1. My latest obsession with putting everything bagel seasoning on everything- well mostly zucchini and on top of cucumber slices with vegan cream cheese. You can find this in the seasoning isle at Trader Joe’s.
2. I am all about the latest charcuterie board craze! I just love throwing pepperoni, cucumber slices, olives, salami, marcona almonds, sun dried tomatoes, blueberries, caper berries on my large wooden cutting board and pouring myself a nice glass of wine. A great snack and easy clean up. (careful when trying other charcuteries there is the potential for cross contamination on these boards- the Board Grazer instagram account is gorgeous but I cringe at the thought of all that gluten touching the fruit and meat).
3. One of my photo reposts on instagram from one of the few dedicated gluten-free restaurants in town Foo Dog Curry Traders.
4. Chicken Salad Salad from Beach Diner Ponte Vedra. Turns into two meals!
5. Chicken and bacon kebabs with cauliflower rice. One of the amazing meals my husband made for me this year. He has really turned into such a great gluten-free cook. So thankful that both of us love to cook.
6. I love finding new gluten-free goodies. Thanks to Trader Joe’s they keep me on my toes to always be on the lookout because they are always taking things away and bringing in new things. These crackers are delicious and hearty. Great with hummus, cheese, or olive tapenade.
7. My discovery of the gluten-free bakery section at The Fresh Market. Where have I been?
8. Best gluten-free beer hands down that I have found EVER! The blonde lager is my favorite! Glutenberg Brewery was founded by a guy with celiac disease in Canada who wanted beer that tasted like real beer. Best beer I have tried yet that is gluten-free.
9. Visiting Lucy’s Sweet Shop in Jacksonville Beach with my mom. While that milkshake is not gluten-free the owners are awesome and they do make gluten-free items but they are not celiac safe. I had a cup of black coffee and a wonderful time with my mom.
Hey guys! There is a really great event coming to Jacksonville where we can feel safe and try all kinds of yummy gluten Free Foods! The event is November 3rd from 10-3pm at the Aloft in Tapestry Park.
Here are the Details:
Jacksonville Gluten & Allergen Free Wellness Event
November 3, 2018
10 am – 3 pm
Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park
4812 W Deer Lake Dr,
Jacksonville, FL 32246
Admission is $10 for Adults
Children under 13 enter for FREE
Military ID & Senior Citizens ID over 55 admission $8
Chef Bob Aungst:
Chef Bob Aungst is a New England native, growing up in New Jersey, and launching his career in upstate New York. He was classically trained at Schenectady College, graduating with a Culinary Arts degree, following a successful career as a real estate broker. In his 20+ years in hospitality, he has worked some of the largest sporting, political, and private events, including the Kentucky Derby, Presidential Inaugurations, and the Super Bowl. He’s had the pleasure of serving three U.S. Presidents, numerous members of Royal Courts, and countless political leaders. On average, he overseas the service or preparation of 2 million meals each year.
Chef Bob’s private label gluten free flours, coffees, “Heat ‘N Eat” holiday dishes, and handcrafted meat rubs and serving sauces. Items are shipped within the US, or delivered by courier in the Winter Park, Florida area. .
Enjoy hand crafted gluten free flour blends, produced in a gluten free facility with dedicated equipment. CBGFree flour can be used cup-for-cup in place of regular flour, or instead of other gluten free flour blends. Chef Bob’s flour performs identically in terms of taste and texture.
Carolanne LeBlanc freely admits that she is an un-diagnosed Celiac. Getting diagnosed with Wheat Allergies over 30 years ago was only the beginning in a lifelong journey of understanding and discovery. A very social person herself, Carolanne manages a web-based Support Group called “Gluten-Free in Florida” designed specifically for people living or visiting in the Sunshine State. The group gives people across the state an opportunity to talk to others, exchange recipes, share information and education as well as find support. She also maintains an active web-page with contacts around the Globe and sees first-hand how Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance can affect all kinds of social interactions, making it difficult to navigate even the most common gatherings. Carolanne is a big advocate for taking control of our own health, listening to our body’s needs, speaking up for ourselves, and of course attending local Support Groups.
The Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet supports delicious eating that is gluten, grain, soy, and poultry free. Jen Cuevas experienced her own journey to wellness by eating this way, and desires to share the message that life can still be delicious!
