Archive for June, 2010

WIN-It-Wednesday: Arbonne Lip Balms and Sunscreens

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

It’s Official! The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of summer are officially here!

Many of us will be spending the Fourth of July Holiday outside while we enjoy barbeques, picnics, boating, swimming and hanging by the beach and poolside.

While packing our bags for these excursions, we make sure we pack enough gluten and allergen free snacks and food for the whole family. But what about your sunscreen and lip balms? Are they gluten and allergen-free too?

Since the start of the summer, I have been inundated with BeFreeForMe members asking about gluten-free lip balms, sunscreens and lipsticks. My solution? Arbonne products.

All of Arbonne skincare products are free of gluten (with the exception of the vitamins and hormone cream); free of synthetic fragrances; and free of dyes, PABA and mineral oils. They are also pH correct and are botanically based.

But what I love the absolute most about Arbonne is my rep, Krissy.

A number of years ago, Krissy was diagnosed with celiac disease too. She lives a strict gluten-free lifestyle along with her family, many of whom are also celiacs.

It’s nice to know that she “gets it” and she understands when you’re adamant about getting sunscreens, make-ups and lip balms that are free of gluten! She’s also very generous when it comes to getting free samples of products you’re interested in trying and she ships my orders direct to my door…. Whenever I need them! (No malls… no stores… no snooty make-up counter girls that have no clue about gluten and allergens!)

Krissy has generously offered to supply these fantastic Arbonne Gluten-free products for the sponsorship of BeFreeForMe’s WIN-It-Wednesday’s for the next two weeks.

Five (yes 5!) entries will win an Arbonne SPF 30 BefoRE Sun Lip Saver Sunscreen. Plus, one Grand-Prize Winner will win a sunscreen gift set containing an ABC Sunscreen with SPF 30 (made for baby’s sensitive skin, but great for us “Big Kids’ too!), BefoRE Sun Save Face & Body Sunscreen with SPF 15 (Blended with arnica, rosemary, linden and chamomile, this product which is suitable for all skin types is great alone or under make-up), a BefoRE Sun Damage Control Water Resistant Sunscreen SPF 30 (Helps prevent sunburns even after 40 minutes in the water!), along with a BefoRE Sun Lip Saver Sunscreen.

How can you WIN?


Reply to this blog and tell us what fun in the sun (…or the shade!) you have planned for this Holiday weekend or summer (Me? Tons of Cape Cod road trips with my friends Julie and Diane).

Please enter TWO Times (once between June 29 and July 6 and again between July 7 and July 13) to increase your chances of winning!

Good Luck, Remember to always look for the sunny side of things, and… as always…

Be Free!

Friday Favorite: Bhuja Snack Mix. Take a Walk on the Spicy Side.

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Last month, as I was wearily making my rounds down one of the last aisles of a natural food show I walked into one of the most amazing snacks of all times: Bhuja Snack Mixes.

Bhuja made my walk down aisle #2305 a walk down the spicy side.

A multigrain snack that’s 100% natural, gluten-free and no trans fats this snack must be tried. But be forewarned… you may unintentionally eat a whole bag in one sitting.

My favorite is the Nut Mix. A spicy, exotic blend of crunchy gluten-free multigrain noodles, crispy peas, peanuts, cashews, almonds… all blended together with flavorful and unforgettable spices.

Bhuja is one of those snacks you have to try for yourself. Go for a walk down the spicy side and try for yourself.

Shelley Case Webinar – Myths & Facts: Weight Gain After Going Gluten-Free, Gluten in Flavorings, Spices & Seasonings, Gluten-Free Grain Alternatives… and More!

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Shelley Case amazed me once again this evening by sharing information and answers about the most common gluten-free questions we all have. She answered questions that are so common-place, yet so confusing. Some topics she touched upon include how you know if seasonings and spices contain gluten, or why does weight gain occur after going gluten-free.

Tonights webinar was the second of a three part summer series sponsored by riceworks Brown Rice Crisps. Close to 500 registered participants listened as Shelley detailed the answers to questions that we all have wondered or need to know.

My favorite part of the webinar was when Shelley reviewed so many gluten-free grain alternatives and ways to use them. After this segment, I had to wonder if Shelley has a second calling as a chef or baker… her ideas on using these gluten-free grains sounded so very tasty!

If you missed the webinar tonight, or the one on June 15th, click on the or websites for a free download of both of these informative webinars.

Also, remember to tune in on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 when Doctor Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Division of Gastroenterology at BIDMC, who has just launched his book Real Life with Celiac Disease, is the guest on riceworks third webinar of summer series.

Be Informed, Be Healthy… and as always,

Be Free!

Friday Favorite: Orgran Shortbread Hearts

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

The buttery and sweet shortbread cookie is a cookie that I love.

