Resources for Celiac Disease

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 →

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 →

As many of your know, this Gluten Free Travel Blog is an offshoot of our popular website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, which was launched over five years ago. I created the website so people would have an easy way to search for "gluten free friendly" places to dine wherever they were planning to travel -- in the U.S. and in other countries. But rather than just providing a name and address of a restaurant (or market, hotel/inn/resort, or bakery), I felt it was essential to include REVIEWS from gluten free folks who'd been there. After all, you want to know as much as you can about a place before dining there, right? For example, do they have a gluten free menu, items marked as GF on the regular menu, or a chef who is able to tailor many items on the menu to make them gluten free? Do they have a dedicated fryer for french fries, chicken wings, or other fried items? (If they make claims that their fried items are gluten free without having a dedicated fryer, you know to be extremely cautious about dining there in the first place!) Are they careful about avoiding cross contamination in other ways? Do they... Read more →

So many things are do-it-yourself in today's world. Nowhere has that become more prevalent than planning a trip. Whether you're booking a flight, reserving a rental car, or making reservations at a hotel or resort, chances are you do it yourself. Wouldn't you love some help? Wouldn't you love to be able to delegate this one thing to someone else -- someone who actually has decades of experience planning trips...and can therefore do it more efficiently? I know it's one area of my life that I appreciate the extra assistance -- especially since the research into the gluten free aspect of wherever we're traveling can really add to the complexity of planning the trip. But fortunately I've had the priviledge of working with one particular travel agent, Lesley Hayden of Travel Leaders, to help plan and book many of our family's trips over the past 4 years. There's another added benefit beyond Lesley's expertise: She can save you money. She can leverage her contacts that she's developed over decades to help you find deals you wouldn't be able to find on your own. She just saved our family hundreds of dollars on last-minute lift tickets at Whistler Ski Resort in... Read more →

Julie Bourne, our Gluten Free College Blogger, has returned from her semester studying in Rome and is now back at University of Denver. She shares with us her favorite spots for quick and inexpensive gluten free eats at restaurants and coffee shops around the University. She's reviewed all the places mentioned below in depth on GlutenFreeTravelSite. Simply click on the links below to be taken to her reviews. As my Rome experience has come to its inevitable close, I find myself back in Denver for my return to speaking in English and clocking in some time in class! While it’s been hard for me to get back into the swing of things after such a fantastic time abroad, I’m happier than I can say to be back to my familiar territory. As a busy student, I spend a lot of time studying in coffee shops, grabbing meals to eat on the go, and going out for inexpensive lunches with friends. In the past couple of weeks back in town, I’ve compiled a few new places that I can recommend to my fellow Denver gluten-free diners. As mentioned above, I spend almost an obscene amount of time huddled in cozy coffee... Read more →

Many of you had used our mobile version of GlutenFreeTravelSite in the past, which enabled you to access our thousands of dining and travel reviews when "on the go." This mobile version will still appear anytime you enter our URL into the browser of any smart phone. However, for those of you who prefer to have a handy app on your phone, you'll be pleased to hear that the DINE GLUTEN FREE app is free and available for both iOS and Android devices. The improvements we've made make it more user-friendly than our mobile version, and there are a lot of great new features, too. Now, in addition to searching by town or zip code to access thousands of REVIEWS of GF-friendly places reviewed by other gluten free diners, you'll also be able to: Submit Your Own Review -- right from your smart phone Access a list of many Chain Restaurants that offer Gluten Free Menus -- and click through to get information about each restaurant, including links to their GF Menu, locations, coupons, Facebook page, and more! Easily use the "near2there" Reminder Service which will allow you to save "must try" restaurants and other GF-friendly businesses located in places... Read more →

Have you had a chance to preview the new SIMPLY GLUTEN FREE Magazine? It debuted with the November/December Holiday issue and has been a smashing success (which may explain why you may have missed's been flying off newsstands!). Started by Carol Kicinski, founder of the Simply Gluten Free recipe and lifestyle website and blog, the bi-monthly magazine by the same name brings together top allergen free bloggers and writers in each issue. I'm honored to be an Associate Editor and will be contributing an article to each issue. The January/February issue features an article I wrote about Gluten Free Cruising. Rather than focus on deprivation, SIMPLY GLUTEN FREE Magazine celebrates the abundance of a gluten free and allergen free life, focusing on providing simple solutions to the challenges gluten free people of all ages face. Topics include medical and nutrition, entertaining, travel, eating out, fitness, and more. Of course, there are always plenty of simple and delicious recipes for gluten free diets -- as well as Paleo, dairy free, vegetarian, sugar free, and vegan diets. Right now you can find SIMPLY GLUTEN FREE Magazine at Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, Wegmans, Hastings, Sprouts, Fresh Market, and hundreds of individual... Read more →

