5 Steps to Go Gluten Free

For those who need to go gluten free after being diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it can be overwhelming. After all, it entails one to adopt considerable lifestyle changes. While it is a relief to finally learn the cause of the symptoms that have plagued you for years, now comes the hard part—the research. Following a gluten-free diet is the only treatment for these autoimmune disorders because there is no cure; food—the right food—is the only medicine.

Learning about gluten is the first of many steps as you go gluten free. This process takes time and patience because the answers are sometimes complicated. Anything that touches your lips or goes in your mouth must be gluten free, including medicine, makeup (lip gloss, lipstick, etc.), mouthwash, toothpaste, alcohol and, of course, food.

There is no magic formula for transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle, but there are a number of ways to tackle it head on and put you in the driver’s seat, feeling empowered and in control. Here are five tips to help you go gluten free:

  1. Consult with a knowledgeable dietitian to address vitamin deficiencies, learn about nutritious gluten-free
    grains and ingredients, and find out how to maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Learn about gluten, how to read labels and shop, and how to communicate your dietary needs to servers,
    co-workers, friends and family.
  3. Adhere to a strict gluten-free diet—without cheating—or risk more medical issues down the road.
  4. Join a local support group, because socializing with others who have the same or similar issues allows you
    to feel included and less isolated. It is also a great way to make friends, learn about gluten-free-friendly restaurants and get the scoop on the best places to grocery shop.
  5. Follow up annually with a gastroenterologist and dietitian to keep your health on track. Vitamin deficiencies need to be monitored, and any other health issues should be addressed.

Reliable Resources

National support groups host the best websites for research. These sites work to bring timely and accurate information to the gluten-free community, and they don’t perpetuate myths and misinformation. They work with the medical community to address new research and trends as well as advocate for the gluten-free community.

  • Canadian Celiac Association (celiac.ca) is dedicated to providing services and support to those with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis through awareness, advocacy and educational programs.
  • Celiac Disease Foundation (celiac.org) drives diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease through advocacy, education and advancing research to improve the quality of life for all people affected by gluten-related disorders.
  • Beyond Celiac (beyondceliac.org) has community outreach programs that aim to educate individuals, doctors and food service professionals while improving the quality of life for those diagnosed with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.
  • Gluten Intolerance Group, also known as GIG (gluten.org), provides support to those with gluten-related disorders through innovative industry, service, social and awareness programs.

You will come out of this transition a new person—one who is in control of your health for the first time in a long time. Things are looking up!

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Shake Shack Introduces Gluten-Free Burger Buns

For those on the gluten-free diet, ordering a bun-less burger gets pretty lame pretty fast. Thankfully, Shake Shack recently added gluten-free burger buns to menus at all 67 of its U.S. locations (Shake Shack’s five stadium and ballpark outposts don’t carry them). And unlike many sad, hard-as-a-rock or oddly gummy gluten-free buns, Shake Shack’s are delish—soft, sweet, bread-y—and, dare I say it, practically twins with the chain’s traditional buns.

SS_Gluten Free Buns_3Even better: Shake Shack staff know how to safely prepare them. “Servers are trained to change their gloves to handle gluten-free buns, and the buns are stored in a separate area and toasted on the griddle to prevent cross-contact with the bun toaster, where other buns are toasted,” Edwin Bragg, Shake Shack’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, explained via email. “Be aware that while we do everything we can to prevent cross-contact, we unfortunately can’t make any guarantees since the kitchen is fairly small. It is important that when you place the order, you alert our cashier that you have an allergy. That way we can mark it for the whole kitchen to be aware,” Bragg added.

Adam Shapiro, Shake Shack’s Marketing and Communications Manager, offers these tips for making the most of your gluten-free visit:

  • Avoid the ‘Shroom Burger, which contains breadcrumbs.
  • Skip the fries. The oil in the fryers is filtered through the same equipment as the ‘Shroom Burger.
  • Order frozen custard without a cone, and make sure to double-check the ingredients of the Seasonal Shakes with cashiers before ordering.
  • Choose from these safe mix-ins: strawberry purée, peanut butter, chocolate toffee, marshmallow, fudge, caramel, chocolate sprinkles*, sea salt and chocolate sprinkles*, cherries, bananas and almonds.
  • Drink wisely. All soft drinks and wines are gluten free, but beer options do generally contain gluten.

