Archive for April, 2010

Friday Favorite: Yoplait Light Thick & Creamy Yogurt

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

This week’s Friday Favorite goes to an item that can be eaten at breakfast, or as a quick and easy snack. It is also an item that can be found in any supermarket – Yoplait Light Thick & Creamy yogurt.

At only 100 calories, this super-rich and super-creamy yogurt must be tried. Plus it is fat free, packed with Vitamin D … and marked right on the label as gluten-free too.

My favorite flavor is Cinnamon Bun. O-kay, o-kay… I know that the name is what first drew me in, but after one taste I was in love. The flavor is spicy, and sweet, and this yogurt is just delicious when mixed in gluten-free granola.

Convenience, taste and only 100 calories give Yoplait Light Thick & Creamy yogurt a thumbs up and recognition of this week’s BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite.

P.S. Check out the Yoplait website for coupons too!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Navan Foods – The Allergy Free Food Shop & Sabine’s Cuisine – Personal Chef Service

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

This week’s WIN-It-Wednesday is all about convenience. Ways to simplify our crazy busy days and make things less complicate, easier to navigate and give us some extra free time.

The week’s Win-It-Wednesday sponsors are Navan Foods, an allergen free food shop, that has personal and customized food options; and Sabine’s Cuisine, a personal chef service that specializes in gluten and allergen free meal planning, shopping and preparation.

Navan Foods is the place to find one-on-one individual service that is a friendly resource and one-stop shop. So many times in the past Jennifer Elizondo, the owner of Navan Foods, has helped me, and BeFreeForMe members find those hard-to-find allergen free items. Jennifer loves what she does and is so very helpful. She even helped a BeFreeForMe member find a corn free confectionary sugar, that was needed to make the frosting for her dream wedding cake.

How’s that for frosting-on-the-cake customer service?

Another reason I like Navan Foods is the icon guide that effortlessly navigates you through the site. The icons make shopping for special diets easier. Navan does the hard work and determines what products are free of what allergens by contacting the manufacturer and asking them a series of questions about their products ingredients and their manufacturing facilities. Her prices are good too. One of the specials on the site now is a box of 5.25 ounce Lucy’s Cookies for $3.79. A fantastic deal for these gluten, egg, nut & peanut free cookies! (Note: This offer ends on May 7th, 2010).

Sabine’s Cuisine is headed up by Sabine St. Pierre, a former school teacher turned gourmet chef that specializes in gluten free / allergen free cooking. What I like the best about Sabine’s service is her customized menu planning based upon allergies & intolerances, as well as the way she incorporates one item into numerous weekly recipes. This keeps the cost of my grocery bills down and the variety of my meals up!

Navan Foods and Sabine’s Cuisine, the sponsors of this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday, are offering a prize package that will make life much simpler for TWO Lucky BeFreeForMe members. The prize package consists of a $20 gift certificate (PLUS free shipping!) from Navan Foods; plus a phone consultation to discuss your families allergens & special dietary requirements, followed by a customized selection of recipes and a shopping list for a week’s worth of meals (5 dinners) from Sabine’s Cuisine! This prize package has a value of over $100.00 each!

How can you win?


Reply to this blog and tell us how you make your life simpler (Me? I bought a Brother’s P-Touch labeler and have labeled all the Tupperware canisters in my pantry… no more searching!) OR tell us why your chaotic life is most deserving of this gift card / meal planning combo prize!

Winners must be BeFreeForMe members and will be picked randomly. Entries must be received by Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 12:00 midnight EST.

Good Luck… keep things simple, and as always…

Be Free!

Food Allergies & Celiac Disease in the News

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Every week I discover great articles, updates and tidbits regarding food allergies, celiac disease and gluten-free living.  In the spirit of sharing, I decided to periodically post a blog entry detailing the best-of-the-best of these news-worthy items that come my way.

Let’s keep the sharing going… Please reply to this blog and let me know of any “news” that you find and want to share with others!

The following items are some that are worth noting from the week ending April 24, 2010. Enjoy!

Fantastic Article on Celiac Disease:
This article titled, “Gluten Free: Millions Have Celiac, Few Diagnosed”  was found in the Long Island Press and brought to my attention by a BeFreeForMe member. Written by Jaclyn Gallucci this article is probably one of the best articles I’ve read on what it is like to live with celiac disease. A must read.

