Gluten Free Blog Posts
Celiac Vaccine Update
Back in January, 2019, I wrote about how the Nexvax2 was in Stage 2 trials. This vaccine would help people with celiac disease to occasionally enjoy foods that may contain gluten.
I thought I would follow up on the update of the testing.
Nexvax2 Trial has been discontinued
Unfortunately testing didn't go well. Six Months into Phase 2, and the trial was stopped.
The results of the trial showed that the vaccine didn't provide any more protection from gluten when compared to the placebo.
The official statement from June 25, 2020:
The results from an interim analysis revealed Nexvax2 did not provide statistically meaningful protection from gluten exposure for celiac disease patients when compared with placebo.
ImmusanT, Inc is a biotechnology company focused on developing a treatment, and a set of diagnostic and monitoring tools to manage patients with Celiac disease.
Next Steps for ImmusanT
ImmusanT has closed its doors shortly after stopping the Nexvax2 trial. Any testing information is likely to be Vatera Healthcare Partners as they were the primary backers to ImmusanT.
While it's disappointing to hear that Nexvax2 didn't make it. There are plenty of other trials still in play.
Zedira Phase 2b Trial
Earlier this month, the New England Journal of Medicine featured a story about an experimental drug called ZED1227 that looks to be promising to those diagnosed with celiac disease. (A Randomized Trial of a Transglutaminase 2 Inhibitor for Celiac Disease)
According to early testing, patients on the drug showed fewer signs of intestinal damage when eating a biscuit with some gluten.
As part of the study, patients have to take a pill every morning and and once in a while they would eat a biscuit that contained a trace of gluten.
Zedira is still moving forward with the phase 2b study in Europe.
Finding a place that makes good gluten-free donuts may seem like an impossible task. Not in the Boston area,
Kane’s Donuts is the place to go for not only awesome donuts but a great selection.
Five Things We Learned
This past Spring we stopped at the Kane’s Donut shop in the Financial District in Boston. Here are some of the things we learned.
They had a large selection of Gluten Free donuts. We arrived moments after they open so we had a large selection to pick from.
Kane’s keep the donuts on a separate track from the other donuts in the shop. They will move it so you can see what is available.
Gluten Free Donuts are expensive
They taste awesome! My daughter loved them so much that we went back a couple of days later to get more. To her, It was a real treat to get delicious donuts from a donut shop. She really liked the glazed donuts.
You can order the donuts online. Order online for early morning pickup to ensure the freshest selection and variety.
One of the hot food products this year is the Stuffed Puffs. This is a marshmallow with some chocolate inside. Making this the perfect S’more marshmallow.
I was surprised to find some at a local Market Basket. So I picked up a couple of packages.
My daughter was delighted that I brought some home and couldn’t wait to make s’mores.
She had a couple of them and thought they were just okay. I think she was expecting more chocolate inside.
We noticed that when we cooked them over the fire that the outside would sizzle as if it had a sugar coating.
That got me thinking - what is inside the marshmallow? So I checked the ingredients and was surprised to find its more than marshmallows and plain chocolate.
There is a bit of a surprise if you are a celiac- the marshmallow contains Wheat.
Facts from Stuffed Puffs
According to the Stuff Puffs frequently asked questions:
Stuffed Puffs® Classic Milk Chocolate and Chocolate-on-Chocolate flavors are inherently gluten-free, however, they are not a Certified Gluten-Free product. This is because while there is no wheat in the ingredient list they are made in a facility that processes wheat products.
Our Cookies &n Creme flavor does contain some wheat as it includes a cookie crumble filling.
Note: On their website, the ingredients don't list Wheat in the "Contained Ingredients".
My daughter didn’t encounter any Gluten side effects from eating the marshmallows. She said that she felt fine the next morning.
We were happy that she didn’t get sick and I felt bad that I didn’t check to see if the marshmallows were safe.
We probably won’t use the rest of the marshmallows- out of caution. Instead, we may make our own stuff marshmallows
I think she likes making s’mores the old fashion way - with a recesses peanut butter cup instead of a Hershey bar.
