Gluten Free Easter Candy List

Gluten Free Easter Candy List

It’s that time of year again for another gluten free candy list… this time for Easter! Before you go ahead and fill up your kiddo’s Easter basket, be sure to know which candies are gluten free.

I contacted countless companies regarding gluten free Easter candy, and there appeared to be a theme… no one would provide me with a set list because “seasonal candy tends to change” and every company told me they clearly label gluten containing ingredients on their packages. With that being said, I only included candy where I spoke to a representative and they were able to tell me “yes it’s gluten free”. As always, I recommend reading labels and if you’re unsure call the manufacturer to be safe!

The following candy is considered gluten-free to less than 20 parts per million, according to the manufacturers, which makes them “gluten-free”.

Cadbury: 

In the U.S., Cadbury and Cadbury Easter products are made by Hershey, which does not consider them to be gluten free due to potential risk of cross-contamination.

However, Cadbury Creme Eggs contain no gluten ingredients, and their label states that they are manufactured in a plant that also processes tree nuts and peanuts, but not wheat. I recommend using caution when considering these.

Dove Chocolate:

Dove Chocolate Eggs (including milk chocolate, milk chocolate almond, peanut butter, and dark chocolate varieties)

Dove Fairy Bunny hollow milk chocolate

Dove Solid Chocolate Bunnies, milk chocolate

Dove Solid Chocolate Bunnies, dark chocolate

Dove Truffle Eggs

*Always check the label, as Mars Inc. will mention if major allergens are present in their products or if it “may contain” (chance of cross-contamination).

Hershey’s:

Plain milk chocolate regular-sized in Easter-themed foil wrappers

 

Jelly Belly:

All jelly beans and Jelly Belly Easter/Spring themed packages are gluten free. According to the company “All flavors of Jelly Belly beans are free of gluten. We do not use any wheat, rye, barley, or oats in the basic recipe for Jelly Belly jelly beans. The modified food starch listed on the package is cornstarch.” 

M&M:

Milk Chocolate Solid Bunnies

M&Ms in Easter colors

Milk Chocolate egg shaped M&Ms

*Milk Chocolate speckled eggs contains wheat.

*Always check the label, as Mars Inc. will mention if major allergens are present in their products or if it “may contain” (chance of cross-contamination).

Palmer Holiday Candy:

According to their website “Our products that do NOT contain “cookies” or “crisp rice” are gluten-free. However, ALL of our products are manufactured on machinery that also manufactures products WITH gluten. *As with these and ALL allergen issues, it is important to read the ingredients statement on each of our products. Product packaging is constantly being updated to comply with all food nutritional and ingredients labeling regulations. Of course, we have procedures in place for our production lines to prevent any cross-contamination of our products.”

*So proceed with caution. 

Peeps: 

All are gluten free, except some speciality items such as  “Rainbow Pops” may contain wheat (according to package).

Check the label to make sure it states “gluten-free” below the list of ingredients. Just Born (the parent company) states: “The modified food starch that we use in our candies is corn starch.  However, because some of our products may be manufactured and/or packaged in a facility that may also handle non gluten-free products, we encourage consumers to read the labels carefully for the most up-to-date ingredient and allergen information.”

Starburst:

All Easter-themed Starburst candy, including jelly beans and special Easter candy packages.

Tootsie Roll: 

Easter-themed Tootsie Roll candy, including Dubble Bubble Easter egg-shaped bubble gum, Tootsie Pops, Charms Blow Pops and Charms Candy Carnival products

According to the company: “At this time, all of our confections are gluten free. We do not use wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, spelt or any of their components and that includes our dusting on our conveyor belts. We do use corn and soy products in the manufacturing of our products.”

If you want to know about gluten free candy in general, not just Easter-themed, be sure to check out my Candy List.

  • This list is for the US. If you’re in another country, please contact the manufacturer first.
  • This list was made 3/17
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What It’s like Raising a Child with Celiac Disease

What it’s Like Raising a Child with Celiac Disease

Living with someone diagnosed with a chronic illness impacts everyone involved. With celiac disease in particular, your whole life changes, everything from how food is stored in your house to plans you make. Last month I shared an interview I did with my husband about what it’s like being married to someone celiac disease. Today I wanted to share a different perspective;  a parent raising a child with celiac disease.

