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Monday, March 31, 2014
Stop Blaming Celiac for Everything
All too often I hear about people blaming Celiac for anything bad that happens. While it is a convenient scapegoat, I find it really hard to believe that celiac is the culprit for ALL of your ailments, life woes, and bad days. I am not denying Celiac has a way of ruining things, trust me because I've been there many times over the past 30 years. But it seems to be trendy to blame celiac for all problems all the time. I have a hard time believing that is the only thing wrong and I am getting tired of people playing the blame game on gluten all the time. Stomachache or headache? Must be gluten. Fight with your wife or bad day at work? Damn, Celiac.

I want you all to stop and actually think about other things that are going on in your life that could be responsible for some of your symptoms. I am sure a lot of people will disagree with this post, but I am having a really hard time believing that Celiac is the root of all evil in this world. For the newbies, you are probably looking for answers but Celiac isn't always the answer. I have been living with Celiac Disease for almost 33 years and if that was the answer to everything wrong with me every time I am sick, then I believe I would actually be way sicker. For example, I have a bad mold allergy. I had crazy symptoms but I knew that it was NOT my Celiac Disease making me feel so ill. If I hadn't paid attention to my symptoms and my body and just accepted it was Celiac, I would have continued living in a mold-infested apartment and never got the diagnosis of toxic black mold!

I encourage you all to look at your symptoms and then stop and think before you blame Celiac. There could be something else going on in your life that you aren't paying attention to while you are busy blaming Celiac!

Did you get enough sleep last night?
Was it uninterrupted sleep?
What time did you go to bed?
Are you a new parent?
Have you gotten your thyroid or iron levels checked lately?
When was the last time you exercised?
Do you take vitamins? 

Gaining Weight
What are you eating?
How many calories and grams of fat does that gluten-free cookie/brownie/muffin have?
When was the last time you had a piece of fruit instead of a fistful of gluten-free chips?
How many gluten-free chips did you actually eat? 

How much booze did you drink last night?
Did you have too much or too little caffeine today?
Did you spend too much time in front of the computer monitor?
When was the last time you had an eye exam? 

Do you have BPPV? (I had this and constantly felt like I was on a rollercoaster!)
Have you had a migraine headache recently?
Have you been drinking alcohol?
Have you had an ear infection lately? 

Did you eat too much today?
Are you PMSing?
Did you have dairy today?
Do you have a problem digesting FODMAPs?
Are you constipated? 

Dog poop on the kitchen floor
Does my dog have celiac too?  (no joke, I have seen this more than once on the internet)

I encourage you to leave comments about your symptoms and your non-Celiac diagnosis below. Haters need not respond! 

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Friday, March 28, 2014
Gluten-Free Friday Funny: 3/28/2014
Gluten is everywhere!! Well, not exactly everywhere but it definitely can hide in places you least expect it. Today's Friday funny isn't so funny because it is true! ALWAYS read the ingredients at the labels!

Originally seen on TasteGuru

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014
27 Reasons Why You Could Go Gluten-Free
Dear Joe Satran and HuffPost Taste,

I saw your post on HuffPost Taste yesterday which highlights the "27 Reasons [You] Could Never Go Gluten-Free." I am sorry you lost your patience with your father over his gluten-free vodka choice rather than support his decision. I am sorry you feel that lives are so limited by being gluten-free. While I appreciate you acknowledging with "reverence and respect" the approximately 3 million Americans with Celiac Disease, I am sorry that you made the gluten-free lifestyle sound so depressing and limited.

I have been living with Celiac Disease for almost 33 years and do not feel deprived at all. I actually feel quite lucky at times. I get to treat my "illness" with food. How great is a diagnosis where your medication is (gluten-free) food?

In your post you pointed out twenty-seven things you would miss if you went gluten-free. Well, Mr. Satran, you clearly didn't do much research. You said going gluten-free would "entail forsaking a huge swath of the most delicious foods known to man!" Not true, Mr. Satran. Not true at all.

I would like to challenge your post with my post which highlights the food you feel you would need to give up if you went gluten-free. Here are my 27 "crucially important reasons" you actually could go gluten-free and not miss out on a thing. You could eat delicious food, drink beer, and even gorge on French bread if you chose to do so. And what that I present you with my counter list of:

27 Reasons Why You Could Go Gluten-Free

  1. Gluten-Free Foccaccia from Krumville Bakeshop (bakery)
  2. Gluten-Free Ramen at Ippudo NYC (restaurant)
  3. Gluten-Free BLT at Friedman's Lunch (restaurant) 
  4. Gluten-Free English Muffins from Joan's Gluten-Free (online store)
  5. Gluten-Free Biscuits from King Arthur (online store)
  6. Gluten-Free Donuts at Babycakes NYC (bakery) 
  7. Gluten-Free Everything Bagels from Joan's Gluten-Free (online store)
  8. Gluten-Free Pork Buns from Viet World Kitchen (recipe)
  9. Gluten-Free Aloo Paratha from Hint of Saffron (recipe)
  10. Gluten-Free Pita Bread at Roti Mediterranean Grill (restaurant)
  11. Gluten-Free Scallion Pancakes at The Rice Barn (restaurant)
  12. Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Tate's Bakeshop (online)
  13. Gluten-Free Chocolate Babka at Blackbird Bakery (bakery)
  14. Gluten-Free American Apple Pie from Katz Gluten-Free (online store)
  15. Gluten-Free Boule from Glutinelle (online store)
  16. Gluten-Free Matzo Ball Soup from Elana's Pantry (recipe)
  17. Gluten-Free Birthday Cake at Pip's Gluten-Free Cakery (bakery)
  18. Gluten-Free Brioche French Toast from Better Batter (recipe)
  19. Gluten-Free Soup Dumplings from Delights and Delectables (recipe)
  20. Gluten-Free Beer from Bard's Tale Beer, Green's, New Planet, Redbridge, Celia Saison, and so many more
  21. Gluten-Free Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe at Casa Lever (restaurant)
  22. Gluten-Free Linguine con Vongele at Papazzio (restaurant)
  23. Gluten-Free Lasagna at Del Posto (restaurant)
  24. Gluten-Free Palmiers from Glutabye (online store)
  25. Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies from Schar (online store)
  26. Gluten-Free Brownies from By the Way Bakery (bakery)
  27. Gluten-Free Pizza at Keste, Don Antonio by Starita, Pala Pizza, Risotteria, and that's just New York City! (restaurants)

What do you think readers? From this list, we don't look very deprived at all. I actually feel rather pleased that we do have all of these gluten-free options available to us! 

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Monday, March 24, 2014
Gluten-Free at the Olive Garden
I am not really a chain-restaurant type of girl. I live in New York City where there are thousands of restaurants up and down each block. Even as someone living with Celiac Disease, I have hundreds of safe gluten-free choices from restaurants, food trucks, bodegas, and markets across the five boroughs. I realize I am lucky living in such a gluten-free friendly city but not everyone is so lucky.

With all of these food choices, it is VERY rare that I eat at a chain restaurant. If I do, I am usually out of New York City and visiting family and friends elsewhere. In these destinations, I realize that chain restaurants are sometimes the only option for someone with Celiac Disease. I have no problem with chain restaurants serving gluten-free food, as long as they are doing it correctly and safely!

A few weeks ago, I started seeing postings on social media and even a TV commercial for the Olive Garden, a very popular Italian food chain in the United States. I was skeptical at first, given the enormous amount of gluten in that place, so I reached out to the source via Twitter.

I appreciated the Olive Garden's public response on Twitter but wanted more information. Here is what they had to say via email:

Hi Erin,

Thank you for the interest you have expressed in dining with us again- this means a lot to us! After 30+ years of living with this restriction, we can appreciate your reservation in dining in our restaurants. Unfortunately, it would be impossible for us to guarantee that our gluten-free pasta is free of allergens, but we can tell you that our new gluten-free pasta is being prepared with very strict cooking methods to prevent cross-contamination. We would be happy to provide you with some background information, as well as our procedures when it comes to the preparation and handling of our gluten-free pasta. 

First off, our new gluten-free rotini pasta is imported from Italy and made from a combination of corn and rice flour. Improved taste and texture was a major priority when selecting this new gluten-free option and we've been told it’s delicious! 

Our gluten-free rotini is cooked and handled with separate sanitized pots and cooking utensils. Also, the water used to boil our pasta is completely isolated and uncontaminated. This practice is thoroughly communicated to all of our culinary team members by our managers. Our managers ensure that our service team is trained to make proper suggestions for our gluten intolerant guests. In an effort to ensure your safety, a lot of time and effort goes into training our team. 

Our hope is that you and your readers will give us a try and let us know what you think! 

Sincerely,Lidia Perez 
Olive Garden Social Media- Guest Relations

Gluten-Free Rotini with Fresh Tomato Pomodoro Sauce

Here is a link to the Olive Garden's gluten-free information and menu. Here is what they say on that page:

Olive Garden created this menu for our gluten intolerant guests. Please be aware that the handcrafted nature of our menu items, variety of procedures in our kitchens, cross-contamination with ingredients containing gluten and our reliance on suppliers may result in variations in the ingredients of these menu items. We therefore make no guarantees regarding the gluten content of these items.

I think if I was in a city that didn't have a gluten-free menu anywhere else, I might consider the Olive Garden but only after talking extensively with the local manager and chef in the kitchen. Has anyone tried the new gluten-free pizza at the Olive Garden? What did you think? I would love to hear your comments below!

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Friday, March 21, 2014
Gluten-Free Friday Funny: 3/21/2014
If I had a dollar every time I ate almost an entire bag of chips, I would be a wealthy woman!

