Thursday, August 11, 2016

Good Dirt, Green, and Gluten Free Boston-Town Resource

Green! Green! Fresh and green! The Northeast is green and abundant -- suddenly, spectacularly...and oh-so-briefly.

What is green and green, and green all over, and naturally gluten-free? A farmer's market. Although in point of fact, it's rather a rainbow, especially when the Atlas Farm booth in Copley Square is budding with bursts of heirloom gold, red, and pink beets, and the multi-hued carrots.

Itook a jaunt down the line to the Copley Square farmer's market and Boston Public Market, for now there is food in Boston that isn't shipped in.

And the cheapest, safest, and most satisfying food I've ever eaten as a girl with celiac, or otherwise, is that fresh-picked, gluten-free good from my local community.

I love Beantown for its wealth of local resource, and sense of pride and ownership in community. It's an attitude that feeds into natural support for me, and fellow celiacs -- who know the food is safe because they know the purveyors, and the cooks, and the sources; who also know they're known by the cooks, farmers, and purveyors. This is better than safe, it's nourishing, emotionally and physically.
Connie, from Corner Stalk Farm, groes greens all year around
actually. In storage containers. Top of highrises. Beantown-
ingenuity. These are some. Some of the best
greens I've ever had. 

But green! I couldn't have more pipping pleasure than in meandering through it.

Squash? The best winter squash I've ever had...

...and beet greens. Saving money, budget as a gf young professional, means care. And look'ee! Atlas offered me the bulk of greens stripped off the beets of customers who, for some reason, didn't see the gold lining in the tops of those tubers. (No, they're roots, but tubers makes an alliteration.)
Eggs, rainbow heirloom carrots, beets, and squash.
Forage; fast; fun; fairly or nearly freegan. Freeing.

Foraging used to me digging through the hills and woods. Now, perhaps urbanly speaking, it means getting cast-offs, lopsidededs, and end-of-day-toss-outs at farmstands; or asking for the cuttings of roots and tubers for compost or soup stock.

I stop in at farmers markets and invest in my community...and they invest in me. I get more out of the stop than just naturally gluten-free food. I get connected, I get news, I get chatter and relationship; and I get good solid earth under my feet: the earth of my city, my home, and knowing what it feels like.

...and tastes like.

After all, dirt is gluten free.

And all good food comes out of good dirt.

Tumbling Free,


*Note: The challenge of living and eating well with celiac on a budget can be stark. I hugely applaud Massachusetts, and my Beantown-home for signing their farmers markets up with the public aid/EBT/SNAP food program. Most farmers markets in the area also offer a match-program that allows every dollar spent at a farmers market to be DOUBLED. Buy $5? Get $10 worth of food.
This is amazing. Make use of it if you're under-employed, and using public assistance, especially if you have celiac.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Let Summer Sink In (or, O Look! Boulder Organic Soups - Snap!)

I'm going to begin to let Summer sink in.  My brain and emotions are fried with rush. A friend -- as I start to write this -- texts me to say, Why not look up tips to avoiding or soothing burnout?

Bleeding pshaw. The only tip to avoiding burnout is simple as it is tiplessly unpluggable into another 10 Ways to Keep Up / Avoid Burning Out. Because it's this:


Instead of planning madly, why not let Summer sink in? Health is touted in the media frenzy as something to be plugged into the body and mind like coding into a website. HTML-tag your tummy, and get the <img src=> beauty, happiness, and lazy days of somehow perfect fitness plus food-stuffed-face and fun of a five year old.

Health is something much simpler, and much harder to quantify or grasp. Health is balance, silence, and presence.

Yes, that's a mirage. People aren't computers. I'm not a process or a project, I'm a person -- and an integral part of health is acting like an end in myself, not a means to success or accomplishment.  Not even a means to health. Since we're not projects, even health isn't what makes me healthy. Health is means to being more in balance, and if the striving for it throws me out of whack with other areas of my life, it's made me unhealthy.

Rest, ease, and community are more key than the perfect Summer fix, cool smoothie, or superfood of the hour.

For all of these things --  rest and balance --  one invariably needs time.


