Gluten Content Test: Counter Culture Coffee Forty Six Coffee Beans + Nima Sensor False Positive

After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2016, I wrote Counter Culture Coffee to see if the coffee beans I get from them (Counter Culture Coffee Forty Six) are gluten free.

My email to them:

“I have recently been diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Because of that, I need to eliminate gluten from my diet.  Does counter culture coffee contain gluten or any gluten containing additives?  I can’t imagine you use gluten anywhere in the process, but I wanted to double check.”

Their reply back (dated 3/8/16): “Thanks for contacting us! Coffee is naturally gluten-free and we do not add anything in the process of roasting, so you should be good to go!”

Note: This is their reply to me personally, not an official position, contact Counter Culture Coffee with questions and verify currentness of information.

Fast forward to 11/2017.  I decided to double check this with my Nima Sensor

Result: Gluten Found!  What the what?!!!!  This result baffled me and sent me into a spiral wondering – Just what can I trust???  Single ingredient item from (what I consider) to be a high end coffee roaster, that has told me their process includes not gluten ingredients.  After some digging, I realized that this was false positive result.  Nima has issues with intensely colored things.  See link below.

I decided to perform a GlutenTox test on this coffee. GlutenTox allows you to choose between 5 and 20 PPM.  I performed this test at the 5 PPM (parts per million) sensitivity level.

I used a cooled down shot of espresso to complete this test.

The bag of coffee, two glutentox solutions and test strip

Close up of the results

The test stick has two lines, the one on the left is the blue control line and should always become visible.  There is another possible line just to the right of that, that one is red.  That becomes visible if gluten is detected at the selected concentration.  As you can see in this photo only the control line is visible.  According to this result the sample I tested has a lower than 5 PPM gluten content.

Order has been restored in the world

More About GlutenTox

 

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Each GlutenTox test comes with single use pipettes, extract solution, dilution solution, sample scoop and a test stick.  The testing process is relatively simple and the instructions are clearly written.  This test gives you some flexibility as you have the choice between testing at 20 PPM (parts per million) or 5 PPM.  Under 20 PPM allows manufacturers to label certain foods as gluten free.

GlutenTox Home is a quick, user-friendly test to detect gluten in foods, drinks, cosmetics, or any other substance. It’s useful for anyone who suffers from celiac disease, or keeps a gluten-free diet for any reason.

  • Adjustable sensitivity: test for 20ppm or 5ppm of gluten depending on your specific needs
  • No special equipment required; everything but the test material is included in the kit
  • Safe, non-toxic, and easy to use
  • Quick response: a reliable answer in less than 20 minutes
  • The included G12 antibody recognizes the toxic fraction of gluten in wheat, barley, rye, and even oat.

Kits contain everything you need to test for gluten in foods, drinks or cosmetics. Kits are available in 2-, 5- and 10-test quantities.

Price varies based on how many kits you buy

Visit GlutenTox

 

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A note about gluten content tests: These are performed in non-lab environments with small samples.  Processes and ingredients change over time.  Tests found on Gluten Free Finds should not be considered authoritative in nature.  Always check product labels and consult manufacturers for additional information on ingredients and processes.

Gluten Detective – At Home Test for Gluten Exposure!

I’ve been waiting for this product to reach the US for a while now.

GlutenDetect developed and released by Spanish company Biomedal tests for Gluten Immunogenic Peptides (GIP) are fragments of gluten resistant to digestion and therefore eliminated in urine and stool.

This at home test let’s you know if you have ingested gluten in the last 24 hours.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this product because my celiac disease symptoms can be mild, at least with cross contamination level gluten.  Sometimes I don’t know if I’ve been glutened.  I’m excited to have the ability to conclusively answer the question – I have eaten gluten??

GlutenDetect has been released in the US under the brand name Gluten Detective.  The current downside is the semi-outrageous pricing.  I’m hoping they can bring the price down.

Gluten Detective

 

“Gluten Free” Labeling – Just Stop It Already – Kate’s Real Food

The photo above was taken at a coffee shop in Estes Park on a family vacation.  Although Estes Park itself doesn’t have a lot of gluten free options, Boulder and Denver… do.  I would venture a guess that Boulder, is one of the most gluten free friendly spots in the whole United States.  We split time between all three locations.  Look for an upcoming trip report to hear just how great Bolder and Denver are for us gluten free peoples.

