Rants, Raves, Recipes, Reviews

“Knowledge is power only if man knows what facts not to bother with.” Robert Staughton Lind ~ The upcoming CHARLOTTE NC GLUTEN & ALLERGEN FREE WELLNESS EVENT 2014

“Knowledge is power only if man knows what facts not to bother with.” Robert Staughton Lind

~ Arm yourself with helpful knowledge at the upcoming


With So Much information available these days on gluten free diets, its hard to know what is the right thing to do. The upcoming expo will be an EXCELLENT opportunity to come and learn a great deal of helpful information in a short amount of time.

One of my posts last week included links to popular blogs that I have enjoyed! Lo and behold, some of the authors of these blogs will be coming here to the Charlotte, NC area on March 29th, 2014 for the expo!

At the expo, we will have the opportunity to learn from the following people:

Jennifer Fugo of Gluten Free School whose blog can be found here: http://www.glutenfreeschool.com/

“Four Ways to SAVE BIG on a Healthy, Gluten Free Diet”

Jennifer will share top strategies that can save you thousands of dollars each year without making you a slave to your kitchen. Engaging and highly informative…”

and Carol Kicinski, magazine founder & Editor-in-Chief of “Simply Gluten Free” Magazine, TV chef, cookbook author, and gluten-free recipe developer, AND THE CREATOR OF THE GLOBAL GLUTEN FREE COMMUNITY of which I am now a member!!! 🙂


The event will be held:
March 29, 2014 between 10 am – 4 pm

Harris Conference Center
3216 CPCC Harris Campus Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28208

Click Here for the Presentation Schedule.

Sponsors such as Glutino, Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery and Udi will be there as well as many others; •Akea Life •Arbonne •Bakery On Main •Beverly’s Gourmet Foods •Brain Balance of Cornelius •Bumbalooza •Camp Weekaneatit •Candies Delightful Italian Icees •Charlotte Celiac Connection •Chia Co. •Earth Balance •Earth Fare •Elemental Wellness •Enjoy Life Foods •Europa Sports – Nogii & NOW bars •FFARMS •FUEL Pizza •Freedom Foods •Gluten Free Buyer’s Guide •Glutino •Healthy Home Market •Juice Plus •KALO Foods •Kinnikinnick •Maddy’s Fatty’s •Mrs. Poundcake •New Planet Beer •Nourish Charlotte •Quinoa Corporation •Roots Hummus •Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery •Savory Spice Shop •Simply Gluten Free Magazine •Thrive •Tito’s Vodka •Udi’s Gluten Free Foods •Virtuous Living •Viva Raw •YoDish and many more!

So come out, learn about going gluten free economically, get some ideas, recipes, coupons and samples and don’t be afraid to eat the food! How great is that? 🙂

Not near Charlotte? Don’t worry! For other 2014 Gluten and Allergy Free Expo locations throughout the US please click here.

Until next time,
Keep Reading and Eating!
~ Christa ~


PS: Don’t forget about the Fun St. Patrick’s Day recipes for your loved ones and four legged friends on my Pinterest page found here:

Rants, Raves, Recipes

The Luck of the Irish and Other interesting Facts~ Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!

This Monday will be the fun filled day of green beer, green burgers, maybe even green eggs and ham, but what is St. Patty’s day really about anyway?

You know… I didn’t know.

So, I looked it up! 🙂

Here’s a couple of quick little film clips you can watch from the history channel:


and http://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/st-patricks-day-facts/videos

Basically, it has to do with the celebration of one man, St. Patrick, in Ireland & now the U.S.

So how did we get into doing all the crazy dying of rivers, drinks and food green?

Well, I guess we are just a little eccentric! It is apparently a U.S. thing.

And why all the pinching?

The answers differ, but…according to Ask.com “One gets pinched on St Patricks day because they are not wearing green. It is a tradition that St. Patrick’s revealers thought wearing green made one invisible to (fairy creatures) leprechauns, who would pinch anyone they could see not wearing green. So people began to do this as reminder that the leprechauns would sneak up and pinch you.” (http://www.ask.com/question/why-do-you-get-pinched-on-st-patricks-day)

What about the “luck of the Irish?”

Well, different sources say different things. Some say it is an ironic statement because of the historically bad times they’ve had. Others say it is because of the ability to bounce back after hard times, and also, the “luck” they had while panning for gold during the gold rush. Interesting thought.

What’s the deal about the four leaf clover?

You know… I don’t know! I found 51 four leaf clovers sitting on the side lines during gym class in my senior year of high school, but it didn’t seem to change my luck any. 🍀

I hope you have enjoyed our little comically influenced, historical aside.

