Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Exotic Thai 8/30/10

I was excited to go here since I knew a lot of Thai food was naturally gluten free. I was seated with my spouse and a friend and given a menu. I had eaten here one other time when I was still able to eat gluten.
I had eaten drunken noodles they day before, so I knew they were safe. I wanted to try the Yum Noa salad, so I asked our Server if it was made with Soy Sauce she replied yes. I then asked if it could be made without it, she replied No. That was it - no offer to talk to the chef, nothing. Needless to say I was irritated by her completely disregard for my food allergy. My husband spoke up and said gluten and msg make her really sick, so she can't have anything with that on it. She still said No. I proceeded to order the Drunken Noodles again because I knew they were safe. The meal was fine and tasty, but I was not happy all day that they were not more cooperative to my needs. This was the least allergy friendly restaurant I have eaten at since I have gone gluten free. It could have been a language barrier, but I didn't get that vibe either.

I did go again on 8/31 and decided to try the Yum Noa salad and if I got sick then so be it. My friend went with me and she had previously asked and they said no, it doesn't have soy sauce in it. I ate the salad and did not get sick. We had the same ignorant waitress today as yesterday and I was not thrilled about it.

I would have to say the chances of cross contamination are probably sky high as everything is made in the same kitchen and I'm sure if the staff isn't aware of food allergies to the point they could ask a chef to leave something out then things like cross contamination aren't thought about.

Will I be back? Probably, the food was good, the experience if it weren't for the company would have soured me on the restaurant for life! If you want to check out the menu they have it on their site. Exotic Thai

King Arthur's Cookie Mix

I have tried many cookie mixes out there and there are a couple that are decent, but not really like a glutenous cookie! The gluten free ones always crumble and have that "gluten free" after taste.

King Arthur's got it right. I did not make the cookies as individuals. I made cookie bars. They are awesome. They are still slightly crumbly, but that's to be expected with gluten free mixes. It has the best flavor of a gluten free cookie mix I have ever tried. I added chocolate chips. I'm pretty sure I could pass this off to my gluten eaters and they would not know the difference.

I purchased it at my local Hy-Vee for more than $4 which was painful for a cookie mix, but worth the money if you really want a good cookie and are forced to eat gf.

I definitely suggest giving this mix a shot. It requires a stick of butter, 1 large egg, 2 TBS water, and chocolate chips or nuts. So for that kind of money it asks for a lot of my own items too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quinoa pronounced KEENWA

Quinoa is grain I knew NOTHING about until I went gluten free. A gluten free diet makes it difficult to get a lot of fiber. Quinoa is an easy way to get those things! It looks like tiny seeds. It is available for purchase in the grocery stores here in the health food market.

Each serving packs a punch of nutrition it has 222 calories, 3.6g of fat, 5.2g of fiber and 8.1g of protein. It's also full of nutrients! For a full nutrition break down Quinoa.

I made it tonight for dinner to go as a side dish to the crock pot roast I made. It was easy to cook and takes about 20 minutes to fully cook. Here is the recipe I created tonight.

2 C beef broth
1 C Quinoa (washed/drained, but not cooked)
1/2 C fresh veggies ( I used peppers and onions)
Salt/Pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste as well

1) Bring broth to a boil. 2) add the Quinoa and bring it back to a boil. 3) 5 minutes into the boiling add peppers and onions. Add the seasonings and stir well. 3) let it simmer at a low boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

So easy and so tasty. It's a very adaptable recipe. You can use anything you want to make it to your own personal tastes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cream Soup Base

There is nothing worse than not being able to make soups or casseroles because a gluten free diet doesn't allow for canned condensed cream soup, well here is a link to a recipe that can be used in exchange for canned soup and since its made from scratch its better for you!