A Comical View of Cooking for a Friend with Celiac Disease:
After reading “The Gluten Game: How to Cross a Menu Minefield” found in The Atlantic, I thought it could have been written by a few of my own friends! Also, make sure you check out the recipes that the writer ended up serving to her gluten-free friend –Crispy Shrimp Stir Fry & Jasmine Rice.

Dairy Free Options at Starbucks:
According to Go Dairy Free, Starbucks is rolling out Dairy-Free & Vegan Frappaccinos to their menu offerings. This soy-based, dairy-free and vegan option is now available only in the LA area; but be on the lookout for this dairy-free alternative soon at a Starbucks near you!

Peanut Allergy Research Study:
This study was brought to my attention by my friends at the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) New England Chapter.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is conducting a clinical research study for adults with peanut allergy. If you have an allergy to peanut and are 18 years and older, you may be eligible to participate. Eligible subjects will receive an investigational medication to study its safety on peanut allergic patients.  All study visits will take place at the Allergy Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 850 Boylston St. Chestnut Hill, MA.  Subjects will be asked to complete 10 outpatient visits over 4 months.  Most visits will take approximately 30 minutes. You will be reimbursed $20.00 for each visit to pay for parking or transportation.  For more information contact Pierre Debrosse at 617-525-7794.

Video of Shopping with Celiac Disease:
Check out this video from a TV station located in South Dakota on shopping with celiac disease. Although the doctor incorrectly called celiac disease an “allergy”, at least the the segment stresses that early diagnosis is important.

Friday Favorite: Mary Gone Crackers

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

I can’t believe that I haven’t recognized Mary Gone Cracker’s Organic Gluten-free crackers as BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite before now.

This just goes to prove that sometimes you take the things you love the most for granted!

Everyone I know, both gluten free and gluten eating, folks love these crackers. With just the right amount of quinoa, brown rice, flax seed and sesame seeds these crackers are unique. There’s nothing else like them out there. And with the name “Mary Gone Crackers” you know that they are just a little quirky and atypical of all other gluten free crackers on the market.

An extra bonus is that these organic, gluten free crackers are also vegan, dairy free and contain no hydrogenated oils or trans-fats.

My favorite is the Black Pepper flavor, since it is a slightly peppery-hot and has a mild kick.

How do I enjoy these yummy crispy disks of gluten-free joy? First thing in the morning, I love them with a hard boiled egg; at lunch they pair perfect with soup; and at snack time they are great spread with fresh butter or with a big chunk of extra sharp cheddar.

The unique delicious one-of-a-kind taste is why this week’s Friday Favorite honors are bestowed to Mary Gone Crackers!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Attune Probiotic Chocolate Bars

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I’m really excited to report that Attune Probiotic Chocolate Bars is BACK as being this week’s sponsor of BeFreeForMe’s WIN-It-Wednesday. This WIN-It-Wednesday was one of the most popular ever… and no wonder… these bars not only taste good, but they are good for you too!

After getting diagnosed with celiac disease I have become extra diligent about my overall health. The day after my diagnosis I decided to embrace the gluten-free diet and use it as a starting point of living a healthier and happier life. This is why I love finding products that are a healthier alternative to foods I enjoy the most…  and chocolate is at the top of this list!

The secret behind the rich, chocolaty Attune bars is that they are packed with probiotics. And in case you’re wondering, probiotics protects our bodies from harmful bacteria, strengthens our intestinal walls and helps digest fiber in our diets, so that we are able to absorb the nutrients in the foods that we eat. So, basically, these are chocolate bars that are good for you… Yes, a dream comes true!

The gluten-free Attune bars come in four different flavors: Dark Chocolate (which is my favorite), Milk Chocolate Crisp, Mint Chocolate and Blueberry Vanilla.

Attune bars are a perfect snack to get your digestive tract on the right track – especially for those folks, like celiacs, that are concerned about overall digestive health. Plus, Attune Foods is a proud sponsor of The Celiac Disease Foundation and is committed to educating consumers & raising awareness about celiac disease and how it affects overall digestive health. Attune Bars are not only good for celiacs, but they are doing good for us too.

