Camp Celiac in Northern California 2014

Posted on January 30th, 2014 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Treat your child to a week of gluten freedom at a special summer camp, Camp Celiac!
NOTE: Registration starts February 1st! The camp days have been reduced – see information below from their website.

CAMP CELIAC

In northern California at Camp Celiac, “campers, counselors, and junior counselors eat delicious gluten-free food and enjoy traditional camp activities such as a ropes course, rock climbing, zip-lining, boating, swimming, archery, arts and crafts, skit night, and outdoor sports. Three meals a day without having to ask if any of the foods are gluten free is life changing for many campers and staff!” Ages 9-15.

2014 Camp Dates: Due to high demand for space at Camp Arroyo, we have to reduce the length of Camp Celiac at Camp Arroyo in 2014. We will still have two sessions for campers ages 9 to 15:
Session One: Monday, July 21, 2014 through Thursday, July 24, 2014
Session Two: Thursday July 24 through Sunday, July 27, 2014.

Counselors and Jr. counselors (ages 16 and 17) will stay for both sessions: Monday, July 21, 2014 through Sunday, July 27, 2014. Thus, we will have fewer available counselor and Jr. counselor spaces. On-line registration will open on February 1, 2014.

Camp Celiac recognizes The Taylor Family Foundation for again hosting our camp at Camp Arroyo. The Taylor Family Foundation’s mission is to preserve the wellness and enhance the quality of life for children in Northern California with life-threatening and chronic illnesses, disabilities, and youth at risk through unique therapeutic experiences and support. For more information, please visit www.ttff.org.

Please consider a donation to The Taylor Family Foundation and to Camp Celiac! Donations to Camp Celiac cover many items specifically for Camp Celiac, such as crafts, medical supplies, DJ’s, additional activities, our camp program’s general and medical insurance, etc. Donations to The Taylor Family Foundation cover the substantial food, maintenance, and activity costs for all of the camps at Camp Arroyo (www.ttff.org).

To register:

Registration Priority: The by-laws of The Taylor Family Foundation require that we give priority to campers from Northern California.

Campers from Northern California: All campers from Northern California who register between Feb 1st and Feb 14th will be given equal priority if all four registration steps (see below) are completed by February 14 (and received if paying by mail); i.e. there is no advantage to registering on February 1st rather than February 14th. After February 14th, available space will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis after all four registration steps are completed (and received if paying by mail). At all times, space availability will depend, in part, on the camper’s age and gender since cabins are segregated by sex and age. Please see “Camp Watch” for status regarding available space vs. wait list only.

Campers from Outside Northern California: Please complete the registration instructions below. Priority will be based upon date of completed registration and sex/age availability. No spaces will be offered to campers from outside Northern California until mid March, and then only if space is available.

If you register by FEB 14, we will advise you of your camper’s registration status by MAR 5.

Campers can indicate which of one of two sessions they prefer to attend. To ensure maximum availability for new campers, campers may sign up for ONE session only.

For more information about how to sign up for this camp, visit the registration page at CeliacCamp.com.

Be Sociable, Share!

Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread in San Francisco

Posted on January 28th, 2014 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Growing up near San Francisco, I loved sourdough bread. In fact, it was the only bread I liked, and the only bread-y thing I would eat. I pulled the fillings out of sandwiches made on other breads, but if you gave me a turkey sandwich on sliced sourdough (Colombo and Parisian were the brands at that time), I was a happy girl!

Fast forward to 2002, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease and learned all about everything gluten-free. One thing I learned was that sourdough naturally has the lowest gluten content of breads, because the fermentation process makes it easier to digest — no wonder I liked it!

BreadSRSLY Gluten-Free SourdoughWhen you are on a strict gluten-free diet, however, even “lower gluten” foods like sourdough bread are completely off-limits, but last Sunday, I got to taste sourdough bread for the first time in 11 years. I had been hearing about a woman in San Francisco who started making and selling gluten-free sourdough bread, and that it was really good. Well, yes, it is! That woman is Sadie, and her company is Bread SRSLY (“seriously”). My daughter who had never had sourdough in her life (and has multiple food allergies and is in need of good bacteria!) loves the bread and has a toasted slice with her breakfast in the morning, which I feel good about because gluten-free sourdough may be beneficial in the healing of the gut due to the growth of good bacteria (lactobacilli is one) during fermentation of the sourdough.

BreadSRSLY Gluten-Free SourdoughNot only does Bread SRSLY offer a “Classic Sourdough,” there are other unique flavors like Kale (which I absolutely loved) and Apricot Fennel. In addition to being gluten-free, the bread is free of dairy, egg, nut, soy, chickpea, potato, and tapioca. Yay! Ingredients (non-GMO): Organic White Rice Flour, Organic Millet Flour, Sorghum Flour, Arrowroot, Sourdough Starter (Water, Sorghum Flour), Xanthan Gum, Salt.

So, where you can find this San Francisco treat? Bread SRSLY is offered locally in the San Francisco Bay Area through local markets, Good Eggs and Amazon Fresh, and nationally by ordering online.

Be Sociable, Share!

How to Get $0 Co-Pay for Epi-Pen or Auvi-Q

Posted on January 11th, 2014 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Did you know that you can get your Epi-Pens or your Auvi-Q (new brand of epinephrine auto-injector) for free? Both companies are offering a $0 Co-Pay program. I wasn’t aware of these programs until a friend told me – before that I was paying over $100 each time I needed to get a refill, which adds up when you need one for school, one for home, and one more to be safe! Plus, they expire every year, so you are forced to get new ones and dump the old.

Here’s how it works:

The Epi-Pen $0 Co-Pay Offer:

What is it?

It’s a savings offer that you can print or store on your smartphone. The EpiPen® $0 Co-Pay Offer helps eligible patients save on out-of-pocket costs for up to $100 per each EpiPen 2-Pak carton. It will cover up to 3 EpiPen 2-Pak cartons per prescription fill. Just present your card at the pharmacy each time you drop off or refill your prescription.

Use it again and again.

Your EpiPen $0 co-pay card is reusable for each prescription through December 31, 2014. It’s good for up to three EpiPen 2-Pak or EpiPen Jr 2-Pak cartons at a time, so you can have several EpiPen 2-Pak cartons available in different locations.

Patient Instructions*: Present your card along with a valid prescription for EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors 2-Pak carton or EpiPen Jr (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors 2-Pak carton. Maximum benefit of $100 per EpiPen 2-Pak® carton where applicable. This offer may be used on up to three EpiPen 2-Pak cartons per prescription. This offer can be used an unlimited number of times until the offer expires on 12/31/2014.

For more information, visit the Epi-Pen Co-Pay Offer page.

The Auvi-Q $0 Co-Pay Offer:

Eligible Patients: Maximum benefit of $100 per two‑pack of Auvi‑Q, up to a maximum of three two‑packs per prescription. This offer can be used an unlimited number of times until 12/31/2014. Prescriber ID# required on prescription. This offer is not valid for prescriptions covered by or submitted for reimbursement under Medicaid, Medicare, or similar federal or state programs including any state medical pharmaceutical assistance program.

Patient Instructions: If prescription is covered by insurance, you may need to notify the insurance carrier of redemption of this copay card. Patient not eligible if prescriptions are paid in part or full by any state or federally funded programs, including, but not limited to, Medicare or Medicaid. In order to redeem this card you must have a valid prescription for Auvi‑Q.

For more information, visit the Auvi-Q Co-Pay Offer page.

Be Sociable, Share!

Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo coming to SF Bay Area

Posted on January 9th, 2014 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

GFAF ExpoThe Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo, which originated in Chicago, makes its first stop of the year in the San Francisco Bay Area on January 25 & 26th. The Expo is in San Mateo from 9 am to 3 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. You can buy a ticket for either or for both days. Kids are only $5!

According to the event’s website:

The Expo is the premier gluten and allergen free event in the US. Whether you are looking for specialty products that taste great or trying to learn how to cook and bake to meet your dietary needs, the Expo is the place to be!

What do you get with your Expo Ticket?

  • Entry into the 150+ booth vendor fair
  • Valuable coupons at the vendor booths
  • Samples from the vendors
  • Discounted products available for purchase
  • Informative classes related to the gluten and allergen-free lifestyle
  • Free reusable bag to carry your goodies
  • Meet your favorite vendors, authors and bloggers

Here are some important links if you are planning on attending the Expo:

When and Where

Buy tickets

Classes

See which vendors will be there

Have fun if you go!

Be Sociable, Share!

Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin February 2014 Meeting

Posted on January 8th, 2014 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

gigofmarin1UPDATE: We have many wonderful vendors attending this meeting, including Bread SRSLY and Odd Bagel, who will be SELLING their breads, Good Eggs – a grocery delivery service, and samples from Mary’s Crackers, Simple Squares, and Larabar. Please RSVP by email or Facebook if you will be attending this event so we can let our vendors know!