 Try it out Cream Soup Base Recipe

Gluten Free Pizza Crusts - Homemade

Pizza Crust Recipe

This pizza crust recipe is as close as I can get to the real thing. I found it while searching for a way to make my own pizza crust. I love this site. The gluten free cooking school site has so many wonderful recipes. It's the first place I check for recipes that are gluten free.

This pizza crust will not disappoint. One batch of dough makes about 4 personal sized pizzas, well what I consider personal pizzas tend to be a little larger than a normal personal pizza.  Its crispy and chewy at the same time. I make them up in advance and bake them or 8-10 minutes, then place my toppings on them and cook until the cheese is golden brown. If I am only eating one, I still roll out all 4 crusts and bake them, after baking I let them cool, place wax paper between them and freeze them in a freezer Ziploc bag. I usually place it on the baking stone frozen while the oven preheats and then add the toppings once the oven is preheated. Always turns out tasty!

Happy Joe's

Happy Joe's has come around, they now have gluten free pizza crusts! Yeah! I have tried all the Happy Joe's Restaurants in Davenport and they all have the crusts. I have also had it delivered. You can get several different kinds of pizza on the gluten free crust. The staff is well versed in which pizzas can be ordered on the gluten free crusts. It's become a popular item, so I suggest calling before you go to get a gluten free pizza because they have been out of stock more than once when I have had a pizza craving. The Taco Pizza and Combo pizzas are my favorite and both are AWESOME on the gluten free crust.
The pizza crusts only come in smalls, so if you are feeding more than one gluten free person, you might need more than one pizza. They are about $12 each. So -- stop by Happy Joe's soon and have a gluten free pizza, you won't be disappointed! Check out their menu online Happy Joe's

Friday, August 20, 2010

Potato Chip Chicken

This is my favorite fast go to recipe when I need to make dinner fairly quickly. Cook time is really all it requires. The ingredients are almost always things a person has on hand.
Potato chips, seasonings, mayonnaise and chicken breasts. It's a very easy recipe. Try it and you will not be disappointed. You can use any flavor of potato chips to change the flavor of the whole dish. Oh and did I mention as long as your seasoning and chips are gluten free (BBQ are not usually GF) the whole dish is gluten free. My family loves it too.

Potato Chip Chicken

So far we have used Kitchen Cooked regular chips, Lays kettle cooked jalapeno cheddar and regular Lays Kettle cooked chips in this dish and all of them have been great. I have also used Boetje's stone ground mustard in with the mayonnaise, it added a kick to it, but did not make it too spicy. Bake it in the oven at 375 for about 35-40 minutes until the chicken juices run clear.

Red Velvet Cake - Gluten Free -- No JOKE!

This photo is of the cake I have made, this photo is from the Gluten Free Cooking school's website. I forgot to take pictures of the cakes I made, I will try to get better at taking photos for the blog.

Red Velvet Cake - Gluten Free

I found this red velvet cake recipe online right after going gluten free, which happened to be the same month I turned 30 years old. I was extremely concerned I wouldn't get a birthday cake that tasted good ever again. I was wrong. This cake was fantastic. It was even better the 2nd day. I refrigerated it since most things gluten free tend to go bad quickly. I wanted to make it last. I made it again this year on my birthday and shared it with my coworkers who raved on how wonderful it tasted. Honestly ,if you don't know it, you won't know its gluten free.

Try it, you won't be disappointed!!

Betty Crocker Brownies

Betty Crocker hit the nail on the head with their gluten free brownie mix. It tastes exactly like regular brownies, they even have chocolate chips in them. They are chewy, but still get the crisp edges like glutenous brownies. I have taken them to work and have made them to keep at home, I am the only one at both places that is gluten free and everyone else helped me devour these brownies. They are approximately $3.99 at my local grocery store, HyVee. They can be found in the Gluten Free section here in the Quad Cities. I know they can be purchased in bulk on the Internet as well. I also know Betty Crocker has a lot of recipes that are gluten free on their website with many reviews from people who have tried them, so check it out. Betty Crocker Gluten Free Recipes

