Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Thoughtful Baker & Then Some...

Talk about an exciting week! Not only have I joined the first ever Charlotte, NC Gluten Free Expo events team, but I also met the Thoughtful Baker, Ms. Barbara D'Ambrosio herself. She is absolutely amazing and her cinnamon roll cakes are to die for. At a meeting last Thursday she brought them with her and I nearly died and went to heaven. They are fabulous morsels which were made without wheat, gluten and/or dairy. Awesome! And, of course, she is just as wonderful. Very friendly, witty and easy going - even that is not doing her justice. All I can say is, if you are attending the expo, she will be there and you must go by to say hello. She is really "all that and a bag of chips"!

Now, what was I doing that I met her you ask? Well, I had dropped a line to the originator of the Gluten Free Expo in Charlotte, Ms. Nikki Everett, and received a call back. Seems their planning is moving right along, but they could use an extra hand. So on Thursday night, I hauled myself from work in Uptown to the Dillworth area and met the ladies for my first of a handful of meetings to come. It was there I met Barbara. We chatted, we shared information, we laughed. It was great.

The event is going to be a success you should not miss. Whether you are coming to the event or not, though, I will be photographing as much as I can and giving you all the updates. Who was there? What were they sampling? What is new? What was the best and just okay? You name it, I will tell you all about it. Leave a comment if you want to know anything in particular. If you are going to be there, I would love to catch up as well - just let me know. I will be the perky blonde in staff clothing:)

Can't Wait!

Check out The Thoughtful Baker, LLC. website at - its tasty.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gluten Free Expo Coming to Charlotte!!

This just in, a Gluten Free Expo is coming to Charlotte on August 7th. It will be hosted at the Johnson & Wales University/Charlotte Campus from 10AM - 4PM. In order to attend you must pre-register, attendance is limited to 350 people. So hurry and sign up!

There will be over 40 different vendors, including: Farmo Pasta, The Thoughtful Baker, Attune Probiotic Wellness Bars and so many more.

Also, Chef Peter Reinhart from Johnson & Wales will be demoing throughout the day. Plus, Dr. Ivor Hill, Chief Pediatric Gastroenterologist at Wake Forest Medical University will be speaking on "Celiac Disease:What's New".

Don't miss out on this. The link to learn more about the expo and pre-register is below.

I will be in attendance so let me know via email if you decide to go too. Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shopping Gluten Free: A Guide to the Good, the Bad and How to Know the Difference

Has anyone walked through the grocery store and thought, "If only there were labels on every piece of gluten free goodness in this place?!" Well, I have.

Sundays are the day for food shopping. It is the beginning of the new week and it's one of the couple of days I definitely have off on a regular basis. Every time, in the grocery store, I would have the same issues I always do. I would find foods that I would have loved to try, but after having read the ingredient list, could not decide if it was really gluten free or not. It always gets down to the last two ingredients - grrrr!

So as the days went by, I decided it was time to take back the grocery store shopping experience, so to say, and find a way to make it easier to shop. I researched heavily and finally came up with the perfect list. The list was created by the genius' over at the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF). They have amazing, all encompassing lists on stores, brands and so much more. Below is a link that has saved my life (no joke!) -->

To help with choosing the grocery store to shop at, this page has a list of all gluten free items each one sells:

Another site I am truly fond of, which makes life just that much easier is, Here I have found -->

To help know which ingredients are gluten free friendly:

To help know which ingredients are NOT gluten free friendly:

I can only assume that some people have heard of all of these lists or have variations of their own. Regardless, there are a lot of people out there who don't, these links are for you. Hopefully they help you through your trials and tribulations of shopping at the grocery store, or anywhere for that matter. I know they have helped me:-)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A New Contributor for Gluten Free Charlotte

It all began when I was 10 years old. For some reason or another I was obsessed with hot dogs; random, but yes, hot dogs. Weirdly enough I was content with eating the same foods all the time, that should have been the first clue. Regardless, I ate them with little care in the world. The last I ever had was in Yankee Stadium during the 2nd inning. Who would have thought that hours later, during the 7th inning stretch with the National Anthem being sang in the background, I would have an acute allergy attack and be rushed out of the stadium on a gurney and oxygen mask attached to my face?! By mid-morning the next day I was released. The only remnants of my horrific day before being a case of hives that looked ugly and itched constantly.

Weeks later I started having chest pains, just like in the stadium, which got me a diagnosis of Acid Reflux. Pills were administered and I went about my business. However, the chest pains just kept getting worse, the pills weren't doing the trick. The next diagnosis was Acute Acid Reflux. From there it felt like the years just all mesh into snippets of time, not really periods of it. I was called a Hypochondriac by two doctors, was diagnosed with random diseases that never panned out and even received the good old, suffers from IBS label. It wasn't until I met Dr. Green in New York City who finally gave me what I was searching for; a true diagnosis. While I do not suffer from Celiacs Disease, I do suffer from its sister illness, Wheat and Gluten Intolerance with a side of IBS (that part was accurate at least). The minute I gave up those precious morsels of grain it was like a whole new me. I am sure each and every one of you can relate to that.

One would think being Wheat and Gluten Intolerant is far easier than being a Celiac, but it is not. I had given up so many foods already, I didn't even know where to start. It took months to even work up the confidence to eat in restaurants or have a drink out with friends. However, like all of you, I made it through.

Now, I cannot imagine sitting home on a Friday or Saturday night. I love going out. Eating at Gluten Free, established places and also going to one's that aren't and working with chefs to make it perfect just for me. It is amazing what chefs will do for you if you just ask, something I never would have been able to do prior to my diagnosis. It does still feel funny though going out for sushi and bringing my own soy sauce - that one never gets old! Still, despite everything, I love my life and want to tell you about what you might be missing out on. Between restaurants, lounges, cafes, destination places, etc. I plan on bringing you all of the options. It is my passion and pleasure to help others the way I wished I could have been helped when I was diagnosed - hopefully you'll let me.

If you have places that you want mentioned or knowledge that would be of use to others, let me know. I am open to any and all suggestions and really want this blog to be a place for everyone to enjoy.

So, now that you know my history and my goals, let the journey begin!