Archive for June, 2011

Friday Favorite: Gillian’s Food Pizza Dough

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Just-Like-I-Remember, Pizza-Party-Deliciousness are the words that come to mind when I think of Gillian’s Foods Pizza Dough Mix.

Better than any pizza parlor around this gluten-free pizza dough is my pick when it comes to pizza… gluten-free style.

Another bonus of Gillian’s Foods products is that they are manufactured in a gluten and nut free environment and their products are dairy free too.

A few of my favorite toppings for these pizza crusts are Barbeque sauce, grilled chicken, mixed cheeses and caramelized onions or my old stand-by tomato sauce, basil, fresh mozzarella and fresh sliced tomatoes.

Any way you top it this pizza dough mix is a must-have  for anyone on a gluten-free (and dairy-free) diet.

Congrats Gillian’s Foods for being chosen this week’s Friday Favorite on!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Chobani Greek Yogurt

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

This week’s WIN-It-Wednesday on BeFreeForMe is sponsored by one of my all-time favorite products… Chobani Greek Yogurt.

In fact, during last week’s visit to the supermarket I learned real quickly that I too wasn’t the only one who craved  this 2” tall cup of greek-love. Waiting  for the Dairy Manager to come out with a fresh supply of Chobani, I noticed three other women were waiting too.  Before the Greek God (aka: Dairy Manager) could get the several cases of Chobani Greek yogurt off of  the chariot, ahmmm… I mean the dolly, the other gals and I pounced  before he could even think about placing each little cup of joy on that dairy case shelf.

And that’s when it hit me… I guess I’m not the only Greek-Geek around.

Besides being made with all-natural ingredients and real fruit, this yogurt also has no artificial flavors, colors, & preservatives. This gluten-free yogurt is also great for served up with any meal… breakfast, lunch or dinner.

With twice the protein of most other yogurts, I love Chobani Greek vanilla yogurt in the morning blended with my fresh fruit or gluten-free granola. I also like their plain yogurt tossed with chopped grilled chicken (try this instead of using mayonnaise), used as sauces on chicken or burgers (check out the recipes for Turkey Burgers with Chobani Horseradish Sauce – adapt to make gluten-free) or to make Cole Slaw during hot summer weekend.

All these delicious reasons and recipes are why I am thrilled that this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday on is sponsored by Chobani Greek Yogurt.

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and tell us the Chobani Greek Yogurt flavor that is your favorite. (Me? I really don’t think of myself as a “vanilla type of gal”, but I have to say Vanilla all the way when it comes to my Chobani.)

A total of TWO BeFreeForMe members will be selected to win a prize pack containing one FULL CASE customized with the Chobani Yogurt flavors of the winner’s choice. (Sorry… Dairy Manager not included).  One (1) winner will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST, and one (1) more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, July 6 and Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter to win two times!

Good luck, enter to win and  join me in being a greek geek… and as always…
Be Free!

P.S. If you haven’t done so yet, make sure you download your coupons for Chobani Greek Yogurt… and join Chobani on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday Favorite: Conte’s Gluten-Free Cheese Ravioli

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

One of the things that people who are starting a gluten-free diet tell me they most the most is stuffed pasta… raviolis, pierogies, and stuffed shells.

That is when I direct them to the Conte’s Gluten-Free Pasta to check out the delicious gluten-free pasta that is made the old-fashioned way – but free of gluten.

I love the Conte’s Gluten-Free Cheese Raviolis. I always have a bag of these raviolis in my freezer ready for a quick and easy dinner.  It’s a cinch to a boil up some hot water, pop in a few raviolis.  Add a fresh tossed salad and top the hot raviolis with some fresh made pesto and my dinner is as good, if not better, than any Italian restaurant in the North end of Boston.

Quick and easy restaurant quality raviolis and other gluten-free  pastas are why this week’s Friday favorite honors on goes to Conte’s Pasta Company!

NOTE: FREE Super-Saver Shipping on Conte’s Gluten-Free Pasta on! Here’s the link: Conte’s Gluten Free Cheese Ravioli, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 3)

Friday Favorite: Gluten-Free Bisquick

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

When I was a little girl, I can remember my Mom using Bisquick for every thing… from pancakes, cobblers, dumplings, casseroles and chicken breading!

