Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Savvy Gluten-Free Living: Budget-Friendly Tips and Delicious Recipes

This world we live in requires expanding dietary choices. Yet maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle can sometimes be perceived as expensive, difficult and frankly annoying to others. However, with planning and creativity, you can enjoy a healthy and fulfilling gluten-free lifestyle without putting a massive dent in your wallet. Let's explore practical tips for gluten-free living on a budget, covering affordable ingredient alternatives and providing delicious budget-friendly recipes.

Plan Your Meals and Budget:

Before you head to the grocery store, plan your meals for the week. Think about what food you enjoy and the sacrifices that you are willing to do. Many gluten-free shoppers deal with sacrifices of all sorts and must make some type of adjustments. So creating a meal plan, of your favorite 5-10 meals, helps you make a specific shopping list, reducing the chances of impulse purchases.... unless it's on sale! Allocate a specific budget for gluten-free grocery items and focus on essential ingredients to avoid overspending.

Always Buy in Bulk:

Consider purchasing gluten-free staples in bulk to save money in the long run. Items like rice, quinoa, and lentils are versatile, gluten-free, and can be bought in larger quantities for a better price per unit. There is no point to buying a small version of products that you will be consuming regularly as long as the shelf date is long enough. Further, eat the food you enjoy but you are being smart about how you spend your dollar to shop less frequently and at home more vs eating out and taking on other risks and the cost associated with dining out.

Embrace Whole Foods:

Opt for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and legumes. These naturally gluten-free options are not only nutritious but also cost-effective. Buying in-season produce can further reduce costs and focus on single-ingredient food. Stay in the fresh aisle to avoid GMOs.

DIY Gluten-Free Flours

Gluten-free flours can be pricey, but you can make your own at a fraction of the cost. Explore recipes using alternative flour like rice flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour, or chickpea flour. Simply grind the raw ingredients at home using a food processor or blender.

Frozen & Canned Options

Frozen fruits and vegetables are often more affordable than fresh, and they retain their nutritional value. Additionally, canned legumes and beans are convenient, shelf-stable, and cost-effective alternatives for gluten-free meals. If you buy canned foods, but the most premium quality options to avoid GMOs and added ingredients. Read the label for single-ingredient food.

Budget-Friendly Recipes

Thursday, February 15, 2024

A Guide to Gluten-Free Safe Dining When Traveling

Traveling is supposed to be fun, right? Yet living with gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease presents a unique set of challenges and a lot of anxiety particularly when it comes to finding something safe to eat when you're out of your comfort zone. Whether you are in a new airport, actually on the airplane, or in a new city or country of unfamiliar territory, the quest for safe and gluten-free dining can be akin to navigating a maze. Do not stress. Let's delve into the challenges of eating gluten-free, share strategies for minimizing cross-contamination risks, ensuring extremely low risk or walking away, and offer tips for a seamless reduce gluten exposure both at your travel home and during each leg of your travels.

gluten free dining

  1. Research and Planning: Before setting foot in a new city, arm yourself with knowledge. Research gluten-free-friendly restaurants, read reviews from others with similar dietary needs, and check if these establishments have dedicated gluten-free menus. The more planning you do, such as calling these places, the better. Utilize online resources, apps, and forums where fellow gluten-free individuals share their experiences and recommendations, but you need to ensure they are still open and able to cater to a serious gluten-free request.

  2. Communication is Key: When dining out, effective communication with restaurant staff is crucial. And watch what goes on by food runners, cashiers, and kitchen staff to observe risk. Clearly communicate your requirements for a safe gluten-free meal and any other dietary needs, emphasizing the importance of avoiding cross-contamination. Reduced gluten is usually the best you can settle for at a restaurant on the go that is a mixed prepared kitchen. Also suggest eating lightly, and not over fill yourself when taking on a risk eating away from home at a location that is ... risky! Ask questions about food preparation methods, inquire about shared cooking surfaces or fryers, and be proactive in ensuring the kitchen understands the severity of gluten intolerance. Find the safest, lowest risk of cross contamination and temporarily nourish yourself. Does the general manager or customer service rep understand your questions and satisfy your requirements or did they fail?

  3. Embrace Local Cuisine: While traveling, embrace the opportunity to explore local cuisine that naturally aligns with gluten-free options. Many cultures have traditional dishes that are naturally gluten-free, providing a safer and authentic dining experience. Familiarize yourself with the local ingredients and dishes to make informed choices.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A Beginner's Guide to Creating a Cozy Compost at Home

Embarking on the journey of composting can feel like stepping into a whole new world of sustainability and gardening joy. Don't fret and worry if you're a beginner – creating your own compost is a simple and fulfilling process that anyone can master. We all have to start from somewhere and try to optimize our lifestyle choices. As a Celiac or any type of gluten-free journey, you have a second chance at life. Your education on food ingredients, removing artificial foods and exploring the world of sourcing foods of all types includes composting to grow your own food in your backyard.  Now, let's explore the steps together and create a warm, nurturing environment for your composting adventure.

Step 1: Gather Your Composting FriendlyMaterials

First things first, let's gather what you'll need for your composting project: Kitchen Scraps: Gather those fruit and veggie peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells – they're like the superheroes of your compost world! Yard Treasure: Look for dry leaves, grass clippings, small twigs, and any little treasures your garden offers.

Step 2: Find a Comfy Spot In Your Backyard

Think of a cozy spot in your yard for your compost. A shaded area with good drainage is perfect. If you're using a bin, consider it your compost's snug little home.

Step 3: Layer Ongoing with Love

Friday, December 15, 2023

Decoding the Gluten-Free Oreos: A Peek Behind the Ingredients

Hello cookie enthusiasts! The world of gluten-free treats just got a bit more exciting with the arrival of gluten-free Oreo cookies from Nabisco. For those who have been patiently waiting to enjoy the classic Oreo experience without the gluten, it seemed like a dream come true. However, let's take a closer look together at the ingredient list to see if these cookies are as delightful as they seem or if there might be a lot of room for improvement.
Nabisco's gluten-free Oreos have brought a lot of joy to those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. Finally, a chance for everyone to join in on the Oreo fun without the auto-immune / toxic gluten-related attack. But, before we dive into the snacking adventure, let's chat about what makes up these sweet treats and whether they live up to the hype.

The Scoop on Gluten-Free Oreos

Certified sugary and artificial gluten-free bliss. Thanks GIG. We found that the new gluten-free Oreos contain palm oil, which, although commonly used in the food industry, has raised some environmental concerns. The extraction process can sometimes impact natural habitats, and the refining process might strip away some natural nutrients. While it's a dealbreaker for many, it's something to consider for those gluten-free snackers who debate quality and beneficial oil sourcing. Atop the oily fun, these Oreo's are also made with genetically modified ingredients just like their gluten-y big brother. GMO's are a No-No at stores such as Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Fresh Thyme, Erewhon, and thousands of other independent natural retailers. Need I say more?

Colorful, Artificial Oreo Ingredients:

To capture the classic Oreo taste and look, manufacturers turned back to artificial flavors and colors. These concerning artificial additives, while giving the cookies their signature eye candy look, is not everyone's cup of tea. For those steering clear of scientific lab made artificial ingredient facade, it's worth noting that Oreo cookies are not real food, the are made from artificial "stuff". But hey, if you don't care about your health, these would certainly be an option to buy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Covid 19 and Gluten Free Living

Gluten free living was always a challenge, but now, there are even more hurdles. With COVID 19 restrictions everywhere and no end in sight there continues to be a never ending road of mystery ahead for those on a gluten free and allergen free lifestyle. 

If you dine out, many restaurants are still only providing take out. Are they being more careful or the same to adhere to a strict gluten-free request? I continue to trust only the same, tiny amount of local restaurants and route them in our meal plan. 

Meanwhile depending on which state you reside or travel to some allow you to eat indoors. At times it feels like you may be in a different word based on the amount of mask restrictions or openness. Nevertheless, communicating with a mask to a waiter with a mask provides more anxiety to those with restrictions on gluten based foods and with allergies. Simply because trust is built on verbal communication and non verbal cues in person. 

I'm based out of greater NYC. Even here depending on which zip code you choose to shop, buy groceries, or eat out at a restaurant there are not commonalities.The gluten free journey continues to be a day to day, hour by hour, confusing journey of safety and that's why you should continue to control what you buy and where you buy it.

It's more popular than ever to shop from home. I use apps like, Instacart, to occasionally take advantage of adding my favorite foods onto a digital grocery list and someone will deliver it to my home.  Yes. Someone literally shops for me. They pick my veggies and go into the aisles and drive it to my home, it's quite insane when you think about it.  Wegmans, Shoprite, Costco, etc are some of the grocery stores you can find on Instacart and they charge a small fee to do so. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Real Food Real Health Resolution

Who loves food? Who doesn't? Food is not only essential to our development from our early days but responsible for our ability to fight off challenges related to immune health, too. I believe we are what eat and we need to choose our delicacies in moderation. Can you eat veggies and fruits all day? Have you tried any new spices, teas, or fungi?  Are you living a flexitarian lifestyle of both meat and plants? What we as gluten free peeps can't risk is flirting with foods that contain or have risk of cross contamination of gluten.  This damages our health, visibly or silently. So keep saying, no, to those gluten everyday temptations and say heck yay to the world of fresh ingredients and less packaged or processed foods as you prepare your meals, snacks at home and when you leave the door. When you do choose a packaged processed food, eat them in moderation, mixed with an active healthy lifestyle, in the sun, and having fun all year round with those yo
u love.