I"m often asked about tips for planning a successful gluten free vacation, and there's quite a long list of advice I share, beginning with suggesting a visit to our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, where you can search user-submitted gluten free dining and travel reviews by location. But frankly, there are times when you simply don't have the time or desire to do all the planning yourself. You want someone to take it off your plate. But who? Who will have your gluten free needs in mind? I was priviledged many years ago to be put in touch with Lesley Hayden at Travel Leaders travel agency. She works in their Boston area office, and although I've never met her in person, she's helped to plan many trips for our family. The nice thing about working with a travel agent -- in addition to having someone to do the legwork for you -- is that it doesn't cost you a thing. In fact, in most cases, they can actually SAVE you money but having access to deals you might not be able to find on your own. Lesley has developed a great knowledge of what is involved in planning trips for her gluten free... Read more →

Whether you've been gluten free for a long time -- or are newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity -- you'll likely agree that maintaining vigilance when dining out and traveling can be a real challenge. You never know what level of gluten free savviness you'll encounter at restaurants, stores, and travel destinations. But there is one thing you can do to virtually ensure success...plan ahead. After tackling these challenges first-hand as the parent of a Celiac child -- and reading the thousands of gluten free dining and travel reviews submitted to our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, over the years -- I have a comprehensive "mental checklist" of sorts that I rely on when planning any trip. Recently I shared these 12 tips for gluten free travel success with The Daily Meal website. Some tips may be common sense and ones you yourself use, while others bear repeating. Check out the article and corresponding slideshow showcasing the 12 Ways to Eat Gluten-Free on the Road, and be sure to forward to your fellow GF friends or family members. For a more detailed explanation of these and other tips for successful gluten free dining and travel, you may want to refer to... Read more →

We've been hard at work making GlutenFreeTravelSite -- the website containing thousands of user-submitted Gluten Free Dining and Travel REVIEWS -- even better. Here are some of the new content and features you'll find on our redesigned site...I hope you'll take a few minutes to browse the new site and share it with all your Gluten Free friends and family members! Enhanced HOME page, with links and easy navigation to all areas of our site Expanded Gluten Free at College section, including reviews of college dining services, submitted by GF students A CRUISE page, showcasing the gluten free policies of all the major Cruise Lines, along with links to cruise REVIEWS submitted to our site An AIRLINES page, detailing which major airlines offer gluten free meals upon request A Listing of CAMPS all over the country that offer programs for Gluten Free Kids Social Sharing on each page of the site to allow you to share pages -- or specific reviews -- with your GF friends Expanded GLUTEN FREE RESOURCES page, organized by category (Celiac associations, Trip Planning, GF-Friendly Hotels/Resorts, Mobile resources...) Enhanced page listing Restaurant Chains offering Gluten Free Menus, with links to dedicated pages for each restaurant Ability... Read more →

GlutenFreeTravelSite and the Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) will be working together to further spread the word within the fast-growing gluten free community about the many restaurants and other businesses that safely accommodate patrons on gluten free diets. CSA local chapters and their members will be using the GlutenFreeTravelSite review platform to submit detailed feedback on "gluten free friendly" restaurants, bakeries, markets, hotels, resorts, B&Bs, and cruise lines they visit. By consolidating their dining and travel feedback on GlutenFreeTravelSite, members of CSA's local chapters will be able to share their personal stories with the wider gluten free audience who searches our site for guidance when looking for safe places to eat in their neighborhood -- or in a location where they're traveling. We are excited and honored to be partnering with CSA in this manner -- and look forward to continuing to give the GF community a place to share their personal feedback on the best places to dine. For more details about this important initiative, please see today's Press Release. We encourage you to share details of your own gluten free dining experiences with others by submitting reviews to our site! Read more →

BLOG HOP, DAY 10: At GlutenFreeTravelSite, our goal is to make it easy for anyone following a gluten free diet to find safe places to dine -- both in their area and when they travel. Since partipating in Holy Communion is such an integral part of most Christians' lives, we wanted to help visitors to our site also find churches that offer gluten-free (or low gluten) wafers/hosts. We recently began encouraging users of our site to submit “reviews” of churches offering gluten-free communion. You can find these reviews mixed in among the other reviews on our site, which are organized by location. So, for example, if you're traveling to Chicago and want to find a church where you can safely participate in communion, search reviews for the Chicago area. We don't have many churches reviewed on our site yet, and we need help spreading the word. If you or someone you know attends a church that offers gluten-free communion wafers/hosts, please submit a review to our site. The procedure is the same as it is for submitting a review of a restaurant or other establishment. Simply go to Submit Review, choose the location where the church is located, and follow... Read more →