Monday, August 30, 2010

Incredible Edible Gluten Free Food Fair

Thanks to the Denver Metro Chapter of CSA/USA ( for yesterday's gluten-free food fair at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. I was shocked by the number of attendees but it only proves what a great demand there is for gluten-free food.

As I have mentioned here before, I am not a celiac and therefore I can enjoy wheat on occasion. In fact, I generally eat something wheat (pizza, fried fish, etc.) about once a week. I am grateful that I am still able to do that. But needing gluten-free options on a day-to-day basis is just as important to me as anyone else. So thank you to all the vendors out there that are supporting those of us not on some fad gluten-free diet to try to lose weight, but have health needs that require gluten-free eating.

Specifically, I would like to thank a few of my favorite companies (Vitamin Cottage and Whole Foods are "givens"):

King Soopers -- It seems like an odd choice to name my local grocery store but King Soopers has been great (at least my normal store at Florida and Kipling - I realize they all carry a vastly different food selections). They have a gluten-free frozen section as well as a small frozen section in the bakery. The cracker aisle also has a few gluten-free cracker and cookie options. It makes weekly shopping much easier for me.

Udi's -- I love your bread, pizza crusts, muffins and more. What's even better is that I can get them at all of my favorite stores (Vitamin Cottage, King Soopers and Whole Foods.)

Glutino -- Most of their gluten-free products are very good (but I have had a few very BAD ones!) The variety of products available is terrific. I only wish your distribution was a little better as the only place that has most of your products is Whole Foods.

Rudi's -- This one is new to me because their gluten-free bread is new to me. I just got a free loaf at yesterday's gluten-free fair. But since then I have had buttered toast with my eggs and a grilled cheese sandwich - yum! And because your loaves are slightly larger than Udi's, my sandwich felt more significant. I will be interested to see how your products are priced.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Whole Foods Deli Dilemma

I used to love the sandwiches at Whole Foods. Specifically the "Green Mountain" sandwich at the Whole Foods in Belmar. It consists of portobello mushrooms, pesto, cheese, greens and oven roasted tomatoes on one of they yummy bakery breads - delish! After going gluten-free I had to essentially give up the sandwich. Then one day, silly me, thought to ask if they offered gluten-free bread. It really wasn't a silly request. The Belmar store has a huge gluten-free section and offers several kinds of gluten-free bread. But I was told that they don't offer it in the sandwich deli. Something about cross-contamination and not being a certified gluten-free kitchen. I thought that was pretty weak -- they could warn customers that they can't guarantee gluten-free because of possible cross contamination, buyer beware.

A while later I thought I would ask again. This time I was told that they didn't carry gluten-free bread because they didn't have enough requests for it and the bread would go bad before it was all used and they couldn't afford to take that financial hit. Hmm, when selling a small container of cut fruit for $7.50 a container, I would think they could afford to toss a $5 load of bread once a week. Anyway, I was told that I could buy my own bread in the store and they would use that to make my sandwich.

Since then, my hubby was in the Cherry Creek store and he overheard a woman ordering a gluten-free sandwich -- no hassle. Then we were in the Golden store on Friday and I asked if they had gluten-free bread. The attendant told me, "Yes! We offer Udi's." I told him of my Belmar experiences and he said, "I am going to give you your sandwich for free tonight." Wow! What a difference in attitude between the stores.

Belmar - get on board here. If Golden can give me a sandwich for free, you certainly can afford to throw away a loaf of gluten-free bread once in a while. By the way, if you posted in the deli that you had gluten-free bread available, you would probably get a lot more customers requesting it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

No Cobbler for Me!

Sweet Tomatoes is a great place for a vegetarian to eat. They have a huge salad bar and usually at least one or two soups that are vegetarian. Side note: They also make soups that could easily be vegetarian with non-vegetarian ingredients. Why do they do that? Anyway, I have always enjoyed going there to eat because I feel "normal".

But since going gluten-free it is harder for me to eat at Sweet Tomatoes. Yes, I can still fully enjoy the salad bar. But sometimes the vegetarian soups have pasta in them (e.g. the minestrone). And I really, really miss being able to eat the baked goods. A cornbread muffin was always on my plate because my hubby doesn't like cornbread so I never made it at home. For dessert, it was always a brownie (maybe two!) or the hot cobbler dessert of the month. No more. It is so hard to sit there eating watery chocolate pudding (what's with that texture anyway?) while my friends and family nosh on pizza, muffins, pasta and cobbler.

I know, I know, I am being a whiner. I am not starving in this world and Sweet Tomatoes still offers me a lot of options (I have recently discovered the baked potatoes). I just miss the baked goods. I dream of them offering a gluten-free option but know that is an illusion in my mind. If Starbuck's couldn't succeed with a gluten-free pastry, I doubt Sweet Tomatoes could either. I understand. Even if I don't like it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chelsea Clinton - Be My Friend!

Do you think Chelsea Clinton would be my Facebook friend? I don't even use Facebook for friends but I'd be willing to make an exception for her. Why? Because I heard she just had a vegan, gluten-free wedding! I wish I could have been a guest, not because I like weddings - I in fact hate them - but because I wanted to be able to eat the food!

Do you know how hard it is to find good vegetarian (let alone vegan) food that is also gluten-free? Even if you can find it, it is usually really expensive? Why is that? Isn't meat more expensive than vegetables and grains?

Anyway, I hope that they release the menu for the wedding reception so I can at least dream about it. And Chelsea, if you are out there, Tweet me, Facebook me, e-mail, anything! I want to hear about what you eat and how you survive being vegan and gluten-free (aside from my preferred diet of potato chips, watermelon and chocolate!)

Monday, August 2, 2010


I am so grateful to be living in a major metropolitan area with a lot of really good food resources. Being a vegetarian that can't eat soy or gluten, has its challenges. I have had to reconcile myself to eating fish so I guess I am not technically a vegetarian but since I haven't eaten chicken, turkey, pork or beef in over 20-years, I think I will hang onto the claim.

But wow, does Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage and King Soopers make my life easier. Gluten-free bread, waffles, muffins, donuts, crackers, cookies and more are now readily available. What would I have done if I had had to go gluten-free 10 years ago instead of one-year ago?

I stopped eating wheat regularly a year ago September 3. I eliminated it completely for about 6 months and then "tested" myself. Fortunately for me, I am not celiac and do not have reactions if I eat wheat once a week or so. But day-to-day living would seemingly be impossible if it weren't for the retailers in my area that offer such a wide variety of gluten-free, vegetarian and soy-free options. Thank you!