Gluten Free Dating Tips

Dating with food allergies is hard. I was in a long term relationship when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. My diagnosis thankfully brought out the true colors in my then-boyfriend (which is why he is now my ex). So about a year into going gluten free I was thrown back in the dating pool. Here’s some advice from my adventures in potential romance:

  1. Skip the Food – Don’t go out to eat on your first date. Go out for a glass of wine or coffee, take a trip to a museum, go for a walk. Save dinner for the second or third date.
  2. Be Prepared and Make it Easy For Yourself – Maybe your date will be a smash hit and you’ll be out for hours! Always be prepared with both a knowledge of various restaurants nearby and snacks in your bag. Taking the pressure off finding food in an emergency makes you that much freer to focus on the relationship/other person.
  3. Offer to Pick the Restaurants – On your first foodie date, pick a restaurant that you know is safe and fabulous, so your date has a positive introduction into the gluten free world. Get the “GF tastes like cardboard” myth out of their head.
  4. Don’t Let Celiac Scare You – Sometimes we get nervous telling a prospective partner about our medical condition. Don’t be nervous! Most everyone has one issue or another these days, and a decent human being will not leave you stranded at the bar because you have to eat differently than they do.
  5. Don’t Over Share – Be brave, but don’t get too enthusiastic. Be short and to the point. If they have questions – great! Answer them. But you don’t need to talk about your bathroom habits and your darkest Celiac moments on the first date.
  6. Be Positive – Emphasis that life is good. You don’t want your date to get the impression that Celiac/GF = living hell. Perhaps mention your favorite restaurant, if you have any cooking skills, and how there are wonderful products on the market that taste just like the wheat-filled counterparts.
  7. Kissing – Okay this one is tricky. You can get glutened from a kiss if the other person drank a beer or gluten-containing food (see my previous post – is kissing gluten free?). It’s awkward to tell someone before your date even starts “FYI I might not be able to kiss you later….I mean, that is to say if you want to kiss me later…if this date goes well…and now I’m feeling awkward…I’ll just bury my head in the sand now…” Instead, if you happen to have a conversation about how sensitive Celiac Disease is, maybe slip it in then. But if that doesn’t happen and the two of you find yourselves leaning in for a kiss, you might have to pause and say, “I hate to kill the mood, but I can’t kiss you because you drank that beer earlier, and I will probably get sick. Could I get a rain check? We could go out again on Saturday. I know a great Italian restaurant that you’d love.” These are just my suggestions. You’ll probably have to feel out the situation when you’re in the moment. Also, you can get sick from kissing someone wearing gluten-containing-lipstick (and watch out for blush/foundation/powder if you kiss your sweetie’s cheek!). If you’re worried about your sweetie’s lipstick and you’ve gone out on a couple of dates, why not buy her some Red Apple Lipstick as a gift? I don’t know any woman who wouldn’t be thrilled by their products.
  8. Online Dating – you don’t need to say much, if anything, in your profile. Don’t let Celiac Disease be the defining factor of who you are. Personally, I decided to briefly mention Celiac in my profile. I wrote “I have Celiac Disease, and I’m on a strict gluten free diet. But I love to bake, and I’m an excellent cook. And if I really like you, watch out – you might have some homemade chocolate chip cookies coming your way.” I figured that a little mention of Celiac with a positive spin would automatically nix out some jerks who are prejudice against people with special diets or medical conditions. What’s great about online dating is that you can quickly weed through people. When looking at other people’s profiles, if you see someone write “I’m a meat eater so if you’re a vegetarian it won’t work out” – skip that. You have no time for intolerant jerks who judge people by what they eat. Also we now have a gluten free dating website. I think the idea is fabulous. Instant empathy! Everything is easier with someone who understands your lifestyle firsthand. If I were single today I would probably join.
  9. Discussing Celiac in More Detail – At some point (maybe after a few weeks of dating) your sweetie will probably ask you more about Celiac Disease. In person conversations are important, but having written materials are also helpful because it can be referenced back to. The Celiac Disease Center at the University of Chicago’s website has some great informational pages.
  10. Be Patient – It may take your sweetie a little while to fully understand Celiac Disease (heck, I seem to learn something new every other week!). We were all beginners at the gluten free diet once.
  11. Say Thank You! – When your sweetie really gets it right and shows you that they support you, thank them. Write a card, bake them cookies, make them dinner, take them out for lunch. Having a cheerleader is a wonderful thing, so show them that you are thankful.
  12. In Sickness and in Health – Remember that when we are looking for long term relationships, we are looking for someone who will be there for us in sickness and in health. If they can’t be supportive of you when you are in decently good health, they probably won’t be any better if you are sick.
  13. Never Apologize for Being Gluten Free – You bring so much more to the table than your medical condition. You are an awesome person. Never forget that.

