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Oh My God, Becky Look at These #NUGGS

12 Jun

Well friends, I took a little break but I’m finally back to blogging. Not to fret though, in my time away from the blogosphere I have been able to sample some awesome gluten free eats and treats that I am looking forward to sharing with you!

As my first order of business I’d like to introduce a new sweet snack I sampled last week – nuggets!

These bite size brownie desserts come in an assortment of flavors (semi sweet, milk chocolate and covered in cookie crumbs to name a few) and quickly satisfy your sweet tooth. They are a nice match for us celiacs to the trendy gluten filled mini cupcakes/donuts/pops eaten by many Manhattan professionals.

Beyond being a conference room friendly treat, nuggets make stuffing your purse before an event easy! Personally, I always check a menu before attending an event but sometimes we aren’t offered a straight answer. If you are unclear if a gluten free dessert option will be available to you, these are a perfect compliment next to your lipgloss, keys and phone!

While making these bite size bits of goodness disappear is pretty easy, placing an order is even more simple! Orders can be placed online www.whattheglutenfree.com.  Nuggets definitely get my stamp of approval. They’re 100% celiac friendly, made using all gluten free products, and made with love by my dear friend and fellow celiac, Brooke Hamroff.

 

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Get your running/walking sneakers on!

31 Mar
     As most of you know I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease back in 2008. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease cause by the intolerance to gluten.  Gluten is primarily found in wheat, barley, rye and certain oats. Since day 1 of my  diagnosis, I have done my best to adjust to a healthier lifestyle.  Beyond that, I got involved with Kicking 4 Celiac, an amazing non-profit.  My sister has joined the board with me as well.  Our foundation dedicates itself to helping raise awareness and providing a resource for children of all ages (and their families) who have been diagnosed with Celiac. You can check out the foundation website to learn more here: www.kicking4celiac.org.
     Last year, was the first annual Kicking 4 Celiac Foundation 5K Run/Walk in which I took part with my family and a few friends.  This year, I wanted to reach out to you to take part in the walk/run. The event will take place on Saturday, June 8, 2013 in Oyster Bay. My family has created a team “Young Wild and GFree,” which is named after this blog. We would love for you to come walk with us!  All money raised goes to The Kicking 4 Celiac Foundation’s scholarship fund.
     While the Gluten Free community has made tremendous progress over the past few years, we need to keep spreading the word to raise awareness!!
FYI:  If you’re not the running type, don’t fear – there’s a large group of walkers.  For those commuting in from NYC you can take the train to Oyster Bay which will let you off RIGHT in the parking lot where the 5K begins.
     Here is a link to the Young Wild & GFree Page:  Kicking 4 Celiac: Team Young Wild & GFree where you can join our team or make a donation.

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Tenjin – Japanese Restaurant

12 Nov

There are so many types of foods I never ventured to try before being diagnosed with celiac. Well, one of them was sushi, and when I say sushi I mean vegetable rolls. I’m pretty boring but that’s what it takes to satisfy my sushi craving.

I tried my first bite of sushi with college friends at Toku in the Americana. From the first moment I tried sushi I  was constantly craving it.  As delicious as the sushi is at Toku, the restaurant is too fancy for a quick, casual meal. That’s where Tenjin comes in. Located in the town of Syosset they accommodate GF and the rolls are reasonably priced.  You can check the menu out here.

When you order be sure to ask for Steve.  Steve’s the manager but I always like him to take my order as he knows how sensitive the diet is. If you’re boring like me then you should definitely ask for Steve as he’s fast to create some delicious GF sauce concoction.

D’lites Frozen Yogurt

11 Nov

The best way to end a workout session or a long day is with a cup/cone of fro yo with delicious rainbow sprinkles.  I’m sometimes skeptical to try new places.  It’s happened too often when I’ve asked if a flavor is gluten free and an employees responded by saying, “Of course, all our flavors are low fat.”

