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Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Cheerios Recall and 10 Reasons I Am Mad at General Mills

Yesterday General Mills recalled 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios due to undeclared wheat. According to General Mills, "In an isolated incident involving purely human error, wheat flour was inadvertently introduced into our gluten-free oat flour system at Lodi." You can read the entire Class I product recall press release here. 
According to the FDA website, a Class I recall is "Dangerous or defective products that predictably could cause serious health problems or death. Examples include: food found to contain botulinum toxin, food with undeclared allergens, a label mix-up on a lifesaving drug, or a defective artificial heart valve."
I am livid by this whole situation. First and foremost, General Mills put wheat flour into a product that was supposed to be gluten-free. Period. WHEAT IS NOT GLUTEN-FREE. This is gluten and celiac disease 101. How did "human error" allow for enough wheat flour to be introduced into the production process to affect 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios? Did not one single person notice trucks with wheat entering the facility??

I have SO much to say about this topic and honestly am so angry by the whole thing. If you follow me on Twitter, you will see I have not kept quite about this nor will I. This is very serious. If 1% of the population has celiac disease and 1.8  million boxes have been recalled, this means that 18,000 people with celiac disease could have been affected by this recall. Add on top of that people with wheat allergies, non-celiac sensitivities, and anaphylaxis reactions to wheat and the numbers of the potentially affected could continue to grow to tens of thousands.

Here are my Top 10 Reasons I Am Livid at General Mills

All screenshots below either come from the General Mills blog, the Cheerios Facebook page, or the press release.  My apologies to Mr. Kevin Hunt who unfortunately is the spokesperson in this mess. Don't shoot the messenger! 

  1. General Mills has divided the celiac community. Our celiac disease community is small compared to other health communities, but we have strong voices. When something like this happens, the opinions and nasty comments start flying. Our community becomes an "Us" vs "Them" society. There are those of us who were upset about the gluten-free Cheerios to begin with and those who became "Cheerios Cheerleaders." My first blog post ignited some VERY strong emails and comments. I was practically in tears with some of the emails people were writing me telling me off for talking poorly about their beloved Cheerios. I was reporting facts based on my phone call yet people didn't want to hear the truth. I then saw other celiac bloggers start to publicly bash one another on Twitter and Facebook. These are people that I respect(ed) blatantly hurting other celiacs with nasty words and accusatory statements. During a time where we should be banding together to help each other, General Mills hurt our community more than just with wheat. GM divided us when we need to be united.

  2. Testing for gluten is obviously not being done properly or at all. When I spoke to the GM PR/marketing team on September 15th, they told me that gluten-free Cheerios were tested "multiple times" throughout the production process including at the end of the process. How did 1.8 million boxes leave the GM facility without testing? If the wheat flour was introduced at the beginning of the production cycle, how did these boxes make it all the way to the end without ever being tested? The GM PR team admits the finished 1.8 million boxes were not tested.
  3. This is not an isolated incident. This Cheerios recall is a NATIONAL RECALL. The Cheerios in question were produced in Lodi, California but distributed nationwide. There is a lot of misinformation out there in the gluten-free social media world saying this is only a recall for Cheerios sold in California. This is not true. The recalled Cheerios products were shipped across the country!

  4. People have reported having gluten reactions to Cheerios, yet GM denied this claim. During my 9/15 call when I asked about the reports of people having a gluten reaction to Cheerios, the PR team told me that people were either reacting to the increased fiber in their diet or the oats themselves. Yesterday's recall explicitly reported that wheat was present in 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios. Yet, General Mills continues to use oat intolerance or other dietary restrictions as an excuse as to why people are getting sick despite admitting to wheat present in their product.

  5. General Mills had a very slow response time to reports of illness. While I understand that on Sunday, testing confirmed the presence of gluten and the recall was issued within 24 hours. What I don't understand is that people have been reporting a gluten-type response to Cheerios for about a month now and General Mills only addressed those concerns this week. What took so long?

