Nature’s Path Winner & Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free Winner #2

Thanks to all who entered the Nature’s Path giveaway!  I am pleased to announce the winner of the Nature’s Path giveaway is……..


May 12, 2011 at 8:11 am · Reply · Edit

Oooo – my kiddo loves Mesa Sunrise. I had no idea they made waffles. I’m sure he’d want to try those. I want to try the Vanilla Sunrise.

Congrats Deanna!!!  Please email me at  with your contact information.  Smile

I haven’t heard from the winner of the Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free giveaway, so I have chosen another winner.  That person is….


May 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm · Reply · Edit

Splenda Brown sugar blend is my favorite substitute and Honey!

Please email me at with your contact information!


Don’t fret, if you didn’t win these giveaways, I am giving away a copy of Danna Korn’s “Living Gluten-Free for Dummies”.  Click here to enter.  It runs until Friday and only 8 people have enter so far!!!

Good luck!

Want vs. Should

I do my best to try to satisfy my cravings, within reason, to prevent feelings of negativity.  I find that when I deny my body something that it wants, it isn’t always a good thing, as my body may want/crave it for a good reason.  That reason may simply be that I want chocolate or that I am craving a burger because my body needs the iron in the bison or the beef.  Whatever that reason is, I try to honor it. 

I find it harder to do that during training for a marathon or half marathon.  Reason is that there are things I “should” be eating during training in addition to those cravings.  For instance, one Saturday I just wasn’t hungry, but knew that I should eat.  I just wanted a bowl of cereal, but knew that wouldn’t provide the macronutrients that I needed to refuel & fuel my body for my next run.  I compromised & had a small bowl of cereal for a snack & a more substantial dinner than I was planning on. 

I try not to place limits on food or make rules regarding food.  When I am told (or tell myself) not to eat something, it only makes me want to eat said food even more.  Gluten is a good example.  I didn’t really eat Pop-Tarts before, but take them away from me and I am suddenly wanting to buy a box. 

If I want to mix foods together, I do.  People may look at me funny, but it won’t be the first time and I am sure it won’t be the last.  Winking smile  Check out my latest creation that I made last week:


I couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat and we had ham & mashed potatoes leftover, so I tossed my ham & mashed potatoes onto my salad!  LOL!  It ended up being really, really good!  I also had some roasted beats, feta cheese and steamed green beans in the mix.  I may even have this again sometime soon! 

There are also those times that I must have chocolate for breakfastWinking smile

Danna Korn Answers Our Questions

In the spirit of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Danna Korn has taken the time to answer some questions for my readers here at Gluten-Free is Life.  Take a look:

Thanks, Danna, for taking time out of your very busy schedule to chat with us!

Make sure to check out Gluten Freely or ask Danna additional questions about all things gluten-free!  You can even seen blog posts from me and a couple other gluten-free bloggers there!

Another special treat, I am giving away a copy of Danna’s book – “Living Gluten-Free for Dummies”.  This is the 2nd Edition of the book that was just recently updated last year.  Would you like to win a copy?  If so, leave a comment below telling me how long you have been gluten-free.  That is it!  Simple!  The contest will end on Friday, May 20, 2011 at midnight

Review: Minnie Beasley’s Almond Lace Cookies

It is no secret that we love cookies here in our house.  Jon’s nose can detect cookies the minute they hit the oven and he is front & center begging for a cookie before they are done baking.  It is all I can do most days to keep him away until they cool enough to take them off the pan.  Some how he has the same talent with packaged cookies.  It is like he has a radar or some sixth sense.  Perhaps he is the Cookie Monster in disguise? 


A few weeks back I was contacted to see if I would be interested in trying Minnie Beasley’s Gluten-Free Almond Lace Cookies.  Well, of course I would be!  I haven’t met very many cookies that I didn’t like.  When the cookies arrived, I had just finished my lunch and was getting ready to dive into a bag of Starburst Jelly Beans.  I opted for a Chocolate Almond Lace Cookie instead.  Best.decision.ever.  This cookie was straight from heaven!  I couldn’t believe the taste and texture!  I had to grab the bag and check to make sure they were indeed gluten-free.  I love that I have had to do this more than once in the past few months – it only means that gluten-free products are getting better & better and that, my friends, is awesome for us all!

I didn’t think that there was any way that the Almond Lace Cookies could measure up to the Chocolate Almond Lace Cookies.  There was no way, in my opinion, that something that didn’t have chocolate in it could even come close.  Wrong, very wrong.  While the Almond Lace Cookies aren’t chocolate, they have an amazing buttery, almond flavor.  I couldn’t decide which cookie I liked better!  You know what that means, right?  I had to eat more to see if I could come to a decision.  I never did come to that decision, but I did enjoy these cookies!  In case you are wondering, I did share with Jon (who also loved them) and Lindsey (my gluten-free tasting buddy). 