Just a few short years ago, Jen was ill with a multitude of issues (although not typical “Celiac” symptoms), including high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, sudden weight gain [over 60 pounds], Hashimoto’s, and arthritis (read more of her story here). After more than seven frustrating visits with various doctors, she finally learned about her gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease. In becoming well, she found that life without gluten was really great from a health perspective, but affected everything else that had a social factor.
Jen went completely grain and soy free in 2012, and became a certified coach under the direction of Gluten Free Society. She uses her own health journey to coach and inspire others to consider dietary changes as a way to achieve optimum health. In 2013 she established a support group, and found that food availability continued to be the biggest barrier to success. She began developing food products that support a grain-free, soy-free and even dairy-free lifestyle; many items are allergy-friendly and are free of refined sugars. She also offers allergen-free Communion to churches, raising awareness about the effects of gluten exposure.
Nikki Everett founded ECHO Event Solutions, LLC in 2011 to oversee educational events and trade shows for the gluten/allergen free community. Her mission to plan events started in Charlotte, NC, her home town, in 2009. Nikki uses her vast knowledge as an advocate for the gluten/allergen free community on behalf of her daughter who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008. She recognized her daughter’s grief process through her support group background as a teenager. After the unfortunate death of her older brother, Nikki’s mother became a regional leader for Compassionate Friends, a national support group for bereaved families, when Nikki was only 11 years old. Nikki went on to become a youth peer support group leader by 14 years of age. Her presentation to the NC State Board of Education helped open the door for peer support groups throughout Middle and High Schools across the state. Nikki carried on this legacy as an adult by chartering R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids) for Charlotte, NC in 2009. Her positive approach to the journey of dietary change makes each event a celebration of community wherever they are held.
Mary Herrington has been featured in Gluten Free Delights, has 2 internationally published gluten free cookbooks (with a third GF How To book being revealed at the GFAF Wellness event), won numerous awards for her gluten free baked goods, and is a keynote speaker on living well with several life threatening allergies. She works with area doctor’s in Charlotte NC assisting their patients adjustment to their new diet through menu and recipe creation.
Mary suffers from two rare disorders: Systemic Nickel Allergy Syndrome and Mastocytosis making eating anything gluten a life threatening activity.
See you there!
Ever since Florida Juice and Bowl opened up over a year ago I have been wanting to try it. Not only is it super close to where I live it just puts off this really cool beachy and healthy vibe that I wanted to be a part of. Florida Juice and bowl is located in Jacksonville Beach and was recently voted best Acai bowl in the 904. In addition to acai bowls they have fresh juices, coffee (including nitro brew), kambucha on tap, smoothies, pitaya bowls and poke bowls.
My husband and I stopped by to get kambucha, cold pressed coffee with macadamia milk, tuna poke and a salmon poke. I loved all of the add ons for the poke and they let you choose all lettuce, rice or a mixture of lettuce and rice. Add ons include things like macadamia nuts, avocado, seaweed salad, cucumber, ginger, wasabi, spinach, avocado, etc. I opted for the spicy aioli on the side and my husband opted for the Shoyu Wasabi sauce which he said was much spicier than mine.
It was delicious and I felt really safe because I didn’t see gluten anywhere except in the sauces that contained soy sauce and those are optional. It is a little pricer than most lunch spots but you definitely get what you pay for. Everything we had tasted so fresh. In talking with one of the staff they pretty much make everything in house and try to avoid refined sugars or sugar at all. The constant sound of delicious fresh smoothies being made filled the air during lunch. I also liked that almost all of the disposable items were biodegradable.
This is definitely the kind of place I will crave and I will be back!
In February 2018 I made the decision to try out the Ketogenic Diet based on a doctor’s recommendation. Did I need to lose weight: yes, did I have other health issues that needed to be corrected: yes. I had never even heard of this diet and honestly was quite nervous. At the time I was living a gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free life (no corn, quinoa, etc). However I was a sugar addict! So after doing some research I thought I would give it a try knowing it would be a challenge.