Overall, I think you’d be surprised by the number of people who say “oh, no big deal” when it comes to Celiac Disease or your diet. If a person really likes you, they will want you to be happy and healthy. 

Vitabella Review – Gluten Free Cereal from Italy

Do you ever wish you could live in Italy? That wonderful Celiac-friendly country seems like a haven with their gluten free options, government assistance, and nurturing attitude towards the Celiac community. If I can’t live there, can’t I at least have a gluten free meal that is Italy-worthy?

img_3352Well, you might not be able to go to Italy for breakfast tomorrow morning, but Italy can come to you. Vitabella organic and gluten free cereals are made in a dedicated gluten free facility in Italy. Their cereals are tested to less than 10 ppm and are certified gluten free by not one, but numerous associations. Most cereals are a mix of corn flour, rice flour and other very simple ingredients. I am LOVING this company and here’s why.

What you can expect from Vitabella:

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Products:

  • Chocolate Pillows
  • Strawberry Pillows
  • Corn Flakes
  • Multigrain Flakes
  • Choco Crispies

I normally am not a big cereal eater, but I absolutely loved munching on the Chocolate Pillows as a snack. No milk for me, thanks! I want that crunch. Slightly sweet with just the right amount of chocolate. This is definitely one of my top favorite cereals on the market today. The Strawberry pillows are also a lovely choice if you don’t like chocolate in the mornings (if so, who are you?? #chocolateforbreakfast). The Choco Crispies are a great child-friendly alternative to junky American cereals. In the Vitabella version there are only four ingredients – rice, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Love it.

Overall, if you’re looking for a new cereal company that is truly dedicated to the gluten free community, turn to Italy. Vitabella is here to support you, and they are doing a delicious job of it!

For more information visit www.molinonicoli.it/vitabella-usa/index.html

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

The GFAF Expo in Secaucus, NJ is almost here! (Giveaway)

It’s almost time! The GFAF Expo is coming to Secaucus, NJ in October!

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I have attended the GFAF Expo for the past two years, and it is one of the most fun gluten free events that I have ever been to. Rows upon rows of gluten free booths – cupcakes, breads, ice cream, crackers, cookies, baking mixes, pastas, chocolates, dedicated bakeries from New Jersey, Connecticut, Brooklyn and Long Island.

Basically it’s heaven. Christmas. Your birthday. It’s amazing and empowering. I walk around the hall, chat with other Celiac/gluten free folk and bloggers, and sample some of the best gluten free products on the market. All of the companies are happy answer questions, share their allergen information and let you come back for two or three more samples.

Great expo features:

  • Free samples and raffle drawings
  • Free seminars hosted by notable members of the gluten free community.
  • Opportunities to buy products directly from vendors.
  • The hall is divided into two color-coded sections. Both are gluten free, but one section is specifically nut free, as well.
  • Secaucus is about 7 minutes away from the Port Authority Bus Station in Manhattan. It’s about a $7 round trip ticket, and the bus lets you off right at the expo.

I’m excited to once again be one of this year’s official GFAF bloggers! I will be tweeting about my favorite products at the expo all weekend.

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I will also be there representing the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group – there will be so many wonderful Celiac/gluten free folk to talk to!

Need a ticket?

  1. Members of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group receive 30% off their ticket price with the code NYC30 or by clicking here.

If you are not a member, check out our group at www.meetup.com/Celiac

  1. Ticket giveaway! I’m giving away four Adult Single Day passes. Enter via the Rafflecopter link below – giveaway ends Friday September 30th at 11:59 pm EST.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Will you be attending? If so, let me know in the comments so we can look out for each other!

Hope to see you there!

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Strawberry Lemonade Vodka Martini Recipe

You asked and I oblige! Some of you have noticed my (ahem, somewhat frequent) social media posts about making lemonade martinis. I was asked for the recipe, so here it is!

It all began on a hot summer evening. I was feeling kinda tired of wine and thought that a simple fresh lemonade would hit the spot. I squeezed some fresh lemon, added filtered water and stevia and then thought, “You know what would be really good with this lemonade? – Vodka.”

I recommend using a naturally gluten free vodka. There are some people who say that the distillation process will remove the gluten from grain-based hard alcohol such as grain-based vodka and whiskey, but many Celiacs seem to get sick anyway. I say why risk it?

Liqueur is tricky. Often times companies will take a perfectly good, naturally gluten free alcohol and add gluten in it when they add a flavor. Don’t ask me why, it doesn’t make sense. So I was thrilled to find a potato-based Strawberry Sorbetta Liqueur from Long Island Spirits which is naturally gluten free (potato-based vodka) and stays that way. This recipe is inspired by their Long Island Strawberry Lemonade recipe.