Minnie Beasley’s Gluten-Free Almond Lace cookies can be ordered online or purchased in Whole Foods stores that are located in Denver, Kansas City, Salt Lake & New Mexico.   I sure hope that our Whole Foods here in Ohio starts to carry these soon! 

***These cookies were sent to me free of charge for this review.  The opinions stated in this post are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything.

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Books & Menus

This past week I had the pleasure of reading Tina Haupert’s new book, Carrots ‘N’ Cake: Healthy Living One Carrot & Cupcake at a Time. I have been a follower of Tina’s blog for some time now, in fact I have modified several of her recipes to be gluten-free.  A couple of those recipes have become some of my favorites!  The first one is the Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf!  Wow…..this is a decadent treat!  The other is her Oatmeal Raisin Bars.  These bars can even pass for an on-the-go breakfast or healthy snack! 

I love Tina’s laid back approach to managing her life, exercise & weight.  When she has special occasions planned, Tina makes sure to adjust her diet & exercise to be able to enjoy those times and not stress about indulging in some drinks & food.  Instead of beating herself up after an indulgence, she goes right back to eating & exercising like normal.  Everything in moderation, right?  Life is too short to live on a strict diet or skip outings & functions with friends & family. 

If you get a chance to read this book, it is a great read!

Weekly Menu Plan

Sunday – Grilled shrimp over brown rice pasta or baked potatoes, sugar snap peas & salad

Monday- Baked Ziti, steamed green beans & salad

Tuesday – Taco Tuesday, black beans, corn & salad

Wednesday – Dinner out/Leftovers

Thursday –BBQ chicken breast, chili cheese potatoes, roasted broccoli & salad

Friday – Make your own pizza night

Saturday – Breakfast for dinner

Weekly Recap

Don’t forget to enter: Nature’s Path Giveaway Giveaway – Delight Gluten-Free

Big news about Gluten-Free Hamburger Helper no longer being gluten-free.

Review: Organicville Ice Cream

California Pizza Kitchen to offer gluten-free pizza starting June 29th

Frito Lay updates their product lists.

Giant Eagle stores offering gluten-free tours

Raisin Rack is now carrying Udi’s gluten-free buns

I hope you all have a great week!  I am sending good luck vibes out to a bunch of my MIT friends who are running their first full marathons today!!!  I can’t wait to hear about your races! 

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Review: Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice

Speedy dinners have been the theme around my house lately.  It has been hot, I have been tired and the kids have been busy.  Enough said.  I was running low on produce the other day, so I hit up the grocery store.  While I was there, I walked past the deli and the smell of the rotisserie chicken drew me over faster than a bee to honey.  I saw that they had my trusty Lemon-Herb Chicken and promptly deposited one in my cart.  I wasn’t feeling fantastic and this would make dinner quick & painless.

I had a box of Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice (long grain version) in my pantry that I received to review from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program & Uncle Ben’s, so I thought that would make the perfect, simple accompaniment to the chicken. I normally prefer to cook brown or basmati rice, so this would be my first time using Uncle Ben’s.

The rice was very easy to make and took less than 15 minutes from start to finish.  That is about a third of the time that it takes to cook my “normal” rice.  The rice has a great taste to it! I was impressed, as I really like my brown rice.  The nutritional stats aren’t bad, either with 170 calories, 4g fiber and 4g protein per serving.  The ingredients are as follows:


I am pretty sure that the reason for the additional ingredients is to add fiber and vitamins.  When I buy my rice, it is simply “brown rice”.  The inulin and guar gum may be an issue for those sensitive to those ingredients, but they are gluten-free.  There are other varieties of the Whole Grain White Rice. I have not confirmed the gluten-free status of the other versions, though Mars (the parent company of Uncle Ben’s) is a company that will clearly label gluten on their packaging.  Please exercise caution when choosing any of the other products.   The gluten-free status of many Uncle Ben’s products can be viewed here.

Don’t forget to enter the Nature’s Path giveaway that ends on Monday night!

Tips for Gluten-Free Newbies

I often get emails and/or comments about where to start when someone is first diagnosed with Celiac Disease or decides to embark on the gluten-free diet.  I figured that I would make up a short list of tips for those who are new to the gluten-free diet.  This won’t be a list of the obvious, but more a compilation of things that are a bit more confusing or complicated.