Listen to the funny, somewhat traditional “Unicorn Song”! 🎶 🎶 (to view the pics click on the you tube logo to go to you tube)

Enjoy the festivities, remember that beer does contain gluten unless properly marked, and maybe try some of the suggestions below!

Have FUN!! Wear green or not. And enjoy the food if you can. 🙂


Make a yummy gluten free, non-dairy mint chocolate chip shake using coconut milk, and So Delicious’ Mint Chip Ice Cream. Check your mint flavoring to make sure the alcohol used to make it is gluten free!

Homemade Limeaid with Stevia or Agave (low glycemic) nectar to taste instead of sugar!

Irish Soda Bread with fun history facts behind it:

Gluten free Shamrock cupcakes: don’t use Guinness beer. Use either a gluten free variety or coffee.

Good Ole’ Fashioned Corned Beef and Cabbage (A little challenging for those going Paleo or Autoimmune).

To find more Gluten Free Recipes, please see my pins on Pinterest. Including fun Gluten free pet treats for our four legged friends. 🙂


May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
author unknown~

Happy Reading and Eating!


Rants, Raves, Reviews

“Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich ~ Alone in Illness and Health.

“Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich

~ Feeling Alone in Illness and Health is Not Necessary~

Sometimes, when dealing with illness, and modifying one’s life to accommodate new dietary issues, one can feel alone or discouraged about things.

I think the greatest lesson that I have learned over the past month and a half or so is how great the online community is!

There are so many creative people out there thinking around their problems, sharing resources and recipes and encouraging one and other. For that I am really thankful.

I receive email updates daily from various bloggers who have been incredibly helpful and encouraging.

Some of which will be mentioned below.

I am also a new member of a Gluten Free Global Community!!! Yes my friends, we are NOT alone. 🙂

Gluten Free Global Community

Some of the great bloggers that I have found that are extremely helpful, kind, and empathetic are as follows. I recommend signing up for their newsletters as they also share about other bloggers as well!

The helpful blogs and websites have been;

Pinterest is a wonderful resource!!! You may follow my Pinterest board here:

Here I’ve pinned over 2000 entries and more are soon to follow!

While these are just a few references, I really appreciate all that everyone has done to offer creative solutions to a difficult situation! While everyone may enjoy a little solitude once in a while, we do not have to feel alone! 🙂

Please feel free to share your favorite blogs in response to this post!

Happy Reading and Eating,

Rants, Raves, Reviews

Glutino~ YUM!

Over recent weeks, I have settled for the crunch of celery when I have had massive “crunchy food” cravings.

Then, my mom bought me Glutino!

The skies parted, the rain clouds cleared… low an behold in my hands I held the key to all things crunchy!

glutino cookies

Cautiously (I didn’t want to get my hopes up).. I carefully read the nutrition label and found that it did have some soy and eggs, but it was worth a try.

All I can say is… OH MY GOHHHH…. 🙂 I have found the answer!

The cookie itself is made with confectioner’s sugar and starches in place of wheat, so if you are watching your sugars, you may want to be careful.

Needless to say, after weeks of gluten wheat free eating of no sweets and very limited foods, I was in heaven! I know that as I learn more about my new dietary changes and learn to cook again, things will get better… but until then…

Thank you Glutino for not adding the artificial sweeteners that I cannot have so that I may on occasion indulge. You are my HERO!

There’s cookies, pasta, pretzels and more.

You can get Glutino coupons here and sign up for their newsletter if you are really a fan! 🙂

Just be forewarned, the whole “Bet you can’t eat just one!” principle really applies!

Until next time,
Happy Reading and Eating!

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Rants, Reviews

“Stuff that’s hidden and murky and ambiguous is scary because you don’t know what it does.” Jerry Garcia… Surprising Sources of Hidden Gluten!

Stuff that’s hidden and murky and ambiguous is scary because you don’t know what it does.” Jerry Garcia

So just how far down does this rabbit hole go?

When first discovering that one must “give up” gluten, some may think, “So, can’t you just pick it out?”

Sadly, no. Gluten is the stuff that glues things together in many forms!

It is in make-up, gummed envelopes, labels and stamps, and other non-edibles. But what about every day foods?

Everyone knows about the baked goods that can contain gluten, but what about rye, barley and the cross-contamination of oats milled in locations that also mill those grains. Some would even think to add corn since corn also has a type of protein, or gluten in it.

Imagine sitting down to that wonderful Thanksgiving meal, you have your gluten free stuffing, and all the trimmings. You even went the extra mile and expense to purchase a hormone free turkey… but did you check to make sure it wasn’t self-basting? Did you know that self-basting turkeys can contain gluten? What about French fries, and playdough (the stuff that kids play with!) How about the cardboard boxes that orange juice is sold in?!?