Eat slow, enjoy your day, and choose a variety of whole foods and whole-life experiences. Choose to spend time with loved ones at the table, time at the shore or in the woods, time to breathe.

The mother of one of the younger kids I work with asked me not long ago on a walk, How can I make sure he's healthy all Summer? And what about ME?

She's also gluten-intolerant.

Laugh a lot, I told her.  Make gluten-free a priority, but do not make perfection, or superfoods, or control a priority.

A stroll through the farmer's market at Copley Square knocks out three birds with one stone:  sinking into Summer, enjoying good company, and eating fresh whole foods. So she strolled.

And I took off to do the same the week after.

Rather than hype up to prep-up meal upon meal for the future -- expecting the rush that August has in store for me as grad school begins, work consultations pile up, and travel plans fall into place, I picked up a soup at the market -- pre-made, but made simply from whole foods and naturally gluten-free.

I like my time. I like silence. Rushing and motion is noisy, even cooking at times. With celiac, my time is  more than many other young professionals gobbled by the responsibility to research, prepare, and plan meals. The positive? I have the opportunity to eat with awareness. The negative? I have the opportunity to obsess, worry, or lose chunks of life to isolation and busyness.

I was skipping pleased to meet Boulder Organic on the shelves downtown Boston, because their soups -- refrigerated and pre-prepped -- are certified GF, organic, and non-gmo...and fast as a speeding bullet to the table. Fast food to eat slow on a days where I can let Summer sink in.

If you asked me: How can I be healthy this Summer, and enjoy it? I'd say this: Let Summer sink in. But I'd rather not say it...doing it is better.

This musing on health is practically counter-its-message. DO NOT TRY. Be in the days. If you need some tips about living gluten-free safely, check out the travel articles on Tumbling Gluten Free.

As for Boulder, they were founded by Kate Brown, I discovered. Made in small batches,  they offer soups for custom and medical diets anyone can enjoy -- or near enough. Most are dairy free, some vegan, all certified gluten-free.

My bloody favourite is the Chicken, White Bean and Kale,. Boulder planned to create food that was easily accessed, from garden-fresh ingredients, and allergen and additive free. I suppose that's an "oh my word!" good without the "oh my word it-took-hours-to-make-it!" model.

It works.

Know for balance that it's all right to pick up prepared foods when they're safe too. It might be key to making space for Summer to sink in.  As for the soups, it was a plus that these peeps are even, certified organic, and the fact that each soup is made in small batches, and gluten-free, founded by a woman who wanted to make a difference (Kate Brown wanted to craft a packaged meal-in-a-tub that said OH MY WORD good on first taste), made my night after a long-haul-of-a-day at the GF + AF Expo in Worcester.

It's time -- not to sponsor Top 10 Tips for Beating Burnout -- but to STOP. Notice the options, the silence, the smells -- let Summer sink in. Try something new. Or don't. But choose some action, some pause, to allow stillness in. Try some soup, instead of the perfect-all-organic-5-hour-meal-preparation. Try some singing -- instead of the 3 hours at the gym plus meeting plus work date plus birthday-bash-you-have-to-plan-for-so-and-so plus ALL THAT STUFF YOU MIGHT MISS.

Oy, I miss out not when I stop rushing, but when I am rushing.  Burnout comes from neverending doing, rather than being -- and I am a human being, thankee, not a doing. Being healthy is a matter of balance, Summer -- or any time. That applies whether one has celiac disease or not.


*Boulder Organic Foods was founded in 2006 by Kate Brown, who had a vision to craft truly fresh-food that could be accessed on the aisles of convenience stores.
·         Boulder Organic, although not Boston-local, takes Boston-attitude to local-sourced,  certified organic, gluten-free and Non-GMO ingredients for its small-batched soups.
·         The company offers varieties for all types of diets, including gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free
Available locally in Target Stores, and coming soon to many national supermarket.
I found these soups in Target in the Worcester area, where they carry the Kale and Chicken and the Chicken Chili.
Although an excellent meal, Boulder Organics are not yet shoestring-budget-friendly.
Time is priceless, however.

Have a blast of an end-of-Summer -- do let it sink in. 