Of course, all this burger bliss begs one question: Will hot dog buns be next? “No plans at this time, but you never know!” Shapiro says. Our fingers are crossed. See shakeshack.com for locations and info.


* Shake Shack’s rainbow sprinkles are processed in a factory where possible cross-contamination can occur.


Jessica Press is a writer whose work appears in Redbook, Parents, O, The Oprah Magazine and more.

Jersey Mike’s Subs Is On a Gluten-Free Roll!

Jersey Mike’s, the rapidly growing sandwich-shop chain, is looking to broaden its customer base by offering gluten-free rolls.


Jersey MikesPhiladelphians call their long, stacked sandwiches “hoagies.” Maybe you know them as “grinders” or “heroes.” At the Jersey Shore, where Jersey Mike’s started in 1971, they’re “subs.” Whatever the name, the rapidly growing sandwich-shop chain, with 1,200 stores in 44 states, is looking to broaden its customer base by offering gluten-free sandwich rolls.

In 2014, Jersey Mike’s began testing gluten-free rolls made by Udi’s at locations in southern Florida and, more recently, in Los Angeles, said Michael Manzo, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. This month, Jersey Mike’s expanded its pilot program to 63 stores in New Jersey and the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas using rolls made by Colorado’s gluten-free Wild Flour Bakery. That test is slated to run through April 2017.

“We hear from former sub lovers who are now gluten free that they miss their Jersey Mike’s subs as well as from those who have never eaten a sub sandwich,” said Jersey Mike’s President Hoyt Jones. Manzo added that the idea of offering gluten-free rolls came from a franchisee whose daughter has celiac disease.

While Manzo has been encouraged by customer response to the Udi’s test, he said that Jersey’s Mike’s CEO, Peter Cancro, pushed the company’s development team to pursue a bread that they could bake in the stores themselves. Wild Flour’s yeast-raised Tuscan Herb sandwich rolls, unique to Jersey Mike’s, arrive as dough and are proofed and baked fresh each day. The gluten-free roll size is equivalent to a traditional mini size, according to Manzo. There is a $2 surcharge for the gluten-free option.

The restaurants have dedicated pans for baking the rolls, and store employees wear new gloves when handling the rolls and use knives and other utensils that haven’t touched other bread products when slicing the gluten-free rolls. The gluten-free sandwiches are prepared on parchment paper so that there is no contact with the prep-area counter. Customers can request that toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes and onions be taken from stock in the stores’ walk-in refrigerators. Manzo said that the absence of loose flour in the stores’ kitchens and the custom slicing of cold cuts, all of which are gluten free, boosted the company’s confidence to offer sandwiches to those with celiac disease.

According to Manzo, company executives will evaluate sales data, customer comments and employee feedback during the testing phase and determine whether to offer a gluten-free roll option beyond the current regions. If the program is expanded, he said, it would likely be on a state-by-state basis rather than an immediate nationwide rollout.



Better-for-You Pumpkin Recipes

Fall is here, and it’s time to put all those pumpkins to yummy use. If you crave the seasonal staple but don’t want to consume so much sugar, these recipes from Simple Mills present better-for-you alternatives. Made with nutrient-rich ingredients such as almond flour and coconut sugar, Simple Mills’ mixes are certified gluten free and contain less sugar than competitors.

Mini Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
Makes 24 muffins

Mini Pumpkin Doughnuts1_framed

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or grapeseed oil*
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 box Simple Mills Pumpkin Muffin Mix
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

* If using coconut oil, make sure that it is melted and cooled enough to hold your fingertip submerged in it. This is a good litmus test for a temperature that won’t cook the eggs.


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray or lightly grease two mini muffin pans and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the oil and water.

Whisk in the pumpkin muffin mix and beat vigorously until thoroughly incorporated and no clumps remain.

Add a heaping tablespoon of batter to each compartment of the prepared muffin pans.