Strawberry Lemonade Vodka Martini

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  • 1.5 oz potato vodka
  • 1 oz Strawberry Sorbetta
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon
  • 2 drops liquid stevia
  • 1 ice cube
  • 1 strawberry (leaves cut off)

Place the vodka, Strawberry Sorbetta, water, lemon, stevia and ice in a shaker (I use a mason jar cuz that’s how I roll) and shake. Poor into a martini glass. Add the strawberry – you’ll have a vodka-filled strawberry at the end! Serve. This will fill your martini glass and make a little bit extra.

Now hurry and drink up while we still have a bit of summer left!

Disclaimer: I may have been drinking one of these while writing this….

Thank you! – Top 40 Gluten Free Bloggers

I have to give a HUGE thank you to all of my followers – because of your support I was voted as one of this year’s Top 40 Gluten Free Bloggers in the 7th Annual Gluten Free Awards hosted by the Gluten Free Buyer’s Guide!

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I am so thrilled and honored.Thank you so much for your support. It means the world to me, and I am so happy to be making a difference in the Celiac and gluten free community.

In October you’ll be able to vote for your favorite gluten free products and brands. The winners (including the top three bloggers) will be announced in November – this is a wonderful opportunity to share your favorite products and learn about fabulous resources within our community, so stay tuned!

THANK YOU AGAIN! YOU ALL ARE THE BEST!

1-2-3 Gluten Free Mixes Review & Giveaway

1-2-3 Gluten Free is a company that truly goes the distance and I LOVE IT. They make some of the most fabulous gluten free baking mixes on the market, and you simply must go out and try their products now.

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Great facts about 1-2-3 Gluten Free:

  • Dedicated gluten free/allergen-free facility – no gluten, dairy/casein, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, eggs, and sesame
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • GMO Free
  • Certified Kosher
  • Produced in the USA
  • Many products are fortified with extra vitamins
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Established by a woman who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease over 15 years ago. Her nieces and a nephew were also diagnosed, and she was determined to create amazing gluten free versions of favorite foods to share with her family.
  • Donates to Celiac Disease, Autism and food allergy research (LOVE!!!)

You’ll find mixes for:

  • Biscuits
  • Pan Bars
  • Rolls
  • Buckwheat Pancakes
  • Lemon Pound Cake (sugar free variation available)
  • Brownies
  • Muffins/Quick breads
  • Chocolate Bundt Pound Cake (sugar free variation available)
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Yellow Cake
  • Corn Bread
  • Devils Food Chocolate Cake
  • Multi-purpose Flour

On their website there is a list of dozens upon dozens of different recipes that can be made with their mixes. Everything from carrot cake to pie crust to wrapped gouda appetizers. You’d have to buy all of their products ten times in order to take advantage of their versatility. I would seriously never get tired of 1-2-3 Gluten Free.

I recently had the opportunity to sample several products, and I was super impressed. I used the recipe for Pumpkin Bars using their Pan Bar mix, and it resulted in one of the best fluffy cake textures that I have ever found from a gluten free mix – so light and fluffy! The perfect crumb. It freezes super well and maintains its’ perfection once it is defrosted.

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I also made Pumpkin Pancakes using their Allie’s Awesome Buckwheat Pancake Mix (I’m on a pumpkin kick, anticipating the start of fall and the approaching cool weather). Though I may add a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg to my next batch, I loved everything about the pancakes, particular the texture and how well they formed. They came out perfect every time – look at how beautiful these pancakes are! Perfect with a bit of grass fed butter or maple syrup. As a bonus, this mix is also fortified with B vitamins, iron and calcium, which is important because many of us who are diagnosed with Celiac Disease often have nutrient deficiencies.

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All in all, I cannot recommend 1-2-3 Gluten Free more highly. I urge you to support this fabulous company and start your fall baking season off right!

For more information, a store locator or to purchase online visit www.123glutenfree.com.

Special Discount – my readers get 10% orders of $20+ when you order from 123glutenfree.com. Use code “Jessica” at checkout. This promo code will be good for the month of September.

GIVEAWAY! Two lucky winners will receive selections of 1-2-3 Gluten Free mixes! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US only. Giveaway ends Friday September 23rd at 11:59pm EST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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

Vote for your favorite GF bloggers!

Do you have a favorite gluten free blogger? Someone who you feel is doing exceptional work for the GF/Celiac community?

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The Gluten Free Buyer’s Guide highlights outstanding gluten free products every year, and they want to know who your favorite bloggers are. Whether it’s me – no pressure😉 – or someone else, please show your support for the bloggers you love by voting HERE.

Please consider Voting for Tasty Meditation!