Tumbling Free,


DISCLAIMER: I received a coupon for some of the above soup to try it. I did not receive a coupon to offer anything but my honest thoughts. All of the above are my honest opinion and experiences with Boulder Organics Soups.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

[Gut Healing One-Shot ] Gluten Free Sourdough Company Grain Free Coconut Bread

With Celiac Disease, it's a double-brill day when food both pleases the palate, and soothes the gut. Either/or! blares the pop culture -- get that healthy stuff, or stuff yo' face with whatever. But I think this sourdough, from Sharon's small Boston-local Gluten Free Sourdough Company bakery, proves you can have both.

Gut Healing One-Shots

weekly looks at healing the insides
with food preparation practices, supplements,
or other whole life approaches

This bread tastes like a fresh loaf out of the oven dripping with butter...but it has no butter--  in it or on it, and it's no traditional loaf. Gluten-free and grain free, Gluten Free Sourdough Company's coconut bread is soft as pound cake but firm, and as easy on the gut just as it is a joy to the taste buds.

The ingredient list is so short you could write it on the palm of your hand. But every ingredient is
balanced, chosen, and blends to make this fermented bread a naturally gluten free stand out.  Without trying perfectly to mimic a huge traditional loaf, this unique sourdough does better -- it highlights the strengths and flavours of its naturally gluten-free ingredients, creating a bread that  needs to be eaten, not described.  somehow surpasses it.

I can't compare it to gluten-filled stuffs.  Few traditionally gluten containing breads could stand up to it either. It's rare to find a baked good made with the craft and care that has gone into Sharon's goods, and rarer still to find a good made gluten free of that caliber. particularly into her new coconut breads.

You really don't have to be celiac to find this coconut bread an extraordinary treat.

I know. I've sampled it to non gluten-free friends and clients, and they fell head over heels for it.

Toast or untoasted, chilled or warm, this gluten-free sourdough serves well for a snack, a side, or  with something as simple as a plate full of nut butter dip. It pairs well with savoury dishes and with sweet.  It has the double benefit of being gut-healing at the same time as gut-pleasing, the fermentation making it extra-digestible.


filtered water
coconut flour
coconut oil
kombucha vinegar
chia seed
psyllium seed
maple syrup
sea salt
sodium free mineral leavener

Although it contains coconut it's free of all other top allergens . And how can you pass up a treat that's healing at the same time it's just a blast to get in the mouth and taste?

Taste/Texture:  Smooth. Untoasted, rather like pound cake in consistency -- but don't let that make you think it's sticky and sweet. Toasted, it has good body. Not crumbly, it holds together well.

Whole Food?: All whole food ingredients.

Organic/Non-GMO: Yes.

Celiac Safe: Utterly. Sharon is impeccable in her ingredient sourcing, and has a dedicated gluten-free bakery.

Shoestring Budget?:  No, and yes. It lasts a good while, because a good slice is satisfying. A loaf costs about $11, which is comparable to -- or less than -- specialty GF loaves on the shelves at Whole Foods.

Availability; Sharon, and GF Sourdough Company, ship nationally. If you're Bostonian like myself, hop on out to Ashland -- a 12ish mile jaunt -- and pick some up yourself.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Gluten-Free Celiac Travel: 3 Things, or From Disability to New Ability

"Celiac isn't a disability. It's a launching platform into new ability and competence."

How can you travel "normally" -- gluten-free -- when you have celiac?  When I recently explained some of the planning that goes into traveling, as a young professional, a grad student, and nutritionist with celiac disease, the amiable lady listening, bug-eyed, blurted out:  CJ, ARE YOU NUTS? 

My response:

Well, go ahead. be a nut. Or maybe...just take Nut along for the gluten-free ride.

 I  used to think I had two options: Go as a nut and enjoy it, or go as a nut and don't.  But I have a third: go with a Nut, instead of as one.

Nut, the frantic worried voice, the feeling-defective-guilty, the future-tripper, the trigger-happy DOOMSDAY buddy...needs to take shot-gun, not driver's wheel.

Boiled down, that means accept what I can't change -- perhaps a worried fear-laced litany running through my brain included -- and change the things I can.