What is the Ketogenic diet? In my own shortened, non-medical terms it is a diet that forces your body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. It is high fat, no sugar, very low carb, no fruit (except berries), protein and certain veggies diet. Your daily intake should consist of 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbs. Sounds simple. It is not. Here is what I learned on my six month trial:
- 70% of your diet needs to be fat; this is VERY hard. Most people start off thinking they can get their fat from protein. This will cause you to go over your 25% a day. You will need to add some sort of fat such as olive oil- think sauteed spinach or salad dressings; unsweetened full fat coconut milk- think coffee creamer, keto ice cream, curry dishes with cauliflower rice.
- Carb Manager App is a life saver. I used this for the first month to help me realize how much fat/protein/carbs are in the foods I was eating. This App is a must!
- Did you know vegetables have carbs? Onions have carbs, even broccoli has carbs. Crazy. However, there are low amounts so it is ok to have them in moderation.
- I love pickle juice and avocados. I have these items daily they help to replenish electrolytes and magnesium that you are missing during this diet.
- My brain is amazing! I stopped having the foggy gluten-head in the afternoons and I noticed that I was becoming more alert and engaging in meetings.
- All of my inflammation went away. I had started noticing that I felt puffy and swollen before going on this diet. The first week on Keto all of my inflammation went away.
- I am a lot less hungry. I used to need an afternoon snack every day. Now sometimes I can go without eating lunch.
- Ground grass fed beef is way better than ground turkey breast. OMG food tastes so much better! My diet, while always mostly protein and veggies has always been low fat high carb. High fat and low carb tastes so much better to me!
- I can still have wine! I am still able to drink wine- wine is very low in carbs.
- I have lost 24 pounds! Clothes I was unable to wear suddenly fit again!
So what do I eat you ask? Here is what a normal day looks like:
- During the week: two hard boiled eggs, black coffee, sometimes an avocado
- On the weekend: eggs cooked in coconut oil with bacon or sausage and sauteed spinach or avocado toast on keto bread
- Salad with sliced turkey meat, spinach, kale coleslaw, onions, peppers, tomatoes with a keto salad dressing
- Sliced cucumbers topped with mayo and pepperoni
- Lettuce wrap hamburger with coleslaw
- Cucumber wrapped sushi with a side of wasabi mayo and seaweed salad
- Celery and low carb peanut butter
- Salami slices
- Pork rinds and guacamole and salsa
- Grass fed beef stuffed peppers with cauliflower rice
- Steak with mashed cauliflower and sauteed spinach and mushrooms
- Salmon with asparagus (picture above)
- Chicken wings (picture above)
- Grass fed beef with low carb spaghetti sauce over shiritaki noodles and Mikey’s english muffin garlic bread (pic above)
- Taco salad
- Peanut butter and chocolate bars
- Ice cream
- Coconut shavings with a spoonful of coconut milk
- Smart Cakes (see photo above they are so good)
My overall consensus: I feel great and I am going to continue. I plan to continue this as my lifestyle because it is easy, I am eating whole foods, it tastes so good and I am not always so worried about my next snack. I also think it is helping my gluten-free lifestyle and my overall health. Have you tried it? What do you think?
This past month, I had the opportunity to meet with Native Sun Natural Foods Market to discuss their celiac safe bakery, gluten-free product vetting, and more. As background, Native Sun opened its first grocery store in Jacksonville over twenty years ago. Since then, it has grown to three neighborhood stores and is known around town for its all organic produce selection, health minded and organic deli, delicious juice and smoothie bar, and the best celiac friendly bakery in town. They are truly Jacksonville’s neighborhood grocer!
Whether you were recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease or are trying to prepare a gluten free meal for a friend or family member, I highly recommend making a trip to Native Sun. After meeting with their team, I really believe that they are the number one resource in the JAX community for products and tips on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Ginny Nehring, who is Native Sun’s Manager of Research and Education, is just one of the many resources available to you when shopping at Native Sun. Ever since her middle son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease twenty years ago, Ginny has been researching gluten-free products and spearheading Celiac Disease community education around Jacksonville. I admire Ginny for her dedication to our community and the 1:1 time she spends with newly diagnosed gluten-free families. One of the services she offers at Native Sun is hosting tours to those newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Tours can include education on Native Sun’s color coded in-store labeling, recommending some of her favorite products, and can provide much needed comfort to those who are trying to navigate a new lifestyle and diet. Ginny shared with me that people often hear, “Celiac Disease” and fear that they can never eat their favorite foods again like pizza, pasta, or cake. When she walks them through the aisles and shows them donuts, fritters, muffins, pizza crust, pasta and breads that are celiac safe, it can open a whole new world of enjoyable options!
