Gluten free, from me to you!

My name is Laura Hill, I was diagnosed with celiac disease ten years ago. Like many others, it was like pulling teeth to get a diagnosis! When my doctor had performed numerous tests and prescribed a vareity of medication with no cure, I requested he test me for celiac disease by the recommendation of a friend and he refused. He told me I could not live the rest of my life without gluten. He also suggested I was making myself sick. I finally decided to seek a second opinion. The next doctor performed the blood work and the results came back confirmed celiac disease. Starting the gluten free diet totally changed my life. The condition I was in before the diagnosis was scary, without the gluten free diet I am not sure I would be here today! From my experience with celiac disease over the years, I have a desire to help others with the condition.

It can be daunting starting the diet and changing over to the gluten free lifestyle. This inspired me to become a dietitian, in order to help those make dietary changes. I just graduated with a B.S. in Nutrition and I am currently a dietetic intern. I enjoy researching celiac disease, recipes, and the correlation between diet and disease. In this blog I want to share recipes and general information to help you navigate the gluten free diet, in the gluten filled world.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gluten free finds at Costco and Big Lots

The gluten free diet can be pricey, but there are ways to cut cost.  Some surprising places you might not think to shop are Costco and Big Lots which offer great prices. I make about 2 Costco trips a month to stock up on some staples. Here is the loot from my last trip, including Cashew Nut Clusters (im addicted), Chobani Yogurt for 12 pack , Healthy Gatherings Crunch Master crackers, organic spring mix lettuce, Maranatha's almond butter, and peach and mango salsa.

Some other gluten free options at costco include fresh meat, hummus, fresh produce, canned chicken, canned tuna, frozen fish fillets, Larabars, Riceworks rice chips, and nuts.

Big Lots is another store that I was surprised to find low prices on great organic gluten free cereal. They have Nature's Path crispy rice, mesa sunrise, corn flakes, and envirokidz cereals for $2 a box, with a retail price of $4.99 a box. So I would recommend checking warehouse and discount stores for great deals like this to help stretch the gluten free budget.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rudi's Gluten Free Bread

The kind people at Rudi's were generous enough to send a sample pack of goodies for my local celiac support group meeting in October. Rudi's is not currently sold in any of the local stores but they are estimated to be in Whole Foods by January 2011. Here is what you have to look forward to, they offer 3 varieties are gluten free bread, multi-grain, original, and my favorite cinnamon raisin. Everyone at the support group was excited to have new options coming.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

FNCE Boston, MA

One of the many benefits of Lipscomb's dietetic internship is the opportunity to attend the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. This year the conference was held in Boston, MA. Dietitians and food vendors from all over the U.S. come together to learn more about latest information in nutrition as well as sample new healthy products.
There were several meetings on the gluten free diet in the treatment of celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, schizophrenia, leaky gut, and autism. There still needs to be more research on the gluten free/ casein free diet for those with autism but many individuals are seeing improvements in behavior and digestion from removal of these proteins. The gluten sensitive or those who have a negative biopsy and negative blood work but symptoms respond to the diet, is a group I think we will hear more about in the next few years. It is estimated that 20,000,000 people are gluten sensitive according to one of the presentations that I attended.
With the increase of those needing a gluten free diet comes an increase in manufactures creating gluten free products.The market for gluten free products is currently 1.6 billion and is projected to be 2.6 billion by 2012.  The food expo at the conference was heaven for a those needing a gluten free diet. A whole row was dedicated to the gluten free diet. Samples were given from Udi's, Ian's, Food Should Taste Good, Mary's Gone Crackers, Lara Bars, Kind Bar, Kettle Cuisine, La Tortilla Factory, Stonyfield Farms, Chobani, Chex, Bakery On Main, Glutino, Yo Cream, Cabot Cheese, Lundberg Family Farms and Nu Life Foods. Needless to I did not starve at this convention from all the yummy samples.  
I also had the privilege to attend a gluten free cooking demonstration given by Marlisa Brown, RD, CDE on easy gluten free cooking, focusing on delicious gluten free recipes with a whole grain flair. Marlisa Brown did an excelent job showing creative ways to incorporate more whole grain nutritious flours like quinoa, teff, and oats into the diet. She is a very entertaining speaker, I could see her on the Food Network with gluten free cooking show! I'd watch it for sure. I also received a copy of her new book Gluten- Free, Hassle Free. This is an excellent book that explains the diet, how to cope, recipes, meal plans, product recommendations, traveling tips, and restaurant guidelines. I can see this book being very helpful for a newly diagnosed client.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sweet as pumpkin pie..