Last summer I stumbled upon D’lites in Woodbury, Long Island.  It’s since closed down as there were some issues with the calorie and carb count. A friend told me there was another one in Greenvale.  I went as fast as I could to try it as I loved the flavors that were available in Woodbury.  The owners at the Greenvale location informed me that they were not at all affiliated with the Woodbury D’lites.

I think I tried every flavor and it was safe to say I had found another good frozen yogurt place.  All flavors are gluten free and they also offer cones.  To make you feel even safer the sprinkles are individually packaged.  I suggest you try it if you’re in the Long Island area.  Let me know what you think and if you fall in love like I did, be sure to get the punch card as it does get a little pricey.

5 Glen Cove Road  Greenvale, NY 11548

(516) 621-1345

D’lites of Greenvale

“Gluten Free” Documentary Review

3 Jul
A few weeks ago I was approached by Susan Cohen a fellow celiac living on Long Island who was diagnosed years ago (2000), before celiac received national media attention. Susan and I have been corresponding over twitter for a few months so when she asked me to watch and review her documentary I was excited!
The DVD titled “Gluten Free” was made in 2005 and provides valuable insight into the lifestyle of those living with CD.  Although a few years have passed since it was first made, it was very interesting to see the changes in the GF world. 2005, Risoterra, a popular pizza parlor in NYC, was first introducing Gluten Free Pizza to its customers. Believe it or not, they seemed to be the only restaurant carrying gf pizza at the time.   Now they along with many other establishments have every product imaginable and some!  It was also a time when Foods By George was just being introduced in stores as well. Fast forward to 2012 and now you can walk into most restaurants where the staff is familiar with gluten free restrictions or even have a gluten free menu.  Susan’s film also documents one of the first celiac support groups. It’s so nice to see that people were able to come together at a time where little was known about this disease and support each other.

Now, this film may not have the best editing (take it from this former broadcast journalism major), but I truly believe Susan’s documentary should be viewed by anyone diagnosed with CD.  The material is interesting and I felt completely engaged as this is such an important cause to me and probably you if you’ve made it this far into this post! For those struggling with a recent diagnoses take a look at this videos because  when you see the changes from 2005, you will only feel better about the awareness and progress that advocates for CD have made.  Below are the details to purchase your copy for $4.50!  I suggest you do so 🙂

http://generationglutenfree.com/index.php?page=shop

PS: Have a great Gluten Free 4th of July! Be sure to share any delicious treats or recipes with me!

R.O.C.K. Recap

28 Jun

Monday night I had the pleasure of speaking at the R.O.C.K (Raising Our Celiac Kids) meeting.  These meetings take place at The Plainview Old-Bethpage Library in Nassau County, New York.  The room, usually filled with delicious gluten free goodies for everyone to taste, provides an open forum for mothers and fathers to ask questions about Celiac, share new products, new restaurants and most importantly creates a support system. Monday night we were introduced Tanya’s Gluten Free Pretzel bites and let me just tell you they were AMAZING.

Randi Abertelli, the Nassau County leader asked me to speak with the group about my experiences with Celiac Disese while attending college.  (Go Penn State!)  I was happy to speak to the parents about the changes I have seen from 2008 until now at my own university.  Penn State food services is nothing short of amazing.  They completely went above and beyond their call of duty to ensure I was well fed which allowed me to concentrate on my schoolwork rather than concentrate on my dietary needs.   Please feel free to check out this great article written by Michele Marchetti and this one written by Katie Ross for Gluten Free Delights Magazine . Hopefully by reading this you will have a better understanding of the positive impact Penn State Food Services had during my four years away at college.

For those of you living in the Long Island area be sure to check out http://www.rockli.com/.  This is a GREAT place for you to meet other parents who have children going through the same thing!  Most of all these children are so lucky to have parents that are caring and changing the meaning of Celiac for future generations.

Once upon a time…

12 Jun

I frequented my favorite pizza places in the Jericho area, on Long Island without a care in the world. My order was always the same, “Two slices please, cut up in small pieces.” Then I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and this food that I enjoyed so much with my friends on a Saturday or at a birthday party was quickly eliminated from my diet.