That’s why I was so excited to find Orgran’s Premium Shortbread Hearts. Petite and fittingly heart-shaped, these gluten and dairy free cookies taste every bit as good as the shortbread cookies I remember prior to going gluten-free.

These traditional shortbread biscuit cookies are made without the butter and gluten of traditional shortbread cookies, but you won’t even miss it. Plus, besides being gluten and dairy free these cookies are also vegetarian, and casein-free.

The Orgran Shortbread Hearts receive this week’s Friday Favorite honor since they are just so lovable. Made for sharing with a friend, over a fresh brewed pot of tea, enjoy these heart-shaped cookies over some good conversation and company. Sweet.

Want to try some Orgran’s Shortbread Hearts? Check them out on
Orgran Shortbread Hearts, 5.2-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 7)

WIN-It-Wednesday: Shelley Case’s New Book (PLUS a bonus FREE Webinar with Shelley!)

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

After getting diagnosed with celiac disease I had tons of questions. Some of the questions I “figured out” for myself by searching the internet and reading books, such as the Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, written by Shelley Case.

But another fantastic way to learn more about the gluten-free diet – from the basics of celiac disease, ways to manage a new diagnosis, ideas for new & fresh menu ideas, or to get the comradely support that we all need to get by on a day-to-day basis – is to share and have conversations with others that live the gluten-free lifestyle.

Tonight riceworks Brown Rice Crisps and hosted a webinar which was one of those fantastic sharing opportunities. Celiacs across North America where able to share, learn, but most important, discover how other celiacs can be one of the greatest resources of support.

For those of you who are not familiar, a webinar is a discussion conducted via the telephone &/or computer during which previously emailed questions are answered. Easy. Convenient. Informative.

BeFreeForMe is thrilled to sponsoring this webinar series since Shelley’s book a “Gluten Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide” has been my bible since I was diagnosed with celiac disease years ago. Shelley’s knowledge about celiac disease, real-life solutions to the obstacles I’ve faced, and her no-nonsense approach to explaining the ins-and-outs of the gluten-free diet has made her book the go-to with all my gluten-free questions.

And to think we can all have Shelley’s (who is also a registered dietician!) one-on-one’s attention to answer all of our questions “in person” is so very awesome! If you missed tonight’s webinar, or you attended and want more, sign-up for the next two webinars that are coming up . Shelley will be featured in another live webinar next week, on Tuesday, June 22 and Dr. Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Division of Gastroenterology at BIDMC, who has just launched his book Real Life with Celiac Disease will be featured in a live webinar on Tuesday, July 13.

Note: If you missed any of these webinars you can listen to them by logging onto:

Shelley has been generous enough to donate copies of her best selling books, “Gluten Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide” for the next TWO week’s WIN-It-Wednesday giveaways. SIX (Yes 6!) Lucky BeFreeForMe members will win a copy of Shelley’s book.

NOTE: This is a two-week long promotion. Three winners will be picked each week, so make sure you enter once each week! All entries must be received by Tuesday, June 22nd for the first week’s drawing and all entries must be received by Tuesday, June 29th for the second week’s drawing.

How can You WIN?

Reply to this blog and tell us if you could ask Shelley Case or Dr. Daniel Leffler ANY question about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet what would your question be?

REMEMBER… replying to this blog DOES NOT register you to the webinars! You must click on the link below to register (and ask your question to Shelley).

Register Me For Shelley Case’s or Dr. Daniel Leffler’s Webinars!

I look forward to “seeing you all” and hearing our questions answered by Shelley & Dr. Leffler during the teleseminars on June 22 and July 13!

Be curious, Ask Questions and, as always…

Be Free!

COMING TOMORROW! Tuesday 06/15…Free Webinar with Shelley Case!

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Gluten & Allergen Free Questions… Answered!

Just a quick reminder to everyone to make sure you remember to sign up for Shelley Case’s FREE webinar that will take place TOMORROW night, Tuesday, June 15.

Tomorrow night’s webinar is the first of three-part summer series of webinars that are presented by riceworks brown rice crisps and sponsored by

Shelley Case, a leading international nutrition expert on celiac disease and the gluten-free diet; and author of the book, The Gluten-Free Diet will be covering information on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in addition to all her tips and facts for managing a gluten-free diet. Join Shelley on June 15th or June 22nd.

Dr, Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Division of Gastroenterology at BIDMC, has just launched his book Real Life with Celiac Disease. Join Dr. Leffler on July 13th to learn about a wide range of topics from his book Real Life with Celiac Disease including screening and diagnosis, associated conditions, food allergies and intolerances, complications, nongastrointestinal manifestations, and celiac disease vs gluten intolerance.

These are a great way to learn more about the gluten-free diet, lifestyle and living!   I hope to see you all there!

Be Free!

Food Allergies & Celiac Disease in the News

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

This week that there were a flurry of articles and tidbits on food allergies, celiac disease and gluten-free living that crossed by desktop. Below are some of the best-of-the-best and new-worthy mentions.

