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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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“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!

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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Find Me The Best GF App…

23 May

Looks like I found it – Find Me Gluten Free.  Monday night a friend tweeted a link to me about the creation of a great app.  Thanks to Ross, I quickly went to the app store and downloaded it, free of charge.  Sitting among my other 5 gluten free apps I thought, how helpful could it be?   I must admit I haven’t found my other apps to be too beneficial, but that night I was confident that I had found the best one yet.

During my uptown stay in NYC, I was craving for something other than my usually GF Sushi.  I did a quick  ‘around me’ search and found The Naked Pizza among many others.  I called, ordered and was informed that the restaurant was free of cross contamination.  Within 25 minutes the 13-dollar, that’s correct I said 13-dollar pizza was at my front door!

Delicious Pizza from Naked Pizza

Excited by how useful the app was I immediately contacted Darin Alpert, COO of ‘Find Me Gluten Free’.  Created by Jason Elmore, he himself was struggling to find a scrumptious GF meal.  The other apps on my phone attempt to serve the same purpose, however the issue is that they don’t have many restaurants or include as much information as this one.  Darin and Jason’s efforts have certainly helped me because I had more than 20 options available within a 10-mile radius.

I love the features of this because it  allows you to add restaurants, comment, and rate them. By creating a profile you have the ability to let your voice be heard.  For those with the Droid or iPhone the app also has a dining card, which explains what you can and cannot have.  My only suggestion would be to change the card to include other languages in an attempt to benefit international travelers. (I wouldn’t be too surprised if that was already in the works!)

Find Me Gluten Free – Profile

For mothers or fathers with little children, I certainly recommend ‘Find Me Gluten Free’.  I know myself the issue I typically have is not being able to find a restaurant within a few miles distance.  By the time I find one I’m sure you can agree it usually seems like a task to go to the restaurant.

Of course the app lists chain restaurants like Olive Garden that are gluten free friendly, but as always you should be sure to ask the right questions and make sure your server is familiar with the diet and precautions the chef must take to ensure you enjoy your meal.

Once you download the app you will find the simplicity in it.  After speaking with Darin, I see what the app has to offer now and how it is really going to revolutionize the dining for all us “Celiacs” out there.  I’d really love to hear what you think about the app…please be sure to comment!  I was certainly impressed and look forward to finding more restaurants using this app!

For more information on the app visit: http://www.findmeglutenfree.com/

The Great (Gluten Free) Googa Mooga!

21 May

The Great Googa Mooga certainly lived up to its greatness this weekend.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was attending the event in Prospect Park with some friends and was eager to dig into the gluten free goodness the festival had to offer. I was a bit upset when I heard from others that Saturday was quite the cluster, lines were crazy and many were only were able to taste two dishes from the over 75 vendors that were represented.  Luckily, my friends and I had a plan of attack – we went early in the morning and had no issues waiting.

Between meeting Gary Reloj, co-founder of www.omgfoodie.com, Ali Fedotowsky, former Bachelorette and host of 1stLook on NBC  and tasting delicious dishes the day could not have been more perfect for this aspiring broadcast journalist!

Let’s get to the good stuff, below are some highlights of the delicious GF foods that must be tasted, and must be tasted ASAP!

Free Bread: This was my first stop! For obvious reasons I felt the most safe here. After speaking with Karen Freer and tasting her delicious treats, I needed to know where I get them beyond the gates of the Googa Mooga Festival.  Although Karen, a Celiac herself, doesn’t have a storefront you can order her delicious food by visiting http://freebreadinc.com/order.html.  The flavor and texture of the bread was delicious.  More specifically, the JALAA made with Japaleno, sharp cheddar and buttermilk was to die for!  Toasty hot with at touch of butter, is certainly something I would recommend for dinner parties and to enjoy at a restaurant while your friends are munching on bread.  I must note, my friend Ashley (not a Celiac, but a foodie) said this was her favorite dish of the day!

Big Gay Ice Cream – Besides for the fact that owners Doug and Brian were hysterical and lovely to speak with, their milkshake was FANTASTIC!  I’m not a ginger or curry lover on their own, but together the Ginger Curry milkshake was a match made in gluten free heaven.  For those who are curious, the shake most reminded me of a coffee flavor.  A stop at Big Gay Ice Cream is a MUST on your summer to-do list! While all of the flavors at Googa Mooga were gluten free that’s not the case in the store so be sure to ask.  Doug and Brian were adamant that if you ask for help in store that they and their staff will be extremely happy to accommodate their customer’s dietary needs.  It’s important to trust the people serving you, and I felt completely at ease after two minutes of speaking with them.  For more information visit: http://biggayicecream.com/.

Pictured with Doug and Bryan, enjoying my delicious Ginger-Curry shake!

The Big Banana: There is nothing I love more than chocolate covered bananas, especially a freezing cold one on a gorgeous hot day.  Once again, these owners were very knowledgeable on Celiac disease and had other great options as well.  The bananas are all packaged individually.  They do say they may contain traces of wheat, but I did speak with the staff and they told me the chocolate covered banana was gluten free and there was no issue with cross contamination.  More information can be found at http://www.rockawaybeachclub.com/

There were many other places I had contacted before the event that had gluten free foods, unfortunately Arancini Bros. the gluten free meatballs I was looking forward to trying were being cooked in the same fryer as the other ones and I couldn’t risk cross contamination.  They smelled delicious so I think I’m going to have to add Arancini to my summer bucket list and hope they can accommodate me in their shop!

All in all the day, company, food, and music were great at the Great Googa Mooga!   I am so happy I took the time to prepare for the day and pack a few of my own snacks so that I could enjoy the same experience as my friends and 40,000 others! With a little dedication and research it’s nice to know that it’s possible to go to a food festival and dig in just like everyone else! If you are planning on going to an event or concert and are unsure of how to prepare for it please reach out and I will be happy to help you!

Had a great time at The Great Googa Mooga with Steph, Ash, and Jill!

Xo,

Schnittuation

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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!
Lets dig in,
Schnittuation 😉
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