Marina is a single mom working full time as an RN and raising two children. Her daughter Grace, age 12, the younger of the two was diagnosed with celiac disease two years ago. Marina is my mom’s co-worker and it was after a casual conversation describing her daughter’s chronic stomach aches that my mom suggested she have her tested for celiac. Compounding an already difficult situation is the fact that Grace also has diabetes. Below I’ve asked Marina to share her experience raising a child with celiac disease.

When did you first suspect Grace had a problem?

We had no idea that Grace had celiac though she had chronic tummy aches at night when all the distractions of the day subsided. She was chronically constipated and the doctors were telling me to increase her fiber intake and reduce her stress. Nobody suspected it. In her school pictures she looked like she was pregnant. In spring of 4th grade she had a little blood in her stool. That’s when I called the pediatrician and asked for a stool culture. They found she had a parasite. She got a round of antibiotics, but didn’t cure it. That’s when I asked your mom and she told me to check for celiac. I asked the pediatrician and we did the blood test. Positive. Then we did a colonoscopy and endoscopy. She probably was sick for 2-3 years before she was diagnosed. From the blood in the stool till the colonoscopy and biopsy it took 2 1/2 months.

What were the symptoms?

Bloating, tummy aches, a lot of gas with foul odor, headaches.

How difficult was it getting a diagnosis?

It was very difficult before the episode of bloody stool. She probably had it for 2-3 years before the colonoscopy/endoscopy. Still, the pediatrician did not check for celiac until I asked for it.

It was very difficult to get a diagnosis. She didn’t have the typical diarrhea. Because she had constipation and not diarrhea the pediatrician didn’t think it was anything major, just lack of fiber in her diet! It wasn’t until I met your mom and told her about Grace’s situation that she rang the alarm and urged me to test her for celiac.

How did you feel when you heard Grace was diagnosed with celiac?

It was a very scary day. June 24, 2014. We had a colonoscopy and endoscopy at children’s hospital in LA. I will never forget that day. When the doctor came out of the procedure room it  was not clear to him what Grace had. The pictures he gave me to look at had big bleeding sores inside her in 3 spots and he said he wasn’t sure what it was; if he did it with his instruments or if they were there. So for about 3-4 days we didn’t know the exact biopsy results. They put her on anti-acids and strict lactose free and gluten free diet and told us to wait. When we finally got the results I was overwhelmed with the changes I had to make and I was afraid that I couldn’t do it. I felt sorry for my daughter that she would never be able to eat her favorite food again! It was a very sad time. A time of grief for the loss of health and the restrictions and the practical problems that arose from it.

How did you explain what celiac is to her?

I showed her  the pictures from the colonoscopy and endoscopy and the 3 lesions. I told her that a war was happening inside her tummy and the enemy was bread, pasta, and the fluffy stuff on doughnuts and orange chicken. That those foods were causing those wounds inside her. Later on I explained that her intestines have like little hands that grab on all the vitamins on the food we eat and put it inside her blood and that if she eats the bad stuff then those hands are going to grab the bad foods and put the juices inside her blood and then her blood will be all sick and she will feel very tired and with more headaches and tummy aches.

How did you educate yourself about celiac?

Initially I sent our diagnosis  to the Universities of Columbia and Chicago where there are established celiac programs. We got a box with GF coupons, the magazine “Eating GF”, a teddy bear, a bracelet with the Dx, a children’s book that talks about the disease, and a complementary book of Dr. Greene. I devoured the book and underlined all the important stuff. I was lucky to have your mom who told me about the cross-contamination, more than any doctor or book did. She told me the need to throw away all of my teflon pans and buy everything new. I didn’t listen at that point though… I learned the hard way 4 months later when Grace kept getting sick.

I also went to the celiac conference the last 2 years. I got a chance to stay in line and ask questions to the experts. I have to be my child’s biggest advocate and help fight for her health.

Also, I created a folder with sheet covers where I cut out product labels and stapled all the good- tasting brands. This way I remember which brands are GF and also so I can send my mom or babysitter to go grocery shopping for me by giving them the folder and they see the labels. This makes shopping faster and easier for us.

Did you feel that the medical community was well equipped to help you? 