  6. General Mills is embarrassed. Shitting your pants is more embarrassing. During one of my absolute worst glutening episodes about 7 years ago, I was so sick that I was vomiting and having diarrhea at the same time. I was so violently ill that I had to crawl to the bathroom and during that crawl, my body was rejecting the gluten from every single orifice possible. Here I was a grown woman writhing in pain on the floor and not even able to make it to the toilet. I was that sick and it was awful. Now imagine 1.8 million people with celiac disease having a similar reaction or even worse. It is beyond embarrassing, it is downright mortifying. Don't tell me you are embarrassed Mr. Jim Murphy until you have crawled a mile in my glutened shoes.

  7. General Mills violated the trust of the celiac community. Read any of the Cheerios responses on their Facebook page. They know they lost the trust of many thousands of people with celiac disease. They admit this over and over again. I believe they have lost a LOT of customers due to this recall.

  8. How did General Mills clean up after this mistake? I posted this to the Cheerios blog but my question hasn't been answered yet. If GM had enough wheat flour to affect 1.8 million boxes of cereal, how did they clean the facility to ensure this would not happen again? I want to know how Cheerios and General Mills were able to clean away the wheat flour in their facility.

  9. What happened to the gluten-free trucks? During my call on 9/15, I was told that General Mills used dedicated gluten-free rail cars or trucks to transport the oat flour and the product. According to this press release, the rail cars at the Lodi facility were unavailable and flour was being off-loaded into trucks. Would use of the dedicated gluten-free trucks have avoided this recall? We may never know!

  10. Cheerios made people sick. End of story. Celiac Disease is not a joke and autoimmune reactions to gluten can be severe. It is inexcusable that so many people have reported illness due to eating Cheerios. Whether General Mills did a recall or not, they need to take ALL reports of reaction very seriously and not just from the batches of contaminated product made in Lodi.


If you got sick from eating Cheerios, YOU MUST contact General Mills and the FDA. Here is how:

Contact General Mills by website, email, phone, fax, or letter. I encourage you calling them directly. Whichever method you use, the box information is critical to your complaint. Do not throw away your box! Keep everything and read them everything they ask for during your complaint. 

Contact the FDA by phone or website. This information comes directly from the Gluten-Free Watchdog website: 
If you believe you became ill after eating Cheerios, FDA is asking that you contact FDA’s MEDWATCH, the Adverse Event Reporting System. You can do this online via phone (800) 332-1088. Choose option #4 to speak to a representative.

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Monday, September 28, 2015
New Jersey GFAF Expo Ticket Giveaway

This coming weekend is the Gluten and Allergen Friendly Expo in Secaucus, New Jersey.  This annual event is a great way to try new gluten-free product, meet your fellow celiac community, and eat without worry. Attendees get FREE samples, coupons and discounts from 100+ gluten-free brands, FREE classes, a FREE goodie bag, and a FREE 1-year subscription to Delight Gluten Free Magazine with advance online ticket purchase!

The Expo will feature over 100 gluten-free vendors sampling and selling delicious products. All products at the show are gluten free, but many vendors will also showcase items free from the top eight allergens. The Expo also includes a dedicated area featuring nut-free products. In addition to trying delicious samples, guests can attend free lectures, connect with gluten and allergen-free restaurants, vendors, stores, associated non-profits and much more! Click here for the full presentation schedule.

Tickets are available for purchase both online and at the door. If you want to save 30% on your ticket price, click HERE and enter code MEETUP30NJ on check-out.

I am also giving away two pairs of tickets. Enter to win below and bring a friend or family member! Each winner will receive two free tickets to the day of your choice.

See you there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Cheerios Update: Phone Call with General Mills
Photo source

On Tuesday, I spoke to two marketing representatives from General Mills who were representing the new gluten-free Cheerios. I wish I got off the phone with Cheerios and General Mills with great news, but I was really frustrated when I hung up the phone. I went into this call really prepared. I asked my readers and Facebook fans to share their concerns and comments with me. I watched all of their videos and read the FAQ pages to educate myself about the gluten-free Cheerio process. I read all of the scientific reports by Tricia Thompson at Gluten-Free Watchdog. I read blogs, Facebook, and Tweets for people both for and against the new Cheerios. I made sure what I was reading was recent and not driven by the blogger promotional trip to General Mills in the spring. I was prepared.