But what are those things? Half of Nut's  fuel for his back-breaking, trip-tromping blare of worried chatter that ruins travel, and keeps me out of the moment, comes from knowing there are things I need to do for my own health and sanity, and not having taken the time to list them, choose them, and use them.

What then do you have power to change? Make a list. I always  have a choice. If I choose to go, the things I can change are my responsibility -- I'll take the time and the necessary steps to be sure I can travel wisely, safely, and sanely (knowing I may take Nut, the worried-wonder in the back of my head, with me -- he just doesn't have to drive).

So if you're traveling with celiac disease or a severe food allergy, these are the practical steps to make it not just do-able, but enjoyable.

One thing to know first: are you on the road for work or for holiday?


Get the schedule, know if you're eating out,
plan accordingly.
bring Nuttzo 2go (if you can eat nuts)
single-serve Plant Protein (Garden of Life Raw, for me)
homemade cookies like these
or home-packed trail mixes or granolas

When eating out is involved, the best rule is safety first.
If you don't want to be ill on holiday, you doubly don't
want to be ill on a work trip. Cross-contamination is gut-killer,
brain-killer, and even if you don't feel it, seriously damaging.

Know your itinerary.

Pack a couple of sandwiches.
When I worked in Ireland, I was walking
My suitcase? It was stuffed with 10 perfectly packed
nut-butter and honey sandwiches on Canyon Bakehouse 7-Grain.

Nuttzo hungry any more at
the cabin... Nuttzo on Coconut Bread

Pick a place to stay where you have a kitchen or kitchenette.
save yourself time and money:
less research on outside eateries, more flexibility,
brilliant for the budget

Road-trip? Peg in stops around groceries or
restaurants that are safe (Find Me GF app helps here).

Airline: pack food that airline portable.
Drive: Pack a cooler.

COMMUNICATE with family or friends.
This is hugely helpful. This is very much in our control.
Let yourself have needs. Let others know them.
Ahead of time.
A good question: "When are we eating, do you have
a place in mind or preference? I need (blank)."


Know what your personal nutrition needs are.
I make a list of what my meals look like at home, and compare a snack-seat-packing list of what I'm bringing. Is it enough?  I personally lose weight and brain power in a flick-flack-flicker if I drop any amount of nutrition. If my normal day has x amount of food + calories, and my packed-list has half of it, I'm on my way to a Nutty world of non-self-cared celiac slap-happy burnout and misery

Something else I do, always, before travel, is write myself a personal reminder: 

Nutrition is a necessity, not a luxury.

If I'm going to work well, maintain my integrity, and care for myself -- and if I'm even half-going to enjoy myself on a vacation -- I need to be fed, and with celiac disease, that means something specific: gluten-free.

...Yes, this all takes time.

But what takes more time, and life is  NUT. Having Nut wail, worry, and womp me from the background wipes out my ability to enjoy the moment, wipes out my health and leaves me in a place of deprivation, dragging. Ultimately, being careless can risk my life literally -- that's what gluten-exposure means to someone with celiac..

So when you travel put NUT in the back seat by answering his wails practically and visually. Write it out. Know what you need, and put it down in a contract to yourself, with a road-map and a "snack-seat" pack.

Nut is all right to have along -- but he makes a horrid driver.

I've learned I don't have to let my challenges truly be disabilities. My challenges, are a branch into new abilities.

I was never much of a planner. Now I could be a 5 star general.

I wasn't always the keenest at care, especially of self -- why? when I could get by on an iron constitution and tricky-good-luck? My wanderlust was enough. But now, I could be a surgeon, on my self.

Celiac isn't a disability. It's a platform for new abilities. And traveling with a Nut, instead of as a Nut, is just a start. All of these new abilities I can pass on to the kids in my life as well -- my clients, students, nieces.

It's good to go ahead and be a Nut...but only if that means countering a careless, self-neglectful culture, or the idea that having a need means being less valuable. And eating jet-carry-on-safe Nuttzo and bananas on my travels.

This is my Celiac Anniversary post. And it's been brought to you by NUT, who is safely seated in the back, well-fed, attended to, and no longer a conspirator in making me disabled. He's just along for the ride.


For the anniversary of my diagnosis -- but actually more for the flipping fun --
I have a giveaway.
It's Nuttzo.