No, I do not think that the medical community was well equipped to help me. When I asked my primary doctor for a referral to a GI, the GI doctor had no idea about the risk of cross-contamination. He said “as long as she eats GF food she will be ok”. He never once mentioned cross-contamination.

What do you do to keep her life as “normal” as possible?

I cook all her meals at home and she always takes her lunch and snacks from home with her to school, and she sits in the cafeteria to eat with her friends.

As I’m doing this interview she is at her first sleepover for her friend’s birthday party. I asked the mom in advance what food they would be having at the party. She told me spaghetti, pizza and cupcakes. I did exactly the same at home and packed 2 lunch boxes. One for early evening and one for before bedtime (she is also diabetic type 1 and needs food or snacks if she is low from jumping around so much).

At home we all eat GF so she feels supported and that this is our normal too.

How has life changed since her diagnosis? 

It has changed 100%. I used to enjoy baking and cooking and now I am dragging myself to do it. It’s as if the fun is gone. I still do cook daily but I do not enjoy it as before. It’s more strict and I have to calculate doses and carbohydrates (because of her diabetes) on top of it; it’s not fun. We miss getting take out and  the freedom of stopping and eating when you get hungry.

Is your entire kitchen gluten free? If not, how do you ensure cross-contamination does not occur?

YES. I have a 100% GF KITCHEN. I used to have non-GF snacks for my son that were packaged and sealed but Grace kept getting sick and I couldn’t figure it out. Well, when my son would clean up his lunchbox from all the crumbs and oils, he would use the kitchen sponge . I then used the same sponge to do the dishes or clean Grace’s lunch box. There you go…cross-contamination. The only thing that helped Grace not get sick is after I threw away ALL my kitchen mini-appliances and plates and silverware (I donated them) and went ahead and bought all new. Since then she does not get sick from my kitchen or what I cooked.

What’s been the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is avoiding of cross-contamination. And for me fatigue from cooking all 3 meals daily at home!

How did you teach her to be an advocate for herself when you’re not around?

Grace is still not able to advocate for her celiac disease or stand up to her dad when he cooks a meal for her in his mixed kitchen that he shares with 3 more men in his house. Grace takes her dad’s word when he says “it’s gluten free”. She still gets sick when she’s at his house. The problem is she’s uncomfortable to speak up. He cuts corners and forgets the cross-contamination risk. This is the only place Grace still gets sick when she goes.  I often pack her a lunchbox so she won’t eat at her dad’s home. Grace is not ready. I try to bring her in the kitchen to teach her to cook and bake GF but she is not thrilled about it. Hopefully as she gets older she will be able to this.

What’s your hope for the future for Grace and celiac as a whole?

MY WISH IS THEY FIND A CURE!!

What advice do you have for parents who need support in raising children with celiac or other illnesses?

Educate yourself on all the hidden symptoms and avoid cross-contamination. Send your child to celiac camp, so they can see they’re not alone. Join a celiac support group. Get connected with other parents and make sure you set up times for your kids to get together. This is hard on everyone so have support!

A big thank you to Marina for taking the time to do this interview! My hope is for other parents out there raising children with celiac or other chronic illnesses to know that you’re not alone!

 

 

 

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Gluten Free Beer vs. Gluten Removed Beer

Gluten Free Beer vs. Gluten Removed Beer

Have you heard of gluten removed beer? I know I didn’t even know it existed before I started researching gluten free alcohol. If you don’t know the difference between gluten free beer and gluten removed beer, don’t worry I’m breaking it all down for you! 

What’s the Difference Between Gluten Free Beer & Gluten Removed Beer?

Beer that is brewed with 100% gluten free ingredients is classified as 100% gluten free. However, several beers have come on the market over the past few years that are made with barley (a gluten grain), but labeled as “gluten-removed.”

Brewers start with barley, which gives the beer it’s traditional flavor and then add an enzyme in the brewing process called “Brewers Clarex” that breaks down gluten and other proteins. The resulting brew tests below the currently accepted “gluten-free” standard of less than 20 parts per million. This is where it becomes controversial because there are many different methods that detect gluten levels, which can produce different results. Traditional methods of testing look for the whole protein, whereas in the process of making gluten removed beer it breaks down the proteins, which can make it harder to test.

