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The Adventures of Anti-Wheat Girl

The Adventures of Anti-Wheat Girl is the journey of blogger Priyanka Chugh through the crazy adventure of being a gluten free 20-something. Anti-Wheat Girl covers everything from restaurant and product reviews, to easy to follow recipes, to topical information about the gluten free world! Not only is a place to read and learn, but it's also a place to engage: comments and contributions are ALWAYS welcome. But most of all, everything is fun, everything is chill, and everything is 100% real, honest, gluten free goodness.
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Hey there Anti-Wheat Peeps! Coming up in the next few months, you will be hearing a little more from some of the contributing bloggers on my team as well as some guest bloggers. Today contributing blogger, Hannah P (who wrote some great pieces for us in the past—check out her comeback to Vogue's “Is True Happiness Possible Without Gluten?” here!) is reviewing an awesome cookie cookbook!

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Hannah here, and boy do I have something exciting for you! We at AWG have been lucky enough to receive a copy of Tracy Grabowski’s new cookbook The A-B-C and Gluten Free Cookie Book to review, and after giving it a thorough read-through, I’m excited to be able to say it’s everything I wanted and then some.

When I first set out to read The A-B-C and Gluten Free Cookie Book, I was expecting to get some pretty great cookie recipes, but ended up getting so much more. The title is actually a bit misleading, because this cookbook has so much more than cookies! There are tons of incredible recipes (over 200 pages’ worth!), and there for all kinds of goodies. You name it, it’s there: there are brownies, bonbons, bars, macaroons… Pretty much everything that will satisfy your sweet tooth! It was really great to see some variety because if, in the rare event this ever happened, you were to get tired of cookies, there are still so many options to take advantage of! It’s also encouraging, because why not try new things if you have a recipe, right?

The other big thing I liked about The A-B-C and Gluten Free Cookie Book is that, in the front of the book, before even diving into the recipes, Tracy shares her own recipe for the “Ultimate Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Blend.” That’s right. No stressing out about needing different types of gluten-free flour for different recipes. Instead, it’s just one standard one that she’s found works for her and the recipes she features. That way you can just buy all the ingredients, make it, and keep it on hand yourself!

All in all, The A-B-C and Gluten Free Cookie Book is a fantastic cookbook for anyone, regardless of how intense your sweet tooth is. Recipes range from saccharine to savory, and are inclusive to individuals who may have more than just a gluten restriction. Some recipes have nuts or fruits, but there are plenty that don’t—there’s truly something for everyone! I can’t wait to order my own copy and get my bake on!

Tracy also runs her own website, whEAT Freely, which you can check out here! She chronicles the journey her family took as they became wheat-free and continue to live life “against the grain.” Their journey leads her to post all kinds of amazing wheat-and gluten-free resources: pretty much anything you can ever imagine needing you can find over at whEAT Freely. Need a product or restaurant review? Want to stay up to date on topical articles? Even just looking for a coupon for your favorite gluten-free product? whEAT Freely has it all.

Be sure to check both whEAT Freely and The A-B-C and Gluten Free Cookie Book ASAP!

Hey Anti-Wheat Peeps!

Have you ever wanted to share the realities of having Celiac with your peers? Do you want to learn more about the future of Celiac disease yourself? Do you want to raise awareness in both our community and the greater one?

Because I have some awesome news for you!

The NFCA is launching their first-ever interactive whiteboard, an interactive video that aims to

"…showcase some of the daily challenges of living with celiac disease, such as dining out, socializing and traveling. It will also highlight the reality that common challenges like these may be addressed or changed in the near future through a pharmaceutical treatment."

Taking control of Celiac disease is about so much more than just adopting a gluten-free diet, and that’s what the whiteboard is all about. It’s a great way to educate the community on living with all aspects of Celiac disease, but to also increase our own awareness too! 

So go ahead: check out the whiteboard and take control now.

What do you all think? Share your thoughts in the comments!

So have you ever looked at a menu and not been able to choose what to get simply because there were a ridiculous amount of delicious looking options? Yeah, chances are, if you have Celiac, that has not happened to you since you were diagnosed.

But look no further! Alexander’s Tavern Bar and Restaurant in Baltimore, MD has exactly that menu (click the link HERE for the full menu). 

