Vote for Your Favorite Gluten Free Bloggers!

It’s that time again! The Gluten Free Buyer’s Guide wants to know who YOUR favorite bloggers are! I was so thrill and honored to be voted as one of the top 20 gluten free bloggers last year, and top 40 the year before. Whether you’d like to vote for me (no pressure!) or someone else, please show your support for the bloggers who you think make a difference. 

Click here to vote!

8th GFA Winner Seal

Please consider voting for Tasty Meditation!

Nominations end soon!

Advertisements

Take Action – Reporting Foods to the FDA

A sentence that I frequently see online – “X food made me sick, so I don’t buy it anymore.” Whenever there’s a discussion about a certain “gluten free” cereal (emphasis on the quotes), I see many, many people asserting this statement. Or I hear about people who find a “gluten free” product at the grocery store, but upon seeing  wheat listed in the ingredients, they decide to simply not buy it. When I ask these individuals if they reported their illness/the sketchy product to the FDA, everyone has been surprised that it’s even an option. Voting with your dollars is great, but we have to do more if we want change to happen. 

I’ll admit, talking on the phone is not my preferred method of communication. I’m much more comfortable with written or in-person correspondence. However, I’ve contacted the FDA several times about dangerous foods, and it couldn’t be easier. It takes five minutes, and the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator walked me through it. 

What kinds of foods can you report to the FDA?

  • Foods that gave you an adverse reaction.
  • Foods that are facially misbranded – the packaging has a gluten free claim yet the ingredients list displays a gluten-containing ingredient prohibited by the FDA for this claim. An example of facial misbranding is a product that contains wheat-based soy sauce, yet the front of the packaging says “gluten free.”

Things to keep in mind:

  • The FDA considers “gluten free,” “without gluten,” “no gluten,” and “free of gluten,” to be similar claims.
  • “Made in the same facility as wheat” or “made on the same equipment as wheat” are legal. They are also optional statements. Manufacturers are not required to disclose these. 
  • Foods that produce a “gluten found” result with the Nima Sensor may contain less than 20ppm. 

What will you need?

  • Five minutes
  • It’s helpful if you have the packaging information (though you can still call without it). The representative on the phone will likely ask you for specific labeling/date information. 
  • This handy website which will help you find your Consumer Complaint Coordinator by state:

www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm

This is an easy way to help the community. I urge you to report dangerous products. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or aren’t sure if a specific product is facially misbranded. 

Chebe Gluten Free Mixes Review & Instagram Giveaway

Disclaimer: I received samples of this product, but I was not paid to write this review. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I use and love.

Despite the 90+ degree weather, I’m baking, and I’m okay with it because I have a brand new air conditioner and addictive Chebe gluten free mixes.

E94A7E3F-FFD0-41FC-B12C-A580CE05BD22

Chebe mixes are:

  • Certified gluten free
  • Soy free
  • Corn free
  • Rice free
  • Potato free
  • Yeast free
  • Peanut free
  • Tree nut free
  • Egg free
  • Lactose/casein free
  • Iodine free
  • Sugar free
  • Non GMO
  • Kosher Certified

I checked out the large variety of recipes on Chebe’s website and decided to try the Braided Breadsticks made with the Chebe Original Cheese Bread Mix (the recipe uses eggs and cheese). The dough was a little sticky, and perhaps just being impatient for baked goodness, I decided to make these into braided rolls instead. This was an amazing choice. Fresh out of the oven they were warm, chewy, and deliciously cheesy. These disappeared into my stomach way too fast, so I decided to make them again using the Chebe Pizza Crust Mix. The oregano, onion, and garlic gave the rolls an excellent flavor, perfect for the beginning of an Italian meal.

D66FAF19-BBE9-4E7B-A8CF-DCE0840B0D20

I also made gluten free churros! There’s no picture because….do you watch the Netflix show “Nailed It”? It would be my perfect visual submission to be on the show. BUT the churros tasted amazing, which is all that matters, right?

For more information visit www.chebe.com.

Find the recipes here:

Braided Breadsticks
Churros

GIVEAWAY! Head over to my instagram (@TastyMeditaiton) for a chance to win a variety case (8 packages) of Chebe mixes. Three people will win! US only, no PO Boxes. Good luck!

The GFFA Fest comes to Brooklyn!