This stuff has given me great fuel for the road, for recovery nutritionally,
and for service work with their Project Left Behind Non-Profit.
Vegan, gluten-free, organic, non-gmo, soy-and-dairy-free.
The only thing it isn't free of is nuts.
But that's okay. Neither am I.

Enter the giveaway, and comment below for a chance to win some Nuttzo.
(This kind of Nut can come in the front seat -- it has to if you're driving and eating.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of wandering to all of you,

Tumbling Free,


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Join Me for the Boston GFAF Expo, July 23-24!

Celiac Awareness Month has ended, but awareness, and building community? Those are two actions I take with attitude into the whole year. One both fun and effective way to build both is to attend an expo. The GFAF Expos, held across the country, are hitting Worcester, MA, and I'll be there...two months later but still in the wake of hitting the stellar show in Chicago!

So what does an expo look like? It looks like the discovery of new food options, connection with fellow celiacs (and those with digestive disorders requiring a similar diet), and opportunities to stop in at educational seminars teaching nutrition, breakthroughs in celiac research, and practical tips for living gluten-free.
This year, the expo is:


July 23-34
10am to 4pm

50 Foster Street
Worcester, MA 01608

The wrap-up-recap of Chicago HERE is a great sample of what Worceseter will look like!

Wondering what kind of food you'll find in the exhibit hall?  From breads to dairy-free ice creams, pizzas to chocolate, old school snacking stand-bys to organic whole foods, the hall will be packed. But I'm most looking forward to seeing these celiac-supportive stand-outs:

(breads, bagels, brownies)
Everything Bagels
(dairy-free and soy-free cheees)

(breads, flatbreads, tortillas, bagels -- from Ireland!)

(chocolate, and I mean CHOCOLATE: organic, all top allergen-free,
bloody amazing)

(classic NY-style GF bagels...crazy good)
a sweet note bagel +

(PIZZA, both with dairy, and a plain crust sans dairy)

If you're one of my fellow Boston-celiacs, or New England area readers, pop off down to the giveaway below to win 1 of 4 tickets to the upcoming gluten-free event on July 23-24!

Funny-face photo? Price: Dignity,
and the cost of cell phone date. Meeting fellow celiacs in Chicago at the
Expo? Priceless.

 Win 1 of 5 Tickets to Worcester, MA GFAF Expo!

1) Comment below with your top reason for reading Tumbling Gluten Free, and for attending an expo this Summer!

2) Follow @TumblingGF on Twitter (and post your twitter handle in a separate comment below)

3) "Like" +Tumbling Gluten Free  on Facebook and Google! (Post your FB name and Google name in a separate comment below)

4) Follow +Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo  on Twitter and Google (and post a separate comment with your twitter and google handle again!)

That's it!

Hope to see you there, and good luck. This giveaway is sponsored by GFAF Expo, and runs from 7/5 to 7/20 at midnight EST.

Your ticket will be good for one day, but you can get 20% for familiy and friends
if you use my advance ticeketing code:  ADVANCE (thru 7/22)! HERE

Tumbling Free,


Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Art of Jam, or Gettin Figgy With It [RECIPE]

Jam: the sticky, sweet, the smell of cinnamon or ginger, infusing, fruit. Or...jam...

the idiom: pull out your melodies, twiggy fingers and dancing feet.

I could eat the funky fiddling between words all day.

You can make jam or jam. Music or meal -- or both together. But melody mellows a kitchen crushed by brain's rush, and oy, I've been rushing.

Rushing, you know, isn't so much outsides as it is an attitude to outsides; rushing is an inside job. So though are creative jams in the kitchen, and I mean jam in both senses of the word.

I'd prefer to be reading. Being underweight, my brain bellows food between  paragraphs and paged words though, so I end up in the kitchen, with figs from a friend in Western climes where I recently traveled for work, and jam and jams on the mind.

Do you think I could pick at a guitar, cook, and read at the same time?

(The answer is yes, but very unsuccessfully on all counts.)