Bake for 10 minutes, until the tops are domed and firm to the touch, and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

While the muffins are cooling in the pan, whisk together the coconut sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

As soon as the muffins are cool enough to handle, place each one in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, firmly rolling it around so that the cinnamon-sugar sticks. Gently toss it around a couple of times until the whole thing is covered. If you’re having trouble getting the cinnamon-sugar to stick, you can very lightly brush or spray the muffins with melted oil or butter before you dunk them in the cinnamon sugar. Once covered, place each muffin back on the wire rack to finish cooling.

Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of A Clean Bake.

Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries, Pecans and Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Bread1_framed

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 box Simple Mills Pumpkin Muffin Mix
  • About ¾ cup cranberries
  • Pecans and pumpkin seeds for topping

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Whisk eggs, water and oil in a large bowl. Add baking mix; whisk until well blended.

Fold in cranberries.

Pour batter into a lightly greased 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.

Sprinkle with pecans and pumpkin seeds.

Bake 30 minutes. Then cover loosely with foil; bake an additional 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and edges of loaf start to pull away from pan.

Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

pumpkin cupcakes_framed

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 box Simple Mills Pumpkin Muffin Mix
  • 1 tub Simple Mills Vanilla Frosting
  • Cinnamon, for garnish, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Whisk eggs, water and oil in a large bowl. Add baking mix; whisk until well blended.

Spoon batter into a lightly greased or paper-lined muffin tin, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If using paper liners, let cool completely before eating to prevent muffins from sticking to paper.

Frost and garnish with cinnamon, if desired.


Did You Know Hard Cider Is Gluten Free?


The weather is getting cooler, and the return of apple season brings with it another gluten-free alcohol option for autumn. As consumer demand for gluten-free and gluten-removed beers grows, so does the market for beer alternatives, including hard cider. Ryan Burk, head cider maker at Angry Orchard Cider Co. in Walden, N.Y., said hard cider offers a unique, flavorful beverage option for people who follow a gluten-free diet. Cider is made from apples, which do not contain gluten.

“All of our styles are made with the highest-quality ingredients and are naturally gluten free,” he said. “Ciders like Angry Orchard offer drinkers with celiac disease or gluten intolerance a refreshing alternative to wine or beer.”

Cider was one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Colonial times, primarily due to the abundance of apples, Burk said. In recent years, people have started to rediscover and introduce cider to their friends. There are a variety of reasons for cider’s resurgence, he said, including the popularity of the gluten-free diet and the gluten-free nature of cider.

“We’re also seeing drinkers start to experiment with hard cider much like they did with craft beer years ago, through using cider as an ingredient in cooking, pairing cider with foods and even [using it] in cocktail recipes,” he said.

Cider makers are introducing new products to satisfy consumer demand. Earlier this year, Angry Orchard added Knotty Pear and The Old-Fashioned to its Orchard’s Edge series of ciders inspired by unexpected ingredients and aging processes.

Despite its recent growth, cider still makes up only about 1% of the total beer market in the U.S., Burk said. That’s compared to more than 15% in places with a stronger cider tradition, such as the United Kingdom.

Chick-fil-A Tests Gluten-Free Bun

Gluten Free Bun 2

Chick-fil-A restaurants are not gluten-free environments, but they have offered several gluten-free options for some time. The grilled chicken and chicken nuggets are prepared separately from the fried chicken. The waffle fries are cooked in canola oil while the fried chicken is cooked in peanut oil. That’s right—the French fries are safe at a fast-food restaurant! Freshly prepared salads with or without chicken, freshly cut fruit cups and yogurt parfaits are also gluten free.

Because so many items are made from scratch, diners can easily customize their orders to exclude ingredients, such as cheese from a salad. The same is true when it comes to ordering ingredients separately from their wheat counterparts, like bacon or sausage sans the biscuit and hash browns prepared in a dedicated fryer.

All that had been missing from the menu is a gluten-free bun, but the wait for that item is finally over. Chick-fil-A has been testing a gluten-free bun since April 2016 in Washington, Idaho and Mississippi. The company says it decided to add it to the menu because customers should not have to sacrifice taste due to dietary limitations.