It was not until recently that two pizzerias on Long Island, Fanatico and Café Dolce Vita, both added gluten free pizza to their menus. What’s nice about these places is that they are both very casual and are are great to grab a quick slice with your friends/children or sit down for a nice meal. The manager at Café Dolce Vita was a pleasure to deal with. I spoke with him and although they cook the gluten free pizza in an oven used for all pizza, they take the precaution of cooking gluten free in a separate pan to ensure there is no cross contamination.

Again, make sure to always ask questions as you having nothing to lose and everything to gain. Restaurants that have gluten free items on their resume was your feedback and want to make sure that you are enjoying your meal.

GF Pizza From Cafe Dolce Vita

So, I’m happy to tell you…once upon a time is no longer once upon a time…because I’m able to enjoy pizza again, and so are you! Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Long Island’s First 5K For Celiac Awareness

11 Jun

Well, I’m definitely writing this post with sore legs and a full stomach!  Yesterday Craig Pinto and The Kicking 4 Celiac Foundation teamed up with The Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland.  The “Making Tracks For Celiacs” was the first Celiac awareness 5k held on Long Island!  It’s events like this that make me feel so lucky to be involved with such a great foundation.  With about 200 walkers/runners the first year was a success to say the least.  I just wanted to share some new information…

I spent some time speaking with Louisa Rasmussen, a registered dietitian.  She herself understands what it’s like to be living a GF lifestyle.  Her concept GFreely is really great.  For 25 dollars a month you will receive a package with some delicious foods.  If you’re looking to eat something healthy and delicious, I highly recommend looking into this.  I tried the lentil salad and it was out of this world!  You can visit their http://gfreely.com/ for more information.

Next up, “Alyssa’s Gluten Free.”  Alyssa Pinto also recently diagnosed with Celiac has always been a foodie.  She has taken the time and effort to find the best recipes to leave you wanting more.  Yesterday I had her mini-cupcakes and kept going back for more.  Be sure to “like” her facebook page, because you are most definitely going to want to order some delicious treats!

Also, for those of you in the New York area, I am excited to be speaking at the R.O.C.K (Raising Our Celiac Kids) Meeting regarding attending college living a gluten free lifestyle.  The meeting on June 19th will start at 7:30 PM at Plainview – Old Bethpage Library.  Hope to see you there!  I’m so excited to speak about how Penn State Food Services has positively impacted my life!  Be sure to check out their website as well as they have great information.

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Opening Day

4 Jun

Between making a trip upstate to a quaint little town called Hudson, NY to visit my Uncles pool and taking a short drive out east to my Great Aunt and Uncles outdoor BBQ, deemed The Pavilion, there was not too much to be disappointed in this past Memorial Day. These are debatably two of the best parts of my summer.  I love my Yankees but when it comes to food, family and fun, the opening day of these two summer destinations take the (gfree) cake.

As someone who is Gluten Free it is easy to get sick from cross-contamination. For this reason, it’s VERY important to be vocal about your allergy, especially when you are a guest at someone else’s home.  I write you this post for those who may be shy, or have a family member who is Gluten Free, you will now be more open to asking the right questions.

I’ve learned throughout the past fours years, it’s much easier to explain the disease to someone thoroughly once then to uncomfortably answer questions for a lifetime.   I do understand it’s nerve-racking to approach the people you have the utmost respect for because you may feel like you are bossing them around but in fact, by telling them what you can and cannot eat at their home and how they can help make you feel comfortable, you are really helping them.

I have been fortunate enough to have family that goes above and beyond their calling.  While attending my Uncles house upstate, I was greeted by the aroma of chicken cooking on the grill.  The grill just sanitized also had all my food on it first as well to make sure I wouldn’t be sick from cross contamination.  I was also lucky that while my family was eating cake my uncles got me my favorite Hageen Daz ice cream to enjoy.  I felt so comfortable and that’s because my mom and I took the time once four years ago to explain everything to them.

