Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2013

Posted on October 6th, 2013 by Alison | Read 9 Comments - Add Your Own »

This Gluten-Free Candy Quick List 2013 includes candies that do not contain wheat or gluten as an ingredient. I have included the allergen statement if it mentions wheat or gluten. For the complete listing of allergens and company statements see the Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Guide 2013. For a quick list of candies that are free of the top allergens, see the Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2013. 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.)

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Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2013

Posted on October 6th, 2013 by Alison | Read 4 Comments - Add Your Own »

This is a quick list of allergen-free Halloween candy for 2013. This list includes candies that do not contain gluten or the top 8 allergens (wheat, milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish or shellfish) as an ingredient. I will mention if it contains coconut (most allergy organizations do not consider coconut a tree nut however) or sesame (companies are not required to list sesame) if I saw it on the label. I have included the allergen statement if listed.

For the complete listing of allergens and company statements see the Gluten-Free Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Guide 2013.

For a quick list of candies that are gluten-free, see the Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2013.

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Food-allergy-friendly (and healthy) lunch box options for kids

Posted on August 19th, 2013 by Alison | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

When you have a child with food allergies, you can’t rely on any school-supplied lunches, if any are even offered. You have to make lunch every day. Any mom who packs lunches can relate to the morning drill of hoping you’ve done enough grocery shopping to find enough food to put in your kids’ lunchbox that day, while also trying to make it healthy and desirable. I feel a sense of failure when I open a full lunchbox at the end of the day!

Over the years I have figured out how to make my kids’ lunchboxes to come back empty rather than full. When you are dealing with food allergies, you have to think outside of the (lunch)box! No PB&J sandwiches, Goldfish or cheese sticks to fall back on. My kids and I have figured out lunch options that make me and them happy. That’s not to say I don’t strike out sometimes, but I thought I’d share some of our successes and hope these might work for you, or at least spark some ideas.

I can’t say enough how important it is to have a good lunchbox — one with compartments that show the food. What food is appetizing served in plastic baggies and aluminum foil? Plus, the whole no-waste thing is a bonus! I love Laptop Lunches and my kids have been using them for years. When a child opens the lunch, the entire lunch is displayed at once. It is really convenient and appetizing and there is even a fork and spoon — imagine eating with utensils!

Whichever lunch box you choose, the next step is to fill it up! Aim for variety and try to cover all of the food groups. I always put protein along with the filler food (carbs), some fruit and a veggie. And yes, I put a little treat of some kind! I didn’t used to, but I realized that it just makes my kids so much happier when there is a little sweet surprise — and I do mean little — a small cookie, a little pack of gummy candies, a homemade mini muffin.

If your kid likes a sandwich, go for it! There are now many kinds of gluten-free breads to choose from, vegan mayonnaise and allergy-free lunch meats. My kids are currently not crazy about sandwiches so I have had to come up with other options. Here are some of the things I have packed over the years:

  • Gluten-free pretzels with Sunbutter – pack Sunbutter in a dipping container
  • Apples with Sunbutter
  • Rice crackers or tortilla rounds or strips with hummus
  • Tortilla chips with refried beans as bean dip – try Amy’s Organic Traditional Refried Beans – it is not spicy at all and has a good mild flavor that kids like
  • Raw veggies – sometimes on Sunday, I wash and cut into matchsticks or rounds cucumbers and carrots. I store them with snap peas or any other veggie that the kids like in a sealed container in the frig and then when making lunches in the morning, I ask my kids to choose from the veggies for their “veggie compartment.” I have read about some supermoms that put a green salad in their kids lunches. There is no way my kids would eat a salad at lunch! But this veggie method has worked so far for us. Also, if the veggies seem a little dry because you have cut them days before, just sprinkle a little water on them.
  • Cooked veggies – I have gotten away with putting leftover green beans and broccoli (as long as they are not overcooked) in my older daughter’s lunchbox. Sometimes you have to take a risk! :)
  • “Breadsticks” – my kids got tired of sandwiches, so I made breadsticks by toasting the same gluten-free sandwich bread and cutting it into strips – this is great for dipping in hummus or sunbutter, or even just plain. Change the shape and it’s a whole new food!
  • Fruit – okay, this seems obvious, but let’s face it — sometimes there’s no fresh fruit left in the house! Berries, grapes, watermelon and apples are the fresh fruits my kids like, but I always have a back-up of canned pineapple chunks (the natural kind – no sugary syrup) and serve with a fork. The kids love it. If you can fit the pineapple rings in the lunchbox, that’s a big hit also! Other fresh-fruit replacements include applesauce (don’t forget the spoon!), frozen mango, and I bet those cute little mandarin orange slices would make them happy too – I haven’t tried those yet.
  • Protein sources – the beans, hummus and Sunbutter mentioned above are some. My kids like lunch meat, so I will include all-natural salami, or turkey or chicken breast. Try rolling it up and securing with a toothpick (“turkey rolls”), or with rice crackers. Since nuts are a common allergen, you might try seeds like shelled pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds — Enjoy Life makes a trail mix of seeds, dried fruit and chocolate chips, or you could make your own.

