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Monday, September 15, 2014
New York Celebrate Celiac Community Party This Weekend (Plus Giveaway!)
On Saturday, September 20, the Gluten Free Calendar Celebrate Celiac™ Community Party returns to New York City! In it's second year, the Celebrate Celiac event is slated to be even bigger and better than last year's first time in the Big Apple. Tickets are only $5 and the first 50 people to attend will receive a gift card to Pala Pizza and a bag of gluten-free goodies.

I am speaking first thing in the morning and will have my own table at this Saturday's event. I am representing the NYC Celiac Meetup group and will also have some gluten-free goodies to giveaway! Think of it as a Gluten-Free Garage Sale. Stop by and say hello.

Saturday, September 20, 2014
Affinia Manhattan
371 7th Avenue, New York, NY
Grand Ballroom
10am-1pm
Ages 7+: $5 at the door*
12 and under: FREE

* 50% donated to the National Celiac Disease Society, a 501 c (3) non-profit organization

Want to win two tickets to the event! Enter below. 








a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, September 8, 2014
GFAFExpo 2014: My Gluten-Free Friends
I love free samples, but I love connecting with other gluten-free bloggers, friends, and Meetup members even more! This weekend, I was so lucky to see familiar faces and meet new people at the GFAF Expo in New Jersey. It is so awesome when someone comes up and tells me they read my blog or follow me on Twitter. I love meeting each and every one of you. I wanted to start my GFAF Expo wrap-up by sharing my photos of gluten-free friends!

Me with Gluten-Free Steph

Me with Jen Cafferty, founder of the GFAF Expo

Me with Candice of Embrace G-Free

Vanessa, Executive Editor of Delight Gluten-Free Magazine, and her adorable son

Me at the Enjoy Life Foods photo booth

Me and my girl Michelle (not from DF Mavens, just a fan!) 

Sue, of Gluten-Free Long Island, and her sister Laurie

Me with Jenny from Creative Cooking Gluten-Free at the Super Seedz booth

Me with Ellie, one of my Meetup group members and the winner of my ticket giveaway!

Me and the awesome Kathy Smart, of Live the Smart Way.
So happy to finally meet her in person!

Me with Gluten-Free Jenna

Me and Kathy again, we clean up nice!

Gluten-Free New Orleans (formerly GF Bird), Me, and Candice of Embrace G-Free

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Thursday, September 4, 2014
Upcoming Gluten-Free Fun Speaking Engagements
To say that I am busy would be the understatement of the year. I feel like I haven't slept in days! I have been working on some really exciting gluten-free projects that I am getting ready to announce. I also have a crazy September calendar that is literally going to keep me bouncing from state to state. New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey again, Portland... WHEW! I am tired already and it's only the fourth day of the month.

I would LOVE to meet you all at some of these upcoming gluten-free events. If you are attending any of these events, please come find me and say hello. I am always thrilled and humbled to meet my readers!

Find me here... 

Gluten Intolerance Group of Orange County Online Meeting
What: Presenter "Socializing Gluten-Free"
When: September 4, 2014; 7pm PST/10pm EST; TONIGHT!!
Where: Your Computer! It's an online meeting. Feel free to join us.
Find me: Online






Gluten and Allergen Free Expo
What: Attending with the NYC Celiac Meetup Group
When: September 6, 2014; 9am-3pm
Where: Meadowlands Exposition Center; Secaucus, NJ
Find me: I will be wearing a black t-shirt with the Meetup logo in the middle.




What: Presenter, "Industry Secrets and How to Run a Successful Gluten-Free Blog"
When: September 6, 2014; 5pm
Where: New York City
Find Me: Sorry, invite Only!




What: Attendee and representative of a cool new pop-up project (details to come!) 
When: September 13, 2014; 12pm-6pm
Where: Brooklyn, NY
Find Me: This is part of the secret. Find me and my shirt will tell you about my new project! 




New York Celebrate Celiac™ Community Party
What: Guest Speaker
When: September 20, 2014; 10am-1pm
Where: Affinia Manhattan Hotel Ballroom; 371 7th Avenue, New York, NY
Find me: I will be wearing a black t-shirt with the Meetup logo in the middle.



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Tuesday, September 2, 2014
AllergyEats Food Allergy Conference


This October, I plan on attending the 3rd Annual AllergyEats Food Allergy Conference in New York City. This conference is for restaurateurs and food service professionals with a focus on "How to Maximize Safety and Increase Customer Engagement, Loyalty, and Revenue."

This year's impressive line-up of speakers includes:
  • Matt Abdoo, Chef de Cuisine at Del Posto Restaurant, New York, NY
  • Robin Hamm, Director, Food Safety, Quality, and Commercialization at Red Robin International, Inc.
  • Jared Schulefand, Owner and Operator of Home, Branford, CT
  • Betsy Craig, Founder and CEO of MenuTrinfo
  • Julie Kuriakose, MD; Physician, Educator, Author and Co-Founder of Hudson Allergy
  • Robert Landolphi, Culinary Development Manager at the University of Connecticut and Author of Gluten-Free Every Day Cookbook, Quick Fix Gluten Free and Cooking Light Gluten Free Baking
  • Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Professor of Pediatrics, Allergy and Immunology, and Chief of the Pediatric Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY
  • Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSc, Pediatric Allergist for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Voluntary Instructor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, Co-founder and Content Creator, AllergyHome
  • Lisa Giuriceo, Support group leader of the Food Allergy and Asthma Support Group of North Jersey
  • Beth Hillson, Founder of the Gluten-Free Pantry, Author of Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free and Gluten-Free Makeovers, Food Editor for Gluten Free & More
  • Lori Sandler, Owner of Divvies and Author of The Divvies Bakery Cookbook
  • Colette Martin, Author of The Allergy-Free Pantry and Learning to Bake Allergen-Free and advisory board member, Kids with Food Allergies 
  • Paul Antico, Founder and CEO of AllergyEats and former financial analyst and portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments
I am looking forward to seeing Beth Hilson again and to finally meeting Robert Landolphi and Paul Antico in person. This should be a very interesting event and I am excited to participate.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014 
Beginning at 8:00 a.m. 
Radisson Martinique on Broadway 
49 W 32nd Street, New York City


Early bird registration is $259 until September 21, 2014. Attendees will also enjoy lunch with the experts, lively Q&A sessions and the opportunity to sample vendors' allergy-friendly products at the event.


About AllergyEats
This conference is organized by AllergyEats,  a free, peer-based website and app where people find and rate restaurants based solely on their ability to accommodate food allergies.  The site, app and related social media forums help families with food allergies reduce the guesswork - and the anxiety - surrounding dining out with food allergies. 

AllergyEats lists more than 750,000 restaurants nationwide, which people can rate, and it also offers web links, menus and more.  Restaurants are easily searchable by geographic location, so people can find allergy-friendly restaurants around town and around the country. 
The organization also offers a variety of opportunities for restaurateurs and food service professionals, including an annual food allergy conference.  For more information, please visit www.AllergyEats.com.

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Monday, September 1, 2014
Starting Voting Today in the 5th Annual Gluten-Free Awards

Every year, GFreek.com puts together a fun, online awards ceremony for gluten-free products, books, bloggers, and more. I cannot believe it has been five years already. This means Josh, founder of GFreek.com, and I have "known" each other for a half of a decade. We've emailed, spoken on the phone, and met in person once. He has been a great advocate for our community and it is amazing to see how the awards have grown. In the past five years, Josh has also published the Original Gluten-Free Buyers guide. This awesome resource helps you navigate the grocery store aisles when looking for the best of the best in gluten-free food.

Today, the voting for the 5th Annual GFAs is open to the public.

Rules:
One ballot per computer.
Please skip any questions you are not sure of.
Share this with your friends, family and support groups.

Timeline:
09/01/14 Gluten Free Award voting opens
10/31/14 Gluten Free Awards “Locked-In” 10:00 PM EST
11/15/14 2015 Gluten-Free Buyers Guide publishes 5th Annual GFA Results

VOTE NOW! 



Shameless plug: Vote for Gluten-Free Fun as your favorite Gluten-Free Website on question #15 and Gluten-Free Globetrotter as your favorite Gluten-Free Blog on question #17. 

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Gluten-Free at Aldi USA
We spoke and Aldi USA listened! According to the Aldi USA Facebook page, the gluten-free products are coming back! Yesterday, Aldi USA posted

"We heard you, ALDI fans! The ALDI exclusive LiveGfree product line will soon be in stores every day. "
You already know I am a fan of the Live GFree line at Aldi, but I am also a big fan of Aldi in general. They have good prices, decent selections, and now even more gluten-free food. Thank you Aldi USA for listening to your gluten-free customers and keeping the Live GFree line. You are about to gain even more loyal (celiac) customers!



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Monday, August 25, 2014
Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in New Jersey


In less than two weeks, The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo is making its return to Seacaucus, New Jersey. On September 6 and 7, 2014, join hundreds of gluten-free friends as we check out all of the new products the gluten-free vendors have to offer.

I had a great time last year seeing old friends and meeting new ones, trying gluten-free products, and learning about new companies. It was a great time and NO ONE left hungry! I'm probably going on Sunday this year due to prior commitments on Saturday. I will be wearing a black t-shirt with the Meetup logo on it so please come find me!

I am excited to offer my Gluten-Free Fun readers 20% off their tickets. Just use this link and your discount will be applied.

I am also raffling off FOUR free tickets to two lucky winners. You will get two tickets per person if you win! Enter below.

See you there!




  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Check out my photos from last year's GFAFExpo. Do you see yourself?

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Thursday, August 14, 2014
Celiac Disease and Depression
The news of Robin Williams's passing has brought the topic of depression front and center this week. Clearly Robin Williams suffered greatly and my heart goes out to his family and to his troubled soul. Depression is something that not many will openly talk about with anyone. It is uncomfortable to talk about it because many people are embarrassed and see depression as a weakness. Depression needs to be discussed, NOW, for tomorrow may be too late.

There is a link between Celiac Disease and Depression which is why I wanted to post about this today. I am not an expert but there are some websites I found that might be helpful to you if you believe you might have both Celiac and Depression. You are not crazy! The correlation between the two exists.

Here are the articles I have found:

Celiac Disease and Mental Health
Depression Common in Celiac Disease
Women with celiac disease suffer from depression, disordered eating
Neurologic and Psychiatric Manifestations of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
Depressed? It May Be Celiac Disease
Gluten May Cause Depression in Subjects With Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity
Celiac Disease and Depression

I read a powerful quote by Robin Roberts in her book Everybody's Got Something a few months ago:
Seeing a therapist is not a sign of weakness but rather an acknowledgement that you don't have all the answers and you need help finding them.
This quote really stuck with me and I encourage anyone that is struggling to take that first step towards help. It could save your life. There is clearly a correlation between Celiac and Depression so please talk to your doctor, therapist, friend, family, religious leader, teacher, whoever will listen! It is ok to talk about Depression. You might be surprised who else you know and love is also struggling.

If you are depressed, please know there is help out there. You are not alone. The National Institute for Mental Health is a good resource and will give you some tips on how to seek help: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml

If you are suicidal, please seek help immediately at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255.



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Wednesday, August 13, 2014
FDA Says: 'Gluten-Free' Now Means What It Says
I am back on the grid after a much-needed family vacation and tech hiatus. While I was gone, the FDA gluten-free labeling regulations went into effect. This is a huge milestone for our community. I highly recommend you read thew new regulations and also encourage you to subscribe to the FDA consumer updates. This will alert you about any mislabeled gluten-free products or recalls. You can also learn how to file a complaint about any companies that might be mis-using or abusing the gluten-free terms on their labels.

For all of the FDA gluten-free information, please click here.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Today is the Day: FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rules
Today is a big day in the gluten-free and celiac community. Starting today, manufacturers of gluten-free products are required to abide by the FDA guidelines if they want to use the words "gluten-free" on their package. This is actually a HUGE win for our community and long overdue.

When I was on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness webinar with the FDA two weeks ago, the speaker reiterated multiple times that these new rules are for the benefit of those with Celiac. Under these new rules, the manufactures using the "gluten-free label" must be compliant with 20ppm or less of gluten.

There are a lot more stipulations that are part of these new rules. Instead of writing them all out, I would like to point you to other websites that did a great job summarizing these new FDA gluten-free guidelines.


Foods Labeled Gluten-Free Must Now Be in Compliance with the FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule by Gluten-Free Watchdog

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule by the NFCA

10 Things to Know About the FDA’s Gluten Free Labeling Rule by Amy Leger

All You Need to Know About the New Gluten-Free Labeling Rule by Simply Gluten-Free

Aug 5th Gluten Free FDA Labeling Just a Start by Celiac and the Beast

U.S. Gluten-Free Label Rules in Effect August 5 by Allergic Living

While I understand that not everyone agrees with all of these new FDA guidelines, I honestly cannot believe this day is here at all. As someone living with Celiac Disease for 33 years, I feel like our community has come a VERY long way in my lifetime. We are all our own advocates and the celiac community put up a good fight to get others to take our labeling needs seriously.

Congratulations to everyone that has contributed to this gluten-free labeling cause over the past 10+ years. This is just the beginning!


If you have also written about the new FDA labeling rules, please include your link in the comments below. I would prefer to keep this section as a resource page and not a place where you want to complain about the new guidelines. Thank you for your cooperation.




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Friday, August 1, 2014
Gluten-Free Fun Friday Funny: Twitter Gems
It's been a while since I posted a Friday funny. I thought these Tweets were rather amusing.




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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Natural Wine and Paleo Food Event in Brooklyn, NYC
One of my best friends is a sommelier. Now that is a good friend to have if you ask me! Wine with Kristen is teaming up with Chef Melissa Gellert on Wednesday, August 27th in DUMBO, Brooklyn, NYC for a cool event natural wine and paleo food event.

During Popping Your Cork: Natural Wines and the Paleo Palate, you will cover topics such as

  • Guides to pairing your food and wine
  • Foods that are on the Paleo diet 
  • Guides to buying natural wines
  • Hints on how to start your own Paleo diet

This event is perfect for those eating gluten free and dairy free, along with anyone interested in finding out more about these types of diets and drinking good wines.

To learn more and to also find a discount code for this event, please visit the Popping Your Cork event page on the NYC Celiac Meetup website.

About your hosts:

Wine with Kristen founder, Kristen Siebecker, has been a great fan of viticulture and vinification since her first illicit sip of Boone's Farm wine beverage many years ago. She hosts "Popping Your Cork" a recreational wine class in New York as well as chats about wine on her blog, winewithkristen.com an dis co host of the podcast "I Feel Vine".

Kristen is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, holds the Advanced Certificate from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust with distinction and is certified in Advanced Blind Tasting by the American Sommelier Association.

Chef Melissa Gellert is a culinary professional and has worked as a private chef and at yoga retreats in Vermont, New York, and Mexico.Shespecializes in health-suppportive, Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan cuisines.

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Monday, July 28, 2014
So Delicious is Um, Well, So Delicious
One of the perks of being a gluten-free blogger is being sent gluten-free samples from time to time. Recently, I got a mystery white box sent to my office. When I opened the box, there were gloves inside. I was so excited to realize these gloves were to handle the dry ice that was surrounding five pints of So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Frozen Desserts.


I was excited about all of these free samples, but I was most excited about the Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Cookie Dough dessert. COOKIE DOUGH!!! As you know, I am a lifelong celiac. There are many foods that I've never eaten in my life. Cookie Dough ice cream is one of these foods. The other flavor I was excited about was Cookies 'N Cream. 


While you can taste a faint coconut flavor in some of these desserts, it wasn't overpowering. This was especially important to me since I am not really a coconut fan. The coconut milk adds a creaminess to these desserts that was really delicious. 

Another favorite of mine were the Coconut Milk Fudge Bars. These were so creamy and I didn't feel guilty about eating them since there was no added sugar. To be honest, with the creamy fudgey flavor, you didn't need it.



I am going to pull a pun here and say these were SO DELICIOUS. I love that there are dairy-free options on the market that don't taste gross. These are the opposite. I would definitely be these again and highly recommend them to anyone looking for a yummy dessert.

Thanks So Delicious! 





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Monday, July 21, 2014
Gluten-Free at NYC Restaurant Week 2014

Today starts the beginning of New York City's Restaurant Week. This is actually more like a restaurant month where you can enjoy $25 lunches and $38 dinners in top restaurants across New York City. In the past, I have avoided Restaurant Week because there were limited gluten-free options. This year, I decided to do my research and was floored by how many gluten-free options are now on the menus. I have compiled a list of more than thirty restaurants that have decent gluten-free options on their prix fixe menus over the next month. The only problem I see is not having enough time or money to eat at all of these great restaurants!

Click here to access the complete list of gluten-free options at NYC Restaurant Week. Bookmark the page. I will be updating it throughout the month as I learn of even more gluten-free menu options! 

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014
What's Up with Udi's Holey Gluten-Free Bread?
I was so excited to find the large loaves of Udi's Multi Grain gluten-free bread at Costco a few weeks ago. I spent $6.99, which I thought was a bargain at the time, for the big loaf. It was only when I got home did I realize that HALF THE LOAF was broken! It wasn't even really salvageable because not only were these slices broken, but there was a huge hole down the middle of these 10 slices... if I can even call them that! They were more like a broken bag of soft croutons. There was no full slice to be seen in this section of the loaf. 


Here is what Udi's had to say in response to me posting the picture above on my Instagram page.



I was frustrated by this response. This was now going to be my THIRD time that I am contacting Udi's about a problem with their products. I've had problems with holey bread. I've had problems with hole-less bagels. When I pay anywhere from $4.99-$7.99 for bread or bagels, I expect higher quality. I did exactly what Suzanne suggested above and contacted Udi's with the picture of the Costco loaf along with these pictures from previous negative experiences.






As I did more digging, I realized I had posted multiple Udi's fails to my social media before.


This is getting downright frustrating. I post the most obvious product failures, but it is becoming too many to count. On my first two emails to Udi's, I was sent free coupons for future products. Great. I can try more broken products but appreciated the gesture. I was hoping my third email with photo evidence of the faulty products would bring about more of a response as well as a solution to the problem. No such luck!

Here is what Udi's/Boulder Brands had to say just last week:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us here at Udi's. We always appreciate hearing from consumers who care enough to reach out to us with their comments or questions.
We regret that you had a negative experience with our Udi's Whole Grain Bread. Thank you for providing the packaging coding and photo so our Quality Control Department can look into this further. 
We are passionate about offering the highest quality gluten free products that bring joy to our customers. The holes in our loaves of bread can be caused by a natural enzyme reaction with gluten free ingredients, we’ve invested in new equipment and just moved into a brand new facility to help address this. We thank you for your patience while we continue to strive for the best product possible. 
We sincerely apologize and hope you will give us another chance. We are sending you two coupons for free UDI's product of your choice. As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we're also sharing your comments with the appropriate departments within our organization. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us.

Great, more coupons for a crappy product. I refuse to buy anymore Udi's until they fix this problem. In the meantime, I will use the free coupons. Hey, what's free is FREE! Let's hope this next loaf is usable for sandwiches and not a really expensive bag of gluten-free bird seed/bread crumbs. I do hope that Udi's new facility helps address this issue and that the holey bread goes away real fast.

What do you think? Do you still buy Udi's gluten-free products? Are you getting fed up too? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!




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