Blogger of the Month: A Gluten-Free Guide

A Gluten Free Guide dining out
A Gluten Free Guide dining out

When I was diagnosed with celiac disease several years ago I struggled to find a gluten-free blogger writing about eating out and traveling. There were plenty of great sites offering incredible recipes and tips on which products were good and which ones should be avoided – but gluten-free dining posts were almost non existent. And those that I did find talked about boring chains with gluten-free menus. Since I’d done a pretty good job of avoiding chains when I ate gluten, I was not  thrilled to find out that those were the best places for me to eat out at.

I simply did not believe all the people on online message boards that told me my life of eating out and traveling were over, now that I was gluten-free. One evening, shortly after my diagnosis, I did a Google search for “gluten-free dining Atlanta” and three comforting links came up – the Triumph Dining site, The Atlanta Gluten-Free Dinner Club site and A Gluten-Free Guide’s blog. As it turns out, back then, Catherine who writes that blog, actually worked for a company that had business in Atlanta on occasion. Therefore, Catherine had to find out where to eat gluten-free when in town for work.

For the first time since my diagnosis, I felt like there was a tasty and adventurous gluten-free journey in my future. Catherine’s blog was a large part of making me feel that way. You see, she is kind of a “foodie” and like me, is not content to order plain chicken, rice and veggies when dining out for the rest of her days. When you read Catherine’s restaurant reviews, you feel as though you sat next to her and enjoyed the incredible food yourself!

It was Catherine who turned me on to a French gluten-free bakery, Valpi-Form (rarely found on Amazon) that makes croissants, though they are all but impossible to buy in the U.S. at present. I didn’t love the croissants that much anyway, but the Madelienes from the line are not to be believed! Catherine also posted a killer recipe for garlic bread, using Everybody Eats French baguettes.

Catherine doesn’t have to visit Atlanta as often as she used to, and I miss reading about her adventures here. In the past, I’d always go directly to the places she wrote about, after reading her Atlanta posts. But I still love reading about her adventures in NYC, Italy and anywhere else she goes. She travels a lot for work these days and has gluten-free travel planning down to a science!

Catherine is an inspiration to all of us to remember that gluten-free does not mean taste free, period. If you believe people that tell you to order a boring meal when dining out to be “safe”, you’re drinking some toxic Kool-Aid. And even if it’s gluten-free – it’s definitely not good for you!

Thanks Catherine – for always reminding us that living gluten-free can be as delicious as we venture to make it!

Incredible Gluten-free Waffles from Florida Bakery

IMG_0305There is a new waffle on the gluten-free scene. Island Gluten Free Bakery in Sarasota, FL recently began making gluten-free waffles and they are ‘out of this world’ delicious! My order arrived in two days, for UPS ground service. I left one waffle on the counter to have the following day and the others went into the freezer for later.

The bakery uses healthier flours than some companies that make gluten-free baked goods. The owners feel that offering nutritious products is very important. As someone who eats too many things that aren’t that nutritious, I appreciate their efforts greatly!

Waffle Ingredients:

Filtered Water, Millet Flour, Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, Egg, Arrowroot Flour, Canola Oil, Brown Rice Flour, Organic Coconut Flour, Potato Starch Flour, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Dehydrated Cane Juice, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt

We defrosted some waffles to enjoy last weekend. They take about six minutes in a 350 degree toaster oven to heat up and toast perfectly! Like many other products at this fabulous bakery, the waffles are “free” of more than just gluten. They do not contain dairy or nuts either. I tend to be wary of foods that are ‘free’ of so many things but I’m getting used to accepting that you can make great food, without things you think are needed for it. Island Gluten Fee Bakery continues to prove this point over and over again!