Bob's Red Mill - Cornbread Mix

I tried Bob's Red Mill cornbread mix for the first time around Thanksgiving last year. I was wanting something that tasted normal after so many months of choking down foods that were barely tolerable. The first time I made it, it was good. It was missing something for my taste. The next time I made it I added an additional 1/4 cup of sugar and it was great. I have also forgotten to add the extra sugar one other time and sprinkled the 1/4 cup on the top before baking, the results were fantastic! It crystallizes the sugar on top, making it delightful. I make this more often in the fall and winter months than I do any other time of the year. I have also used this mix in the cornbread corn recipe I make and it was great.

I have found the cheapest place to get it is on Amazon, but it is available in grocery stores that carry GF products. If you purchase it on Amazon you have to buy it in bulk. A box with 4 packages is $10.71 and often qualifies for free shipping. Bob's Red Mill site is wonderful for detailed information on their products. For nutritional information or ordering direct from Bob's check out their site. Bob's Red Mill Cornbread

Incredible Pizza 8/20

We went to Incredible Pizza to celebrate my son's first day of Kindergarten. I was a little apprehensive due to the high probability of cross contamination. Incredible Pizza has no items they specify as gluten free, but I was able to eat and felt fine after. I had tacos from their Mexican bar. I used taco shells, meat, cheese, jalapenos and tomatoes. I also got a salad from their salad bar and used lite Italian dressing without issues.

We went and played more games after eating and I felt fine. At the end we got ice cream and had I listened to my brain when I hesitated to put the M&M's on my ice cream I would have been fine. I momentarily noted in my head that the M&M's were probably cross contaminated being surrounded by all the cookie bits and stuff to top the ice cream with, but no I dumped some on and ate it anyway. I got sick. Not horribly sick, but sick nonetheless. I know it was from that.

So - while I did find some lunch options that were tolerated well, I would eat there again with extreme caution. It's a buffet so cross contamination can occur without even realizing it. The staff is not really over seeing the buffet much, so its really a test of faith to eat here for the gluten free followers.

Will we go back? Yes, it was lots of fun and my family had a ball. They also offer options to play without paying for the buffet, so you could eat before going to play the games. Overall a fun place to play, but Celiacs and GI sufferers should be very cautious. Here is a link to their site : http://www.incrediblepizza.com/

Cereal Vit brand Benevit Cereal

I tried this cereal because a coworker brought me some (Thanks Patti). The Cereal Vit brand is not one I had seen in the stores before, but I had tried buckwheat flake cereal before and enjoyed it. This cereal is not sweet. Its a combo of rice and buckwheat flakes. It's a little bland, but I used Vanilla flavored almond milk on it and it was wonderful. The milk added enough sweetness for it to feel like I was eating "real" cereal not a healthy version. It has a good crunch to it even after being in milk.

The company itself offers a form to give to a local grocer for them to use to order the products. I plan to get the form to my local HyVee girl to see if she can get it ordered for the West Kimberly Store.
To get the cereal into your own stores/homes. follow the link for complete instructions and forms:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

KIND Fruit & Nut Bars

I recently found the KIND Fruit & Nut bar at my local HyVee grocery store. I have tried several kinds with my favorites being the Fruit & Nuts in Yogurt and the Sesame & Peanuts with Chocolate.

The Fruit & Nuts in Yogurt is sweet, but not too sweet. It has a chewy/smooth texture, but nothing like a regular granola bar or a protein bar. The KIND bars are filling and chocked full of goodness.

Calories: 210

Fat Calories: 120
Total Fat: 13g
Saturated Fat: 5g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 35mg
Total Carbohydrates: 20g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 17g
Protein: 5g

The Sesame & Peanuts with Chocolate is an odd combination. It's good, but while you are eating it, you won't understand why you keep going back for another bite. It's not really sweet, it has a major sesame flavor. It's got more crunch to it than the other bars I have tried from KIND. If you like sesame seeds you should give it a shot. I couldn't pinpoint if I really liked it or not, but I do, I just can't explain why.