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate discount code. This means that for each ticket sold with my code (TastyMed18), the GFFA Fest will provide me with a kick back that helps me run my blog. This comes at no additional cost to you.

1C8B6791-2DC2-4223-B8CF-FDE4572B7939

Gluten free expo season starts early this year! I’m so thrilled that the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest is coming to Brooklyn this July! I attended this expo in Connecticut a few years ago and had a blast.

This expo is presented by Enjoy Life Foods and brings together over 50 exhibitors. Come taste their products and learn about their services. Plus, your admission also gets you into any of the seminars and cooking demonstrations going on all day!

Saturday July 28th 10am-4pm
Sunday July 29th 10am-3pm

Brooklyn Expo Center – 72 Noble Street

Children – $0-$8
Adults/Seniors – $12-$25
One and two day passes are available.

Use my code “TastyMed18” to get 20% off tickets! (Affiliate discount code)

For info and tickets visit:

http://www.glutenfreefoodallergyfest.com/locations/brooklyn-ny/

Want a free ticket? Volunteer for the expo!
More info at http://www.gffafest.com/volunteer

Will I see you there! Let me know if you’re going!

Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery Cookie Giveaway

Disclaimer: I received samples from this bakery, but I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love

I think that one of the most important things we can do as gluten free consumers is dine at dedicated gluten free bakeries and restaurants. We want them to flourish and grow and connect with more people who truly appreciate the incredible work they do. So I hope you don’t mind me indulging in another friend’s 100% gluten free bakery – Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery.

About Izzi B’s:
Allergen-free facility!
Gluten free
Soy free
Dairy free
Egg free
Peanut/tree nut free
Casein free
No preservatives
No trans fats
No refined sugar
No artificial colors or flavors
Cholesterol free
Vegan
Kosher certified

Izzi B’s specializes in holiday items as well as MANY different kinds of cupcakes, cakes, cookies, brownies, donuts, pies, muffins and cake pops.

95868FC2-E960-4F52-BBA9-289A0A174BF0

Lucky me, I was able to sample their chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, ginger sammies, and otherbudder sammies! The otherbutters look like peanut butter cookies but are actually made with sunflower butter, which tastes super similar to me. Even after arriving via mail, all of the cookies were incredibly soft and chewy and full of flavor. The ginger sammies were possibly my favorite, but how can I resist the warming snickerdoodle flavors or my usual go-to chocolate chip? All were amazing, and I hope my fiancé doesn’t read this post, cuz I’m going to hide all of the cookies from him.

Izzi B’s Allergen-Free Bakery is located in Norwalk, CT. There is no storefront, but they have pick-up options and ship all across the country! Visit http://www.ibcakes.com.

GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a collection of cookies from Izzi B’s! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. This giveaway is open to residents of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland only. Giveaway ends Friday June 15th 11:59PM EST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Namaste Gluten Free Mixes Giveaway!

(Disclaimer: I received product samples, but I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products I use and love.)

Namaste folks! My favorite meaning behind this yoga phrase is “the light in my heart honors the light in your heart.” Namaste is also one of my favorite gluten free companies. Their saying “food for everyone” reminds me of the phrase I repeat in class every day, and it warms my heart.

Let’s talk more about these amazing gluten free mixes!

A184DCE5-2E70-41EE-9B42-F4DA63570ECC

Cool things to note about Namaste:

  • Made in a dedicated allergen free facility
  • Certified gluten free
  • Soy free
  • Potato free
  • Dairy free
  • Casein free
  • Peanuts/tree nuts free
  • Kosher certified
  • Most are approved through the Whole Grain Council and Non-GMO Project
  • USDA Organic options
  • Woman owned!
  • Staff is made up almost entirely of mothers working from home all across the country
  • They make nearly every type of gluten free mix imaginable.

I received a sample box of their Muffin and Scone Mix and was overwhelmed by the array of recipes on their website. What’s a baker to do? Use a handy  kitchen scale to split the mix in half and try two recipes!

7CB0684F-4149-4B87-9F6D-E22E109A2365

I made small batches of the Blueberry Coffee Cake and Lemon Poppy Seed Bread, both made in ramekin form. OMG. I don’t know which one I loved more! I’ve been craving lemon poppy seed muffins for the past two months, yet the sweet blueberries and perfect crumble was a superb combination. I wish I had two mixes (or maybe four or six) to make larger batches of both. The flavors in the recipes were excellent, and the mix made for the perfect muffin crumb.

