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.

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

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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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.

Gluten Free Dining Out Cards (English and Spanish Edition)

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Traveling Gluten Free – Gear, Tips and Tricks!

Pictured: Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion

I love to travel.  A diagnosis of Celiac Disease [About Me] has slowed me down, but it certainly has not stopped me.  Related: [Trip Reports] with more on the way.

This post is a roundup of some of the gear, gadgets and tips for making the most out of your trip.  Got a travel tip? Let us know!

Continue reading “Traveling Gluten Free – Gear, Tips and Tricks!”

Thermos Food Jar + Tips & Tricks – Traveling Gluten Free

Thermos Stainless King 24 Ounce Food Jar, Midnight Blue

Vacuum insulated stainless steel food jar from Thermos 24 Ounce.  Wide mouth for easy filling, eating and cleaning.  Durable stainless interior and exterior.  Keeps liquids hot for 14 hours and cold for 24 hours.

I use similar containers when on the go.  See: Traveling Gluten Free – Gear, Tips and Tricks!

Thermos Stainless King 24 Ounce Food Jar, Midnight Blue

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Tip: Finding Coupons for Gluten Free Items on Amazon

Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola, Original, 12 Ounce

Pictured: Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola by purely elizabeth. via Amazon Prime Pantry (about Prime Pantry)

Amazon’s coupon search page, let’s you easily find their coupons.  This search searches for the term “gluten free” using that tool.  Note that you still need to confirm gluten free status of each individual item as that search isn’t a guarantee the item will be GF.

Search for gluten free coupons on Amazon

 

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Always check ingredients to confirm gluten free status.  If in doubt, contact the manufacturer with questions.

Tip: Finding Gluten Free Sale Items at Target

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Pictured: King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix

I’ve been a big fan of Target lately for gluten free deals.  That probably stems from the fact that I recently obtained a Target REDcard.  See: REDcard benefits.  I opted for the debit card version but a credit card version is also available.  Both versions offer… 5% off in store and online along with free shipping on pretty much everything on target.com with no minimum order.

This all means I was able to send my daugher a care package of GH Cretors Chicago Mix (certified GF) for just $3.13 (with my 5% discount) shipped to her dorm.  Whammo.

Target seems to offer very similar pricing online as they do in store and many of the sales are reflected in both spots.  If you don’t have a REDcard, shipping is free with most $35 orders.

This search – searches for gluten free in the grocery category.  It further limits results to items available to ship and items that are on sale.

This search – has the same criteria as the previous search, but also includes items that are pick up eligible.  Reserve the items you want, Target gathers them for you and you saunter in leisurely to pick them up.

This search – includes all sale items with the term gluten free including those that are available only in store.

If you run into something particularly good… Let me know.  I’d love to put up your tip and let everyone know.  Submit a Tip

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A Celiac Walks Into a Chipotle…

chipotle-square_0

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease I was happy that I apparently had at least some options at Chipotle Mexican Grill.  After all, the only gluten containing food item on the menu are the flour tortillas.  Bowls and corn hard shell tacos are both viable gluten free options.  Yay, tasty food!

As I learned about Celiac disease, food preparation and my own symptoms I started re-thinking how I order at Chipotle.

The most well trained Chipotle employees will immediately wash their hands and change their gloves when you identify yourself as a Celiac Disease sufferer.  If they are well trained they will also follow you down the line to complete your order.  That minimizes cross contamination risks and means not every single person needs to wash hands and change gloves.

The question that I asked myself is… what good does it do if they wash their hands and change their gloves?  The only thing that really helps with is when they touch the bowl when they first pick it up or move it.  They’re still using the spoons and the same tubs of ingredients.

The next thing that I’ve heard is… ask them to change spoons.  Okay, another step forward.  There could be something stuck to the spoon that gets on the person’s hand or drops into your food.  We’re still left with possible prior cross contamination of food that’s on the line.

I’ve sat and watched the line and how they handle spoons and what not.  Spoons touch the flour tortillas and go back into the ingredients.  They also choke up on the spoons when they’re holding them so their hands are close to the serving end.  The bins are deep enough that the area they just touched goes deep into the bin.

The cheese and lettuce are served by hand.  The same hands handle flour tortillas.  It doesn’t matter if the person making your bowl just washed their hands and changed their gloves, the people who just handled lettuce and cheese for previous orders did not.