Just in time for getting healthy and fit for the upcoming summer months (did I mention these bars are only 80 to 90 calories each?), Attune Foods is offering FIVE (yes, 5!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe members a months supply of Attune gluten-free probiotic bars!

How can you WIN?


Reply to this blog and tell us what you are doing to get healthy and fit this spring (Me? After watching the start of the Boston Marathon yesterday I am inspired to run a 5K or road race this year. Training… here I come!) 

You must reply to this blog by Tuesday, April 27, 2010 by 12 midnight (EST) for a chance to win.


Good Luck, Stay Healthy… and as always,

Be Free!

FREE Sample 6-Pack of Taster’s Choice Coffee! ALL Gluten-free!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. Especially a cup that you can make at home… allowing you to save tons of money by avoiding those fancy-schmancy coffee shops.

But according to an article on gluten-free living in the April 17th issue of Woman’s Day Magazine, a sidebar (in the magazine version only) listed instant coffee as one of the top “sneaky sources of gluten”. Gasp! What is a coffee-lovin’ frugal gluten-free gal like me to do?

This is why I am thrilled to announce that ALL of Taster’s Choice Instant Coffee’s are gluten-free. I am also excited to let all BeFreeForMe members know they can get a FREE sample pack containing all SIX of the Taster’s Choice products plus a $1.00 OFF coupon! The sample pack contains single-serves of the Original, Gourmet Roast, Vanilla, 100% Columbian, Hazelnut, and the Decaffeinated. All are delicious, rich and robust. The way coffee is meant to be… plus it’s gluten-free!

How can you get this FREE sample pack?

Click on this link, and select “Taste For Yourself”. Complete the Form and within 6-8 weeks you will get your sample pack! But hurry! This offer won’t last for long!

UPDATE: My sincere apologizes for sending the eblast out to our Canadian members… this offer is good in the US only!

Celiac Disease & Food Allergies: The Marathon of Your Life

Friday, April 16th, 2010

The Boston Marathon has once again encompassed the town in which I live and work – Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Snuggled 26.2 miles away from the heart of Boston, this sleepy town comes alive each and every Spring.

I’ve called Hopkinton home for the last 17 years, and each year I have stood just mere feet from the start of the most prestigious marathons of all times cheering & encouraging every single runner that crosses that bright blue & yellow starting line. And year after year, without fail, it amazes me that all these people take one-step after another and make their way to a finish line that seems so far, far away. How do they train? How do they prepare? What do they think about during that 26.2 mile trek?

I asked a friend who has run the Boston Marathon numerous times what thoughts are passing through runner’s minds as they attempt the most challenging marathon in the world. She told me that for most runners, come race day, it is not a physical challenge, but a mental one. She quoted Mike Fanelli, a running coach, by saying most runners “Divide the race into thirds. Running the first part with their head, the middle part with their personality, and the last part with their heart”.

And after 17 years, I finally got it. 

I understood.

I realized that all of us with celiac disease and/or food allergies are just like those runners that I have been in awe and mystified with for years.

Like the runners, we all start our journey with “our head”, making sure we read and research, learn as much as we can, ask questions and most importantly act smart.

Once we get comfortable with the pace of our new dietary lifestyles, we add a bit of spice & our own personalities… we develop our own signature dishes, try new things, determine what we like and dislike; we get a skip in our step, and yes… we get a rhythm and a momentum that get us through even the Heartbreak Hills of life.

Then, comes the good part… action from the heart. This comes when you round that final corner and see the finish line and you know, just know, that yes, you have run the marathon of your life… that you’ve done it. Defeated it. You become aware that the support and cheering of others has illuminated your journey. And most important, it is at this time you are able to root for and encourage others that are on the same course you have just traveled.

Welcome to the marathon of your life. Lace up and take it one step at a time.

They’ll be plenty of us be cheering you on every step of the way.

Friday Favorite: Gillian’s Foods Bread Crumbs

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

This week’s Friday Favorite goes to Gillian’s Foods – the makers of some mighty fine bread crumbs!

Quick, easy and convenient these breadcrumbs are a “go-to” on those days that I just don’t have the time (or enough gluten-free bread heels!) to make my own.