Against the Grain Pizza
One of our favorite pizzas is the “Against The Grain.” While some people may shy away from it because it’s a Gluten-Free pizza - that would be a mistake.
Apparently people have this notion that gluten-free pizzas taste like cardboard. That is not the case with the “Above the Grain” pizza.
It’s really good and leftovers are pretty rare.
Cooking The Pizza
We cook our pizza with a circular pizza pan. We cook it at 400-degrees for about 18 minutes. It’s a bit longer than the directions. We do this so the crust is nice and crispy.
Finding The Pizza
We get our pizza at Super Stop & Shop. They stock it with the other gluten-free items. Usually in a special foods section. It cost about $12 - about the cost of premium pizza that isn’t gluten-free.
You can find them at Wegmans and Roche Brothers.
It’s not available at Market Basket.
Best Gluten Free Posts
Today my daughter turns nine years old. She enjoys the challenges of finding good restaurants to visit.
This year we found some great new restaurants and new breakfast foods. It was fun coming up with topics and content every week.
Top 9 Blog Posts
- Urban Air Adventure Park - Urban Air Adventure Park has gluten-free pizza and chicken nuggets
- The Friendly Toast - Great place to enjoy a meal in the Back Bay
- Mels Commonwealth Cafe - Good Gluten Free breakfast options
- Nexvax2 now in Stage 2 Trials - Nexvax2 has been fast track to help people with Gluten Free
- American Girl Birthday Party - American Girl is an option for a gluten free birthday party.
- Mexicali Grill - Always remind your host about eating gluten free.
- SmashBurger Quality - Has SmashBurger bitten the shark?
- Modern Pastry - Modern Pastry is the place to go for Gluten Free
- Burtons Grill & Bar in Framingham - Great Place to enjoy lots of Gluten Free foods
Goals for 2020
In 2020 we'll be going around the City of Boston looking for great gluten-free foods. We'll try to find the best hamburger and pizza place in metro-Boston.
Erica's Ristorante in Ashland, Massachusetts is a small Italian restaurant that has lots of great choices. The dining room was nice and quiet and we didn't have any problems getting a table at 7 pm on a Monday night before Christmas.
Five Things We Learned
Earlier this week we met up with friends and decided to try out the restaurant since we heard that they have gluten-free options.
We asked for a Gluten-Free menu on check-in, the host at the door said that just about anything on the menu can be made gluten-free. The waiter will give us the options. That didn't happen, the waiter only told us what wasn't available not what was available.
They do not have gluten-free pizza crust.
They do not have any gluten-free rolls. Which I felt bad that everyone at the table was munching on bread except for my daughter.
They have gluten-free pasta, so my daughter had the pasta and red sauce.
The pasta was delicious - as she ate the whole thing. Usually, she wants to bring some home, but tonight she wanted to enjoy the pasta.
Finding Erica's Ristorante
Erica's Ristorante is located on 78 Front Street in Ashland, Massachusetts. It's located next to the Ashland Public Library.
We had a good experience and certainly put it on our list to return to this establishment.
This weekend we went to Margaritas in Northborough, it was our first visit to this location. We were happy to go here and then head over to Wegmans to do some grocery shopping.
We love going to Margaritas, they have great gluten-free options. My daughter loves the Make Your Own Fajitas with corn wraps.
When we sat down we told our server that we needed gluten-free chips. She told us that it would take a couple of minutes and they would get us a basket of gluten-free chips that would be baked. She did leave a basket of regular chips.
A few minutes later someone came by with the gluten-free chips and put it on our table. This is what our table looked like:
What was strange to us is that the chips looked different. We have eaten at Margarita's plenty of times, but this is the first time that we noticed a significant change between the chips.
I don't know if Margaritas is using a different supplier for the gluten-free chips. It just seemed weird to see the two baskets side by side. (I never took pictures before because it wasn't a noticeable difference.)
Both chips were equally good. (The Gluten-free ones were nicer because they were warmer.)
Let me know what you think. Did Margaritas make some change or is this something unique to the Northborough location.
Gluten Free Shelf Label
Supermarkets have been great putting gluten-free merchandise next to each other. They usually put a large sign so people know where to find Gluten-Free items.
Some stores even highlight Gluten-free products when they are placed with other products.