Gluten can trigger many autoimmune conditions:

  • Hashimoto’s, Grave’s Disease & other thyroid conditions
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Vitiligo
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Balance & Movement Disorders
  • Alopecia
  • and others

Autoimmune diseases as a group are the third most common medical condition in America, affecting over 50 million people. And new research indicates that the two leading medical conditions–heart disease and cancer–can have an autoimmune component too.

For some people, autoimmune symptoms and the risk of developing additional autoimmune conditions can persist even after eliminating gluten. But there are actions one can take to alleviate symptoms and reduce risk.

Join us at the Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin’s next meeting on Tuesday, February 4 to learn more with Dr. David Lepp of The Bay Area Autoimmune and Thyroid Center.   

Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or are learning more about gluten free living for yourself, family or friends, we welcome you to the GIG of Marin. New members, friends, and loved ones are always welcome.

You can RSVP here or on our Facebook page. RSVPs help us plan logistically for the meeting, but if you haven’t RSVP’d, please come anyway! You are always welcome.

The Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will meet:

  • Tuesday, February 4
  • 7:00 to 9:00pm
  • Community Room at Corte Madera Town Center (upstairs at PF Chang’s end) 770 Tamalpais Dr. Suite 201, Corte Madera, CA, 94925

We look forward to seeing you!

Be Sociable, Share!

Allergen-Free Chocolate Chips

Posted on December 15th, 2013 by Alison | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

Enjoy Life MorselsIf you are looking for an allergen-free chocolate chip, I recommend Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels. Enjoy Life already has its Mini Chips and Mega Chunks, and the Morsels are a new addition.

All of these products are gluten, dairy, nut and soy-free — allergens that could be found in other chocolates. While I love the size of the Mini Chips and have been using them for years, I like the flavor of the new Morsels much better. They have a richer chocolate taste (69% cacao).

There are only two ingredients in the Morsels: Unsweetened Chocolate and Cane Sugar. The package states “Made in a dedicated nut and gluten-free facility.” It has a Gluten-Free Certification, and its allergen statement says, “The facility also processes dairy and soy; however, this products is produced on a dedicated dairy- and soy-free line. Ingredients have been additionally tested to ensure strict allergen control standards are met.”

So if you are looking for safe chocolate chips, try these! If you can’t yet find them in stores, you can buy them online at Enjoy Life Foods.

Be Sociable, Share!

13 Gluten-Free/Allergen-Free Holiday Tips

Posted on November 16th, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

If you are gluten-free or have any other allergy or dietary restriction, it is important to have strategies for navigating the holidays so that you can attend the celebrations stress-free and, hopefully, enjoy them too!

Here are some practical tips for coping with holiday events:

1. TELL THE HOST

There’s nothing worse than going to a dinner and having the host prepare an entire meal that you cannot eat. Make the host aware of your dietary restrictions and you might be pleasantly surprised by the effort that he or she goes through to accommodate you. Gluten-free diets and food allergies are becoming more common and people are more knowledgeable about special diets, so give your host a chance!

2. OFFER TO BRING A DISH

The easiest and most sure-fire way to make sure there is something you can eat at a party is to bring a dish. Whether you purchase something safe or make it yourself, you will be guaranteed not to starve. If it’s desserts you miss most, then bring treats. If bread is what you need, then bring dinner rolls or cornbread. There are many available gluten-free prepared foods and baking mixes that will help to fulfill your cravings.

3. HELP PLAN THE MEAL

Who doesn’t need help with the holiday meal? If the host is a family member or close friend, offer to help plan the menu and even assign dishes to guests if appropriate. That way, you can have some control over what dishes are going to be prepared, or at least you will know ahead of time what the meal will entail.

4. DO THE GROCERY SHOPPING

If you have been living gluten-free or with food allergies for a while, you know your safe foods, which means grocery shopping for your foods is easier for you than for anyone else. So if you are visiting relatives or friends and plan to make a dish while you are there, make time to go to the store. It will take the pressure off of your host and give you assurance that your ingredients are safe.

5. OFFER SUGGESTIONS

What not to do: call your host and say “Oh, by the way, I’m gluten-free. Thanks!” click. Don’t expect your host to know what gluten-free means or how to avoid another ingredient that you are sensitive to. What you can do is offer suggestions for foods that you know are safe. For example, if the host is serving ham, you can let them know some of the brands that are gluten-free: Costco spiral ham, Niman Ranch, Honeybaked Ham (they recently changed their honey glaze recipe to be gluten-free). You could suggest a ready-made gluten-free bread to use for their traditional stuffing recipe and some safe brands of broth (Pacific, Imagine, Kitchen Basics are some).