Calories: 230
Fat Calories: 130
Total Fat: 15g
Saturated Fat: 4g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 40mg
Total Carbohydrates: 19g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 15g
Protein: 6g

There website gives you full description of each bar, I have only tried a few because some of them do not sound appetizing to me, but check out their website you might find one you would like to try. I know HyVee carries several kinds. Kind Bars

Udi's Bread

Oh Udi where have you been my whole gluten free existence?

I finally found a bread I like!! FINALLY! Plus I didn't have to bake it. Before I found Udi I had to bake my own bread because I could not stomach the spongy gross after taste that was left behind after trying the other breads on the shelf. They just weren't the same.

My local grocery store has a wonderful woman named, Theresa, she works in the Health Market and deals directly with all the gluten free products and vendors. She is very helpful in recommending products they have in stock that I might like. I saw her a few weeks ago and she recommended I try Udi's bread since she had heard from several customers it was good. I tried it too and I love it. I usually eat it toasted, but when its defrosted it is soft like normal bread. There is no after taste to this bread. It comes in two kinds: white and multi-grain. I have tried both and like both. It is about $5 a loaf depending on where you buy it.

I always keep a loaf on hand, even at work in the freezer I have an extra loaf. Check out there website they offer a $1 off coupon to try their bread. Udi's Gluten free bakery products

Pure Silk Almond Milk

I tried Pure Silk Vanilla Almond Milk for the first time today. WOW! That is my reaction. It's sweet. It does not taste like regular milk, it tastes like cereal milk. The kind that has hint of sweetness after you eat all the cereal and have the milk left over to drink. I am shocked to find it only has 90 calories per serving. It's yummy and healthy! I'm told the plain Almond Milk has 60 calories per serving.

It only comes in 1/2 gallon cardboard containers with a little plastic lidded spout. It was $2.89 at my local grocery store and found in the same section as the Cow's Milk. I'm sure it can be found in health food sections too. It is also lactose free for those who suffer from Lactose Intolerance. It does contain nuts, since its made from Almonds.

If you go to their website you can sign up and get a coupon for $.75 off. Try it out, you won't be disappointed. Try Almond Milk

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Red Robin 8/18/10

I love Red Robin! They have a great family atmosphere and offer a decent gluten free menu for both adults and kids. The prices are a little on the "higher" side of the spectrum for a burger and fries, but if you leave there hungry its your own fault.

The staff is very well versed in gluten free. When you are greeted at the door let the Hostess know you need a gluten free menu, they print you out one, which you may keep if you like (I never do). They offer a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads and entrees all without gluten. They even give you unlimited french fries from a designated fryer without their special "salt". Just tell the server you would like "no salt" fries. The burgers and sandwiches can be made into lettuce wraps if you want or they can be brought out just on a plate without the bun. They specifically tell you on the gf menu what you cannot have as far as specifics on certain dishes and salad dressings. Check out this link for thier gluten free menu http://www.redrobin.com/pdfs/Wheat_Gluten_Allergen_Menu.pdf

Red Robin was my first choice to eat out at after I became gluten free over a year ago, and we have been there many times because they seem to always get it right for me! The servers do a great job and are very attentive. We have had management stop by several times just to be sure we were well taken care of, that means a lot when you have a food allergy. The server always puts at least 3 *Allergy ALERT* notations on my order and it shows up on the bill, which makes me feel better about the kitchen staff knowing they have to be mindful of the food order.

Red Robin is definitely family and gluten free friendly, try it soon!

Biaggi's - dinner 8/17/10

Yes, I ate out twice yesterday. I had overall good experiences at both with the food I ordered. I love Biaggi's. Their staff is well informed on their gluten free menu, which has lots of delicious options. I have eaten there several times

Last night I ordered an appetizer of Tomato Caprese, Chicken Picante Pizza from the gluten free menu and an ice cream sundae from the regular menu without the crepe portion of the dish. I have ordered all these things previously so I knew I would not have any ill effects.