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I don’t know about you, but I still miss being able to pop into a little neighborhood place, seat myself, and have a delicious meal. Alexander’s Tavern was just the place to fix that. Everything on the menu is labeled gluten-free (aside from about 3 items, for which they include the full ingredients on the menu!), and they take tons of precautions to avoid cross-contamination. So like I said, I was pretty overwhelmed by the options, but everything I had was great!

I had an appetizer AND split two entrees with my cousin, plus a side of tater tots (which are apparently a big thing in the Maryland area? Who knew!). First, we had the Tavern Nachos (which—OOPS!—I forgot to snap a picture of). They were absolutely on point and if you’re not a vegetarian like I am, you can add crab dip or baja chicken to spice them up a little more!

Second was the Caprese Panini with Tots! The panini had tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, baby greens, pesto and a balsamic reduction on gluten-free bread. I’ll admit it was a tinyy bit dry, but nothing some cheese couldn’t fix next time :) It was mostly just really nice to be able to order a sandwich that looked and tasted just like everyone else’s.

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Last, we had the fantastic AT’s Margherita Pizza! The picture does NOT do this pizza justice. It was the size of a dinner plate (yay, larger portions!) and actually had a lot of the same ingredients as the panini… Guess I was going with some kind of theme here! Anyway, the crust was nice and crispy and it is so fantastic to not have a pizza falling apart in my hands. This is a definite stop on my next trip to Baltimore, if only for the pizza! 

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So overall, Alexander’s Tavern was an awesome, homey, neighborhood spot that had a plethora of fantastic gluten-free options! Check out their websiteFacebook, and Twitter

So, I’m excited to share a really awesome new company/project with you all today! It’s called Pasta Flyer, and it’s currently a Kickstarter campaign to bring the world quick service, gluten-free pasta. I’m crazy excited and you all should be too- this is super revolutionary and seems amazingly delicious!

Started by NYC’s Chef Mark Ladner, Pasta Flyer is a project to make quick gluten-free fine Italian dining possible. Chef Ladner has developed a way to cook any combination of pasta shape, sauce, and side in only three minutes, and the best part is is that it’s 100% gluten-free and all pasta will be made in a gluten-free certified facility. In his words:

[Chef Ladner’s] goal is to have diners with celiac disease, gluten allergies and wheat intolerance who love pasta and haven’t had a great Italian dining experience, to come to Pasta Flyer and say, “Wow, this is how I remember pasta tasting” and have the opportunity to revisit that experience.

You can check out and support the Kickstarter campaign (which is only running until JULY 5th!!) and learn more about this amazing concept here, as well as connect with Pasta Flyer on Twitter and Facebook.

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Today I’m excited to share a review of a really great book with you all. I was recently provided with a copy of Jennifer’s Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease—What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again, by Jennifer Esposito.

For those of you who may not know, actress Jennifer Esposito (who was fantastic in the movie Crash, by the way—you all need to see it) has Celiac Disease and has become one of our community’s biggest advocates. She has a great blog where she discusses very important topics in our community and her experience with Celiac, which all steamrolled into the creation of this book.

I come from a family of doctors and am applying to medical school myself, so I was a little wary after seeing the full title of Jennifer’s Way. But I put all preconceived notions aside, dove into reading, and was pleasantly surprised! This book is unlike many of the other gluten-free and Celiac books that are out there in that it is heavily focused on telling Jennifer’s story and providing a real and raw perspective on her experience with this disease. It is also really nice that, at the end of the book, she wraps it all up with tips and tricks for newly diagnosed patients.

Not to give away too much, but there were a few really stand-out moments in the book that I feel set it apart from both other gluten-free/Celiac books and other celebrity biographies. First, the candor with which Jennifer Esposito puts her story out there is unlike anything I’ve read. She doesn’t gloss over anything, including very unfortunate experiences with her physicians (seriously though, read chapter 10—you will not believe these things actually happened!) and her reality of what it meant to have undiagnosed Celiac Disease. While I couldn’t personally relate to a fair amount of what Jennifer went through, it was very eye opening to get this in-depth perspective of what life can be like for some people prior to diagnosis. I really found this part of the book to be enlightening and useful in my journey to be a better advocate for myself and the Celiac community as a whole.

