Looking Inside a Gluten-Free Kitchen

One of the most important things when it comes to living a gluten-free lifestyle is making sure that we feel safe in our home. When I and some of my children were first diagnosed with celiac disease, I had no clue where to start! It was daunting thinking about how to go about cleaning out my gluten-filled home, so today I am going to take you on a journey of what I did to ensure our home was a safe place for my family. The best place to start is going to be in your kitchen! After all, this is where most of the gluten is going to be hiding. Today I will go over how I would go about cleaning out your kitchen, pantry, and fridge if I were starting from square one.

Gluten hides everywhere

Think of gluten like a glue — anything that gluten has touched in the past could still have gluten on it. It is a great idea to go through every cupboard individually clean it top to bottom! Then assess each item and scrub it, put it in the dishwasher, and do everything you can to make sure there is no residue left.

This is especially important when it comes to baking dishes and utensils. Depending on your budget and what you need for peace of mind, you can choose to buy new items or to wash items on a sanitizer setting. If you can’t replace everything, maybe start with replacing these items that are hard to fully clean of gluten:

  • Teflon pans with signs of wear
  • Wooden spatulas
  • Colanders
  • Toasters
  • Sponges

Focus on one area at a time

No matter where you start, it is important to only take on a simple section at a time. Take it cupboard by cupboard, shelf by shelf. No need to overwhelm yourself by doing it all at once. It’s OK to spread this process over a couple of weeks or to enlist the help of family, friends, or neighbors. Here is a simple list of tasks that will help you successfully clean out each area.

  1. Start by emptying the shelf or drawer.
  2. Wipe it down with a clean sponge.
  3. Wipe off or deep-clean each item.
  4. Check the ingredients of any food item, separating them into piles of gluten-free and gluten-containing products.
  5.  Assess each item for cross-contamination, or  the likelihood of gluten residue being left behind.

Create a gluten-free zone

Once you have your pantry items separated into two different piles — gluten free and gluten-filled products — it’s time to create a designated place for your gluten-free items that is clearly separated from the gluten-containing items.

When deciding where to place the gluten-free items, I recommend top shelves, so gluten-filled crumbs don’t fall on them from above. Anything with gluten in it, should be double bagged, and kept lower. Another great tip is to label gluten-free items so that everything is consistent and identifiable for anyone in your family. We have designated gluten-free cupboards and shelves. Everyone in my family knows that only gluten-free products belong there, so it makes it easy all around.

Another great tip is to label gluten-free items to make it easy for your other family members to tell what is or isn’t safe for you. This has been helpful when we have had babysitters or extended family over so other people can clearly identify what is safe as well.

It is so comforting to know you have a safe place where you don’t have to worry about crumbs or cross-contact. Maybe you start off with only your bedroom, one shelf, and one kitchen counter, and then expand from there as you can. Start small and give yourself the space you need to relax and feel safe.

I hope you have found these tips to be helpful. You got this! 

Want to learn more about avoiding cross-contamination? Read “Tips to Prevent Cross-Contamination” and “8 Surprising Things You Need to Do to Avoid Gluten Cross-Contamination.”

What To Do if You Get Glutened

Having a condition that is diet-controlled is a blessing, but it can also be a curse. Even when you take all possible precautions, you can still deal with major consequences of unintended gluten ingestion. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help the recovery process. Today I will be sharing my top six steps that we take in our home when we have been “glutened.”

Six steps to help when you’ve been glutened

1. Drink plenty of water.

A good rule of thumb is to drink roughly half your weight in ounces of water per day (with variables such as how active you are affecting the recommended amount). I would definitely recommend increasing the amount when you have been glutened.

2. Drink herbal teas and/or bone broth.

We have implemented this for the last six months, and it has made all the difference in the world. I feel like it helps recharge your system faster than anything else I have tried. Even when we haven’t been glutened, it’s such a good way to stay hydrated. As people with celiac, we tend to deal with a lot of gut issues, so keeping these on hand in the pantry is a great idea!

3. With your doctor’s OK, try essential oils.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t a believer in essential oils until I tried clove oil on my teething baby’s gums, and it was like magic. But I honestly thought that was a fluke. Until one night I watched my daughter toss and turn for hours on my bedroom floor in her sleep because she was glutened just hours before. She was in a deep sleep and had no idea that she was doing that. It broke my heart and I was desperate, so I decided to try a digestive oil blend that was deep in the back of a junk drawer. I pulled it out and applied a few drops to her stomach, and within a few minutes she stopped rolling around and laid peacefully through the rest of the night. Not all essential oils are created equal (we have found Digestzen from Doterra to work great), and mileage may very on whether they work at all from one person to the next. Be sure to speak with your doctor about whether this approach might work for you.

4. Eat easy-to-digest foods.

The “BRAT” diet is not just for the stomach flu — it can also be helpful when you are trying to calm an upset stomach after being glutened. The BRAT diet consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and of (gluten-free) bread. It is also a great idea to eliminate other foods that you know you may be sensitive too. In our family, many of us are sensitive to dairy. If you’re like us, eliminating dairy for a time may be helpful. 

5. Sleep.

Rest, rest, and more rest! It is often hard to function or focus when you have been glutened. Your body is in attack mode, so it is important that you do your part and allow your body to rest as much as possible.

6. Hope.

Hope for a brighter tomorrow! This may sound near-impossible in the midst of feeling like you were hit by a train. But know that “One bad day does not mean you have a bad life… it’s just a bad day!” (Celiac Cutie). This is so true. Tomorrow is another day, and whatever got you down today — don’t let it get you down again. You got this!

I hope these six tips help on your journey to feeling better.

I know that it is hard to be positive when you don’t feel well, but perspective is everything. I am rooting for you — you are not alone in this celiac journey!

