Showing posts from May, 2014

Product Review: Svelte Protein Shakes Smooth and Free

Image of GMO's, gluten, dairy, and wholly organic, that is.

After my Celiac Disease diagnosis, I drank bloody Ensure by the case. It was rotten. Had I been drinking Svelte Shakes, perhaps it wouldn't have been an ordeal -- where Ensure is sickly sweet and slimy, Svelte is rather svelte.

So if you're looking for a non-GMO, celiac-safe simple protein shake, Svelte's offerings are the answer: dairy, nut, and gluten-free, simple and suave.

I honestly have avoided all protein-based smoothie-claiming products like the plague. Until Svelte.

Each flavour is pleasingly textured, a light smoothie with 11g organic non-GMO soy protein, celiac-safe, and looking good.

It isn't easy to find a packaged-protein product both safe for celiacs, and palate-pleasing. It's also difficult to find products that are aimed at healthy weight gain for those with food intolerances and celiac athletes.

I'm also a stubborn jackass about supplements-- no supplementing for me, thankee, I s…

Heroes Don't Grow On Trees (Or, How to Grow Celiac Disease Awareness and Community)

Heroes don't grow on trees, my grandfather used to say.

But something heroes do do is grow -- and help others to grow -- in an often non-dramatic, quietly present way that slips subtle and half-wise under the radar.

One of the most heroic things any human being can do is take their pain, and offer it to others transformed into experience, strength, and hope. This is an act many of my fellow bloggers have done with their journey through Celiac Disease.

As Celiac Awareness Month winds down, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the NFCA's project. In a huge leap, they've gathered information and resources from bloggers across the world, and posted them in one board.

We grow by and through relationships, you know, not alone, and the celiac community is one that has gained enormously from supporting and engaging with one another both to educate each other, and to reach the public at large.

Heroes don't grow on trees.  But they've bloomed on the NFCA's board, and I…

Celiac and Gluten Free Wellness : Bakery On Main Giveaway!

The Gluten Free and Allergen Free Wellness Expo has teamed up with Bakery on Main to offer a prize basket of  3 full-sized products for Celiac Awareness Month! 

If you haven't tried Bakery On Main's single-serve certified gluten-free oats or granola, you're missing out. They make an excellent pre-packaged product: six-flavours of oatmeal, six flavours of their TrueBar, multiple granolas, as well as chewy granola bars!

You have just 3 days to enter and win the little bloke of a gluten-free basket. Pop your name in, and celebrate Celiac Awareness Month all year.

If you want to join me at the Gluten Free Allergen Free Wellness Event this Saturday in St. Louis, enter a ticket giveaway here or check out the $10 tickets here.

To learn more about Bakery On Main, hop over to their site here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Drop a comment below as to which product you'd most like to try for bonus entries! 
This is Celiac Awareness Month, but awareness can last all year long.  Engaging wit…

Explored Asian and Childhood Cheese [Product Review and Recipe]

Explore Asian makes top-notch gluten-free noodles. Dusted for time, badly wanting that homemade meal, and with a rather distant longing for days of mum-provided macaroni and cheese, I built an incidentally-vegan Vegetable Cheese Sauce and Noodles.

This recipe is gluten-free-cum-cheesy-American fusion.

 A mellow blend of savoury and slightly sweet set off the bean noodles natural adzuki delicacy. Adzuki beans are used to make an ban, or Japanese sweet bean paste, and they hold a sweeter and less boldly-bean taste. The mix of miso, carrot, onion, and light spicing made this sauce the perfect accompaniment. It also satisfied my taste for cheese and novelty: Asian fusion like a boss. Gluten-free.

Veggie Cheese Noodles sans Cheese

[ nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free (optional) ]


1 serving Adzuki Bean Spaghetti
1/2 small carrot, diced small
1/2 stalk celery, chopped small
1/4 large white onion
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tsp mellow miso paste
1 tbs non-dairy milk (soy or co…

Tripping on Travel or Tripping to Travel: Celiac, On the Road, Free

I travel. I love to travel. I'm scared Mad Hatter-esque of travel.

