Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why yes, I DO love free food!

I went to the University of Chicago’s Celiac Screening and their Question and Answer session with the experts. I learned a lot more about Celiac disease and how people are eating on a gluten-free diet. My results from blood work in February and a biopsy in June were both negative for Celiac disease. I am, however, gluten intolerant. Was I on my way to developing Celiac disease? Did the biopsy miss it? I don’t know and at this point, it doesn’t matter: I’m gluten free. My body responds wonderfully to a gluten free diet. If I have something with trace amounts of gluten or was cross-contaminated (again – trace amounts), I get sick for two or three days before my body restores itself to normal. There are so many great resources for those who are gluten free. I feel bad for those people who were gluten free years ago – now we have the luxury of seeing “gluten free” on the front of packaging and the public is (slowly) becoming more informed and aware so dining out is easy (or easier). And the taste of the food? Absolutely amazing!!! As much as I love collecting papers and brochures (I can be a hoarder in that sense), I love tasting and trying so many new foods! There were a lot of different vendors at the Celiac event – Udi’s bread, General Mills, Enjoy Life, San-J, Bakery on Main, Apple’s Gluten Free Kitchen…the list goes on! I tried millet seed bread, whole grain bread, tomato soup, sausage patties, crackers, cookies, dipping sauces, No Oddles, (soy) buttered popcorn! People were walking around with plates full of food and most people were grabbing the pizza as soon as it came to the table)! It was a room full of people “yes” to food! Since I am gluten and dairy free, there were some no’s for me, but there almost always tended to be something dairy free from a vendor that I could try and things were either very clearly labeled or the people were extremely knowledgeable. It was so great to only need to ask about one allergen! I left the event with a full stomach, a purse nearly bursting with gluten-free information and snacks, and the comfort in knowing that I am not doing this alone. It’s a big gluten free world out there and I am always excited to meet new people! Especially when food is involved!

Hands down, the best thing I took away from the event was a Gluten/Casein Free grocery guide. I already have a gluten free version from a different company but I still needed to read labels to check for dairy. The book is $24.95 from – there are Gluten-Free, Gluten/Casein Free, and Gluten/Casein/Soy Free versions of the book available! There are eight different types of baking chips/chocolate chips. That’s huge for someone who cannot have milk chocolate and sees milk fat or whey listed in almost every bar of dark chocolate! This book has found a permanent home in my purse due to its compact size and its ease for use in the grocery stores!

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