Want to learn more about steps to take if you’ve been glutened? Read “How to Speed Up Recovery After Gluten Exposure” and “Tips to Recover From Gluten Exposure.” 

Sending Your Gluten-Free Kids Back to School

When my daughter with celiac was old enough to enter school, I was so nervous! For those of you experiencing the same concerns as the new school year gets under way, I am going to go over some of the steps I take each academic year to ensure my kids are safe and healthy.

Advocating for yourself (or teaching your children to advocate for themselves)


My biggest tip is to be an advocate for your kid — and teach them to be an advocate for themself. My favorite saying right now is “don’t assume everyone knows how to gluten free.” I know I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what it took to “gluten free” my life, so don’t assume others know how to keep you safe. Advocating for yourself takes several steps: spreading awareness, asking questions, and standing up for your needs. So when you walk into a new school year, be sure to make your child, the teacher, the school nurse,and anyone else who may need to know aware of your health needs. Ask questions to understand what systems they have in place, and then decide what’s safe and feels right for you and your family.

Role playing is a great way to have your child practice the things they will need to be brave enough to say when navigating school. Below I have included sample prompts that can get you started and feel prepared!



Sample prompts to practice advocating for yourself

When you or a family member has a food restriction, it is so important to learn to speak up for your health and safety. Ask questions! Here are some sample scenarios you can practice. Come up with questions you would ask and/or responses, and make up even more scenarios so you will feel prepared and confident when the time comes.

  • Someone offers you a homemade snack or treat.
  • Someone invites you out for a meal or to their home for dinner.
  • You are invited to a party.
  • Someone asks you what gluten is (“isn’t gluten just like bread or pasta?”).



Planning for school lunches and safe snacks

One of the biggest concerns as a parent is making sure your kids will have safe food to eat when they go back to school. I highly recommend sitting down with your school administrators and setting up a 504 plan. This ensures you have something in place for all kinds of scenarios. My family does this, and it helps us have a clear line of communication throughout the school year with teachers, staff, etc.

With the risk of cross contact, I have it as part of the 504 plan to have my child sit in a designated space that is disinfected prior to her mealtime. I always pack her lunch and snacks, and there is emergency food stored in the classroom or with the school nurse in case she forgets her lunch or there is some other emergency. I also make sure to have special sweet treats on hand so she won’t be left out for class parties. This process is as easy as making sure that your kid always carries safe gluten-free snacks. Here are some samples of what I send for my child’s lunches.

Favorite snacks:

  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Berries
  • Applesauce pouches
  • Fruit
  • Fruit leathers
  • Caveman Bars
  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  • Simple Mills crackers
  • Milton’s crackers
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • The Good Crisp chips
  • Cheese sticks
  • Gluten-free pretzels

Favorite lunches:

● PB&J with Canyon Bakehouse or Schar bread 
● Rice cake with peanut butter and jelly
● Rice cake with ham and cheese
● Salad in a jar

Have a good school year

I hope this gives you an idea of the steps that you can take for a safe school year! My daughter, now in fourth grade, is thriving because we have done everything over the years to set her up for success. All these years later, I am able to feel peace of mind knowing I put in the necessary work to keep her safe. To recap, It took:

  • Research (yay — you are here learning!)
  • Conversations (e.g., teacher meetings and 504 plan meetings)
  • Documentation (a personalized information card and 504 documentation)
  • Planning (school lunches and emergency snacks)
  • Teaching (spreading awareness of gluten-free needs and teaching my child to advocate for herself)

All the effort put in was so worth it! With these systems and steps in place beforehand, we could then enjoy and celebrate all the new experiences school had to offer. You can do the same. My favorite part of going through the hard times in this journey is knowing I can then share my learning with you. Happy back to school!

Want to learn more about raising a gluten-free child? Check out the tips in our Kids section.

Gluten-Free Barbecue and Summer Party Tips

With summer in full swing, we’re in the midst of the season for barbecues, pool parties, and family gatherings. This can be such a fun-filled time to make memories with loved ones, but it can also bring a lot of stress and anxiety when you need to stick to a strictly gluten-free diet. Here are my best tips to help you stay gluten free and make the most of the remaining days of summer.

Staying gluten-free at barbecues and summer parties

1. Put people first over food.

Remember that get-togethers are about the people and memories with great company, not just about the food. Instead of feeling left out, try focusing on creating stronger relationships with the people around you!

2. Don’t assume everyone knows how to “gluten free.”

Be patient as you communicate your dietary needs with the host/hostess. Be clear and concise when talking about topics such as cross-contamination or the meals that they are hoping to provide. Don’t assume others know what you need without a clear explanation, and don’t expect everyone to cater to your needs. (However, it is a bonus when they do!)

3. Offer to bring something, or bring your own food!

Throw together an easy side dish or appetizer so that you know you will have something safe to eat. If you know there won’t be any safe food, bring your own meal or snacks. It can help ease your mind knowing that you have something safe and delicious to look forward to.

4. Prepare yourself for bumps in the road.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but you can make the best of the situation with some mental preparation. At times, you may be hungry, or you may be inconvenienced, but you can prepare so you can make it through the frustrations when they happen. A backup plan can help you stay cool in a moment that otherwise would have caused panic.

5. Remember to stay safe and choose your health over trying to fit in.

You should never sacrifice your own health to “please” someone else. I have been to several parties where the host has assured me that the food was gluten free-when in fact I knew it wasn’t. Don’t sacrifice your health to appease someone else. It’s OK to decline food — even if it feels awkward or you fear what others will think. I promise you would rather feel those few moments of awkwardness than feel sick for weeks on end.

When in doubt, stick with what you know is safe to avoid getting glutened. And remember that these events are about connecting with others and we can still do that, even when we are eating gluten free! I hope these tips help and that you can have a safe and fun-filled rest of the summer!

