Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eating away from home for three days ( or - why I pack like a Bedouin)

     Last weekend I attended a conference for nonfiction writers.  The location was a national 4-star chain hotel conference center (Elizabeth Taylor was once married to one of them, so you get the idea). All meals were included in the conference price - which had gone up this year.  Having attended this event before, I knew that the hotel and its catering department had done a great job of providing an assortment foods for an assortment of guests. Not so this year.

    In addition to having few selections that were gluten-free for breakfast (how hard is it to put out containers of yogurt?), the lunch and dinner options were heavy on sauces containing flour and lots of pasta.  Haven't they considered rice or potatoes?  The catering staff were very helpful in finding non-gluten products for me (like oil and vinegar for a salad... not an entire meal). Fortunately, I am just 'wheat intolerant' and not a Celiac like another guest who attended is. She was really hungry... until I flashed her my stash of gluten-free goodies.

    From soy chips ( to nutrition bars ( I had packed a bunch of my favorite 'side dishes' that can take a bowl of fruit or a salad and turn it into a meal.  And, I kept them in my ridiculously large tote bag wherever I schlepped with enough to share with the curious and the desperate.   (You would think that I get $$$ from these product shout-outs, but I don't. So, you can trust what I say.)

    Don't be sensitive about packing like a Bedouin. Take care of yourself, and you won't be hungry while eating gluten-free away from home.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What do honey bees, the 4th of July, and gluten-free eating have in common?

There is a lot of good eating to be done on a 4th of July weekend and most of it is naturally gluten-free. Meats, poultry, and fish that get tossed on the grill with just some herbs and spices are great choices. To keep it simple, just a good old-fashioned all-beef hot dog wrapped in a corn tortilla and topped with some spicy mustard will work, too. Add some baked beans, potato salad, or cole slaw as side dishes and you have the makings of a feast. Even the lowly potato chip (regular salt, no flavorings) is gluten-free.
Finish your meal with an ice-cold watermelon cut into big thick slices, or a red-white-and-blue special treat using Haagen-Daz vanilla bean ice cream topped with strawberries and blueberries. You and your guests will have eaten a festive meal that everyone can enjoy. ( To add an interesting topic to conversation with the 'oohs and aahs' when the dessert comes out, you might take a look at what Haagen-Daz is doing for the environment through its support and research about the honey bee. (
Haagen-Daz reports, "...over the last five years, we've lost over one-third of our honey bee colonies nationwide, due to factors such as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), an alarming phenomenon that occurs when honey bees mysteriously desert their hive and die. Researchers do not know exactly what causes CCD, but they believe there may be many contributing factors, including viruses, mites, chemical exposure, and poor nutrition." For every Haagen-Daz product purchased, the company donates to the research being done by the University of California - Davis which has the most comprehensive facilities in the nation dedicated to saving the honey bee (and its major role in the food supply we enjoy... like those berries to put on top of ice cream.)
Everyone enjoys a traditional treat like ice cream especially when celebrating an important birthday like the 4th of July. So indulge with a good quality gluten-free dessert, help the honey bee keep those yummy berries ripening to perfection, and have a happy and safe holiday.