To be celiac and to travel is to leap into a Wonderland-world where the food on the plate may be labeled with one thing, and be another; where a muffin of rice may have been baked in a tin filled with wheat crumbs --

--where, crivens, what looks like food could be rat poison.

That is, if you count the wreck 1/64 of a teaspoon of gluten can dump on your insides.

But why worry? There are ways to navigate, and places to see, and safe procedures for falling or tumbling without cracking your head open. Or having food tumble into your gut and crack it open.

Anyhow, I am traveling again this week, and I'm scared Mad Hatter-high and haven't been for ages.

Things I have to ask:Things I do not  have to worry about: 
...they're actually the same thing.
But for quick reference, these are questions I always ask at eateries that aren't dedicated gluten-free.

 To ask:  Where was it prepared? Is your kitchen used for …

[Recipe] Try-It Tuesday: ...Smoothie! (Apple and Ginger Cream)

Sometimes, it's just a day for retreats. I spent today pretending I was on a silent retreat where food was provided with total safety, and I got to listen, not think or worry.

Being diagnosed Celiac has given me the opportunity to be flexible. I did quite a lot of physical and metaphorical tumbling, from travel to trying to accomplish THE WHOLE WORLD, before I got my diagnosis.  I held on to outcomes with knuckles so white you'd think I'd chalked them.

It was not the keenest way to get along. Taking the opportunity to stretch and flex makes a tumble -- or any trip, trap, or new experience, a happier experience. Being flexible and creative also makes food happier. Today, on retreat before I jet into travel and off to the St Louis GFAF Wellness Expo, I made a smoothie.  Only I meant it to be one thing, and it turned out another.

Smoothies are perfect flexible foods. One can throw almost anything in, and get something excellent out -- although it may not be the thing planned i…

Listers: Top Weird Things You Find Yourself Asking If You Have Celiac

The longer this month goes, the more avenues I find for promoting Celiac Disease Awareness. Humor is one of the most effective, and gentlest ways to educate -- most effective because a laugh pins facts to memory with the experience of joy or happiness; and because humor slips under the radar of preconceptions.  We don't filter our laughter through prejudice. And it's been proven that our keenest memories imprint because they're linked with a feeling -- joy or terror being the sharpest.

So without further ado, this is a list of some of the weirdest things one learns to ask -- or that I have asked -- with Celiac Disease.  And each one generally highlights a little known fact about diagnosis, or living with, the disease as well!

1. "Is there wheat in that shampoo?"

...Is there any way in which that doesn't sound peculiar?  Imagine catching a snatch of conversation where a bloke is squinting mole-like at a bottle, and saying, "But is there wheat in this sham…

GFAF-Wellness Expo: St Louis, MO -- Tumble FREE Off to Expo with a Giveaway!

Hip-hip!  I'm heading off to St. Louis in just short of a week for the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Wellness Event scheduled for Saturday May 31st. What a brilliant way to end Celiac Awareness Month with a bang, yes?

But I'm not only going myself, I'm offering four free tickets to a lucky reader below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

These events are stellar. If you're looking to build community, expand your knowledge of allergies, autoimmune disease, and celiac, or simply explore the ever-growing market of gluten-free, organic, whole foods, this is your event.

GFAFWellness Events specifically takes their expos to every and any location so as to reach people who cannot travel to hubs such as New York, San Francisco or Chicago.

Join me, and Pam from for a great event!

Other speakers include: Rachel Fansnacht, who has built her wellness and celiac recovery into a business, and sustainable and organic farm; Sheila Moton, a social advocate for disadvantaged youth; a…

Product Review: O Chia!

I shot back from an energy-slump this last week after a dose of this little pudding.

Not rice, not tapioca -- but chia. These little powerhouse pods are probably the simplest blend of ingredients you'll ever find on the nub of a packaged product. Perhaps that's part of their charm -- and the palate-pleasing sweet simplicity.