The process doesn’t actually remove the gluten but instead it breaks down the gluten molecule chain into much smaller pieces that their manufacturers claim renders them safe for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity to drink.

Is Gluten Removed Beer Considered Gluten Free?

Gluten removed beer cannot be labeled as “gluten free” and additionally on their label they state that a process was used to remove gluten however they may still contain gluten.

Is Gluten Removed Beer Safe for People with Celiac?

A study was recently done by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) at the University of Chicago’s Celiac Center where they compared how blood samples reacted to gluten removed beer and gluten free beer. They were looking to see if the protein in both types of beer were recognized in antibodies in the blood. The findings were that gluten free beer did not cause any reaction, whereas the gluten removed beer did. The researches did state a larger study is needed to further examine this issue. Celiac experts say that gluten removed beer is NOT safe.

You can read the whole study here.

Ever since this issue was brought to my attention I always read beer labels to see which category it falls in. Something to keep in mind is that gluten removed beer is sold on the shelf next to gluten free beer, also gluten removed beer is often labeled “GF” on drink menus at restaurants.

With so many gluten free options, I recommend sticking to those if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. If you’re unsure, always select the option made from non-gluten grains.

To learn which brands are gluten free vs. gluten removed be sure to check out my “Gluten Free Alcohol Guide” where you will find over 40 pages of categories, brands and flavors of alcohol that are gluten free. I also explain some of the controversial issues to help you make safe decisions when choosing which ones to consume. Included in the guide are ten of my favorite cocktail recipes made with gluten free alcohol and mixers!

MsModify Gluten Free Alcohol Guide Cover

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{gluten free} Irish Soda Bread

Hearty, yet slightly sweet this Irish Soda Bread is the perfect addition to your St. Patrick’s Day dinner… and it’s been modified to be gluten free!

gluten free Irish Soda Bread

I’m not Irish, but I love bread and I love my husband who is part Irish… so this is the perfect recipe for me!

I love learning about other cultures and trying recipes that represent them. With St. Patrick’s Day being this week, I knew I wanted to make something Irish and since I’m a big bread fan, I had to give this a try! When researching Irish Soda Bread recipes it appears to be a big debate regarding what ingredients should actually be in it! I saw some that said dried currants, raisins or dried cranberries and then I saw others that said it should be plain.

I decided to go with one that had orange zest and I added dried cranberries in place of the dried currants, and I’m so glad I did! If you’re Irish and are familiar with traditional Irish Soda Bread I would love to know how you grew up having it!

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, don’t forget to get my Gluten Free Alcohol Guide so you can be prepared before you celebrate!

Recipe modified from: Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups gluten free flour (I always use Cup4Cup), plus 1 Tbsp for dried cranberries
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter (½ stick), cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 ¾ cups cold buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Slowly add the butter and mix on low until butter is evenly mixed with flour.

In a measuring cup (or bowl) add the buttermilk, egg and orange zest. Lightly beat so everything is evenly mixed.

Combine the dried cranberries with 1 Tbsp of gf flour so the cranberries are coated with flour (this will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the dough).

Add your cranberries to the dough and mix. It will be a wet dough.

Place the dough onto a floured (gf!) surface and knead a few times into a round loaf.

Place the dough onto your pan lined with parchment paper and with a serrated knife lightly cut an X into the top of the dough.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. (When you tap on the loaf it will have a hollow sound)

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or room temp.

gluten free Irish soda bread

Enjoy!

 

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Gluten Free Alcohol Guide

MsModify Gluten Free Alcohol Guide Cover

A couple months ago I posted a list of some popular gluten free alcohol brands. The feedback I received was overwhelming and showed me that this is a topic of great interest to those living a gluten free life. People typically identify a gluten free diet with food, but often forget it involves literally everything you consume… including drinks!

When living with celiac disease, not only do you have to change your diet but every aspect of life. One area that I personally struggled with in the early months (even years) of my diagnosis was the social aspect. I never expected giving up gluten to impact my social life the way it did. Suddenly I had to plan ahead and be prepared for situations I never had to worry about before.  I remember attending a Justin Timberlake concert shortly after being diagnosed and going to the bar with my friends to get a drink. While they were all excited and chatting about the show… I was frantically Googling on my phone looking to see what I could drink that was gluten free, which was stressful and took a little bit of the fun out of the night.

I’ve heard similar situations from others living a gluten free life, so I decided to put this guide together in hopes of making life a little easier, especially in social situations for those that are gluten free.

I’ve done extensive research and talked to numerous companies regarding their alcohol, so I’m excited that this guide is now available to you!

This is a complete guide listing categories, brands and flavors. I also explain some of the controversial issues to help you make safe decisions when choosing which ones to consume. Included in the guide are ten of my favorite cocktail recipes made with gluten free alcohol and mixers!

Thank you for all your support and I look forward to releasing more guides in the future!

Cheers!

To complete download after purchase click on “Gluten Free Alcohol Guide”.

 

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Coming Soon: Gluten Free Alcohol Guide!

Coming Soon Gluten Free Alcohol Guide

Over the past few months I’ve been hard at work on a project that I hope will make your life, particularly your social life, easier if you’re gluten free!

I’ve done extensive research, talked to numerous companies and  I’m excited to announce that later this week I’ll be releasing my first eBook/Guide titled “Gluten Free Alcohol Guide”.

You can expect a complete guide listing categories, brands and flavors. I also explain some of the controversial issues to help you make safe decisions when choosing which ones to consume. Included in the guide are ten of my favorite cocktail recipes made with gluten free alcohol and mixers!

Please stay tuned for this guide, as it will be available for purchase later this week!

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{gluten free} Orange Scones

Simple to make and are ready in no time, these Orange Scones are light, flaky and gluten free!

gluten free orange scones

I know I say this often, but ever since going gluten free I miss bread. End of story. I honestly don’t think I’ve met a baked good I don’t like. I take that back actually. Gluten free baked goods are tricky because they often are too dense and feel like a brick (particularly bread) when you pick them up (you know what I’m talking about!).

Sometimes I crave something bready, yet a little sweet… particularly in the morning when I drink coffee. These scones are made with orange zest, topped with orange glaze and the perfect addition to your cup of coffee!

{gluten free} Orange Scones

I prefer them warm, so if you don’t eat them right after you bake them, I recommend leaving off the glaze and popping them in the toaster before you eat them. You can then either top them with the glaze or cut them in half and butter them up!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup gluten free flour (I always use Cup4Cup)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp orange zest
  • ⅓ cup cold butter
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • 1 egg

For Top:

  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp sugar

Glaze:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Mix gf flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking powder in bowl. Add orange zest and mix so everything is evenly combined. Cut in butter until you have a crumb like mixture. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix orange juice, half-and-half and egg. Add to your flour mixture and stir until you have soft dough.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and gentle knead dough a few times. Pat dough and form an 8-inch circle. Cut into 10 wedges with a pizza cutter.

Place on your baking sheet. Brush each wedge with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned .

Mix glaze (you may need to add more powdered sugar or orange juice until you get the consistency you prefer) and drizzle over scones.

{gluten free} Orange Scones

Enjoy!

 

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My Journey to Natural Products

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tom’s of Maine. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tom's of Maine Natural Products

For the most part I’ve always tried to eat healthy and being aware of of the ingredients in the foods I selected, especially packaged and prepared foods, was an important part of my buying decisions. There were certain ingredients I would try and avoid such as “msg”,  artificial colors, additives and preservatives.

Five years ago my decision making took on a very serious meaning when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called celiac, where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine resulting in a wide variety of symptoms from joint pain and brain fog to hair loss.

Getting diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and completely eliminating  gluten from my diet has been a life changing experience. Now I try to buy only organic and non-GMO produce, hormone-free meat, limit my intake of processed foods and use as many natural personal care products as possible.

Transitioning to a gluten free life was challenging at first. Not only would I spend hours (literally!) at the grocery store reading labels to figure out what I could and couldn’t buy, but I still wasn’t feeling good even on a gluten free diet.  It took a while to figure out what I was doing wrong because I knew I cleaned out my kitchen, intensely read labels and was aware of everything I ate.The area of my life I didn’t change at first were my beauty/personal care products and it turns out those were making me sick! Fortunately this was around the same time I started shopping at Sprouts Market, where they clearly label their shelving for gluten free items.

 I’ll be the first admit, I used to buy my beauty/personal care products based on packaging, smell and product reviews! Once I realized many of the products I was using contained gluten and were making me sick, I had to completely overhaul everything in my bathroom from my shampoo to face wash, but most importantly my oral care products. Fortunately I was already familiar with Sprouts Market since I was buying my groceries there, I decided to head over to the personal care aisles. I was pleasantly surprised that Sprouts stocked a wide offering of organic, gluten free personal care products for adults and children. Everything from toothpaste, dental  floss, shampoo, face oils/moisturizer, makeup, essential oils and deodorants were clearly labelled and well stocked.

Tom's of Maine Natural Products

Anything I could ingest had to be gluten free, so oral care was something I spent a lot of time researching. Many companies with oral care products offer some gluten free items, but not their entire line. This was a major concern to me due to the possibility of cross-contamination. This is when I decided to pick up a box of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste at Sprouts and read the label. Although the package does not state “gluten free” their website does say “All of the products we currently manufacture are gluten free”. I had used Tom’s of Maine deodorant in the past and was very impressed with the quality, so I decided to make the switch. Not only do I use Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, but I also use their mouth rinse and dental floss.

Tom's of Maine Natural Products

In addition to being gluten free, Tom’s has a commitment to a high standard of natural ingredients in their products and a belief that “both human beings and nature have inherent worth and deserve our respect”. This closely aligns with my own personal philosophy of environmental awareness and is what makes Tom’s of Maine stand out.

Tom’s Of Maine Standards for Natural:

  •  Sourced and derived from nature

  • Free of artificial flavors, fragrances, colors, sweeteners, and preservatives

  • Simple and understandable ingredients

  • Ingredient processing that supports their philosophy of human and environmental health

  • Free from animal ingredients

  • Not tested on animals

Tom's of Maine Natural Products

Tom’s of Maine Standards for Sustainable:

  • Originating from recyclable or renewable plant-based resources

  • Striving to reduce waste through recycled content, recycling, and biodegradability

  • Promoting the use of sustainable growing and harvesting practices

  • Our Standards for Responsible

  • Delivering value to our consumers

  • Sufficient research conducted to show safety and efficacy

  • Purposeful in system of ingredients, with complete transparency about the purpose and source of the ingredient

  • Sourced from suppliers and regions which promote basic human rights

  • Honesty in all claims made for ingredients, packaging and products

  • Conform to the requirements of regulatory authorities (Food & Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission) and other professional organizations with which we have chosen to partner (American Dental Association)

Every time I go to Sprouts, I use my free Sprouts App where I check for  coupons. You can download the Sprouts App in the Apple Store or Sprouts App in the Google Play Store and check out special offers for Tom’s of Maine natural toothpaste.

Find a Sprouts near you!

Visit Toms of Maine’s website for more information

Questions:

Do you use natural products? If so, why?

Do you use any of Tom’s of Maine products?

 

Visit Sponsors Site

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Tips for Eating at Restaurants If You’re Gluten Free

Gluten Free Restaurant Tips

Enjoying meals out with friends and family is an important part of living life. Social aspects of celiac disease, including eating at restaurants can often be challenging but you shouldn’t have to miss out on these experiences due to your gluten free diet.

When eating at restaurants if you’re gluten free, preparation is key. If you plan ahead and take certain precautions you will be able to enjoy yourself and not have to worry about getting sick.

Tips for Eating at Restaurants If You’re Gluten Free:

Do Your Research: If it’s a restaurant you’ve never been to, check out their website ahead of time. Review their gluten free menu and any allergen statements they may have. Also, check to see if they make fresh bread, baked goods or pasta in the kitchen. If they do, this may be a red flag for cross-contamination.

Call Ahead of Time: Before you go, call and ask questions about their gluten free menu/options. Most of the time it’s apparent after a two minute conversation if they’re able to truly accommodate a gluten free meal and understand cross-contamination. If you feel they can’t prepare you a safe meal, don’t get upset… look at it as a blessing that you called and prevented getting sick!

Avoid the Rush: Okay, I know this may be a bummer… especially if you’re going out on a date. But trust me, avoiding the crazy lunch or dinner rush is a good thing! I personally feel I’m more at risk for cross-contamination when a restaurant is really busy, so I try to go during off hours whenever possible.

