Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gluten Intolerance Group and Product Sampling

When I first found out that I may have Celiac disease, I learned of support groups and started google searching for “gluten free Chicago,” thankful that I live in such a large city where I would be able to find a group that matched my potential new diet. I found the Gluten Intolerance Group and went to my first meeting when I was only three weeks gluten free, back when I was uneducated and thought that meant only wheat-free... Since then, I've come a long way and have read so much information on gluten and the diet and tried a bunch of different products.

Lately, we’ve been having taste testings at our meeting at the Whole Foods in the South Loop (first Thursday of the month at 7pm). Last month, there was Silk’s seasonal soy milk drinks and some gummies. The pumpkin pie contained traces of dairy, so I had to pass. This month, we tried some bars and cookies. And I could sample everything!

I finally found a triple threat with many options that works for me and Eliot: Katz Gluten Free. Their products are manufactured in a dedicated gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free facility. Juggling two food allergies or intolerances can be difficult enough, but our combined combination makes finding pre-made desserts difficult. (Thankfully, I love baking so neither of us has felt deprived yet.) I sampled chocolate rugelech, chocolate chip cookies, marble cake, and challah Kaiser rolls. The rolls were delicious and would be great for a sandwich! (Not that I’ve been craving that lately or anything…) The marble cake was one of those surprising bites that did not taste gluten free at all!

We also sampled Wild Alice Bars. And by sample, we had bars that were little one bite tastes of two different bars. They are gluten free and vegan, but contain tree nuts, so they would have to be treats just for me if I buy them. They were pretty good. I really liked the Cranberry Walnut bar.

And finally, we welcomed Marshall, the founder of The GFB – The Gluten Free Bar. Another fantastic triple threat! They were made to be snacks or even meal replacements that were great tasting. Currently there are two flavors out: Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Both are really tasty, rich, and very filling. I’m actually planning on having one for lunch tomorrow since I’ll need to eat on the train between church and a baking party! I have a few currently in my backpack so whenever Eliot or I need a snack, they are ready for us and more importantly: safe and tasty for both of us. (I’m such a mom… I used to make sure to have at least two bars always in my bag and making sure at least one of them was tree-nut free which was hard. I'm thrilled to have found a product that we both love!)

If you are interested in any of the above mentioned products, you can order them online. And if you would like to come check out a Gluten Intolerance Group meeting, check out their meeting schedule. There are meetings in the South Loop, Evanston, Hinsdale, Libertyville, Northbook, and Orland Park. Next month, the South Loop meeting is going to be having a bread tasting! Yum!

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