6. GET IN THE KITCHEN

Holidays hosts will often accept help in kitchen, especially if they get overwhelmed when it gets closer to mealtime and they haven’t finished preparing everything. While you are in the kitchen, you can check ingredients in flavoring packets or canned soups – stuff that goes into those “old favorite” recipes.  Maybe you can even intervene in the gravy-making and use cornstarch or arrowroot starch instead of wheat flour to thicken. If you are not a chef, at least you can get an idea of what you can and cannot eat.

7. ASK QUESTIONS

You’re not going to be able to guess what’s in a dish just by looking at it, so you will need to ask questions about ingredients and how the food was prepared. When in doubt, leave it out.

8. READ LABELS

Have you ever looked through other people’s garbage or recycling bins? Sometimes you just have to know… what brand of chicken broth did they use? Are these crackers gluten-free? What ingredients are in the seasoning packet used in the dip?

9. EAT BEFORE YOU GO

You never want to show up to an event starving if you aren’t sure what’s going to be served. Have some food in you before you arrive. An empty stomach can lead to heightened emotions and if you are drinking alcohol, can lead to something worse. Put a buffer in your belly just in case.

10. BRING EMERGENCY FOOD

It’s always a good idea to stash a snack — in your purse, in your car, even a pocket of a jacket. Rice crackers, nuts or a bar are easy to transport and nibble on in a food emergency.

11. BRING YOUR OWN MEAL

If you have so many food restrictions that it would nearly impossible for your host to know what to feed you, take the pressure off and just establish that you will be bringing your own food. You will be safe and won’t starve and your host, though she may feel bad, will most likely be relieved.

12. BE PATIENT

You might fully understand your diet and the reasons you are doing it, but others might not get it. Don’t expect your friends and relatives to understand your special diet right away, especially if you rarely see them. There is a learning curve when it comes to eliminating gluten, or dairy, or anything else. You may feel frustrated, but they may be just as frustrated as you.

13. DON’T PREACH

Let’s face it — we all have family members we think are in denial and need to eliminate gluten and/or something from their diet. But while they are eating Aunt Susie’s famous pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table is not the time to get on your soapbox and let them know how eating gluten-free will change their lives! Talking about reflux, migraines and bloating are probably not be what people were looking forward to when they arrived at the holiday gathering. So hold off on your sermon — maybe after the holidays when they are feeling ill (from all that holiday food) would be a good time to broach the subject.

Do you have tips to share? Feel free to provide them in the comments section!
Need a Pep Talk?

Be Sociable, Share!

A Gluten-Free Pep Talk For the Holidays

Posted on November 12th, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Holidays can be a stressful time even without special dietary restrictions – people are dealing with family, travel, expenses, and cooking for guests. Add in a gluten-free diet, or a gluten-free-plus diet and it can make for some challenging moments. When you are the host of a holiday meal or event, you are in control of your menu, but if you are the guest with a restricted diet, a holiday event can stir up a myriad of emotions. I was diagnosed 11 years ago right between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I remember what it was like to be surrounded by food but feel like there was nothing safe to eat.

Whether you are new to the gluten-free diet or have been doing it for years, you may experience any of the following emotions as a guest at a holiday event:

  • Anxiety
    • Will there be something I can eat? Will there be anything I can eat?
    • This anxiety causes many people to just stay home!
  • Fear
    • Will I get sick… (again)?
    • Fears about cross-contamination can get in the way of any enjoyment of a meal.
  • Embarrassment
    • Will my friends and family think I’m a pain? What if they made me something special and I have to ask about the ingredients or cross-contamination? Will they apologize again and again that they are eating something that I can’t eat?
    • Sometimes you just want to disappear!
  • Sadness or Anger or Resentment
    • Why can’t I enjoy the freedom that everyone else can? How can I enjoy this meal if I can’t have Aunt Susie’s famous pumpkin pie?
  • Hunger!
    • This may just be a psychological hunger, as there may be enough food to eat, but it feels like there is so much that you can’t have.
  • Kids emotions may be intensified:
    • Quote from my daughter: “It’s hard because you walk into someone’s house and there’s all this good stuff all around that you can’t have and you can only have the other stuff like turkey and vegetables.”