However, Market Basket might have gone slightly overboard with this placement:
Do you really need to highlight Gluten Free treats?
It seems that putting a "Gluten-Free" on the UPC shelf label for cat food is a bit too much. When I first saw it in the store, my first thought was - "You have to be kidding me."
I get it that some cats/dogs need to eat gluten-free but do they merit a "gluten-free" label?
What do you think?
Put your thoughts in the comments below. Is Market Basket justified to putting a "Gluten-Free" label on the shelf label?
Shake Shack is a popular National burger chain. It's much smaller than the "Big 3" burger companies - as they were born from a small kiosk to become a national success story.
There are seven places in Massachusetts - with most of the locations around Boston and Cambridge.
Recently we stopped at the Boston Seaport location - located across the street from the District Hall.
Burger and French Fries
Earlier this month we stopped at the Seaport location for a late lunch. It was a very busy Saturday afternoon and a lot of restaurants were very busy.
We were very lucky to get a table after placing our order. The Seaport dining room is small - I suspect that most people use the take out during busy lunch hour.
They did have a Gluten-Free bun on the menu - so that made us happy. When we placed our order at the counter, we told the cashier that my daughter has Celiac. We wanted to know what the side options were. Were the French Fries cooked in a dedicated fryer?
He told us that it wasn't BUT he also told us that he was also a Celiac and said that the french fries were safe. He said that he has eaten it plenty of times and never encountered any issues.
So we took his word and order some french fried for my daughter. She seemed fine with the decision.
When we got our order she tried some of the fries and didn't like them. (I think she probably had second thoughts about it.)
We didn't encounter any issues with cross-contamination. Usually, when she gets some gluten she can be angry and in a mood. That didn't happen. She was a bit tired but most likely that was from all the fun playing around in the Seaport.
We'll go back to the Shake Shack again. It's a bit disappointing that they don't have much side options for gluten-free eaters.
Stew Leonard's is a small grocery store that claims to be the "Disneyland of Dairy Stores" and the "World's Largest Dairy Store." It's a fun place to shop and find all sorts of unique products.
The closest store to the Boston area is in Newington, CT - about an hour and 45 mins from Boston.
We visited the store back in April and was surprised to see "Gluten-Free" items promoted throughout the store.
card-title">Three Things We Learned
It's a fun store for kids. There are lots of distractions - it's certainly not a typical Stop and Shop grocery experience.
The Chewy Chocolate Pecan Cookies were so good! People may get turned off because it's "Gluten-Free." However, if you never tried a gluten-free product before - you should try this. Yes you would never believe that it's Gluten-Free.
We didn't try the pizza, but it's nice to know that they have a gluten-free "store brand type." The price is nice too! Next time we are visiting people, we'll have to stop in and pick up one to try.
Make Your Own Gluten Free Pizza
We are a big fan of the Gluten-Free pizza at UNOs. It’s really good and it’s a fun place to be
Catch the previous UNOs blog postings:
There's one cool thing that you can only get at Unos:
Make Your Gluten Free Pizza!
Did you know that kids can make their own Gluten Free pizza at Uno's? Yup, it’s true. Celiac kids are not left out of making their own Gluten-Free Pizza.
When ordering the kids “Make Your Own Pizza,” make sure to ask for the gluten-free crust.
When we ordered ours at the Unos in Westborough, Massachusetts, the waitress was very good at makings sure to clean her hands and prevent any cross-contamination. Anytime that we asked for something with the pizza, such as more cheese she would excuse herself to wash her hands before taking any actions.
The pizza came out great and my daughter was delighted with the whole experience. She loved the pizza and more excited to come back.
I think her only "wish" was for more topping choices - tomatoes and olives are some of her favorites.
Georgina's Italian restaurant
Last month we attended a function at Georgina's Italian restaurant in Berlin, Connecticut. This is the first time that we visited this restaurant, we were a bit nervous about their Gluten-Free options.
Three Things We Learned
The people hosting the party at Georgina let the catering team know ahead of time of the allergy. They said that they would provide a separate gluten-free penne for my daughter.