Found on Pinterest

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Thursday, March 20, 2014
March 25: Join the Gluten-Free Globetrotter in Poughkeepsie, NY
Join me on March 25th in Poughkeepsie, NY as I talk with the Celiac Disease Foundation Hudson Valley chapter all about gluten-free travel. As an intrepid Gluten-Free Globetrotter, I will share research about traveling with Celiac Disease, tips of what to pack, and suggestions for the most celiac-friendly destinations across the globe. As a Marist College alumni, I am excited to return to Poughkeepsie once again to meet this very active celiac support group. I walked and talked with this group at their 1st Annual Mid-Hudson Valley Walk for Celiac Disease in 2012 so I am excited to see familiar faces and meet new friends.

I hope to see you there!

Gluten-Free Globetrotter
CDF Hudson Valley NY meeting
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vassar Brothers Hospital
Conference Room B
45 Reade Place
Poughkeepsie, NY

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Friday, March 14, 2014
Gluten-Free Fun Friday Funny: 3/14/2014
My friend Josh at had this on his Facebook page earlier this week and I was cracking up. You will only understand if you watch The Bachelor. I have to admit that this show became a VERY guilty pleasure this year. I never watched the show before, but got sucked in. It was a hot mess from day one of the show. I loved it. LOL. This image made me laugh.

Image seen on Facebook page

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Gluten-Free Options at We Heart Astoria Bash
My friends from We Heart Astoria are throwing a big party on March 27th at the Strand Smokehouse in Astoria, NY. I am really excited to attend the event, eat some meat, and drink some cocktails. I am also looking forward to connecting with blogger and Twitter friends from Astoria, my beloved neighborhood!

I've spoken to and dined at the Strand Smokehouse in the past with no problems. It is always a good idea to check with a restaurant about their gluten-free options if you haven't been there for a while. You never know when a menu might changed! I emailed them last week and the Strand Smokehouse was finalizing their party menu at the time but they said:

"All of our meats, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans and collard greens are all gluten free."

Great news. Count me in! Hope to see you locals there. Don't live in Astoria? All are welcome! Hop on the N/Q train and get off at the Broadway stop. It will be worth the trip!

As with any Meetup event or other events I mention on this website, it is dine at your own risk. The Strand Smokehouse does not have a 100% gluten-free kitchen. Gluten-Free Fun is not responsible for your personal dining choices. 

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Monday, March 10, 2014
Gluten-Free Fun Featured on GFree Radio
I was pleasantly surprised to learn via Twitter that my "15 Reasons to Love Someone with Celiac Disease" post was featured on last week's GFree Radio show. I have to admit, although I follow GFree Radio on Twitter, I have never listened to one of the free broadcasts.

Based in London, England, this weekly online radio show is for celiacs/coeliacs who are gluten-free across the globe. Peter Stewart, the host and a fellow Celiac, puts together an entertaining radio show each week with a wide range of topics for the gluten-free listener. I am going to bookmark his website and try to catch this show each week. You can find Peter's shows here.

Take a listen to the most recent episode below. Peter quotes me around 28:41 with "Three Reasons You Should Love Someone with Celiac Disease!" Thanks Peter for my first international radio shout-out! I hope to contribute to your show again in the future!

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Friday, March 7, 2014
Gluten-Free Friday Funny: #glutenfreemobster
A mobster film about Celiac Disease? Yep, you read that correctly. I found this Kickstarter project via Twitter earlier in the week and I wanted to share. Enjoy this Friday funny and consider donating to the project if you got a chuckle out of this movie.

The Curse of Don Scarducci


Donate today:

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014
2014 Winter Food Fete Gluten-Free Finds in Photos
Last week was the Winter 2014 Food Fete event in NYC. This is an exclusive media-only event that helps launch new products to the marketplace. I love going to these events year after year to see all of the cool gluten-free products coming soon. I reconnected with old friends from Rudi's Gluten-Free and Honest Tea at this event and also met some new exciting companies. I was most excited to see Burpee Seeds and Plants at this year's event. Fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free and the produce at their booth looked amazing. The one thing I lack living in an NYC apartment is a garden but if I had one, I would plant the sample seeds Burpee sent me home with on Tuesday night. I am going to send these to my gardening celiac sister to put to good use. 

Below is a photo montage of the products I was most excited about at this year's Food Fete.

Applegate Naturals Uncured Turkey Pepperoni

Yoplait Frozen Yogurt Bars (Two new flavors are gluten-free)

Fruits and veggies are a great source of naturally gluten-free food.
Produce and seeds by Burpee

Got to see my friends from Honest Tea launching their new lemonade

My old friends from Rudi's Gluten-free are launching a gluten-free double fiber bread

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt. New peanut butter cup is AMAZING! 

Kimchi chips from Food Should Taste Good.
I dare you to eat just one! So delicious!!!

Veggie and fruit juices from R. W. Knudsen with no added sugar

Chia and Quinoa Tortilla Chips from Late July

Coffee cocktails made with Seattle's Best Coffee new K-Cups.
What could be better? 

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