On Sunday we attended a BBQ at my Great Aunt and Uncle’s house.  It’s really hard to even write this right now because the thought of homemade pizza sauce leaves me salivating! Their outdoor brick oven pizza is the main attraction of the summer and it brings my family together on many occasions.  I have been so fortunate enough to have a cousin and Aunt who searched high and low for the best gluten free dough so that I could enjoy the summer treats just like everyone else.  From enjoying the most delicious gluten free pizza, buns, cookies, cakes, and even eggplant I feel extremely fortunate that my family is aware of my dietary needs and will not settle for anything less from me than a food coma when leaving the BBQ.

The conclusion of my Memorial Day Weekend ended with a BBQ at a family friends house who was not familiar with my dietary needs. Knowing that my choices might be limited here, my mom and I discussed packing some treats. We went to the party with a bag of gluten free friendly goodies for me to snack on. In addition I brought my own chicken wrapped in tinfoil to cook on the BBQ.

My parents are also incredibly helpful and this past weekend my mom and sister picked up a delicious pie, cookies, and brownies from Wild Flours in Huntington on Long Island. I definitely recommend the treats here. I will follow up with more specifics about this Long Island based shop in a later post, but if you need a homemade sweet treat before then I suggest taking a little trip. My mom and sister came home raving about how nice the owner was and how she makes all of the food in the bakery.  Well, after tasting the food I can attest to the fact that the blueberry pie, brownies, and apple cinnamon muffins were out of this world.  It’s always great to find something new and delicious.  I’m looking forward to picking up some muffins to snack on.  Let me know if you check it out!!

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Hello World!

18 May

Six letters formulate a single word that has been affecting lives across the nation. This word is GLUTEN.  While many are familiar with the word, people do not know what this actually means. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barely, and certain oats.  If you are reading this and do not have a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease it’s still important to have a clear understanding of it, seeing as how more people have been diagnosed than ever before.  People like myself, living with Celiac Disease do not have the antibodies to break down and process food the same way a person without Celiac Disease can.  The villi of a person with Celiac Disease is flattened whereas anyone living a normal lifestyle has villi standing up that absorb the nutrients.

Now that you have a better understanding, this is how my story begins.  I graduated from Jericho high school in 2008 and after a few years of feeling sick, bloated and several trips to the ER with kidney stones my parents and I recognized that there was a problem that needed to be fixed – I was not living my life the way a 17 year old should.  When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a week before starting college at Penn State University I was nervous and overwhelmed.  At that time, even though it was just 4 years ago, very few people were familiar with this disease and the implications it can have on your life.

Upon my diagnosis, which was first done with a simple blood test and later verified through an endoscopy, I turned to WebMD to answer some questions (not a good move). Not only was I highly uneducated, but I didn’t know where to turn for information.  I was about encounter the challenges most graduating high school seniors face when making the transition from high school to college, and now I had to add this ‘disease’ to my list. Looking back now, at the age of 21 and post graduation, I can confidently say that I have overcome many hurdles and I want to share my experiences to help make someone’s (maybe your) life a little less stressful. I am putting the pen to the paper so to speak to tell my tale of a girl who is YOUNG WILD AND GLUTEN FREE! I know what it’s like to go out on a date and quickly hit a boys hand before he puts his gluten contaminated fork in your dish.  I know what it’s like to have everyone at a party ask, “Oh my god, you can’t drink beer, how do you survive?”  But most importantly, I know what it’s like to take something that you may think of being negative and turn it into a positive.

Through this blog I will share with you:

– Recipes

– Restaurants in the New York Area

– Travel information (what to pack/where to eat)

– My involvement with Kicking 4 Celiac Foundation(http://www.kicking4celiac.org/)

– Address any questions you may have …. and more!
This coming weekend I’ll be attending the buzzed about food festival in Brooklyn, Googa Mooga (http://googamooga.wpengine.com/)  While I didn’t want to miss out on a fun day music and sun, I also want to enjoy the food like all of my friends!  Just the thought of watching them indulge every morsel of delicious food made me cringe.  So I took action! 75 calls later to all the food vendors and  I now have a plan of attack as well as a few new foodie friends!  Stay tuned for my take on the festival and some of my top eats there!
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