If you're an athlete with Celiac Disease, I recommend The Chia Company's Chia Pods without reservation. Bursting with omega-3's, hydrating and electrolyte replenishing coconut milk and fruit, these puddings are too simple to overwhelm with words.

I loved them.

Fencing -- or any sport -- can take a lot out of you. Since my diagnosis, I've had much better recovery time, but my stamina still stems low at times. I don't tolerate heavy pre-packaged bars. I bloody get dehydrated after a 10 minute elimination round, and never found a "drink" that seemed to help. These Chia Pods revived me like no other.

I only got to try four of the …

Product Review: Better Beans That Can't Be Beat (Naturally Gluten-Free)

You may have read my capsule-comment on Better Bean Company last week after the Celiac Food Fest in San Diego. (This gluten-free new-kid made my Top 5 New Finds.) Do you like beans? If no, try BetterBean Company beans and see if you can still say no in earnest -- because not only am I still pleased as anything with Better Bean's attitude, I have never had a batch of beans so good.

Far beyond one of the best companies, and best food products, I've ever encountered. You honestly don't have to be a bean lover to love these all-organic, home-recipe frijoles that come in 5 superb flavours. Gluten-free, dairy-free, unprocessed -- creamy and full-flavoured -- the only thing that matches their quality is their company's mission and business model. Supporting Better Beans is supporting better business: these folks are fair-trade, fair-wage, small biz tyros with a commitment to sustainability and accountability that shows goodwill matches and must make GOOD food.

Oy, I make bea…

Try-It Tuesday: Try, Try, Try Awareness...By Tumbling? and True Food

Celiac facts are just dry and tasteless packets of statistic without the grounding. They're all up in the head, a nice tumble of numbers and symptoms.

But to someone who has Celiac Disease, or to a close friend or family member, they stick. Why?  Because 1 out of 133 is more than a number when I know the name or experience of that one. Because bloating, brain fog, and brittle bones are more than words if they're mine after I eat gluten. Because no one really is a statistic, and no disease happens to a number: it happens to a human being.

So today I took tumbling, tubs of beans, and awareness to a small batch of concerned parents, distracted kids, and various and sundry other drop-ins and passers-by.

How the devil do I make numbers and symptoms and weird-arrays of medical-parlance-blood-test lingo stick? I've done this sort of advocacy before. For at-risk minority young-mothers, for Down Syndrome targeted for genetic discrimination and abortion, for Diabetes -- which my gran…

[Listers] GFFAF Recap: Old Faves, New Flavours

Last week, I tallied the new finds I made at the GFFAF in San Diego, May 3-4. Now I'm back to chalk up the old stalwarts that were featuring new flavours and products!   I was especially excited to re-try Way Better and Explore Asian. It's a short list, but perfect subject for the Monday listing post.

Explore Asian -- These bean-pasta barons have made a product I've enjoyed since I first discovered them in the little gluten-free market downtown San Clemente. Organic, non-gmo, making al-dente noodles from Mung, Soy, and Black Beans -- what could be more excellent? Well, perhaps pricing. But they give a brill bang for the pound or buck, as they've 20-something grams of protein per serving.

At the GFFAF in San Diego, I got samples of their newest addition: Gluten-free ramen. Oy, and it isn't the stuff that never quite sticks to the ribs (but likely sticks to the gut if you're celiac). Soy-based, organic non-gmo, E.A.'s ramen comes vegan as well in practical tub…

Shoestring Budget: How to Cut Cost and Still Tumble With Fun

How do you watch your pocketbook without ending up a worried wreck?  Know your non-negotiables. But from there on out, play flexibility.

I grew up all kinds of flexible, but with no sense of whether I had non-negotiables or not.  I found that a budget doesn't last long if there is no bottom-line, or confidence that expending resource will mean receiving a return.

Tightwadding is like a starvation diet. After a certain amount of time eating next to naught, one goes nutball-whacky and eats whatever happens to be in arm's reach. After a certain amount of time believing one can't spend a cent... But there's a balance between spendthrift and miser.

If you don't make the means to stay gluten-free, and well-nourished, you won't have the sense to decide what you need and what you want.