If the test markets go well, the bun will be rolled out nationwide, making Chick-fil-A one of the first fast-food restaurant chains in the United States to offer a gluten-free bun to its guests.


It took about three years and 30 bakeries before Chick-fil-A settled on its gluten-free bun supplier. Food safety and allergen certifications were required just to be considered for the test market. The bakery, whose name hasn’t been released, custom manufactured the bun to complement the grilled chicken breast, and it looks almost identical to its wheat-bun counterpart.

Independent, third-party testing was conducted to ensure the bun is free from cross-contamination and truly gluten free. The bun costs an additional $1.15 and is enriched with vitamins and minerals. While the ingredients haven’t been released yet, we have learned it is made from a blend of chia seeds, amaranth and quinoa, and is lightly sweetened with molasses and raisins.

The buns are freshly baked, individually wrapped and stored frozen. Once thawed, the bun is served sealed alongside the grilled chicken and condiments so the customer actually assembles the sandwich. Guests can request the bun be toasted, but there is only one shared toaster, leaving the bun subject to cross-contamination with wheat.


I had the chance to try the bun at a small test market here in Georgia. One of the largest foodservice buns I’ve ever seen, it’s soft right out of the package with a slightly sweet smell and hearty flavor. The bun holds up well to Chick-fil-A’s large grilled breast piled with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise without any crumbling or breaking.


While it is too soon to tell how the test markets are going because sales of the bun vary per day and per restaurant, the company is pleased with the results thus far. If the sales results of the test market and the feedback from customers are positive, Chick-fil-A will decide whether the bun is a good fit for the menu. If so, it will garner marketing support both inside and outside of the restaurant prior to its rollout. Chick-fil-A’s famous cows may soon be telling the audience to “eat more chikin” with a gluten-free bun.

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Tennis Stars Partner Up for Gluten-Free ArrowBar

ArrowBar 1

Tennis fans already know the names John Isner and Stevie Johnson, as well as former ATP pros James Blake and Michael Russell. But in addition to working up a sweat on the court, they’ve also played an integral role in developing ArrowBar, a new gluten-free energy bar. The all-natural, high-performance bar, developed by athletes for athletes and active people, quickly provides a 200-calorie boost of long-lasting energy.

“Many people know me as a pro tennis player but most don’t know that I am an avid golfer, basketball player and fisherman who loves to be active,” said Isner. “No matter what my days call for, there’s one thing I always lean on to keep my energy level high—ArrowBar. I truly believe that anyone who is active and cares about what they put in their body will love the long-lasting energy and great taste of ArrowBars.”

“The ingredients are natural and beneficial to any athlete or anyone looking for nutrients to help get them through the day,” enthuses Blake. “It helps me still when I work out, play tennis, play golf, or just run around with my kids. It’s not a bar that I feel like I’m forcing down either. The taste makes it so easy to eat the bars on a daily basis.”

Currently available in chocolate chip and cinnamon honey oat, the bars contain organic crispy rice, organic quick oats, natural almond butter, organic honey and organic brown rice syrup as a few of the core ingredients that blend simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates.

Blake and Russell played key roles in the initial creation of the bar. Russell, who played on the ATP World Tour until age 37, was known for his fitness and diet regimen. He personally consulted on the nutritional composition of ArrowBar, testing it in practice and competition at the end of his ATP career. “Whether I am deep in the fifth set, crushing a gym workout or just looking for a nutritious, great-tasting snack, ArrowBar provides the energy and nutrients my body needs,” raves Russell, who says he tried every nutrition bar imaginable during his 17-year professional tennis career.

Blake also took part in the early testing, eating it while training for and running the 2015 New York City Marathon. “I wish the ArrowBar had been developed sooner because I trust the process with which it is made. The ingredients are natural and beneficial to any athlete or anyone looking for nutrients to help get them through the day. It helps me still when I work out, play tennis, play golf, or just run around with my kids. It’s not a bar that I feel like I’m forcing down either. The taste makes it so easy to eat the bars on a daily basis.”