Note: In the spirit of sharing, please feel free to reply to this blog and let me know of any “news” that you find and want to share with others!

Is the Gluten Free Diet “Cool”?
Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham and Rachel Weisz are among the celebs who reportedly stick to a gluten-free diet. But are these non-celiac celebs making the gluten-free diet seem like just a trend, and not a medically needed special diet? Many non-celiacs on a gluten-free diet say that a gluten-free diet boosts their energy and make it easier to lose weight… but some health experts claim it causes a variety of health problems. Check out this article for the full-scoop…

Allergies Prompt US to Consider Banning Nuts on All Airplanes.
According to this article, “Advocates say the move would ease fears and potential harm to the estimated 1.8 million Americans who suffer from a peanut allergy. Peanut farmers and food packagers, however, say it would be overreaching and unfair to their legume.” What are your thoughts? 

USDA Developing a Low-Allergy Peanut:
Good news for nut-allergy sufferers: Scientists at the  U.S. Department of Agriculture are developing a low-allergy natural peanut that could offer an alternative to sufferers of severe nut allergies.

These researchers hope to create a peanut with the lowest chance of triggering an allergic reaction  for those that are diagnosed with a  severe peanut allergy, which according to this article is the most common cause of food-related death in the United States.

Nut Allergy in Children on the Rise:
Researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found that between 1 to 2 percent of children in the United States may have allergies to peanuts or tree nuts, with rates seemingly tripling since 1997. Why is this happening? Read more here…

New From Across the Pond: Big Boom in Gluten-Free Foods
Gluten-free products have become Britain’s fastest selling food category, as millions of consumers are buying up gluten-free products. According to this article, 5% of every new food and drink product launched last year in the UK was labeled as gluten-free. Wow!
Coeliac UK, a support group for those with celiac disease, said that one in 100 adults were celiacs in the UK.

Good Chemistry Baking: Every Street Corner Needs One of These!
Gluten-free lemon bars, cupcakes, muffins, scones, biscuits, brownies; plus, soups, sandwiches and salads. A new Bakery / Café has opened in Oakland, California (I’ve sent my sister over to check it out!). Inspired and opened by a celiac, Jane O’Hara, she is excited about Good Chemistry Baking, a 100% designated gluten-free facility that features good tasting gluten-free offerings!

Another 100% designated gluten-free facility, located in Massachusetts, is All Can Eat Bakery, which offers fantastic cupcakes, breads and ready-to-eat meals.

Food Allergies: There’s an App for That!
A great new iPhone app for those with food allergies! This app features 100’s of gluten and allergen free recipes that can be customized to fit many food allergy needs. This app will also calculate ingredient substitutions so you can avoid your allergen trigger list. Makes me want to go out and trade in my blackberry for a new iphone! Check out more info here.

Friday Favorite: Just the Cheese Crunchy Baked Cheese Snacks

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Cheese, Cheese, I love Cheese!

Cheese is such an awesome go-to snack. Full of protein, healthy and satisfying, it seems that I am always reaching for a piece of cheese when I get hungry and need a bit of protein to hold me over until my next meal.

But what is a girl like me who is always on the run to do? Just The Cheese Crunchy Baked Natural Cheese Snacks to the rescue!

These crispy little snacks are almost too cheesy to be true! Made of 100% real Wisconsin Cheese with a sprinkle of seasonings, these gluten-free, and MSG free snacks are just what a cheese-loving gluten free gal like me loves.

At only 75 calories per pack, with 1 gram of carbs (ideal for those on a low-carb diet) these are snacks that I can feel good about crunching on.

Good taste, good for you and tons of cheesiness are all of the reasons that Just the Cheese Crunchy Baked Cheese Snacks are being recognized as this week’s Friday Favorite on

Win-It-Wednesday: Fit & Fresh Lunch Kits

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

When you have celiac disease or food allergies it can be a challenge to pack healthy, nutritious and satisfying meals-on-the-go everyday. Throw into the mix what type of container to put it in and the hassle of mealtime packing can make any morning an unbelievably stressful one.

This is why I was so glad to find (and may I add, use daily) Fit & Fresh containers. These convenient transportable lunch containers not only keep my cereal, sandwiches, salads and snacks safe & secure, they also keep them nice & cool on these warm summer days. The best part about these containers are they contain removable ice packs to keep my food fresh and chilled until mealtime!

Ingenious! Clever! A must-have for any gluten-free gal like me!

These containers are tough too. Sturdy, freezer-safe, easy to clean (dishwasher top-shelf safe) and also microwavable… which is important when I need to heat leftovers. (Plus, they’re BPA free).

One of the lunch kits that Fit & Fresh offers is perfect for any type of lunch or snack… the Healthy Food Combo Pack. It contains a Lunch-on the-Go, which holds a sandwich or entrée, plus two side dishes or snacks; a Salad Shaker, for those days you want to bring a salad on the go, which is equipped with a separate salad dressing dispenser; plus a Chilled Shaker, that is perfect for my breakfast fruit & flax seed smoothie!

Kid’s also love these lunch kits too. Perfect for summer camp, long car rides or school lunches, these lunch kits come in the perfect size for kid-sized meals and kid-approved colors! The best part is that Fit & Fresh is coming out with a brand new kid’s lunch set for back-to-school. This kit (which will be available to purchase in the next week or two) contains a hot lunch container, which is fantastic for keeping almost any food warm until lunchtime and contains a unique re-usable spoon that snaps into the lid (can you say… no more lost silverware?); a Lunch POD for any sandwich; plus two smart portion 2-cup containers and two smart portion 1-cup containers, for a variety of sides, veggies, hummus, dips, puddings, jello – or anything that needs to be kept cool. What kid can resist a healthy gluten or allergen free lunches when they’re packed in such cool containers?

Whew! Just writing this has started me thinking about the rest of this week’s lunches!

Some of my other favorites from Fit & Fresh are the Fruit & Veggie Bowl (a favorite for bringing to the beach) and my Breakfast Chiller (Gluten free granola, milk and a fruit topping on the run? It’s not just a dream anymore! See the picture of this breakfast lovin’ tote at the top of this blog post.)

Quick & easy healthy lunches, cool colors, snap-in ice packs & making our gluten & allergen free lives easier are all of the fantastic reasons why I am so excited that Fit & Fresh is this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor on!

FIVE (yes…you read it right 5!) lucky BeFreeForMe members will win a prize pack that includes one (1) adult Healthy Food Combo Pack and one (1) brand new Kid’s Healthy Lunch Set (this set is so new it isn’t even on the Fit & Fresh website yet)! Each prize is valued just about $42.00!

How can you win?


Reply to this blog and tell us your fresh idea for eating healthy (Me? I incorporate milled flax seed into my breakfast yogurt or smoothie in the morning for an extra protein boost!). All entries must be received by Tuesday, June 15th at 12:00 midnight EST.

Good luck… Always, always stay a little fresh… do your best to be fit… and as always…

Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: How to Avoid Cross-Contamination

Monday, June 7th, 2010
Question: I prepare most of my own gluten-free meals but think I am still somehow ingesting gluten. Could it be cross-contamination while preparing and cooking meals at home? I think I’m careful, but could you give me some pointers on how to avoid potential cross-contamination in my own kitchen?

Answer: In addition to always checking the ingredients in any food you eat, you must also be aware of the possibility of cross-contamination (a process by which a gluten-free product comes into contact with something that is not gluten-free).

Many people, as careful as they are, unwillingly still ingest gluten by cross-contamination, even in their own homes. Here are some pointers and guidelines to help you prevent this avoidable ingestion of gluten:

• Label It: Store all gluten-free products in separate labeled containers. Some families buy bright stickers and put them on everything that is and/or should remain gluten-free. In addition, you may want to keep all gluten-free foods in a separate place in the cupboard and refrigerator. Another tip is to store gluten-free products on the upper shelves of the pantry or cupboards ABOVE the gluten-containing products to prevent flour dust and crumbs from falling onto the packages and containers of gluten-free items.

• No Sharing Allowed: Buy separate containers of items like peanut butter or jam and label “gluten-free” to prevent them from becoming cross-contaminated by other family members preparing gluten-containing products (e.g. toast, sandwiches).

• Give it a Squeeze:  Buy squeeze bottles of condiments such as ketchup, mustard, relish and mayonnaise. This prevents any crumbs from getting in the containers.

• No Double Dipping: Avoid other’s crumbs! Have a separate butter or margarine container designated for gluten-free users only.

• Even a Little Gluten and You’re Toast: Have your own toaster. If not, use a toaster oven, where the rack can be removed and washed if others have used it. Another option is to buy special toaster bags for gluten-free bread that can be placed in a regular toaster. These bags can be washed and re-used. Available from,, or

• Space it Out: Always make sure that the counter space you are using to prepare gluten-free foods is freshly washed to ensure it is free from crumbs or flour dust.

• Scrub, Scrub, Scrub: Make sure pots, utensils, etc., that are also used for other foods are thoroughly scrubbed before using with gluten-free foods.

• Pasta Concerns: Do not boil gluten-free pasta in the same water that previously had gluten-containing pasta. Also use a separate colander to drain gluten-free pasta, as it is difficult to remove traces of pasta from the colander.

•You-Tensils: Have your own set of utensils and other items for gluten-free baking and cooking (e.g., wooden spoons, cutting boards, sifter.)


Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case is a Registered Dietitian, Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

Be Free For Me Blog is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).