Want more tips for summertime? Read “Surviving Your First Gluten-Free Summer.”

Mastering Five Amazing Gluten-Free Recipes To Be Safe

In my recent masterclass, I went over my best tips to feel confident in the kitchen when it comes to creating and enjoying safe gluten-free meals. The transition to eating gluten free can be so tricky, but this method is guaranteed to help you succeed in your gluten free lifestyle. Let’s get started!

Get creative with food options

Before I get into my fab five meal ideas, I would love to make sure that we start this by feeling inspired to try new foods and recipes. Here are some ways that I love to get inspired to try new recipes or even just feel motivated to get into the kitchen in the first place — because let’s be real, sometimes we just don’t want to cook!

  1. Scroll through Pinterest. Pinterest is such a great tool to discover new recipes or gluten-free foods that you hadn’t thought of.
  2. Follow exciting gluten-free Instagram and Facebook accounts. There are so many gluten-free bloggers in the online community who provide gluten-free meal inspiration daily.
  3. Watch cooking shows like Chopped. I always feel more inspired and excited to cook after watching cooking shows. You never know what ideas you could get from watching!

Fab Five: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks

Take out a pencil and paper, and write down your top five favorite breakfasts that you ate before you were gluten free. For example, before I ate gluten free, I loved to eat oatmeal, pancakes, eggs and bacon, toast, and cereal. Now, brainstorm five new safe breakfasts or gluten-free breakfast ideas that you know you will love. Here are my five: gluten-free oatmeal and fruit, eggs and bacon, omelettes, gluten-free pancakes, and a rice cake with avocado and egg. By taking your old favorites and using this a a base to create new favorites, you will have a list of gluten-free options that you can go back to in a pinch.

I want you to go through the same process with lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts. Replace your old favorites with your new gluten-free favorites. Take time to research recipes you know you can master and will love.

I often go back with my kids to our “Fab Five” list for inspiration. We use these five staples as a starting point and then proceed to get more creative with each dish we make. For example, instead of eating the same oatmeal everyday for breakfast, we started doing overnight oats, or baked oats to get some variety. There are so many options when you brainstorm meals with a different lens.

I know each of us has a different journey when it comes to eating and planning meals. The great thing about this method is that it can be applied to anyone’s dietary needs, regardless of whether you are gluten free, egg free, dairy free, or something else. I hope these tips have been helpful and that you feel more confident to take initiative in the kitchen!

Interested in giving this strategy a try? Check out our library of hundreds of delicious gluten-free recipes!

Ten-Minute Gluten-Free Dinner Ideas

As a single mom to four in a 100% gluten-free household, finding quick, easy, healthy meals is a priority. Lately, my family has been on a health journey. With my daughter’s recent diagnosis of a few autoimmune conditions (on top of celiac disease), we have been doing everything we can to find practical and healthy dinners.

As I share some ideas today, remember that you don’t need to overcomplicate things. Grab whatever you have on hand and make it a meal. We try to include a protein and veggies in every meal, so we always have an assortment of fresh or frozen meat and vegetables on hand. We also love incorporating fruits and nuts into our daily snack routine.

Gluten-free dinner ideas

Now let’s get to the fun part where I go over some of my favorite 10-minute dinner ideas!

1. Sheet Pan Chicken & Veggies

I’m not kidding when I tell you we have this on repeat every week. The variations are endless — you can mix up seasonings, veggies, and make a filling meal within minutes.

2. Veggie Stir-Fry

We love to get some frozen veggies out and heat them up in oil. From there, we typically add scrambled eggs and any leftover proteins/carbs we have from previous meals. Examples of what we add to our mix are diced chicken, sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and beef. It’s amazing what you can create with leftovers! Grab what you have on hand — the possibilities are endless.

3. Zoodles

Simply spiralize zuchinni noodles, boil them, and marinate in your favorite sauce! We love to add grilled chicken and pesto to the noodles, but you could also do a take on spaghetti or any other pasta.

4. Chicken Avocado Wraps

If you’ve followed my Instagram page, you know that we love using Siete Foods tortillas! We always have these on hand. One of my favorite things to do is to grill up some chicken; cut up some avocado, lettuce, and other veggies; and make a yummy wrap. We love adding sauces to ours as well to enhance the flavor. You can eat these cold or warm them up on your griddle.

5. Honey Garlic Salmon

Investing in an air fryer has made dinners so much easier. Typically, I use frozen salmon and drizzle it in honey, garlic, and other seasonings. Air fry for 10 minutes, and you have the most perfect salmon ever! For extra flavor, add guacamole on top of your salmon and pair with a veggie or side dish.

I hope these ideas can help you find some easy dinner ideas. Just because you eat gluten free doesn’t mean that you need to overcomplicate dinner. By choosing to incorporate whole foods into your dinner, it can be a lot cheaper and quicker in the long run. Plus it’s a lot healthier, too!

Want more gluten-free dinner inspiration? Check out our collection of Main Dishes.

Gluten-Free Grocery Trips

There are quite a few aspects involved in going gluten free. It is such a big change. Food happens to be what most of our lives revolve around. Have you ever gone to a party where they didn’t serve food? Just the idea seems crazy, doesn’t it? That being the case, there are a lot of changes that are needed to take place when you change your diet!

Today, I want to share with you my best tips to help you understand what a gluten-free life may look like for you. When my family first went gluten free, I was so overwhelmed. I wanted a perfect snapshot reference of what a gluten-free pantry or grocery store run would look like. That’s what I hope to help you with today — provide tangible tips that will help you visualize what your gluten free life can look like.

Set goals and realistic expectations

Just like you can create a list for the perfect dream house or spouse, you can create a list of what you want your dream “gluten-free” life to look like. Do you want to continue eating out all the time? Do you want to eat more whole foods? What do you want your dinners to look like? Now is a great time to reevaluate what you want your dietary life to look like. Set goals and dream big — you can do it!