The second standout of the book was Jennifer’s recipes! I love how she uses all whole ingredients, avoids processed items, and not only helps make gluten-free eating delicious, but also healthier! And really, if anyone has gone to Jennifer’s Way Bakery in NYC, you can see that she carries these ideas all the way through to her bakery. The food is all fresh, healthy, gluten-free, and delicious. If you’re ever in the area you gotta stop by, and if you’re only looking to get one thing, I’d make it a bagel—those onion bagels were ON POINT!

So basically, Jennifer Esposito is pretty much an awesome advocate and her book is super enlightening… And just a plain good read! Check out her book, her bakery, her blog, and support a great Celiac advocate!

So I woke up this morning to a friend of mine posting a link to Huffington Post’s recent piece, “A Pill for Celiac Disease Is Almost Here.” I knew I had to write about this, because everyone should know that THIS IS A DECEPTIVE TITLE. If you read the article, you will come to understand that this drug is NOT a cure and does NOT replace the gluten-free diet. 

So this drug, called ALV003, is an enzyme that can be taken to break down gluten into parts that a person with Celiac can potentially manage. While the process by which Celiac Disease causes damage in an individual is not completely understood, it is thought that part of the reason for damage to our intestines comes from our body’s inability to break down gluten into a manageable size. This inability may come from a lesser number of natural enzymes or lower activity of the enzymes that we do have. So this drug, ALV003, seeks to remedy that issue by providing the Celiac individual with additional enzymes needed. On a related note, yes, there are over the counter supplements called “glutenase,” or similar things, and it is also important to note that NONE of these are proven to provide this same protection ALV003 has been shown to have. These over-the-counter pills are in no way an effective treatment for people with Celiac, and even if you may feel a little relief from the symptoms that you get with gluten ingestion, you are likely still doing damage to your gut. Those over-the-counter remedies have NOT undergone rigorous testing and most of their claims are anecdotal and not based in fact.

This research, however—and I highly recommend you read the full journal article (not just the summary articles)—has proven successful in creating a drug that has been able to protect the gut from damage when study participants were administered daily doses of 2 grams of gluten over a period of 6 weeks. Now think about that. We’re talking about protecting against 2 GRAMS. To put that into perspective, a slice of bread has about double that much gluten content. So this drug is not proven to be a replacement for the gluten-free diet in NO way. You cannot take this drug and then go out and eat a pizza or cookies or whatever you want. You HAVE to maintain the gluten-free diet. I cannot stress this enough.

The authors of this article themselves even mention this point: 

But don’t think that just because ALV003 can make gluten safer, celiacs can suddenly start scarfing cookies and pastries whenever they want.

"This drug is not intended to allow you to go have a pizza or French bread," said Adelman. "It’s not intended to replace the gluten-free diet — just allow it to be more effective, we hope."

So what is the purpose of having a drug like this? How can it make our gluten-free diet “more effective,” as they say? The purpose is to give us a little peace of mind and greater ability to eat in environments that may not be completely 100% gluten-free. I know we’ve all had our experiences eating at a restaurant that claims to be gluten-free but getting sick afterwards. Or having a friend or co-worker bring you something that they said was gluten-free, only to find out that they baked it in their kitchen while simultaneously baking a gluten-containing item—and oops, you’re sick again. Essentially, this drug can have a role in protecting against cross-contamination. But even this is controversial. This is just one study showing effects over 6 weeks. What will the effects be down the line? Will we end up with damage to our gut in the long term even if not in the 6 week period studied? I personally think I would need a little more research to be done before I trust a pill like this and willingly allow myself to eat in a place that I don’t confidently feel is a safe option for me. 

But! that being said, your health is your choice! So weigh in with your thoughts and any questions that you have about this research in the comments below! And most importantly PLEASE remember that this drug is NOT a cure, you will STILL have Celiac Disease and you MUST still maintain a gluten-free diet!!!

