Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Orlando Road Trip: Animal Kingdom

Gluten. Free. Churros.

They are as delicious as they sound. Paired with vanilla and strawberry dipping sauces, they're heavenly.

This one dessert could have easily made our visits to the Animal Kingdom, this month, a celiac-friendly success. We found them at Nomad Lounge, near the entrance to the new Pandora land.

Gluten Free churros served with vanilla and strawberry dipping sauces.

Sitting on the comfortable patio, we ordered off the small plates menu, and boy were they small. In addition to churros, which were five half-sticks with the sauces for $9, my party had the charcuterie board (meats and cheeses) and the new brisket poutine, as well as drinks.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Orlando Road Trip: Mickey's Very Special Christmas Party

It was Jersey Week in the Orlando area this month, and we were there.

We went down to Florida mid-week and stayed for about 10 days, mostly visiting Walt Disney World. If you haven't already experienced WDW, you should. The Disney company is VERY accommodating to gluten-free diets, as well as food allergies.

On the final night of our trip, we visited the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. This extra-ticket event offers smaller crowds, rare characters meetings, special shows and free treats from stations throughout the park. It's that last part that celiacs might be wary about, since many of the treats are baked goodies.

I had been tipped off ahead of time that gluten-free treats would be available if you just ask for them, and that proved to be exactly the case.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

GFGS Community Calendar: November 2017

The holiday season can be especially tough for celiacs, as well as others who are intolerant to gluten or wheat. Luckily, the gluten-free community has resources to assist with holiday dishes, and social events that can feel more inclusive than many traditional parties to celebrate the season.

Saturday, Nov. 18: Gluten-Free with Dr. Anne Lee, Nutritionist, 1-3 pm, at Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley (250 Old Hook Rd.) in Westwood. The event is hosted by Generation GF Northern New Jersey, a Gluten Intolerance Group program for children and their families, and features Dr. Lee, a nutritionist at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.  Additional details TBA.

Saturday, Dec. 2: Kids’ Gluten Free Cooking Class, 1-3 pm,  at The Rachel Way in Plymouth Meeting Mall (500 W. Germantown Pike), Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Children will create gluten-free gingerbread houses in celebration of the holiday season. The Rachel Way is a non-profit gluten-free and dairy-free food pantry.

Sunday, Dec. 3: SouthJersey Celiacs, Chapter 9 of the National Celiac Association, Meeting, 2 pm, at Virtua Memorial Health Center (401 Young Ave.) in Moorestown. The support group meets monthly in Conference rooms 155A and 155B, and welcomes new members. During December’s meeting, the group will host its annual Cookie Swap. Participants should bring recipes or store-bought packaging with their contributions. 

As a service to regular readers and the Celiac community at large, Gluten Free Garden State offers an ongoing list of upcoming events of interest. We feature local happenings, as well as regional events open to the public. The updated calendar appears on the second Saturday of each month. Links are posted to Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #GFSked and #celiacsavethedate. Submit event listings to

Friday, November 3, 2017

Public events to help with Thanksgiving prep

The holiday season can be especially tough for celiacs, as well as others who are intolerant to gluten or wheat. Luckily, with Thanksgiving fast approaching, there are events being held this weekend that can help ease the anxiety over what to bring to the table.

While there are decent holiday stuffing recipes and products on the market, other ideas may be found nearby, in Pennsylvania, at a Gluten Free Cooking Class for children and the Central PA Gluten Free Expo. If you missed the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in Secaucus last month, you want to make to the drive to this one coming up.

On Saturday, the Kids’ Gluten Free Cooking Class runs 1-3 pm  at The Rachel Way gluten-free and dairy free food pantry in Plymouth Meeting Mall (500 W. Germantown Pike), Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Kids will make gluten free pumpkin cream cheese bites and gluten free tee-pees, and participate in fall craft and more Thanksgiving fun. Best of all? It's FREE to attend. Reserve a spot by registering in advance. 

On Sunday, the Central PA Gluten Free Expo runs 12:30-5:30 pm, at The Penn Stater Conference Center (215 Innovation Blvd.), State College, Pa. More than 50 gluten-free food vendors will be in attendance. The expo also offers seminars, door prizes and samples, as well as a Wegmans cooking demonstration. VIP ticket holders gain access at 11:45 am. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NJ fertility company studies effects of gluten

BASKING RIDGE – A new study is disproving a widely-believed theory that maintaining a gluten-free diet can help improve outcomes of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. 

The medical research was conducted by the Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ), which presented its findings this week at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 2017 Scientific Congress & Expo in San Antonio, Texas. The conference addresses a variety of topics in the field of reproductive medicine, including recent studies that examine embryology, genetic screening, embryo biopsy and patient psychology.

While healthy eating, including a low-carb diet, is part of a holistic, evidence-based approach to treating patients with infertility at RMANJ, adhering to a gluten-free diet has been shown to have no impact on increasing fertility for those trying to conceive. The study is one of several conducted by RMANJ that investigates IVF outcomes in gluten-free patients and the frequency of celiac disease in infertile patients.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Philanthropy in the form of pasta


A local maker of gluten-free pasta is assisting people affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Explore Cuisine, the Red Bank-based brand formerly known as Explore Asian, has partnered with Southeast Texas Food Bank to provide warm, healthy meals for thousands of people impacted by the natural disaster. 

Known for its organic, plant-based noodles and other pasta products, Explore Cuisine donated more than 3,500 gluten-free instant meals to the food bank. The effort ensures that people with food allergies and intolerances can enjoy a hot meal, along with others.

In a public statement, Explore Cuisine’s founder Joe Spronz said his company is committed to helping people in Texas through their time of need.

“We pride ourselves on being a company that gives back through our Food to Thrive Foundation, but are always looking for additional ways to help people where we can. We are proud to donate nutritious meals to ensure that the victims of Hurricane Harvey are being well fed,” he said.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Free to taste

The Gluten Free Festival at ShopRite of Medford, gave shoppers an opportunity to sample some of the celiac-friendly food products available in the store. The event was free to attend.

During Saturday's festival, shoppers were presented with vendor tables placed throughout the store. Tastings, take-home samples, manufacturer coupons and informational pamphlets were accessible to anyone interested in gluten-free foods.

Photo credit: Gluten Free Garden State
I spoke with the representative from Cabot creamery, among others, and found our talk to be helpful in choosing dairy products. Cabot also offered easy recipes to take home, which are always useful.

On the downside, there was at least one vendor (and possibly two) offering samples of food that was NOT gluten-free. And it would be so easy for someone tasting to not realize the bread, offered with a sample of olive oil, was off limits. To his credit, the vendor representative did tell me before I put the bread in my mouth that it wasn't gluten-free, but there was no sign or other indication otherwise.

Orlando Road Trip: Animal Kingdom

Gluten. Free. Churros. They are as delicious as they sound. Paired with vanilla and strawberry dipping sauces, they're heavenly. ...