Back to the subject this post.  Kate’s Real Food Tiki Bar.  These appear to be labeled gluten free, but they aren’t really.  They are labeled “gluten free ingredients”.  The label proceeds to tell you how they are processed on shared equipment.

From Kate’s Real Food’s website – “The Tiki Bar is gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free and dairy-free, but made in a facility that also contains gluten, peanut, soy and dairy products”

Really??  Just please stop it.  Either do it or don’t do it.  This product is deceptive and dangerous.  If you can’t make a gluten free (or peanut free or soy free or dairy free) product that’s really free of those things, please just hop off the bandwagon and stop.

Me and B – My Celiac Disease Journey Continues

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I’ve written about B vitamins on at least a couple of occasions.  [Vitamins I take] and [A missing nutritional link for me?]

Disclaimer: This is a story about me and my symptoms.  This is in no way a recommendation to you.  This is not medical advice.  The following is for informational purposes only.

As far as supplementing B vitamins I have taken the following for quite some time, 1 tablet of each per day…

Recently I ran out of the Country Life B Complex and didn’t think a lot about it.  I planned to order more, but didn’t get around to it for a while.

Somewhere in that timeframe I started to experience some issues/symptoms that had gone away for the most part.

  • Facial tics/spasms.  I have one spot on the left side of my nose that spasms.  When its doing it, it does it regularly and it drives me crazy.  I had this on and off for years prior to being diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  It largely went away after switching to a strict gluten free diet.
  • Assorted tics, spasms, cramps and numbness all over the place.

At first, I didn’t put the two things together.  Thinking this may be related to a vitamin issue (but somehow missing the obvious), I started taking Magnesium supplements.  No change.  Then I tried Potassium.  No positive changes.  If anything, increasing my Potassium seemed to make it work.

More Internet searching, turned up another possibility, my old friend… B vitamins.

I re-ordered the co-enzyme complex and started taking it again.  It helped, but slowly and not completely.  Given time, I think it would have resolved.

I decided to try doubling up on B.  Initially I took two at the same time.  Of course, no change.  My body was only absorbing x amount, doubling up didn’t help because I didn’t absorb anymore.

I then decided to take one in the morning and one at lunch.  Whammo.

This made a quick and marked improvement nearly completely resolving all ticks and spasms.  I’ve also been sleeping much better.

I believe that B vitamin deficiencies have been the cause of a good number of my symptoms.  I believe that Celiac Disease has caused my body to absorb some vitamins poorly.

I have now started to rotate between two B complexes, again, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

I’m not suggested you do this.  This is not medical advice.  I’m only letting you know what seems to have worked for me.

Before making a change to your supplement, vitamin or nutritional regimen, talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to see what choices are right for you.

Gluten Free Travels… Royal Caribbean Cruise!

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We recently had the pleasure of going on a Royal Caribbean cruise.  We sailed on the Allure of the Seas from Ft Lauderdale to Labadee Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.

I have Celiac Disease [About Me] as a result this review will focus primarily on the food and service we experienced not so much the ship itself or the ports we visited.  However, I would like to briefly say that The Allure of the Seas is beautiful.  It’s a massive ship (one of the largest in the world), modern, very well maintained and offers diverse dining and entertainment options.  Even though the ship accommodates 5,000 or 6,000, we very rarely felt cramped.  There is ample room to move around and it was always easy to find a lounging chair.  We’ve taken a good number of cruises, although this was our first Royal Caribbean cruise.  We were very, very impressed.  Overall, this was our best cruise experience ever.  On to the food…

First, Ft Lauderdale

We came in early to Ft Lauderdale.  I always like to arrive at least a day early for cruises.  This time, we actually stayed three nights ahead of the cruise.  We had a great time in Ft Lauderdale.  I always want to be very careful when eating, However, I wanted to be very, very careful while in FLL.  We had a full week of vacation ahead of us and I didn’t want to be sick for it.  For the most part, we ate at exclusively gluten free restaurants.