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What’s up Anti-Wheat Peeps! Another awesome review coming your way! Today I’m writing all about a new delicious gluten-free pizza from the frozen pizza company- Freschetta. This pizza has been certified by the Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) and comes in a 4-cheese option and a pepperoni option.  These pizzas are not available everywhere yet (ask your grocery store to carry them!) but I was lucky enough to be sent some to try!

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So first thing I noticed about this pizza is DANG it is HUGE! I think I have just gotten so used to tiny frozen gluten free pizzas, that I had forgotten how the “other” folk take their frozen pizza. And that is well…full sized. Besides the sheer size of it all, Freshchetta pizza has a pretty rockin crust also. I don’t know about you all, but I have been having wayyy too many GF pizzas lately where the crust is so flimsy that I could roll it up and eat a pizza tube (Clearly. Im exhausted. Because what on earth is a pizza tube). None of that with Freschetta though! This thin crust can handle allll the cheese. Oh! I can’t forget to mention that the cheese and seasonings on this pizza is deeeeelish! As you can tell from the picture, this pizza is literally oozing with cheese, which I am in no way complaining about. I would say however, that I’d like a litttttle more sauce on the pizza, but it’s nothing that a side of marinara sauce for dipping didn’t solve!

Anywayy, tl;dr: this pizza is LARGE and in charge, has a great THIN CRUST, and has CHEESE for days. Check out Freschetta’s product locator (make sure to designate that you’re looking for the gluten-free pizza) and if they dont have the pizza, call up your grocery store and tell them to get it in ASAP!!! In the meantime check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and their website!

Hey there Anti-Wheat Peeps! Today I’d like to share with you an awesome informational guest post from More Than Gourmet! To round out Celiac Awareness Month, I figured it could be nice for us to share a simple introduction to eating gluten-free and having Celiac. More Than Gourmet has provided us with this helpful post, so check it out and add your own tips and advice in the comments! Without further ado, the The Celiac Diet for Beginners:

If you’ve just been diagnosed with celiac disease, you’re probably a little relieved. More than likely, you’ve been living with some pretty adverse side effects for a long time – and doctors could never quite figure out what was going wrong. You may have had bowel problems, abdominal pain, anemia, dermatitis and more. Thankfully, now that you’ve been diagnosed, all those symptoms can now be controlled. All you have to do is follow a gluten-free, celiac-friendly diet.

Starting a celiac diet can be a little overwhelming for a newbie. There’s a lot to remember, and you’d be surprised at how many gluten-packed food items you consume on a daily basis. Avoiding these foods is harder than you might think, but help is available! If you’re just starting out on your celiac diet journey, follow these simple tips to stay on track:

  • Focus on good grains and starches – While you can’t have wheat, gluten or regular white bread, there are still plenty of grains and starches you can enjoy. Buckwheat, flax, corn, cornmeal, rice flour, hominy, quinoa, millet, sorghum, soy and tapioca are all options on a celiac diet.
  • Watch your drinks – Remember, gluten isn’t just in the foods we consume; it’s also in many drinks, too. Be sure to check your beverages for barley, rye, wheat and triticale before consuming. That means no beer! Some ciders are fine, though.
  • Look for gluten-free options – Most restaurants have gluten free options on the menu, and many bread and grain products are now offered in gluten-free versions, too. Keep an eye out for these in your supermarkets for a really easy way to stick to your new diet.
  • Check your products – While food and drink are the main areas you’ll need to make changes in, you’ll also want to watch what products you interact with. Many medications and vitamins contain gluten, and even things like Play-Doh use it as a binding agent!
  • Be aware of cross-contamination – In addition to knowing what’s in your food, you should also know what’s been around your food. Was it cooked in a facility where wheat is present? Are some of the same processing machines used to manufacture gluten-filled products? Was it prepared on a surface that gluten has touched? All of these can contaminate your food and aggravate your condition.

 

You can also find comprehensive guides to “good” and “bad” foods on Celiac.com and other celiac-friendly sites. Just follow these tips, stick to clean, gluten-free food, and you’ll have your disease under control in no time.

Hi Anti-Wheat People! It’s Nika, your resident beauty blogger, here with a new product line review! Yay!