Look around online and see what other people are doing

Head over to my Instagram page @glutenfreewithcoral or search for gluten-free foods on Pinterest. There are so many positive gluten-free bloggers who are documenting exactly how they live a gluten-free lifestyle. Use the resources available to you and come join our online gluten-free community! The Instagram accounts for some of my favorite gluten-free/allergy bloggers right now are @theallergychef, @cleanmondaymeals, @chandiceprobst, and @meaningfuleats. There is such a supportive gluten-free community online — come be a part of it!

I recently went live with Gluten-Free Living on Instagram and did a takeover where I showed what products I look for when going grocery shopping — I so wish I had had this resource when my family was first adjusting to a gluten-free lifestyle.

Write down a list of foods you love

Write down a list of your favorite breakfast foods, lunches, dinners, snacks, and desserts. Once you have that written down, go through each food and do your research. Do any of the included products have gluten in them? Are the brands you’re using this certified gluten free? Would you feel comfortable with your family eating this? If you identify something isn’t gluten free, research and find a brand that is. I promise that there are so many safe and tasty alternatives out there. Once you find the brands you love, stay loyal to them! There has never been a better time to be gluten free.

Just because you have a new dietary restriction doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to eat your favorite foods ever again. One of my favorite foods is pizza. I was so disappointed when we went gluten free because I had this fear I would never be able to enjoy pizza again. Well, let me tell you, we have both learned how to make and have found amazing gluten-free pizza. I still love it as much as before! Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, choose to focus on what you can eat. Your mindset is going to be so helpful in making sure that you are sticking to your ideal lifestyle

Remember that everyone does gluten-free differently

Above all else, please remember that everyone is going to have their own spin on gluten-free living. I’m just here to give you inspiration so you can create the gluten-free life you want to live.

You can do this, and you will get the hang of it. Embrace the gluten-free life, research it, live it, and rock it! You got this, friend!

Want to learn about grocery stores with gluten-free foods? Read our roundups for Whole Foods, Aldi, Kroger, and Trader Joe’s.

Everyone’s Gluten-Free Journey Is Different

Everyone’s gluten-free journey to health looks different. Today, I want to share how my family’s health journey has evolved over the years and let you know that no matter how tough things may seem, you can do this.

Scary symptoms

Chanelle, my nine-year-old, was the first one in our family to be diagnosed with celiac. With her dramatically scary symptoms the doctors were convinced that she had cancer or kidney failure. It was a frightening time to say the least… I was truly gearing up for chemo or dialysis. However, after all of those tests came back negative, they eventually tested her for celiac. Sure enough, that was the answer and gluten was the culprit.

Since her diagnosis, my other daughter Sadie and I have been diagnosed with celiac as well. With so many of us  in the family with the condition, we have a 100% gluten-free household. It’s taken us years to find our gluten-free groove, but I can confidently say we have finally gotten the swing of things!

A turn in the road

Fast-forward to today, several years later, and our health journey has gotten a little more complicated. In addition to eating 100% gluten free, we have discovered several other foods we need to avoid to prevent various autoimmune flare-ups in our family, including dairy, eggs, and certain fruits.

These have been discoveries that we are still adjusting to, and I keep remembering that the discovery, diagnosis, and adaption processes are similar to what we experienced when we were first gluten free. It’s like we are starting our gluten-free life all over again, but with these other foods.

Questions, and more questions

I remember having a variety of questions when we were first diagnosed with celiac: What does a gluten-free pantry look like? How seriously do I need to take this? Will we still be able to enjoy eating? What can I cook for dinner? How do I know if something is truly safe? Are my kids going to suffer socially? And so many more!

I could go on and on… My list of questions about gluten-free living seemed never-ending. Now here we are, several years later, and I finally feel confident in leading a 100% gluten-free household! It took lots of trials and time to get there, but oh, how things have changed. That is why I created a complete program to living a happy and healthy gluten-free life! I want to share the lessons and tools I have learned so that you can create your ultimate gluten-free success story in a matter of a few months.

Gluten-Free Transformation Program

If you are new to the gluten-free world, I promise you that with the right tools and the right mindset, you can live an even better life. I know it seems daunting, but I am here to help! Go check out my Gluten-Free Transformation Program. This will take you step-by-step through a process to help live your best gluten-free life. I will teach you and coach you through difficult and unfamiliar hurdles.

I know how you feel, and I know how crazy a gluten-free lifestyle can get. Let me help you! (Join me on my page @glutenfreewithcoral on Instagram as well — I have lots of fun webinars and content planned in the next few weeks!)

Want more information about embarking on a gluten-free journey? Read “Where To Start On Your Gluten-Free Journey.”

Where To Start On Your Gluten-free Journey

Are you new to gluten-free eating? My hope is to give anyone new to this journey a jumpstart and help you get your head in the gluten-free game! A lot of times, we just need to know where to start. 

Let me give you a little backstory about why I decided to write on this topic this week: My youngest child, Sadie, has had severe eczema throughout her life. We have tried many different approaches — allergy tests, diverse doctors, steroids, etc. Finally, I decided I was going to try going dairy free for Sadie. Doing this was like starting all over again, but this time with a dairy-free journey instead of a gluten-free journey. Hopefully our story can inspire those of you who are just starting out. These principles apply to any food restrictions — or really any new thing in life.  

Remember your why

The first thing I had to do was really accept the fact that we needed to be dairy free. We tried strict dairy-free eating for a week and did pretty good. At the end of the week, though, I was discouraged and not sure that it had even made a difference. Then I had Sadie come over and to my surprise her legs weren’t red at all. She immediately knew it was because she had been eating dairy free. She was so excited, and now we were both 100% committed!