I use Gillian’s Plain Bread Crumbs on chicken and baked fish. I also use these crumbs in my meatloaf, and as a crispy topping on baked macaroni and cheese. The plain bread crumbs are great because you can spice them up any which way you fancy (sage and thyme enhance the crumbs for my chicken, when dill and a touch of parsley work wonders on my baked haddock). There are also some great recipes on the Gillian’s website too.

Gillian Foods also has some other fabulous items, including brownies (these are deliciously dangerous!), pasta, garlic bread and hamburger rolls that taste like the real deal. Plus, all of Gillian’s Foods are gluten AND dairy free.

Making my dinner time prep speedy and easy is why this week’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Gillian’s Foods!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Marconi Infused Olive Oils

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Since we had such a tremendous response to the Finishing Salt WIN-It-Wednesday last week, BeFreeForMe staffers decided to keep up the theme on flavorful cooking for this week too!

The sponsor of this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday is Marconi Infused Oils. These oils are one of my all time favorites to cook with and they have been for many years. Why? They are a perfect f”lavor-picker-upper”.

As mentioned in past blogs, food can be crazy fun because of these infused oils! I use them on everything, from grilled chicken, fish and white rice. (Some great recipes using Marconi Infused Oils can be found on BeFreeForMe and include: Rosemary Infused Roasted Chicken, Shrimp and Pepper Rosemary Skewers and Sauteed Broccoli and Feta with Jalapeno Olives).

But my preferred and most ingenious use of these infused olive oils is as an all-time stand-by salad dressing on the run…I actually keep one of the small sample pack sizes in my purse! (Note: A sample pack of 3 only cost $4.50 through the Marconi website!)

The Marconi Infused Oils come in six (6) varieties:
• Marconi GARLIC Infused Oil
• Marconi BASIL Infused Oil
• Marconi OREGANO Infused Oil
• Marconi ROSEMARY Infused Oil
• Marconi JALAPENO Infused Oil
• Marconi DIPPING Oil

Being an all-time fan makes it a pleasure for me to pick 7 (yes… SEVEN!) lucky BeFreeForMe members to receive a FREE coupon for any one Marconi Oil item of their choice at their local grocer (up to a $40 value!).

How can you WIN?

Just reply to this blog and let me know which Marconi infused oil you would most like to try. Also, feel free to share and let the rest of us know how you like to use olive oil in your recipes / cooking too! (Me? I like to use the Basil Infused Oil drizzled over garden fresh tomatoes, basil leaves & goat milk mozzarella).

All entries must be received by Tuesday, April 20th at 12:00 Midnight EST.

Good Luck, Infuse flavor into your life daily… and as always…

Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: Breakfast Ideas You Don’t Want to Skip!

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Q: I’m usually running late in the morning so I often skip breakfast. Can you give me some healthy and quick breakfast tips?

A: I’m sure you have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It literally means break the fast. In order to jump start your day both mentally and physically you need to fuel your body with food. Healthy breakfast foods provide key nutrients such as protein, iron, B vitamins, carbohydrates and fiber. Many traditional breakfast items are made with gluten-containing grains, especially wheat and barley. But not to worry- there are plenty of great gluten-free breakfast options in the chart below.

The chart includes examples of products from various companies. There are many more products available, especially baked items from gluten-free specialty bakeries across North America. The Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide by Shelley Case, RD, features over 3100 gluten-free products listed by company name, product name and package size and a directory of more than 270 American, Canadian and international companies. The book has a chapter on gluten-free specialty bakeries in North America. It also contains detailed information about the gluten-free diet including safe foods/ingredients and those to avoid; meal plans; recipes; cooking hints; substitutions; nutrition information and practical strategies for healthy gluten-free living and resources. See

Breakfast Idea



Nutrition Facts, Quick Tips & Other Notes

GF cold cereal, milk or yogurt and fresh fruit

Puffed Amaranth

GoGo Quinoa, NuWorld Amaranth, Orgran

Learn more about amaranth at:

Buckwheat Flakes

Arrowhead Mills

For more information about buckwheat see:

GF Corn Flakes

Barbara’s, Barkat, El Peto, Erewhon, Nature’s Path

Regular corn flakes contain barley malt flavoring which is not gluten-free. It is important to purchase brands such as these ones listed that do not contain barley malt.