Now thanks to the folks over at General Mills, they’ve come up with a gluten-free version of this classic kitchen staple.

Like my Mom, I love having a box of gluten-free Bisquick in my cupboards since it is always a sure-bet ingredient when needing to whip-up a last minute breakfast, dinner or baked good.

There are also some great recipes using gluten-free Bisque on the General Mills website. Some of my favorites? Banana-Pecan Waffles and Chesse Garlic Biscuits.

Fast, quick and so very, very versatile are the reason Bisquick is this weeks Friday Favorite honoree on BeFreeForMe!

Want to purchase? Get Gluten-Free Bisquick Mix on FREE SUPER-SAVER SHIPPING! Here is the link: Bisquick Pancake and Baking Mix, Gluten-Free, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 3)

WIN-It-Wednesday: Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

This  Win-It-Wednesday is going to be a crowd-pleaser for many, many BeFreeForMe members!

Why? Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal cereal is not only gluten-free, but also free of nuts, dairy and eggs.

Erewhon, which was founded in 1966, has been making gluten-free crispy brown rice cereal for years – they are the first. The original. Some other gluten-free varieties offered include Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice Cereal full of chocolaty-goodness thanks to organic cocoa powder; and my favorite, Crispy Brown Rice Cereal with Mixed Berries, which is packed with dried raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. All their gluten-free cereals are certified gluten-free by GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group).

And I love the fact the Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal contains only 3 ingredients: Organic brown rice, organic brown rice syrup & sea salt. Nice and simple – with no preservatives or bad-for-me-or-my-family ingredients.

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best things.

I’ve become quite the label reader since become gluten-free and without fail I read the labels of every. single. thing. I eat.

When I first became a label reader, it was simply to seek out any ingredients that I could not eat – ingredients that may be a culprit for gluten.

But with time, my label-reading has gone further.

I now read labels not only searching for ingredients that I can not eat, but also for ingredients that I don’t want to eat. Ingredients like preservatives, ton of sugar, stabilizers, and high-fructose corn syrup – Ingredients that many large cereal manufacturers unnecessarily use in their gluten-free cereals.

All these simple, yet appreciated,  reasons are why I am so happy to have Erewhon cereal sponsor the next two week’s WIN-It-Wednesdays on

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and tell us one simple thing in life that makes you happy. (Me? My clothesline… because it saves me money and the way my clothes smell after drying in the fresh air all day!)

A total of SIX (Yes… 6!) BeFreeForMe members will be selected to win a prize pack containing three (3) free product coupons (each coupon is good for a FREE box of Erewhon cereal) and an Erewhon t-shirt. Three (3) winners will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST, and three (3) more winners will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, June 22 and Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter to win two times!

Good luck, Keep things simple… and as always…
Be Free!

P.S. If you haven’t done so yet, make sure you download a $1.50 OFF Coupon for Erewhon cereals too!

Ask Shelley Case: The Difference Between Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity and a Wheat Allergy

Monday, June 13th, 2011

I am confused about these 3 conditions. Can you tell me more?

What a great question and one that is confusing to many people! The following are some facts and pointers regarding each of these conditions to  help you understand the differences in these somewhat similar, yet very unique medical conditions:

Celiac Disease (CD)
This is one of the most common inherited disorders with an estimated prevalence rate of  1:100. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the villi of the small intestine are damaged by specific proteins in the grains wheat, rye and barley (collectively called gluten). Symptoms of CD are highly variable, may occur at any age, including the elderly, and involve not only the gastrointestinal system but many other organ systems.  Gastrointestinal symptoms range from nausea, reflux, bloating, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation.  Other symptoms can include fatigue, weight loss (note CD can also occur in obese individuals), mouth ulcers, dental enamel defects, bone and joint pain, easy bruising of the skin, menstrual irregularities, miscarriage, infertility in both women and men, migraines, depression, ataxia, seizures, neuropathy, lactose intolerance and elevated liver enzymes.

Another presentation of CD is the skin condition dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) that is characterized by an intense burning, itchy rash that is symmetrically distributed.

Untreated celiac disease can result in nutritional deficiencies such as anemia and osteoporosis, as well as development of other autoimmune disorders (e.g., thyroid disease, arthritis, liver disease) and intestinal cancers.

There are specific blood tests (TTG and EMA) that can be used to screen for CD, however the only definitive test for diagnosis is the small intestinal biopsy. Diagnosis of DH is a skin biopsy from unaffected skin adjacent to the blisters or erosions. A gluten-free diet should never be started before the blood tests and biopsy are done as this can interfere with making an accurate diagnosis.

Once a diagnosis of CD is confirmed, the treatment is a strict gluten-free diet for life. For more information on the gluten-free diet see

Gluten Sensitivity (GS)
Recent research has revealed that it is possible to be sensitive to gluten and not have celiac disease or wheat allergy.  Although the exact mechanisms and prevalence of GS is not known at this time, Dr. Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research in Baltimore has recently published several papers on this topic. There appears to be differences in gut permeability and the immune system of those with CD compared to individuals with GS.  GS is not an autoimmune disease, is not accompanied by elevated tissue transglutaminase antibodies (TTG) and does not result in increased intestinal permeability or severe intestinal damage. However, it is interesting to note that IgA and IgG antigliadin antibodies (AGA) were elevated in almost 50% of the cases in the Fasano study.  Elevated AGA levels have also been seen in schizophrenia, ataxia (loss of muscle coordination) and other conditions.

Symptoms of GS can be similar to CD such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, unexplained anemia, muscle cramps, leg numbness, and bone or joint pain.

Currently there are no specific tests for diagnosing GS. The only way to determine if someone has GS is by ruling out CD and wheat allergy, then seeing the response to a gluten-free diet and a gluten challenge. It is not known whether someone with GS must strictly avoid gluten for life like those with CD.

The Center for Celiac Research estimates that GS may affect 6-7% of the population compared to 1% for those with CD. Dr. Fasano will be speaking at the International celiac disease conference in Oslo, Norway June 19 at a session called Gluten Sensitivity: More Than Celiac Disease. So stay tuned for more information in my upcoming columns.

Wheat Allergy
A food allergy is an abnormal immune reaction to naturally occurring proteins. The most common food allergens are wheat, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and milk. Food allergies are estimated to affect approximately 5 to 6% of young children and 3 to 4 % of adults in westernized countries.

When someone with wheat allergy consumes foods made with wheat, it triggers the release of a specific antibody called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) from various cells in the body. This IgE circulates throughout the bloodstream and causes other cells to release inflammatory chemicals such as histamine. This immune response or allergic reaction may result in a variety of symptoms that can be mild to life threatening anaphylaxis that can occur within minutes to a few hours. It can affect the skin, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system and/or cardiovascular system. Symptoms of wheat allergy can include swelling and itching in the mouth, hives, itchy rash, eczema, itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhea, tightening of the throat and trouble breathing and swallowing, dizziness and a drop in blood pressure. Unlike CD, wheat allergy does not result in severe intestinal damage.

Wheat allergy is more common in infants and young children, and is frequently accompanied by other food allergies. Adolescents and adults can be allergic to wheat although it is not as common as in children. It is estimated that approximately 0.1% of the population has wheat allergies.

The only treatment for wheat allergy is to follow a strict wheat-free diet. But the good news is that the majority of children will outgrow their wheat allergy over time. Check out this link for more information about food allergies and food intolerances.

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

Friday Favorite: PJ’s Organic Gluten-Free Chicken Enchilada Meal

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Fast, Fantastic and Found in my grocer’s freezer case are the three reasons why this week’s BeFreeForMe’s  Friday Favorite is awarded to PJ’s Organic Chicken Enchilada Meal.

This organic frozen meal features a healthy-portioned Chicken Enchilada, accompanied organic brown rice and black beans. It only take 5 minutes to cook in the microwave, so it’s a perfect choice for lunchtime or when you need a quick meal.

All of PJ’s Organics products are made with USDA-certified organic ingredients, and contain no GMO’s, pesticides or preservatives.

Although I haven’t tried them yet, PJ’s Organics also makes a few other gluten-free items including, Beef Enchilada Meal, Deluxe Chicken Taquitos, and Traditional Chicken Taquitos. However, if the other gluten-free items are anything at all like the Chicken Enchilada Meal, you can bet you’ll see PJ’s Organics making the BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite roster again in the very near future.