Whatever your reason is for going gluten-free, you have to accept it first. You have to decide that this is what you want. Remember your why. Write it down, and remind yourself often. Stick to it — you got this!

Make small adjustments

Think about the foods that you are eating right now. Write down what you normally eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert. Once you have written that down, circle the items that might be leading to your symptoms. Then, come up with alternatives. In Sadie’s dairy-free example, we decided to replace her daily string cheese with a handful of almonds. She now had her go-to food and was so happy. In my case, I’ve been eliminating sweets from my diet. They give me headaches and tummy aches, and so I am trying to not eat them (even though I want them). So, I decided that after every meal I will eat fruit and nut butter. Tweak the little things, and it will be so much more fun for you!

Keep an eye on quality

Learn the importance of whole foods and better ingredients, and break the habit of unhealthy swapping. For instance, don’t replace a brownie with a gluten-free brownie. Instead, now is the perfect opportunity to choose healthier items to include in your life. Transitioning into a gluten-free lifestyle is the perfect opportunity to decide how you want your menu to look. Create a pantry full of foods that are healthy and that you love to eat. You are worth the effort of changing lifelong habits to be and feel better.

Additional tips for starting on a gluten-free diet

Here are some additional tips that will help you on your journey:

Read labels.

Research each product that you consume and make sure you are sticking to your dietary principles.

Enjoy the journey.

Find the excitement in the new foods that you get to enjoy.

Stop saying sorry.

Don’t apologize for not being able to eat a certain food.

Find role models.

Follow the people online that will make you excited to eat gluten-free food. You can follow me on Instagram @glutenfreewithcoral. Some of my favorite accounts to follow are:




Learn to prepare meals ahead of time.

Make and prepare safe snacks to have on hand.

I am so excited for you to step up your gluten-free game. It is such a blessing to know how you are going to fuel your body and what is going to make you feel better. Be your best you! 

Preparing for Gluten-Free Holidays

The holiday season can be difficult when you have to eat gluten free. To prepare for gatherings with family and friends, I suggest planning ahead. Schedule your events in ahead of time, and be sure to work in some down time, too. This will be the key to creating a successful gluten-free holiday season. Below I am going to share some of my top tips for attending gatherings and how I choose to carry on family traditions.

Attending a gathering

If I will be attending a gathering, I’ll take the time to talk with the host ahead of time. Often, I am blown away by their understanding and generosity. I used to get nervous that I would be imposing, but now I have grown confident in advocating for my family’s needs. Have you ever had a moment when someone gives you their special homemade treat they made just for you and you have to refuse it because it has gluten? So sad! It feels so much better to talk to the host ahead of time!

There are so many options for how you approach gatherings in a way that can be fun and gluten-free friendly:

  • Offer to bring a gluten-free dish
  • Eat before your arrive
  • Pack your own safe meal

And if you are traveling out of town for the holidays, be sure to download the Find Me Gluten Free app! In the app, you can see ratings for celiac-friend and dedicated gluten-free restaurants. If someone suggests eating out or you want to grab a bite before heading to a gluten-filled party, you can be prepared with a restaurant recommendation that you know has safe options so you can focus on having a great time instead of worrying about what to eat.

Family traditions

Nearly every year, I still get bummed about a family tradition that revolved around gluten food (like cookie baking day). However, these traditions don’t have to end. You can revamp the old traditions and have fun experimenting as you try out new recipes. You can laugh over the flops and delight in new favorites.

And, it’s never too late to start a new family tradition that will create lasting memories, too! Movie nights, running or walking a Turkey Trot, seeing Christmas lights, participating in a white elephant gift exchange, hosting an ugly sweater party…all these celebrations focus on memories with loved ones instead of the food. Traditions can be such a fun and important part of the holidays.

The most important thing that helps me stay energized for social events is to focus on the people, not the food. I go to events to have great conversations, to laugh, to connect with loved ones, to make new friends — I come for the company, not the cake. So this holiday season, I challenge you to focus on what matters most: family, friends, and memories! Your focus can make or break your holiday experiences, so don’t be afraid to let your best gluten-free self shine!

Learn more about having happy gluten-free holidays in “4 Tips to Reinvent Your Holidays, Gluten-Free Style” and “Gluten-Free Holiday Gift Ideas.”

Should Your Beauty Products Be Gluten Free?

There is a bit of a controversy in the gluten-free world when it comes to beauty products. Should they be gluten free? Some say an absolute yes — your skin is your largest organ and it absorbs everything you put on it. Others say that it doesn’t matter as long as gluten is not ingested orally. 

Where do I stand on that split of opinions? As with nearly anything I speak about, I say you get to do you! There are three of us in my family who have celiac, and each of us reacts and responds differently. We each decide what works best for us.

Do you have a skin reaction to gluten? If so, you may need to steer clear of all products with this protein. Some with celiac have been known to have skin reactions, while others with an intolerance don’t experience any issues with gluten-containing beauty products. Your best bet is to work with your health care team and determine the best approach for you.

One condition for people with celiac to be aware of is dermatitis herpetiformis, also known as DH or Duhring’s disease. It’s a chronic skin condition caused by a reaction to gluten ingestion. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “the vast majority of people with DH also have an associated gluten sensitive enteropathy (celiac disease). Extremely itchy bumps or blisters appear on both sides of the body, most often on the forearms near the elbows, as well as on knees and buttocks, and along the hairline.” While research shows this condition is linked with ingesting gluten, some say that they have the same reaction when using products on their body that have gluten in them. So again, it’s important to work with your provider to decide on the best approach in your situation.

Tips for finding safe beauty products

If you are looking to replace some or all of your beauty products with gluten-free alternatives, here are three tips that can help.

