Nizza, New York City

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

Nizza is an Italian restaurant in New York City, which has been offering gluten-free dishes to customers since they opened in 2007. They are located on 630 9th Avenue, in a busy area of the city, very close to Times Square. Last week when I was in the city they were kind enough to let me sample some of their gluten-free items and I was very impressed!

Whilst not a completely gluten-free restaurant, Nizza offers a separate gluten free menu with lots of delicious dishes to choose from. Their chef and staff members are very well trained on gluten-free dining. They understand the serious threat of cross contamination and do everything they can to prevent it. They prepare gluten free items in a separate area and with separate utensils. As they are a small restaurant, cross contamination is, of course, always a possibility, but this is always the case unless a restaurant is 100% gluten-free. I am a very cautious and sensitive celiac, but I felt safe and comfortable eating here knowing that staff were doing everything they could to keep me safe.

Their gluten-free bread is made from a mixture of different flours and it’s really tasty. It’s the kind of bread that makes you want to double check that it’s safe for you to eat (and of course it is!) as it really doesn’t taste gluten-free at all. I couldn’t get enough of their gluten-free bruschetta topped with pesto and tomatoes. It was delicious.

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Gluten-Free Fruit Flours: What’s the Deal?

Thank goodness for all those wonderful ladies and gentleman who call themselves food scientists. They figure out so many strange and wonderful things for us to eat!

Pretty much all of the food science that focuses on gluten-free food centers around at least one of the following problems: “it doesn’t taste good” or “it isn’t healthy.”

Apparently, fruit flours might be a solution to both.

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Review of King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix

By Lea

photo from http://www.delish.com/

When King Arthur kindly sent me a box of their new GF yellow cake mix, I made a batch of cupcakes to welcome some of our new team members. Before I tried them, I was contemplating how best to sound excited about cake, but I needn’t have worried. This was some of the best cake made from a boxed mix that I’ve ever had (gluten-full or gluten-free). The cakes stayed perfectly moist and tender, and didn’t dry out the way a lot of gluten-free baked goods tend to. I don’t particularly care for cake in general, so for me to reach for a second cupcake is a big deal.

The speed at which baked goods can disappear from a plate on the break room table never ceases to amaze me. Needless to say, the rest of our employees (Celiac and gluten-eating alike) loved these cupcakes. I also let the family try them, and “forgot” to mention the fact that they were gluten-free. No one noticed a difference. The use of tapioca starch, rice flour, and potato starch makes it difficult to discern any difference in flavor or texture from gluten-full cake.

My only issue when baking was that my cupcakes deflated a bit when they came out of the oven. According to King Arthur’s website this could be due to overbeating the batter, so be mindful of how long you mix it. I used a hand-mixer, but next time I will probably mix the batter by hand so as not to repeat my mistake. Luckily, frosting covers flaws in your cake very easily. I put a few drops of GF almond extract in my plain buttercream frosting (just powdered sugar, butter and milk) to give it some oomph, and I think it complemented the cake perfectly.

Whether you have a birthday coming up or you just feel like some sweet indulgence after a long work week, grab yourself a box of King Arthur Flour’s GF Yellow Cake Mix and whip up a batch!

Is Quinoa Gluten-Free? Recent Research Says: Usually

Visit Ultimate Gluten Free for an overview!

Quinoa has been touted as a wonderful miracle “grain” for anyone on a gluten-free diet for years. And with good reason! It’s high in protein and amino acids and is a much more complete food than white rice or potatoes or even soy. In fact, my personal favorite gluten-free pastas have always been those that are made with quinoa flour.

However, a study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that some strains of quinoa may in fact trigger reactions in people with celiac disease. This would put quinoa in the same category as oat: many strains are gluten-free, but recent research shows that some varieties of oats are toxic to people with celiac disease / contain gluten even when kept completely uncontaminated (study overview).
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Interview with Gluten-Free Olympian, Amy Begley

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

With the 2012 Olympics kicking off in London tomorrow, Triumph Dining decided to find out what it’s like living and training as an athlete when you also live with celiac disease.

I had the pleasure of interviewing US Olympian Amy Begley last week.  Amy runs medium and long distance, mainly the 10,000 meters, and currently lives and trains in Beaverton, Oregon on the Nike campus.

Amy was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2006 so it was interesting to find out her take on running and training whilst on a strict gluten free diet!

 

Hi Amy! Tell me a little about who you are and what you do.

My name is Amy Begley. I am 34 years old and run professionally for Nike. I mainly run the 10,000 meters but I have been injured for over a year. Finally the Doctors told me to take three months completely off to heal my leg but thankfully I will start running again on Friday July 20th. I am really excited about this 3rd comeback of mine.

To keep myself busy I have a few websites and businesses that are currently in the beginning stages. My main website is amybegley.com  The information on all of my websites, including a new site I have kicking off this fall, can be accessed there.

 

When and how were you diagnosed as celiac?

I was diagnosed in 2006.  I had been sick for about 10 years and I had a lot of things diagnosed along the way:  lactose intolerance, IBS, hypo-thyroid, osteopenia, amenorrhea, stress fractures, depression, anxiety, and the thing that affected me the most was chronic diarrhea.  I could not run more than 30 minutes without using the bathroom.  I was in Atlanta when I was finally diagnosed as celiac.

 

How has being celiac affected your running/training?

Before I was diagnosed with Celiac, I couldn’t run more than 30 minutes without a bathroom.  My day and training was planned around where I could find a bathroom. I also couldn’t eat within 6 hours of running. I was dehydrating in short races like 5,000m.

Now that I’m on a gluten free diet my bone density is slowing increasing and the diarrhea, bloating and stomachaches are gone. I can now eat before I run without much worry. I feel much healthier and stronger.

 

What do you like to eat before a race?

The night before a race I pick a place that has a dedicated gluten free menu. I find that these places are more likely to have special areas for preparing gluten free meals. My go to places include PF Changs and Outback.

The morning of a nighttime race, I usually eat something I brought with me. That could be gluten free bread like Udi’s with almond butter and a banana.  Alternatively I will have Chex cereal with almond or soymilk. About two hours before a race I will then have 1.5 packets of Generation UCAN.  If I am running a morning race, I would just have the Generation UCAN and maybe a banana.

What do you find is the most challenging thing about being celiac?

Worrying about cross-contamination before a meet.  We rarely race at home so on the road we have to trust the restaurants.  If I am unsure of a place or food, I will just eat what I have packed or buy something at a store to prepare and eat.

 

Check back next week for part two of my interview with Amy and find out how she found eating gluten free at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing!