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Wednesday, November 30, 2011
A Thank You to my Doctor
Thirty years ago, I was a very sick little girl. My pediatrician had no clue what was wrong with me and my parents felt helpless. The pediatrician told my parents it could be various things, from irritable bowel to giardia, based on my symptoms. In early 1981, I started seeing a pediatric gastrointerologist on Long Island. I spent close to a week in the hospital and went through a battery of tests, eventually diagnosed with Celiac Disease. My dad slept in the chair next to my bed while my mom went home to take care of my baby sister. By the end of that tumultuous week, my life was forever changed by a doctor who had only finished his residency the year before my diagnosis!

As my thirtieth year of living with Celiac Disease comes to a close, I wanted to reach out to my doctor and thank him for truly saving my life. I sent him an email yesterday to thank him for diagnosing me and treating me so early on in my life. My last visit with him was probably 20 years ago, so who knows if he even remembers me. On average, it takes 11 years to get a diagnosis; with this doctor it took us less than 4 months to get a diagnosis. I feel that my life would be completely different if this young doctor hadn't been diligent, progressive, and caring enough to not let me leave the hospital without a diagnosis. For that, I am forever thankful.

Thank you Doctor Jim!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011
That Girl
Have you seen this video about Celiac Disease yet? It has been floating around the Internet within the gluten-free community for a couple of weeks now. It is a very real and emotional account of what it is like to live with Celiac Disease. As a life-long Celiac, I can relate to so much of this video and I am sure you can too. I tried reaching out to the student producer from UC Berkeley via Facebook to thank her for putting this together but haven't heard back yet. It is worth the watch and worth sharing with people that just don't get Celiac Disease.

That Girl
by Candice Bonaduce

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Gluten-Free Fun is Thankful
This has been a really crazy year for me. I was very sick at the beginning of the year and had no clue what was going on. I traveled to Eastern Europe alone, something I never imagined I could or would do less than 5 years ago. I met countless gluten-free fans and friends in New York City and beyond. I am sure I can make a list of a thousands things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but here is a list of 5 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Gluten-Free Fun Thanks
  1. Family. My mom and my sister are my best friends. The laugh with me, cry with me, vent to me and let me vent in return. They are truly my biggest fans and I am beyond thankful to have them in my life. My sister also has Celiac disease so after almost 30 years of being the lone Celiac in the family, I now have someone to commiserate and celebrate Celiac with! I am also thankful for my dear Aunt who had been secretly following my blog and Tweets for months without me knowing. I now know you are reading and appreciate and love you for that! Thank you for your support and encouragement.

  2. Friends, Near and Far. I have grown closer to a friend over the past year by sharing some pretty awful experiences. It is amazing how the worst can bring out the best! I had friends offer up their homes and couches during my mold epidemic. I've had some friends that stood by me while others turned into middle schoolers. Also, I connected with some really amazing people over the internet who I am happy to call my friends. (See #5) I feel blessed for the friends in my life.

  3. Persistence. In the beginning of the year, I was sick. I was achy. I was having nose bleeds every day. I couldn't breathe. I dropped my gym membership and stopped riding my bike which I love to do. I had migraines... the list goes on and on. I was put on 14 different medications.  I had 27 medical insurance claims in a 2 1/2month period of time, yet I still had no answers. I could not accept that there was nothing wrong with me. I know my body and I know myself and I knew I was sick! With my persistence, I was finally diagnosed with mold poisoning. It was awful and I had to move. I am still not 100% but I needed to know what was wrong with me and I didn't give up until I got a diagnosis.

  4. Gluten-Free Travel. I try to go on a minimum of three vacations a year. This year, I went to Las Vegas in February for a friend's debaucherous bachelorette party. I went to the Czech Republic in April for my birthday and to get out of NYC which I thought was making me sick (it was!). Finally, I went to Port Stanley, Canada with my family in August. Too many people are scared to travel once they are diagnosed with Celiac and change to a gluten-free diet. I understand their fear, but this actually makes me really sad. I love to travel and I have been traveling and eating gluten-free my entire life. There was never a question of not going on vacation because I have Celiac. If I let Celiac stop me, I would not have had the pleasure of drinking my first gluten-free beer ON TAP in the heart of Prague or eating a muffin and sipping iced coffee bridge-side in Port Stanley, Ontario. I also would have also not launched my Gluten-Free Globetrotter website in April from the Czech Republic which promises some really exciting things in 2012!

