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Gluten Free Blog Posts

My ten-year-old daughter has Celiac and needs to eat gluten-free. Every Tuesday I'll share some tips/tricks about her childhood journey eating gluten-free in the Boston area.

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Gluten Free Blog Posts

My ten-year-old daughter has Celiac and needs to eat gluten-free. Every Tuesday I'll share some tips/tricks about her childhood journey eating gluten-free in the Boston area.

A list of all the Blog Posts in this category.

September 29, 2022

2Mauro's Cafe

If you're looking for a delicious and hearty breakfast or lunch, then you should definitely check out 2Mauro's Cafe! This local restaurant offers a variety of comfort foods, all made with the finest ingredients. From bacon to eggs to sandwiches, there's something to suit everyone at 2Mauro's Cafe. There are two locations in Ashland and Southborough, so it will be very easy for you to get what you're looking for!

To find out what 2Mauro's Cafe has to offer, check out the online menu.

2 Mauro Gluten Free

Four Things I Learned

Gluten-free bread is available at 2Mauro's Cafe, which is toasted in an oven.

There was a waitress at 2Mauro's Cafe who told us that she also eats gluten-free and appeared to be very knowledgeable about the gluten-free options available there.

The corned beef hash is gluten-free and very good - definitely a dish to try if you like corned beef. You can order the hash as a side dish or try the "Hashing it Out".

The Fruited Breakfast Sundae is gluten-free if you do not want granola included. Our server told us they were not able to confirm the granola's gluten-free status.

September 22, 2022

The Bagel Table

There is an awesome bagels chain in Ashland called The Bagel Table. They have stores in Burlington, Natick, Wayland, Boston Landing, Ashland, and Chestnut Hill. We love going there every Friday for Bagel Friday because it's a popular spot for locals to shop for fresh bagels.

Bagel Table Ashland

Gluten Free Options

They have a special refrigerator stocked with gluten-free bagels from Something Sweet Without Wheat.

Currently, Bagel Table does not have a dedicated toaster for toasting Gluten Free bagels.

All gluten-free bagels can be topped with cream cheese available next to the register.

In addition to gluten-free donut holes, they also sell gluten-free donut cones. But my daughter did not like them and told me never to buy them again..

It seems that the Ashland store does run out of Gluten Free Everything bagels, so people are buying them.

September 15, 2022

Uncle Chungs

Do you miss the taste of authentic Chinese food? Does the thought of General Tso's chicken make your mouth water, but worry about another disappointing takeout experience leave you afraid to try again? Are you tired of bland, Americanized Chinese food that has nothing to do with real Chinese cooking? If so, then we have good news for you! It is possible to get real Chinese food that is also free of gluten and MSG. Uncle Chung Framingham offers a line of authentic, gluten-free Chinese cooking.

Who is Uncle Chung?

Uncle Chungs is a Chinese-food restaurant located at 585 Cochituate Road, in Framingham (about 15 minutes away from downtown Boston). It's a small cozy space with seating for about 20 people. They have a separate gluten-free menu available on request. Their gluten-free menu has more than 10 options, including sweet and sour chicken, general Tso's chicken, orange chicken, kung pao chicken, spicy chicken and broccoli, sesame chicken, honey garlic shrimp, veggie lo mein, and fried rice. They also have gluten-free soy sauce for dipping your food. Each meal costs around $8 $10.

Authentic Gluten-Free Chinese Cooking

If you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, you know how difficult it can be to find good Chinese food. Almost all Chinese food is made with soy sauce, which is made with wheat. Many Chinese sauces also contain monosodium glutamate, or MSG, which is a chemical that many people have adverse reactions to. MSG was once thought to be dangerous, and while it has since been proven to be safe, many people still avoid it. Authentic Chinese food is usually made with gluten and MSG-free ingredients. It is also often made with real ingredients, such as real ginger, garlic, and sesame seeds, rather than with sodium benzoate, disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate, which are chemicals that are often put in American Chinese foods.

Why is Chinese Food Usually Off Limits for Those With Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance?