Weezie’s Gluten Free Kitchen – 1321 East Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park, FL

Weezie’s is that diner you used to go to when you could eat gluten, only everything at Weezie’s is gluten free!  Diverse menu, baked goods, pizza, sandwiches, desserts and pies.  This is run by a Celiac and is a real gem.  We had some great food and service here.

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Roast Beef and Horseradish Cheddar Sandwich with Hummus and Tortilla Chips

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Patty Melt (on faux Rye) with fries.  This was a real treat, I thought I’d never eat a patty melt again.

We also had the key lime pie which was delicious.

Fresh First – 1637 SE 17th Street, Ft. Lauderdale

I cannot emphasize how great Fresh First is.  This is an awesome restaurant.  In the span of two days, we ate here three times.  It would have been four or five if they were open for dinner.  The food was genuinely amazing – not even “it was good for gluten free food”, no, it was amazing regardless of gluten content.  Our server was extremely nice and confided in us about her own food issues, a real delight.  We also chatted with the owners for a minute.  This is a great place, run by great people… go to this place!

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Omelette, Waffle, Griddled Red and Sweet Potatoes and… a Chocolate Chip Pancake.  Just outstanding.  I would nearly hop on a plane to go get another one of these pancakes.  Get the pancake!

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Eggs Benedict with perfectly, I mean perfectly done eggs.  Delicious.

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Chicken Salad sandwich – pulled chicken breast, Granny Smith apples, celery, dill and vegan mayo served on a delicious GF bun with potato leek soup.

Rocco’s Tacos – This was the one non GF dedicated restaurant that we went to.  I was a little nervous eating here because it is A: busy and B: loud.  Two things I don’t like as a Celiac.  I want quite and slow, so I can communicate well and so the restaurant isn’t in too much of a hurry.  I talked with the manager along with my server.  Rocco’s did have a very good rating in Find Me Gluten Free and we ended up having a delicious meal here (tacos for me) and table side Guacamole.  They had a dedicated fryer for their chips, so those were safe.  Overall very good experience.

The remaining two dinners were had at… Whole Foods.  We grabbed a few things in the store and ate in the cafeteria area.  I love that Whole Foods has this area in most (maybe all?) of their locations.  We also grabbed our two bottles of wine for the cruise at Whole Foods.  Royal Caribbean allows you to bring one bottle of wine per adult, up to two per stateroom.  That’s pretty common for cruises, but RC goes a step further and does not charge a corkage fee at restaurants.  Nice!


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Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas

Note: I purchased this cruise and with my own money.  Beyond that I did not identify myself as a gluten free blogger or the writer behind Gluten Free Finds.  I was an anonymous full fare paying passenger on this cruise.

Before the cruise – Contact Royal Caribbean and inform them of your gluten free requirement.  You can email special_needs@rccl.com or give them a call.

As someone with special dietary requirements your main point of contact on the ship is generally your head waiter.  They take orders for the next day, answer questions about food on board and can help with special arrangements.  It seems people are generally directed to get with their head waiter after boarding.  I was unable to do that until our first dinner at which time I identified myself as having Celiac Disease.  I asked several questions and got the answers.  Notable things I found out…

  • I would pre-order main dining room meals after dinner each night.
  • All specialty dining venues had gluten free options and were considered safe by my head waiter.
  • When dining at a specialty restaurant, you should ask to speak with a supervisor for assistance.

We had chosen My Time Dining.  Even with MTD, I always had the same head waiter each evening.  Our head waiter, Adina, was one of only a couple female head waiters on that particular sailing.  She was… amazing.  Really, actually, literally amazing.  Keep reading for an illustration of that, but she was amazing.

I don’t have a lot of pictures of food, because I have a tendency to want to just eat the food when it arrives, but I did take a few…

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Burger in the main dining room.  Do you ever have those questioning moments, where something looks so good, you’re worried that it isn’t gluten free.  That was my reaction for the first time I saw this bun.  It was very tasty and, the lab I keep built in to my body 🙂 also confirmed that it was gluten free.