The Tomato Caprese is fantastic! It's several fresh tomato slices arranged on a plate with sliced red onions and fresh Buffalo Mozzarella cheese on top then all of that is topped with balsamic vinegar/olive oil. There are some yummy olives plated with the leaves of basil too. It's about $8, but you get a large portion.

The chicken picante pizza is great. Its spicy and cheesy and oh so yummy! The pizza has grilled chicken, picante sauce, green onions, goat cheese and regular cheese with a few crumbles of bacon. The crust is even tasty. It is a bit thin and can crumble if you don't have your hand under it, if you eat it with your hands. It only comes in one size which is small for $10.

The ice cream sundae I ordered was from the regular dessert menu. It was a scoop of ice cream in a dish with chocolate, white chocolate and raspberry sauce and a few fresh berries. It normally comes with a crepe dish, but I requested it be left off due to my gluten issues. The sundae was one scoop of ice cream - not a large scoop either and it cost $7, no I'm not kidding. It was tasty, but not $7 good!

I will continue to eat at Biaggi's because I love that I can go in and order from their gf menu and choose from a variety of things: appetizers, salad, pizza, entrees including PASTA! They also offer different kinds of fish and steak. It's a bit pricier than I like to pay for a normal meal, but its so good its worth the extra few bucks to be able to order with ease. They do have smaller portions and cheaper prices at lunch time, so if cost is a concern try them at lunch, you won't be disappointed!

Carlos O'Kellys 8/17/10

We ate at Carlos O'Kelly's for lunch. I was very excited when we walked in the front doors to see a sticker advertising a Gluten Free menu. The fact that they have one makes my anxiety of eating out go down a notch. We were greeted promptly, I asked for a gluten free menu, which they had ready to go. We were their first customers of the day. We were looking over the menus, my husband the glutenous version (3 pages) and me and my gluten free version (1 page). My excitement was quickly turned to pure apprehension when the first items on the lists were Salads w/o shells and all seemed OK, but then I got to the Salad Dressing options and found they had listed Hidden Valley Ranch as gluten free.

I asked my waiter if the menu was correct and pointed out that I didn't think HVR was gluten free and he told me he didn't either and went to speak to the manager. The manager came out as we were eating and Thanked me for pointing it out and they were going to do more research. I told him the MSG is always what makes things suspect for me.

The company has made claims they will label anything containing gluten, however you cannot find a list of ingredients on their website anywhere. I have seen on other web blogs emails from HVR saying what is gluten free, but they do not label any of it, and on those same blogs are comments from people who got sick from eating it (gf blog). I have seen different posts all over the internet as to whether or not HVR is gluten free, some going each way, so I tried it and I got sick. The ingredients change from time to time with companies, but until I see it on the package as declared gluten free I will not be eating it. Chances are if it still contains MSG I will not be eating it anyway, since I know I get sick from that too.

Amazon kindly lists the ingredients in their posts the ingredients list has several "trigger" words for anyone who is gluten free: modified food starch, monosodium glutamate (msg) and artificial flavors. Not all people with Celiacs or GI have issues with MSG. I personally do, the modified food starch in the country usually comes from corn, but not always, and one should always be suspect in what is in "natural" and "artificial flavorings. Why if its natural do you not just add the actual source in dried form? Here is a link to the amazon listing of Hidden Valley Ranch

Back to the meal - I ordered the Special Sancho "torte" which was basically corn tortillas layered with beef (or chicken), lettuce, tomatoes and smothered in several cheese topped with sour cream and a few more tomatoes. It came with a side of beans. It was fantastic. Our waiter was also awesome, he was attentive and made sure we were well taken care of during our visit. The management was also wonderful. If they can get a definite answer from HVR and decide its safe to put on their menu, so be it. I know as a gluten intolerant person I cannot eat MSG, so I won't chance it, but what I ordered on the menu was good, fully cooked and I did not have any ill effects. I would definitely go back to Carlos O'Kellys again.