As the leaves are changing colors, the temperatures are dropping, and fall flavors are in full swing from pumpkin lattes to hearty soups . I happen to love pumpkin in just about anything. An added bonus is its extremely healthy with high levels of Vitamin A and fiber.
Since Libby's made its way on the shelves for the first time this year I have been experimenting with new ways to add pumpkin to recipes. Vanilla yogurt with canned pumpkin, cinnamon and a few walnuts makes a healthy snack or dessert.  Another way I have been enjoying pumpkin is mixed into peanut butter and spread on gluten free bread or waffle and topped with banana and cinnamon. I know these sound like unusual combinations but don't knock it til you try it.. I also have a great pumpkin roll recipe that will be posted soon.

Here is a recipe for pumpkin muffins with a little help from Betty! I used the pumpkin in place of the butter or oil for a lower fat version.

  •  1 gluten free Betty Crocker yellow cake mix
  •  1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  •  1/3 cup brown sugar
  •  2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  •  3 eggs
  •  1 tsp vanilla
  •  1/4 cup milk

Cream cheese center:

  • 1/2 block 1/3 less fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven 325. Line 14 muffin tins with paper liners or spray with oil.
In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, pumpkin, milk, and cake mix. Beat with electric mixer for 1-2 minutes. Add sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins. You may want to layer the cream cheese topping in the middle or put it on top before baking.

Cream Cheese Center:
Warm cream cheese in microwave for 30-45 seconds or until soft. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Either layer in the middle of the muffin or top muffin with a teaspoon of the mixture.

Bake at 325 for 15-18 minutes 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Going Out Gluten Free..

Eating out can be a scary for individuals following a gluten free diet but with proper planning can be done. Many restaurants now offer gluten free menus and chefs are adapting recipes to accommodate those with allergens and intolerances. Even restaurants that do not offer a gluten free menu may be able to provide a gluten free meal, so ask to speak to the manger to discuss the menu options. These Triumph Dining Cards are good to have on hand that explain to the chef what is allowed and not allowed on the gluten free diet, these cards are nice for traveling and come in a variety of languages. Here is a list of local restaurants that offer gluten free meals in the Nashville area:

Garlic Jim's
Jason's Deli
Olive Garden
Pei Wei
P.F. Changs
Red Robin
Ted's Montana Grill
Zoe's Kitchen

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to eat gluten free and wholesome food on a budget...

The gluten free diet can be expensive without a smart strategy to budget your meals. Here are some tips to help drive down the cost of your next grocery bill.

1. Plan meals each week according to the sale fliers and incorporate seasonal foods into your meals. Foods that are in season are typically more inexpensive than unseasonal foods.

2. Scope out gluten free coupons in the paper, online, and some stores offer gluten free coupons like the Whole Deal at Whole Foods. Here are a few links to gluten free product coupons:

Chobani Yogurt

Stony Field Organic

Whole Foods

Enjoy Life Foods

Pacific Foods

General Mills

3. Shop primarily on the outside of the grocery. There are lots of natural foods on the outside of the
grocery that can build the basis of a gluten free meal. For instance:
  •  produce
  • fresh meat
  •  fish
  • dairy
 Other inexpensive naturally gluten free options on the inner isles include:
  • beans
  •  rice
  • corn meal
  • whole kernel pop corn
  • frozen vegetables
  • corn tortillas

4. Have at least one meal a week meatless. Incorporates more veggies and cut down on cost.
  • Black bean tacos with lettuce, cheese, salsa, and avocado
  • Brown rice pasta with marinaria sauce and side salad
  • Spinach and eggs, baked sweet potato, and black eyed peas

5. Shop farmers markets or participate in community supported agriculture to save on local produce.

6. Purchase gluten free processed foods minimally,some products tend to be more expensive and empty nutrient value due to the high sugar and white rice flour content. Stock up on favorite products when they are on sale.