My mother, who is gluten-intolerant, has grown and learned where to put her foot down, and as celiacs it's important we do.

Not just for our health, but for our wealth.

How to keep yo…

Celiac Awareness: Kids, Food, Stories (Or, "Why Is Food Bad for Me, Mum?")

How do you explain Celiac Disease to a child?  Not a toss-off tumble of facts, that's for sure. Whether he or she has celiac, or simply has a family member or friend with it, children learn a bit differently than the adult population, although perhaps we all learn best as children learn.

This week, for Celiac Disease Awareness Month, I hadn't planned it -- but my preschoolers made a full day of celiac awareness for me in the classroom.

One little girl turned to me at snack time (gluten-free, per my rules), and said, "I asked my mummy, Why does food hate Miss CJ."


"Why food hates you.All the foods!" she raised her arms above her head, and then hugged herself tightly, "Like the devil inside. You only eat apples!"

If you're wondering where to start with explaining -- whether you get it in ambush like I did -- or are aiming on purpose to engage kids in the conversation about celiac, these are three things to remember:


Product Review: B-Green Foods Sustains, Beats Wheat Even on a Chef's Palate

Food wreaks havoc, or it heals.  Real food heals. Whole food, fresh food, and an environment treated with respect and an understanding of sustainability heals.

So what is wrong with the world, and FOOD, if 1 in 100 Brits, 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease?

One thing that is not wrong with food is B-Green Food, a not-so-brand-new company I'm bloody surprised I had never heard of until this weekend at Living Without's Celiac Food Fest and Expo.

B-Green Foods is a firecracker. Organic, non-GMO, full-nutrition -- and full quality -- B-Green offers wholegrain Millet Pasta, Buckwheat Noodles (soba), White and Black Rice Angel Hair Pasta, and Wholegrain Black Rice.

These noodles don't try to mimic wheat-based products. B-Green Food trumps wheat-pastas by a leap and bound. They are uniquely and proudly gluten-free naturally. Real food, whole food, wholly delicious.

In fact, I have not been so pleased with a plate of noodles since I was small, and got hold of my mum's attempt…

LISTERS: Quick-Fix New-Find Product List -- Celiac Fest Expo Round-Up!

So, take a quick tumbler. I managed to get down to the Living Without's San Diego Celiac Food Fest despite car trouble -- and a bout with health-Hell earlier in the week. It was well worth the drive!

Especially for the personal connections, community, presentations -- and new product finds.

Down these for my highest recommendations from the floor.

Each of the companies on the list below are high-integrity, nearly all whole-food based, organic and local-sourced sorts, with a natural bent on the gluten-free angle. In my experience, the best gluten-free products are those that focus on the highlights of gluten-free food, not those that try to mimic wheat.  I don't settle for mimicry.  Not to mention, it tends to contain the wild, weird corner-stoppers of chemical additives.

Catch the abundance of whole foods, organically grown, simply made.

That's this list, in a tumbler.

The Better Bean Company.  I met Hannah personally. It is her father that began the still-family-owned-bea…

What's In A Name? (I "Have" a Condition, But That Condition Isn't What I Am)

In Dr. Alessio Fasano's groundbreaking new book, Gluten Freedom, there are a few adamant paragraphs that stand out like limelight: He talks about celiac disease as a condition, not a disease, and calls on the medical community to move away from pigeonholing.

When I first diagnosed, I walked into the lunchroom with a fellow patient one late morning. I was hospitalised, and the dietitian ate lunch with me a few others in similar circumstances as she guided us towards being able to eat well, safely, and totally gluten-free. Off hand, I remarked to my companion, "Well, I'm celiac so--"

She stopped right there. And I had to stop as well not to barrel ahead. "C.J.," she said, making sure she made eye contact, "You aren't celiac. You HAVE celiac. You're a mad-smart fun young woman, you're a writer and a friend."

"But--"  But I stopped myself then.

She was right.

Celiac Disease -- if you don't already know -- is an autoimmune co…