  5. Gluten-Free Community. The power of community on the Internet is truly amazing. In the past year, I have met some really amazing gluten-free people that I admire and felt like I already knew from reading their blogs, Tweets, and more. I met gluten-free celebrities and brand new gluten-free bloggers both online and in person. Putting a face to a name is invaluable. Also, as leader of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group I have become friends with many of my members and now socialize with them outside of our regular events. This gluten-free community is so supportive and I realize that even while being gluten-free for more than 30 years, I still need a supportive group of Celiacs in my life each and every day. I am so thankful to have all of these amazing gluten-free people in my life, both in-person and online, including (but totally not limited to) Andrea S., Candice C., Chris C., Craig P., Gabrielle S., Janelle P., Jill B., Kathleen D., Katie S., Kristen S., Lauren-Lucille V., Lindsay F., Selina T., Sloane M., Sue M... and so many more!

Happy Thanksgiving to all
of my Gluten-Free Fun readers and friends! 

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    Tuesday, November 15, 2011
    La Dolce Vita Gluten-Free on December 4th
    I am thrilled to be a panelist at the next Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group meeting on December 4th. This meeting's theme is "La Dolce Vita" or the Good Life! As my dear readers know, I have been gluten-free since 1981. I do not know life any other way but gluten-free. It is my personal experiences that lead me to my two blogs and my leadership of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group. It makes me sad when people feel limited by Celiac Disease so I like to share my experiences with others. This WCSSG meeting is the perfect way for me to speak out about gluten-free travel, living gluten-free in NYC, and so much more.

    I am also excited to finally see the wonderful Gabrielle Simon from the NYNJ-ROCK group again in person. Gabriel and I have been Internet friends for months now but only officially met in person once. Her dedication to her gluten-free son and parents of other children with Celiac Disease is admirable. I am honored to share the panel with her and Maria Roglieri, author of The Gluten Free Guides.

    If you are in the tri-state area, I encourage you to attend this meeting. All are welcome! I would  love to meet more readers in person!

    La Dolce Vita Gluten-Free with the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group
    Sunday, December 4, 2011
    12:30 – 4:00 PM
    WCSSG General Meeting
    Phelps Memorial Hospital
    Sleepy Hollow, NY

    All are welcome! You do not need to be a member of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group to attend.

    Gluten-Free Cafe and Bake Sale
    C-Level Classroom

    Enjoy homemade, gluten-free baked goods and complimentary coffee & tea. Meet with others to swap stories, recipes, tips for gf living and tomake new friends. Bring your own baked good and sample some others!

    Proceeds help support WCSSG’s participation in the Gluten Free Awareness Program. Please be sure to include an index card with your name and the name of your gluten free item and if the recipe includes milk/dairy, soy, eggs, pea-nuts, tree nuts, fish, or shellfish.

    General Meeting

    It's a good life gluten-free, and it's even better than we could have imagined a few short years ago. Join us for our second edition of "La Dolce Vita Gluten Free," as we gather our newest panel to help guide us along the way. Each of our guest speakers has followed a path they had not planned, but has created opportunities and strategies that help make the gluten-free lifestyle enjoy-able and successful.

    Maria Roglieri, Ph.D is Professor of Italian at St. Thomas Aquinas College and author of four travel guides: The Gluten-Free Guide to Italy, The Gluten-Free Guide to France, The Gluten-Free Guide to New York and the Gluten-Free Guide to Washington, D.C. Both as a New York resident and as a frequent traveler, Maria was inspired to create The Gluten-Free Guides series as a universally-available comprehensive resource for residents of, and travelers to, the world's major metropolitan areas and target destinations

    Maria went on a gluten-free diet seven years ago after 15 years of doctoring and four operations failed to relieve her digestive and neurological symptoms. Around the same time, her then six-year-old daughter, Sara,was diagnosed with celiac disease and placed on a gluten-free diet.

    Erin Smith has been writing her gluten-free lifestyle blog Gluten-Free Fun since 2007. In 2011, she launched Gluten-Free Globetrotter, a website that encourages those with celiac disease to travel the world and not be scared about eating gluten-free domestically and abroad. Erin is also the lead organizer of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group, a social community that has grown to over 1300 members in the 6 years she has been organizing the group.

    Erin was diagnosed with celiac disease in the early 1980s, so she's been eating gluten-free almost her entire life. Erin has a unique perspective of growing up in the gluten-free community. She is passionate about sharing her experiences and expertise with others.

    Gabrielle Simon launched the Rockland/Bergen chapter of R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids) in September 2010 to give families living with celiac disease a safe, optimistic and educational forum to share experiences and help children navigate the gluten-free lifestyle. “While Celiac shouldn’t define a child, it does affect the way they live each and every day,” says Gabrielle. “My hope is that theR.O.C.K. group will empower gluten-free children and their families by providing the proper re-sources, education, and emotional support they need to advocate for themselves and their health."