Speak to the Manager: This is key! No matter how well informed your server may be, always ask to speak to the manager. When you bring the manager into it, chances are your meal will be prepared with a little more caution and attention.

Use Keywords: Unfortunately many times when you say “celiac” some servers don’t know what that means (kind of a red flag, right?!- but it does seem like more people are getting educated on the topic!), so I often pair that with “gluten makes me very sick” or “autoimmune disease”. Even though celiac is not an allergy, sometimes I do say “severe gluten allergy” just because that often will make a server take extra precaution with my meal. Whatever you feel like you need to say, make sure you say it!

Be Specific: Make sure you clearly state your order and explain why! Rather than saying “No croutons on my salad” you should say “No croutons on my salad because I have celiac disease and gluten makes me very sick, so please put an allergy alert on my order”. Unless you tell the server why, they won’t know to treat it as an allergy alert.

When in Doubt, Go Without: This is my motto when it comes to gluten free eating! Don’t be embarrassed or feel like you need to be polite and just eat it… if you’re uncomfortable with your meal or think it may not have been prepared right, send it back for another meal or just don’t eat it!

Use Your Manners: This is a biggie! I know you may be stressed about eating at a new restaurant, but regardless you need to be nice about it! Politely speak to your server about your situation, kindly request to speak to the manager and if there is something wrong with your meal you don’t need to freak out on the staff. I’ve heard from servers that taking an order for a dietary restriction is stressful on them too… so treat them with respect. If my experience is a good one, I always take the time to let my server and the manager know that I appreciate the extra care they took of my food!

Besides these tips, if I’m invited to a restaurant that I’m uncomfortable eating at, I bring my own food! I just let the server know why and ask for a plate to put my food on. I do this often and have never had an issue with a restaurant allowing me to.

Happy Eating!

 

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Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo Favorites!

Over the weekend I attended the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in San Diego, Ca which is the largest expo of its kind in the US. This expo moves around the country and features vendor expositions, educational sessions, and online resources.

GfAfExpo

Not only do I love attending expos because I get to meet people and try new products… but hello goodie bag! I left with a large bag filled with products, coupons, informational brochures and more! There are a lot of great products I learned about at the expo, however I’m going to share 5 of my top favorites with you!

5 Favorite Products from the GF & AF Expo:

1. La Brea Bakery Gluten Free Artisan Sliced Sandwich Bread

If you’re gluten free, then you know most sandwich bread you find in the freezer section is dense and not always the best (if I do say so). Needless to say I was beyond excited to try this sandwich bread from La Brea Bakery and let me tell you… it did not disappoint! I took a double take of the package to make sure it was gluten free because it was so light and fluffy! Their rep informed me that this bread is sold in the bakery section not the freezer section! I’m definitely going to keep an eye out  for this at my local grocery store.

2. Brazi Bites

When I saw the Brazi Bites booth I knew I had to stop by. Have you tried these? They’re one of my favorite gluten free products! I buy them at Costco in a big bag, but my store only has the original and the Pizza flavored. At the expo I tried the Pepper Jack ones and they were amazing!!

3. Milton’s Craft Bakers- Baked Chips

 

I’m a big fan of Milton’s Baked Crackers (once again I buy the big bag at Costco), so I was excited to try their new baked chips. They come in six different flavors, but the Red Chili Salsa was my favorite! I love that they’re all certified gluten free, Non GMO Project Verified and Baked, Not Fried. These are the perfect healthier choice when I’m craving a bag of chips!

4. White Claw Hard Seltzer

I’m not a big drinker, but do enjoy a drink every now and then. I often find flavored beverages to be too sweet, so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried these White Claw Hard Seltzer because they were REALLY good! These are the perfect drink to enjoy by the pool or even add wine to make a spritzer. They have 5% alcohol, are all natural, gluten free and only 110 calories per serving!

5. Nima Sensor

I knew about the Nima sensor, but after speaking to their rep I’m sold! Basically how the Nima Sensor works is you put a small sample of your food into a one-time use capsule and in about 3 minutes it will tell you if the item is gluten free (less than 20 parts per million) or if it has gluten. I think this is perfect for trying new products, eating at restaurants and for traveling. Imagine the piece of mind knowing you won’t get sick because your food actually is gluten free!

If you have a favorite gluten free product that I need to try, please let me know!

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