1. Determine what is working for you and is safe. 

First thing to ask yourself: Are you currently having a reaction to a beauty product? If you are sure you’re not, then you may be all set and not need to change much. (It’s important to note, however, that sometimes our body could be reacting internally without obvious external signs.) To evaluate and replace products, I recommend first looking through all items that go around or on your mouth, such as toothpaste, lip balm, lipstick, or foundation or powder that you put near your mouth. As you run out of these items, replace them with safer brands. Once you have mastered the products near your mouth, then you can slowly move on to other products.

2. Find brands that you feel comfortable with.

Do your research to find brands that are using real and simple ingredients. You can Google products, or you can follow me on Instagram, as I share what products I use. For example, I love Shine Cosmetics — it is 100% gluten free, and they have the most beautiful shades! But Shine is just one example of an alternative option if you are slowly evaluating and replacing products. Be sure to look at the labels of your current items — are there many ingredients that you cannot pronounce? Look them up online or look on the company websites to learn more about them. You can also search for other brands that have transparent ingredient labels and work hard to ensure safe products.

3. Be loyal to those brands. 

I have now become a very loyal customer to several brands. When I find something that is safe and works, I am going to be loyal! In addition to keeping you safe from gluten, this can actually save you money: Indeed, if you are not persuaded at every store to buy the latest trends, you will save a lot. Sticking to specific brands will also help with ensuring you are using products with ingredients that you feel good about. 

I am so excited for you to go through your bathroom and see how you can improve the products that are underneath your cabinet!

Grieving the Loss of Gluten

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you may be grieving the loss of gluten. It is so important for people to understand that this grief is real! Awareness of this response can help normalize what you are going through.

Part of the grieving process is hope. What everybody wants is hope for a better life, and it’s totally possible. It takes work to get through the grieving process, but on the other side, life has so much potential.

In one of my Gluten-Free With Coral podcasts, I speak with my great friend and life coach Jamee Andelin about what it means to grieve gluten. This conversation can help anyone who may be struggling in their gluten-free journey.

The grieving process

There are five stages to the grieving process, but I like to think of it with two extra parts — the before and the after. At the start, the first feeling is really shock: thinking “What?!” And then there’s denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Through this cycle, there’s hope. So those are all part of the process, and we can find ourselves going through this cycle when we find out something difficult, like that we have celiac, or that there are serious issues in our marriage, or that we’re living through a pandemic. 

Grieving gluten

Sometimes we push away the idea of the grieving gluten, thinking “it’s only food,” and we don’t give ourselves permission to process those feelings. Even though we may think, “No one has died, I don’t have a right to be grieving,” its actually an identity transformation that we may be working through. But being aware and accepting that this is a normal part of being human can help us. 

Andelin explains how transitioning to a new “gluten-free identity” relates to the grieving cycle: What happens in our mind when we go through any change is that a new identity is being formed. And when that new identity is being formed, there is an old identity that is being lost. So as you’re transitioning into this new identity, there is a feeling loss of the old identity. 

Tools to work through the grieving process

Here are two key tools to help work through this process:

“Digest” your emotions

Learning how to accept the discomfort and to digest those emotions is the number one skill I recommend everybody develop. You have to digest the sadness, or whatever it is you’re feeling — those emotions have to be processed. It can be as simple as acknowledging, for example, “I’m sad,” or talking to someone about it.

Practice self-compassion

Practicing self-compassion means supporting yourself through suffering. It’s not pushing the suffering away or denying it, it’s just acknowledging that it’s there. 

The number one thing that a lot of people feel when they go through a dietary change is isolation. It’s a massive lifestyle shift, and everyone close to the person is affected. You can start to feel lonely and isolated. So, for example, just acknowledging that “of course, I’m feeling isolated” can help.

Grieving gluten is 100% real — that is why it is so important to realize that when we feel and act certain ways about eating gluten free, there are steps we can take to feel hope again. I hope this helps!

Creating a Gluten-Free Food Stockpile for Emergencies

Living through a pandemic has been a huge wake-up call for the world, and it showed all of us how important it is to be prepared. But for those of us with celiac disease, food allergies, or any intolerances, it’s been especially frightening and has often felt like being in survival mode.

Now that grocery store shelves are stocked up again, it is important to get the shelves in our homes stocked, too, so that no matter what happens in the world around us, we are not in fear about what we are going to eat.

A good friend of mine has inspired me so much: She wrote a blog post that had me determined to follow her example. She simplified the process of stocking up and helped me to create a list of foods that I can stock up on as well. Her family is not gluten free, so I pulled some of her recipes and tweaked them a bit to ensure that they are safe for us.

I have 12 shelf-stable dinner meals listed below and have multiplied each one by 10 and stocked up on the ingredients, so now I have 120 meals available for my family — actual meals that we all would eat or already do eat regularly. Even without an emergency situation, this is smart to do so you have food on hand and never have to go to the store on those crazy days. You have meals in an instant! I created my supply two weeks ago and I have already pulled from these meals twice. Why not? It’s an easy planned meal! (I’m sure each time to be aware of what I take out of my food storage and replace it the next time I am at the store.)

Get creative and think of other recipes you can stockpile on. Or even pick seven of mine and multiply that by however many weeks you want to have food available for. That way, every day of the week is accounted for (e.g. Mondays are spaghetti nights, Tuesday are Taco Bowls, etc.) Buying, for example, 10 boxes of pasta, 10 sauces, and 10 cans of green beans is so easy to do. Even if there are never any emergencies (which is highly unlikely), you are set up for success in your regular meal planning. You could even go all out and get a year supply of these meals.

Gluten-free meals to stockpile

Here are the meals that I have personally stockpiled, and now I am not fearful of anything going on outside of my home. We are prepared, so I don’t have to fear — what a blessing. I hope this helps you and your family get prepared and as well.

