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April 2015

Like many countries in Asia, gluten free travel to Japan can be difficult. Awareness of the diet is limited, and it's rare for chefs to understand the complexities involved in preparing a safe gluten-free meal. And traveling is NOT a time you want to put your health in the hands of anyone but the best-trained chefs! Enter Ellen Morse and Gluten Free Travel-Us. Once again, they have opened up an area of the world that was previously unavailable to the typical gluten free traveler. Just as she worked with Wendy Wu Tours to make China a safe destination for Celiac and gluten sensitive travelers, she has worked with Wendy Wu Tours to develop an equally tempting itinerary for Japan. Gluten free travelers will take comfort in knowing that Ellen has worked with Wendy's team to find the best hotels, where the chefs are able to ensure their gluten guests will receive safe meals during their stay. This itinerary, like all of Ellen's, is not a group tour -- unless it is your preference to assemble a large group of travel companions. Rather, it is a suggested itinerary you can take at any time and customize according to your preferences (dates,... Read more →

Have you heard about the new Celiac awareness campaign titled "Seriously, Celiac Disease," put together by NFCA (National Foundation for Celiac Awareness)? This much needed public service announcement does what NFCA does best...encourage dialog to spread awareness and get more of the 3 million people in this country suffering from Celiac properly diagnosed. That's because, of the 3 million people with Celiac here in the U.S., only about 17% are diagnosed. The remaining 83% continue to do damage to their health, because they are either asymptomatic (but still doing harm to their digestive systems and overall health) or haven't had a doctor who was able to pinpoint the cause of their symptoms and suffering, which can vary from person to person. The difference in this campaign is that it doesn't specifically target doctors, as other awareness campaigns by NFCA and other organizations have done so well in the past. This particular campaign encourages those with diagnosed Celiac to have frank discussions with family members about getting tested for the disease. After all, Celiac is a genetic autoimmune condition in which all relatives -- not just immediate family members -- have a higher chance of Celiac themselves. I remember when our... Read more →

If you're gluten free, it's hard to beat the sheer thrill of discovering gluten-free friendly destinations. It's absolute heaven to discover a destination where you can dine on gourmet gluten-free specialties for every meal without worry. If it's in Tuscany, Italy, it's even better…. Some of you may recall the week-long gluten-free culinary events hosted by Jovial Foods (maker of divine gluten-free pasta and sauces) at a historic 18th century Tuscan villa. They hold these events once or twice a year -- Fall and late Spring -- and every time I write about it, it's pure torture. That's because attending one of these unique gluten-free culinary weeks is on my own personal Bucket List. Unfortunately, however, these gluten-free getaways are typically scheduled during times of the year when our kids are in school. But someday, perhaps…. If you're lucky enough to have the flexibility to travel in October, a particularly beautiful month in Italy, you'll want to consider treating yourself to this special vacation. And, in fact, you may not need to treat yourself…Jovial Foods may just treat you to a complimentary visit. Between now and June 30, 2015, you can enter their drawing for a free week (airfare and... Read more →

Although I don't write about gluten-free products on a regular basis (preferring to focus on subjects related to gluten free dining and travel), those of you who follow this Blog know my penchant for gluten-free snacks that travel well…especially gluten-free snack bars. Our family has many favorites, and we rely on them for in-between-meal snacks on road trips or on the plane. I'm also a stickler for quality. I try to avoid GMOs at all cost, opting for non-GMO or organic snack bars. That's one reason I love the new CLIF Organic Trial Mix Bars. They're available nationwide beginning this month, and they come in seven flavors (all gluten-free and all USDA organic). Ingredients include high quality fruits and nuts like almonds and whole wild blueberries -- as well as chunks of dark chocolate. Flavors available are: Coconut Almond Peanut (a favorite of mine), Cranberry Almond, Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt (another favorite), Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Raspberry, and Wild Blueberry Almond. The suggested retail price is $1.69-$1.79, typical for a good-quality snack bar. In addition to these tasty new bars, CLIF has another unique line of gluten-free, organic products…CLIF Organic Energy Food.... Read more →

You may remember me posting back in February about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join Dr. Alessio Fasano, one of the world's foremost experts on Celiac Disease, and other gluten free guests for a 5-night all-inclusive vacation along Mexico's Riviera Maya. Originally scheduled for October, the date has been changed to November 12-17, 2015. Dr. Fasano, from the Center for Celiac Research at Mass General Hospital, will be the keynote speaker at a banquet dinner during your stay, and you'll have an opportunity to interact with him at other events such as a welcome cocktail party, educational breakfast seminar, a culinary theatre dinner event, and more. You'll also have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beautiful El Dorado Royal Resort, where all restaurants will have special gluten free options available for all meals during your stay. It's the perfect excuse to schedule a getaway -- where you'll soak in the warm sunshine and all the latest Celiac research and knowledge. Bring a friend or family member…whether they are gluten-free or not, fun will be had by all! Space is limited, so if there's even a chance you might be interested in attending, give Lesley Hayden Hock at Travel Leaders... Read more →