A note about Johnny Rockets: I tried to eat at Johnny Rockets for lunch one day.  Can you, as a Celiac or otherwise gluten intolerant, eat there?  Probably yes.  After speaking with the supervisor I learned that the fries were fried in a shared fryer and that my burger would take 30 minutes because they would bake it.  They also weren’t sure if they had a GF bun or not.  So, 30 minutes for a baked burger in a lettuce wrap and no fries?  I appreciate the safety and all of the clear information, but I got up and went to the main dining room.  The Royal Burger is delicious and the fries are safe.

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Fries from the main dining room.  Delicious steak-fry cut, fried in a dedicated fryer.  Umm… yes please.

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Gluten free bread from our dinner at Chop’s Steakhouse.  I had the filet and couple sides and our meal was outstanding…

Head Waiter Heroics… While we were profusely enjoying our dinner at Chop’s I wondered how I would pre-order my meals for the next day.  Towards the end of the meal, our head waiter Adina showed up with the next day’s menus.  She had noticed we hadn’t shown up in the main dining, looked in the reservation system to find where we were…. dressed up in a Chops uniform and showed up at our table to take my pre-order.  Umm… wow.  That level of care and service is amazing to me.

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A carnitas taco (with table-side guacamole) at Sabor.  Sabor was our first eating experience on the ship.  Several reviews I read indicated that Windjammer Buffet (Did someone say buffet!?) was the only venue open for lunch on embarkation day.  That’s just not correct.  At least on the Allure of the Seas, several venues were open, including Sabor.  The fryers at Sabor are not dedicated, however, they will heat up a kettle of oil when you order and fry you up some fresh chips.  It takes a little while to get the first order, but it’s pretty amazing that they do that.  Our food at Sabor was delicious.  Both times we went (one lunch and one dinner) we got table side guacamole.  Great venue with great food!

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I read great things about the (gluten containing) roast beef sandwich at Park Cafe and I also read it was possible to get a gluten free variation and indeed it is.  After talking to the supervisor… Adel (not that one, but a superstar nonetheless… Thank you Adel) he made me a sandwich himself.  When he started warming up a toaster, I objected asking if that had been used to toast gluten containing items.  He pointed out the sign on the top of the toaster.  You can’t see it very well in this photo (click to zoom) but it’s clearly marked gluten free.  Nice!  They pulled a fresh pan of roast beef from the kitchen and assembled the whole thing right in front of my eyes.

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Park Cafe Roast Beef Sandwich on Udi’s Bagel.  Pay no attention to the extra roast beef on the side.  I asked for extra roast beef and they obliged.  Delicious GF roast beef sandwich!

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Another plate of gluten free bread I received.  In all, I had three types of bread (not counting buns) on the cruise.  The topmost one was the most common and my favorite, it has some sort of nut in it.  The bottom-most one was good too, it had a combo bread/cornbread feel to it.  The third variety I received (only once), was extremely white and had very little flavor and the texture of styrofoam.  That was only on one occasion and even then, I had two other good choices on the same plate.

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The Royal Shrimp Cocktail was a nightly appetizer for me.  Remember you can order as many appetizers, entrees and desserts as you’d like.  Portions tend to be smaller, so this isn’t as bad for you as it sounds.

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Here is the breakfast menu from the main dining room.  I think it’s the same menu daily, at least for the most part.  Do you see gluten free pancakes as an option… no, they are not an option.  Keep reading.

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Gluten free pancakes.  Whammo.  Pretty delicious too.  My amazing head waiter special ordered these for me every day.  You could also do gluten free waffles or french toast.  Here’s a secret… your headwaiter can make just about anything (food-wise) happen for you.

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Here’s my standard breakfast.  Gluten free pancakes and the “Classic” with eggs over medium, bacon and hashbrowns.

A visit from Chef Brad… One morning during breakfast one of the Chef’s visited my table.  Remember… I did not identify myself as a gluten free blogger or as a writer, at all.  Chef Brad stopped by my table and introduced himself and said that he was one of the Chef’s responsible for gluten free cuisine.  He told me how important it was to him and Royal Caribbean.  Gluten free peoples of the world… Where does this happen at??  That’s amazing service and it also shows that Royal Caribbean and… Brad really care about gluten free and the health of gluten intolerant people.  Bravo!