Chinese food is usually off limits for those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance because of the soy sauce in most Chinese dishes, as well as the MSG in many Chinese sauces. However, gluten in Chinese foods can also cause problems for people who do not have celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten. Real Chinese food, though, is usually gluten-free, as well as MSG-free. Chinese cooking is often done in a wok, which is a type of pan that can be used on a stovetop, in an oven, or even on a barbecue. The wok is a great tool for stir-frys, and the best woks are made of carbon steel. Carbon steel woks are non-reactive and do not cause the chemical reactions that non-stick pans do. They can also be seasoned and are an excellent, long-lasting tool for Chinese cooking.

How is Uncle Chungs Authentic Chinese Food Made?

Uncle Chungs foods are made with real, whole ingredients, as well as with gluten-free ingredients. The recipes are authentic Chinese recipes that have been tweaked to make them safe for those who cannot eat gluten. The recipes come from real Chinese chefs who have been trained in the art of Chinese cooking. Therefore, the recipes for authentic Chinese food are followed exactly, making the food much more than just gluten free.

Uncle Chungs Sweet and Sour Chicken

Uncle Changs sweet and sour chicken is a recipe that was created with people who cannot eat gluten in mind. The sauce has all the flavors of a sweet and sour sauce, with a slight addition of soy sauce, but without wheat. It is an excellent example of the kind of food that Uncle Chungs has to offer. This recipe starts with a marinade made of real ingredients. It uses real ginger, garlic, vinegar, and sesame seeds to give the chicken a sweet, spicy flavor that is reminiscent of the classic Chinese dish. The chicken is then cooked in a wok, using a sauce that is made with the same ingredients as the marinade, but with the addition of a small amount of soy sauce.

Final Words

Uncle Chungs Authentic Chinese Food may not be Chinese food as it is made in China, but it is Chinese food that has been tweaked to meet the needs of those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. It is made with real ingredients, and it is MSG-free. It is Chinese food, made by real Chinese chefs, for people who cannot eat gluten, and it is made to be enjoyed by all.

September 8, 2022

The Knack - Orleans Mass.

This week we were in Orleans, Massachusetts and we decided to try a local popular burger place:

The Knack Orleans

My daughter wanted to try The Knack, 5 Route 6A in Orleans, as we heard the food was very good - one local said it was the best burger on Cape Cod. Could it also be the best gluten Free Burger?

Pickle And Spice Burger
Pickle and Spice Burger made Gluten Free

Taste Results

My daughter loved the burger! She ate more of the burger than any other burger she had before- she has had a lot of them.

The only thing we don't know is if the french fries were gluten-free. She told me it didn't matter as the burger filled her up. Compared to other foods she had, the burger wasn't too spicy. It had a bite to it, which she liked since it wasn't just another burger.

We highly recommend The Knack as a place to go! If you go, try to park behind the restaurant as there is usually more space.

September 1, 2022

Taco Bell

The Supreme Taco at Taco Bell is gluten-free. Did you know that?

My 11-year-old daughter loves this fast food item. There is no Big Mac from MacDonald's or a Whopper from Burger King for her, but Taco Bell offers Crunchy Supreme Tacos. Best of all it's gluten-free.

Taco Bell Gluten Free

Taco Bell Statement

Taco Bell officially does not recommend their restaurant for people with celiac disease. In the kitchen, there is cross-contamination.

There are some Taco Bell dishes that do not contain gluten ingredients, and there is a guide that explains how to eat Taco Bell while you are avoiding gluten. It is called href="https://www.tacobell.com/blog/how-to-avoid-gluten">How To Eat Taco Bell When You're Avoiding Gluten.

Our Experience

As a matter of fact, we have eaten at Taco Bell a number of times and my daughter has never had a reaction to eating the taco. She only complains that we don't eat there often enough.

This is definitely something worth considering if you or someone you know has celiac disease or is otherwise gluten-intolerant. The options are fairly limited when it comes to fast food, but Taco Bell seems to be doing a good job with its gluten-free offerings.

Upon ordering, you can request that the Supreme Taco is prepared with extra care.

October 27, 2021

DNA Testing for Celiac Disease

If you take the DNA test from 123 and Me, you may find if you have celiac disease. That's a big maybe.