I want to tell you a little story about one of my emotional moments…

I was out at a dinner recently in Las Vegas for a work event. I was with a table of about 14 people I didn’t really know at a restaurant that I was told was a Thai restaurant called Jasmine in the Bellagio, so I felt confident that there would be something I could eat. After we got the menus I realized that it was in fact a Cantonese restaurant and when I asked the waiter what I could have on the menu, I was told that there was only one dish that I could have. While everyone else was ordering appetizers, and plates to share, I felt so uncomfortable and was overcome with this feeling that I was going to cry.

I was then mortified that I, a grown woman, would cry in front of all of these people, and what would they think of that?? So I had to have a self-coaching moment – you know, when you’re like:

“C’mon – pull yourself together! You can do it. It’s just one meal. You’re going to get through this. Do not cry. Do not cry!”

I had to look down, pretend I was doing something on my phone for a minute, and gather myself. It turned out that the one dish on the menu that I could have was delicious and… imagine… I had a fun time enjoying the non-food part — the company of the people at the table and the view of the dancing fountains of the Bellagio out the window.

So if you find yourself in one of those tough moments this holiday season (or ever after), try to find your Inner Coach to help you get through.

Maybe you need this kind of coach:

Or someone a little more smiley :):

Or maybe you really need this guy!

Whichever one works for you, use that Inner Coach to guide you when you have feelings of despair. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, find what you can eat, and get enjoyment from things other than the food. Rather than stand around the appetizer table, have a conversation with an elderly family member. If you can’t nibble from the dessert tray, play with the kids or hold a baby or look through photo albums… and don’t forget to appreciate the dancing fountains outside the window!

Happy Holidays! :)
See also: 13 Gluten-Free/Allergen-Free Tips for the Holidays

Be Sociable, Share!

Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin November 2013 Meeting

Posted on October 29th, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

gigofmarin1

Whether this will be your first or fiftieth gluten free holiday season, navigating this social, food-filled and tradition-laden time can be challenging!

Our next meeting will give you some strategies so you can be safe and satisfied at your holiday events.

With eleven years of gluten-free holidays under her belt, local blogger Alison St. Sure (Sure Foods Living) will share strategies for how to stay safely gluten free during the holidays, including knowing where gluten can hide in holiday foods and addressing the social challenges of parties and family gatherings.

Local chef, Amy Fothergill (The Family Chef), will join GIG of Marin to share her new cookbook, The Warm Kitchen, that includes a chapter dedicated to holiday recipes and will be available for purchase. “If living gluten-free makes you feel like you are missing out on some of your favorite foods, then this book is for you,” says Amy.

Mark your calendar now—don’t miss Amy’s demonstration of how to make a gluten free pie crust that will wow everyone around your holiday table, whether they eat gluten free or not. Also, we will hold a special raffle featuring cookbooks and holiday foods.

Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or are learning more about gluten free living for yourself, family or friends, we welcome you to the GIG of Marin. New members, friends, and loved ones are always welcome.

You can RSVP here or on our Facebook page. RSVPs help us plan logistically for the meeting, but if you haven’t RSVP’d, please come anyway! You are always welcome.

The Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will meet:

  • Tuesday, November 5
  • 7:00 to 9:00pm
  • Community Room at Corte Madera Town Center (upstairs at PF Chang’s end) 770 Tamalpais Dr. Suite 201, Corte Madera, CA, 94925

We look forward to seeing you!

Be Sociable, Share!

Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Guide 2013

Posted on October 6th, 2013 by Alison | Read 13 Comments - Add Your Own »

The ultimate gluten-free allergen-free Halloween Candy Guide is back! I’ve updated the list in 2013 to reflect ingredient changes and current manufacturers statements by web and phone. To print this list, click on the Print icon above the title. (If you don’t see the print icon, click on the title of the article first.)

Each candy shows if the ingredients contain wheat/gluten, milk (represents all dairy), soy, egg, tree nuts, or peanuts (6 of the top 8 allergens — fish and shellfish are not included since I have not found this to be a concern with candy). I included coconut where I saw it on a label but not as a tree nut since most allergy organizations do not consider coconut to be a tree nut. (The FDA, however, has required coconut to be labeled as a tree nut.)

Note: Please, as always, double check ingredients and also check with the child’s parents before giving them any candy or allowing them to eat anything! I will not be held liable for any accident occurring due to the use of this list. It is meant as a guide only.

Need a short list? Check out these:
Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2013
Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2013

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE »

Be Sociable, Share!