To help out, here’s a small list of hidden sources of gluten… Some, you would never even think of!

Coatings, colorings, Emulsifiers, the fillers in luncheon meat and hot dogs, modified food starch, citric acid, flavorings made with grain alcohol (yes, this means you vanilla extract!!!) all contain gluten. Vegetable protein, certain vinegars, oils and soy sauce as well as, hard candy, candy bars, and many condiments can contain gluten as well.

To read more about the hidden sources of gluten please read the following links;



Read here about the hidden source of gluten in playdough! http://www.practicalgastro.com/pdf/September08/HlywiakArticle.pdf


Here is a great set of videos with great details!

This video is about hidden gluten!

Gluten in beer and alcohol.

Gluten in coffee and tea.

Gluten in Food Storage Containers.

Gluten in Medicines, Vitamins, and Probiotics.

There is a sea of knowledge and so much information. The best action is to educate yourself so that you may know why your body may do certain things. Through experimentation and deductive reasoning, you may find some answers. But then, sometimes, it’s just a mystery.

Recently, I drank bottled water with a flavored mix I added to it. The mix was sold as “gluten free” but still triggered a reaction. Could it have been due to the citric acid? Perhaps… who knows? Everyone’s body is different. Just because one person’s body reacts doesn’t mean that another person’s body will react the same way.

The purpose of my sharing this information is not to overload, but to help educate. If your body acts one way after eating or drinking something, it may not mean that it was because of the item itself, but perhaps because of the container it was stored in. Hopefully, through the process of elimination, you may find some answers.

The labyrinth of gluten is magnificent. In time, with a little luck, education, and intelligent experimentation, you and I both, will find our way!

Be blessed, don’t give up, and
Keep Reading and Eating!!
~ Christa ~


Rants, Reviews

“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond…”

“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond…”
― Jessy and Bryan Matteo

This past weekend, as I (and everyone else in the US) braved the trip to the grocery store in preparation of Superbowl Sunday, I had an excellent opportunity to help a fellow newbie at the grocery store.

As I walked slowly through the isles contemplating the purchases that I should make, a father and daughter were walking through the cereal isle looking for breakfast cereal that was “Gluten Free.” We briefly struck up a conversation in which she too had just started going gluten free and was lost in the sea of cereal and wheat products that are so prevalent in today’s society.

Happily, armed to bear, I was able to run up to the front of the store and ask for another copy of their gluten free product list. Granted, it only contained the store brand items, but at least it was a start!

So, with copy in hand, I returned to find the woman and her father still searching in another part of the store and handed her the list. It was a small thing, but it really made me feel good that I was able to do this for her. 🙂

Then, two isles over, I met another woman looking at the pastas in the gluten free section and mentioned if she cooked the pasta for the minimum amount of time, the pasta is still al dente (a mandatory requirement in my book).

It felt so good to be able to help others who are facing the same dietary plight as I am and I am only 2 weeks into my dietary changes.

Sooo… I thought, why not look into the other stores as well for their gluten free, dietary lists? After all, if I’m a newbie who needs help, as were they, how many others could there be? Right?

In this post, I thought I’d share the info I’ve found about the gluten free sections of grocery stores and those who are more gluten free friendly.

I must say, if you are close to a Whole Foods, you are blessed! Whole Foods has an amazing website! Their site is LOADED with gluten free information including information on Celiac disease, suggestions for support groups and the fact that they are more than happy to supply a meeting room at your local store if they have a meeting room available. How is that for customer service? Huh?

They take the time to care, and post, and educate… For more information on gluten free items, their gluten free bakery and where gluten hides, please definitely visit them here: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/healthy-eating/special-diets/gluten-free

I’ve always LOVED Whole Foods and really celebrated the new location opened in Charlotte, NC! I was truly spoiled by them. 🙂

Anyway, here are the gluten free lists of products offered at various stores… More will follow, but this is a good start. Some are in pdf form, some are the website pages themselves… Happy hunting. 🙂

Whole Foods: http://www2.wholefoodsmarket.com/specialdiets/APK_Gluten_Free.pdf
Trader Joes: http://www.traderjoes.com/pdf/lists/list-no-gluten.pdf
Harris Teeter: http://www.harristeeter.com/shopping/gluten_free.aspx
Publix: http://www.publix.com/managed_pdfs/GlutenFree10117.108335384.pdf
Kroger: https://www.kroger.com/asset/banner-glute-free-product-list

Sadly, not everyone is gluten free friendly and have lists readily available. I think that is a great mistake on their part as there are more and more people showing at grocery stores wondering what to buy. This weekend was a perfect case in point.