Spaghetti and Sauce

  • Gluten-free spaghetti noodles (e.g., Jovial)
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Can of green beans

Chicken-Noodle Soup

  • Gluten-free canned chicken
  • Can of mixed vegetables
  • Chicken bouillon or chicken stock
  • Gluten-free noodles

Chickpea Taco Bowl

  • Oil
  • Can of chickpeas
  • Gluten-free taco seasoning
  • Gluten-free salsa
  • Spanish rice (see ingredients below)
  • Canned corn

Rice Bowls

  • Dry rice
  • Water
  • Gluten-free canned chicken
  • Gluten-free salsa verde
  • Can of beans
  • Can of olives

Fried Rice

  • Oil
  • Rice
  • Water
  • Can of veggies
  • Coconut aminos
  • Spam

Broccoli and Chicken Rice Casserole

  • Rice
  • Water
  • Gluten-free cream of chicken soup (e.g., Pacifica)
  • Freeze-dried broccoli

Chicken Alfredo

  • Pasta 
  • Water
  • Gluten-free alfredo sauce (e.g., Thrive)
  • Gluten-free canned chicken
  • Canned peas


  • Rice
  • Gluten-free canned chicken
  • Gluten-free cream of chicken soup (e.g., Pacifica)
  • Can of pineapple
  • Can of olives
  • Freeze-dried shredded cheddar cheese

BBQ Bean Bowls

  • Beans
  • Gluten-free BBQ sauce (e.g., Stubbs)
  • Rice
  • Water

Taco Pasta

  • Gluten-free pasta
  • Gluten-free taco seasoning packet
  • Diced can tomatoes
  • Jar of gluten-free salsa

Buffalo Chicken Rice

  • Gluten-free canned chicken
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Rice
  • Water

Spanish Rice and Beans

  • White rice
  • Oil
  • Tomato sauce
  • Seasoning salt
  • Chicken bouillon or chicken stock
  • Canned corn
  • Pinto beans


  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Rice cakes


  • Gluten-free hard taco shells (check shelf life, and use and restock when needed)
  • Gluten-free tortilla chips (check shelf life, and use and restock when needed)
  • Dinty Moore Beef Stew
  • Hormel Chili


Peach Cobbler

  • Can of peaches
  • Cinnamon
  • Gluten-free yellow cake mix
  • Sprite

Apple Crumble

  • Can of gluten-free apple pie filling
  • Gluten-free yellow cake mix
  • Cinnamon
  • Water


  • Box of gluten-free brownie mix
  • Water
  • Oil
  • Applesauce

Pumpkin Cake Mix Cookies

  • Gluten-free spice cake mix
  • Can of pumpkin
  • Chocolate chips

Nonfood items

Happy stocking up now for a brighter and stress-free later!

Taking a Gluten-Free RV Family Vacation

The official start to summer is almost here! Are you looking for a vacation that will ease your mind and give you the freedom to enjoy family without stressing over exposure to gluten?

See below to learn how we got our family vacation down to $24 per person, per day, total!

Gluten-free RV vacation

A couple years ago, we decided to take an impromptu family vacation and began looking up RV rentals. To our surprise, they were so much cheaper than we ever imagined! The base price for an eight-sleeper camper was $50 a night, for a minimum of three nights. Of course there are always taxes and fees that creep in, but even with insurance, taxes, and mileage, it was going to only be a total of $400. Now that is incredible — when you have a large family, traveling somewhere for three nights and four days for $400 is unheard of!

Eating gluten free while traveling can often feel like a daunting task, and prepping food for a family with members eating both gluten-free and non-gluten-free diets can add more pressure. Our family kept all of our food 100% gluten free so there would be zero cross-contamination worries.

My greatest surprise was that when you rent an RV (at least where we rented), they don’t supply any dishes. To some people, that would be a negative, but for a gluten-free family, that was music to my ears: bringing all of our own supplies meant all of it was 100% safe.

Meal planning

Prior to our trip, I sat down and scheduled out every meal — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for three days — and then I went grocery shopping. I tried to choose realistic meals that I knew my kids would eat, that would be easy to prep, and that wouldn’t require a lot of ingredients and dishes. For instance, we bought precooked Costco bacon so we could heat it on the stove or in the microwave. I also got a rotisserie chicken and shredded it up and put it in a baggy. Preparing as much as we could before we left was key to our mealtime success. We had tons of fruits and veggies for quick and easy snacks and sides.

Here is a sample of what our menu looked like:

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, hash browns, and fruit.

Lunch: Sandwiches, chips, and veggies.

Dinners: Hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos.

Snacks: Popcorn, chips and guacamole (prepared before leaving), banana splits with yogurt, and gluten-free granola with a cherry on top. You can make it so fun and so easy!

Dessert: Hot cocoa with marshmallows and gluten-free S’mores.

Once I prepped all of the food the morning of our trip, we picked up the RV and loaded everything in — pots, pans, spatulas, and any other kitchen gadgets I would need.

In total for all of our groceries, the cost was $109.54, which I call a win. If we would have chosen to go to a hotel in a city, the cost of the hotel and eating out every meal would have been at least quadruple what we spent. And what’s more, we were able to eliminate the stress factor of potentially being “glutened.”

We just spent lots of time together, not worried about gluten. We played board games, went on a lot of hikes, and spent the nights in the comforts of our RV.

Our total for a six-person gluten-free RV vacation

Just to recap, our three-night gluten-free RV vacation cost:

  • $400 for the RV, tax, insurance, and gas
  • $60 for a total of three nights/four days for the campsite
  • $110 on groceries

Total: $570, which averages $143 per day, divided by six people: $24 per person, per day

A gluten-free vacation awaits

This was literally the best vacation we ever had in terms of not worrying about being glutened. So as you are planning out your next vacation, think of renting an RV and having a pure gluten-free vacation!