We visited a gluten-free/dairy-free bakery in Austin once and the cookies, bread, brownies and breakfast breads were what I expected from products made without dairy or gluten. Almost everything we bought was dry and not good in any way. My husband had to pick the blueberries out of the breakfast bread – I mean it was bad. Luckily, of the five things we bought, the pumpkin muffins were outstanding and that’s what I’d picked for a quick breakfast at the hotel. Thank goodness I didn’t let that less than optimal experience keep me from trying gluten-free, dairy-free products from this wonderful bakery in FL!

If the new Island Gluten Free Bakery creation was comparable to any other gluten-free waffle, I’d do a comparison review. However, these waffles are unlike any I’ve had before, with or without gluten. They are what you’d expect to be served in a restaurant actually. Now I have a waffle that is both incredible tasting and ‘good for me’ – at least as good as a waffle with butter and maple syrup on it can be!

Island Gluten Free Bakery will ship UPS ground, 2-day and overnight service. Atlanta  is a 2-day service for ground usually. If you decide to place an order, consider trying the cinnamon raisin bread, buns and French bread in addition to the amazing waffles. If you are so inclined and have a waffle maker, the bakery also sells their mixes online. I bet pancakes made with their mix are fabulous too!

Thanks to the gang at Island Gluten Free Bakery for rocking my gluten-free world yet again!

Custom Made Gluten-free Cereal Now Available!

bnr-logoWhen my new custom made cereal arrived from Custom Choice Cereal, I had to open it right away to taste it. The company contacted me to offer me a discount bag of cereal to create my own custom blend and review it.

Cinnamon Granola
Cinnamon Granola

Whoever thought the concept up is a genius. You pick your cereal base and choose from a long list of add-ins to come up with your own unique blend of gluten-free cereal! The add-in item categories include nuts/seeds and dried fruits. Beside each add-in on the website, there is a tidbit of information about the nut, fruit or seed.

The price is directly related to what you choose to add to the base, and there are two prices for the three bases as well. The Cinnamon Granola is the most expensive and the Corn Flakes and Good Morning Flakes (highest nutritional value) are priced the same and are slightly less than the granola.

Tiffany’s Raisin Nut Delight cereal (you even get to name your creation!) is a blend of cinnamon granola, coconut, pecans and raisins. When I tried the cereal dry I thought it was very good but when I had it the next morning with milk, I thought it was incredible! I’m assuming the fact that the cereal was made with my choice of ingredients, is directly related to the fact that I love it!

Gluten-free cereals are generally expensive, excluding the five Chex cereals that are gluten-free. Making your own cereal at Custom Choice Cereal is really quite reasonable, but paying to ship it is a little expensive. The good news is that once you get your perfect ‘custom choice’ down, you can order a lot of it and get a discount on the shipping of every bag after the first one.

Cranberries
Cranberries

If your budget allows for a splurge, think about creating your own perfect gluten-free cereal. The products are made in a gluten-free facility and the number of tasty combinations one can create are almost limitless. The allergen statement on my bag states “Mixed in a facility that contains traces of soy, tree nuts and/or peanuts”.

Almonds
Almonds

My personal blend of cereal turned out to be fairly healthy, though I was not thinking about nutrition when I chose my cereal base and add-ins. I just chose things I like, that I assumed would go well together. There are 108 calories in a 2/3 cup serving of the dry cereal and 5% of the RDA of fiber. Even though my blend contains both pecans and coconut, the fat content was only 5% of the RDA per serving.

Let us know if you’re made your own custom choice cereal before and how your creation turned out!

Custom Made Gluten-free Cereal Now Available!

bnr-logoWhen my new custom made cereal arrived from Custom Choice Cereal, I had to open it right away to taste it. The company contacted me to offer me a discount bag of cereal to create my own custom blend and review it.

Cinnamon Granola
Cinnamon Granola

Whoever thought the concept up is a genius. You pick your cereal base and choose from a long list of add-ins to come up with your own unique blend of gluten-free cereal! The add-in item categories include nuts/seeds and dried fruits. Beside each add-in on the website, there is a tidbit of information about the nut, fruit or seed.