Celiac board has different views on it too. One person says YAY the rest are suspect or got sick from it. As you know, its your body and you know what you can tolerate and unfortunately the only way to know is to try it. When that's my only option and I can't verify it with a resounding YES from the company, I avoid it.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gluten free? What is that?!

Welcome to Gluten Free QC, the blog that offers local restaurant gluten free menu reviews, product reviews and occasionally a really good gluten free recipe. This is a blog by a person who suffers from Gluten Intolerance all things that are not sourced on this blog are my opinion or have been tried and tested by me. I do not claim to be a professional reviewer or a medical professional. I am neither of those, I am a normal person who works a full time job, has a husband and child who are not required to eat gluten free. I am surrounded by friends and family who make great efforts to ensure I have food to eat at all events that is safe for me. I love all of them for making those efforts because no small effort goes unnoticed, that being said I want to make sure others who suffer can go into a restaurant and order from a menu that is said to be gluten free and not run into any issues.

Feel free to leave question or comments or send me an email with your story. Please be kind an courteous to others and any vulgar or inappropriate comments will be removed from the blog.

Many people do not know what it means to be gluten free. Gluten free is one of the hardest diets to follow. Most people do not follow this diet because they want to lose weight, they follow this diet because they are medically required. Some people do follow it because it is healthier, but does not by any means help you lose weight.

Wikipedia offers this description: Gluten free diet is diet completely free of ingredients derived from gluten-containing cereals: wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, Malts, and triticale, as well as the use of gluten as a food additive in the form of flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent. It is the only medically accepted treatment for coeliac disease, the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis, and wheat allergy.

Oats are generally eliminated as well due to high levels of cross contamination in the mills. Only certified Gluten Free Oats may be eaten.

Celiacs disease is a genetically linked disease with an environmental trigger. In people with CD, eating gluten causes an auto-immune response which causes damage to the small intestine. This damage causes the small intestine to lose the ability to absorb the nutrients in food, leading to malnutrition and a variety of other complications. This information was obtained from http://www.csaceliacs.org/ a website devoted to helping Celiacs find their way through this very difficult and demanding lifestyle.

Gluten Intolerance requires the same lifestyle changes as a Celiac, however our bodies have not caused permanent damage to our small intestines. This is what I personally suffer from in my life. I am not medically diagnosed with gluten intolerance, I am self diagnosed!

