D is for Donut

D - Dining Out

As always, I’m here to teach you about all things gluten – including certain environmental toxins you might not have thought about before.

Yes, food is part of your environment!

In this #4 video of my new series:  “A Gluten Primer, Everything You Wanted to Know From A – Z” – we’re exploring the biggest social challenge of all:

Dining Out!

If you’ve already been doing this while, then it isn’t news to you that knowing how to navigate the social landscape when living a gluten-free, allergen-free lifestyle can be especially hard. And no surprise – it’s often the one area where people cave, despite their best intentions.

Why is this important?

If your goal is to minimize your symptoms and turn your health around – it all starts with what you’re putting into your body. Understand, too, that what works for one person, might not be the best thing for you – no matter how seemingly healthy it might be.

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Do You Have Street Smarts?

Always Seek Knowledge AcronymWhen it comes to managing your special diet – do you have “Street Smarts”?

You might be wondering what I mean by this.

While not always easy to come by, Street Smarts means knowing how to handle just about any situation that comes along – especially when you find yourself tempted to stray.

It means knowing that when you’re harried and frustrated by circumstances beyond your control – or, well meaning folks who don’t seem to understand or care – you’re able to make an informed choice because you understand the long-term damage that can result from that one exposure, however small.

My newly released video series A Gluten Primer – Everything You Wanted to Know From A-Z explains well, literally everything – in a collection of 26-videos plus a 2-hour tutorial.

In a nutshell, though, here’s what it ultimately comes down to:


Knowing what foods are safe to eat

It all starts here.

[Read more…]

3 Simple Reasons to Cook at Home


Close up vegetables on the wooden  boardDo you hate to cook?

Given a choice, would you far prefer to dine out than take time to prepare a healthy meal at home?

Better still, do you think it would be totally awesome if someone else did all the cooking for you?

That last one does sound awesome, I admit.

Yet the truth is, nothing beats cooking your own food! And here’s why:


You’ll Save Money

Do you balk at the price of organic produce?

Perhaps you’ve even convinced yourself that only the ‘elite’ can afford to eat “that way”?

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What Are You Resisting?

chocolate chip cookiesHave you ever been in this situation?

You’re at a restaurant, watching the person next to you devour a pile of crisp sweet potato fries.

They look SO tempting.

In that moment – what would you do?

Would you reach over and grab one, without a moment’s thought?

Which of the following outcomes best describes you?


  1. You FIGHT the urge – you’d really like to sample just one.
  2. You CAVE – there’s no way you can sit there and not have a taste.
  3. You RESIST – as tempting as it might be, you remind yourself that it’s not worth the physical pain and discomfort.

Do you see yourself in any of these sceanrios?

Of course, if you answered (C) – that is the correct answer! [Read more…]

3 Simple Reasons to Cook at Home

fresh ingredients for italian pastaAre you someone who enjoys preparing and cooking a meal?

Or, would it be more accurate to say that cooking isn’t your favorite pastime – that, given a choice, you’d prefer someone else did the cooking for you?

Or better still – why not dine out?

Well, here are 3 simple reasons why it’s always a good idea to prepare your own food and eat at home.


You’ll Save Money

Do you balk at the price of organic produce?

Have you convinced yourself that only the ‘elite’ can afford to eat “that way”?

First of all, I want to stress that organic food is not a fad.

It’s not a food snob or an elitist thing – it’s a straight-up health thing.

Also – it’s the way food used to be grown. (Your grandparents will likely agree with me here.)

Think about that!

Second, if you frequently eat out (or rely on frozen or packaged foods for easy, quick meals) – you’re definitely not saving money!

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The Truth About Cross-Contamination

WheatWhen I first embarked on this gluten-free journey, I didn’t take cross-contamination seriously.

I fought the recommendation to buy a separate toaster because toast wasn’t a regular part of my morning meal, anyway.

Truth be told, cross-contamination sounded like one more hurdle I just didn’t want to deal with.