The price is directly related to what you choose to add to the base, and there are two prices for the three bases as well. The Cinnamon Granola is the most expensive and the Corn Flakes and Good Morning Flakes (highest nutritional value) are priced the same and are slightly less than the granola.

Tiffany’s Raisin Nut Delight cereal (you even get to name your creation!) is a blend of cinnamon granola, coconut, pecans and raisins. When I tried the cereal dry I thought it was very good but when I had it the next morning with milk, I thought it was incredible! I’m assuming the fact that the cereal was made with my choice of ingredients, is directly related to the fact that I love it!

Gluten-free cereals are generally expensive, excluding the five Chex cereals that are gluten-free. Making your own cereal at Custom Choice Cereal is really quite reasonable, but paying to ship it is a little expensive. The good news is that once you get your perfect ‘custom choice’ down, you can order a lot of it and get a discount on the shipping of every bag after the first one.

Cranberries
Cranberries

If your budget allows for a splurge, think about creating your own perfect gluten-free cereal. The products are made in a gluten-free facility and the number of tasty combinations one can create are almost limitless. The allergen statement on my bag states “Mixed in a facility that contains traces of soy, tree nuts and/or peanuts”.

Almonds
Almonds

My personal blend of cereal turned out to be fairly healthy, though I was not thinking about nutrition when I chose my cereal base and add-ins. I just chose things I like, that I assumed would go well together. There are 108 calories in a 2/3 cup serving of the dry cereal and 5% of the RDA of fiber. Even though my blend contains both pecans and coconut, the fat content was only 5% of the RDA per serving.

Let us know if you’re made your own custom choice cereal before and how your creation turned out!

Celiac Athlete Competing in Ironman Competition!

KHalfIronBikesmallOne of our readers (who was diagnosed with celiac earlier this year) is participating in the Ironman Florida Triathlon (swim 2.4 miles, bike 112, run 26.2) in less than three weeks. Kendra is raising funds for the NFCA, an organization committed to raising awareness about celiac disease and helping people with it, live full and delicious lives!

Kendra’s efforts are truly inspiring! Here is the information she shared with us about her goals related to this big event.

“Sponsored by Janus, the Janus Charity Challenge was designed to motivate Ironman athletes to use participation in any of the U.S. full distance Ironman races to increase awareness and raise money for charity.  The program is unique in that there is no designated beneficiary and athletes can choose to raise funds for the charity that they are most passionate about.

To inspire athletes to participate, Janus makes additional contributions to the beneficiaries of the top fundraisers at each of the seven U.S. Ironman races, up $10,000. Every dollar counts. The time cut off for Ironman Florida is 17 hours (I’m hoping I can finish in time!), so I’m asking for donations of $17, but even $5 would really help.”

Though we are very familiar with the wonderful work of the NFCA, Kendra does a great job explaining why she personally chose that organization to raise funds for.

“The NFCA’s Gluten-free Resource Education and Training program (GREAT) is helping educate food service professionals in a way that I think will make it easier for celiacs to enjoy a meal at a restaurant and feel like a normal person. The Gluten-Free Cooking Sprees hosted by NFCA furthers those goals. Similarly, the GREAT program geared towards health care professionals is shortening the length of time for a diagnosis. Because celiac disease can cause so many other problems when left untreated, it’s important for people to get diagnosed as soon as possible. I believe the NFCA’s work is helping with quicker diagnosis’. I’m hoping that by raising money for the NFCA through my Ironman race, I can help NFCA continue to increase awareness.”

Thank you so much Kendra. I couldn’t have said it better myself! As someone who personally attended a Gluten-Free Cooking Spree hosted by the NFCA, I know first hand the power of us all working together to promote change in our community!

Though the economy is tight these days and everyone is watching their pennies, I hope those that have a few dollars (or more) to spare will join Kendra’s campaign and donate to this great cause. You can  follow Kendra’s training blog here, and read more about her story here. I’m betting that together, we can help Kendra’s exceed her fundraising goals!