Find Support!

Support groups can be a crucial resource for the newly diagnosed as well as the seasoned Celiac & non-celiab gluten-sensitive community. By attending local support group meetings and seminars you will gain important information on the latest in medical research, dietitian recommendations, useful tips for living a healthy gluten-free lifestyle,and so much more. Support Group meetings are a wonderful venue where you can chat with others on a similar Celiac journey.  Take a significant other, a friend, or go solo. You can even consider volunteering!

There are multiple National Celiac Organizations that can be a source of support groups. Here are some that are great:

-The American Celiac Disease Alliance

-Celiac Disease Foundation

-Celiac Sprue Association

-National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

Remember: you are never alone. There are support groups everywhere and anywhere!

-Janice 🙂

 

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

What do stuffing, sweet potato pie, and and pumpkin pie all have in common?

You guessed it! None of them are gluten free…until now! Because of the increase of gluten free people around the world, great thinkers and eaters alike have come together to create your favorite Thanksgiving staples, all without gluten.

First, let’s talk about the turkey. What many people don’t know is that turkey brines and gravy can often contain gluten. That being said, taking gluten out of a brine does not mean you have to take out the flavor, too. I found a recipe for a brine on celiac.com that includes vegetable broth, sea salt, Juniper berries, rosemary, sage, thyme, savory, and ice water. You can find the full recipe as well as the preparation instructions here.

To make gluten free stuffing, the best way is to use Udi’s gluten free bread. Although I normally am in favor of using foods that are naturally gluten free, using gluten free bread is the only way to replicate the classic Thanksgiving stuffing we all love. “Gluten Free Girl” has an amazing recipe that can be found here. Enjoy!

Lastly, dessert. What is Thanksgiving without a delicious pumpkin pie?! By using amaranth or rice flour in the filling and using this recipe for the crust, you can bake the gluten free pumpkin pie you’ve been dreaming about. Click here for the gluten free filling recipe.

So, on the holiday that is essentially centered around eating, don’t worry about bringing a takeout container of your own gluten free food to the home of whoever is hosting dinner–share the recipes! Or, even better, host a thanksgiving dinner of your own! We all have a lot to be thankful for…like these recipes.

Happy holidays!

Banana Cream Pie

Arguably the hardest meal for anyone who is gluten free is dessert. Imagine sitting around a table with your family; you see home-cooked brownies, cookies, pastries, donuts, cakes, pies…and you can’t eat a single thing. But–fear not!–your aunt swoops in with some store bought gluten-free cookies, and you can’t wait to sink your teeth into chocolate chip cookie goodness, so you take a bite and taste…cardboard. You remove the “cookie” from your mouth, squint your eyes, and try to figure out how someone made a piece of cardboard look just like your favorite dessert. Soon, reality begins to set in; you realize that you are stuck with a mediocre dessert (at best), but to make your aunt happy, you choke it down with some milk and a smile.

Odds are, if you are gluten free, this has happened to you. Even in the brief time that I was gluten free, I was served multiple variations of cardboard that were incorrectly labeled as desserts. So, until companies correct their labels, gluten free desserts may be best prepared at home. To get you started, here’s a recipe I found in the New York Times for a gluten free banana cream pie (YUM!!) that will be ready for you to eat in under two hours. Say goodbye to cardboard, and hello to deliciousness!

Who is “Gluten Dude?”

Who is Gluten Dude? And could he possibly be the most opinionated person on the Internet?

First, let me tell you a couple things about “Gluten Dude.” The creator of this website (who also has a blog with the same title) is, in fact, a dude. He is in his forties, has two teenage daughters, and is, of course, gluten free, and has been since 2007 when he was diagnosed with Celiac disease. After searching the internet extensively, I was unable to find his real name ANYWHERE (which I thought was a little odd, especially in today’s society where you can find information on practically everyone), but I decided to trust him, as he promises to “always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.” And he’s a pretty funny guy.

I came across an article on his website titled “Disney Thinks Bullying a Gluten Free Child is Funny.” Naturally, it caught my attention, and made me wonder whether this insanely dramatic title was justified. So, I read on. Essentially, the article was Gluten Dude’s reaction to an episode of Disney Channel’s TV series “Jessie,” in which Stuart (potentially the show’s most annoying/disliked character) is made fun of for his dietary restrictions in general, but primarily for being gluten free.

The article includes a YouTube video that shows the footage from the episode that Gluten Dude and a multitude of parents found to be extremely insulting and insensitive to gluten-free kids everywhere, as well as a message from a parent who started a petition at change.org to get the episode removed from air waves. Ultimately, Disney did remove the episode and posted an apology to their Facebook page for upsetting families across the nation.