What Should I Eat? Dealing With Gluten-Free Decision Fatigue

Have you ever experienced that frustrating moment when you’re standing in front of the refrigerator thinking, “What do I eat?” You can combat gluten-free decision fatigue by preparing ahead! Making a meal plan, creating a shopping list, and finding new ways to make old favorites make it easy-peasy to eat gluten free. 

Dealing with gluten-free decision fatigue

To address this decision fatigue, we need a plan of action. To be more precise, we need to know how we are going to execute our day-to-day life. Let’s dive in and start simple.

Reading labels

This may be a no brainer for many of you, but it is important to ensure you are always reading labels. Companies change protocol and manufacturers frequently, and a food that was once gluten free may not necessarily stay that way.

So how do we read labels? These four easy steps can help:

  1. Look for a certified gluten-free label.
  2. Look to see if it says “contains wheat” or “contains gluten” at the bottom of the ingredients.
  3. Read through ingredients to see if you see any common gluten-containing culprits, such as wheat, barley, rye, malt, etc.
  4. If in doubt, call the company using the phone number that is listed on the package to confirm if the product is gluten free.

The Spoonful app can also be a big help.

Meal planning

The next thing to do is make a list of meal ideas — breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks. Have at least five to 10 in each category, depending on how often you like to eat the same things within a two-week time frame.

Think of what you already cook. Do you need to change any of the ingredients to make it gluten-free or even healthier? Don’t be afraid to alter a recipe you have had for years — this is where you get to experiment and have some fun! 

Choosing brands

Let’s face it — gluten-free shopping becomes expensive when you are buying products that do not taste good and don’t get used. I have a gluten-free guide with good choices for over 130 products.

Also, if you feel overwhelmed with your gluten free life, know that you are not alone. I have been there. I have been through the trenches trying to figure out how to wrap my head around it all. But let me tell you, I have learned some incredible things along my journey. These key principles help me stay in the right headspace and also be educated, informed and have children who thrive with their gluten-free lives. I have taught them how to advocate for themselves, and I want to help you do the same. 

How Do You Know If a Food Is Gluten Free?

One of the key elements to finding your gluten-free groove is finding safe foods to eat. For example:

  • Who can you trust?
  • What restaurants can you go to?
  • What foods can you buy in the store?

In a perfect world, we would all eat whole foods and shop the “outside aisles of the stores,” as the advice goes. But my reality is that I have four kids to feed while working part-time out of the house and working two businesses from my home. So I cannot make everything from scratch. I truly believe we need balance in life. Even balance in our food, and I try my best to do just that.

Tips to make sure your food is gluten free

So how do you ensure the food you’re eating from a restaurant or store is gluten free? Here are a few tips!

1. Scan with an app! I like the Spoonful app and recommend using it as a starting place when evaluating a new item.

2. Look for the certified gluten free logo from the Gluten Intolerance Group. I trust this logo 100%, but I typically will still follow the rest of my steps so I stay in the habit of checking.

3. Read the label, paying special attention to any words that might be hiding gluten, such as “modified food starch” or “hydrolyzed plant protein.”

4. Check the manufacturing information. Is the food made in a facility that manufactures products containing wheat or other gluten-containing grains?

Still not sure? Call the manufacturer! Many companies have their gluten-free information listed on their websites these days, but it never hurts to call directly.

You won’t believe the relief you’ll feel when your gluten-safe products are sorted, labeled and stored in a separate area. (Do you have a gluten-safe kitchen? Get tips for setting one up here!)

Five Top Tips for When You Get Glutened

Having a condition that can be controlled with a special diet is a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

If only gluten were neon pink, it would be obvious if we were consuming something with even a trace of gluten in it. But it’s unfortunately not that clear, so we have to be very careful about what we eat and where we eat it. Even when we try to take all the precautions, we can sometimes suffer major consequences if gluten has somehow found its way into our food. The following are steps that we take in our home when we have consumed gluten (or “get glutened,” as many of us like to say) that we find helpful.

1. Drink plenty of water.

A good rule of thumb is to drink eight glasses of water a day, but when you’ve been glutened, you need extra hydration. Try to drink at least half your weight in ounces of water to make sure your body is getting the replenishment it needs.

2. Drink herbal teas and/or bone broth.

We have implemented this for the last six months, and it has made all the difference in the world. I feel like it helps recharge your system faster than anything else I have tried. Even when we aren’t necessarily glutened, we find it’s a good way to help heal gut issues.

3. Try essential oils (with the guidance of a healthcare provider).

I wasn’t a “believer” in essential oils, but one night I watched my daughter toss and turn for hours on my bedroom floor in her sleep because she was glutened hours before. It broke my heart and I was desperate, so I decided to try a topical digestive essential oil blend that was deep in the back of a junk drawer. I pulled it out and applied a few drops to her stomach, and within a few minutes she stopped rolling around and laid peacefully throughout the rest of the night. Peppermint or ginger tea can be helpful (just ensure they’re gluten free!).

4. Pay attention to foods.

The BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, [gluten-free] toast) is not just for the stomach flu. It can be helpful when you are trying to calm an upset stomach after being glutened. Eating anti-inflammatory foods is also a good choice for helping to counteract the inflammation occurring in your body, and eliminating dairy for a time may also help to calm your gut. (There are plenty of dairy-free alternatives for traditionally milky foods out there now that make this doable!)

5. Get enough sleep.

Rest, rest and more rest! It is often hard to function or focus when you have been glutened. Your body is trying to heal from the damage the gluten caused, so it is important that you do your part and allow it to rest as much as possible.

And a bonus tip: Hope.

Hope for a brighter day tomorrow! This may sound near-impossible in the midst of feeling like you were in a train wreck, but know that tomorrow is another day. Whatever got you down today, don’t let it get you down again — you got this!