Posts tagged ‘personal stories’
[Summer is quickly approaching, and your schedule is probably packed with barbecues, picnics and other social gatherings. We asked NFCA volunteer Annsley Klehr, owner of Gluten Freedoms, a gluten-free consulting company, to share her tips for managing those awkward moments when you're gluten-free at a gluten-filled party.]
A month or two ago I received an email from a neighbor asking me for a recipe for a gluten-free flourless chocolate cake. I willingly obliged, noting in my email that I would be happy to advise her on certain brands and kitchen procedures to avoid cross-contamination. She thanked me and that was that.
Fast forward several weeks, my family and I are invited to this neighbor’s daughter’s birthday party. I have already briefed my daughter that she will not be able to eat the desserts there, so we brought a piece of chocolate for her. We walk in the door to the rich aroma of Mediterranean style appetizers such as hummus, baba ganoush, chips, veggies, etc. I happily allowed my daughter a few corn chips and veggies.
When it came time for dessert, I realized that my neighbor had asked me for the gluten-free flourless chocolate cake recipe so that she could make it for my daughter and myself. I knew her household wasn’t gluten-free, so I could not be sure how she prepared the cake, what ingredients she used or if there was a risk of cross-contamination. The host offered the cake (which was touching gluten-containing desserts) to me in front of all the guests, saying, “I made this especially for you. It’s gluten-free.” Then came the ice cream cones filled with chocolate mousse – both gluten-containing and gluten-free versions. My first reaction was an overwhelming appreciation for such thoughtfulness, and then anxiety.
How could I tell her how much I appreciated all of this food and then NOT eat it? There was nothing I could say to her but “Thank you.”
I felt so embarrassed by the whole situation I wanted to sink through the floor. I wasn’t even worried about my 3 year-old daughter because no one would be looking at her for social graces. I was sitting on the couch surrounded by guests, my daughter floating around the room and my husband at my feet. I was handed a piece of chocolate cake and the gluten-free cone and I found myself profusely thanking my host for all of her efforts as my heart raced. I knew I couldn’t eat any of it. The risk of cross-contamination and the thought of a gluten attack were too high. All of the sudden, a hand reached out in front of me, freeing my hand of my cone. I looked up and all I could see was a mass of curls; it was my husband. He readily bit into the cone without uttering a word. I new I’d married him for a reason. By eating the cake for me, my husband relieved me of a potentially uncomfortable situation! (The chocolate cake I could conceal in a napkin in my hand).
These situations will always happen, and people living gluten-free have to be prepared. Here are a few tips to help you navigate awkward social situations:
1. Call Ahead
Call your host or hostess and let them know that you plan on attending, and that you will either come with your own supply of food or carefully vet all of their ingredients and thoroughly explain cooking procedures to avoid cross-contamination. If you have a child attending the party, ask the host for the menu in advance so that you can plan to bring gluten-free substitutes. If the party is being catered, call the catering company and speak with them directly.
2. Stash a Snack
Sometimes it may feel awkward to say anything or have a special plate. In that case, make sure that you grab something to eat before or after the party and always have a snack, like a nut bar or piece of fruit in your bag.
3. Be Your Gracious Self
As awkward as it may feel, saying “Please” and “Thank you” for foods you can’t eat are still greatly appreciated. People have gone out of their way to make you feel comfortable, so in return, try to make them feel comfortable, too. Parties are not the time to educate your hosts, so if you are presented with something that you can’t eat, accept it and express your thanks, then find a time to subtly dispose it or hand off to a friend.
4. Bring a Decoy
Have someone or something you can swiftly pass your food off to without anyone noticing. I often alert a friend going to the party with me of situations like these and ask if that friend might kindly take my portion so as not to offend anyone.
5. Redirect Attention
If you’re looking to avoid drawing attention to what you’re eating or not eating at a party, then always try to have a drink or plate in your hand. I find that having something on my plate helps to avoid questions and makes it easier to decline other foods.
Don’t let your anxiety prevent you from enjoying a party. Keep to these few tips and you’ll have a good time no matter what situations you encounter!