By the way, did I mention that I LOVE Whole Foods?? :)…jk..

Anyway, I hope that you find these links and lists helpful.

Of course, as I learn more, I will be happy to share further! I can’t wait to start creating my very own recipes. That will mean great success for me!

So, what is your favorite place to buy GF foods? Please email me or post a response!

Anyway, Happy Reading and Eating!
~ Christa ~

Be Strong! Carry on!

Be Strong! Carry on!

Rants, Reviews, Uncategorized

“Let them eat cake…” Um… Huh?!

“Let them eat cake…” Huh?!

Historically speaking, Marie Antoinette, reputed for having said this, did not say it exactly, but the attitude was clear, and actions can speak more loudly than words!

Sadly, while many may understand the effects of extremely visible illnesses, they may not understand those whose symptoms that remain unseen…. Guilty!

I have been pouring over various posts and blogs throughout the web over the past week trying to educate myself before seeing a nutritionist, and many writers of gluten free posts have expressed the embarrassment, frustration and disappointment at the reaction of others to their dietary plight. For their hurt and frustration I am sorry!!

Having gone through extreme dietary changes in junior high school, (one of those humiliating times in every person’s life), I learned very quickly to leave the lunch room to eat my rice cakes and peanut butter to avoid mockery.

Later in life, it was also experienced when having to go “red-meat free” and eventually vegetarian for a while only to be told by others… “Meat is for the belly and the belly is for meat.” Yes, they were adults. There’s no point in getting angry at ignorance. Should they, those who say such things, ever come to deal with such restrictions, they will face their own frustrations and then will also understand… Ignorance is not bliss. 

So, as an adult, is your best idea to lock yourself away from the living? NO!!! 🙂

Your best attitude is to Arm yourself with knowledge and know the ramifications of physical discomfort should you cave!! JUST DON’T DO IT! In a momentary lapse of judgment, you may be tempted to succumb to peer pressure, but DON’T DO IT!!!
Be Strong! Carry on! Remember what you went through to get where you are… gluten free… and how much better you are starting to feel… If you’ve past the wheat and dairy “D.T.s” (yes, there are withdrawl symptoms), think about going through them again or worse, how bad you felt before giving them up! Mine have been pretty yucky. I don’t recommend dropping Gluten/wheat, dairy, eggs, and caffeine all at once if you can help it. 

Time for the Illustrative, Dramatic, Theatrical Scene:
A bunch of friends are getting together from work, and you are invited… you are now gluten free… What do you do?…
What DO you do? 
The clouds part…
The pigeons are loosed…
Low and behold, a list inscribed by the gods is now placed in your hands… Ting!!

A list of fast food restaurant and links to their gluten free sections. YOU ARE SAVED!!! ( Just kidding… after all, it’s just fast food, but it’s a start).

REMEMBER!!!! Just because these say that they are gluten free, mistakes do happen , so don’t go into things blindly, research… research… research! After a while, it will become second nature and you won’t really even have to think about it anymore. 🙂

So anyway, here we go. Some of these are in pdf form while others are an actual app you can use on the website or smart phone. I’ve also included another link to a page that has an in depth listing of various websites! I suggest that you keep a ready planned meal list for each restaurant for fast and easy (and hopefully embarrassment free) ordering.

Bon Appetit mes amis!

Wendy’s – http://www.wendys.com/redesign/wendys/pdf/en_US_gluten_free_list.pdf
Bojangles- http://glutenfreeguidehq.com/bojangles-gluten-free-menu/
McDonalds http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/ingredientslist.pdf this is a little complicated and you must read each item’s ingredients, but it does tell you what allergens they contain. Make your meal plan before going.
Chick-fil-A- http://media.chick-fil-a.com/Media/pdf/GlutenFreeItemsList.pdf
Arby’s http://cds.arbys.com/pdfs/nutrition/gluten-free-menu.pdf
Burger King- http://www.bk.com/cms/en/us/cms_out/digital_assets/files/pages/MenuGlutenFree.pdf
Red Robin is the best! They provide an actual app on their website under the menu section that lets you chose the allergens that you’d like to avoid! FABULOUS!!

You can avoid wheat/gluten, soy, eggs, and much more! The link is displayed in the picture below, but if you have difficulty, here is the pdf.  https://www.redrobin.com/pdf/Wheat_Gluten_Allergen_Menu.pdf

For assistance with more restaurants such as Chipotle and others, please see this link! 
Be strong..
Stay warm, stay safe, and Enjoy Reading and Eating!!