Native Sun’s new product vetting process is also impressive. As the Manager of Research and Education, Ginny contacts every single gluten-free product manufacturer and researches their cross-contamination practices. As a result, Native Sun will not label a product gluten-free unless it has passed a rigorous process that ensures it is Celiac safe. Ginny shared that some products will be labeled by the manufacturer as “gluten-free” but after researching cross contamination practices, Native Sun will discover that they do not meet their gluten-free labeling standards.
It was Ginny’s idea to create the dedicated gluten-free bakery at Native Sun. She had perfected many of the recipes in her home for her son and wanted to share them with the community. It’s important to mention that when I say, “gluten-free bakery,” I mean 100% gluten free Celiac safe bakery—it’s dedicated gluten-free. Their bakery items include my favorite oatmeal cream pie made with purity protocol oatmeal, carrot cake, banana bread, and even a pecan pie.
In addition to what we put in our body, I had the opportunity to talk to Ginny about the cosmetics and skincare products that we often use. Ginny shared with me that we need to be concerned about the cosmetics we put on our skin and in our hair. One of her favorite products is a skincare line called Derma E—all items are gluten free. After our meeting, I tried one of the Derma-E face serums and absolutely loved it! I had to get used to the sunscreen type consistency, but it has done wonders for smoothing out my skin! Ginny assured me that not all their products share that consistency!
Some of the items Ginny shared with me that I really want to highlight are these new Udi’s bread you do not need to toast! This is a game changer!
Lastly, I compiled some of my favorite gluten-free items that are available at Native Sun! If you are looking to set up a meeting with Ginny you can contact the store by phone and request a store tour or stop by and complete a Product Knowledge Enhancement Tour form and she will contact you, usually within 24 hours to set up a time to meet with you at your convenience.
Italian night! This gluten-free pasta tastes just like the real thing and the recipe for Manicotti is already on the box! The pasta is made in Italy. I also suggest pairing the cheesy bites. You might even trick your gluten eating friends.
Mexican is the easiest to eat gluten-free and you can feel safe doing it at Native Sun even this margarita mix is safe!
Have you been to Native Sun? Have you ever taken one of Ginny’s tours?
It is amazing how far Celiac Disease Awareness has come in the almost 10 years since I was diagnosed. There are a few things I am happy about and a few things I would LOVE to see change as we try to raise awareness of Celiac Disease.
For those of you new to the Celiac world- according to The University of Chicago Medicine Celiac Disease Center, Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. When a person who has celiac disease consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, the individual’s immune system responds by attacking the small intestine
and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body. Undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can lead to the development of other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and in rare cases, cancer.
Things that make me happy about where we have come with Celiac Awareness:
- Every grocery store has some type of gluten free offering beyond just Whole Foods and specialty stores.
- Restaurants are beginning to educate their staff better to avoid cross contamination.
- Friends and family care and actually want to learn what “gluten-free” means- sometimes even taking steps to avoid cross contamination and make you a meal.
- We are seeing more and more restaurants that are dedicated gluten-free (no worries about cross contamination!!)
- Sooo many recipes online!!! I have found the joy of cooking through this diagnosis.
- Travel has gotten so much easier. I have enjoyed trips on Cruises to the Caribbean, Ireland and Italy that were amazing and I didn’t go hungry once!
Things I would LOVE to see changed about Celiac Awareness:
- The question: is this a serious allergy when I say I am “gluten-free” and “living with Celiac Disease.” I dream of a day when I see “gluten-free” on the menu and I don’t have to say a word afterwards. I hate to say it but french fries fried in the same oil as breaded chicken fingers should not be labeled gluten-free.
- Stop making fun of the gluten-free diet. Yes there is a large percent of the population who use gluten-free as a diet tactic but there is an even larger group of people- approximately 3 million- that have to follow this diet to stay alive.
- Incorporate a laws- similar to what these countries have done– to protect people living with Celiac Disease.