These products are part of the Gluten Free collections from JASON and Avalon Organics, which are all GFCO-certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group, and advocate fragrance-free and chemical-free formulas. Now, I’m a big chemical fan myself (guilty!), and I love the sweet scents from other brands. This brand projects a very earthy tone, which shows how natural it really is! Once I got past this difference though, I could truly see the products for their value.

Before I get into the reviews, I’d just like to say that my hair and skin are generally very oily, so keep that in mind when reading them through!

The first products I tried were the JASON products, which are the Gluten Free Facial Scrub, Gluten Free Hand and Body Lotion, Gluten Free Facial Cleanser, and Gluten Free Facial Lotion. These products advertise how they moisturize and soften with avocado oil and aloe vera, as well as papaya, pineapple, and other natural tones. They definitely did that job! These products felt just like all of the other products I use from Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, except these are certified gluten free! The hardest part was getting past the scent, but maybe you aren’t as much of a chemical smell lover like I am. :).

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Next up, we have the Avalon Organics Gluten Free line with the Gluten Free Conditioner and Shampoo. These looked like bottles that would carry olive oil, so I was a little skeptical putting these in my hair. The consistency was also more oily than normal, so naturally, with my oily hair, I was a little spooked. While the oil content may have been a tad too much, the shampoo and conditioner did feel like they were naturally cleaning my hair, which is always a plus. They both also have cucumber to replenish your hair and other essential oils to take care of it. 

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Last in the Avalon Organics line, there is the Avalon Organics Gluten Free Bath and Shower Gel. This also had the same olive oil-ish feel from the bottle and product, but it glossed over my body very nicely. Again, my skin is oily, so the shower gel wasn’t the best thing for me, but I’m sure it would work great for someone who deals with dryer skin. 

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Overall, these products achieved what they set out to do, which was make gluten free products that were all natural. As said, I generally focus more on smell with hair and body products I buy, but these were definitely a great option for anyone wanting all natural products. 

You can check out JASON’s website and their Facebook page, as well as Avalon Organics’ website and their Facebook page.

Hey there Anti-Wheat Peeps! Now that I’m done school (#idontwannagraduate), I’m ready to finish out Celiac Awareness Month with a ton of awesome reviews for you!

Today, I want to share something really exciting with you all. As you may know, one of the world’s foremost Celiac experts, Dr. Alessio Fasano, has written an amazing book called Gluten Freedom. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy, so even though you have probably already heard about it, I wanted to give you five reasons why this book is worth your time and moolah. 

  1. It’s a fantastic read for any newly diagnosed Celiac who needs some help with the basics. Dr. Fasano tackles the topic—one that he is a world-renowned expert in—with such simplicity. He takes us through all of the steps a newly diagnosed person of any age should take to ensure their health and safety!
  2. It’s a great read for any… Oldly… Diagnosed Celiac as well! I actually learned quite a lot from this book. I studied a lot of this kind of stuff in grad school, but even my sister in high school could understand Dr. Fasano’s explanations of proteomics and genome sequencing that are the future of where treatment for our disease will go. 
  3. Not only is there a lot of useful scientific information, Dr. Fasano also gives us a great history lesson into how gluten and celiac disease coevolved into the grain and disease that exists today. Honestly, for that part alone, this book is worth the read.
  4. The RECIPES!! This book is chock-full of em, and even hasa whole chapter titled “Dinner with Dr. Fasano.” My favorite thing about these recipes is that they clearly indicate the level of difficulty. I’m not always the best at cooking and baking, so it’s really helpful to let me know which recipes I should attempt. Although, I do hope someone with better cooking abilities comes along and makes some of the “three forks” or more difficult recipes for me, cause they sound AMAZING.
  5. 100% of Dr. Fasano’s proceeds from the sale of this book are going back into making our community stronger and more informed by funding research at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Celiac Research.  Isn’t that a reason enough on its own to get a copy of the book?

Now I was given a copy for this review, but to support this book and cause, I plan on buying another copy, and you should all check it out for yourselves! 

Visit this link: Gluten Freedom: The Nation’s Leading Expert Offers the Essential Guide to a Healthy, Gluten-Free Lifestyle to check out the book and get a copy now!

As a disclaimer, I was not paid to write this and was only given a copy of the book. These are my true feelings about the product, but feel free to check it out and comment with your own! 

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