Graves’ Disease Update & Thyroid Eye Disease Makeup Tutorial

Wow what a crazy time this has been, especially in NYC. This blog post was ready to go, then the COVID-19 crisis hit and overwhelmed everything. Fortunately, my little family is safe in Queens, and we are taking all proper precautions. Now as some medical treatment is possibly moving forward again, I’ve decided to come back to this draft. Here we go –

Did you know that when you have one autoimmune condition you have a higher likelihood of getting another during your lifetime? For me – celiac disease came first and Graves’ Disease and Graves’ Ophthalmopathy/Thyroid Eye Disease followed. Graves’ is the autoimmune disease associated with an overactive thyroid, and it sucks.

Last I wrote about Graves’ Disease I was struggling to find a gluten free medication. I’m very grateful for the generic company that clearly labels which of their products are gluten free! I’m now more than two years into Graves’ Disease, and unfortunately I’ve spent the entire time struggling to find the right medication dosage. Everything is either too high or too low, and I’m likely not going to go into remission. So it’s time to have my thyroid surgically removed. There’s a risk to the nerves that control the vocal chords and vocal function, which as a singer is the scariest thing in the world. After much anxiety (that’s an understatement), I found an incredible surgeon who specializes in vocal preservation, and my surgery was scheduled. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, my surgery was cancelled. So now I’m waiting in limbo until it is rescheduled.

I also developed the eye condition associated with Graves’ Disease, which is the absolute worst part so far. It’s emotional, vulnerable, and impacts me every day. It’s changed my appearance – I don’t know how to pose for pictures anymore, and I don’t recognize myself in the mirror or photos. Even when surrounded by the most supportive family and friends, it is lonely to not feel like yourself. So I wait. I’ll be waiting roughly a year to have my first of multiple eye surgeries, and the delay in my thyroid surgery only means I’ll be waiting longer.

Seriously, celiac disease has felt like a breeze compared to Graves’.

This has certainly thrown me for a loop and is perhaps the hardest thing I’ve experienced. The past few months have been a blur of anxiety, so I decided to be productive and hopefully helpful. I filmed a makeup tutorial for people who have similar eye symptoms. I’ve watched tutorials, taken private lessons, experimented, and created a video of techniques and tricks that have helped me feel more like myself while I deal with the forward eye movement and watery eyes. (Please note: there are several TED symptoms, so if these techniques don’t work for you or something bothers your eyes, don’t do it). Click the image below to watch. Also, if you’re in the NYC area and are looking for a makeup artist for future events, send me a message. My bridal makeup artist was amazing and helped me feel more like myself.

Makeup tutorial
Click here to watch my makeup tutorial

While there has been much to be grateful for during this journey (my wonderful doctors, makeup artist and husband, specifically), there have been a few things that were decidedly unhelpful. And let’s face it, it can be very difficult to navigate new territory when trying to be an ally and friend, so perhaps some people will find this helpful.

The first – unsolicited medical advice. I try to be open about my experiences in order to increase awareness. When opening up about my vulnerable experiences online, strangers have immediately jumped in to tell me what to eat and suggest books from “doctors” who don’t believe in science. And when I first posted my makeup tutorial, someone thought it was an appropriate time to give me unsolicited, off-topic medical advice and (when I politely declined and said I have things covered) suggested that I’m not a good advocate for myself. I have great doctors, trust science, have done research on this for years, and am working with my doctors on a treatment that is appropriate for my needs. Being a good self advocate and helping others in the community is incredibly important, but it’s important to know when it’s appropriate to insert your opinion. Sending a stranger unsolicited medical advice when they post a makeup tutorial is not cool or supportive.

Secondly – “I don’t see a difference.” While I know they mean well, loved ones saying that they don’t see a difference in my appearance is not helpful. I see and experience the difference every day. While this kind of comment has good intentions, it’s similar to telling someone with celiac or other invisible illnesses, “I don’t think you look sick.” Instead, perhaps consider saying “Thank you for your vulnerability,” “I appreciate your openness,” or “is there anything I can do to support you?” In my opinion, acknowledging someone’s pain and vulnerability is infinitely better than disregarding their experience/symptoms, even when trying to be nice.

I’ll end with a short story – one of my fitness students is (if I’m remembering correctly) a retired eye surgeon. I didn’t know this until she approached me after class one day. Roughly quoting – “Hi Jessica, I didn’t want to mention anything or intrude, but we’re friends and I care about you. I’m a retired eye surgeon. Have you had your thyroid checked?” In regards to Graves’, it was the first time I felt seen. We had a very nice conversation, and she handled a vulnerable and emotional subject with grace and kindness.

Until next time.

Holiday Giveaway #4 – No Gluten, No Problem Pizza Cookbook

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I received a complimentary copy of the No Gluten, No Problem Pizza cookbook. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend items I truly love.

When Kris and I were in Italy we fell in love with the Neapolitan style pizza at Mama Eat. The dough was totally different than anything we had tried in the United States (gluten free or otherwise), and we’ve been planning our return trip to Rome with that amazing pizza in mind. However, we now feel like we have a little piece of Italy at home thanks to the No Gluten, No Problem Pizza cookbook.

Kelli and Peter Bronski have created 75+ gluten free pizza recipes featuring every style of pizza you could imagine – Naples, Roman, Sicilian, Chicago deep dish, New York, and more. The book itself is beautiful. I love turning page after page imagining how each of these stunning dishes would taste. The directions themselves are extremely easy to follow.

I invited one of my best friends over for a No Gluten, No Problem pizza party. Her family is Sicilian, so who better to give honest feedback on the Sicilian pizza? There’s quite the time commitment for this recipe (the dough needs to rise and the crust pre-bakes for a while), but it’s worth it. The thick, puffy crust was wonderful. “OMG, dude this is amazing!” was my friend’s reaction after the first bite. Kris joined us (lucky for him the pizza was huge and we saved him two slices), and he had similar feelings. We’re already planning on making this pizza again for our upcoming holiday party.

The recipe that I was the most excited for was of course the Neapolitan pizza. I decided that baking steel and a pizza peel would be an early holiday gift to myself, and I am so very happy about this decision! At first I was intimidated by the idea of heating my oven on a high temperature for a long period of time, and I was sure I would mess up the quick motions of the pizza peel and there would be pizza pieces everywhere. However, No Gluten, No Problem’s cookbook along with their YouTube video tutorials made everything so easy! And the results were incredible. I’m still working on getting the crust puffier, but this is the best pizza I have ever eaten in the US and it’s definitely very similar to the pizza we had in Italy. Light, fluffy, amazing texture, super flavorful – Kris and I can’t get enough. Pizza every day is totally okay, right?

The Sicilian pizza and a few other recipes only require a simple baking sheet and digital kitchen scale (measuring gluten free flour in grams is infinitely more accurate and efficient than measuring in cups, teaspoons, etc). I also highly recommend a food thermometer (warm water needs to be added to yeast/sugar, and if the water is too hot or too cold the yeast will not rise well). The majority of the recipes utilize a baking steel and pizza peel. I highly recommend the investment.

Fun fact – I posted a few pictures of my pizza creations over the past two weeks and several of my followers guessed which cookbook I had and messaged me with pictures of their own No Gluten, No Problem pizzas! This book is clearly winning over the hearts of the gluten free community. It’s certainly won over mine, and I’m sure it will be a staple in my kitchen for many years to come.

No Gluten, No Problem Pizza can be purchased on Amazon (hard cover and kindle edition), Barns & Noble and several other retail stores.

GIVEAWAY! One lucky person will win a hardcover copy of the No Gluten No Problem Pizza cookbook! This giveaway is being held on Instagram, so visit my page to enter! US only. Giveaway ends Sunday December 29th 11:59pm EST.

Click here to be taken to Tasty Meditation’s Instagram!

Holiday Giveaway #3 – Red Apple Lipstick

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Red Apple Lipstick, and this post contains an affiliate link. This means I get a small commission that helps maintain the cost of this site (there is no added cost to you). I’ve 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.

Tasty Meditation’s Favorite Things cannot be complete without a feature on Red Apple Lipstick! With the vibrant colors, high quality, excellent customer service, and wonderful allergen and cruelty free policies, Red Apple Lipstick is easily my favorite gluten free cosmetic company.

Quick facts about Red Apple Lipstick:

  • 100% gluten free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty free
  • GMO free
  • Paraben free
  • Petroleum & mineral oil free
  • Lead & talc free
  • Fragrance free

My current favorite products for the fall/winter are Ooh La La lipstick and Rallye Balm. Red Apple Lipstick’s website describes Ooh La La’s color as “slightly pink, slightly brown”, but with my skin tone it appears to have a slight purple tint. It’s absolutely perfect for the fall, and I’m so in love. It magically works for both casual and elegant/romantic looks. If you enjoy the colors Vogue (my other favorite – this berry color is perfect for spring/summer) or Rosemancing (discontinued), I’m sure you’ll love Ooh La La.

Have you ordered your Rallye Balm for the winter yet? If not, get on it! My skin and lips are so sensitive in the winter time, and Rallye Balm has saved the day many times. I never go a winter without it. Not just for the lips – have you ever developed a rash on your finger underneath a ring? This has happened to me a few times since getting married, and recently I wasn’t able to wear my rings for several months while the redness healed. I tried Rallye Balm, and that magical solution has worked the best.

And of course Red Apple Lipstick always comes out with the most gorgeous seasonal colors! This year I got to try Spice ‘N Easy, Reddish Fetish, and Power Potion. I am loving Spice ‘N Easy! It’s a lovely festive color and is great for everyday/casual looks – add an extra layer and you’re ready for a holiday party! I wore it to Thanksgiving dinner and got tons of compliments. And oh my the new lip liners! I love playing around with the dozens of looks you can create by mixing and matching lip liners and lipsticks. However, I do appreciate a liner that compliments a lipstick very subtly. Toasted Pink perfectly brings out more depth to Spice ‘N Easy without dramatically altering the lipstick’s beautiful natural color. I can’t wait to play around with Scarlet Red and Rich Orchard – these bold bright liners will surely bring some festive cheer to your holiday looks.

(Affiliate link) Click here to purchase and learn more about Red Apple Lipstick! Remember to use code “TastyMeditation” for 22% off orders of $50+! Plus get free shipping in the US when you buy $50+!

GIVEAWAY! One lucky person will win a $50 gift card to Red Apple Lipstick! The gift card will be sent digitally, so this giveaway is open internationally/anywhere Red Apple Lipstick ships! (click here for more information on shipping policies). Giveaway ends December 17th, 11:59pm EST. Winner must respond to congratulatory email within 24 hours to accept the prize.

Enter HERE

Visit my Instagram for another chance to win – a second winner will be chosen there!

Holiday Giveaway #2 – Krumville Bake Shop

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor given product samples in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I love.

It is no secret that I LOVE Krumville Bake Shop. Krumville is a 100% gluten free bakery in Brooklyn, NY. There is no storefront, so all orders can be picked up at the facility, delivered locally or shipped across the country (that’s right – they ship perfect cakes across the US!).

(Photo credit: Everly Studios)

My friend Antonella (the founder of Krumville) even made my wedding cake! The lemon & berry cake with strawberry buttercream was absolutely delicious, beautiful, and everything we could have asked for. Kris and I shared a piece at the wedding, then we took the rest of the cake home and ate it on our couch the following day (I think this should be a new wedding tradition. Why wait a year to eat a piece of cake you left in the freezer? Eat it while it’s fresh! You’re probably exhausted from the big day, so relax and enjoy some cake!). Our Krumville cake was beyond perfect, and I am so very sad that I’m not eating a slice of this right now. (Kris, maybe we get a cake for our anniversary???)

Quick facts about Krumville:

  • Dedicated gluten free facility
  • The owner has celiac disease
  • They make gluten free layered cakes, cookies, muffins, focaccia, bundt cakes, and unique holiday treats
  • Free delivery and ground shipping on orders $50+
  • Enjoy 15% off your online order when you pick up your products from Krumville directly!

I’m always so excited to see what new treats Krumville has for the holidays because they’re always stunning and unique. This year they’re featuring Silvana’s Gluten Free Italian Rainbow Cookies – this is the first time I’ve ever seen classic rainbow cookies gluten free! They’re also dairy free! This gift box contains 24 cookies. What a treat!

Place your order with Krumville before December 16th to get your baked goods in time for the holidays! For more information visit

GIVEAWAY!!! One lucky winner will receive Krumville Bake Shop’s Italian Rainbow Cookie Gift Box! Enter via the link below. Giveaway ends December 12th at 11:59pm EST. Winner must reply to congratulatory email within 24 hours. Continental US only. Visit @TastyMeditation on Instagram for more entry options!

Enter HERE

Holiday Giveaway #1 – Bread SRSLY

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Bread SRSLY, and this post contains an affiliate link. This means I get a small commission that helps me maintain the cost of this site (there is no added cost to you). I’ve 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.

It’s time for Tasty Meditation’s Favorite Things! I’m celebrating the holiday season by featuring a few of my very favorite products in the gluten free world and hosting giveaways! Tis the season for giving, after all. First up – Bread SRSLY!

This is one of my very favorite things to receive in the mail, and it brings me so much joy – 100% gluten free sourdough. Bread SRSLY is made in San Francisco, so you know it’s the real deal. My husband (originally from the Bay Area) adores this bread and is always upset when I eat the last few slices without him. Not only is this my favorite gluten free sourdough bread, it’s also my favorite gluten free bread on the market. The texture and taste are just incredible! Bread SRSLY’s mission is “to reunite eaters with sourdough when they thought good bread was off the table”. Thank you, Bread SRSLY, for bringing this amazing bread to my table (though it is never on the table long – we eat it too fast!).

Quick facts:

  • Made in a 100% gluten free facility
  • Certified gluten free
  • Made in a dedicated top 8 allergen-free facility
  • Dairy free
  • Soy free
  • Egg free
  • Potato free
  • Sugar free
  • Tree nut free
  • Peanut free
  • Tapioca free
  • Chickpea free
  • Sesame free
  • Some products are rice-free and gum-free
  • Certified vegan
  • Certified kosher
  • They ship nationwide!

My favorite variation is the classic loaf, but I also appreciate the extra bit of sweetness the onion loaf provides. All of the loaves are incredibly soft, and very lightly toasting individual slices helps to bring out the perfect sourdough flavor. Add a bit of grass-fed butter (YUM!), and you’ve got the perfect bite. Seriously, you might just think you’re in heaven.

Click here to order your Bread SRSLY (affiliate link) and get FREE SHIPPING using code “tastymeditation”!

The last day to order your Bread SRSLY for the holidays is December 15th, so order soon!

GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a mixed pack of sourdough (1 classic loaf, 1 sweet onion loaf, 1 seeded loaf). Enter via the rafflecopter link below. US only. Giveaway ends December 9th at 11:59pm EST. Winners have 24 hours to claim their prize.

Enter HERE

Visit my instagram page – Tasty Meditation – for another chance to win! A second winner will be chosen there!

Gluten Free Ravioli and Tortellini Recipe & Tutorial

You’ve been asking for it, and here it is! My gluten free ravioli and tortellini recipe and tutorial!

Kris and I recently went on our honeymoon in Italy, and of course we ate a ton of different pastas. We were so inspired by the food and culture – the second we got home I ordered a pasta machine and began recipe development in order to bring a little bit of Italy home with us. While in Italy we took a basic gluten free fettuccine-making class. With my previous knowledge of gluten free flour and cooking techniques, I decided to create my own recipe and translate that to various stuffed pasta dishes. I’ve had numerous dinner parties over the past few months, experimenting with techniques and flour ratios until I created the perfect recipe.

A few notes:

– This recipe is specifically measured in grams and ounces rather than cups and teaspoons. A digital kitchen scale is a lifesaver when it comes to measuring gluten free flour. Cups and teaspoons can be very inaccurate, and being just a few grams off can make a huge difference. I highly recommend investing in a digital kitchen scale.