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This is an aerial shot of the Boardwalk.  Sabor is toward the end of the Boardwalk on the right side.  “Cups and Scoops” is also on the right side.  It serves cupcakes and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  I stopped in to Cups and Scoops one day to ask about gluten free options.  The worker quickly listed off gluten free flavors… Yay!  I asked about getting a serving from an unopened and uncontaminated container in the back and the person was unable or unwilling to do that.  I didn’t really push it and if I were, I would have asked for a supervisor, like I was supposed to do anyway, and I’m assuming they would have made it happen.

Odds and Ends…

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GF Beer… Before departing on this vacation, I tried to figure out if Royal Caribbean has any gluten free beer options.  I found an older picture of a beer menu that had Dogfish Head Tweason’ale on it, but couldn’t confirm that that’s a regular offering.  Here’s a photo of part of the menu from Allure’s Bow and Stern English pub.  They indeed serve GF beer!

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Here it is Dogfish Head Tweason’ale.  Really a pretty tasty beer.  I had several just to make sure.  I understand why they chose this as their one and only GF beer.  It’s flavorful, yet mild enough to be drinkable for those who enjoy lighter beers.  It would be nice to see Royal Caribbean pick up a hoppier beer that may have appeal to both gluten free and non-gluten free folks alike, something like Glutenberg’s Pale Ale or IPA.  It is great to have a gluten free beer option!  Cider options and of course wine and mixed drinks are also available.

Labadee Beach BBQ – Food on Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private resort, comes from the ship.  My head waiter told me what was gluten free and directed me to talk with a supervisor at Labadee.  I did so, and the supervisor kindly got me an uncontaminated plate from fresh food.  I had ribs and beans and rice along with some fruit.  I also had the option of pre-ordering a specific meal from the ship.  You can also return to the ship to eat lunch.  Everything is pretty close, so you could do that without too much hassle.

Eating at other ports – I had a large breakfast each day before leaving the ship and brought along protein bars.  I ate at no restaurants what at Falmouth or Cozumel.  I could probably have pulled it off at Cozumel, but with the amount of time we were there, I just didn’t want to hassle with it.

A note when traveling to foreign countries – This is an important tip.  The formula for products you know and are familiar with can be region specific.  For example, Ruffles and Doritos are (as of this writing) gluten free in the sense that they have no gluten containing ingredients.  That’s in the US.  All bets are off when you hit the border.  I almost purchased and consumed both Ruffles and Doritos while in port at Cozumel.  FORTUNATELY…. they both called out the fact that they have gluten in the ingredient list.  Why would Ruffles have gluten in them?  Why?  Ruffles and Doritos in Mexico are… unsafe.  Keep the fact that formulations can change by region in mind when you are traveling.

Udi’s Single Serve Cookies – I read several reviews saying these were available at the Cupcake shop.  On the Allure, I found them at the Promenade Cafe.  You just need to ask at the counter.  I received both chocolate chip and snicker doodle and both were nice snacks.

Other things I didn’t Try – Sorrento’s Pizza – I had read that they can make a gluten free pizza, but I didn’t try it out.  Several specialty restaurants – we went to Chops and Sabor, but every special restaurant has gluten free options, again If you have Celiac Disease or are otherwise very sensitive… speak with a supervisor when ordering.  Windjammer Buffet – they have a gluten free section and some items are marked gluten free, but I didn’t feel comfortable eating at a buffet.

Non food related thoughts – Royal’s VOOM Internet service is amazing.  It’s very fast and the prices are reasonable.  We got one device for free as part of our package and purchased another (20% discount pre-departure) for about $65.  That’s for unlimited internet the whole week.  That combined with iPhone’s Wi-Fi calling meant we could keep in contact with the family.  Valet Luggage Service – If your departure flight falls within certain parameters on certain carriers, you can pay $20 per person and RC will print out your boarding pass for you and check your luggage.  This was a very handy service that I would use again.