Let’s face it… even though there’s only a single gluten containing ingredient… gluten is getting into everything on the serving line.

I’m not saying this is a general food safety or sanitation issue.  It is not.  It’s a gluten cross contamination issue.

Can you still eat at Chipotle?  The answer for me, a Celiac [About Me], is yes.  Here’s how…

  1. I identify myself as someone with Celiac Disease at the beginning of the ordering line.  I do that purposefully, even though they may not know what that means (they may be more familiar with gluten allergy or gluten intolerance).  I wait for their reaction.  Using the word disease let’s them know this is a serious situation and it gives them a chance to absorb that even if they don’t understand what it is.  If need be I follow up with an explanation.
  2. The most well trained employees will immediately wash their hands and change their gloves.  If they do not do this, kindly ask them to, or… you may want to ask to talk with a manager at this point.  They may alert other workers to the fact that a gluten allergy is being prepared.  I know allergy isn’t technically correct, but practically speaking that doesn’t really matter.
  3. I inform the person making my bowl that I am extremely sensitive to gluten and I would like my bowl made from previously unused tubs of ingredients using clean utensils.  The best of the best will do this without being asked, but don’t assume that will happen.  Fresh bins of salsas, beans and other toppings are refrigerated under the line or kept warm in the back.  The only thing they may not have are fresh tubs of meat selections.  They do have reserved and covered tubs on the hot table, but it’s possible that they could be running behind and not have an fresh tub available.  You could either step out of line and wait for fresh meat to be ready or go vegetarian for the day.

In my opinion washing hands and changing gloves aren’t enough to make a safe meal.  Changing spoons is also mostly frivolous.  There is too much gluten flying around and cross contaminating food.

I’ve found Chipotle staff to be generally helpful, respectful and caring.  I do eat there even though I am very sensitive but ask them to wash their hands, change gloves and only serve me fresh ingredients from previously unused containers, using clean utensils.  They have always been willing to do this for me.

If you have an issue with explaining your situation or you feel uncomfortable about the way your food is being prepared, I’d suggest that you ask a manager to prepare your meal.

Going during slower times can help.  If you feel uncomfortable explaining all of this on the spot or want to make sure they know you’re coming just give the restaurant a call beforehand.

Also use Find Me Gluten Free to give a fair review of Chipotle and other restaurants so the rest of the gluten free community can learn from your experience.

As always be kind, thankful and reward good service by tipping and by sharing praises.

Visit Chipotle’s Website

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Prime Exclusive: Oberto Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky [GF] 4 Packs

Oberto All Natural Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky, 3.25 Ounce Bag (Pack Of 4) from Oberto

Oberto All Natural Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky, 3.25 Ounce Bag (Pack Of 4) from Oberto

All natural, low in carbohydrates, no MSG, 97% fat free, no MSG.  Made in the USA .  4 x 3.25 ounce bags.

I take two or three packs of Oberto beef jerky with me every time I travel.  I’ve found them to be a great source of gluten free protein when on the go.

Update; Since this post was published, the price has changed.  Check the product page for up to the minute price and availability.

Oberto All Natural Spicy Sweet Beef Jerky, 3.25 Ounce Bag (Pack Of 4)

Always check ingredients to confirm gluten free status.  If in doubt, contact the manufacturer with questions.

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Stanley Vacuum Insulated Food Jar – For Eating on the Go

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As much as I want to eat out every single meal always and forever like I used to do pre-celiac [About Me], I just can’t.  I eat at home for many of my meals and, sometimes, bring food with me while I’m out and about.

I picked up Stanley’s Classic Vacuum Seal Insulated Food Jar to use while on the go.  I settled on the Stanley after considering Klean Kanteen’s Canister and Hydroflask’s Canister.  I like the size, features and stats.

I got the 17 oz size (a 24 oz is also available).  It features vacuum insulation to keep food hot or cold for up to 12 hours.  Vacuum insulation means there are two layers with a vacuum in between.  That vacuum makes heat transfer very inefficient and insulates contents.

It’s made of 18/8 stainless steel and is naturally BPA free.  The lid doubles as a 12 ounce bowl.  It is also leak proof and packable and comes with a lifetime warranty.  Whammo.

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Stanley Classic Vacuum Insulated Food Jar 17oz, 24oz

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