– My pasta machine has dials numbered 0-9. I think one of the mistakes that people make when making gluten free pasta is assuming they need to get all the way to the thinnest setting (number 9). I stop at 3. The pasta is thick enough to work with and doesn’t break, yet (in my opinion) it is not too thick (I had some reeeaaally thick ravioli in Rome that wasn’t very good. I think this is a great thickness as long as it is cooked properly).

– Your pasta dough should never be so sticky that it sticks to your pasta machine. My recipe is designed in a way that adding extra starch to the rolling process enhances the consistency of the dough, makes it easier to work with, and adds more starchiness to the pasta water, so dust the pasta sheets liberally.

– I prefer to work with individual gluten free flours so that I can adjust the ratio of hearty grains to starches. These are some of my favorite flours I work with on a weekly basis. I’m sure I’ll get many questions along the lines of, “Can this recipe work with any gluten free flour blend?” In short, there are dozens of flour blends on the market, and I have no idea. This is my recipe, and I cannot guarantee the same results with other flour combinations.

Click the image below to watch the tutorial – you’ll find a bonus tutorial for fettuccine!

Tasty Meditation’s Gluten Free Ravioli

Makes about 26 medium size ravioli (recommended for 6 people)

For the pasta dough:

  • 195g sorghum flour
  • 75g potato starch
  • 60g teff flour
  • 60g tapioca starch
  • 9g psyllium husk
  • 3g xanthan gum
  • 165g boiling water
  • 3 eggs

For the ravioli filling:

  • 8oz ricotta
  • 4oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 2oz parmesean, grated
  • 1 egg
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Assembling the ravioli:

  • Tapioca starch for dusting
  • 1/2 whipped egg white and yolk

Equipment you will need:

  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Pasta machine
  • Pizza cutter
  • Wide saucepan

Note: If making the full batch I recommend having at least two people helping to mold the ravioli because the dough could dry out. Using some simple math it’s easy to divide the ingredients into smaller ratios to make a dinner for two or four, which is more manageable for one person.

  1. Use a digital kitchen scale to measure all dry pasta ingredients and stir together until incorporated.
  2. Add the boiling water and stir together. Wait a few minutes for the mixture to cool.
  3. Add the egg and combine all ingredients together with hands.
  4. To roll out the pasta sheets – take a small ball of dough, flatten it with your hands and dust it on both sides with tapioca starch. The dough should not be sticky, so feel free to dust generously. Roll though your pasta machine on the “0” setting. Fold the sides inward to help create a square with straight sides. Roll through the machine on the “0” setting again. Roll through on settings 1, 2, and 3, then lay the pasta sheet out on a piece of parchment paper. Repeat several times with the remaining dough.
  5. Stir together all ravioli filling ingredients until combined.
  6. Use your fingers to lightly coat half of the pasta sheets with egg.
  7. Place several dollops of ravioli filling on each egg-coated pasta sheet, leaving a 1-inch space in between each.
  8. Gently place the remaining pasta sheets on top of the egg/filling sheets you just created. Use your fingers to gently press the two sheets together, working around the bumps of filling and decreasing the amount of air near the filling.
  9. Use a pizza cuter to trim off excess bits of dough. Again, use your fingers to press the sides of the ravioli down.
  10. Fill a wide saucepan with water and liberally add salt. Bring to a boil.
  11. Gently add half of the ravioli to the saucepan and cook for five minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift them out of the water. Repeat with the remaining ravioli. (Note: When the first batch is done you’ll see that the water looks a bit starchy. This pasta water is excellent for thickening sauces. Set some pasta water aside if you’re making your own sauce.)
  12. Top with warm pasta sauce and serve immediately.

Tasty Meditation’s Gluten Free Tortellini

Makes about 50 tortellini (recommended for 4 people)

For the pasta dough:

  • 130g sorghum flour
  • 50g potato starch
  • 40g teff flour
  • 40g tapioca starch (plus extra for rolling)
  • 6g psyllium husk
  • 2g xanthan gum
  • 110g boiling water
  • 2 eggs

For the pasta filling:

  • 6oz ricotta
  • 3oz mozzarella, shredded
  • 1.5oz parmesean, grated
  • 3/4 whipped egg white and yolk (rough estimate)
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Assembling the tortellini:

  • Tapioca starch for dusting
  • 1 whipped egg white and yolk
  • 2 tbsps water

Equipment you will need:

  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Pasta machine
  • 2.75 inch (diameter) circular cookie cutter
  • Wide saucepan

Note: If making the full batch, I recommend having at least two people folding the tortellini because the dough could dry out. It’s easy to cut this recipe in half to make a dinner for two, and it is manageable for one person to do all the folding.

  1. Use a digital kitchen scale to measure all dry pasta ingredients and stir together until incorporated.
  2. Add the boiling water and stir together. Wait a few minutes for the mixture to cool.
  3. Add the egg and combine all ingredients together with hands.
  4. To roll out the pasta sheets – take a small ball of dough, flatten it with your hands and dust it on both sides with tapioca starch. The dough should not be sticky, so feel free to dust generously. Roll though your pasta machine on the “0” setting. Fold the sides inward to help create a square with straight sides. Roll through the machine on the “0” setting again. Roll through on settings 1, 2, and 3, then lay the pasta sheet out on a piece of parchment paper. Repeat several times with the remaining dough.
  5. Use a circular cookie cutter to cut out several circles of dough. Take the remaining dough pieces and feed them through the pasta machine again until you have used as much dough as possible.
  6. Stir together all tortellini filling ingredients until combined.
  7. Place a small amount (approximately 3/4 tsp – rough estimate) of cheese filling in the center of each circle. You want to be careful to not overfill the circles, so don’t be afraid of smaller amounts or having a little filling left over.
  8. Working with one circle at a time – use your fingers to coat half of the circle with egg. Fold the circles in half. Gently press the ends together, trying to get rid of as much air in the center as possible. Fold the very top of your now-half-circle over. Place your pinky finger in the center of your tortellini and wrap the two edges around your finger, towards each other. Dab one end with water and gently press the ends together. Remove your finger, and set the tortellini aside. Repeat with all remaining tortellini.
  9. Fill a wide saucepan with water and liberally add salt. Bring to a boil.
  10. Gently place your tortellini into the boiling water. Cook for five minutes, then remove the tortellini with a slotted spoon (Note: You’ll see that the water looks a bit starchy. This pasta water is excellent for thickening sauces. Set some pasta water aside if you’re making your own sauce.)
  11. Top with warm pasta sauce and serve immediately.

Let me know if you have any questions, and be sure to follow me on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter @TastyMeditation!

Happy cooking!

Gluten Free in Rome & Florence & Lucca

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. We paid for all of our meals ourselves. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend restaurants that I love. Some restaurants in this post are 100% gluten free. Some have shared facilities and are extremely careful about preventing cross contact. Reminder – always do your own research before visiting a restaurant. Allergen policies and ingredients can change at any time.

Kris and I went on our dream honeymoon in Italy! I did so much preparation for this trip, and we had a ball. Over the past few weeks on Instagram/Facebook I’ve been posting a detailed recap of our adventures, sights we saw, places we stayed, and the many gluten free pizzas we ate. Below is a compilation of notable restaurants we visited.

Eating gluten free in Italy was so EASY. In the US the gluten free diet is often considered a joke and a fad, but Italy as a whole takes celiac disease extremely seriously. Celiac is very prevalent in Italians, and when someone is diagnosed they get a government stipend to purchase gluten free food in a pharmacy (photo below!). The attitude in restaurants is also different. Making food for someone is more than a business – it’s an expression of community. Inclusiveness and kindness are other words that come to mind. No, not all restaurants are able to accommodate, but there are so many that do. They do it because they care. Italy cares.

One of our most valuable tools for navigating the gluten free restaurant/bakery scene in Italy was the AIC app – The AIC is the Italian Coeliac Association, and their app features a giant map of Italy and all of the restaurants that participate in the Gluten Free Eating Out program. There are more than 4,000 restaurants and bakeries that the AIC has given their stamp of approval to! Since our trip, the app has gone through some changes concerning subscriptions, but I believe there is still an option to download/use it as a visitor/tourist. Trust me, get this app. Most of the restaurants I discuss in this post are listed there.


Mama Eat

Our hotel in the Trastevere was just a few blocks away from Mama Eat (yes, we planned this), which was at the very top of our list to visit. Mama Eat was by far our favorite restaurant, and we visited a total of four times. The gluten free pizza was simply incredible. It was the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. The crust was fluffy, chewy and flavorful – totally different than in the US where the crust is often just a vehicle for cheese. Here the crust meant something. It was all part of the balance of flavors and textures. It was beautiful, and I dream about their four cheese pizza every night. The house sparkling white wine was amazing (and 4 euro a glass!), and we had some excellent appetizers/sides. The tiramisu was one of the best we have ever eaten, and it was here that we fell in love with limoncello. We plan to go back again and again.

404 Name Not Found

(Recommendation for coffee/wine only – we didn’t eat here) We enjoyed excellent cappuccino at 404 Name Not Found every morning. It’s an adorable little cafe in the Trastevere that has great wine at night. Note the hilarious sign about their cocktails.


Pandali is an excellent choice for a quick lunch near the Pantheon. And it’s 100% gluten free! We ordered eggplant parmesan, a small calzone, and their last bomboloni. We were super pleased and will be back.

Pizza in Trevi

As we were walking near the Trevi Fountain, Kris stopped near a cute pizza restaurant and commented on how amazing it smelled. I said, “OMG that’s Pizza in Trevi! It’s in the AIC app!” It was a moment when I appreciated how many gluten free options Rome has. We sat down and mentioned “senza glutine.” I was super impressed with their responsiveness and enthusiasm for their gluten free service. The flavors were excellent, as was the house white wine, service and location. We highly recommend Pizza in Trevi!

Le Altre Farine del Mulino

I walked forty-five minutes each way to get to this 100% gluten free bakery near the Vatican, and it was so worth it. When I got to Le Altre Farine Del Mulino I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. Rows and rows of beautiful pastries, a super nice staff, and they filled cannolis to order! I got a little overexcited, and bought one of most things (not quite one of everything). You know that feeling of “when am I ever going to find gluten free XYZ again?!?!?!” Yeah…..we definitely went back the next day. It’s an incredible bakery. They make different things throughout the day (breakfast pastries in the morning, pizza in the afternoon, desserts all day long), so I’ll look forward to visiting again earlier in the morning (I had missed out on the croissants). Kris and I particularly loved their bread, brioche, cannoli, filled mini pastries and tarts. Highly recommend this bakery!

La Soffita Renovatio

We heard wonderful things about La Soffitta Renovatio, and it has a convenient location near the Vatican. At that point in our trip, we decided that we had eaten so much pizza and should try a few pasta dishes. We really enjoyed Kris’s all’amatriciana, but in all honesty I was very disappointed with the ravioli. We’d go back to try the pizza.

Pantha Rei

I stumbled across Pantha Rei on the AIC app. It took us ten minutes to find the correct street near the Pantheon, but we were so happy we found it. We had an amazing lunch consisting of an incredible cheese plate, a great all’amatriciana pasta dish, and wonderful house wine. We loved our lunch so much that we had to go back for dinner the next day. The gluten free pasta and ravioli were amazing, as was the house white wine and desserts. We adored the quaint outdoor seating, and the staff was lovely. One of our favorite things – Pantha Rei is located down a tiny street near the Pantheon, but the sounds from the Pantheon’s busy piazza somehow don’t make it to our table. What did carry over was the sound from a neighboring piazza – a violinist playing “Hallelujah.” It was a romantic and beautiful evening. Overall, this was one of our very favorite restaurants, and we’ll definitely come back on our next trip!

La Pasticciera

Located near Roma Termini (the main train station) you’ll find an adorable little 100% gluten free bakery called La Pasticciera. It was beautiful! Rows and rows of gorgeous gluten free cakes! I had never seen anything like it! We chose a few snacks and asked them to pack up whatever would stay freshest the next day for our flight home. OH. MY. GOODNESS. You must visit this bakery! The croissants were the most amazing I have ever eaten, and they were just as heavenly the next day. We had an incredible cannoli, and the “crostatina di visciole” (sour cherry pie) was a magical experience. I wish we had ordered two or three of everything! This is a definite must-visit and was one of our very favorite bakeries. We can’t wait to return!


Gluten free cones! We appreciated that Fatamorgana is 100% gluten free, and they have multiple locations throughout Rome. We tried several flavors including mint chocolate chip, chocolate, tiramisu, and vanilla with raspberry sauce and apples.


Also 100% gluten free with gluten free cones and lots of locations throughout Italy.

Fiocco Di Neve

I present to you the best gelato in Rome! Kris and I visited three different 100% gluten free gelato spots, and by far our favorite was Fiocco Di Neve near the Pantheon. My favorite combination was Nutella Ferrero (vanilla/nutella) and Amarena (black cherry) in a gluten free cone. The staff was always super nice and enthusiastic. We loved eating our gelato in Pantheon’s piazza. It was such a funny juxtaposition – the ancient grey building with gigantic columns surrounded by people in shorts and dresses, eating gelato and sipping cocktails.

Tarano (short train ride away from Rome)

Relais Borgo Gentile

Kris and I took a quick train from Rome to the small town of Tarano. There we spent two blissful evenings at Relais Borgo Gentile. It was a total dream. It’s a 100% gluten free bed and breakfast run by a dietician/couple who were incredibly sweet and excited to meet gluten free people from around the world. We had a stunning room with a private deck, and the pool was just a few steps away. We made friends with another couple from Australia and shared a bottle of Prosecco on their patio as the sun went down. Breakfast and dinner were served inside the main house. The food! Dinner included a fresh bread basket, pasta course, entree, side, and dessert, and it was some of the best food we had on our entire trip. The gnocchi was so fluffy, I thought it would float up into the air like clouds! We tried a lot of all’amatriciana dishes in Rome, and this was by far the best (we’re still dreaming of it). We adored the chocolate crepes, and the tiramisu may have been the best we’ve ever had. The breakfast buffet was overwhelming – so many stunning gluten free pastries! It was heaven. We can’t wait to go back!



We had two eateries on our list for Florence that we were dying to try, and one of them was Starbene – a 100% gluten free bakery. We tried a few different things and enjoyed them all. There are several Starbenes across Italy, and it’s worth the visit.

Ciro & Sons

I’ve been following Ciro & Sons on Instagram for a while. I love how enthusiastic the staff is when it comes to gluten free food and meeting visitors from around the world. We had a lovely dinner featuring a bottle of our favorite wine, a four cheese pizza, a calzone, cheesecake and chocolate crepe. It was a great meal!


There were plenty of gluten free options in this small town including at least two Michelin Star restaurants that were listed in the AIC app. One of them (Ristorante Giglio) had a wine list that was several dozen pages long, and they made the tiniest gluten free tortellini I have ever seen. Buca di S. Antonio was the other Michelin Star restaurant, which had a nice ambiance and good gluten free ravioli. (Sorry no photos of these)

Da Gherardo

Located in the main piazza of Lucca, you can’t miss the signs advertising for gluten free pizza at Da Gherardo . This was our favorite restaurant in Lucca, and we enjoyed sitting outside and people-watching while enjoying chewy and delicious gluten free pizza with friends. The flavors here were excellent!

Have you been to any of these restaurants? Got more recommendations? Let me know! And please feel free to reach out if you’re planning your own trip to Italy and have questions. I’m happy to help! We’re already planning our return trip to Rome and cannot wait.

New! Gluten Free Weddings Online Community

I’ve been a bit busy – I got married! And my husband and I went on our dream gluten free honeymoon to Italy! I’m planning on writing blog posts about gluten free wedding planning and restaurant recommendations in Rome/Florence, but until then I’m posting recaps of our GF Italy adventures on Facebook and Instagram (I took a social media break while I was on my honeymoon). 