My Story

After 16 years of hundreds of tests and misdiagnosis I found out in 2009 gluten had to be the root of my problem. I started getting sick after every meal when I turned 13. I would get horrible stomach aches and severe diarrhea after every single meal. At 13 I went through multiple blood tests and a colonoscopy for the doctors to say they couldn't find anything wrong, maybe it was just nerves and I was low on fiber, so they put me on a high fiber diet including Metamucil. It did not help the problem. So I suffered for several more years and went many different kinds of doctors including a Chiropractor who put me on probiotics and a restrictive diet slowly adding things back into my diet, but we still could not nail down the problem. Finally a doctor when I was 15 decided to put me on a diet of nothing but Rice, plain Chicken breast and plain lightly salted rice cakes with peanut butter. I suffered through that diet of those 4 things and nothing more every meal for one full year, on my 16th birthday I couldn't take it anymore and begged my mom for real food again, she was tired of watching me suffer at such a young age and allowed me to go back to my normal diet. Within a day I was miserably sick again. I was extremely thin and miserable after every meal. I went to college when I was 18 and moved to Cedar Rapids. I decided to try to the U of I Hospitals internal medicine to see if they could find something wrong with my belly at this point it had been 5 years of hell, its amazing I did not develop an eating disorder to avoid eating. I went the U Of I and again underwent multiple tests and they put me on Levsin to slow my digestion and Loperamide (Imodium AD) to slow my bowel down and told me I had IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). I continued to eat as normal, and started to gain weight due to my body being slowed down. I did not gain weight in the sense of becoming over weight but I was now at least 145lbs which was a big deal since I am 5'11" tall. I lived like that until I got pregnant with my son in 2004 and found that during my pregnancy I could eat whatever I wanted and not have any issues and since my medications were safe during pregnancy I kept taking them. As soon as I delivered my son I was right back with being sick after every single meal. I had an episode in 2009 which left me laying on my kitchen floor bawling with the worst stomach ache of my entire life. My 4 year old son sitting next to me offering to call 911 since I literally could not get up off the kitchen floor. My husband came home and took me to the ER where I was given stomach relaxers and a bunch more tests with the results all coming back normal. They scheduled me to see a gastroenterologist to have an UPPER GI. They stuck a scope down my throat while I was heavily sedated and took a biopsy of my duodenum. They told my husband they were going to test it for Celiacs. When I came out of my drug stupor my husband told me what they were testing me for and I started doing my own research. I could not believe that many of the symptoms were the exact same that I had been experiencing my entire adolescents. I was mad. I got a call a few days later from the Gastro telling me I tested negative for Celiacs and they wanted to take my gall bladder out. I asked why they would want to take it out since one of the many tests I had done since the ER was a test to show the gall bladder function and it was functioning normal. So I decided at this point no one was removing anything from my body and I was going to try the diet that I had found while researching Celiacs, The gluten free diet.

My husband was very supportive of the diet as long as he didn't have to follow it. He didn't care that most of the foods that were marketed for Gluten free were twice as high as normal gluten containing foods. I started it on July 1st, 2009. I felt better by July 4th and have not felt better in my life. I am no longer sick all the time. Have I been 100% committed to the diet, I wasn't in the beginning and I would slip up often because to go without all your favorite foods feels like torture. I went on a gluten binge in December 2009 and it led me to several days of misery in bed without begin able to function. I am now 100% committed to being gluten free with the food my body ingests. I try very hard to prevent cross contamination because now that its no longer put in my body I have severe reactions to it. The smallest bit causes a revolt in my entire body. The first stage of the revolt is a gut wrenching stomachache that starts within 10 minutes of gluten ingestion, it is usually bad enough I can not sit up right, I am required to "hunch" so it does not spasm so bad I can't move. The stomachache normally lasts about 6-8 hours. The second stage is severe diarrhea (TMI I know). Its foul and generally pure liquid that lasts several hours until everything in my system is gone. Once that subsides a migraine starts and lasts about 10-12 hours and during the migraine the rosacea and acne on my face becomes inflamed. It takes me several days to get back to my old self again. I have stomach relaxers to take if the pain is too much to handle, but most of the time they only make the detox process worse the next day because they relax all stomach functions. I do the best I can to make sure I have gluten free food on hand, if I plan ahead I have less temptation to just order food and make it work.

I was told when I first started this diet the easiest way to know if a food is safe: if had a mother or came from the ground it is safe, with the exceptions of wheat, oats and barley.

There are tons of blogs with recipes and information on this issue. This blog will mostly be used to share restaurant reviews and food reviews. I will review local gluten free menus to help my fellow suffers. I am offering a consultant service to local restaurants to help them have a true gluten free menu to offer to their customers. After finding several that weren't truly gluten free it's time someone stands up for those of us that suffer, I will be that helpful voice people can turn to when they don't know if its safe or contains gluten. I am not a doctor or involved in any health care field at all. I am a dispatcher. I am a person who suffers from gluten intolerance and I know I'm not alone in the suffering.

Here are some links to some of my favorite gluten free sites:

For Recipes I love:

For Education on gluten/celiacs:

Safe Foods/Products: