Archive for March, 2011

Friday Favorite: Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Looking for a rich and creamy milk alternative that is gluten-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, soy-free and sugar-free? Then try Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.

I just tried this Almond Milk about 3 weeks ago, and I have been hooked since. Not watery and not chalky this is the perfect milk alternative for those with special dietary needs.

Made of almonds, Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk has just a subtle hint of vanilla and is perfect by the glass, over my gluten-free cereal, and even as a creamer in my coffee. And I can’t wait to make a vanilla milkshake using this milk!

And at 40 calories per cup milk, this week’s BeFreeForMe Friday Favorite is a beverage that you can enjoy all day long!

A Bully Chef that Needs a Lesson Learned: Chef Damian Cardone

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

All across the internet, facebook and twitter today were posts, tweets and blogs regarding a chef in Colorado who, on his public profile on facebook, ranted & bragged under a picture of a slice of cake, that he purposely served high gluten pasta to patrons that asked specifically for gluten-free pasta.

Here is an excerpt of the tag under the facebook public picture on his profile:

“Gluten-free is bull*%#@! Flour and bread have been a staple of life for thousands, and THOUSAND, of years. People who claim to be gluten-intolorent dont realize it’s all in their disturbed little heads. People ask me for gluten-free pasta in my restaurant all the time, I tell em sure, then I serve em our pasta, Which I made from scratch with high gluten flour. And you know what? Nothing. NOTHING! ever happens! People leave talking about how good they feel gluten free and guess what, They just had a full dose! Idiots!”

Here is the “snapshot” of that comment noted above, as well as more posts made by Damian Cardone where he continues to rant that chefs love to use people as, “experimental test subjects”.

Talk about a “Kitchen Nightmare”.

After reading these posts, I was doing the ranting and raving. How DARE… HOW DARE someone purposely, intentionally prepare and then serve someone gluten? Who is this man to think he has the right to “decide” if someone is on a gluten-free diet for medical reasons or not?  Even if he was joking…this is NOT funny. Does he do the same for patrons that have a dairy-intolerance? Nut-allergies? Soy-allergies?

This guy is a bully. Any way you look at it, any way you slice it a BIG FAT  B-U-L-L-Y.

But what this Bully Chef didn’t realize it that he was picking on the wrongs peeps. We gluten-free folk are of a tough stock. We also like to chat. And we like to share. And we like to spread the word… about the good and the bad.

As expected, the gluten-free on-line community was abuzz. Tweets… facebook posts… and blogs were popping up everywhere regarding this chef.

And at last look, Damian Cardone had taken down his facebook page. He’s probably hiding somewhere under one of his high-gluten flour sacks… shaking in his hopefully soon to be taken away chefs coat.

WIN-It-Wednesday: Food Should Taste Good

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

This week’s WIN-It-Wednesday is sponsored by Food Should Taste Good… a company that is dedicated to making wholesome and healthy snacks.

If you’re not yet familiar with the products that Food Should Taste Good offers you must check out their website and give their chips a try. I love that Food Should Taste Good offers an abundance of yummy gluten-free chip varieties including Olive (perfect with tapenades), Chocolate (smothered in apple sauce or cinnamon cream cheese), Lime (guacamole anyone?), The Works (the ultimate dipper… hummus? sour cream? the kitchen sink?) and, one of my favorites… Sweet Potato (eaten plain or crumbled on top of a fresh garden salad).

And obviously, I am not the only one that has a chip-addiction to these chips. As of today over 147,500 people are raving fans of Food Should Taste Good on facebook. And if you aren’t a fan of Food Should Taste Good now is the time to join!

In celebration of Munch Madness and in support of their “El-Eat Eight Contest” the generous team over at Food Should Taste Good are challenging their fans with a contest yielding a fabulous prize rewarded to all of their facebook fans!

They are offering the chance to get a coupon good for $2.50 OFF of 2 BAGS, as a way of thanking all of their fans that have been cheering them on and happily munching their chips.

All fans will get this coupon if Food Should Taste Good can surpass a total of 800 votes for the winning chip and reach a total of 155,500 fans (at last count they only need 7,500 more fans!) on their facebook page. Make sure you become a fan by April 4th… the day of their champion’chip game… and spread the word to all your friends to chomp into Munch Madness to help reach this goal!

Food Should Taste Good is also offering 4 LUCKY BeFreeForMe members a chance at winning a gift pack of chips for the next two week’s WIN-It-Wednesdays!

How can you WIN?

Reply to this blog and tell us what your winning Food Should Taste Good flavor is (Me? I have two favorites…Olive and Sweet Potato). Two (2) winners will be randomly chosen from entries received before Tuesday, April 5 at 12:00 midnight EST; and two (2) more winners will be randomly chosen from entries received between Wednesday, April 6 and Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 12:00 midnight EST. All winners must be a member of

Good Luck, take the time to make the free throws that life passes your way, and as always…

Be Free!

The Mind, Body, Spirit Connection: A Celiac Journey

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

The day after I was diagnosed with celiac disease I woke up and made a commitment to take the step to do what it takes to make my body well again.

This was a commitment that totally changed my life.

Six years later my body has healed. I’ve done this by keeping gluten out of my diet, while learning as much as possible about celiac disease, gluten-free diets, other autoimmune diseases and how lactose can affect those with celiac disease, while staying abreast on new research and more.

And although I feel the healthiest that I have in years, this past week a friend challenged me with this question: How do you keep your soul & spirit healthy?

And I realized that although I take almost daily walks and try to take a bit of time for myself each day, even just to read a book or a new magazine, take a bath or catch up with friends, I recognized that I am not scheduling in and spending the amount of time I really need for myself. For my soul. For my spirit.

So, I decided to commitment the amount of effort, energy and enthusiasm I undertook when embarking on the gluten-free diet on a new journey – a journey to make my complete self healthy. And with my friend that challenged me with the question earlier in the week, I signed up for 60-days of yoga at a local yoga studio, bCalm Power Yoga. By doing this I hope to make the commitment to have a scheduled time that I can carve out for me, myself and just I.

And as when I started my gluten-free lifestyle, I am approaching this journey of complete health with open arms. But this time I realize that in order to be truly healthy, my body, spirit and mind must all be involved, as one, in taking that next step to better & complete wellness.

Note: Have any of you taken up yoga and have any words of encouragement & wisdom to share?  How do you think it has helped with dealing with the daily stresses of life? I would love to hear what others think… so please share!

Friday Favorite: Orgran Crispibread with Quinoa

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

These crispy, tasty cracker-like breads are one of my go-to’s when I need to pack a quick snack or lunch on the go.

Orgran Toasted Multigrain Crispibreads with Quinoa are the perfect size to make mini “sandwiches” filled with cheeses, cold cuts, fresh sliced veggies or smeared with hummus.

I love these gluten-free crispibreads because they are also free of nuts, soy, dairy, egg and yeast… plus they are vegan too.

The gluten-free Orgran Crispibreads get this week’s BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite since they are perfect for back-packs, picnics or pick-me-up snacks!

Want to buy? Check out the product on Orgran Toasted Multigrain Crispibread with Quinoa, 4.4-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)

WIN-It-Wednesday: Eat Right America! 28-Day Challenge – PLUS Bonus $25 Whole Foods Market Gift Card

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

When visiting the Whole Foods Market in Newtonville, Massachusetts, I got to chatting with Kimberly Ransom, the Healthy Eating Specialist at this store. (For those of you that have never heard of Healthy Eating Specialists they are folks that work in each of the larger Whole Food Markets helping both customers and team members with their goals of reaching the next level of health in terms of their diet.)

During this visit Kimberly got chatting about Whole Foods Market’s new Health Starts Here program that promotes healthy eating and cooking. The foundation of this program is to encouraging eating whole, unprocessed foods; eating a colorful variety of plants; eating healthy fats; and eating nutrient dense foods. All simple basics for those of us on a gluten-free or allergen-free diet.

Kimberly also mentioned to me the Eat Right America 28-day Challenge! which is one of Whole Foods Markets partners that’s supporting their Health Starts Here program. And although the Eat Right America 28-day Challenge! is not specifically designed for those on a gluten-free or allergen-free diet, and may require tweaking to fit your dietary restrictions, it offers common sense approaches to eating and cooking, most of which are naturally free of gluten and other allergens.

She also let me in on a great deal that is being offered only until 03/31/11… Whole Foods Market shoppers can receive an Eat Right America’s free online Nutrition Prescription membership, consisting of a personal nutritional & eating assessment plan which offers guidance for healthy eating. But to get the free Nutrition Prescription, you need to enter Key Code: CERANANTV on the registration page.

The free personalized Nutrition Prescription includes an online:
•    Personal eating analysis and health risk evaluation
•    Daily eating plan
•    28-day step-by-step daily e-mail support that offers pointers and tips
•    60 days of FREE access to the Eat Right America website, which is packed with delicious recipes, instructional videos and much more.

And if you need more creative recipe ideas to jump-start your new healthy eating plan, your local Whole Foods Market also offers Health Starts Here recipes at their stores, or online. (Note the recipes are tagged if they are gluten or allergen free).

So… besides everyone being a winner by receiving a FREE Nutrition Prescription (Remember to enter code # CERANANTV) complements of Whole Foods Market, another LUCKY BeFreeForMe member will be randomly selected to win a $25 Whole Food Market gift card!

How can you win?

To win the $25 gift card reply to this blog and tell us your prescription for good nutrition. Me? A daily dose of veggies, veggies, veggies… and when I think I’ve had enough… more veggies!

All entries must be received by Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 by 11:59PM EST.

Good Luck; Eat, Drink and Cook Merrily & Healthily … and as always,

Be Free!

Friday Favorite: Tasty Brand Organic SuperFruit Snacks

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Fun, Fruity and packed with vitamins the Tasty Brand SuperFruit snacks are a gummy and yummy hit.

I love these snacks since they are made with real fruit juice and contain no high-fructose corn syrup. Plus they are organic,  gluten-free, vegan, fat & cholesterol free and made with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. They come in two types: SuperFruit and Fruit.

The SuperFruit Snack snack-packs contain 70 calories worth of deliciousness – that are far better than any gummy candies or jelly beans. They are perfect as a quick snack at your desk, in the car or for a little pick-me-up as a hold-over until your next meal.

And it seems that I’m not the only one digging these little snacks of delicious goodness: Oprah Winfrey just featured these snacks in her magazine that hit newsstands this week too. Hmmm… I guess great minds think alike!  =)

The healthiness, taste and convenience are the main reasons why Tasty Brand Organic SuperFruit Snacks are this week’s Friday Favorite on  Found easily on – with FREE SuperSaver Shipping – these snacks are worth every gummy bite! Congratulations!

Get Tasty Brand Organic SuperFruits on (FREE SUPER SAVER SHIPPING!) =)

Here’s the Link to Amazon:
Tasty Brand Organic Fruit Snacks, Mixed Fruit Flavors, 4-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)

Free Thinking: Molly Delaney – A College Student Living the Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Monday, March 14th, 2011

My name is Molly Delaney, I’m currently a senior in college figuring out what I want to do with my life, and I’ve just found out I have celiac disease.

Since I was a freshman I’ve been noticing changes in my body—the “Freshman-15”, which I was convinced was a myth, turned out to be somewhat true. Looking back on it what did I think was going to happen when I started drinking soda every day and began to consider French fries my main source of vegetables? Luckily sophomore year rolled around and I figured out that just because I have the free-will to eat whatever I want, it doesn’t mean I should. The weight I gained from freshman year came off in no time but for some reason the cafeteria food always upset my stomach. My smart decisions like yogurt with granola for breakfast, turkey and cheese on a whole wheat wrap for lunch, and a plate of pasta with a salad for dinner always left me with stomach aches I thought everyone else must also be experiencing from cafeteria food.

Leaving the dreaded cafeteria food behind, I began my junior year and I was happy to have my own kitchen so I could prepare each and every one of my meals. I tried as best as I could to eat healthy and take my time preparing meals but inevitably I would be sick and then go on to drink beer on an already upset stomach. I’d fall asleep with stomach pains and start my day by waking up with them too. I entered into this vicious cycle that began to feel “normal” to me so I convinced myself that everyone else must have the same problems.

In January 2010, as I started the new year, I told myself I would try a gluten-free diet like my Mom and sister (who’d been diagnosed with celiac disease 3 years earlier) but I had almost no willpower, so the concept of a “diet” seemed unrealistic. I thought to myself, “I can live with feeling like this every day, right?”. But I knew the answer deep inside was “WRONG!”.  My symptoms progressed over the next several months and it wasn’t until I broke down crying to my Mom that I decided I needed to be tested for celiac to know for sure if gluten was the contributing factor to my pain.