Also, another new announcement – my friend Paige (aka blogger Gluten Free & Glittery) and I love weddings, but we also know firsthand how tricky it can be to navigate them with celiac disease. We decided to create a space just for the subject – a Gluten Free Weddings Facebook group! We welcome all gluten free individuals to join, chat, ask questions, and offer advice about all things weddings – catering, cake, bachelorette/bachelor parties, bridal showers, honeymoons, attending weddings as a guest, etc. 

Hope to see you in the group! Click here to join! 

To kick off the group’s launch Paige and I would like to re-introduce ourselves and offer a quick overview of our GF wedding philosophies. 

(Photo credit: Everly Studios)

1. Introduce yourself! Why are you gluten free? When did you get married? 

PAIGE: Hi! I’m Paige (also known as Gluten Free & Glittery). I was diagnosed with celiac when I was in college, after being misdiagnosed with stomach ulcers and told to only eat bread. That clearly didn’t go well and after many tests, I was happy to finally have an accurate diagnosis: celiac disease. I started dating my husband about 1.5 years before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. We were married September 2018 after nearly 8 years of dating. It was a perfect day.

JESSICA: I’m Jessica (aka Tasty Meditation). I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2011, and I’m one of the organizers of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group. I started dating my now-husband in 2013. We had a super chill and beautiful wedding in May 2019, and we just came back from our dream gluten free honeymoon in Italy. 


(Photo credit: Everly Studios)

2. What do you normally eat when you attend weddings?

PAIGE: Normally I eat before I attend a wedding to be safe. I make sure to book a hotel (if traveling) near the venue so I can run to my room between the ceremony and reception to eat. If I know the bride or groom really well, I ask about gluten free WELL in advance (think: when I receive the save the date!). I explain about cross contact and assure the bride/groom that they do not need to accommodate me. Usually, my close friends are wonderful and already planned to have gluten free for me (YAY!), but I then check directly with the venue if the bride/groom is planning to have gluten free options. I ask the venue directly about cross contact, my options, and how I will receive my meal.

JESSICA: Cake? No joke, I totally bring my own cake. Unfortunately, I’ve never been to a wedding where I could safely eat the catered food, and I will never expect nor demand accommodation. I always ask the bride/groom for a higher up contact in the kitchen so I don’t put any added stress on the couple. I ask a lot of questions, and ultimately I’ve found that most caterers don’t understand cross contact. Also unfortunately, I have yet to perfect the art of packing a nice meal that lasts throughout transit, the ceremony, the cocktail hour, until dinner time, all without needing to be refrigerated/reheated. But my trusty homemade gluten free cake always has my back. 

3. Describe your wedding in three words.

(Photo credit: Rachel Phillipson)

PAIGE: Romantic, personal, elegant.

JESSICA: Chill, intimate, personal.

(Photo credit: Everly Studios)

4. What components of your wedding were gluten free? How did you navigate and why was it important to you?

(Photo credit: Rachel Phillipson)

PAIGE: All appetizers, sides, and entrees were gluten free. This was super important to me as I did not want to get glutened on our wedding day! My venue was absolutely fantastic and I worked directly with the chef to create a custom gluten free celiac-safe menu for everyone to enjoy. With a buffet, any gluten would be a huge issue due to cross contact so everything was entirely gluten free, including the bread. We even had a dessert buffet (we love dessert!!) and all options were gluten free. The only food-related gluten we had was a sheet cake that was brought out after the buffet ended and was kept at a separate table across the room. We had a gorgeous wedding cake that was entirely gluten free and nut free and that was kept away from everyone and available upon request. In addition to gluten free, it was super important to me to have allergy-safe options. When I sent out my invitations, there was a spot to list food allergies. I worked with the chef to ensure that everyone had a safe salad, side, entree, and dessert option and that anyone with an allergy could reach out to staff during the wedding to have a plate made from the back to avoid cross contact. Each item was labeled for the allergens that affected the guests.

JESSICA: I definitely wanted to eat on my wedding day, and about one-third of our guest list had celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or various food allergies/intolerances. Good food and being inclusive was very important to us. We decided to rent out one of our favorite restaurants that is well known for catering to customers with celiac and food allergies. It was also where my husband and I had our second date, so having the opportunity to celebrate there was really meaningful. We worked with the restaurant on choosing select appetizers, entrees and desserts. The staff is highly trained and asked everyone what their food restrictions were before they chose their dishes. Everyone raved about the food, and all of my friends with celiac (yes I have several – we stick together!) were so excited to be able to eat safely at a wedding.

5. Tell us about your wedding cake!

PAIGE: My wedding cake was made by a local baker (we wanted to be almost entirely local !)  who specializes in allergy-friendly cakes. At the time, if she had a cake request for someone with an allergy, she wouldn’t bake any of that type of allergen within 48 hours prior to making the allergy-free cake. For gluten, she had separate baking equipment, utensils, everything! Kept separately and entirely dedicated equipments (bowls, mixers, pans, decorating items etc). We had a lovely 2 tiered red velvet wedding cake—one tier was red and one was (edible) sparkle gold.

(Photo credit: Rachel Phillipson)

JESSICA: Our venue was providing dessert, but I still always wanted to have a wedding cake. We decided to order a six-ish inch single tiered cake so we could still enjoy the cake cutting tradition. One of my friends owns Krumville Bakeshop, a 100% gluten free bakery in NYC. We chose a lemon and berry cake that matched our wedding style and colors perfectly. We got all the cute pictures, shared a slice, then took the rest of the cake home and ate it on the couch together the following day. It was beautiful and so delicious. 