- Stop using gluten-free labeling as a marketing tactic. There are laws in place but there is no one enforcing these laws.
- Provide better subsidies for those of us living with Celiac Disease. Gluten-free goods are very expensive. When I went gluten-free my grocery bill per week was $50 more expensive and continues to be that way. Thank goodness I live near a Trader Joes!
- Educate more primary care physicians on the signs and symptoms of Celiac Disease. When I was diagnosed, almost 10 years ago, my physician was very skeptical when I asked to be tested for Celiac Disease. I had done a ton of research online and that was the only thing I could find that matched my symptoms. She is one of the top doctors in our area and she thought it was a waste of time. But she did it and was extremely supportive when the results came back.
What has your experience with Celiac Disease been?
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in November 2017. Since then the gluten-free world has changed and so have I. I feel a little more confident about how to eat, I am comfortable talking with restaurant staff in front of friends and I have learned not to hold up the entire tables order when giving my specific instructions. But there are some other big things I have learned. Let me share them with you!
1. Gluten-free does not always mean healthy. It is so easy to get caught up in the gluten-free breads, desserts, pastas and other processed foods. Many times those foods are high in sugar, fillers, fat, etc. that are not always good for you. While I am not perfect and I enjoy breads, cupcakes (icing is my weakness) I am trying really hard to stick to whole foods and have even tried to eliminate sugar and carbs completely. It is really important to read labels.
2. Gluten-free does not always mean celiac safe. In my early days, I thought if it was on a gluten-free menu it was safe. Many times restaurants will label fries and wings as gluten-free. Many times those items are fried in the same oil as chicken fingers or other breaded items. I try to always question items that I know will be fried or I avoid them all together and stick with salad and grilled items. Even a few tortilla strips on top of a salad can be agony for someone living with celiac disease.
3. I have gotten a little bit boring with my food. I eat at a lot of the same places because I feel safe. I feel like when someone asks me where I want to go it is one of these restaurants: Tacolu, Bonefish, PF Changs, Kamiya 86, Moxie, Epik Burger or Sake House. All places #1 are close to my house and #2 are places that make me feel safe. However, I am always up for trying something new even if it means I may have to spend extra time talking with my server before I order. More and more restaurants are educating their staff on the needs of gluten-free patrons.
4. I always have snacks on me. There is nothing worse than going to a work meeting and seeing that everyone is given a sandwich or wrap and I am stuck there for 3 hours or being on a plane where the only snack options are pretzels or cookies. I always keep some sort of nuts in my work bag and when I travel I like to bring peanut butter, gluten-free crackers, gluten-free pretzels and apples or grapes because no one wants to sit next to someone who is hangry.
5. I have a huge fear of being stranded without anything to eat. This is similar to #4; when you live with celiac disease the convenience factor is taken away. Fast Food restaurants are not always available and able to accommodate, gas stations have limited availability and coffee shops and other quick stop places don’t always have gluten-free items available. This has caused me to perhaps overeat at times and has got me into trouble with my weight. It is hard to find that balance between eating before you go somewhere and not having any options when you get to the event. This happens mostly when I go to weddings, dinner parties, on trips, and going to a friend’s house that doesn’t know I have celiac disease.
6. I make mistakes. I sometimes get lazy and it has come back to bite me in the you know what. Sometimes at certain restaurants that I trust I forget to tell the server that I am gluten-free and dairy-free . While most of the time I am fine, there have been times when other ingredients that are not gluten-free end up on my dish. This is not only annoying for me it is annoying for the server and those dining with me because they have to re-make my food
7. I need support. It is easy to feel like the odd man out when you are gluten-free and dairy-free. I occasionally get comments like “oh my gosh what do you eat” or “don’t you just want to cheat.” But overall my friends and family know that I am gluten-free and they are very supportive. My husband is extremely supportive we don’t have any gluten in our house. On Monday nights we rotate houses for dinner with some of our friends and it is amazing to see how friends say “gluten-free really isn’t that bad.” When I was diagnosed I felt like such a weirdo but now my friends will call and say “I am making dinner and here is the menu what can’t you have” or “what do I need to avoid for this recipe.” People don’t realize just how happy this makes me.
What have you learned on your gluten-free journey? What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed?