El’s Kitchen Snaps Bagel Chips Giveaway

The folks at El’s Kitchen are always a step ahead of the game when it comes to gluten free snacking. I love their Medley’s snack mix, so I was pumped to try their new flavors of bagel chips. I opted for their sweet variety, the cinnamon and sugar.

These are a great munchable snack, and not as sweet as I was expecting! Not only are these gluten free, they’re also free of the other major allergens: eggs, milk, soy, peanuts, and nuts. And they’re only 100 calories or less per serving.

If you want to win a bag to try, enter the raffle below!

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DC Gluten Free News Round Up

A few new things happening around DC. I have to say that I’m pretty satisfied with the number of places that I can get tacos in the District at this point – can I get a gluten free bakery, bagel, or sandwich shop to open at some point soon? Someone get on that.

1. The Chupacabra food truck now has a store front on H Street

With a ton of gluten free and vegan options on the menu, now you don’t have to chase down a restaurant on wheels to get some squash and eggplant tacos, chicken tortilla soup or fried yucca.

2. DC Gluten Free Expo is coming June 2

dc gluten free expo

I had a great time at the expo last year, and can’t wait to see what they’ll have this year. So many new products have come out and I’m excited to mingle and gorge myself on samples. This year I’m making a promise to myself to slow down though since I left the expo with a tummy ache last year due to over indulgence. If you want to burn some calories before the expo, you can also run in the Making Tracks for Celiacs Run/Walk in Arlington in the morning.

3. Lavagna in Capitol Hill has gluten free pasta

I’ve been to Lavagna twice for brunch, but now I’m going to have to stop by for dinner and mangia on some pasta. Thanks to Gluten Free NOVA Girl for the tip off on this one!

Let me know if you know of anything else coming up around the DMV!

Everyone’s a Celiac Expert Now

Last weekend I met two guys in bars who said they were gluten free. A year ago I would have thought, “No way! SOULMATES!” Now I try to suppress the urge to roll my eyes, and then ask them something like, “Oh really? Do you have celiac disease? How long have you been gluten free?”

One guy’s response was, “Well, I’m gluten free…on Thursdays!

What are you even talking about, bro? Is that a joke?

Context: This guy was out at the bar for his high school reunion. Because the planning committee knew that he was “gluten free,” they actually brought Redbridge beer to the event for him. What was he drinking as he was blathering on about his “gluten free diet”? Bud Light.

So, that guy was obviously just a jerk. But, it’s an example of how nowadays it seems like everyone thinks that they’re an expert when it comes to celiac disease.

Typically I try not to make my celiac disease or diet a topic at bars or when meeting new people, because it’s kind of a downer and there are other things I’d like to talk about. But now that my job is all about food allergies, it usually gets brought up within the first five minutes of talking to someone, immediately following the “So, what do you do?” question.

Then I end up answering all kinds of questions about what I eat, what I can’t eat, when I was diagnosed, what I can drink, what I can’t drink, etc. Then I’m subject to whatever cliche or tired commentary this person wants to give me. News flash: just because you saw something on Dr. Oz doesn’t make you an expert.

Things like: “Did you know that Dominos has gluten free pizza now?”

Grr. That was like 9 months ago, and I would never eat it because of cross contamination. Thanks though…

Sometimes I think about what life will be like in 5-10 years. Will all of the trend eaters fade away and just let us live our celiac hermit lifestyle? Will so many people be gluten free that we can finally stop making it a topic of debate and bar conversation?

Until then I’m going to just grin and bear it, I guess.

Have you had any interactions with these gluten free wannabes? Dish!

Fuel the Family: It’s Celiac Awareness Month!

Happy Celiac Awareness Month! The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has really outdone themselves this year. There are a ton of resources and ways to get involved on their website.

NFCA Fuel the family_550x297

I’ll be sending out my usual email to my family and friends encouraging them to get tested. The average person waits 6-10 years to get diagnosed, which can lead to a slew of health problems, some potentially serious, like infertility and cancer.

I also posted Gluten Dude’s sweet poster in my cubicle at work, and I’ll be talking to any one who will listed about celiac disease. Just casually drop in a few facts around the office like this: “Thanks for sending over that file. By the way, did you know that an estimated 1 in 141 Americans has celiac disease, yet 83% of those who have it are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed?”

Watch this video, and then download the toolkit from NFCA to plan how you’re going to help raise awareness this month!

Happy CDAM! (I don’t think that’s an actual acronym yet, but let this be its birthplace).

Not cool “The Book for Dangerous Women.” Not cool.

When I saw “The Book for Dangerous Women: A Guide to Modern Life” on the shelf at the library, I was kind of excited. I’d flipped through “The Dangerous Book for Boys” and “The Daring Book for Girls,” and I thought that they were cute, and encouraged kids to take risks, go outside, and be self-sufficient. I’m all for that.
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I checked the book out, and flipped through the encyclopedia-like pages. It wasn’t the most enlightening thing I’ve ever read, but it was fun and had what I thought was good advice on some topics.

Then, when I got to the G section, this is what I found:

dangerous book for women

Apparently the authors have confused gluten intolerance or celiac disease with the Atkins Diet. Life’s too short to go gluten free? Actually it’s more like my life will be too short if I don’t maintain a gluten free diet, like the millions of people who need to stick to the diet to keep their bodies healthy.

I don’t know how stuff like this makes it to print.

How I got glutened when I ordered off of a gluten free menu

Once upon a time there was a waitress who glutened me. Here’s how it happened:

This weekend I was really excited to finally try Masa 14 with my dad. I’d tried to get in a few times for brunch, but they book up quickly and the wait is always really long if you don’t have a reservation. Masa 14 is a Richard Sandoval restaurant, which are are known for being gluten free-friendly. All of them have dedicated menus with clear directions on how to modify dishes to make them gluten free.

Being the great dad that he is, we both ordered everything from the gluten free menu so we could share. I love yucca fries, so those were at the top of my list. On the menu it says to order them with “no chimichurri”, but I just made clear that all of the dishes we ordered should have the modifications in place, so I didn’t pay attention to every change they were supposed to make. The waitress knew that I was the gluten free one at the table and my dad did not have to be, so I guess she took some liberties with our order so he could have the gluten-containing items that were left off of the dishes.

yucca fries

So the yucca fries are brought out by a food runner, not the waitress. There are two sauces with them, which I assume are both fine for me to eat, since we asked that all of our food to be made gluten free. I dip a couple of yucca fries in the green sauce (which I wouldn’t have been able to identify as chimichurri anyways). Then about 10 minutes later the waitress comes over and tells me that the green sauce is not gluten free. They usually combine the sauces, but she had them separate them into two dishes so my dad could have the green one.

Well, that’s just swell. Maybe you should have told us that you were bringing out gluten sauces before I had the chance to poison myself.

Sometimes I wish that the signs of a glutening were more visible to the outside world. No one will see me being tired, bloated, and having stomach cramps for the next week. No one can see the damage being done to my intestines or the brain fog that seems to linger for weeks. So when the waitress asked, “Are you okay?” I just said, “I guess so…” Because what was I going to do? I already ate it.

This is exactly what the celiac community has feared would happen since the “gluten free trend” has caught on. Wait staff don’t pay as close of attention and don’t take requests as seriously, and in most cases it won’t cause any consequences since they probably get a ton of orders for gluten free dishes from people who don’t actually need to eat gluten free.

I’m still looking for that perfect line to convey to wait staff that I really, truly need my food to be gluten free. I’ve been thinking about something like, “If you could tell the kitchen to be extra careful with my meal I’d appreciate it. I’m not on one of those fad diets; I’ll actually get really sick if I eat anything with gluten in it.” I just hate coming off as difficult, so I usually go with a softer approach. But after something like this I might have to grow some cajones and let them know I mean business.

What is your typical one-liner for wait staff to convey that you’re serious about your food being free of gluten? 

Biscotti taste-off: Coffaros Baking Co vs. ginnybakes

Recently I was at HomeGoods, of all places, when I stumbled upon some gluten free chocolate chip biscotti. My grandma used to make me biscotti and send it to me by the dozen in college, so I grabbed a box for nostalgia’s sake. They’re made by Coffaros Baking Co.

I geared up to enjoy one with my morning coffee, and was greatly disappointed with the taste and texture. They were grainy and cardboard-esque, like they hadn’t gotten the memo that people expect more out of gluten free baked goods nowadays. I had two bites and threw the rest away.

Then about a week later I was contacted by ginnybakes asking if I’d like to try their almond and sunshine biscotti. Biscotti destiny.

biscotti

ginnybakes biscotti were everything that the other ones were not. They held their shape when submerged in coffee, they had a bit of a chew, lots of nutty flavor, and they’re only 60 calories a piece. The only thing they were missing was the chocolate chips 🙂

I’d had ginnybakes cookies before, which are great (you can buy them at the Whole Foods on Wisconsin in Glover Park), but I’ll definitely be buying the biscotti now as well.