I hum instead. And since figs are delicate, and I don't want to eat a bushel, already packed and jounced 3,000 luggage-crunched miles in a gulp, I make jam. I jam the jam, because I ad lib it and make the recipe up as I go, and it comes out like this.

makes 2-3 6-8 oz mason jar-fulls

[ gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, egg-free ]

:: ingredients ::

dash cinnamom
3 cardamom pods, split, seeds crushed
1 + 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3-4 cups fresh Black Mission Figs
1 tbsp water
dash cider vinegar
(optional) 1 tsp agaragar (to gel)

:: directions ::

Place cardamom in saucepan with water, and cook on low heat for 2-5 minutes. Add vanilla, cinnamon, then add figs to a saucepan, and steam over low heat until they begin to consolidate. Once mostly cooked, begin crushing with a fork. 
Turn heat up, and boil for 60-120 seconds on high -- adding water if necessary (make sure not
to scorch the fruit on a liquidless pan bottom!). Continue to cook until figs have dissolved, skins and all, into a viscous liquid. Add cider vinegar and optional agar agar at this point.
Remove from heat, mixing agar agar in well if used. 

Jam will thicken on its own, so a little extra liquid is good. Don't worry if it seems watery, or
if you added water during cooking.

Set aside to cool. When thoroughly cooled, store in mason jars.
This jam has lasted me ages. But ideally, it saves about 2 weeks in the fridge.

My jams rarely last. I spoon them over pancakes, or mix with nut butters, or slather on gluten-free toast or homemade no-oat-cakes.
Crunchy Nuttzo and  Figgy Jam:
gluten-free breakfast sandwich

My jams, like my melodic jams, don't need to last more than the moment. They're made to enjoy -- whatever connotations jam has of preservation. Although sometimes, I do plan to write the music down, to play again; and sometimes, I think I'll have jars of jam for months and years, frozen, canned, or unusually hardy in the back of the fridge.


I just get the joy of either jam, and then onto the next jamming, kitchen-creativity or otherwise.

And I spread another spoonful on Sharon's gluten-free sourdough english muffins, and enjoy.

Tumbling Free,


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gluten Free Celiac Stomp Through St Louis (and GFAF Event Recap)

St Louis, MO, Gluten-Free Restaurant Reommendations

So you want to stroll through the Gateway to the West, see the silver arch across the prairie sky -- and eat stresslessly, happily, safely, gluten-free?  St Louis not only hosts multiple safe eateries, but also plays host to Nikki Everett's GFAF Wellness Event each year. And its array of dedicated gluten-free facilities, local, transparent food suppliers -- and wealth of history and architectural beauty -- just keep growing.

Well, the eateries and events do. I'm not sure about the architecture.

While I was there this May for Nikki's ace event, I hit 3 dedicated GF spots, and got a good look at the safe food prep processes of half a dozen others.

But what made the visit glow was the GFAF Event. So if you're planning a jaunt across the American mid-West, plan your trip for Spring -- not only is the weather accommodating, so is the metaphoric atmosphere of gluten-free goods.  Especially since Nikki's family-friendly, community-oriented weekend event offers gluten-free and celiac support, samples of the best local-grown, local-based businesses, and a bonus of great speakers and educational presentations.

But before the recap, here are the restaurants:


A2 GF CF Cafe (St. Louis proper, MO)

Audra and Audrey founded A2 to be dedicated gluten-free, dedicated safe. From sandwiches to salads, grain bowls to sweets, they offer the rainbow. On top of that, their breads and baked goods are all seed-flower based (courtesy of local start-up and family owned business, Think.Live.Eat's sunflower seed flours). They are grain-free and paleo. If you're weary of missing out on traditionals such as meatball subs, baguettes, or brownies...drop the slouch: you can get it here. The fare is all local-sourced, prepped in a dedicated kitchen...and it isn't oh-that's-gluten-free-but-good. The A and A of A2 make food that stands on its own two feet.

Revel Kitchen (Brentwood, MO)

Paleo, organic, sleek. You can get everything from waffles to plant-based burgers at Revel Kitchen. They've downsized, and changed up their menu. But they haven't changed their naturally gluten-free flair, which is paleo, local, fresh-prepped-to-order, and delicious. You can pick from Bowl, Wrap/Burger or Omelette, customise the protein (from eggs to grassfed beef or tofu), and add an array of smoothies or sides.