One of the tests that 123 and Me perform is the presence of the rs2187668 and rs7454108 genetic variants. These have been linked to the HLA-DQ2.5 and HLA-DQ8 haplotypes which are associated with a higher risk for celiac.

Okay, that's a lot to take in. Let's break it down...

23and Me Gluten

rs2187668 and rs7454108

The rs2187668 genetic variant is associated with various traits including Celiac disease, Diastolic blood pressure, Collagenous colitis - which is a condition that affects your large intestine,

The rs7454108 genetic variant is associated with pemphigus vulgaris - which causes blisters on the skin, anti-neutrophil antibody associated vasculitis - a rare destruction and inflammation of the kidney, stomach, intestine and lungs.

Important Reminder - Just because rs2187668 and rs7454108 show up in the DNA test doesn't mean that person has any of the conditions. It basically means that some people that had those conditions had rs2187668 and rs7454108 in their DNA.

HLA-DQ2.5 and HLA-DQ8

In recent years, scientists have been able to identify two specific genes that tend to appear more common in people that have celiac disease. They put these into two groups of gene complexes known as human leukocyte antigen (HLA):

  • HLA-DQ2.5 - which is found in about 90% of people confirmed to have celiac disease.
  • HLA-DQ8 - which is found in eight percent of that same known celiac population.

HLA-DQA1 belongs to the group of genes with crucial roles in inflammation and autoimmunity. One variant in this gene has a robust association with celiac disease. 90% of the people that have celiac have the HLA-DQ2 gene.

The National Library of Medicine has a detailed report called, "HLA-DQ2.5 genes associated with celiac disease risk are preferentially expressed with respect to non-predisposing HLA genes: Implication for anti-gluten T cell response." It's a very technical report to understand the HLA-DQA1 link to an autoimmune disorder.

As for the HLA-DQ8 - I would highly recommend reading the HLA-DQ8 and the Genetics of Celiac Disease article. Its very well detailed about why the HLA-DQ8 is an important gene complex.

123 and Me Test Disclaimer

The legal department of 123 and Me put out the following disclaimer:

Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person's overall risk of developing the disease. The test is not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment.

The Celiac Disease genetic health risk report (i) is indicated for reporting of the rs2187668 variant in the HLA-DQA1 gene, which tags the HLA-DQ2.5 haplotype, and the rs7454108 variant near the HLA-DQB1 gene, which tags the HLA-DQ8 haplotype and (ii) describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing celiac disease. The variants included in this report are common in many ethnicities but are best studied in people of European descent.

Basically, if you have rs2187668 varient with the HLA-DQA1 gene, don't assume that you have Celiac Disease. Your best bet is to get tested for Celiac Disease.

October 20, 2021

2021 Halloween Candy

At this time of the year, I usually take a look at some of the Gluten-Free Halloween candy options. Here are some of the blog posts that I have done in previous years:

2021 Candy Blog
Various "Fun Size" Candies

Hershey Candies

This year I found out that the best way to know which Hershey candies are gluten-free is to read the ingredients. According to a Hershey's Chocolate representative, some of the candy ingredients change and the best way to know what's in them is to read the ingredients on the label. (I don't think they will add wheat to the Hershey Chocolate bar.)

Most Popular Candy in 2021

According to CandyStore.com, these are the top ten most popular candy in 2021. I added an emoji to which ones are known to be gluten free:

  • Reese's Cups
  • Skittles
  • M&M's
  • Starburst
  • Hot Tamales
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Hershey Kisses (Not the Hugs variety)
  • Snickers
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Candy corn - Not 100% Safe (Brach's Candy Corn is processed in a facility that also processes wheat)

According to my daughter Reese's Cups are the candy to get this year.

October 13, 2021

Halloween Candy Box

This Halloween season Hershey is doing something unique - for those that are handing out candy. They put together a creative assortment of Halloween candy in a treasure chest. This is something different than getting a bunch of candy bags and putting them in a bowl.

