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July 2011

Good news, Celiacs (and others following a gluten-free diet)! There are more and more snack bars on the market that are gluten-free. They go by all sorts of names: breakfast bars, cereal bars, granola bars, and protein bars. One of the most recent entries into this increasingly crowded market is LUNA, which has offered a line of bars for some time now...but they weren't gluten-free (and their original line of bars still isn't). But their new line -- called LUNA protein -- is indeed gluten-free, and they pack protein, fiber, and nutrients into a bar that is easy to tote in a purse or bag for a quick and healthy "on-the-go" snack. These bars are relatively filling even though they're under 200 calories. They come in 5 flavors, and I sampled 4 of them: Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Cherry Almond (the only one I haven't tried is Chocolate.) May favorite was definitely the Chocolate Peanut Butter, followed by the Chocolate Cherry Almond. My kids really liked the Mint Chocolate Chip. To each his own! I liked the Chocolate Peanut Butter in part due to its consistency, which felt "lighter" than the others. I wasn't... Read more →

We just finished expanding and updating our Resources page on GlutenFreeTravelSite, and we think you'll like the result. It's a treasure trove of links to helpful sites and products that make living gluten-free -- and especially traveling and dining out -- easier and more enjoyable. You'll find links to all the major Celiac associations, both U.S.-based and international, including direct links to their pages with local chapter contact information. This is helpful to have when planning a trip, since a quick call to the local support group at your destination can often yield great advice. I'd especially recommend doing this when traveling internationally. Our Resources page also contains a complete guide to Cruising gluten-free, with contact information and the gluten-free policies of all major cruise lines included. Fortunately, most cruise ships now have at least basic gluten-free foods available, and some cruise lines go the extra mile to make their GF guests feel special with all sorts of wonderful GF treats. If a cruise vacation is something you're considering, you can also visit our Caribbean page of reviews, which contains user-submitted reviews of all the major cruise lines. Other helpful sections of our Resources page include information on handy travel... Read more →

If you haven't heard of Carol Fenster, then you're likely a VERY newly-diagnosed Celiac...for Carol is legendary in the gluten-free world. She is an internationally recognized expert on gluten-free cooking who now has a total of 10 cookbooks to her credit, including her latest release: 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes. I've used her Gluten-Free Quick & Easy cookbook (not exclusively vegetarian), and one of our family's favorite dishes is the Orange Beef Stir-Fry, which can be served over rice, or even put in corn tortillas and served as "wraps" as we've done. Although no one in our family is a vegetarian, I was anxious to try many of the recipes in Carol's just-released cookbook, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes. I made the Quinoa Pilaf with PIne Nuts and Dried Fruit this past weekend to take along as a side dish to a picnic. It was a huge hit. At this point, most people have heard of quinoa and are aware of its health benefits (a GREAT vegetarian source of complete protein) but not everyone has tried it. This recipe is hard to beat and a great way to introduce "newbies" into the wonderful world of this ancient grain. The fruit and nuts... Read more →

I'm sure you've heard of Groupon, Living Social, and other "daily deal" services that offer substantial discounts on all sorts of products and services to groups of people via daily email alerts. Well, I'm thrilled to let you know that there are now TWO new money-saving services, exclusively geared to the gluten-free community. One is called Gluten-Free Saver, and the other is called Gluten Free Deals. It's absolutely FREE to sign up for these simply visit their sites and enter your email in the sign-up box right on the main page. Then you'll receive email alerts when they have a gluten-free deal. The choice is always yours whether or not to "purchase" the deal (like $40 worth of product for $15), but if it's something you buy anyway, you can sometimes save up to 80%! Goodness knows we all pay A LOT for gluten-free products...often 2-3 times as much as "regular" versions of a product. Thanks to these two great companies for finally bringing incredible savings on GF products to our community! Read more →

Gluten Free Expo in Washington, DC -- First Annual Show a Great Success

I had the opportunity to attend Washington, DC's Gluten-Free Expo last Friday at the Embassy Suites Convention Center hotel. It was a great success -- and an opportunity for me to meet new GF friends and re-connect with some old. Over 600 people attended this first-annual event, and proceeds went to the Celiac Disease Program at Children's National Medical Center. Although I didn't have the opportunity to leave my own booth for very long, I did a quick lap through the hall of 60-or-so vendors, most of whom were sampling delicious sweet and savory gluten-free treats. Amie Valpone, of The Healthy Apple blog, was handing out samples of Rudi's delicious line of gluten-free breads. Glutino was also on-hand with samples of their new sandwich bread, which looks, smells, and tastes so much like "real" bread, you can definitely be fooled. Bloggers Diane of The Whole Gang and Bernice from Wheatless and Meatless were there, as were some of my favorite local baker Marion of Marion's Smart Delights bake shop and Maureen of One Dish Cuisine (FANTASTIC gluten-free crabcakes!). In the booth beside me was Tonya's Gluten Free Kitchen, sampling their amazing gluten-free soft pretzels and pretzel bites (worthy of ballparks!).... Read more →

We're fortunate to have a wide range of tasty gluten-free snack bars to choose from these days. Personally, I'm a big fan of Larabars and Kind fruit and nut bars, and my son likes all the EnviroKidz crispy rice snack bars. I hadn't tried SOYJOY bars until recently, when a company representative sent me their new Pineapple flavor to try. They are very different from any snack bar I've ever had...a very different consistency. Not better, not worse...just different. It's hard to explain, so I'd encourage you to try one of their seven flavors for yourself if you have the opportunity. You'll know with the first bite or two if you're a fan. Chances are, you'll like the flavor (choices are blueberry, banana, strawberry, apple, berry, mango coconut, and the new pineapple). It's the texture and consistency that you might have to get used to...perhaps an acquired least it was for me. It's a small bar and somewhat dry, but flavorful. The thing I liked is that they don't get crushed like some softer snack bars or melt on the outside like others coated or drizzled in chocolate. In other words, they travel well, and that's important...because after all,... Read more →