6. What is your best piece of advice for someone planning a gluten free wedding?

PAIGE: If you don’t feel comfortable with a vendor, it’s totally fine to walk away. Many vendors will tell you that they can do gluten free safely, but they just want your money. It’s okay (and GOOD!) to ask a zillion questions. Never sign before getting every single question answered and in writing. It’s your wedding day!!! You don’t want to be sick for it.

JESSICA: The wedding industry is just that – it’s an industry, and some vendors will lie about their allergen knowledge/cross contact safety policies just to get the contract. Ask all the questions, be your own advocate, and in the end don’t be afraid to do something “non-traditional”. If you find a great gluten free option that is safe and makes you happy go for it!

(Photo credit: Rachel Phillipson)

Vote for your Favorite Gluten Free Bloggers!

It’s that time again! I’ve been thrilled to be nominated as one of the top bloggers through the Gluten Free Awards for three consecutive years. Voting for this year has begun! Show your support for your favorite bloggers by clicking the image below. Please consider voting for Tasty Meditation!

Also, be sure to follow me on instagram, twitter, and facebook. I’ve been very active posting:

  • Updates as I meet with my state representatives and senators about celiac awareness
  • Live Q&As about gluten free wedding planning
  • Exciting new 100% gluten free bakeries opening soon
  • New NYC restaurant finds
  • And I’ll be posting about my upcoming honeymoon in Italy!

Find me at TastyMeditation on all platforms!

Modern Bread and Bagel (NYC) Restaurant Review

Disclaimer: I was invited to a comped lunch at Modern Bread and Bagel before they open to the public. I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend restaurants that I love.

It’s hard to describe the joy that I experienced earlier this week at Modern Bread and Bagel, but I’m going to try – in short, it was one of the most magical meals of my life.

I met with Orly (yes from Blends By Orly) to learn about her gluten free culinary adventures and her dream to open a dedicated gluten free restaurant. Orly is such an impressive person. She described her culinary background, emphasizing her traditional baking techniques, customization of gluten free flours, accommodations for food allergies, plating design, and desire to have an incredible restaurant where everything just happens to be gluten free (and kosher and oat-free!). Orly is passionate, intelligent and incredibly talented. Drawing inspiration from Australian, Israeli, and New York cuisine, Orly and her team has created one of the most beautiful and unique menus that I’ve ever seen.

When I arrived I didn’t know what to do. One – the restaurant is gorgeous, and I instantly thought, “I want to spend all of my time here.” Two – the food! There was a display of freshly baked sweet treats, rows of New York style bagels, and cases that held a huge assortment of cream cheeses and spreads. I have never seen such a restaurant where everything is gluten free! Then I sat down and saw the menu. Each dish looked stunning and was focused around fresh ingredients. At Orly’s recommendation I chose the Corn and Goat Cheese Fritters (with tomato chili jam, scrambled eggs, and spinach) along with a latte and a sesame seed bagel with strawberry cream cheese.

Orly lived in Australia and explained that one of the hardest parts about moving back to the US was that she would miss the incredible coffee. So of course she brought Australian coffee to her restaurant. The latte I had was simply magical. I didn’t know coffee could taste so beautiful! I’m obsessed, and there’s no turning back.

The Corn & Goat Cheese Fritters arrived. I don’t know if I’ve ever tasted anything quite so perfect. Putting a little bit of everything onto the fork, I swam in a sea of perfectly balanced flavors and textures. The chef trusted the brightness of the ingredients – it was simple, not over-seasoned, yet bursting with flavor. And the bread! They added a few slices of sesame seed baguette. It was the best bread I’ve ever eaten. The crust! It was so beautifully crunchy, and the inside was perfectly soft. I could have cried, I was so happy.

When I bit into the sesame seed bagel I practically fell onto the floor in happiness and quickly propped myself back up again. I grew up with a mother who worshiped New York bagels, and they were one of the foods I mourned for when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. But here they were, and they were just as I had remembered. Dreams do come true! (Mom I can’t wait for you to try this!)

It was so hard choosing just one pastry, but I eventually picked the Lemon & Blueberry Pop Tart. Just look at it! How could you say no to that gorgeous pastry! It was perfect – the outside was flaky and the filling inside was delicious.

I am beyond excited for the NYC celiac disease community to experience Modern Bread and Bagel. Words cannot describe how happy I am. I’m so overcome with emotion and excitement, and I’m so full of amazing food. I can’t wait to go back. In fact I did! – I tried the coffee cake and a gorgeous passion fruit sponge dessert. These are seriously some of the most incredible pastries I’ve ever eaten. I can’t rave about it enough. We are so lucky this restaurant exists. What a gift.

Modern Bread and Bagel opens to the public next week (check out their Instagram because they have some information about their soft opening and updates about the official opening). It features a sit down menu (and a specials menu that changes weekly) along with a number of fresh to-go options including baked goods, coffee, salads, sandwiches, breads, bagels and spreads.


Sundays-Fridays (closed Saturdays) from 7am-4pm

472 Columbus Ave, near 83rd st in NYC

Stay tuned for more exciting news about what will be happening at the restaurant in the evenings, and get ready for some delicious events with the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group!

Find more information at