Yet, a series of unexpected incidents convinced me that I was super sensitive to a great number of things, and at that point I caved.

I’ve never regretted it.

The thing is, food can become contaminated – just take a look at your typical toaster tray if you don’t believe me – it will likely be full of crumbs.

And those crumbs can easily be transferred to your food.

[Read more…]

Do You Have Street Smarts?

Always Seek Knowledge AcronymWhen it comes to being gluten-free, what most of us need – in order to manage our special diets – is “Street Smarts”.

Of course, street smarts aren’t always easy to come by.

In fact, for some of us it can take a very long time to get up to speed.

What do I mean, exactly, by Street Smarts?

Basically, it means knowing how to handle just about any situation that comes along – whether you find yourself tempted to stray and eat just that one little bite of gluten-filled “goodness” or you’re simply harried and frustrated by well meaning folks who don’t seem to understand or care.

(I put that in quotes because there’s nothing “good” about having celiac disease and intentionally eating gluten).

In a nutshell, it comes down to:


Knowing what foods are safe to eat

It all starts here.

Yes, it can take awhile to get up to speed and know exactly where gluten is lurking – or, if you’re sensitive to dairy, knowing exactly which foods to avoid.

And even when you know which foods are safe for you, the next step is learning which choices are the healthiest.

After all, just because something is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for you.

[Read more…]

My Top 3 Rules For Dining Out

Dining OutA few months ago, my husband bought a book called “Younger Next Year”.

(The title alone is intriguing).

He took it along on our vacation to Hawaii this past June, and read it cover to cover.

Chapter 3 was titled “How’s Your Wife?”

What the authors were getting at was whether or not your spouse, or significant other was also on board with any lifestyle changes you might be contemplating.

To drive home their point, they were strongly recommending that your partner in life also read the book.

So I did!

Because really, when you think about it, change is hard enough – but if we don’t have the support of our loved ones, it can be that much harder, right?

The book focused mostly on exercise and lifestyle changes, taking an extensive look at the science behind human behavior.

(The authors, Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge M.D., have also written a companion book for women – “Younger Next Year for Women” – which you can be sure is next on my list).

Of course, I especially enjoyed the chapters on food!

Even though being gluten-free wasn’t part of the conversation, it didn’t matter.

That’s because the rules sometimes apply across the board – regardless.

And when it comes to eating sensibly, well, that’s something that most of us can benefit from. In any case, their advice for dining out was spot on, which is how I came up with my own, slightly altered version:

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Holiday Tips & Suggestions

As we move into the holiday season, there will be plenty of temptations lurking around every corner.

At every holiday gathering you’ll be faced with the same dilemma. How does one determine what is safe to eat, especially when dining away from home?

Well, there’s no reason to complicate things.

I tend to take that approach in general, meaning I don’t like a lot of fuss and bother. (Even my design style is minimalist).

Let’s review some of the likely scenarios you will encounter in the weeks ahead, along with some simple solutions for how to deal with them.


Friends & Family

As you make your way around the holiday circuit, be prepared for well-meaning friends and family who insist that “one little bite” can’t possible hurt.

Or who treat your new diet as more of an inconvenience to them, rather than consider the health benefits to you.

When Aunt Mabel offers you a generous slice of her famous holiday cheesecake, please do not to give in.

Instead, why not contribute to the meal yourself?

You could offer to bring a dish that everyone can enjoy. That way you will know for sure there is at least one item on the table that is safe for you to eat.

Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, bake your own gluten-free cheesecake and bring it along to the party.

By the way, there is absolutely no harm to other family members if they eat gluten-free products. I’ve heard people express this concern, but there’s no truth to it whatsoever.

On the contrary, it’s more likely that as your own health steadily improves, other family members will also benefit.


Dining Out

These days, it’s so much easier to dine at a restaurant, even when you’re on a restricted diet.

[Read more…]