Hopefully, this list has helped you get some new ideas. I would love for you all to share what you pack in your kids’ lunches! I could use some new ideas too!

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Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin Sept 2013 Meeting

Posted on August 1st, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

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Is Today’s Food Damaging Our Kids’ Mental and Physical Health?

Marin pediatrician Michelle Perro, MD is sounding the alarm: serious conditions are on the rise among the Marin County children she sees in her practice–from neurological and autoimmune disease to asthma and digestive issues, including celiac disease and gluten sensitivity–and she believes the food we feed our children is causing many of these disorders.

“For the first time in modern history our children will not be as healthy as their parents,” says Dr. Perro. “As pediatricians, we are seeing an epidemic of digestive, immunologic, and neurologic abnormalities that is changing the face of families, schools and society.”

Many of the children Dr. Perro sees are suffering with behavioral disorders that affect their ability to function at school and at home. In addition, Dr. Perro is seeing babies who won’t stop crying and are not thriving on any kind of nutrition and children who have unusual skin disorders, early puberty and other endocrine issues ranging from obesity to failure to grow. Dr. Perro cites a growing body of research that shows that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which permeate our food supply are wreaking havoc on our children’s health, largely via intestinal damage which is linked to the high rise of other disorders.

Dr. Perro is a Yale-trained, board-certified pediatrician, who integrates Western medicine with homeopathy and functional medicine. She practices at The Institute for Health and Healing in Greenbrae and San Francisco.  Since 2002, Dr. Perro has been recognized annually as one of “America’s Top Pediatricians” by the Consumer’s Research Council of America.  She is a board member of a local non-profit organization committed to reducing childhood exposure to household and environmental toxins.

Mark your calendars, and tell your friends about Dr. Perro’s talk at GIG of Marin’s next meeting on Tuesday, September 17.

Purchasing tickets in advance will be necessary for this special event.  Reserve your space to learn more about this urgent issue by buying tickets here. The fees collected are used to cover the costs of renting the meeting room, printing the handouts, etc.

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.

The Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will meet:

  • Tuesday, September 17
  • 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!

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SuperSeedz Pumpkin Seeds (a Giveaway!)

Posted on July 13th, 2013 by Alison | Read 20 Comments - Add Your Own »

Pumpkin seeds are delicious and packed with nutrition, having one of the highest protein contents of any seed or nut. They are also a good source of minerals, fiber and healthy omega-3 oils. Though most nut-allergic individuals can tolerate seeds, the seeds are often made in a facility with nuts, presenting the risk of cross-contamination.

I like to make my own pumpkin seeds when I carve pumpkins in October, and if I’m cooking a butternut squash, I’ll toast those seeds too, but I was looking for some safe pumpkin seeds for the rest of the year for my daughter who is allergic to nuts.

In my search, I came across SuperSeedz by Kathie’s Kitchen. I love the taste of these pumpkin seeds! I am addicted to the Sea Salt ones, but all of the flavors are fun and delicious: Coco Joe, Curry, Really Naked, Super Spicy, Somewhat Spicy, Sugar & Cinnamon, Tomato Italiano. All flavors are naturally vegan, gluten free, tree nut free, peanut free, dairy free, MSG free and soy free!

I used SuperSeedz for two recipes in an article I wrote for Gluten-Free Living magazine called Aw, Nuts: Balancing a Nut-Free, Gluten-Free Diet.

So, would you like to win some seeds? Kathie has agreed to give away four 6-ounce packages of pumpkin seeds PLUS a limited edition SuperSeedz pumpkin seed shaker to one lucky winner! If you would like to enter, simply leave a comment telling me why you’d like to win! Contest ends on Thursday, July 18 at 5:00 pm PST. Good luck!

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Laughing Glass Margaritas: all-natural and delicious!

Posted on June 17th, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

I like a good margarita, and by that I mean a real, fresh margarita, not one made from a corn-syrup-sodium-benzoate-yellow-5 mixer. Besides the fact that the ingredients of most commercial mixers are ones I don’t want to put in my body, they simply don’t taste good to me. The downside to preferring a fresh margarita is not having a personal bartender to squeeze limes and mix my drink for me one on command — I need to add one to my staff, right after I hire a maid, butler and driver. ;)

Laughing Glass Cocktails is a new company that creates a read-to-drink margarita. It has all the ingredients of a fresh margie already mixed, so all you do is pour over ice. I recently brought it on a girls weekend (see photo), and we all loved it!