Halloween Candy Box

Interesting Facts

The box contains six different types of individually wrapped candy: Kit Kat, Rolo, Reese's, Hershey Kisses, Jolly Ranchers, and Twizzlers

There are 488-pieces in the box and it cost $29.98 for the box or $.29 an ounce.

The box is nicely decorated with eyes on the front - I guess Hershey wants people to present the box to the trick or treaters.

The popular "Hershey's Halloween All-Time Greats Candy Assortment, 100 Count" 2-pound bag is cheaper at $9.94 but cost you slightly more per candy at $.30 per ounce.

For Celiac users, there are only two candies types that you can't eat - Kit-Kat and Twizzlers. (Most people don't know that Twizzlers contain wheat!)

This isn't the largest candy set. Walmart sells a Now & Later with Nerds 600 pieces set for $29.98.

Walmart Exclusive

You can only find the Hershey Treasure Box at your local Walmart. They are selling out fast!

Get a box and see if you go through all 488-pieces. Don't forget to ask your trick or treaters if they have any allergies!

October 6, 2021

Linx Tavern

Ocean Edge Resort is a fun place for enjoying everything Cape Cod. They have a great 18-hole golf course, swimming pools, and beach. When you are hungry, there are a couple of restaurants on the property.

One of the popular places is the Linx Tavern. It's a popular place to get a beer and snack after 4-hours of golf.

We recently visited for a family dinner. I selected this place because we have eaten here plenty of times in the past and the food is good.

Linx Gluten Free

Five Things I Learned

As usual, my daughter ordered the 19th Hole Burger with the gluten-free bun. (They had to double-check that they still had Gluten-Free bins) The bun looks to be Udi's Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns.

There's only one appetizer that was gluten-free that my daughter wanted to eat - that was the Chicken Wings. She loves Chicken Wings and if it's on the menu and gluten-free - she is likely to order it. The one thing we weren't 100% sure about is which sauce was gluten-free - turns out they both were. We went with the Mumbo sauce as it wasn't going to be as spicy.

After we placed our order, the server came back to confirm our order - which we thought was weird. Turns out that shortly after we ordered a couple of the servers quit. Lucky for us our server was the restaurant manager. We don't know why they quit. The manager came over to our table to let us know and said it shouldn't impact our order. Our order did take a while, but it didn't bother us too much as we kept speculating on why two waiters would quit on the same night.

When we ordered the burger, the server didn't say anything about the side dish. When the dish came, it came with French fries. It wasn't until we got home that I realized that we didn't order fries in the past because it wasn't cooked in a dedicated fryer. The waiter should have caught that there might be some cross-contamination issues when the order was placed.

My daughter ate most of her burger and some of the fries. We took the leftovers home and she had the burger for lunch the next day. The Chicken Wings were also a hit - there was a few left to bring home.

Going Back

Despite the weird experience with the waitress quitting, we'll certainly be going back. Everyone enjoyed their meals and it was a fun night out.

My daughter didn't get any reactions to eating the french fries. I don't know if they are 100% safe but it's good that she didn't get sick.

September 29, 2021

Chick-fil-A

We have been big fans of Chick-fil-A when it opened in Framingham, Massachusetts. (Grand Opening was February 2, 2016.) We go at least once a week - typically to get a snack or a drink.

Chick-Fil-A has a gluten-free option that makes it worth going. My ten-year-old daughter is happy to get a bite to eat.

Chickfala Gluten Free

Five Things We Learn

Best Option - Only Fast Food restaurant where we can get a decent lunch and dinner. No other major fast-food restaurant offers a good gluten-free meal that a ten-year-old will eat.

Usual Order - She orders the Grilled Chicken as part of the kids meal. She orders Sunjoy instead of a soda. SunJoy is 1/2 Ice Tea and 1/2 Lemonaid.

French Fries - The French fries are safe because they have a dedicated fryer for their French fries - unlike McDonald's and Burger King which use the fryer to cook gluten foods.

Gilled Sandwich - We have tried the grilled chicken sandwich with the gluten-free bun but prefer the grilled nuggets. Probably because she is addicted to the Chick Fa la sauce.

Breakfast - unfortunately there isn't any good options for breakfast. She can order Hash browns, yogurt, and fruit cup.