Yet, I felt disappointed with the call. I got off the call feeling like the celiac community isn't safe eating these new Cheerios despite the years of research and development. I really do not think General Mills is quite there yet with a truly gluten-free product and that complaints of people getting sick need to be taken very seriously.

Before reading the rest of my post, I do encourage you to watch the Cheerios videos and read the FAQ page to familiarize yourself with the process.

I took a ton of notes from our call, but here are some of my key takeaways:

1. General Mills does not use gluten-free oats to produce their Cheerios.
General Mills uses oats that could be grown in the same fields as wheat, barley, and rye. GM told me that there aren't enough gluten-free oats in the country to fulfill their demand for Cheerios production. They are committed to using "cleaner" oats that have less foreign pieces of gluten grains but there is no immediate plan to switch to gluten-free oats. GM is working to improve "cleanliness" of the oats but this didn't seem safe enough to me. Broken pieces of wheat/rye/barley, residue, dust, etc. are all big concerns to me.

2. The production process is 100% NOT gluten-free from farm to finish. 
Even though the Cheerios gluten-free page outlines the production process, I had questions since the wording in the FAQ is slightly different from the video. The video mentions a "gluten-free production line" while the FAQ says "oats are processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility." I asked the GM team to break this down for me to explain the difference along the way.

Step 1: Oats are transported from the farm to the sorting facility. Since these oats could contain fragments of wheat, rye, and barley from the beginning, this facility is NOT gluten-free. Gluten enters the building. Period. GM then sorts the grains mechanically (see video) and the final oats are considered gluten-free. Again, this is NOT a dedicated gluten-free facility yet the final product is deemed to be gluten-free. This seems confusing to me.

Step 2: Mechanically-sorted oats are transported to the mill where the oat flour is produced. These oats are either transported via dedicated gluten-free trucks or on a conveyer belt to the nearby facility. This step seemed questionable to me. Does a conveyer belt from a non-dedicated facility guarantee a gluten-free product? Yes says Cheerios.

Step 3: Oat flours is transported to the Cheerios production facility. The oat flour is transported to the facilities that actually make the Cheerios via dedicated gluten-free rail cars. If more oats need to be transported than available rail cars, the dedicated gluten-free trucks from step 2 are used. Ok, fair enough.

Step 4: Cheerios are produced using the processed oat flour. OK, this is the part I had a real problem with in the production process. Cheerios are produced on gluten-free production lines BUT the facilities could be shared. All gluten-free production is segregated from general production, but these facilities are NOT 100% gluten-free. Hmmm... so the facility is gluten-free or not?

3. Gluten testing is done internally by Medallion Labs. General Mills currently has NO plans on publicly releasing gluten testing results from their internal testing. GM did say that "other labs" have done testing too, but it was unclear to me which labs and which tests were actually being used. For more details about the test methods, visit Gluten-Free Watchdog for much more in-depth information. In my opinion, if Cheerios has nothing to hide they should make their test results public. Transparency is key in the celiac community.

4. People are getting sick from eating the gluten-free Cheerios. General Mills acknowledged they have heard about people getting sick from the new Cheerios. They also were aware of the petition with signatures more than 1,600 names of people supporting change to the Cheerios production process. The Cheerios reps did emphasize that General Mills always takes consumer complaints very seriously. This is where I felt GM got the most defensive and had some answers that sounded more like excuses to me.
  • "People might be reacting to the high fiber content of Cheerios." 
  • "People might be reacting to oats themselves." (Note: I mentioned to GM I have a sensitivity to oats and/or the avenin, the protein found in oats and then they gave me this answer.)
  • "People aren't used to eating oats." For a long time, celiacs were told NOT to eat oats. GM seemed to think introducing a new grain into the diet could cause an initial reaction.
  • "Talk to your doctor if you think you are having a reaction to Cheerios" or "Speak to your doctor first before eating Cheerios." If you have medical concerns about your products, why call them gluten-free? 
As expected, Cheerios never came out and admitted that their product might actually be making people sick. They did say they will investigate all of these claims seriously if people contact General Mills directly.

