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October 2009

Vigilance necessary when dining out gluten-free

I recently came across two great articles to help Celiacs safely dine out gluten-free. The theme of the articles, found on the website Gluten-Free Simplicity, was VIGILANCE. While both the author of the articles and I applaud restaurants that offer gluten-free menus (and want to encourage more restaurants to do so!), we agree that Celiacs have to be careful not to get lulled into a false sense of security just because a restaurant has a "gluten-free menu." The articles, How to Tell if a GF Menu is Truly Gluten Free and Tonight's GF Menu Item Choice: Is It Celiac SAFE or Is It Simply Gluten?, address the issues surrounding dining out, even when a printed gluten-free menu is available. Have the staff -- both in the kitchen and serving your food -- been properly trained? Do they understand Celiac Disease and the seriousness of ingesting gluten? Are specific gluten-free brands of ingredients ever substituted (i.e. one brand of sour cream for another that might not be gluten-free)? When developing the menus, were chefs aware of and careful about checking ingredients like ketchup, tomato paste, and vinegar, etc. that might go into making a marinade, for example? These are the types... Read more →

Gluten Free Fast Food Choices

Ever get tired of relying on McDonald's for your gluten-free fast food needs? Us too! Don't get me wrong...the "Golden Arches" have saved our family on many road trips. At least we know we'll be able to get our son something "safe" that he -- like any American 6-year-old -- enjoys: a plain burger, fries, apple dippers (and the occasional hot fudge sundae or M&M McFlurry). But oh how I love having other OPTIONS. If you're in the mood for chicken (none of McDonald's chicken is gluten-free), Chick Fil-A is a good bet.They have a downloadable menu on their website listing menu items that "may fit a gluten-free diet." And they've obtained information from the supplier's of each of the items on their menu. Options include the chargrilled chicken filet -- with no bun or atop the garden salad -- other salads and coleslaw, and even their addictive waffle fries, which ARE cooked in a separate fryer from the fried chicken. Breakfast options are plentiful, too, with the eggs, bacon, sausage, and hashbrowns all "on the list." And Hardee's also has (recently, I think) addressed the needs of the growing gluten-free population by posting some safe options on their website.... Read more →

Luxury Vacation Home Rentals in Orlando area make traveling on a gluten-free diet easy

Let's face it...even with the increasing number of restaurants adding gluten-free choices to their menus, sometimes you want to cook your own meals while traveling, especially if you're going to be gone for more than a few days and are looking to save money. But you can't do that while staying at your typical hotel. That's where luxury vacation home rental communities like the brand-new Paradise Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida (less than 10 minutes from Disney World), find their niche. You can rent a three, four, or five bedroom private vacation pool home, professionally furnished and decorated and complete with a gourmet kitchen for all your gluten-free cooking needs! To put it plainly, for the cost of a moderately-priced, cramped hotel room, you can rent your very own spacious luxury home where your family can spread out, relax, and cook many of your own meals, reducing your dependence on eating out. All town homes at Paradise Palms even have covered lanais and private courtyards with splash pools. You have all the advantages of a private villa accompanied by all the amenities of a luxury resort, including their Tropical Oasis swimming pool, game room, fitness center, concierge, business center, movie... Read more →

Gluten Free Options at Vail Ski Resorts

It recently came to our attention (via that Vail Resorts, which owns Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Heavenly ski resorts, will be identifying their gluten-free menu items with special "GF" designations beginning this season. Thank you, Vail Resorts! Our family went to one of the top ski resorts in the country last year -- Deer Valley. Even though it was just rated #1 Overall (well-deserved!) and #1 for "On Mountain Food" in October's issue of SKI magazine, we still found ourselves chasing down chefs before lunch to try to find suitable gluten-free choices for our son. How wonderful it would have been to be able to glance at a menu and see right away what was safe for him to eat. It appears that is how things will work at Vail Resorts as they try to meet not only gluten-free diners' needs, but other dietary needs as well. Let's hope other resorts follow suit! Read more →

Gluten Free Dining in Mendocino, California

If you're lucky enough to live in Northern California -- or if you're considering a trip there -- don't miss's Featured Review of dining gluten-free in Mendocino. Amy, a visitor to the site, recently submitted three reviews from this gorgeous area of the California of a restaurant, one of an inn, and one of a local market selling all sorts of gluten-free goodies. We've combined them into October's Featured Review. Coincidentally, my husband and I actually spent a Thanksgiving weekend at The Little River Inn that Amy reviewed. However, it was years ago when we lived in San Francisco and when our older son was just a baby -- and our younger son (the one with Celiac) wasn't born yet. So we didn't have any special dietary needs to work around. Regardless, staying at the Little River Inn was certainly a nice experience...great location, beautiful views, wonderful food, and lots to do in the area. We stayed in the original Victorian house built in 1853. There are also newer buildings on the property, many with jacuzzis, decks, and other luxury amenities. Read the specifics of Amy's review of the Little River Inn, Ledford House Restaurant, and Harvest Market,... Read more →