Resources for Celiac Disease

Last month, over the President's Day long weekend, our family ventured down to the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of North Carolina for a hockey tournament with our younger son's team. Typically we head north for tournaments, but this year the team was in the mood for something a bit warmer. And in that department, we lucked out...the temperature hovered right around 72 degrees each day, making it not only a glorious weekend for travel, but a perfect weekend to squeeze in visits to some college campuses for our older son, a sophomore in high school. While it's still a bit early for him to be narrowing his choices for colleges, we've been trying to drive or walk through any campuses in areas we've visited over the past year or so. It's a great opportunity for him to get a feel for big state schools versus smaller private universities, urban campuses versus rural or suburban, and liberal-leaning versus more conservative. Although our older son is not Celiac like our younger son, these campus visits give us a feel for "what's to come" in another few years when our Celiac son begins his own college search. Like other Celiac teens, his decision will... 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 →


You've heard me talk about Lovely Lady skin, hair, and body care products in the past. They're one of my favorite companies, and I've used most of their products myself (as well as given them as gifts). I like them because they're all natural, organic, and gluten-free (the owner, Cheryl Caspi, developed the line because she herself has Celiac). They are also free of all sorts of terrible chemicals that are good to avoid (parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petroleum, artificial preservatives, dyes, and synthetic fragrances!). Now that's what I want to put on my skin! You can read more about the company and their philosophy here. And the premium quality ingredients in their formulas -- like pure, undiluted essential oils -- really perform! If you are fighting aging skin (unfortunately, that realistically means anyone age 30+), you'll love the results you get from the Lovely Lady products. I especially like their Everlasting Skin Toner and Everlasting-Argan Immortelle Facial Nutrient (which can also be used as a lip balm, cuticle salve, and eye cream). Both smell heavenly and are full of benefit-loaded ingredients that target sensitivity, dryness, and aging skin...to keep it looking beautiful. Skin gets extra-stressed as the humid days of... Read more →


One of the most frustrating things about our son's Celiac diagnosis over 10 years ago was the trial-and-error "tasting" period that followed…(rest assured, all photos pictured below are some of our perennial favorite products, like this deliciously seasoned coating perfect for when you're craving chicken and onion rings!). Even though there weren't nearly as many gluten free products on store shelves as there are now, separating the good from the awful took some time (not to mention a lot of money wasted on products that crumbled and tasted like cardboard!). And it wasn't always intuitive…sometimes it was the companies whose names we didn't recognize (usually dedicated GF companies) whose products were the best. Over the past 10 years, I think it's safe to say we've tried most of the widely distributed (and many less widely distributed) products on the shelves. Thank goodness, overall quality of gluten free products has improved! It's been an adventure…and we've learned a lot. That's why I posted our family's favorite gluten free products listing within the Resources section of GlutenFreeTravelSite. Whether you or a family member is new to the gluten free diet -- or if you're a long-time Celiac but just skeptical about trying... Read more →


Have you attended any of the gluten-free Expos around the country? There are several companies that host them, and we share them on our Dine Gluten Free mobile app, under GF Events. Unfortunately, if you don't live in a city where they're held (and aren't in the position to travel to one), you're out of luck. Or maybe you're like me…there's a good one held annually here in the Washington, DC area, but I haven't always been able to attend, due to family commitments and other scheduling conflicts. It's reasons like these that inspired the folks at Simply Gluten-Free magazine to launch a VIRTUAL Gluten-Free EXPO…one that you can attend right from the comfort of your own home -- and at any time that's convenient for you! Although not exactly like being "on the floor" of a live expo, you'll enjoy many of the same benefits…access to free samples, coupons, and engaging information from gluten-free experts. The team at Simply Gluten-Free has been hard at work registering vendors (if you haven't yet registered and are interested, contact Tracy Karp at 727-738-5735, or cell 727-288-1944). Every day more vendors are added to the Expo. And even though it's still a "work... 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 →


While people diagnosed with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity typically learn the basics of cooking gluten free at home fairly quickly, dining out and traveling -- especiallly in another country -- can be intimidating. Some people decide it's just not worth it. But I think that's a big mistake. While it hasn't always been easy, I'm here to tell you that now you can take a wonderful vacation to many gluten-free friendly destinations and stay perfectly safe, providing you have the right tools at your disposal. London is a particularly gluten-free friendly choice, and I recently put together a guide to take the worry out of traveling to this amazing city for anyone following a gluten free diet. The great news is that there is no shortage of restaurants in London that understand how to prepare a safe gluten free meal. Gluten-Free in LONDON, my new e-book available on Amazon.com (and easy to read on any e-reader, tablet, computer, or smartphone with the free Kindle app) takes the hassle out of the overwhelming task of planning a trip to an international destination. And let's face it, we gluten free folks can't really be spontaneous when it comes to grabbing a... 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 →


As you know, we have a lot of helpful content available on GlutenFreeTravelSite, our website geared to helping people with Celiac and gluten sensitivity dine out and travel with ease. In addition to the huge database containing thousands of user-submitted dining and travel reviews from around the world, we have many other helpful resources including a Trip Planning page, a Cruise page, a listing of Camps for gluten free kids, College Reviews, Gluten Free Getaways, and a section featuring Chain Restaurants with gluten free menus. Just last week, we added a 12 new "chapters" of information on gluten, Celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity to our site. These easy-to-access pages of our site cover the necessary facts both new and veteran gluten free folks need to know. For people new to the gluten free diet, we provide them with the straight talk they're looking for -- and information and resources that will help them adopt a gluten free lifestyle. But it can help those of you who've been following a gluten free diet for years, too. For example, do you have friends or family members that need to understand your diet better? Send them a link to this page for answers... Read more →


If you're following a gluten free diet out of medical necessity (Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity), fully participating in communion at your church can be tricky. Communion wafers, or hosts, are made using wheat. Some churches even use regular bread instead. So what's a Celiac or gluten sensitive individual to do? Fortunately, you have several options. Some people choose to bring their own special chalice and only take the wine. Even for Catholics, this is considered acceptable practice, because they believe both the bread (body) and wine (blood) contain the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. You can talk with your pastor or priest about using your own chalice and having the wine in your chalice consecrated alongside the wine in the main chalice. Another option that's become available in the past few years is purchasing gluten free hosts from the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. This is a group of nuns who, after many years of research, have discovered a way to offer a "low gluten" host that is approved by both the Celiac community and the Catholic Church. Why not just use gluten free bread or a gluten free cracker, you may wonder? Well, the Catholic Church, in... Read more →


For over six years, GlutenFreeTravelSite, our website with thousands of user-submitted gluten free dining and travel reviews from around the world, has been helping people learn about the most "gluten-free friendly" places to dine. Together with our just updated DINE GLUTEN FREE mobile app -- and our Gluten Free Travel Blog -- we offer the most comprehensive source of worldwide dining and travel guidance, from a gluten free perspective. As you know, GlutenFreeTravelSite and our just updated DINE GLUTEN FREE mobile app (free for iOS and Android) include personal reviews of restaurants, bakeries, markets, hotels, resorts, and cruises -- submitted by people all over the world. Unlike other gluten free restaurant finders, ALL restaurants and other businesses must be reviewed -- not just listed or rated -- to appear on our site and app. That way, users always benefit from personal, peer feedback. If you don't see one of your favorite GF-friendly places when you search our site or app, then by all means, please take a few minutes to review it! You can do this from our website or right from the app. With our recent app update, it's now even easier to search reviews of places outside the... 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 →