7. Buy gluten free flours and mixes in bulk through Amazon.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am willing to bet you have the ingredients in your pantry right now just waiting to become delicious  peanut butter cookies! These cookies are easy, loved by the celiac and non-celiac, and an inexpensive dessert! Every time I take these somewhere, I am instantly asked for the recipe. I want to experiment in the future to see how almond butter with dark chocolate chips would be in this recipe.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350, line baking sheet with aluminum foil, mix the all the ingredients above, and drop by rounded teaspoon onto prepared pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Yield: 18-20 cookies

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sandwich Petals

Gluten Free Sandwich Petals
Flat breads and wraps are all the rage on restaurant menus and cafes. Usually these wraps are off limits for gluten free individuals. Sandwich Petals have made it possible to enjoy healthy wraps again. Corn tortillas are naturally gluten free but they are often dry and break easily. Sandwich petals are made from 10 gluten free whole grains making them not only tasty but nutritious. They come in three flavors Agave Grain, Chimayo Red Chile, and Spinach Garlic. 
 I have used the Agave Grain, warmed in the microwave, spread with peanut butter, sprinkled with raisins, cinnamon and sliced banana for a filling breakfast.
The Spinach Garlic has been the star of my daily lunch box, I usually spread the wrap with hummus and top with applegate farms turkey, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes. The wrap holds all those hearty ingredients without cracking and is not soggy by lunch time!
I haven't open the Chimayo Red Chile flavor yet, but I am sure they will be just as great as the other two.
These wraps could be used as a thin pizza crust, breakfast burritos, tacos, enchiladas, or various other ways.. Can't wait to experiment more. You can order the tortillas from for $25 for 36 tortillas this also includes shipping. These would be a great addition to your lunch or your child's gluten free lunchbox.

Sandwich Petals Perks:

  •  21-22g of low glycemic carbs

  • Omega 3's

  • Prebiotics

  • High fiber

  • Slow digesting

  • Dairy, egg, peanut, wheat, and animal product free

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jason's Deli

My blog should just be designated to UDI's.. I was doing some research yesterday and it was brought to my attention that Jason's Deli is now using UDI's gluten free bread in their delis. They tested out the market in a few different locations and as of July 5th all Jason's Deli locations have gluten free sandwiches as an option.

One thing they did say was there is a chance, just like with any resturant of cross containmination. But I called our local Jason's Deli this morning and they told me to ask for a manager when you order and they will make sure to change their gloves and use aluminum foil to protect the gluten free sandwich from wheat crumbs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Gluten Free Chicago

My cousin, aunt, mom, and I have been planning a trip for years, and finally got the chance to take a girls trip to Chicago.  We had a great time and I am already wanting to go back. Chicago has so much to see and is just such a neat city!

I did some research before we left, and found it was going to be simple eating gluten free in Chicago. They have so many restaurants that either offer a gluten free menu or the chefs are aware of the condition. Thanks to my cousin's blackberry we were able to pull up gluten free restaurants according to what area we were in.. Here is a little review of the restaurants we choose while in Chicago.

Bistro 110 did not have an actual gluten free menu but the chef was very aware of the precautions to take when preparing food for someone with a food allergy or intolerance. Many of their menu items were naturally gluten free without having to make many adaptations. I ordered a chicken sandwich with mozzarella cheese and roasted vegetables.. minus the bread. The chicken was served with a salad.

Guido's Pizza is a famous pizza place in Chicago that is famous for the supper thick Chicago pizza. We found ourselves stuck in a bad storm the first night and took cover in a Walgreen's.. where we bought wine and snacks. We hailed a cab back to our hotel and it became evident that we would not be leaving the hotel due to the weather.. We decided to order a pizza and found that Guido's offers a gluten free pizza.. The pizza was a thin crust pizza and it was luke warm when delivered but it was a pretty nice treat to have a gluten free pizza delivered.

Cafe Ba Ba Reeba is a tapas (appetizers) restaurant that has a great gluten free menu! My brother had eaten at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba on a previous trip to Chicago and highly recommended it. It was not convenient to our hotel but it was worth the short cab drive. We started out ordering sangria, and the waiter brought the regular bread to the table. He noticed I had a gluten free menu, and said do you want me to get you some bread started... I thought he was confused. But he explained to me they have gluten free bread!! He brought it out to me and I thought he had made a mistake, it was that good!!! They order the bread from a local bakery called Rose's. Check out their website to order the bread and baked goods online!! It is amazing bread. Next, we ordered Tapas to split.. short ribs with mashed potatoes, grilled chickpea and chicken, and chicken artichoke paella (Spanish rice dish). It was all so so so good!! I have to learn to make paella it is amazing! We also split two small desserts, a butterscotch custard and a chocolate torte. Both were really rich so a bite was all you needed of either. To top it all off our sweet waiter brought me extra bread to take with me.. I hope to go back to Chicago and eat at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba again!