Celiac Disease Awareness

This post is long overdue. I've been meaning to share some of our family's near misses -- and one actual "glutening" episode -- for a while. All have been a result of wonderful gluten free products whose packaging just happens to look almost exactly like the same company's non-GF version. I want others to be aware of these products so we can all be super-vigilant as we rush through our favorite grocery stores quickly loading up our carts with our favorite gluten free staples. I'm also hoping that bringing this blog post to these companies' attention might get them to reconsider their packaging choices. Don't get me wrong...all these companies and their products are favorites of ours, and we are so grateful they have chosen to offer gluten free varieties. But the mistake is easy to make when grocery shopping, and I'm sure our family wasn't the first to experience these "near misses." Exhibit #1: Annie's Mac-n-Cheese varieties Annie's makes some wonderful varieties of mac-n-cheese. They have different shapes of pasta, both yellow and white cheese sauces, gluten free and regular pasta, and even vegan gluten free and non-gluten free varieties. It's easy to think you're grabbing one thing on... Read more →


We're always adding helpful content, updating resources, and improving the functionality of GlutenFreeTravelSite and our free companion mobile app, Dine Gluten Free. But for those of you who haven't visited for a while -- or may not be aware of all the ways these valuable resources can help you DINE & TRAVEL gluten free more easily, we thought it might be time for a reminder... First Stop (if you need it): An Overview Under the RESOURCES tab within the navigation bar on our website, there's a section of the site called About Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity that contains 12 "chapters" of information that are helpful to both new and veteran gluten free folks. And if you have friends or family members that need to understand your diet better, send them a link to this page for answers to the questions they may have (sometimes it's easier when it comes from an impartial source!). Also, if you have a friend that suspects gluten may be adversely affecting their health, by all means, pass along this information to them. It could provide the spark that leads them to get tested. We've tried to make the explanations about Celiac, gluten sensitivity, and a... Read more →


With Celiac Awareness Month coming to a close, we have one final gift card giveaway. This time it's a $25 Gift Card to Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano, with 22 locations spread out over 10 states. It's one restaurant our family looks forward to tracking down when traveling (unfortunately, there isn't a location near us yet -- we keep hoping!). With delectable Italian specialties including gluten free pasta and homemade gluten free pizza, you'll be tempted by many of the choices on their large Gluten Free Menu. They're always adding new gluten free items and seasonal specials, and we mentioned them in a recent Blog post where we showcased our favorite gluten-free friendly chains. DETAILS OF THE $25 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY Have you already tried any of the gluten free offerings at Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano? If so, Submit a Review of the location you've dined to GlutenFreeTravelSite (or submit a quick review right on our DINE GLUTEN FREE app), and you'll be entered into our random drawing for a $25 Biaggi's Gift Card. If you haven't yet tried Biaggi's gluten free menu items, you can still enter the contest...just choose another favorite GF-friendly restaurant to review on our website. If you prefer... Read more →


In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, we have a couple restaurant gift card giveaways in the coming week. Our first is for a $25 Gift Card to Burtons Grill. Burtons was mentioned in my last post in which I shared some of our favorite gluten-free friendly restaurant chains and the new gluten free items on their menus. If you'd like to learn more about what Burtons Grill offers, link directly to their amazing Gluten Free Menu, and find out if they have a location near you, visit their page on our website. DETAILS OF THE $25 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY Have you already tried any of the gluten free offerings at Burtons Grill? If so, Submit a Review of the location you've dined to GlutenFreeTravelSite, and you'll be entered into our random drawing for a $25 Burtons Grill Gift Card. If you haven't yet tried Burtons Grill's gluten free menu items, you can still enter the contest...just choose another favorite GF-friendly restaurant to review on our website. Any gluten free dining or travel review submitted to GlutenFreeTravelSite between now and Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm Eastern time counts as one entry in our random drawing for the $25 Gift... 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 a gluten free high school student starting to look at colleges, you've probably wondered how difficult it will be to maintain your diet over four years at college. While your speical dietary needs aren't the only factor weighing in your college decision, it can be an important part of the decision. After all, you'll be spending four years there, and depending on the college, on-campus dining may be your only option for meals. Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources to help you assess the degree of gluten free friendliness of the colleges you may be considering. A couple years ago we launched a section of our website devoted to Gluten Free College Reviews. Gluten free students have submitted reviews of their colleges' dining services, from a gluten free perspective. Feedback ranges from colleges that offer a limited choice of plain options like grilled chicken or fish, baked potoato, and steamed veggies -- to colleges that give plenty of choices which can even be ordered in advance and ready for you upon your arrival at the dining hall. Perhaps you'll find a review of a college you've been considering. We encourage gluten free college reviewers to share advice... Read more →


If you're like many people in the gluten free community, you may be trying to avoid other grains besides just wheat. Or maybe you're trying to adapt recipes to make them more nutrient-dense by using alternative flours like almond flour. And I'm sure most of us would like to reduce the refined sugars in our diet. These are all great dietary goals, but where do you start? How do you make some of your favorite gluten free meals and baked goods without the gluten free flours you've come to rely on in recipes? Consulting a cookbook like Comfort Cooking Without Grains and Refined Sugars is a great place to start. Written by Eleanor Fahey of the Cooking Without Grains website, it contains over 200 recipes (both sweet and savory). I love how the recipes use ingredients like honey instead of sugar. And I especially like Eleanor's use of almond flour, which I've always found lends a wonderful flavor and moistness to recipes (in addition to adding protein, fiber, and healthy fats -- you can't beat that!). Recipes range from appetizers and dips...to breads and muffins...to meat and seafood...to condiments and salad dressings...and even vegetarian meals. I'd like to give you... Read more →