5. Cheerios in Canada are NOT gluten-free. This was a great question from Facebook and Twitter. General Mills thought this was a great question too! Health Canada updated their statement on oats in Canada in May. You can read their entire report here.  General Mills said they are working directly with Health Canada to figure out how to produce gluten-free Cheerios for Canada.  My question is why gluten-free Cheerios in the US aren't safe enough to sell in Canada? I understand our FDA standards aren't identical to Health Canada but are the US Cheerios not allowed to be sold by the regulations in Canada. I need to research this more. 


If you got sick from eating Cheerios, YOU MUST contact General Mills and the FDA. Here is how:

1. Contact General Mills by website, email, phone, fax, or letter. I encourage you calling them directly. Whichever method you use, the box information is critical to your complaint. Do not throw away your box! Keep everything and read them everything they ask for during your complaint. 

2. Contact the FDA by phone or website. This information comes directly from the Gluten-Free Watchdog website: 
If you believe you became ill after eating Cheerios, FDA is asking that you contact FDA’s MEDWATCH, the Adverse Event Reporting System. You can do this online or via phone (800) 332-1088. Choose option #4 to speak to a representative.
I want to hear from you too! I now have a direct line of communication to General Mills and I want to be your voice. Leave your comments below so I can share them with the Cheerios team.

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Monday, September 14, 2015
Save the Date: Celiac Education Day and Free Blood Screening in Chicago
It is time to sign up for the annual celiac disease blood screening day at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. This is a wonderful yearly event that allows people who might otherwise not be tested due to insurance restrictions to get tested for free. Pre-registration is required and there are only 500 spots available. Don't delay, register today!

You are eligible for the Blood Screening if:

  • You have been on a gluten-containing diet for at least 12 weeks prior to testing
  • You have a close family member that has celiac disease or Type 1 diabetes
  • You have Down Syndrome;
  • You have a related autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis; Type 1 diabetes
  • You have digestive problems, chronic fatigue, osteopenia/osteoporosis; Type 1 diabetes
  • You have other related symptoms or conditions

To learn more and to register, please visit

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Friday, September 11, 2015
Do You Have Questions About the New Gluten-Free Cheerios?
Let's ask General Mills ALL of our gluten-free Cheerios questions.
See below!

If you read any gluten-free blogs or follow them on Facebook or Twitter, there is a good chance you have seen someone post about the new gluten-free Cheerios. Over the summer, General Mills announced their Cheerios are now gluten-free. You can read all about how General Mills made Cheerios gluten-free here. They also put up a blog post at the beginning of July that highlights the process.

As you know from reading my blog, I cannot tolerate oats even if certified gluten-free. I am one of those people with celiac that still has a severe reaction to oats. For three decades, my doctors told me to avoid oats altogether and I did. Once I introduced them into my diet, the brain fog set in. I decided I went without oats for so long that I didn't need them and cut them out immediately. Some celiacs react to the protein avenin found in oats and it looks like I am one of those people.

While I never planned on eating the new Cheerios, I know so many people who were excited about the opportunity to eat their favorite childhood cereal again. The excitement plus some of the controversy is why I starting following this story closely. Controvery?? Yes, there is a bit of a debate going on in the celiac and gluten-free community about how these Cheerios are produced and if they are causing a reaction or not. The customers seemed divided. Feedback is both good and bad. There are haters and lovers as with most stories in the celiac community.

Please read some of the links below to get a sense of how the community feels about Cheerios.

Gluten-Free Watchdog
Gluten-Free Cheerios: Updated Position Statement
Gluten-Free Cheerios: Take Three
Gluten-Free Cheerios: Take Two

I'm A Celiac
Having trouble with the Gluten Free Cheerios?
Why Eating a Bowl of Cheerios Makes You Feel Normal Again
Gluten Free Honey Nut Cheerios Are Here

Hunter's Lyonesse
Pissing in the Gluten-Free Cheerios
Effecting Change

Gluten-Free Homemaker
Gluten-Free Cheerios: Safe or Not?

Gluten Freeville
Newly “Gluten Free” Cheerios – To try or not to try?

Two Celiacs and a Baby
The Gluten Free Cheerios Saga – Part One

Gluten-Free Baking
Review: Gluten-Free Honey Nut Cheerios
Change testing and production of gluten-free Cheerios to be safe for all.

I have the opportunity to speak directly with a representative of General Mills and Cheerios on Tuesday. I need your help. I want to ask ALL of your questions!! You can either post them in the comments section below or email me directly at I will do my best to ask everything and give you a full report of my conversation. I believe in transparency so I am encouraged by this opportunity to speak directly with the company. I want to address all of your concerns, share your feedback, and get some answers. Please send me your comments and questions as soon as possible! 

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Gluten & Allergen Free Expo Returns to New Jersey

One of the biggest gluten-free events of the year returns to New Jersey on October 3 and 4, 2015. Join me and the NYC Celiac Meetup Group as we attend the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo at the Meadowlands Convention Center. This event is a great way to sample many gluten-free products, meet others with celiac, listen to interesting gluten-free talks, and so much more.

Attendees get FREE samples, coupons and discounts from 100+ gluten-free brands, FREE classes, a FREE goodie bag, and a FREE 1-year subscription to Delight Gluten Free Magazine with advance online ticket purchase!

The Expo will feature over 100 gluten-free vendors sampling and selling delicious products. All products at the show are gluten free, but many vendors will also showcase items free from the top eight allergens. The Expo also includes a dedicated area featuring nut-free products. In addition to trying delicious samples, guests can attend free lectures, connect with gluten and allergen-free restaurants, vendors, stores, associated non-profits and much more! Click here for the full presentation schedule.

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door ($20 for adults, $5 for kids at the door). Click HERE to buy your tickets today. 


For more information on the Expo, visit and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Want to win free tickets to the expo? Be sure to follow Gluten-Free Fun on Facebook and Twitter

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Thursday, August 20, 2015
6th Annual Gluten-Free Awards Nominations Closing Soon
You have only four more days to nominate your favorite gluten-free blogger or blog in the 6th Annual Gluten-Free Awards presented by the Gluten-Free Buyers Guide.

I am quite blessed that I have been a nominee each year since the beginning and a winner in the first Gluten-Free Awards. I thank you for each and every vote, nomination, and vote of confidence. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I wouldn't keep going if it wasn't for my readers. Your emails, Tweets, and Facebook posts are the inspiration I need to keep writing this blog after EIGHT LONG YEARS! Yes, it's hard work but I still find it rewarding after all of these years. Thank you all for the motivation.

If you are a fan of Gluten-Free Fun and Gluten-Free Globetrotter, I would love your support. Please visit this link and enter either the blog name or simply my name (Erin Smith) on one of the three nomination lines.

Thank you in advance! Polls close on August 24th! 

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Soup in the Summer? YES with The Splendid Spoon
At the Speciality Foods Show in June, I met Nicole Chaszar, founder and "Spoon Captain" at The Splendid Spoon. I was excited to meet Nicole and learn more about her soup company for two reasons. First, I had just moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn and realized that Nicole and I were practically neighbors. She started her company locally in Brooklyn and is now shipping her delicious soups all across the country. Second, The Splendid Spoon soups are gluten-free, provide 3+ servings of vegetables in every container, and do not need to be heated up to be consumed. These are gluten-free, delicious, and portable. It's a win-win-win product if you ask me!

Sold in both bottles and pints, The Splendid Spoon soups come in flavors like market gazpacho (my personal favorite!), vegan bone broth, cauliflower coconut, strawberry rhubarb (think soup meets smoothie), butternut tumeric, and beans & greens. The soups change with the season and all vegetables are sourced from small farms within 200 miles of New York City.

While I enjoyed the Splendid Spoon soups over a few days, the soups are suggested for use as a 1-, 2, or 3-day soup cleanse featuring five soups per day. You can also buy a seasonal sampler as well as build-your-own-soup package. I have never done a cleanse, but these soups were filling enough that I would definitely consider a nutritious soup cleanse with The Splendid Spoon in the future.

If you are looking for a healthy snack, a soup cleanse, or a little bit of both, I highly recommend The Splendid Spoon! Learn more at:

My personal favorite! 

Note: The Splendid Spoon sent me these complimentary soups for my review. Views expressed in this post are my own. 

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Thursday, August 13, 2015
Gluten-Free at Taste of Kiva Zip NYC

Last week I went to a really cool event in Manhattan. This event was hosted by KivaZip. According to KivaZip FAQ, "Kiva Zip is part of It is a small project through which lenders make microfinance loans directly to borrowers in the U.S. and Kenya via the Internet. Kiva Zip was launched as a pilot in November 2011 and moved into its Alpha testing phase in September 2012."

I was already familiar with but didn't realize that they were now funding entrepreneurs closer to home. As a small business owner, I know how difficult it can be to start up a company. I think this community supported type of financing is such a cool idea. Find a product or project you believe in, support it financially, and get your money back. It's as simple as that!

I was especially impressed with the Taste of Kiva Zip event because there were so many gluten-free businesses displaying their products. I think more than half were actually gluten-free! These businesses were funded thanks to the microfinance loans through KivaZip. The money raised helped them to launch their businesses or move it into the next level of product. The producers were grateful and very friendly. I was happy to meet and eat!

Please help support these small gluten-free businesses by visiting their websites and purchasing their products!

Nuts+Nuts, a farm-direct Indonesian Roasted Cashew Company

itskale: baked kale and chia seed chips 

Hernan Mole Pipian
NOTE: only this version of their mole is gluten-free!  

Hernan Mexican Hot Chocolate

Little Luna Cookies from 8 Bit Bakeshop 

Ka-Pow Veggie Jamz

Nonna's Sauces

Note, many of these products are made in shared facilities or incubator kitchens. I spoke to each producer to explain I was celiac and not just eating gluten-free by choice. It is up to you if you feel comfortable eating these products.

Are you interested in helping a gluten-free company build their business through a microfinance loan on KivaZip? Help Yummy Mummy Cupcakery, a gluten-free and vegan bakery, reach her goal by lending money today!

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Monday, August 10, 2015
Gluten-Free in New York City Updates
If you follow me on Gluten-Free Globetrotter, you might have seen my post on Friday. Over the past seven years or so, I have been maintaining a map of New York City's gluten-free friendly restaurants. This is a never-ending process because restaurants in NYC open and close with the blink of an eye sometimes. Nevertheless, I have committed to keeping this updated over the next few months. I hope you find this helpful and that you share with your friends.

With more than 150 places currently on the map and at least 200 more to add, this is definitely a HUGE project. If I am missing any of your favorite restaurants, please send me an email at


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Wednesday, July 22, 2015
My Letter to Zagat: Gluten-Removed is NOT Gluten-Free

Dear Zagat,

Thank you for featuring gluten-free cuisine on your YouTube channel. I appreciate you taking the time to interview the chefs of The Curious Fork and Senza Gluten. These people are making a huge difference in the lives of people living with celiac disease, myself included. To be a celiac and go into a restaurant and be able to eat anything and everything on a menu is a wonderful feeling. I have personally dined at Senza Gluten many times and love the "freedom" I have when ordering.

Unfortunately, your video immediately lost credibility when you featured a gluten-removed beer. Many people living with celiac disease, such as myself, cannot tolerate food or drink originally derived from gluten. This beer is made from barley and the gluten is removed through a special process. Once the gluten is removed, the beer is tested by the producer for the parts per million of gluten left in the beer. "Gluten detection isn't a particularly straightforward process, and there are several methods in use that can produce different results when used to test the same product."(SourceWhile the beer you featured says they are transparent with their test results, they also choose which tests to perform on their product. I believe that until these tests are regulated by the TTB or FDA across ALL products, individual companies will continue to use tests that are most convenient to their 20ppm or less regulations.

My question for you Zagat is why didn't you choose to feature a 100% gluten-free beer derived completely from gluten-free ingredients in a video about gluten-free options getting better? There are many delicious gluten-free beers on the market now that were not even for sale a few years ago. Breweries are now using gluten-free ingredients from start to finish in a dedicated gluten-free environment. I think it was a huge mistake on your part to feature a beer that is not actually gluten-free. The beer in the video can only be labeled gluten-free in the state of Oregon and outside of the United States. Featuring this gluten-removed beer made from barley (a gluten-filled grain) is misleading and confusing to the gluten-free customer.

In a video called "Gluten-Free Gets Good," all of your featured companies or restaurants should have been truly gluten-free. Perhaps a better title for this video would "Gluten-Free Food Gets Good While Some Beers are Gluten-Removed" or something a little bit more reflective of what you are actually showing. Yes, you do let the brewer explain his gluten-removal process but you fail to mention that people are having negative reactions to this type of beer or that it cannot legally be labeled gluten-free.

Zagat, you really could have done better with this video. More thorough research on gluten-free beers, a better title, and less misleading information would have made a huge difference. Maybe next time...

Erin Smith
Living with celiac disease for 34 years

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Canyon Bakehouse Review and Giveaway

When I get a really delicious gluten-free product, I either eat the whole thing immediately or I ration it out to last as long as possible. My June delivery of the newest products in the Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free line was a little bit of both. I received Brownie Bites, Plain Bagels, and Everything Bagels.

I tried to make the new Brownie Bites last but that did not happen. My boyfriend Victor and I devoured them. They were soft, delicious, chocolatey goodness. The bagels, on the other hand, were rationed out because I just couldn't eat eight bagels in a row. Being a New Yorker and a carb-freak, the plain bagels were perfect to fill my carb cravings. They were thick but not too dense and made a great addition to breakfast. My favorite way to eat them is with a little almond butter or with some cheese and turkey bacon. So yum!

According to Canyon Bakehouse:

Similar to their existing gluten-free breads, the new brownies and bagels are made with 100% whole grains and have a taste and texture just like “real” bagels and brownies. 
  • Made with 100% whole grains and real food ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil, organic agave and eggs.
  • No artificial additives and fillers.
  •  Certified Gluten-Free and do not contain dairy, soy or nuts.
  • No GMOs.
Canyon Bakehouse co-founder Christi Skow, who inspired the company’s creation when she was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 explained that, “the taste and texture are so similar to ‘real’ bagels and brownies no one will even know they’re gluten free.  Our bagels and brownies are perfect for families and households with gluten-free and gluten-full eaters since they will no longer need to buy two sets of these staples.” 
All three new products are now available for online purchase and at Target stores nationwide.

Prior to receiving these samples, I can't remember ever eating Canyon Bakehouse. Now that they are on my radar, I am starting to notice their product line in many local markets. I would definitely buy the bagels and brownie bites again. The products are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility and use no GMO ingredients. Thank you Canyon Bakehouse for the delicious samples.

Want to win a prize pack of the three newest Canyon Bakehouse products? It's simple, just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Friday, July 17, 2015
Gluten-Free Fun Friday Funny: Can I Get a Woot-Woot?

Happy Friday everyone! 

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Thursday, July 9, 2015
Thirty-four Years of Gluten-Free Fun
Today marks a major milestone. Thirty-four years ago today was the first mention of celiac disease in my medical charts. I don't remember an exact day of diagnosis because I was just a toddler but I have photographic proof.

My post from last year shares my feelings and more pictures from a lifetime of living gluten-free. I feel lucky to have been diagnosed at such an early age. I really believe the early diagnosis helped save my life. The past 34 years have definitely been a roller coaster of learning, trial and error, meeting amazing people, health highs and lows, and so much more. I believe celiac disease made me who I am today and cannot really imagine life any other way.

Friday, June 26, 2015
Pour the Core Hard Cider Festival
A few weekends ago, I attended my first Pour the Core: Hard Cider Festival in Brooklyn, New York. This event was only a few blocks from my new apartment and I was excited I would be able to walk (or stumble) home after an afternoon of imbibing in hard cider.