My grandmother, very much not gluten-free, reports this is the best food she's eaten in 10 years, if not more. Being diabetic, the paleo-aspect also pleased her pink.

New Day Gluten Free Cafe (Ellisville, MO)

New Day, family-owned, takes classic diner and transforms it into...the perfect classic diner: except everything is gluten-free. You can drop in for celiac-safe eats breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or order their fluffy, crusty-bread or baked goods to pick up and use at home. I've been here multiple times now. Usually for breakfast. Although the pancakes aren't dairy-free, the French toast is, and the American breakfast of toast, bacon, eggs is a classic as it gets for the United States, and utterly satisfying.



Grass fed sausage and roast beef, organic allergen free spices from Wild Tree, Think.
Eat.Live's Sunflower Seed flour muffins, Sema, teen celiac advocate,
chocolate, and Outrageous Baking Co's sweet breads

Smaller this year, but no less dynamic, the GFAF Wellness Event on May 21 trotted out at team of local real food standouts. When I say real food, I mean the floor was no longer dominated by sweets -- faux-gluten-food. It was a floor dominated by whole food -- including some stellar sweets -- but offering a variety that held up always-supportive-national brands such as Enjoy Life Foods alongside tons of regional gluten-free allergen-free specialists. I loved seeing  MO Legacy Beef and Jerky and J&J Chocolate Chalet, as well as Think.Eat.Live, whose sunflower seed flour is the base for A2's wonderful little gluten-free cafe downtown.

I had a blast eating  a real lunch of lettuce greens taken off Rhonda's (who was there with JuicePlus) Plant Tower, freshly grilled grassfed steak  samples, and Billy Goat's non-gmo tater chips. Dessert wasn't lacking though -- that's when I got to chat with J&J Chocolatiers, who provide some the best chocolate I've ever had the joy of tasting -- Quinoa Crunch Nonpareils, and Cashew Protein  Creme.

I got to finish it off later with Pumpkin Curry at GF-ready-prepped-meal-provider table, and then circulate around to WildTree Organics, where Adobo-Spiced Chicken Stew was cooking in a crockpot, and Julia told me story, and showed me a long line of allergen-free organic spice blends and oils.

Then, to top off the diverse food samples, the event this year also featured NYR Organics -- skin and self-care products like I've never seen before, altogether organic, altogether allergen-free -- DoTerra Essential Oils (which even makes a gluten-free, chemical-free toothpaste now!), and Arbonne (whose rep, Chondre, tells me will soon be CERTIFIED gluten free, and celiac safe...meaning a ream of protein powders, healthcare products and makeup testing under 10ppm).

But why stop in at the event that Saturday? It wasn't just the food. After all, if you've read through the restaurant recs, you can see it's easier and easier to eat well on-the-fly, and safely, even gluten-free.

Julia summed up what made the GFAF Event such a necessary stop on my calendar, every year, each May: "I knew this was the place to be," she said, when I asked her why she chose to have a booth--and then she went on to sum up not just why she was there, but the attitude of Nikki's events totally in one sentence:  "People here know and understand your story.
"And they hear you."

Allergies, Celiac, digestive ills such as Crohn's or diabetes -- any illness that requires a custom diet, the spectrum of Autism aided by gluten-free eating, and related disabilities -- these are our stories. These are our wounds.   Nikki's events bring people together to heal

...and more than offer options for samples, new food, and physical nourishment. The GFAF Event sets a stage for community to flourish -- and it is that support of community, (including the safe Saturday expo in which to eat and explore options) that builds relationships, heals us, and allows us to live freely and fully.  

Finally, why not a giveaway? It's good to share abundance. Gluten-free is a diet easier and easier to follow when it comes to finding options. But it isn't always easy to enjoy the variety if your budget is on the ordinary side. Food alone isn't cheap. Gluten-free food can be a hike above it.

Enter below for some Caly's Granola and Otrageous Baking Co's Baking mix!

 To Enter, Comment Below with your Favourite
Gluten-Free Food
and What your dream travel location is!

Tumbling Free,

in health, none too seriously,