5AA214DF-402C-4C79-AB4C-F8A6E1C3B3A6

Find these Namaste recipes here:
Blueberry Coffee Cake
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Are you team Blueberry Coffee Cake or Lemon Poppy Seed Bread? Which Namaste mix would you like to try? Let me know!

namaste

GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a Namaste tote bag with several products (similar to the photo above). Enter via the rafflecopter link below. US and Canada only, no PO Boxes. Giveaway ends Saturday June 4th 11:59pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A “Grave” Conversation About Insurance and Labeling Laws

Where do I start? In January I was lying down in bed, and Kris and I both noticed the rapid and intense pounding of my heart. I began noticing a slight shortness of breath, and my hands were shaky. I immediately called my endocrinologist, suspecting my thyroid medication for hypothyroidism was too high. I was told to go off my medication for several weeks, yet symptoms persisted. I turned to the online celiac community to ask for advice while I searched for a new, more proactive endocrinologist. We bounced around several ideas to ask the doctor about, but one person hit the nail on the head. My new awesome doctor reviewed my symptoms and test results and gave me a new diagnosis – Graves’ Disease.

F***ing scariest name for a disease, right? Look past the name. It’s the autoimmune condition associated with HYPERthyroidism. Yup, somehow it was triggered. Of course when you have one autoimmune condition you’re more susceptible to others.

While all this was happening, a sudden exhaustion hit me and persisted. I’d rest and pace myself out for the day. I also got a prescription to help me lower my heart rate. My heart is currently slower, but still above normal.

What’s next? I’m in limbo, waiting for help. This brings me to the bigger points – insurance and labeling laws.

I received a prescription to treat Graves’ Disease itself. Why am I not taking it yet? Here’s what happened:

  • My doctor sent the prescription to my pharmacy.
  • I called the pharmacy to get the NDC number and brand of the generic medication my insurance will cover.
  • I called the generic brand. It’s not gluten free.
  • I asked my doctor for another prescription for the brand name medication that is gluten free.
  • I called the pharmacy. The name brand is not covered by insurance and is $200 for a one month supply.
  • I asked the pharmacist if there is another generic brand that my insurance will cover.
  • I called the second generic brand. I got put on hold for twenty minutes to find out it’s not gluten free.
  • I called the pharmacy to ask what I needed to petition this.
  • I emailed my doctor and asked her to fill out a petition for the insurance to cover it because it’s a medical necessity.

Now I wait. Unfortunately, the petition process can take weeks, and here I am struggling.

This is in part because the US has no labeling laws for gluten in medication. In some other countries it’s much easier to get whatever brand of medication you need because either it’s clearly labeled for gluten or you just have to ask for it. 

I also recall a time that I went to the emergency room for kidney stones and was given a prescription to take later that night. I went straight to the pharmacy, but I was released from the hospital after business hours. I asked the pharmacist if they knew the gluten status of the medication. They had no idea, and the medication brand’s office was closed for the day. The pharmacist didn’t know what to do, so we called the hospital. They said to not take the medication and to come back to the hospital later that night if needed.

No one should be told to do this just because our government will not label medications properly.

I’ll preface this next part by saying that I am very grateful to have health insurance. However, I’ve been through the petition process before, and they don’t seem to understand why I can’t take just any medication. One of my previous doctors had to spell celiac out to them and asked, “Do you want to send her to the hospital?” That medication was approved, so I’m hoping this current petition will work out similarly. I’ve spend weeks trying to get this medication, and it looks like I have several more weeks of waiting.

No one should have to jump through these hoops to get a medication that is a medical necessity.

I’m the type of person who only takes medication if it’s an absolute necessity, yet this continuously proves to be one of the hardest parts of having celiac disease (for me, at least). One recourse that has been helpful – GlutenFreeDrugs.com. It’s run by a pharmacist who has a passion for the celiac community, and simply wants to help. No money involved. Not every brand is listed, but it’s a really good start.

If you have had similar struggles, I encourage you to share. Folks without celiac disease don’t realize the privilege they have of being able to stop by the pharmacy and simply get what they need. Let’s demand change.