On the day of the event, they were very accommodating as to the gluten-free options. They explained to us which buffet items she could have. However, before the meal was served, there was a Vege and Cheese tray with crackers - lots of potential of cross-contamination.
My daughter loved the Panne and ate the whole thing. She did have some of the vegetables that was available in the buffet. She didn't feel left out of all the fun because she was eating a different meal. (I think she was very happy to have the penne dish.)
We would recommend going here. They were very accommodating and their gluten-free pasta was very good.
In the general dining room, You can substitute gluten-free Penne for an extra $4.
Burtons Grill & Bar in Framingham
We have been going to Burtons Grill & Bar in Framingham since it opened back in March. It's a great restaurant that has a lot of great foods on the menu.
Burton's Grill & Bar in Framingham
Burton's has a scratch kitchen - which means that they can change up any order to meet your needs.
Burton's has a very large Gluten-free menu that has a lot of options for every taste. Check out the menu online!
My daughter loves to get a cheeseburger and french fries - it's "not as good" as Smash Burger but she still loves it.
The General Tso's Fried Cauliflower is amazing and it's Gluten-Free! It's the go-to thing that we order every-time we come here. Sometimes we make it as part of our meal. (Ya, It's that good!)
General Tso's Fried Cauliflower and the Cheese Burger
If your going to Burtons on a Friday or Saturday night - it's highly recommended to make reservations. They reserve a large number of tables for reservations. So if you walk-in you may see a lot of empty tables and expect a short wait - that won't be the case.
Early this summer the restaurant didn't get much traffic. However, the word is out and it's a very popular place now!
Reservation Number: (774) 540-6005
Burton's Grill & Bar is located opposite Shoppers World - next to Legal Seafood. The address is 30 Worcester Rd, Natick, MA 01760.
2019 Halloween Candy
As Halloween is just around the corner, I asked my daughter what her favorite candy is. This is a unique list as only gluten-free candy can appear on here:
Top Seven Gluten-Free Candy of 2019
Here's the printed list of the most popular candy for an eight-year-old with celiac:
- Three Musketeers Bar
- M&Ms Peanuts
- M&Ms plain
- Reese Peanut butter cups
- Hershey Bar
- Jelly Belly Beans
- Snickers Bar
The only candy that she really wants to get is the Three Musketeer bar.
Urban Air Adventure Park
Urban Air Adventure Park in Bellingham, Massachusetts is a fun place for the family to spend some time playing together. There’s all sorts of fun trampolines, rock wall climbing, Sky Rider Coaster and so much more.
Gluten Free goodies
Urban Air Adventure has Gluten-Free Pizza and Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets on the menu. You can order them at the Cafe or as part of a meal for a birthday party.
One thing I noticed at the birthday party is that they covered the Gluten-Free pizza to prevent and cross-contamination. This is the first place where I have seen a venue go out of the way to protect the pizza after cooking it.
Regular Cheese Pizza cost $15, whereas the Gluten-Free one is $10 (It is a bit smaller than a typical pizza.) The Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets cost $6.75.
There menu doesn’t mention if the french fries are Gluten Free, but when I ordered them I noticed that they were oven-baked and not fried in oil - which leads me to believe they are Gluten Free.
If your having a Birthday party, you will be allowed to bring outside food - just they know so the Party host is aware of the situation.
Fun place to spend a day
My daughter had a lot of fun playing around with all the activities, she didn't want to spend much time eating.
We ended up spending about 5 hours on our first visit. She loved doing the Sky Rider Coaster. Check out the YouTube video of all the exciting things at the Urban Air Adventure Park
Urban Air Adventure Park Location
Urban Air Adventure Park is located at 189 Mechanic St, Bellingham, MA 02019. It's about a 30-minute drive from Framingham.
There's a rapidrefill gas station nearby where you can fuel up the car and get some snacks and drinks for the ride home.
What About SkyZone?
I asked my daughter if she had a choice would she go to SkyZone or Urban Air Adventure Park. She was mixed about which is better. She liked SkyZone because it was closer, but Urban Air Adventure Park had a lot more interactive attractions.
I have a feeling we'll be going back here soon. At least we can spend a few hours and get some lunch without leaving the facility.