I was officially diagnosed with celiac disease in October of 2010 and from that day on I’ve been a student navigating my way through college on a gluten-free diet. My willpower was no longer an issue when I knew gluten-free was my only option to lead a healthy life, but that still didn’t make it easy in the beginning.

There are times when I’m hanging out with friends and they’re sharing a large pizza from Upper Crust and I feel left out. It’s selfish, I know, but I am jealous that they don’t have to contemplate food in the same way that I do. At first when I started the diet I was obsessive about what I ate and I read every last ingredient listed on everything in the grocery store. Going out to eat became a stressful experience instead of something I enjoyed with friends. I became too focused on the food and less focused on the experience and moments with friends that surrounded the food.

I realized I was going about this all wrong—gluten-free shouldn’t be stressful, it should be a happy experience for me and something new to learn from. Over the past few months I’ve relaxed and my body has started to feel healthy again for the first time in a long time. Having celiac disease and being on a gluten-free diet in college has been a challenge, but knowing that my body is getting better has made me enjoy my final year as an undergrad.

I am looking forward to being a guest-blogger on BeFreeForMe’s “Free Thinking” series. I plan on sharing with you in my future posts how to tackle being a college student while living with celiac disease. Please post a comment on this blog post and let me know if you have any questions, ideas or even just want to introduce yourselves!

I’m looking forward to “meeting” you all!

Note: Free Thinking is a category on the BeFreeForMe blog that serves as a venue for members to share their experiences, knowledge, thoughts, views and feelings, all the while supporting this wonderful online community. This posting is by Molly Delaney, a 20-something-year-old college student who will be contributing sassy ways and sensible ideas on navigating the celiac lifestyle while on campus… even on a college-centric budget. Welcome Molly!

Be Free!


Introducing “Free Thinking”: A Guest-Blogging Series on

Monday, March 14th, 2011

From time-to-time fellow bloggers;  folks with food allergies, celiac disease or on a gluten-free diet; dietitians, cookbook authors and chefs; plus many others, have contacted me to see if they could submit a guest blog for posting consideration on

Well now the time has come!

BeFreeForMe is excited to announce our newest blog feature: Free Thinking, a category on the BeFreeForMe blog that will serve as a venue for BeFreeForMe members to share their experiences, knowledge, thoughts, views and feelings, all the while supporting this wonderful online gluten-free and allergen-free community that over the past few years has become my, and I know many of yours, second family.

Our first Guest Blogger is Molly Delaney, a 20-something-year-old college student who will be contributing sassy ways and sensible ideas on navigating the celiac lifestyle while on campus… even on a college-centric budget. I hope that you enjoy Molly’s first introductory post as much as I do and look forward to more blog-posts from Molly, and many others,  in the weeks ahead.

Be Free!

P.S. Interested in becoming a guest-blogger on the “Free Thinking” series? Reply to this blog and let us know a little about yourself and your thoughts on how YOU could contribute to this new guest blogging series on! (Note: the replies inquiring about guest blogging will be kept private and not posted).

Friday Favorite: Golden Valley Organic Beef Jerky

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

I admit it … I am a Beef Jerky Junkie. I just love the stuff. Low fat and high protein all rolled into one. When I’m feeling hungry just one or two strips will do the trick.

Ready-to-eat and never requiring refrigeration, these snacks are great for lunch kits, back-packs and for a quick snack right before, or after, the gym.

But since going gluten-free I discovered that most beef jerky contains gluten. So this jerky-loving gal was so excited when I found Golden Valley Beef Jerky.

The beef jerky comes in five (5) flavors: Original, Terryaki, Bar-B-Que, Sweet & Spicy, and my favorite, Peppered.

Not only is  this jerky gluten-free – it also contains no MSG, preservatives, nitrates or artificial ingredients. They are also dairy-free and, according to their website, meet the requirements of individuals that are allergic to milk proteins or are lactose intolerant. Another added bonus is that they are made with organic beef, which is fed organic feed, and raised without added hormones.

In other words, it’s a beef jerky you can feel good about eating!

NOTE: The Golden Valley Beef Jerky is available to purchase on Amazon with Super-Saver shipping! Here is the link:

Golden Valley Natural Organic Beef Jerky, Original, 3-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 8 Pouches)

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