gluten-free menu offerings at the company’s ballparks, stadiums and arenas nationwide. Kicking off with the 2011 MLB season, all Levy Restaurants’ venues will offer gluten-free options, including new gluten-free concessions carts at select venues.

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than two million people in the United States have Celiac Disease, or about one in 133 people. Last year, Levy Restaurants added gluten-free snacks and beer to all sports venues to accommodate guests that follow a wheat- and gluten-free diet, and the response was tremendous. Now, Levy Restaurants is going even further to make sure gluten-intolerant guests can enjoy traditional game day favorites, by launching a portable cart at select venues nationwide dedicated exclusively to freshly prepared, gluten-free sports favorites.

The new expanded gluten-free offerings include:

Concessions Cart Fan Favorites

  • Hot Dog – Certified gluten-free hot dog, Kinnikinnick bun, Heinz ketchup and French’s mustard
  • Chili Cheese Dog – Certified gluten-free hot dog, Kinnikinnick bun, Ghel’s chili sauce and cheese
  • Nachos – Mission tortilla chips, Ghel’s cheese, Embasa jalapeños
  • Loaded Nachos – Mission tortilla chips, Ghel’s chili sauce and cheese, LaVictoria Alamo salsa, Embasa jalapeños

Snacks, Sweets and Beverages

  • Red Bridge Beer – Gluten-free beer made without wheat or barley
  • Taste Good Tortilla Chips – Olive, sweet potato flavored tortilla chips
  • Classic Snacks Gluten-Free Carmel & Cheddar Popcorn Mix
  • Eden Organic Pumpkin Seeds
  • Eden Organic Berry Mix
  • Larabars – Cherry pie flavor gluten-free fruit and nut bar
  • NuGO Free Dark Chocolate Bar - NuGO FREE bars are gluten, soy, and dairy free, certified OU Pareve, and made with real dark chocolate
  • Classic Snacks Gummy Bears
  • Skittles

The ballparks, stadiums and arenas that will debut the gluten-free portable cart include AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, American Airlines Center in Dallas, Chase Field in Phoenix, Fed Ex Forum in Memphis, Nationals Park in Washington, DC, Philips Arena in Atlanta, Qwest Field in Seattle, Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha and United Center in Chicago.

Additionally, AT&T Center, Dodger Stadium, Haymarket Park, Home Depot Center, Oklahoma City Arena, Pepsi Center, PNC Park, Toyota Park, US Cellular Field, Verizon Center and Wrigley Field will continue to offer gluten-free snacks and Red Bridge Beer, both in concessions and via healthy snack baskets in suites. More information about specific availability of each menu item at each venue is available upon request.

Levy Restaurants is also working in conjunction with Gluten-Free Passport, an internationally recognized health education firm, to have information on ballpark and stadium venues offering gluten-free menu items accessible via mobile applications. By the end of April, gluten-free sports fans will be able to access information on Levy Restaurants’ sports locations offering gluten-free fare via the iCanEat OnTheGo app, iEatOut Gluten & Allergen Free app, as well as the new regionally-focused iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch apps including Gluten Free Chicago, Gluten Free LA and Gluten Free New York.

About Levy Restaurants
Levy Restaurants, founded in Chicago in 1978, is recognized as one of America’s fastest growing and most critically acclaimed restaurant companies, and is the leader in premium sports and entertainment dining concessions. Levy was recently named one of the 10 most innovative companies in sports in the world by Fast Company magazine. The company’s diverse portfolio includes award-winning restaurants such as James Beard-winning Spiaggia and Bistro 110 in Chicago, Fulton’s Crab House, Portobello and Wolfgang Puck Grand Café at Walt Disney World Resort, renowned sports and entertainment venues like Lambeau Field in Green Bay, STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, and American Airlines Arena in Miami, and events including the Super Bowl, World Series, Kentucky Derby, NHL and NBA All-Star Games and the Grammy Awards. For details, visit

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Monday, May 2, 2011
Welcome to the World, Gluten-Free Globetrotter

It's official! I launched my newest project Gluten-Free yesterday.

May is Celiac Awareness Month and I just got back from the Czech Republic. If this isn’t a great reason to launch this new Gluten-Free Globetrotter website, I don’t know what is!

My mission with this new website is for you to embrace your gluten-freeness and live your life to the fullest! Over the next few days, weeks, and months I plan on adding all of my gluten-free travel stories from the past few years. I will also include restaurant reviews, product reviews of things I found on the road, and general travel tips. There are also links to international Celiac associations, as well as links to some of my favorite gluten-free travel bloggers.

Please bookmark today! You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.


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