Final Thoughts…

This was an amazing vacation that I would relive in a heartbeat.  I was encouraged that a company would take my eating limitations so seriously.  Royal Caribbean does gluten free right.  Thank you to RC and to your awesome staff!  You’ve won a lifelong customer.

Be kind, thankful and generous… Let’s face it folks, we are non-gluten eaters in a gluten filled world.  It takes extra care, effort and cost to safely serve us.  A main concern we have is eating safely.  Be kind and thankful to those that are going out of their way to serve you.  Spread the word about great companies like Royal Caribbean and be generous.  We left the automatic tips on our account and then tipped an extra cash amount directly to our entire dining room staff.  How much is it worth to you to feel well for an entire week of eating away from your home.  For me, that’s worth a lot.

Thank you Royal Caribbean and keep up the amazing work!  You went beyond my expectations and I look for to returning.

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Annie’s Double Chocolate Chip GF Granola Bars, 5 Pack

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Annie’s Chewy Gluten Free Granola Bars, Double Chocolate Chip, .98 oz, 5 Count from Annie’s Homegrown

Gluten free, no high fructose corn syrup.  Non-GMO.

Update: Since this post was published the price, availability or promotion has changed.  Check the product page for up to the minute description, price and availability.  Also: Today’s Deals on Amazon

Annie’s Chewy Gluten Free Granola Bars, Double Chocolate Chip, .98 oz, 5 Count

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Triumph Dining Gluten Free Dining Out Cards – English & Spanish + Review

Gluten Free Dining Out Cards (English and Spanish Edition) by Triumph Dining

These cards help to explain to restaurant staff (in both English and Spanish) that you need to dine gluten free.  I have these and have used them for foreign travel.  In my opinion, they are an amazing help.  Check out my review.

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Gluten Free Dining Out Cards (English and Spanish Edition)

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Schar Gluten Free Hot Dog Buns – Two Tips

On the Fourth of July, I finally broke down and got some Schar Hot Dog Buns.  Normally, I do not miss buns.  I have no problem eating something with a knife and a fork and skipping the bun altogether.  There are a couple exceptions.  There is something about eating a hotdog or a brat in a bun with your hand that makes the experience so much better.

We grilled up some brats and I excitedly cracked these open.  The first brat was, well… bad.  The second one was much, much better.  Here’s what I did…

  1.  The rolls were cut, but now I’m wondering if they are intended to be only partially cut.  The cuts weren’t near deep enough.  Our brats nearly sat on top of the buns.  I cut the rolls a bit more to let the brat sit in the bun lower and hold toppings and such.
  2. I microwaved each bun for 15 seconds or so.

After these two modifications, my son’s eyes lit up.  He said.. “I didn’t want to complain before, but that last one was bad, these are so much better now”

Big difference.  The warmth provided by a short microwave of these, makes them soft and chewy and makes a world of difference.  That combined with cutting them a bit more moved them from a 1 or 2 star to a 4 star to me.

 Schar Gluten Free Hot Dog Rolls – via Amazon

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Celiac Disease For Dummies

Celiac Disease For Dummies Paperback

Celiac Disease For Dummies by Ian Blumer and Sheila Crowe

About, from the book description: “Celiac Disease For Dummies is the ultimate reference for people with the disease and their family members. The book helps readers identify symptoms of the disease, and explains how doctors definitively diagnose celiac disease. It outlines how celiac disease affects the body, and what its consequences could be if untreated. The authors explain how celiac disease is treated, not only through the elimination of gluten from the diet, but with additional nutritional measures and alternative and complementary therapies. Written by two practicing physicians, the book also offers practical, helpful guidance for parents of children with celiac disease, whose treatment may be a particular challenge.

Celiac Disease For Dummies Paperback

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6 Pack, Van’s “Lots of Everything!” Crackers

Van’s Simply Delicious Crackers, Lots of Everything!, 5 Ounce (Pack of 6) by Van’s Simply Delicious

Crispy, baked whole grain crackers made with oats, brown rice, millet, quinoa and amaranth.  No artificial flavors, colors or hydrogenated oils.

Non-GMO and certified gluten free.

 

Van’s Simply Delicious Crackers, Lots of Everything!, 5 Ounce (Pack of 6)

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