    Gabrielle grew up in Rockland County, NY, and now lives in Bergen with her family, including her six-year-old twin sons, one of whom was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of two. A former publishing professional, she has immersed herself in celiac disease education and has worked diligently to raise awareness and help others.

    Anyone is welcome to attend. You do not need to be a member of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group!



    Monday, November 14, 2011
    Great Food, Gluten Free Demo & Online Workshop Tomorrow
    Stress-Free Holiday Appetizers & Desserts with Kinnikinnick Foods

    Watch it LIVE!!
    Tuesday, Nov 15th 2011 @ 6:00pm MST

    Demystify the art of whipping up fancy and elegant appetizers and desserts for the holiday season. Stress-free recipes that make it look like you fussed!

    On November 15, 2011 at 6pm MST, Kinnikinnick Foods, North America’s leading gluten-free baked goods manufacturer, will host a Stress-Free Holiday Appetizers and Desserts cooking class live on UStream.

    Viewers will learn how to whip up allergy-friendly, elegant appetizers and desserts for the holiday season from the comfort of their own home. An online chat will also be available to viewers so that they may ask the chefs questions during the cooking class.

    All recipes will feature Kinnikinnick products, including some new additions to their offerings that are sure to delight. Below is a menu of dishes that will be covered.

    *Please note the menu includes seafood


    • Cheesy Crab Dip: A creamy and delicious dip loaded with succulent lump crab meat, juicy shrimp and creamy cheese. Served with parmesan crusted golden brown baguette wedges. Featuring: **NEW** Baguette & Personal Size Pizza Crust
    • Savory Shrimp Crisp Crostini: A delicately browned crostini bite topped with sweet crab dip, sliced portabella mushrooms, and a plump garlic butter shrimp. Sprinkled with shredded cheese and a touch of parsley. Featuring: **NEW** Baguette
    • Seafood Pastry Bite: The most versatile dip you’ve ever used! Warm and gooey cheese crab dip in a golden tart shell. Topped with fresh parsley. Featuring: Pie Crust
    • Lavish Margherita Thin Crust Pizza: This vegetarian pizza is not for the faint of heart! Crisp thin crust pizza topped with creamy fresh mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, juicy asparagus, and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella. Finished with a balsamic vinaigrette reduction. Featuring: **NEW** Thin Pizza Crust
    • Tangy Concord Grape Meatballs: How Fancy! Succulent mini meatballs smothered in a sweet and tangy concord grape chili sauce. Served with golden brown garlic bread. Featuring: Panko Style Bread Crumbs & **NEW** Baguette
    • Creamy Swedish Meatballs: Keep it simple! Succulent mini meatballs in a creamy wild mushroom sauce. Served with golden brown garlic bread sprinkled with parmesan. Featuring: Panko Style Bread Crumbs & **NEW** Baguette


    • Tasty Trio of Tempting Tarts: This tongue twister trio has something for everyone! The sweet holiday classic butter tart is a must-have for the holiday season. This classic tart is paired with a fancy creamy fruit tart which has a touch of chocolate for those looking for a decedent alternative, and the show-stopping Bavarian cream filled tart that is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Featuring: Pie Crust
    • Super Selection of Simply Scrumptious Sweets: Cut-outs, coloring, petit secs, royal icing, and ganache.. oh my! From a simple yet decadent sugar cookie to the holiday classic gingerbread cookie, we will explore the ins and outs of preparing and decorating holiday sweets. Featuring: **NEW** Sugar Cookie Mix & **NEW** Gingerbread Cookie Mix

    The show will be available on our UStream channel

    or directly on our Facebook Page

    Can’t make the live show? Don’t worry… the show will be archived on UStream.

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    Monday, November 7, 2011
    Gluten-Free Savings and Discounts
    If there is one thing I love, it is getting discounts. I get giddy when I get an amazing bargain or save more than I spend. My dear grandmother and I used to call each other all the time to tell each other how much we saved when shopping that day. My mom, sister, and I still do the same thing. There is just something in our bargain-saving genes that make us excited for savings. When we save more than we spent... JACKPOT

    Two Sundays ago, I had an amazing day of savings at Whole Foods Union Square. I got more than $34.00 worth of groceries for only $9.50. That is a savings of almost 70%!! Over the summer, I bought a Living Social deal for Whole Foods. I spent $10 to get $20 worth of groceries at Whole Foods. I then had over $14.00 worth of coupons. Since my Living Social deal was already paid for, I didn't have to hand over any cash for my purchase on Sunday.

    We all know that gluten-free food is expensive. Next to lack of flavor, I think I hear most from my readers and friends that gluten-free grocery shopping is really tough on the pockets. While I agree this is true, there are some ways you can save money on your gluten-free food.