Laughing Glass Margaritas

Regarding ingredients, the company states:

  • We begin with a proprietary, super premium blanco tequila they developed (Blanco tequila is not aged in the oak casks that can cause allergic reactions in some people).
  • We source only the best organic Agave plants (or pinas) from the lowlands of Mexico.  After being picked at the peak of their maturity, they are slowly steam cooked, mashed and fermented, then distilled in stainless steel barrels for a concentrated, pure and clean spirit.
  • We add delicate all-natural citrus flavors and add their own unique twist, a hint of carbonation.
  • Nothing artificial is ever considered.

Laughing Glass is currently available in northern California, but a nationwide launch is scheduled for the fall of 2014.

For more information, you can follow them on Facebook.

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Cybele’s Free-to-Eat™ Cookies are Allergen-Free

Posted on May 2nd, 2013 by Alison | Read 23 Comments - Add Your Own »

It seems everyone is coming out with a gluten-free cookie these days. But for those of us who have multiple food allergies, or whose kids do, a gluten-free cookie isn’t enough — it needs to be free of other allergens as well. And don’t forget about taste… even kids with food allergies can be picky!

Cybele Pascal learned about allergen-free cooking when her son was diagnosed with severe food allergies. She has since written three cookbooks and has most recently launched her line of allergen-free cookies, called Cybele’s Free-to-Eat™ cookies. The cookies are gluten-free and free of the top 8 allergens: dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. Cybele’s Free-to-Eat™ packaging features colorful icons that illustrates “Free of the Top 8 Allergens”. The cookies are also non-GMO, vegan and kosher.

I have had a chance to sample these cookies on many occasions, and the best news of all is that they taste great! The cookies come in three flavors: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chunk Brownie, and Oatmeal Raisin. Kids will love them, and grown-ups will probably sneak a few. ;) Cybele's Free to Eat Cookies

Would you like to try them? Enter this giveaway!

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Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin June 2013 Meeting

Posted on May 1st, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

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TRAVELING GLUTEN FREE

Just in time for summer traveling, GIG of Marin’s next meeting on Tuesday, June 11th will feature Laura Emmerson, creator of the blog Gluten Free Traveller.

Originally from Scotland, Laura now lives in San Francisco.  Bit by the travel bug early in life, she refused to let her celiac diagnosis in 2009 curtail her love of exploring the world.  Laura will be joining us in June after having spent the month of May in New Zealand.

Says Laura (who, being from the UK, favours British spellings): “Staying safely gluten free can be difficult enough when you’re at home in your crumb free kitchen never mind when you’re travelling somewhere new. Each country has their own unique gluten free labelling laws, different gluten free products and varying levels of awareness of coeliac disease and gluten free dieting. Travelling is arguably the most arduous area of gluten free life for coeliacs hence my decision to start my website. I’m writing it for you. I want you to spend your time making wonderful travel memories, not searching in vain for something safe to eat!”

Also featured at the meeting will be free samples related to travel so you can take them on your next trip!

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Gluten-free backlash?

Posted on April 1st, 2013 by Alison | Read 9 Comments - Add Your Own »

The other night I went out with a group of people to a new restaurant called Salito’s in Sausalito, California. I hadn’t looked at the menu ahead of time, but rarely do I have a problem eating out gluten-free these days (unless it is a Chinese restaurant). Restaurant awareness has grown tremendously since I was diagnosed with celiac disease 10 years ago, and especially in the last few years. If you haven’t heard of gluten-free by now, you are living under a rock. But after this dining experience, I wondered for the first time if there could actually be a backlash happening in some places.

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Gluten-Free Nut-Free Kettel Krakkers

Posted on March 1st, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Kettel Krakkers gluten-free crackersI recently attended the Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo, put on by the wonderful Jen Cafferty. It was the first time it was held in San Francisco and it was great to reconnect with some of my gluten-free peeps! There were many food vendors of course, and one that was new to me was Kettel Krakkers, based in San Francisco. If you are gluten-free, you know that good gluten-free crackers aren’t plentiful. Most are very hard and crunchy, which I actually like (or I’ve gotten used to!), but I was happy to find a cracker that is softer, but still has some crunch from the seeds added in.

According to the company, the crackers are “handmade at our dedicated gluten-free facility using organic, locally-sourced ingredients of the highest quality.”

They are:

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