GFAF Expo comes back to New Jersey! Giveaway!

(Disclaimer: I am not being paid by the GFAF Expo organization. I am one of their official expo bloggers and am recieving a comped admission ticket. All opinions are my own.)

The GFAF Expo is coming back to Secaucus, New Jersey! I’ve had this event in my calendar since the expo last year, and I cannot wait.

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The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo is a great opportunity to meet other gluten free folks, attend lectures, and sample amazing products from businesses and local bakeries. I normally spend the entire expo running around and talking to friends, a piece of cake constantly in each hand.

Now before you say, “What???? New Jersey??? That’s so far!!!” Trust me, it’s so easy to get there. It’s a ten-ish minute bus ride from Port Authority, and the bus drops you off right in from of the expo center.

I’ll be at the expo Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, so if you’ll be there please let me know so we can say hi!

Tickets and more information available at www.gfafexpo.com/expos/new-york

Use code “NYC30” for 30% off tickets!

Ticket GIVEAWAY! For a chance to win a free ticket leave a comment below – what are you most excited to see/do/sample at the expo? Giveaway ends Friday September 21st at 11:59pm EST. For the NJ expo only.

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Updated – Opinion on the Nima Sensor

Disclaimer – The following opinions are my own. I own a Nima Sensor (which I paid for myself). This is meant to be a discussion, so pease feel free to contribute. Please keep in mind that the FDA has defined gluten free as less than 20ppm (parts per million). Some gluten free certification organizations require foods to be less than this. I am aware that some extremely sensitive celiacs react to 20ppm. Nima has said their chemistry is optimized for 20ppm but occasionally picks up gluten lower than that.

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After years of consumers and testing experts asking for the Nima team to release their third party testing data to the public, the Nima team finally has via a webinar (which you can watch HERE). I am concerned and horrified, though not surprised.

A refresher – you can find my previous opinion post about the Nima Sensor HERE where I discuss cost, limitations, sample size, inconsistencies in my person testing experience, and questions about accuracy. All concerns are still valid.

Foods over 20ppm

Nima’s website says “Nima was designed to detect gluten in food samples at 20ppm (parts per million) or above with 99.5% accuracy.” However, about 16 minutes into the webinar, you’ll see a slide that shows foods at 20ppm test positive for gluten 79.5% of the time. Only when we get up to 40ppm does Nima detect gluten 98.7% of the time.

Foods containing 20-40ppm are not safe for those with celiac disease, yet a test with Nima may result in a smiley face.

Foods under 20ppm

In the same slide we see that foods at 10ppm will test positive for gluten 56.4% of the time (we might as well toss a coin). Foods at 5ppm will test positive for gluten 34.6% of the time. We also know from a piece of data that the Nima team previously released – foods less than 2ppm will report ‘gluten found’ 7.8% of the time.

Adding in widespread social media and Nima app factors – my fear is that restaurants and companies that are doing great work for the celiac disease community are having their reputations unfairly tarnished, and Nima is preventing people from eating safe food.

Conclusion

There is no way to know how many ppm of gluten your food contains when testing with Nima – “gluten found” and smiley face could mean anything. I believe the Nima team had best intentions at heart when they began making this gadget, and they continue to say that Nima is another tool in your tool box. However, I continue to ask the questions – Is it an accurate tool? Does it leave you with more answers or more questions?

I truly wish that the Nima team would have released this data before they started selling Nima gadgets. I originally had the highest hopes, but had this data been available I would never have bought one.

It is my hope that consumers, restaurant staff, and company representatives will read this data and become more informed on the gadget’s limitations and accuracy. 

 

Additional resources

Gluten Free Watchdog’s summary of this new data

The Canadian Celiac Association’s opinion on the Nima Sensor -“At the present time, the CCA Professional Advisory Council DOES NOT RECOMMEND that people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity use the NIMA Sensor device to determine the gluten status of a food….”

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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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