celiac disease · children · dairy free · food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gf foods · gluten free · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant · kids · vegan · vegetarian

Gluten-free, Vegan, Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers

Have you been looking for a gluten-free, dairy free, nut free, and egg free graham cracker? Schar has you covered.

schar graham crackers

 

I don’t know about you, but after three weeks of making school lunches and snacks for two, I was about out of fresh ideas. Then I saw these new lovelies at my local Whole Foods and my mind raced with excitement~ grahams with sun butter, or peanut butter, or vegan cream cheese! Smores for a special treat! Taken as they are for a snack! And of course, covering them in (dairy free) chocolate because I don’t care how old you are nor how sophisticated your palate, everyone loves chocolate covered graham crackers.

chocolate covered grahams

Now I know people who professionally cover things in chocolate have a big routine with the melting and the hand mixing and spreading and all that, but really you can do these very simply and trust me, they taste divine. All I did was take apart a dark chocolate bar (Endangered Species brand)

Dark chocolate bar

melted it

melting chocolate then dipped the grahams (with the help of tongs) and let them cool down and solidify on wax paper:

Fresh chocolate grahamsI then tried melting and dipping with some Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips I happened to have in my cupboard and they turned out to have a more milk chocolate taste and were also slightly lighter in color as you can maybe see in the picture. They then went into the refrigerator for further solidifying and safe keeping. They would last a week in the fridge if my sons let them, but chances are they have three days at most.

These were so easy and such a rare treat I think this will be what I do for my kids’ birthday celebrations in their classrooms this year. Each child will get two along with a few strawberries, and I can guarantee not a one will miss the gluten, dairy, eggs, or nuts. So much better than cupcakes and if anyone doesn’t like chocolate (I’ve heard a rumor these people exist) then they can have some plain Schar grahams which are a tasty treat in their own right. Perfect!

Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gluten free · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Zucchini Muffins

My friend gave me a zucchini the size of large 2 month old baby so I figured I’d switch my plan of making pumpkin scones to zucchini muffins. After looking for a recipe online that I could play with I realized there wasn’t much out there that had all our needs covered~ gluten, dairy, egg, and nut free, so the “playing’ part was pretty extensive. Anyone who believes that old adage “Baking is a science, cooking is an art” obviously never baked with food intolerances in mind. I can’t say it’s a perfect recipe as it was indeed my first go at it, but they didn’t crumble (and no xanthan gum!) and they taste pretty good. Plus we used that freaky zucchini so now my sons no longer have a prop pretending to be cave-men. It really did look like a primitive weapon. Here’s the recipe:

zucchini muffins

Ingredients:

2 T flax meal + 5 T water (set aside at least 10 minutes)

2 C grated Zucchini

1/2 C apple sauce

1/4 C sunflower oil

1 t vanilla extract

1 C brown rice flour

3/4 C oat flour (make sure it’s gluten-free)

1/2 C millet flour

1/4 C tapioca flour

3/4 C brown sugar

2 t cinnamon (or more~ actually will do more next time, but it’s personal taste)

1 t nutmeg

1 t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Prep muffin pan with oil, spray oil, or liners. Add the grated zucchini, apple sauce, oil, vanilla extract, and flax that has soaked in water all together and mix well. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together before blending the wet and dry together~ easily done with a spoon, no need to get your mixer dirty. Fill the muffin pan~ 12 regular sized muffins. Cook for 23-25 minutes.

Two zucchini muffins
Don’t these look good for a recipe without xanthan gum?!

These were good out of the pan but I did think a little more cinnamon would have made them better so I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on top. I’m sure my boys won’t mind the extra sweetness although they’ll probably miss running through the kitchen yelling “Aaarrrgh” with the zucchini.

 

Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gluten free · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant

Snacks for School

This is a conversation that keeps popping up lately, so I thought I’d share a couple of things we do for surviving the school year’s endless birthday celebrations, holiday parties, and the myriad of other reasons gluten, dairy, and sugar are consumed in the classroom on a weekly basis. There was one year where one of my son’s classmates had food allergies so severe that all celebrations were limited to a couple of specific food items~ Annie’s fruit bunnies was one and I don’t remember what else…maybe popsicles…? Anyway, that class did not suffer because there were no birthday cupcakes~ I promise. And when I went to that Valentine party with gift pencils, novelty erasers, sparkly stickers, silly tattoos, and sugar-free lollipops, then went to my other son’s party where mounds of candy were piled up on all the kids desks, along with heart cookies and sugary punch and absolutely no boundaries, it kind of made me sick. Anyway, each classroom has its culture and you just have to be prepared for the inevitable. School supply shopping includes something for the boys to have in their classroom cabinets at all times for those birthday celebrations and it goes with them to school on day 1 if not before. We usually choose Lucy’s cookies because the cookies are wrapped three to a package, there’s a little variety for the year, and they are free of all kinds of allergens, as you can see. Lucy's cookiesOther friends I know have stored rice crispy treats at school because those too are individually wrapped so they can keep for months. As I mentioned above, Annie’s fruit snacks are also great if your child is a real gummy candy lover. I’d love to hear what some other favorites out there are…

On a different school snack note, I found something that my youngest has missed for years. He used to love Pirate’s booty and any cheesy puff thing like that. Earth Balance actually has a vegan cheese puff and apparently it’s a winner. One more thing my sons don’t have to miss~ Yay!

celiac disease · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerance diagnosis · gluten intolerance symptoms

Celiac Symptoms

This feels a little like a PSA, but I thought this was a really nice list that one can go through and then take to their doctor because it covers some things not everyone would think of to talk about with their GI doctor.

Here’s the link where you can actually submit your answers and (I believe) then print out the symptoms in a handy take-to-your-doc sheet: Celiac Checklist

And here’s the checklist if you just want to browse through it:

Anemia

YesNo

  • Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    YesNo

  • Failure to Thrive
    YesNo

  • IgA Deficiency
    YesNo

  • Malnutriton or Vitamin Deficiency
    YesNo

 

 

Behavioral or Central Nervous System Conditions

  • ADHD
    YesNo

  • Anxiety
    YesNo

  • Brain Fog or Foggy Mind
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Depression
    YesNo

  • Developmental Delay
    YesNo

  • Headache or Migraine
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Irritability
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Lack of Muscle Coordination (Ataxia)
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Seizure
    YesNo

Gastrointestinal Conditions

  • Abdominal Pain
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Acid Reflux (Heartburn)
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Bloating
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Constipation
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Diarrhea
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Gas
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Lactose Intolerance
    YesNo

  • Lymphoma or Intestinal Cancer
    YesNo

  • Pale, Foul-Smelling Stool
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Unexplained Liver Problem
    YesNo

  • Vomiting
    NeverDailyWeeklyMonthlyOnce in a WhileUnsure

  • Weight Loss or Weight Gain
    YesNo

Muscular Skeletal Conditions

  • Arthritis
    YesNo

  • Bone or Joint Pain
    YesNo

  • Fibromyalgia or Muscle Pain
    YesNo

  • Numbness or Pain in Hands and Feet (Peripheral Neuropathy)
    YesNo

  • Osteopenia or Osteoporosis
    YesNo

  • Short Stature
    YesNo

Reproductive Conditions

  • Delayed Puberty
    YesNo

  • Infertility
    YesNo

  • Menstrual Irregularities or Missed Periods
    YesNo

  • Miscarriage
    YesNo

Skin and Dental Conditions

  • Discolored Teeth or Enamel Loss
    YesNo

  • Eczema
    YesNo

  • Itchy Skin Rash (Dermatitis Herpetiformis)
    YesNo

  • Loss of Hair from your Head or Body (Alopecia)
    YesNo

  • Recurrent Mouth Canker Sores/Oral Ulcers (Aphthous Stomatitis)
    YesNo

Other Conditions and Autoimmune Disorders

  • Please mark any conditions that apply:
    Autoimmune HepatitisAddison’s DiseaseCrohn’s Disease; Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseChronic PancreatitisDown SyndromeIdiopathic Dilated CardiomyopathyIgA NephropathyIrrtitable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)Juvenile Idiopathic ArthritisMultiple SclerosisPrimary Biliary CirrhosisPrimary Sclerosing CholangitisPsoriasisRheumatoid ArthritisSclerodermaSjogren’s DiseaseThyroid DiseaseTurner SyndromeType I DiabetesUlcerative Colitis; Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseWilliams Syndrome

Family Member

  • 1st Degree Relative with Celiac Disease (Parent, Sibling, Child)
    YesNo

  • 2nd Degree Relative with Celiac Disease (Aunt, Uncle, Grandparent, Niece, Nephew, Cousin or Half-Sibling)
    YesNo

Diet

  • Currently Eating a Diet Containing Gluten (Wheat, Rye, Barley)
    YesNo
dairy free · food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gf bread · gf foods · gluten free · gluten free bread · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten free lifestyle · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant · slow food · vegan · vegetarian

Redmond Market

Redmond Market Flowers

Aren’t these flowers just the prettiest? I got them at the Redmond Farmers Market last Saturday and they are still going strong in our front windows. These aren’t what I went to the Redmond Market intending to buy, but I couldn’t help myself, especially since they had such an inviting price ($5). The Redmond Market, located right next to the Redmond Town Center, is a Saturday tradition from May-October and the gluten-free options there are abundant. If you are hungry you can order a gluten-free crepe (made where the other crepes are so do be careful)at Anita’s crepes or enjoy a tamale just down the way at Hermosa Mexican Foods’ booth which is my son’s favorite thing about the market by far. Wildflour Gluten Free bakery has a booth there and when I get there early enough I buy two of their baguettes, but they sell out fast! Many of their items are dairy free but not all, and most have eggs in them, but all are gluten-free and there is a nice variety at her booth. It is delicious fun to buy a pint of fresh berries and sit down with a baguette and snack while watching some live music that rotates through there all summer. Another gluten-free bakery that has a booth there is Fancy Free bakery which touts a much longer list of ‘free-of’ ingredients~ no peanuts, eggs, dairy, etc, so pretty much anyone could find a treat there, and they will not be disappointed. I bought sourdough bread there and it is truly sour-ly awesome. I heard two other vendors discussing with near rapture the lemon bars they bought there but when I went to check them out myself I was too late…definitely getting to the market earlier next Saturday. There are of course plenty of produce farmers, jewelry makers, planted pots venders, much more there, but I personally adore the fact that there are so many gluten-free finds. I just wish it lasted all year-long, but I guess that just makes it all the more special. Now if only I could wake up and get going on Saturdays earlier to fully take advantage of it…Hm, maybe by August I’ll get that part down. At least I managed to get flowers last week. They are lovely.

celiac disease · food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gluten free · gluten free lifestyle · gluten free symptoms · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerance diagnosis · gluten intolerance symptoms · gluten intolerant

New Research on Gluten and Brain fog

This is the worst part when I accidentally ingest gluten and absolutely the hardest thing to explain to people who don’t have a gluten issue~ the ‘brain fog’. This article adds to growing research into an often cited but hard to study complaint of brain fog in celiacs and those gluten intolerant. They liken the brain fog to a .05 blood alcohol level, which is an interesting attempt to try to wrap some definition around something as hard to grasp as ‘fog’ but I would classify it as that feeling when you are getting sick and feverish and your brain just feels like it needs a nap before computing, but maybe that’s because gluten makes me tired, oh so tired, and so all I think about are naps. Probably everyone experiences it a bit differently, but it certainly points to early detection being more and more important if we want our children to have the best experience as possible in school. The article notes that they are still not sure why that happens since one theory was a lack of micronutrients making it to the brain when the digestive system is impaired, but that did not in fact seem to be the case. Another theory has to do with the gut bacteria, always super important when talking about brain health, but it could also be the gluten itself. Whatever it is, I’m just glad enough people have cited the issued that it’s being studied.

celiac disease · children · dairy free · food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gf foods · gluten free · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten free lifestyle · gluten free travel · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant · health · kids · vegan · vegetarian

Gluten Free in Louisville, KY

Photo Credit: Ray Schuhmann
Photo Credit: Ray Schuhmann

Part of the reason I haven’t written much lately has to do with a trip to see my family in Louisville, KY, which turned out to be a very easy place to visit with multiple food intolerances in our crew. The other reason is the sheer craziness of summer with two high-energy boys~ it takes some time to adjust from school year days to summer days and honestly, I’m still adjusting. But, here’s what you will find in Louisville if you head that way (maybe in May…?) It is the Derby City after all.

Annie May’s Sweet Café is a gluten and nut free place that also has a large selection of vegan items. We went there for lunch and immediately regretted having not gone earlier in the trip. My son thought their vegan cream of broccoli soup was ‘epic’ and three of us got sandwiches we very much enjoyed and I was the only one of the three who is even gluten intolerant. The desserts we ate were delicious~ mostly cookies with cream in the middle, some vegan and some not depending on the person. My sons and I had the vegan kind which were dipped in chocolate too and probably the most decadent thing I’ve had in years. I don’t know what the vegan cream was in the middle but it definitely tasted like the real thing and I did not ask because if I knew how to make those things I might never leave my kitchen again.

Just down the road is Bluegrass Burgers which advertises on its sign outside, “Gluten free buns and beers” but it isn’t just buns and beers actually because I asked about the veggie patty and the black bean patty (they have both!) and those were also gluten-free and vegan. They were nice and patient about my questions, something that can be hard to find at restaurants where the going trend is to hate on people with food intolerances. They were extremely friendly and their food was great but there is one warning, their fries are way too good. Seriously, if you don’t want to eat a ton of them, just say no because once you start it’s all over~ they are seasoned to perfection and more addictive than chocolate covered cashews. Highly recommend this place. (And chocolate covered cashews for that matter.)

And of course there’s pizza. There are several places that have gluten-free options, but we chose Blaze Pizza because they have vegan cheese, all the pizza pies are individual size, and they cook them quickly in a wood fire so there (theoretically) isn’t much wait time. I was impressed that when I ordered the gluten-free crusts and vegan cheeses that they asked me if they needed to change gloves when handling those pizzas. They knew what they were doing when it came to allergies and I felt quite safe feeding their food to my kids and eating it myself. We liked the taste but it kind of reminded me of Chuck E. Cheese pizza, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, something about it was just similar…the thinner crust, snappier cheese, slightly sweet tomato sauce. But if that isn’t to your taste, there are plenty of other pizza places that have gluten-free crust options, such as Mellow Mushroom, Impellizzeris, Puccini’s, Uncle Maddio’s, and Cottage Inn Pizza, so basically wherever you are in Louisville you are never far from gluten-free crust.

Something else you are never far from in Louisville are natural foods stores, so in a pinch you can always find allergy free food at Whole Foods, Lucky’s Market, or shop local and visit Rainbow Blossom at one of their five locations.

A surprising amount of allergy-friendly food can be found at the most unusual place of all, and I say that mostly because the town’s name is Santa Claus but also because the amusement park there, Holiday World, is, well, an amusement park (and water park) which generally aren’t hubs of allergy free dining.

Photo credit: Santa's Little Helper
Photo credit: Santa’s Little Helper

This place is about 70 miles from Louisville and well worth the trip if you are traveling with kids or just like rides, water parks, and Christmas music in July. Just check out this list of allergy-free foods that you can get there and you’ll be adding Santa Claus, Indiana to your must-do list. The only thing I caution is to have the list handy with you before you go in to order because the people behind the counter weren’t always up-to-date on the offerings. There seemed to be one person in charge who handled the allergic folks and the rest of them waved her down to deal with us. That was fine with me, as long as there was one person dedicated to keeping us safe I was thoroughly impressed. We also had to wait extra time for the allergy free food so another caution is to go before your four-year old is in low-sugar-sunburnt-over-tired-and-hungry-tantrum-mode, but really it wasn’t too long of a wait, 15 minutes maybe. Of course 15 minutes with a hungry child is a lot longer than 15 minutes with just yourself to worry about, so you’ve been forewarned. But both my sons said the place was better than Disney Land, so check it out.

I’m sure there are plenty of other restaurants that accommodate gluten intolerant people but I just want to highlight one more because their menu is very clear with calling out gluten-free items, along with vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, and whatever other kind of ~ian you want to call yourself, they’ve heard it all before. Ramsi’s Café will fill your worldly cravings when you’ve tried all the gluten-free pizza (impossible!) and eaten all the burgers on gluten-free buns that you can handle. Kids are welcome but if you are going to leave them behind for an evening out with your significant other, this is the place to go. When you are finished with dinner be sure to walk up and down Bardstown Road for some fun shopping and people watching, or grab a movie at the nearby Baxter Avenue Theaters. Enjoy!