Best of Fest – GFAF Expo, NJ 2017

Disclaimer: I was one of the official bloggers for the NJ GFAF Expo. My entry ticket was comped, and I (like many other attendees) received product samples. I was not paid to write this. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I use and love.

The New Jersey GFAF Expo is over, and I am still wiped out! But I’ve got my Best of Fest list ready for you, so here we go!

Everybody Eats

A dedicated gluten free and nut free bakery in Brooklyn, NY (dairy free and vegan options available). It is one of my favorite bakeries, and their baguettes are all the rage in GF restaurants across NYC. Always a huge hit at the expo, I often hear other attendees similarly raving about the bread. I adore the team that runs Everybody Eats (Pablo, Pedro, and Bruce) – they truly care about the Celiac/gluten free community and are some of the loveliest people you’ll ever have the good fortune to meet. No traditional storefront, but they ship and have pick-up options. 

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Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery

Another big expo hit year after year, Izzi B’s is a dedicated gluten free bakery in CT that is also free of the top 8 allergens. The owner, Pam, is the absolute sweetest, and this year I met her daughter – the real Izzi B for whom the bakery was inspired by/named for. It turns out that Isabella and I share a favorite cupcake flavor (the golden yellow cupcakes pictured below). They are to die for! Izzi B has no traditional storefront, but there are shipping and pick-up options. 

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Canyon Bakehouse

The best certified gluten free bagels in town! Pictured here are their plain and everything bagels. However, my favorite flavors are their new blueberry and cinnamon raisin. The texture is slightly different – chewier and much closer to traditional New York bagels. Stop and Shop recently started carrying this product, so check it out!

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Eclair Naturals

My favorite gluten free body care products! Also soy free, non-GMO, vegan, and cruelty free. Beautiful scents. The lotions and body butters are my favorite products and have been lifesavers during cold winter months. I frequently stock up when there are sales on Target.com and in Rite Aid stores.

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Gluten Free Gloriously

Amazing dedicated/certified gluten free bakery in NJ. I adore their desserts (they do wedding cakes FYI!), and I kept running into other GF folk at the expo who were similarly raving. Gluten Free Gloriously recently began shipping nationwide. Their dedicated bakery is in Stirling, NJ, and they also have a dedicated display in Bay Ridge, NJ.

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Against the Grain Pizza

Kris and I have been fans of Against The Grain’s baguette for many years, and I was thrilled to try their pizza. The pesto pizza is possibly my favorite pizza on the market. Made in a dedicated gluten free facility.

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Tali Restaurant

NYC’s newest 100% gluten free restaurant! Tali is located on 26th St/Lexington Avenue. Nicely priced Italian food with a gluten free bar and bakery. The NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group recently had a dinner event there, and everyone gave glowing reviews. 

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The Really Great Food Company

I was recently introduced to these baking mixes in one of my American Gluten Free Boxes. I was thrilled to be able to sample more of their products including their heavenly banana bread and coffee crumb cake mixes (now I can’t stop thinking about that coffee cake – so good!!!). Certified gluten free, egg free, soy free, casein free, dairy free, nut free, kosher, GMO free.

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Friends who attended the expo – did you have any other favorites? Please share in the comments section!

Can’t wait for next year!

Gluten Free Watchdog’s FDA Citizen Petition

Many of you are aware of Gluten Free Watchdog’s ongoing efforts to encourage the FDA to enforce their gluten free rules. She has now submitted a citizen petition to the FDA docket. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as a community to help create change. Gluten free must mean gluten free. 

With her permission I have copied/pasted GFW’s recent email. Please see below and consider taking two minutes out of your day to comment/share.

Best,

Jessica

 

 

Gluten Free Watchdog’s Citizen Petition has posted to the FDA docket. Please read the petition and comment. Please ask others to comment too. The petition is available at: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FDA-2017-P-5118

Sample comment to cut and paste into the docket:

Too many products are labeled gluten-free yet contain ingredients (e.g., barley malt) not allowed in labeled gluten-free foods. I support Gluten Free Watchdog’s citizen petition asking FDA to establish new reporting and investigation processes to address facial misbranding violations under the gluten-free labeling rule.

What is facial misbranding? We are defining facial misbranding to be when a product label displays a “gluten-free” claim but the ingredients list includes an ingredient that is prohibited under FDA rules from being contained in any product labeled “gluten-free” (e.g., barley malt, barley malt extract, barley malt syrup, wheat [except in limited circumstances with clear additional markings and language]).

What is an example of facial misbranding? Chips labeled gluten-free yet containing barley malt extract are facially misbranded. And soy sauce labeled gluten-free yet containing wheat is facially misbranded.

Is facial misbranding that big of a problem? Yes. See Foods Labeled Gluten-Free Yet Containing Barley Malt Ingredients available at: https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/foods-labeled-gluten-free-yet-containing-barley-malt-ingredients/ and Products Labeled Gluten-Free Yet Containing Wheat-Based Soy Sauce available at: https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/products-labeled-gluten-free-yet-containing-wheat-based-soy-sauce/

What we are asking of FDA:

  1. Electronic Consumer Reporting

FDA should establish a reporting system on its website for consumers/consumer groups to electronically report Facial Misbranding to FDA. Because Facial Misbranding is plainly evident from the face of the label itself, the reporting would need only require the uploading of product photos that illustrate the gluten-free claim and the ingredients list (e.g., the photos attached as Attachments 1 through 6), along with a simple form for consumer input of relevant information such as product name, “Best by” or “Use by” dates and lot numbers.

  1. Warning Letters and/or a “Facial Misbranding Initiative”

In order to curtail consumer exposure to misbranded and dangerous products, FDA should routinely issue a Warning Letter based on Facial Misbranding within thirty (30) days of receipt of an electronically submitted report demonstrating Facial Misbranding has occurred.

Alternatively, FDA could implement a “Facial Misbranding Initiative” under the Gluten-Free Labeling Rule, utilizing consumer submissions and information collected through other methods of surveillance.

What you can do to help:

  • Comment on the petition
  • Ask others to comment on the petition
  • Spread the word about the petition on Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts
  • Use #EnforceGFRule & #ReclaimGF

Call to Action from Gluten Free Watchdog

Gluten in gluten free food??? The FDA appears to be doing a less-than-stellar job at holding companies accountable for complying with their regulations concerning gluten. For the safety of the Celiac and gluten free community, this needs to be taken seriously.

Many of you know about Gluten Free Watchdog, aka Tricia Thompson. GFW is an incredible resource to the gluten free community, and she believes that we all need to come together to encourage the FDA to do their job. In the link below she explains the situation and outlines her action plan.

https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/encouraging-the-fda-to-investigate-when-products-labeled-gluten-free-appear-misbranded/

They need to hear our voices! Share – retweet – make your voice heard!

To stay informed I encourage you to follow Gluten Free Watchdog on Facebook and Twitter. Also, subscribing to the valuable resources on her website is only $7/month – I’m a subscriber myself. I’ll be sharing on Facebook and retweeting articles as GFW Action Alerts are released to the public.

GFW’s first Action Alert was just posted. It describes several instances where regular wheat-containing soy sauce is stated in the ingredients list of products that were labeled gluten free. FDA – are you going to investigate???

THIS IS SO DANGEROUS. We trust the FDA to make sure that our food is safe. When they do not enforce their rules, it is our lives at stake. 

Please join me in encouraging the FDA to investigate when products labeled gluten free appear misbranded.

Thank you & American Gluten Free Giveaway

Thank you for spending your Celiac Awareness Month with me! Remember that spreading awareness happens all year round – so keep up the good work and feel free to reach out to me if you have specific questions or are looking for resources.

To finish off this year’s Celiac Awareness Month, we’ve got a bonus giveaway with American Gluten Free! An extra look at some of their fabulous gluten free, dairy free subscription boxes (not pictured below are their new vegan and kids boxes – all are available on their website):

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(Snack Boxes – includes 8-10 snacks from small businesses across the US)

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(Foodie Boxes – There’s a different theme every month! Includes 7-9 mostly full size ingredients perfect for baking/cooking projects. You’ll also find great recipes and the occasional fun cooking tool like the Loch Ness Soup Ladle!)

Remember to use code “Tasty10” to get 10% off ANY subscription for LIFE – every box, every month, for as long as you are a customer. 

For more info visit www.americanglutenfree.com (affiliate link)

GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a special surprise box from American Gluten Free. Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US only. Giveaway ends Friday June 16th 11:59pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer: I received samples of these products, but I was not paid to write this. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love. This post includes an affiliate link. As an affiliate I get a small kickback if you make a purchase. This comes at no extra cost to you, and it helps me fund this website. 

Nibmor Chocolate Review & Giveaway

I have a new favorite chocolate bar, and if you want me to share you’re going to have to pry it out of my hands. Just kidding – while this chocolate is super tasty, it’s also super affordable, so I’m happy to share! Nibmor launched as a small business in NYC (now in Maine) with a commitment to making chocolate with high quality ingredients and a price tag that everyone can afford. 

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Quick facts about Nibmor:

  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Non GMO Project Verified
  • Certified Vegan
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified 
  • Fair Trade Certified
  • Organic dark chocolate options

Nibmor’s chocolate varieties include:

  • Organic dark chocolate bars
  • Chocolate & cherry bars
  • Chocolate & blueberry bars
  • Chocolate & cocoa nib bars
  • Dark chocolate & mint squares
  • Drinking chocolate (traditional, mint, & six spice)
  • Snack bags (chocolate with cherries or blueberries – new 5.4 oz bag)

I am in love with the cherry and cocoa nib bars. Every bite is a little taste of heaven. The snack bags offer individual squares of chocolates that are the perfect size if you’re craving something sweet (about 40 calories per square – great for portion control and one square is very satisfying). I’m also thrilled with the drinking chocolate. It comes in an individual serving pouch, so it’s great for traveling. With perfect texture and sweetness, Nimbor is easily becoming my favorite go-to chocolate on the market. 

I often see their bars at my local CVS store (I catch them on sale, use a 20% off CVS coupon, and get extra cash back using the Ibotta or Checkout 51 apps for an amazingly sweet deal). I’m thrilled that Nibmor is committed to both utilizing high quality ingredients as well as keeping their products affordable. 

For more information, a store locator, or to order visit www.nibmor.com

GIVEAWAY! Two winners will each receive a prize pack of cherry/blueberry chocolate (new 5.4oz bag). Enter vis the rafflecopter link below. US only. Giveaway ends Wednesday June 14th 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.

Gluten Free Prairie Review & Giveaway

Last year I had the good fortune of meeting Deb Wheaton, founder of Gluten Free Prairie. Deb is incredibly passionate about increasing Celiac awareness, spreading the word about purity protocol oats (see my previous blog post about gluten free oats), and creating products that are truly safe for the Celiac/gluten free community. Among her notable accomplishments, she is on the Celiac Disease Foundation Board of Directors and was recently awarded the CDF’s highest honor, the Blue Butterfly Award, for her years of service. A portion of the proceeds from Gluten Free Prairie go to the Celiac Disease Foundation for their programs to raise awareness.

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Important facts about the Gluten Free Prarie

  • Supports the purity protocol – oats are grown in gluten-free fields then harvested/packaged in a designated gluten-free facility 
  • Certified gluten free by the Celiac Spruce Association 
  • Tests to less than 5ppm
  • Non GMO and Certified Kosher
  • High in fiber
  • Higher in protein than most traditional oats (17-22% compared to 13%)

Products include:

  • Oat Groats
  • Oat Flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Cookies
  • Granola
  • Brownie Mix

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Lucky me! – I got to try their new Gluten Free Brownie mix! These were some of the best, chewiest brownies I’ve ever tasted. I admit that I ate more in one sitting that I should have, but an extra wonderful thing was that they didn’t feel heavy in my stomach. The oat flour was equally as splendid and made delicious pancakes and crepes. If you are an oat lover, you need Gluten Free Prairie in your life. They are my favorite purity protocol oat company, and I feel incredibly at ease knowing that Deb is committed to the highest standards of safety in the GF oat world. 

Find Gluten-Free Prairie products in stores nationwide and on amazon.com For more information visit www.glutenfreeprairie.com

GIVEAWAY! Two lucky winners will receive a prize from Gluten Free Prairie – one winner will receive a brownie mix, the other winner will receive granola. Enter via the rafflecopter link below. US residents only. Ends Friday June 2nd 11:59pm EST.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit my Instagram for another chance to win – 2 more winners will be chosen there!

 

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.

Banza Pasta Review & Giveaway

Sure, I like pasta, but I prefer to have protein as the main component of my meal, along with vegetables. As a fitness instructor who is constantly on the go, I’m always looking for creative ways to get more protein, especially after hard workouts. That’s where Banza comes in. Banza makes a wonderful gluten free pasta that is high in protein and fiber, and guess what – it’s made from chickpeas!

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I hear your questions already – “What’s the texture like? Does it taste like chickpeas?” No, it tastes like pasta. As one would expect, because of its unique ingredients Banza does have a slightly different texture than wheat-based noodles, but I don’t mind. I would so much rather have the protein than junky carbs.

Fast facts:

  • Certified gluten free
  • Rotini, elbows, penne and shells are produced in a dedicated gluten free facility
  • Free of the top 8 allergens
  • Produced in a nut-free facility
  • Kosher
  • Made from over 90% chickpeas
  • High in protein – 14g in a 2 oz serving! (25g protein for a more generous 3.5 oz serving)

I am thrilled with this pasta and especially love how allergen friendly it is. I’ve paired it with my homemade pasta sauce as well as pesto and parmesan cheese. Any way you do it, Banza is a delicious, nutritious, allergen-friendly option that will give you a boost of protein. 

Banza is available in stores across the US as well as online. For more information and a store locator visit www.eatbanza.com

GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will receive a variety case of Banza Pasta! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US residents only. Ends Friday May 26th 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.