Named "Best Gluten-Free Restaurant Chain" in the 2012 About.com Gluten-Free Readers' Choice Awards, Ted's Montana Grill is a restaurant you'll want to check out, if you haven't already. My own family has dined there several times and is never disappointed. The menu and atmosphere have a unique twist...making you feel like you are, indeed, dining in "Big Sky Country." Now, in honor of Celiac Awareness Month, Ted's Montana Grill is offering a $30 Gift Card to the lucky winner of this week's random drawing (more details on how to enter can be found below...). Ted's Montana Grill is named after businessman, philanthropist, environmentalist, and avid outdoorsman Ted Turner. In 2002, he joined forces with famed restauranteur George McKerrow to open their first Ted's location in Columbus, Ohio, and the chain has since grown to over 40 locations in 16 states. Their focus is on the hearty food of "Big Sky Country" -- and they offer the biggest bison menu in the world (both steaks and burgers). But they know how to do seafood well, too, and in fact I've ordered fish the last couple times we've visited one of their restaurants. On their Gluten Free Menu, they offer both Cedar... Read more →


To Everyone in the Gluten Free Community, If you have Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity (or suspect that gluten adversely affects your health in some way), this letter is to you. It's Celiac Awareness Month, and I wanted to interrupt the series of blog posts and GF-friendly restaurant gift card giveaways we've been running this month to address something that has generated a visceral response within our community. Discussions in the gluten free community seem to really be heating up over the issue of gluten sensitivity versus Celiac -- and the host of issues raised by these two similar, yet distinct, conditions. Even innocuous posts on social media pages can elicit a firestorm of responses from both Celiac and gluten sensitive individuals, who seem to be "taking sides," for lack of a better phrase over issues such as whether someone who suspects gluten is affecting their health should first be tested for Celiac, whether "gluten sensitivity" even exists, and whether some individuals choosing to go gluten free are doing more harm than good (for their health, and for the GF community in general). My own family is affected by Celiac (my younger son was diagnosed over 9 years ago, right... Read more →


Today, we highlight the gluten free offerings at Legal Seafood and give you a chance to win a $25 Gift Card to use at any of their 33 restaurants. This is part of our ongoing series highlighting gluten-free friendly restaurant chains during Celiac Awareness Month -- and giving you the chance to win gift cards to some of our favorite spots. I remember 9 years ago when our 22 month old son Ryan was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Back then, most people hadn't heard of Celiac Disease. We certainly hadn't. And Ryan was the first patient our pediatrician had diagnosed with the disease (and he has a huge practice with thousands of patients). After the diagnosis, the initial panic about what we would feed our son quickly dissipated as I buried myself in research both online and offline. But as well all know, it's relatively easy maintain a high degree of control in one's own kitchen. It can be an entirely different story when dining out (at least it certainly was in 2005!). If it took me a couple weeks to get up to speed on the intricacies of what Ryan could and couldn't eat, the hidden sources of gluten,... Read more →


In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, this is our third of many giveaways. We're having a drawing for a $25 gift card to Burtons Grill, and in the coming weeks, we'll have similar gift card giveaways for more GF-freindly restaurants. Be sure to check back -- or better yet, enter your email in the box on the right to "Subscribe" to our blog feed and get emails when we publish a new post. Now, let me share Burtons exciting gluten free menu additions for the month of May and how you can enter our Giveaway... Burtons Grill is one of the places our family makes a point of visiting when we visit family in the Boston area. With ten locations on the East Coast (5 in Massachusetts, 1 in Connecticut, 1 in New Hampshire, 2 in Virginia, and 1 in South Carolina), chances are, there's one near you or in a place you travel. This "casual upscale" restaurant chain offers one of the more extensive Gluten Free Menus (both for lunch and dinner). This month, in honor of Celiac Awareness Month, Food and Beverage Manager Dan Greenough has modified some options that aren't typically available for gluten sensitive guests, without... Read more →


Dr. Alessio Fasano, arguably the world's leading researcher and expert on Celiac Disease, has written a new book, and I was sent an "advance" copy. It's called Gluten Freedom, and I haven't been able to put it down. Although I'm not finished with it yet, I wanted to tell you about it right away -- and give you a chance to win it for yourself in our special giveaway. Just about anyone who is affected by Celiac Disease knows the name Alessio Fasano. Our family was among the fortunate ones to know him, not as a researcher, but as a pediatric gastroenterologist. You see, our son was among his patients at the Center for Celiac Research in Baltimore, Maryland -- before the Center moved to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. We saw him every 18 months or so, so that our son could have labwork done and make sure no gluten was sneaking into his diet. Dr. Fasano and his staff were always so positive, and I'll never forget his comment on our very first visit to his office, shortly after our son was diagnosed 9 years ago. He said, "At some point in the not-too-distant future, Ryan will be... Read more →