The ArrowBar team aimed to meet several objectives with their new bar. “The goal was to create a product that was easy to eat, that wouldn’t fall apart or melt in your bag, and that wouldn’t be tough to digest and sticky on your hands,” says founding partner and former collegiate tennis player Andrew Golub. “We accomplished all of those things with ArrowBar and kept the label extremely clean. As a team, we are all very proud to bring this bar to the market and we know this is a need for all active people.”

ArrowBar is available for purchase online at www.ArrowBar.com.

BBQ Taco Salad

Looking for an easy, delicious, gluten-free dish for a barbecue this holiday weekend? Tony Roma’s Pitmasters created the perfect salad to accompany your 4th of July cookout. The BBQ Taco Salad features Tony Roma’s Pulled Chicken, black beans, heirloom tomatoes and crunchy tortilla strips.

Tony Roma BBQ Taco Salad


Serves 4

1 16-ounce package Tony Roma’s Pulled Pork or Tony Roma’s Pulled Chicken

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups loosely packed torn romaine lettuce

2 cups crushed corn tortilla chips

2 large Roma tomatoes, chopped

2/3 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons chopped green onions

Sour cream


Heat pulled pork according to microwave directions. Place in a large salad bowl. Top with remaining ingredients, except sour cream. Toss ingredients until combined.

Top each serving with a dollop or drizzle of sour cream.


All-Inclusive Resorts Include Gluten-Free Guests


Butch Steakhouse__825

For gluten-free travelers, a vacation that doesn’t require extensive research to find accommodating restaurants at their destination may sound like a dream. But a growing number of all-inclusive resorts are making it a reality by catering to gluten-free guests.

At all-inclusive resorts, visitors pay one price for unlimited food, drinks and activities, without having to set foot outside the retreat.

The most familiar names among these resorts are family-friendly Beaches, with locations in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos, and couples-only Sandals in St. Lucia, Antigua and four other Caribbean islands. Each resort has more than half-a-dozen themed restaurants, which offer meals ranging from Southwestern tapas to pan-Asian cuisine.

Paul Bauer, group manager for food and beverage standards at Sandals Resorts International, the parent company of Beaches and Sandals, says virtually any dish can be made gluten free, including breads, pizzas, pastas and desserts. He notes that the menus at each resort’s restaurant have icons indicating which items are gluten free, and service staff members are trained to ask guests if they have any food allergies or special dietary requirements before taking orders.

Beyond that, Beaches and Sandals resorts offer culinary concierges, with whom guests may meet in a private, one-to-one consultation to discuss any food allergies or dietary concerns.

“They can peruse all restaurant menus and choose specific dishes to make allergen free as well as make special arrangements for the next day or entire length of stay,” Bauer says. “Those needs and preferences are communicated to managers and sous chefs directly to ensure that no information is missed.” He also points out that separate preparation areas and utensils are used to prevent cross-contact with gluten-containing ingredients.

With notice in advance of a guest’s stay, the resorts can also order specific items such as gluten-free beer, which is not readily available in the Caribbean.

Mexico’s all-inclusive Grand Velas Resorts also offer menus with gluten-free options. Seven restaurants at Grand Velas Riviera Maya serve gluten-free dishes, each marked on the restaurants’ regular menus, while all gourmet restaurants at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit have gluten-free icons that guests can identify while dining.

Both resorts have several AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurants on site. For guests who choose to order room service, the resorts’ chefs can make the necessary accommodations for gluten-free diets.

At Grand Velas Riviera Maya gluten-free pancakes, waffles, muffins, cereal and bread loaves are offered, says Executive Chef Eric de Maeyer. Food stations throughout the resort have gluten-free hamburger buns, pizza crusts and French fries available daily, and the food service staff uses dedicated cookware and utensils to prepare gluten-free foods in a separate processing area, he says.

After a guest who is checking in advises the front desk of a gluten-free need, the information is entered into Grand Velas’ computer system. When that guest provides his or her room number to the restaurant the staff is automatically notified of the requirement, according to de Maeyer.

Guests staying at one of Wyndham Viva’s seven all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Bahamas can contact a guest service representative two weeks before arrival to request gluten-free options. The representative will notify the resort’s specialty restaurants of the dietary requirement and advise the chef at the main buffet restaurant so that gluten-free choices are on hand.