- Annsley Klehr
[You've found some fabulous restaurants that serve gluten-free in your area, and now you're ready to spread the news. We asked Carrie Forbes, author of Gingerlemongirl.com and The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook and leader of the Wilson/Eastern NC Gluten Free ROCK Support Group, to share how she gathered the troops and started a local gluten-free group.]
I started my local gluten-free support group in January 2010. It took six months for me to have the courage and enough people to put together a meeting (and the push to do it by my friend Jaime), but we did it! We had 6 people at our first meeting and that included myself, my husband, and my fearless mother-in-law! Our first meeting focused on local gluten-free resources and restaurants who could cater to a gluten-free diet.
Once the school year started again we began having regular monthly meetings and eventually added what we call “coffee breaks” several times a month. The coffee breaks were more informal times just to get together and chat, have coffee, and talk about all things gluten-free in our area.
As the group has morphed and changed over the past two years, we now have bi-monthly meetings and once-a-month coffee breaks. We now have about 25 active members who come to our meetings and over 45 members we connect with locally through email and Facebook, and the group is continuing to grow.
However gluten-free groups come in ALL different shapes and sizes. In addition to my thoughts on the best tips to share with others, I asked my friend Sarah Neilson, author of Celiac in the City and leader of her local gluten-free dining group Gluten-Free Milwaukee, to share some advice.
1. Determine the Primary Needs of your Local Group.
We have many different singles, couples, and families in our group, but the more we’ve grown, the more I realized that in our particular area we had lots of kids who needed support. They needed to know they weren’t the only kids. So we decided to link up with Danna Korn’s R.O.C.K. organization. We share her philosophy that life is good, and even though gluten-free can be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be a sad or negative experience!
How Sarah decided to form her group: “For me, I wanted to get people together and do what we would normally do, but with other people, just like us. A group that comes together for good food, friends and fun. I wanted to focus on what we CAN have and where we CAN eat, so I highlight local Milwaukee (in and around MKE) restaurants that are willing to cater to us. I’m proud to say that we have only double up on restaurant options a couple of times, and that was only because people enjoyed them so much that we had to go back.”
Find times that work best for the members in your group. For some, gathering bi-monthly on a Satuday afternoon is best. Others prefer an informal coffee break once a month on a weekday evening. Make sure to build an open network for communication with your group. This can be through Facebook, through an email listserv, or even by using a Yahoo group to share information.
Sarah’s thoughts on being flexible: “During one of our first dinners, I polled everyone to see what they wanted to see from our group, wasn’t sure if I should go a more traditional route with a more support-group-like feel, but most folks felt they would like to just meet out for gluten-free pizza and a gluten-free beer and talk about how we make things work every day in our gluten-free lives. So we’ve stuck with that, and it works well for us.
“It’s important to remember that you can’t always please everyone — I do the best I can to accommodate our crowd and make the majority happy, and for the most part, they are so grateful. Some of my dearest friends are in the group now and I’m thankful that I decided to start this group and have kept it going each month for this long.”
3. Spread the Word.
As a blogger, I knew when I started our support group that I wanted to have a website to promote our group. We started using a “MeetUp” group, but that system was rather restrictive and outdated. Our group now primarily keeps in touch through a group email listserv and a very active Facebook page. We also have an improved website and blog to share documents, keep a group calendar, and to have a searchable web presence.
Sarah shares how she uses social media and her blog to spread the word: “I use Facebook as an easy way to communicate with our group, on my Celiac in the City page. Like I said, I like to focus on the positives — getting together and sharing in our daily adventures, what works for us, which products are on the “must try” list, etc.
“I contact companies each month to get samples of goodies for our group — or sometimes they contact me to review items and I ask for enough to give out to the group, the more “reviews” the better right?”
4. Allow the Group to Change and Grow.
When I first began our group, I was really concerned about making sure we met often to provide a lot of support for our community. However, after many months of lots of both formal and informal meetings, attendance started declining and I was becoming burned out. After talking with our group members and with leaders of other groups, I decided we didn’t need to meet nearly as often. Quality was more important than quantity!
Sarah shares different activities her group has enjoyed: “Some of the other things we’ve done: Field trip to the GF Expo, holiday cookie exchange (2 years of success!), several food drives to get more gluten-free options in our local food banks, a trip to Madison to try a new restaurant and the Silly Yak bakery. Big fun!”
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help.
Learn the gifts that your other members have. I love to host baking classes with new members of our group along with coordinating the group blog and Facebook pages. Another member of our group Nancy, is a gifted hostess and shopper. Nancy hosts many of our group potlucks and also likes to take new members on shopping trips to teach them the best places to find gluten-free groceries in our area. My husband is great at making posters and being the technical support for our meetings. Using the strengths of your members will help the “work” of the group to be evenly shared, as well as empower the people in your group to help others.
Lastly, no matter what you do with your dining group, no matter how big or small that it is, remember you will be providing a huge service to your community! Your time and energy will be an immeasurable blessing to local gluten-free population. You don’t have to be a perfect planner or leader, all you need is a deep passion to help the gluten-free people where you live.
If you have additional questions or need help starting a gluten-free group, please feel free to email me, Carrie Forbes: gingerlemongirl at gmail dot com.
- Carrie Forbes
Every day, new restaurants are going online and completing NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens training and educating their staff about serving gluten-free to people who depend on verified ingredients, gluten-free protocol, and a celiac savvy waitstaff. They’re learning why it’s important to greet special diet guests with confidence and know how to answer questions to build trust. Owners and managers across the country are hearing about GREAT Kitchens at their local restaurant association and American Chef Federation meetings, through U.S. Foods distributors, and of course, the celiac community. Thanks for your help!
GREAT training is better than “good enough,” and I’ve had the pleasure to see firsthand the result of GREAT training while traveling for business and pleasure. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I know I’m going to a city where GREAT Kitchens exist, and I can be a secret diner to check out the effects of GREAT training. There are hints of GREATness that stand out in GREAT Kitchens. Check out some of my travel spots and their outstanding service:
W.O.W. – East Lansing, MI
I ended up in East Lansing, MI, in October 2010, to speak at a local health food store for their Celiac Awareness campaign. On my way back to Detroit, where I would be speaking the next day, I stopped in to meet Steve Pollard at Guido’s pizza parlor in Okemos, MI, just outside of East Lansing. Steve was one of our first GREAT Kitchens, and his staff is well-trained in gluten-free protocol.
The pizza? Well, it is simply amazing. Soft, tender crust handmade crust with perfectly placed toppings made me teary to think that Steve was serving these sweet pies daily to the lucky East Lansing folks. Now almost 18 months later, Steve’s moved his gluten-free operation next door. W.O. W. ( With Out Wheat) deli and bakery has fantastic gluten-free breads, sandwiches, rolls, pizzas and dessert. GREAT progress!
Hint of GREATness #1 – Taste has not been compromised by gluten-free status.
Pizza Luce – Minneapolis, MN
Staying in Minneapolis for a wedding weekend in September gave me the opportunity to taste a bit of the Mini-Apple’s famous pizza spot, Pizza Luce. Pizza Luce has 5 locations in Minnesota that are all GREAT trained. At the downtown location, the servers were gluten-free informed and the gluten-free options on their menu extensive.
Confession…I ate there twice and could have placed an order for the road. What is it about eating in a restaurant that you know has GREAT status, and all will be well with the tummy? It’s seems you have to try everything that’s offered and more. As the director of GREAT, I know what’s supposed to happen when a dining establishment takes training seriously.
Hint of GREATness #2 – The waitstaff welcomes you with a gluten-free menu, say they’ve been trained, and can answer ingredient questions with ease.
More spots and hints in my future blogs!
See the full list of GREAT Kitchens in the U.S. at www.CeliacCentral.org/kitchens
Last weekend, Alice and I went to Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. It was a blast!
Let’s start with the magic of Disney: their chefs are a delight, and the 8:40 p.m. nightly fireworks were icing on the gluten-free cake.
Speaking of cake, gluten-free sales continue to boom. At the Expo, we learned that Mintel projects the market to reach between $8.5 and $9.9 billion by the end of 2013. Mintel, along with market research firm SPINS, stated unequivocally what we all know – that gluten-free is a long-term industry trend that is here to stay, not a short-term fad that will fade into distant memory.
As far as products go, we saw the continued abundance of gluten-free salty snacks, including several lentil-based crackers. We previewed Rudi’s new tortilla, which didn’t crack or break when rolled or folded, and we spent Thursday evening with the team from Rudi’s and Charter Baking, including their CEO Jane Miller.
We saw the emergence of stronger nutritional profiles at Expo West this year. Schar’s new Gluten-Free Multigrain Ciabatta Parbaked Rolls are delicious and satisfying. And Lucy’s has developed a brownie bite free of most major allergens. Also free of all 8 allergens was Enjoy Life’s individually-wrapped packs of trail mix, providing easy-to-grab fiber and protein from a flavorful blend of seeds.
After an endless day of sampling chips, pizza, cookies and bars, I was especially excited to eat some actual veggies. Thank you to Kettle Cuisine for their delicious array of savory soups (I love the Roasted Vegetable) and Thai Kitchen, for their curried vegetable stir-fry with fresh pea pods and peppers. Yummy.
I spent the plane ride home reading the story of Bob Moore (of Bob’s Red Mill), whose inspirational act of generosity caught our attention when he gave the company to his employees on his 81st birthday. “These folks helped me build the company up,” Bob told me. “How could I do anything else?”
[Alexander Hymowitz is a 16-year-old junior in high school and has been gluten-free since age 11. He has been volunteering for NFCA by writing articles and "Pep Talks" for Kids Central. We asked him to set the record straight on common gluten-free myths.]
5 Misconceptions about Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet
1) It’s a healthy lifestyle.
I’ve read news articles online that say going gluten-free is a healthier lifestyle, and that’s not always true. It’s not a miracle diet. You still need to make healthy food choices and keep a healthy lifestyle.
2) Going gluten-free is cheap.
Though the rise in gluten-free products has helped to reduce some prices, the price of gluten-free bread compared to white bread is quite significant. The gluten-free lifestyle is not a cheap way of living because you get less food for more money.
3) Going gluten-free is easy.
Going gluten-free requires effort, time and vigilance. Sticking to a strict gluten-free diet requires constant awareness of what one is eating and where one is eating. It requires effort to stay gluten-free and fight urges to eat gluten-filled foods. It requires vigilance to know what is gluten-free, which places are gluten-free, where it is safe to eat and where it isn’t. Going gluten-free is no simple task, and it is not something that comes easily. You have to work at it until you get it right.
4) Gluten-free can be done all by myself.
Going gluten-free and living a gluten-free lifestyle become much easier when you have someone backing you up and pushing you through it, even when the going gets tough and you have an urge to eat gluten. When I was diagnosed, so was my sister. I know that going gluten-free would have been much harder if I didn’t have someone to keep up with me and know what I was going through.
5) There is no information out there about celiac disease.
The community is growing, and the amount of information is increasing, too. There are magazines, websites, articles, doctors and much more. One should not get lost with all this information. Take gluten-free living step-by-step until it becomes part of your everyday thing.
Read more from Alexander:
[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experiences as she follows the Phillies year-round.]
Spring into Action
A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog
Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL, is the Phillies home away from home for Spring Training games. On Wednesday, February 29, the Phillies won 6-1 to the Florida State Seminoles in their First Exhibition game. Next, the Phillies had a busy weekend with fellow Grapefruit Leaguer, the New York Yankees.
The Phillies lost 8-5 and 7-4 to the Yankees; however, our Phightin’ Phils are just getting warmed up. Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Jonathan Papelbon, Hunter Pence and John Mayberry sprung into action on the field this past weekend.
For the Phillies, these practice games keep the players fit on the field and channel team chemistry into wins. Be-Lee-ve it – Cliff Lee did just that yesterday with a 7-0 win against the Toronto Blue Jays.
On the home front, my family team has sprung into action planning my 2012 wedding, so when the Phillies official season begins, we can sit back and enjoy the games. We have discovered there are a growing number of local caterers who are well-versed in gluten-free food preparation and catering. Stay tuned for more!
Below is a new restaurant dish and new product review on the following baseball-inspired scale:
Triple- Very good
Home Run- Must try
Grand Slam- Sublime
Metropolitan Bakery- Gluten-free and dairy-free granola- Home Run
Overview: Gluten-free and dairy-free granola from Metropolitan Bakery. The 12 oz. package can be purchased online or in Philly Metropolitan Bakery retail stores.
Safe Dining: Metropolitan Bakery uses certified gluten-free oats from GF Harvest, a family owned company in Wyoming committed to growing safe, uncontaminated oats.
Note: For those who are newly diagnosed with celiac disease, oats may be omitted from the diet until the condition is under control. Please consult with your doctor before adding oats back into your diet. Even when adding them back into the diet, the oats should be “pure, uncontaminated” or “certified gluten-free” oats. Read more in this Q&A.
Taste: The MVP is the gluten-free oats, which come all the way to Philly from GF Harvest in Wyoming. The supporting players are honey, canola oil, maple syrup, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, dried cranberries, pecans, almonds, dried cherries, dried blueberries, unsweetened coconut, dried strawberries, cinnamon, pure vanilla and ground cloves.
One spoonful of the gluten-free and dairy-free oats is an explosion of seasonal flavors to enjoy all baseball season long. I also found the gluten-free oats quite easy to digest. The Fall flare from the honey and maple syrup coats the nuts and dried berries for a softer crunch.
Result: Metropolitan Bakery’s gluten-free and dairy-free granola is a great source of energy and flavor to spring into action. (Tip: Be creative and incorporate into non-breakfast foods, such as salads and sorbet! ).
Veal Escallops with Black Bean Sauce at Yang Ming- Double
Overview: A generous portion of veal escallops with sautéed leeks, shallots and herbs completed an enjoyable meal.
The Scene: With my sister home for Spring Break, our family team ate at Yang Ming in Bryn Mawr, PA, a Philadelphia suburb on the stretch known as the Main Line. On any given Saturday night, the restaurant is packed with suburbanites and city residents who trek into the heart of Bryn Mawr for fresh Chinese cuisine.
Safe Dining: At Yang Ming, the manager and chefs in the kitchen are educated in gluten-free friendly dining.
Presentation: An abundance of veal escallops with leeks and shallots was woven throughout the dish. Also, the dish is accompanied by two side dishes of brown rice and gluten-free version of black bean sauce. The picture above conveys rice mixed into the dish for a stir fry effect and a drop of black bean sauce for dipping. (Note: Remember to inquire about safely prepared gluten-free versions of sauces on the menu in addition to gluten-free meal options. Additionally, I always order the sauces on the side, just in case they are not as tasty as the dish itself!).
Taste: The veal escallops were tender and meshed well with the soft textures of the brown rice and vegetables. While each bite was tender, the platter could have used an element of playfulness or even color to the dish with a new ingredient or gluten-free sauce mixture.
Result: The veal escallops with the gluten-free black bean sauce is a good meal and safe option if you are craving gluten-free Chinese cuisine. My sister ordered and thoroughly enjoyed the Sizzling Triple Delight, which she rated a Home Run . This dish is served on a hot platter and includes an assortment of seafood, chicken and beef with sautéed vegetables. Note: Order with gluten-free version of sauce.
Now it’s your turn to spring into action!
*Join NFCA on Friday, July 20, 2012 for Celiac Awareness Night at the Phillies. Tickets are now available.
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011, and will be happy to answer messages sent to her attention at email@example.com. Nadina learned that she has non-celiac gluten sensitivity in February 2011, and is grateful for having been diagnosed promptly and correctly by a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. She enjoys running, shopping for gluten-free sweets and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy. Nadina is a Marketing and Communications professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.
Last Monday, I decided to step away from my desk for a much needed day off. A mental vacation, a road trip to do a bit of shopping, and lunch with my best gal pal would be the perfect way to spend the day off! After stocking up on herbs and spices at Penzeys and checking out the furniture store sales, I met Kyle at her favorite restaurant.
History Note: Kyle and I have been best friends since freshman year in college. People mistake us for sisters because we kind of look alike and think alike. We stood next to each other when we married our mates, and we birthed our babies exactly one week apart. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease, Kyle immediately learned about my diet, figured out how to feed me and threw a dinner party. Over the years, we’ve taken a few ‘girl trips’ where the days consisted of coffee on the patio, shopping, researching fabulous gluten-free dining spots, and ordering everything gluten-free so we could share plates. She is truly a GFBF (gluten-free best friend).
Kyle has been trying to coax me into dining at her favorite restaurant for years. It’s not that I hadn’t eaten there; in fact, I had dined there many times 20 years ago…BC (before celiac). I had not stepped foot inside since because they didn’t offer gluten-free options until recently, and I had been leery of dining there before important business trips or meetings for fear of possible cross-contamination. I just couldn’t take a chance.
So I decide, what the heck, it was close by and they have dynamite salads. How can they screw up a salad, right? Plus, it’s a Monday and surely they won’t be that busy. Plus, Kyle knows the owner/chef and staff well, and I was curious about their gluten-free menu.
I arrive to a packed room. Kyle waves to me from the bar where we plan to sit. After hugs and catching up, we ask for menus. Kyle asks for the gluten-free menu before I do…she’s so excited. We wait.
Eventually, the bartender comes back and spouts off the daily specials. We ask for the gluten-free menu again. He turns away, digs under a pile of menus, and puts it in front of me. Laminated and single-sided, it lists about ten choices. Salads and entrees were listed with instructions about what to leave off the dish. No prices, no restaurant logo, no description of the dish, no GREAT Kitchens seal either, but I knew that wasn’t going to be there – they haven’t gone through our gluten-free training.
I had a bad feeling. It was a busy lunch, I could see the kitchen staff hustling, and I had a gluten-free menu that didn’t really give me much guidance or confidence in the outcome.
Kyle looks at my menu and offers hers with colorful descriptions and prices to help me choose a few options to investigate. She waves over the owner, asks me to dig out a business card, and makes an introduction. (Kyle is extremely proud of me. She’s the one who gave me confidence and support to start a gluten-free consulting business 5 years ago, which lead to my dream job with NFCA.) With a smile, she hands him the card and says, “This is my dear friend who works for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. She is the director of a program called GREAT Kitchens.” The owner took a look at my card and replied, “So, am I under investigation?”
Was he kidding? He didn’t look like he was kidding. Did he need to be investigated? We laugh it off, and I ask for some help choosing lunch. The tortilla strips on the salad are fried in the same oil as breaded foods, but the menu doesn’t mention it. The grill does not have bread products cooked on it – good news. The salad dressing ingredients…I can tell by his face he isn’t really interested in sharing the recipe. I order the grilled salmon salad with vinegar and oil on the side. I notice the owner pop his head into the kitchen to possibly alert the staff.
Our salads arrive in front of us. They are fine. We eat. We pay the bill. We leave. Hugs and back on the road.
Driving home, I just felt terrible. I had an hour to stew over what had just happened. I wanted to cry because I just felt awful. My food was fine. No cross-contamination, the salmon was perfectly cooked, the greens were fresh. But I still felt horrible, empty inside. I had just been to a well-known restaurant that many people would give a four star rating for exceptional service, food quality and ambience. Not so much for me…maybe a half a star for their gluten-free guests.
The next morning Kyle called and said, “Have you ever been treated so poorly in all your life? I can’t believe how rudely we were treated. And that menu, how could you call it a gluten-free menu with nothing to help you make good choices? I’ve been getting madder by the minute thinking about it.”
Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first time dealing with restaurants that offer gluten-free options/menus to keep up with the trends but don’t really understand the customer. This past year, restaurants offering gluten-free options rose 61% according to foodservice consulting firm Technomic. Gluten-free guests have made progress in getting the attention of the restaurant industry by requesting options. But we have a long way to go to make sure they understand that special diet customers don’t really want to be special. They want to know that their food is safe and that their needs are understood. They just want to enjoy their lunch with a friend.
Learn more about NFCA’s gluten-free restaurant training program: GREAT Kitchens
Last month, I saw food activist and writer Michael Pollan speak at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center. As a fan of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Michael’s prescriptive to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
During his talk, Michael noted some astounding facts that, despite all my work with the food industry, I was surprised to hear. Here are my top takeaways:
- 40 new products are launched in supermarkets every day. That means we have a lot of choices, but also a lot of confusion about what’s best for our bodies.
- Americans eat 20% of meals in our cars. We are all in a rush, and our on-the-go consumption is far from the mindful eating dietitians recommend.
- There’s a new term, “nutritionalism,” that refers to our tendency to overhype “good” foods and villainize “bad” ones. We’re better off keeping things simple: more fiber, less sugar and plenty of exercise.
It’s time we all found more balance in our lives – physically, emotionally and socially. Inspired by Michael’s 7 Rules for Eating, I’ve developed 7 New Habits for Body and Mind. I encourage you to try these and to make your own list!
1) I read labels. When I shop, I not only check for gluten-free ingredients, but also read the label for sugar and carb content.
2) I have switched from olive oil to coconut oil in much of my baking.
3) I drink a green drink in the morning made with vegetables.
4) I set aside Sunday afternoons to cook a casserole and wash and cut veggies so I have wholesome weeknight meals and ready-to-grab nutritious snack foods.
5) I stick mostly to the perimeter of the supermarket. That means fruits, veggies, lean meats and dairy.
6) I will not be orthorexic (having an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating). With so many “health” messages out there, it’s easy to go overboard. It is much better to enjoy life and savor each meal – and that includes the social aspects!
7) I have added yoga back into my life. I get stressed just like everyone else, and feeling frazzled all the time just isn’t fun. Yoga is a great workout and helps me wring out all that tension.
One day last week, NFCA’s Vice President Jenn walked into our shared office with an outstretched hand that was holding a special delivery and said, “This is for you. Mike Savett asked that I give it to you.”
Any takes on what the “special delivery” entailed? Well, if you guessed Dogfish Head’s new gluten-free beer, Tweason’ale, you’re right!
Back in January when Mike of Gluten Free Philly broke the news that the craft brewery would be coming out with a new gluten-free beer, I was ecstatic.
I was diagnosed just 2 months after completing my Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University in 2007, at the exact time I was beginning to discover the taste of real beer. (And, no, that wasn’t a dig at gluten-free beer. Let’s just say the quality of beer you consume during college is not always premium.) So needless to say, my desire to expand my taste in beer was halted, and as far as I knew, it was halted forever.
That is definitely not to say that I haven’t enjoyed any of the ciders or beers that abound in the gluten-free marketplace. The availability of Redbridge at every Phillies game is a serious plus; having the option to sip a banana-bread style gluten-free beer at the GREAT-trained Devil’s Den in South Philly is fabulous and truly delicious; I enjoy the occasions when my dad picks up whatever new limited edition Woodchuck Cider has for the current season just so we can have a taste test; and, of course, when the Crispins of the world send a special package to our very own NFCA office!
But, something has definitely been missing, which is why I was ecstatic to have Jenn hand me a Tweason’ale. I quickly stuck the single beer in our office’s minifridge and shot off a quick emailing thanking Gluten Free Philly for his gift.
The next morning I came into the office to find an email from him with no actual content, but a single word in the subject line – “So?”
For anyone that has not had the opportunity to sip on Dogfish Head’s newest gluten-free craft beer, I suggest you run to your local distributor. I’m happy to say that this fun, craft-like gluten-beer has my vote!