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!

Advertisements

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.

Eclair Naturals Giveaway – Tasty Mediation’s Favorites!

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

Why do we need gluten free body care products? Scenario: you are in the shower, singing your favorite show tune, and a trickle of shampoo drips down towards your mouth. Are you panicking? Not if your shampoo was gluten free. Ever put on lotion and eat a snack with your hands shortly after? I’d rather not take any chances, so I load up on Eclair Naturals.

Awesome info about Eclair Naturals:

  • Certified gluten free (tests to less than 5ppm)
  • 100% soy free
  • 100% vegan
  • Made with food grade ingredients
  • No animal testing/certified cruelty free
  • Non GMO
  • Handcrafted in small batches
  • Sustainably sourced and responsibly produced
  • Promotes no waste
  • Donates to charities
  • Made in the USA

What Eclair Naturals does NOT contain:

IMG_7152

I recall when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease and spent weeks trying to figure out if all of the brands in my cabinet were guten free. Many unused items were gifted to friends. Nice for my friends, but the workload and monetary loss sucked. It would have been so nice to take the guessing, phone calls, and emails out of the equation. I wish every company were as transparent and caring as Eclair Naturals. 

This is an extra special giveaway because it features my favorite products! I truly love both the quality of these items and the beautiful scents that help name relax after ridiculous or stressful days. Real question – how often do I use these products? Every day. They are staples that are always in my shower or on my nightstand. My favorites are:

A790D031-7B7A-4532-AAF5-BE1114AEFDB3

  • French Lavender All Over Lotion (my favorite scent)
  • French Lavender Shower Gel
  • Grapefruit Himalayan Salt Scrub
  • Mango Body Butter

GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will receive a bundle of my favorite products featured above! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US residents only. Giveaway ends Saturday May 26th 11:59pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Krumville Bake Shop Giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor giving product samples in exchange for this post. Krumville has provided me with samples in the past. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I use and love.

One of my favorite things to do on my blog is highlight small businesses that are dedicated to the celiac community and prove that gluten free food can be even more amazing than wheat-based counterparts. If you’ve been following my blog, you know how much I adore Krumville Bake Shop and its owner, Antonella. Here’s what you need to know:

  • It’s one of the best 100% gluten free bakeries in NYC
  • They make the most delicious and beautiful cakes, muffins, cookies, quiche, and focaccia
  • Cake flavors include chocolate with salted caramel, strawberry vanilla, cherry chocolate, raspberry chocolate, coconut, and even a ginerbread cake for the holidays (are you drooling yet?)
  • It’s an online bakery (no storefront). They ship nationwide and have local delivery/pickup in NYC (get 15% off when you pick up!)
  • They are the masters at shipping cake

Extra exciting news – Krumville has a new Carrot Cake flavor! I dare you to find a more beautiful carrot cake!

Which cake flavor would you most like to try? I remember trying their chocolate cake for the first time and was impressed with how moist it was (gluten free chocolate cake can be hard to do). I’ve also had their coconut bundt cake (AMAZING) and am dying to try the coconut layered cake (photo below) 

DE749DEE-1E49-48EC-8A52-15F427C1B901

For more info visit http://www.krumvillebakeshop.com and check out my interview with the owner, Antonella, HERE! 

GIVEAWAY!! One lucky winner will receive Krumville Bake Shop’s new Carrot Cake! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Giveaway ends Friday May 18th 11:59pm EST. Continental US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Celiac Awareness Month 2018!

It’s that time of year! First off, I want to thank everyone in the community for being amazing and supportive. Your voice matters to so many people. 

Our community has made many strides over the past year, yet there is still a whole lot of terrible information out there. Between people thinking that wheat-based sourdough is safe for celiacs (it’s NOT), to more TV shows and commercials making fun of people with celiac/food allergies, to GF facebook groups banning scientific information – it’s been kind of a mess. Every bit of advocacy matters, and the community needs your help. 

As I did last year, I’m inviting you to do one thing each week this May to help increase awareness or correct false information. For example, upon remembering I have celiac disease, my dentist asserted that baked goods without gluten are terrible. (First off – what??? Why would anyone think that’s a nice thing to say to someone with celiac???)  I politely explained that’s not true and told him I’d bring him a homemade cookie next time that would change his mind. 

More things you can do:

– Chat with staff members at a restaurant that offers contaminated “gluten free” food, explaining why that’s harmful 
– Explain to your family/friends why TV shows making fun of celiac/food allergies/the gluten free diet is not nice
– Share your struggles, success, and advice with others in a support group
– Start your own support group!
– Explain to the grocery store manager that organic wheat bread should not be shelved in the gluten free section
– For parents of young children – offer to chat with your child’s class about celiac disease
-Bring great gluten free food to a party and surprise everyone after they’ve eaten!

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you’re doing this month (or all year) to raise awareness!

I’ve been busy and stressed about a new diagnosis related to celiac, so this month you can expect a post about that journey as well as a handful of giveaways. Gotta support the companies that do it right and are here for the community! Also, be sure to check out the Hot Topics section of my website for articles written by me. “Positive Quotes for Kids with Celiac” is guaranteed to give you a smile. A few blog links below. 

The Celiac Project Podcast and Tasty Meditation at Tali Restaurant

Positive Quotes from Kids with Celiac

Opinion – Not a Fan of The Nima Sensor

Be Your Own Health Advocate

Celiac Disease and the Affordable Care Act

Navigating the Holidays with The Celiac Project Podcast

Gluten Free Dating Tips

Gluten Free Oats – perhaps not quite as pure as we think…

The FDA quilt has a whole lot of holes in it…

What does 20ppm look like?

On Relationships….”Celiac Disease is Your Problem, Not Mine”

Is Kissing Gluten Free?

Cheerios Recall….Here We Go

Think You Don’t Have Celiac Disease? Well Think Again