So I recently had a friend tell me about gluten free defense pills. I'd never heard of them before, so I decided to do some research on them. I was surprised to find A LOT of controversial info out there. It appears that the products are made with pancreatic enzymes that help with digestion. The overwhelming response is that this is not a product where you can take a pill and then go out and gorge yourself with bread or pizza. Surprise, surprise. Although, wouldn't that be nice?
However, people have responded saying that it has helped them in situations where they know their environment is out of their control. They can possibly serve as an extra layer of defense if you will. So if you're going out to a restaurant and you fear possible cross contamination, you can pop a pill before you go and it can lessen any possible side effects if something does make its way into your food. The product that appears to get the best reviews I've seen is Enzymatic Therapy Gluten Defense- sold on Amazon. I don't know about all of you, but I'm intrigued. Have any of you ever tried any of these products? Did they work? Let us know if you've had a personal experience. Otherwise, I might just have to put in an order to Amazon and try them for myself.
I love meatloaf. I know that sounds crazy because there are many people out there who feel that is their last resort meal option, my husband included. But for whatever reason it has always been one of my favorite comfort food choices. Especially, during the cold winter months. Since I've gone gluten free I've been sampling all kinds of gluten free meatloaf recipes, much to no avail. One of the main problems has been the lack of bread crumbs. Most of my sampling has consisted of crumbling up gluten free bread slices and making my own bread crumbs. What I've gotten instead has been clumpy, hockey puck feeling meatloaf.
This week I came across Ian's gluten free bread crumbs and it saved my meatloaf dilemna. Perfect consistency, flavorful, not clumpy- they worked like a charm. Even my husband was pleased with the results. And trust me, he's pretty picky. In further research I've discovered that Ian's is a great product line to follow. They even have tons of children's gluten free options like gluten free fish sticks, chicken nuggets, animal cookies etc. Ian's makes it its mission to make allergy friendly, all natural family foods. Only problem, they can be hard to find. Their products are usually stocked in natural health food stores. They do have a location search button on their website http://www.iansnaturalfoods.com/. You can also find them on Amazon.com. So look them up,
If you are a coffee or tea fan, you NEED to check out Old Town Coffee Tea & Spice. This place is the Promised Land of flavored coffees and teas. Any possible flavor you can imagine, they have. They have boxed teas as well as fresh sachets you can choose right in the store. They also have fresh cups of tea made to order. As for coffee, you can choose from fresh beans in baskets in the store. They will then grind them to meet your specific coffee pot's needs. Best part is there are no syrups, there are no additives. You don't need to worry about it being gluten free because they're already all natural!
In addition to coffee and tea they also carry freshly made chocolates and sweets and different European specialty goods. So if you're looking to feel like a kid in a candy store, check out Old Town Coffee Tea & Spice!
I have been on vacation for the past week in Cozumel, Mexico. And although I've been having a wonderful time, there have been times where being gluten free has definitely been a hassle. Whenever, you are dealing with a language barrier on vacation you are bound to run into some obstacles when it comes to your dietary health. For one thing, you need to make sure you are organized and prepared for just about anything. Some steps I took this time that proved to be lifesavers:
Genghi's Grill is a Southern chain that is taking over the United States. I was not expecting much when my husband and I decided to try the new Mongolian stir fry place that opened around the block. But I was surprisingly blown away. You walk in and receive a small silver bowl (kinda looks like a dog dish...lol) and are then told to go and fill it. There is a HUGE bar with meats and vegetables and sauces. Everything is labeled for allergies (try the dragon sauce- it's gluten free and delicious!) Then you go to the cooking station and choose your starch. Again, they have two different rice options for the gluten free folk. They also ask if you have any allergies and cook the gluten free dishes on a separate cooking station. Overall, it was a casual, quick and quite tasty meal. And it was nice to try something different. I definitely recommend that all of you check it out.
The Buzz Bakery is a tasty and gluten friendly find. The Buzz is part of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, and has locations in both Ballston and Alexandria. They offer completely homemade ingredients for everything in the shop, including all of their coffee drinks. I spoke with one of the chefs during my visit who explained that even the syrups used in the making of the coffee drinks were made freshly on premises. And all of us can rest assured ordering a coffee drink here, they are all happily guaranteed gluten free. She recommended the peppermint mocha, and I do have to say, Starbucks has nothing on this bakery's drinks. That was by far the best peppermint mocha I have ever had!
Besides coffee drinks, the Buzz has plenty of gluten free tasty treats to offer as well. The chef said they have at least 10 to 12 gluten free offerings a day. There are always gluten free cupcakes (chocolate and vanilla). They also have creme brulee, an AMAZING flourless chocolate ganache cake, macaroons and many other delicious treats. So if you are looking for a relaxing coffee shop where you can enjoy a tasty beverage and treat, check out The Buzz Bakery. You definitely will not be disappointed.
It is tough to find some good gluten free pasta. I feel like Goldilocks when trying out different options. The rice based pasta is too soft and just has a gummy texture. And the corn usually comes out feeling too crunchy and tough. The Ancient Harvest pastas are just right though! :)
In all seriousness, the Ancient Harvest pastas have the perfect balance of corn and quinoa. They are the closest tasting pasta I've found to the real thing! And again coming from NY, I'm a tough critic when it comes to my pasta. They come in all different variety options, elbows, spaghetti, rotelle, penne etc. They are easy to find in pretty much any grocery store. So next time you're feeling like a big bowl of spaghetti and gluten free meatballs :), check out Ancient Harvest. You won't be disappointed.
Looking for another quick and easy meal on the road? Try Noodles and Company. Their website has a nutritional allergy guide that lists each of their gluten free options. Their pad thai is the most obvious gluten free choice and they are responsible about preparing it. I mentioned I had a gluten allergy at the register and they immediately called back to to the kitchen to fire up my order in a fresh pan. Overall, it was a pleasant and tasty experience.
Update: Noodles and Company has expanded their gluten-free menu and now offers a variety of options. They offer gluten-free fusilli pasta for many of their American dishes as well as other alternatives with rice noodles. Here is a list from the site of their gluten-free offerings.
Noodles and Company gluten-free menu
We all know we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. So what if you had an opportunity to get some of the freshest fruits and vegetables you'd ever seen, delivered straight to your door? Would that entice you to eat more? Green Grocer has proudly been serving the DC area since 1994. They have connections with local farms all over the area and offer a range of options to choose from each week for ordering. They have Local boxes, organic boxes, fruit only, vegetable only, mixed, small, med and large boxes. So you can choose exactly what is going to fit your needs for the week. You can even order a la carte additions to the boxes! Or you can write down your never options, if you know you have an allergy or do not like something, they then know to substitute that option for your box.
The best part is there is zero commitment. This is not a cooperative where you have to pay a fee to join for the year. All you have to do is enter your info and then you can pick the on demand option. Then you can just order at the beginning of the week if you feel like it. You can even change your box option each week depending upon your mood at the time. It's a fruit and vegetable shopping delight! What could possibly be easier? So check it out today. They're taking orders today and tomorrow for this week's deliveries! Enjoy!
Living Social is offering a deal right now for a gluten free pasta making class taught by the owner of the Happy Tart Bakery. Check out the deal now