For those of us with celiac, hard cider is a welcome addition to our adult beverage list. Hard cider is an alcoholic drink made from fermented fruit, usually apples. It can be sweet, dry, flavored, carbonated, still, and more. I guess I never realized how many variations there were until I attended this event and saw so many different types of cider in one place at the same time.

The best thing about this event was that I could drink almost everything. There were a few rogue beers presenting at the event, but the majority of the ciders were naturally gluten-free. I had contacted a few of the new-to-me cider companies prior to the event to make sure they were gluten-free. When I arrived at each table, I always asked the demo person if the cider was gluten-free. The majority of the companies proudly declared they were and only one or two people gave me the weird "what's gluten?" question. I will chalk them up to being new demo people.

My boyfriend Victor and I were new to a festival like this, but we soon found our way to the least crowded tables first with our Pour the Core cups in hand. There is a 2oz limit to each pour, but the vendors were usually very generous. Each table also had a spit/dump bucket in case you only wanted to sip and not swig the whole think like most people usually did. I only dumped a few that I really didn't like.

Welcome to Pour the Core, neighbor!

2oz pours

The ciders were obviously the best part of this event, but the people watching was also quite entertaining. We got there about 2 hours into the event, so there were definitely some people that I had enjoyed the first hours of the event in a hard core (pun intended) way. They were pretty drunk and quite amusing. Since I was truly there to do some research, I needed to pace myself.

My New Favorite: DownEast Cider

I had tried this cider at a bar in Brooklyn a few weeks before the event and I really liked it. The bartender served this cider in a glass over ice and I loved it. I can't put my finger on what made this cider different, but it was almost a little bit thicker, like an unfiltered apple juice. I was happy to see DownEast at this event and I can guarantee this will become a summer favorite. 

A Certified Familiar Friend: Crispin Cider

I was already familiar with Crispin Ciders from bars across the country, but it is always comforting to see the Certified GF symbol when trying a product at an event. 

The Best on Tap: Ace Pineapple Cider

This is another cider I've had before, but Victor never tried it. He didn't think he would like it, but we both did and went back for seconds (and thirds!) This is a perfect summer cider and would be great to sip on the beach or at a BBQ. I loved the pineapple tap at the Ace Cider booth.

International Favorite (TIE): Maeloc Ciders and Rekorderlig

Maeloc Cider
I first tried Maeloc Cider at the International Restaurant Show back in March. This cider comes from the Northwest part of Spain and is made from Galician apples. This cider definitely has a fruity, wine taste but not too sweet which made it another favorite. The strawberry was our favorite which I expected to be sweeter than it was, but turned out to be dry and delicious!  

This was one of the few ciders that I had not yet tasted. I have seen this on the menu a bunch of times, but honestly I never ordered it because I wasn't sure how to pronounce it. This Rekorderlig cider is from Sweden and comes in a wide variety of flavors. Again, we opted for the fruity flavors and I ended up liking the wild berries flavor the best. 

Best Presentation of Cider: Awestruck Ciders

Cider on top in a watermelon. I repeat: CIDER ON TAP IN A WATERMELON. I loved this display so much I didn't event care what they were serving me. How awesome is this?!

Best Food: Lawless Jerky 

Unfortunately, there was almost no food I could eat at this event. For an event where the majority of the drinks are naturally gluten-free, it would have been excellent to have some gluten-free food options.  (Note to local vendors, bring your gluten-free food to this event in a food truck. You will do very well!!!) 

I did snack on some Lawless Jerky that has many flavors that are gluten-free. We only had bite-sized samples, but they were good. Lawless Jerky recently relocated to Brooklyn so we are neighbors and I expect to see them at more local events. Thanks for being there, Lawless! 

New-to-me Ciders:  McKenzie's, 1911, and Yankee Folly Cidery

Overall, we had a great time at my first Pour the Core event. It was a fun way to try new ciders and get a little buzzed while doing it. There are three upcoming events in Boston, Long Island, and Philadelphia and I highly recommend these events to anyone who likes cider. I will definitely be at the Brooklyn event in 2016. Check out for more information and to buy tickets for upcoming events. 

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