GF Rice Crisp Cereal

Arrowhead Mills, Barbara’s, Barkat, Erewhon, Kinnikinnick, Nature’s Path, Kellogg’s GLUTEN-FREE Rice Krispies

GF Granola

Bakery On Main, Enjoy Life*, Udi’s, NoNuttin’, Glutenfreeda Foods**

* Enriched with vitamins and minerals.

** Made with pure, uncontaminated GF oats.

Multigrain Cereal

Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise

Cornmeal, buckwheat, flax and amaranth.

Puffed Quinoa

GoGo Quinoa

To learn more about quinoa and recipes see:

GF hot cereal, milk, dash of cinnamon, brown sugar and sliced fruit


Birkett Mills (Pocono), Cream of the Crop

Cook hot cereals in the microwave in a large bowl so it does not boil over. Add some ground flax to the hot cereal. Flax is an excellent source of fiber and other nutrients.

Cream of Rice

Amy’s Kitchen, Arrowhead Mills, Bob’s Red Mill, El Peto, Lundberg

Choose brown rice for more fiber.

GF Oatmeal

Avena Foods (Only Oats), Bob’s Red Mill, Cream Hill Estates (Lara’s), Gluten-Free Oats, Gifts of Nature, Glutenfreeda Foods, Holly’s Oatmeal, Bakery On Main

These companies produce or use pure, uncontaminated GF oats. For more information about the use of oats see:

Multigrain Cereal

Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty GF Hot Cereal

Whole grain brown rice, corn, sorghum, buckwheat.

Quinoa Flakes

Ancient Harvest, GoGo Quinoa


Bob’s Red Mill, Teff Company

For more information about teff and how to use it see:

Toasted GF bagel, nut butter (e.g., almond, cashew, peanut) or GF low fat cheese spread or melted cheese and a glass of juice

GF Bagels

Udi’s, Gluten-Free Creations Bakery, Glutino, Kinnikinnick, Mariposa Baking Company

Some companies enrich their bagels with vitamins and minerals (e.g., Udi’s, Gluten-Free Creations Bakery, Glutino and Kinnikinnick).

GF muffin, milk or GF yogurt drink

GF Muffins

El Peto, Foods By George, Gluten-Free Creations Bakery, Kinnikinnick,

Make your own muffins from scratch ingredients or buy a GF mix. Freeze in individual plastic zipper bags so you always have one ready for breakfast or a snack.

GF toast with nut butter or GF cheese spread

GF Breads

Celiac Specialties Bakery, El Peto, Ener-G Foods, French Meadow Bakery, Food For Life, Glutino, Kinnikinnick, Mariposa Baking Company, Udi’s, Rudi’s

GF breads taste better toasted. Some breads are enriched with vitamins and minerals (e.g., Ener-G Foods, Gluten-Free Creations, Glutino, Kinnikinnick). Make your own bread from scratch ingredients or buy a GF mix. Here is a recipe for an ancient grains bread using a mixer or bread machine:

Scrambled eggs or an omelet with GF salsa and GF toast

Eggs (fresh or frozen or liquid egg products)

Some frozen or liquid egg products may contain seasonings with hydrolyzed wheat protein which must be avoided on a gluten-free diet. Several brands of salsa contain wheat flour, hydrolyzed wheat protein or barley malt flavoring.

Add chopped peppers (green, orange, red or yellow), green onions and/or broccoli to the scrambled egg or omelet for extra nutrition.

Fruit smoothie with fresh or frozen fruit (e.g., bananas, blueberries, peaches, strawberries), yogurt or milk or non-dairy substitute and honey or other sweetener.

Low or non-fat milk or yogurt

For those with lactose intolerance, a special type of milk that has been treated with lactase enzymes can be substituted for regular milk. Another option is to use a non-dairy substitutes (e.g., almond, potato, rice or soy beverages). Choose brands that do not contain barley malt flavoring. Also look for ones that are enriched with calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients.

For more information about lactose intolerance and suitable products see:

Here’s a recipe for Very Berry Breakfast Shake

Non-dairy beverage

Blue Diamond, Imagine, Pacific Foods, Silk, So Good, So Nice, Vances

The above information was excerpted from Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide by Shelley Case, RD. See

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