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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Deliciously Gluten Free: Tips on facing your intolerances and surviving Gluten Free in a gluttonous world

Hello Pumpkins!

One of the worst things you can do for your health is consume food that you are allergic or intolerant to. I for one (and like most of us) have a gluten intolerance.  As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I have a really tough time staying away from gluten.  I gave up meat... easy. I gave up dairy... not too bad. I gave up sugar... noooo problem.  Gluten, WHY!? I am an Italian girl who was raised with the understanding that NO meal is complete with out a loaf of Italian Bread (dipped in olive oil) along side of my lasagna.

Your body will let you know when what you are consuming, is toxic... The body does this in many ways: A possible belly ache, or worst.  Hives. bloating. lethargy... or in my case, teenage ACNE. I, knowing I have this intolerance of gluten, and regardless (under stressful situations) I aloud myself to indulge in the bread basket.  One night, it's okay, blame temptation! A second night, silly, silly, silly... a third night- Terrible, terrible!  As a result my body decided to teach me a lesson in what I would consider the worst possible way: on my face in the form of  "teenage acne"... something I thankfully never dealt with as a teenager, and am now dealing with in my mid twenties (ugh!).

With the help of my two favorite homeopathic remidies: Sepia and Adrenal Drops, I got my body back on track.  The next time that bread basket came around (we ate out a lot this past week, family was visiting), I reminded myself the effects this (delicious) bread would have on my face. And then I got creative....

Tips to eating well without gluten:

1.) Breakfast: discover Cherry Brook Farms and/or Bob's Red Mill and/or Van's
     We are BIG breakfast people.  For a while, after I began eating a vegan diet, I gave up our Saturday Morning Breakfasts... and unfortunately, so did everyone else.  Since giving up gluten, I have come to find some fabulous alternatives that are not just gluten free, but dairy free too.  Now, Saturday Morning Breakfasts are back.  I don't feel deprived or left out, and still feel great after eating a delicious meal:
Cherry Brook Farms Pancake Mix + banana and Pure Maple Syrup

2.) Eating out:
      Many places now have delicious GF alternatives.  One of our favorite bars in Sea Bright is the Mad Hatter.  The Hatter has the most delicious pizza, AND the most delicious GF pizza.
GF "Healthy" Pie with no cheese= Divine!

Of course, not all restaurants have GF options (those who are unfortunately stuck in the stone age of no-allergies)... In these common cases, you can always BRING YOUR OWN! There is this restaurant called Angelica's, again in Sea Bright- which our family LOVES. Just straight up delicious and fresh Italian cuisine (and byob!) Unfortunately, this restaurant does not have Gluten Free option, however I have found that as long as you are sweet and honest about your allergies, anyone will cook that GF pasta that you brought. Yes, you can bring your own pasta! When I was in high school working at an Italian restaurant called Michael Angelo's (Monmouth Beach, NJ), I had quite a few customers who would byop (bring your own pasta). You can still enjoy a delicious meal, minus the regret later on.  My favorite is the Quinoa pasta...

3.) Family cooked meals:
      Family members are not always as understanding as we would like of our intolerances or allergies.  in which case, you must cook your own food.  I suggest making something similar to what everyone else is eating (don't cook Italian when everyone else is eating Chinese, I promise you, you will want what they are eating :)  If possible, make the same thing, just a GF (and vegan) version.  Being Italian, my family eats a lot of lasagna, eggplant parm, and bread... so, I take those recipes that I have adopted from my Naunee, and substitute those allergen triggers for good quality versions that I can tolerate.

Check out my Vegan, gluten free Lasagna recipe that was featured as the "Recipe of the Week" at

Using the same "cheese" found in the lasagna recipe, I just recently invented my "Italian Girl's Vegan Gluten Free Eggplant Parm" using Gillian's GF bread crumbs :) Fortunately for me, unfortunately for you (and my gluten eating family members), this was SO delicious that I did not stop eating to take a picture.

BREAD... now this is a tough topic, because I love bread so, so, so much.... I have yet to find the GF bread that I love, but I have found an okay alternative: Millet Bread

Here is a tip: This bread comes frozen, with all frozen breads, you must bake them, and then toast them. DO NOT use that vicious microwave (for so many reasons that I will soon share with you :).  Another delicious super healthy and vegan-ish tip-- In place of butter, and instead of using "soy" butters, spread on some delicious, nutritious avocado with a dash of Himalayan Sea Salt.

Gluten allergies and intolerances have become increasingly prevalent over the past decade.  You, like me, may not think that you have an intolerance or an allergy to gluten, or to dairy, soy, etc.  In order to find out if you do, I suggest you try an elimination diet.  Remove that substance from your diet completely. Record how you feel after a week, two, and then three weeks without the substance.  If you feel better, then chances are you are in the same boat as I am and have an intolerance.  You can try to slowly add the gluten, soy, dairy, back into your diet in small amounts.  Record how your body reacts.  If you begin feeling icky again, then chances are you have an intolerance and should avoid that substance. If you are fine, well than, lucky you :)

Next up: Tip #3, GF Dessert-- Pumpkin picking, apple picking, and all the yummy autumn vegan and gluten free desserts you can handle :)

With much love and deliciously thriving health <3


  1. Your sister posted this on her FB page and so glad I read it... GREAT post! So happy to hear that local places like the Mad Hatter and Angelica's (my top favorite Italian restaurant BTW) are adapting to GF eaters like us. I cannot wait to try to sweet talk my GF pasta into Angelica's kitchen :) Your Vegan Lasagna is on my list to try next too...yumm.

  2. P.S. Brando's, another one of my favorite Italian Restaurants located in Asbury, has the options to make any of their pasta's GF. I just found this out..pretty excited about it.

  3. Great post, sis! Can't wait for that lasagna at the baby's party! Told Gem too, she is so excited! :) make me breakfast!! :) and these gf vegan baked goodies, um, please bring your wonderful sister some! I've got nustevia for you! ;)

  4. great post about eating gluten free, and happy more places are offering gf things

    would love to hear more about Adrenal Drops, as i have adrenal problems

    pure2raw twin

  5. Lauren: Thanks for the tip on Brando's and for the post :) There are quite a few more places in the area offering GF: Salt Creek Grille in Rumson has a few selections, and another favorite- Rigoletto's on Rt. 35 in Middletown.

    Lauren (sister): I'll trade you goodies for Stevia? Oh, and time with my niece!

    Michelle: Thanks :) Adrenal Drops are fantastic! My homeopath/chiropractor suggested I use them last year when I first began teaching, was stressed out, and ate a ton of bread-- of course for the first time feeling terrible on gluten. They provide glandular support for stress, fatigue, allergies, inflammation, and a few other things. When I use it I put 10 drops into a water bottle (usually with Sepia, or when I have a cold I use Pulsatilla) and you hit the bottle about 12 times, and sip every 1/2 hour-an hour. I am continuing my use from last week with the gluten, because I just got off of my birth control and this is my insurance :)
    I hope this helps!