Congrats P.J.’s Organics!

WIN-It-Wednesday: “Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting & Thriving Gluten Free”

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet that you need quick and easy to understand answers? Do you wish that for once a doctor and dietitian were partners in helping you solve problems and issues concerning the gluten-free lifestyle?

Well fret no more my gluten-free friends! Dr. Daniel Leffler, MD, MS and Melinda Dennis, MS, RD and LDN have teamed up and co-authored a new book published by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting & Thriving Gluten Free is packed with usable and must-know information about living and thriving on a gluten-free diet.

In their book, Dr. Leffler and Ms. Dennis, both from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, have teamed up with over 50 international experts on celiac disease that share stories of patients who have questions or problems related to celiac and gluten-related disorders.

Even though I read this book while laying on the Rhode Island beach side, the wealth of knowledge and useful information included in this book made me feel as if I were attending an international celiac conference, where each contributor on the agenda speaks about engaging and important information about celiac disease in easy-to-understand terminology.

Dr. Leffler is also currently conducting a research study involving having first-degree relatives of celiac disease test themselves for celiac disease using a new “finger-stick” blood test kit. Research results of this testing will hopefully be beneficial in two ways: First, family members who tested positive for celiac disease will be assisted in arranging appropriate medical follow-up to lead to an earlier diagnosis & care of the disease; and second, this research will allow the medical community to more readily reach & treat more potential people with celiac disease, and also allow these medical researchers the ability to conduct more efficient studies of the disease. The test kits being used in Dr. Leffler’s test are distributed by GlutenPro and is called Biocard/CeliacSure. It is similar to the standard celiac blood test TTG used in doctor’s offices, but is super consumer-friendly. It involves using just a fingerstick blood test and is able to be read directly by patients in less than 10-minutes right in their own homes.

Good information from fantastic contributors all compiled into one fabulous book are the reasons why I am so happy to have GlutenPro sponsor this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday on

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and tell us a little pointer, piece of advice or inspirational tidbit you would pass along to someone just diagnosed with celiac disease to help them troubleshoot and thrive with their new lifestyle (or if you are just diagnosed, something you would love to learn about). My tidbit? If celiac disease runs in your family… Get tested! Symptoms or no symptoms!

A total of SIX (Yes… 6!) BeFreeForMe members will be selected to win a copy of Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting & Thriving Gluten Free. (Check out the rave reviews on this book has received!) Three (3) winners will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST, and three (3) more winners will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, June 15th and Tuesday, June 22, 2011 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter to win two times!

Good luck, Keep thrivin’… and as always…

Be Free!

Friday Favorite: Luna Protein Bars… Gluten-Free!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

When I went to an event in Boston a few weeks back there were was a Luna Bar promotion. As I was walking by the booth, the friendly gals that were working asked me if I would like to try a Luna Bar.

Knowing Luna Bar had been a no-no in the past, due to the ingredient list containing gluten, I disappointingly said I couldn’t because of the gluten.

BUT… much to my delightful surprise the gals came back and told me that Luna has reformulated their PROTEIN  Bars to be gluten-free! (Note: Only the Luna PROTEIN Bars are gluten-free – the regular Luna Bars are not!)

Here is the statement from the Luna Bar website:

At the beginning of 2011 we started to transition all LUNA Protein flavors to be gluten free. To do this, Clif Bar & Company has looked at all aspects of making our bars. Our ingredient suppliers have confirmed that all ingredients are gluten free, so they contain no gluten from wheat, rye or barley. The location where we make our food is capable of making a gluten free food and we test our finished products to confirm that they are gluten free.

Our newest flavors, Mint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate, are all labeled gluten free.

As of March 2011, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Cherry Almond transitioned to be gluten free, as well. You can tell if your LUNA Protein bar is gluten free by looking at the packaging.

I tried all of the flavors that they were sampling, and my favorite was the Cookie Dough, followed by the Mint Chocolate Chip. They also have additional flavors of: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, and Chocolate Cherry Almond.

Under 200 calories per bar, packed with protein and now gluten-free are all the reasons this week’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Luna Protein Bars! Enjoy!

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