So what do you guys think? I’ve watched the clip several times, and it’s hard to say why Disney included this in one of their shows. A part of me thinks it wasn’t to make fun of gluten free kids, but instead was used to satirize the immense number of people who decide to be gluten free just because they think it’s “healthier,” not because they have any allergy or intolerance to gluten. That being said, Disney should be an ally to gluten free kids instead of supporting the bullies that they have to face everyday. What do you guys think? Did the episode really deserve to be petitioned and taken off the air, or did parents overreact and take it too far? I can’t decide!

Gluten-Free Alcohol: You Have All Thought About It Once Before

SO you never want to ask, but I know you’ve thought about it before; especially after reading our blog: “What alcohol is gluten free?” All of you college kids out there, don’t you worry. I’ve done some research so all of you know what you can and can’t drink at a bar or any party.

First thing first, a BIG no-no is BEER! It’s made from malted barley. Keep away from the beer bongs and those beer games. However, there are some gluten free beers! Try Red Bridge, Bard’s, Estrella Damm Daura, and Green’s Endeavor. You can still join your friends if you stick to these.

YESgreens-endeavour

Sorry to say this, but another BIG NO is Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Silver because they are made from malt.

😦 SMIRNOFF

Now, for what IS SAFE, which is a lot more than you’d expect. Here are some of the following: champagne, gin, scotch, whiskey, vermouth, vodka, bourbon, Kahlua, Armagnac, cognac, brandy, schnapps, triple sec, and Jagermeister.

Vodka is made from wheat, but during the distilling process, all of the gluten is extracted and is therefore safe for Celiacs. Try Svedka, Skyy, Absolut, Belvedere, Balinoff, Smirnoff, Grey Goose, Ciroc; they’re all okay. Most rums are gluten free EXCLUDING Bacardi Silver products. Be careful when consuming flavored or spiced rums as they could contain gluten ingredients for flavoring!

SKYY_Still_1_lo2

The easiest way to know if something’s gluten free before you drink it in a social setting is to grab your smartphone or your friend’s and google it. Better safe than sorry!

Hope this helps for you college Celiacs out there!

Check out this article on Huffington Post about Celiac Disease. Show it to your friends who want a simple explanation of the disease, or those who think they might need to be Gluten-Free!

AND if you are someone like me who loves information in the simplest form, check out this “Living Gluten-Free For Dummies” page. It’s a great “cheat sheet” and it pretty much sums it all up.

GF

 

AND ONLY REMEMBER THIS UNTIL AFTER YOU TURN 21 (if you are not of age yet)! If you are 21 and a celiac: here ya go! 

Remember to be RESPONSIBLE, LEGAL, && MOST IMPORTANTLY: SAFE

 

-Janice Vargas 🙂

Start off the right way by learning how to eat Gluten-Free!

You may think that it may be nearly impossible to eat gluten-free; IT’S NOT. Trust me, the more you become aware of your products and your surroundings, the easier it will be. Practice makes perfect! Here are some ways to begin a gluten-free diet:

1. Clean out your kitchen! You need to dispose of anything that contains gluten. Some people even need to change their toasters. If you are in major need of this, take those drastic measures. This is a good start to getting rid of any products that are gluten-containing.

2. Start with fresh produce or meats. To avoid any gluten at all, limit your diet to unprocessed foods at first and go from there. Fresh fruits, fresh meats, poultry and fish do not contain gluten! Eating as simply as you can with fresh herbs and spices will help you.

3. Expand to include gluten-free products. Once you have conquered the fresh products, you can go on to the foods that are clearly labeled “gluten-free.” You can find bread, pizzas, frozen waffles, and gluten-free beer for you! Amazing!

4. Learn to read food labels! Manufacturers can label something “gluten-free,” but that does not mean that there is not a trace of wheat in there. Food labeling laws do not require the disclosure of gluten-containing ingredients on food labels!  Always remember that wheat-free does not mean gluten-free! Do not be fooled!

5. Consider a gluten-free Smartphone App! With our society constantly changing and our media taking our our influences, this is the perfect way to learn more about gluten-free! There are many apps in the digital age that help people who want or NEED to be gluten-free! Here are a few that you should take a look at:

  • Is That Gluten Free? (&7.99)
  • Grain or No Grain (Free)
  • Gluten Free Nom Nom: Recipes (Free)
  • Gluten Free Restaurant Items ($2.99)

I hope this helps a lot more. Remember: it’s not impossible, especially with our digital age that we live in now!

-Janice Vargas