    Here are some of my favorite money-saving tips when shopping for gluten-free food.
    • Store coupons. Whenever I am heading to Whole Foods, I check out their coupons page first. They usually have a few gluten-free grocery items on their coupon page. Simply click and print and you are on your way. 
    • Manufacturers coupons. These are the coupons that come in Sunday papers, on the back of packaging, or handed out at the grocery store. Sometimes, a company will send you these directly if you call customer service and request coupons. 
    • Double coupons. Many supermarkets will double coupons so you can save twice as much as the coupon face value. Some stores only double coupons on certain days. Ask customer service about their policy.*
    • Internet coupons. These are coupons you can print directly from the Internet. You can find these in e-newsletters, on product websites, and through coupon consolidator pages. Many stores will no longer accept these coupons so again, so be sure top ask customer service about their coupon policy. 

    Each store has different coupon policies. In order to avoid aggravation upon checkout, be sure to check with customer service at the beginning of your shopping trip or even call ahead to learn about the in-store coupon policy. 

    Another great way to save is through online shopping. Although you usually pay for shipping, many of these sites offer free shipping when you spend a certain amount. Mailing lists are another way to learn about shipping deals, discounts, and more. Be sure to sign up for the lists at each of these websites.

    • Your #1 source for everything gluten-free. Over 650 products available! They often run specials where you can get a discount.
    •  Run by General Mills, this website sells products online and often gives bulk order discounts. 
    • Gluten-Free Mall: Similar to, this is a one-stop-shop for hundreds of gluten-free products. 
    • Free-From Gluten: There are many new and different gluten-free products available on this site. Free shipping over $50. 

    Deal sites are all the rage these days. Sites such as Groupon, KGB Deals, and Living Social usually give you local discounts and might even give you deals at your favorite local gluten-free restaurant or bakery. Did you know there are gluten-free specific discount sites? Here are some of the top sites:
    • Daily Gourmet. Unique gluten-free gifts and products. 
    • MyGlutenFreeDeals. This site "will connect you with the top restaurants in your area that offer the best options for those that eat gluten-free." Launch cities expected to include Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago, Denver, Dalls/Fort Worth, and Madison. 
    • Gluten-Free Saver This site just launched and it's first gluten-free deal was 50% off GoPicnic gluten-free, ready-made meals. Stay tuned for some exciting things from this company.
    • Gluten-Free Deals. Although it looks like they are refocusing their deals to New York City, there have been some past deals that were available nationally. 

      What are some of your favorite gluten-free, money-saving tips? Share them in the comments section below.

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      Thursday, November 3, 2011
      Vote for Gluten-Free Fun in the 2nd Annual Awards

      Nominations for the 2nd Annual Awards just wrapped up and I am thrilled to announce that Gluten-Free Fun is nominated as one of the five Best Gluten Free Websites or Social Sites. I am especially excited for this second nomination since I won this award last year!

      Voting is simple. Just visit the Gluten-Free Awards page on and click on the link that says "Click here to vote now" in the middle of the page. The "Best Gluten Free Website or Social Site" vote is #16. Be sure to select That's me!

      Thank you in advance for all of your votes.

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      Tuesday, November 1, 2011
      Wildfire Restaurant Gluten-Free Week
      Next week, join Wildfire Restaurant for their 2nd Annual Gluten-Free Week benefiting The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. Be sure to make your reservations today. Space is limited.

      "The event features four courses of gluten-free fare with optional wine pairings. Ruth Hayden, Wildfire’s Gluten-Free Resident Expert, will be on hand for Q&A regarding Wildfire’s extensive gluten-free menu, along with our Executive Chefs and a representative from the Center. The event begins with registration and a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. The event is priced at $55.00 per person without wine pairings, and $70.00 per person with wine pairings, plus tax and gratuity. For each reservation, Wildfire will donate a portion of the proceeds to The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. For more information or to make a reservation, please call Laura Rosen or Shannon Ryan at (312) 787-9000.

      November 7: Oak Brook, IL
      November 8: Chicago, IL
      November 9: Glenview, IL
      November 10: Schaumburg, IL
      November 11: Lincolnshire, IL

      For those of you in Minnesota, there will be a special dinner for you in Eden Prairie.

      "Join Wildfire for their Fall Gluten-Free Dinner with optional wine pairings. Enjoy five courses of completely gluten-free fare, each paired with a wine to complement if you choose. Executive Chef Tom Gladbach will be on hand to discuss the evening's menu and gluten-free cooking tips, as well as a R.O.C.K. representative. The event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. The dinner is priced at $45.00 per person without wine pairings and $60.00 per person with wine pairings, plus tax and gratuity. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to R.O.C.K. Twin Cities Chapter. For more information or to make a reservation, please call Debbie Patnode at (952) 914-9100."

      Click here for more information about Wildfire Restaurants.

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