1.  Get a new toaster. Putting gluten-free toast in a toaster that has had gluten-filled bread in it is going to render your gluten-free bread contaminated.  Toasters are roughly $15 at Walmart, so well worth the money it will cost you.  If you have others in the house still eating gluten, label your toaster with a piece or tape, or do as I did and just write on the outside of it with a Sharpie.  Winking smile That didn’t stop both Aaron and I from glutening the toaster.  LOL!   We have each done it once now and donated that toaster to Goodwill and got another.  I have now started using my toaster oven, which has only had gluten-free items in it.

2.  Stay clear of soy sauce unless you are sure it is gluten-free.  There are several gluten-free brands on the market (La Choy, San-J and Kikkoman now makes a GF version).  Additionally, some sauces & marinades may contain soy sauce, so don’t be so sure the grilled chicken you are ordering at a restaurant is gluten-free unless you have double checked.

3.  Along the lines of the toaster, get new condiments and label them “gluten-free” if you are sharing them with others.  “Double dipping” utensils will quickly contaminate your condiments and could leave gluten crumbs behind.

4.  Beware of the ingredient “natural flavorings”, which may contain barley malt (malt flavoring).  While wheat does have to be called out on the label, barley does not under the current law.  Natural flavorings can be found in many processed foods and drinks on the market.  Some of the products that we have been the victims of include pancake syrup (100% maple syrup is the best and gluten-free, as is Aunt Jemima) and Powerade.  There are many companies that will clearly label gluten on the label and I tend to be loyal to those companies.

5.  Check your medication for gluten.  There is an excellent site that is maintained by a local clinical pharmacist called Gluten-Free Drugs.  If you are unable to verify your medication, call the manufacturer or your pharmacist and ask.  For the record Tums (brand name) and Beano are not gluten-free.

6.  In reference to #4, don’t assume you are free & clear on drinks.  Unless you are drinking unflavored water, milk, 100% juice, unflavored tea (and even some of these may contain barley, so check), or unflavored coffee you need to verify that what you are drinking is gluten-free.

7.  Cross contamination is a real concern when dining out (or even in your own home!).  Picking the croutons off of your salad is not sufficient.  Make sure to speak with the manager or chef on duty to ask about their methods for preventing the cross contamination of your food.  Unless you have worked in a restaurant, you may not be aware of some of the methods used to prepare food.  If you have, you know what I am talking about.  Veggies can be steamed in pasta water; ingredients that contain gluten may be kept right next to gluten-free ingredients on the line; eggs used for omelets may be thickened with pancake batter to make them fluffier; the same utensils may be used to plate your gluten-free food that just plated that burger or chicken fingers; your “gluten-free” fries or tortilla chips may be fried in a fryer with chicken fingers or onion rings.

8.  Check your make-up.  If it goes on your face, it has a potential to be in your mouth.  I know that most people don’t willing eat their mascara, but better to be safe than sorry, right?

9.  Shampoo, hairspray, lotions, etc should also be checked.  While it is true that gluten does not get absorbed through the skin, some people who suffer from dermatitis herpetiformis need to avoid skin contact with gluten as well as consuming gluten.  Additionally, if you get hairspray in your mouth, don’t wash the lotion off of your hands, use an antibacterial gel with gluten (ahem…thanks a lot Bath & Body Works), it is best to just make sure they are gluten-free.

10.  If you drink alcoholic beverages, check your alcohol.  Malt beverages are not gluten-free.  This means most wine coolers these days and most beers (though there are plenty of gluten-free beer options) are not gluten-free.  Triumph Dining has a nice list of gluten-free alcohol here.  Easy choices are wine, Woodchuck or Crispin hard ciders.

11.  Always, always read the label!  Even now, 5+ years into this, I read the label.  Companies are notorious for changing suppliers and therefore that once gluten-free product may no longer be gluten-free.

12.  Yogurt is not always gluten-free.  Plain yogurt is, yes, but not always the flavored yogurt.  Dannon is one of those who will only say their plain yogurt is gluten-free.  Yoplait labels their gluten-free varieties “gluten-free”.

Last, but not least, relax.  Everyone makes mistakes.  No one gets it perfect straight out of the gate.  If you do make mistakes (and I still do on occasion), dust yourself off and get back up.  Please feel free to ask questions below – I am happy to help and if I can’t give you the answer right away, I will do my best to find out for you.

Don’t forget to enter the Nature’s Path giveaway that ends on Monday night!

Nature’s Path Gluten-Free Giveaway

After starting the gluten-free diet in January 2006, I quickly became of fan of several Nature’s Path products.  Not only do they have several products under the Nature’s Path name, but the Enviro Kidz name too.  I believe that the Gorilla Munch cereal was the first product of theirs that I tried.  This was before Rice Chex and the like were gluten-free, so there weren’t a ton of mainstream choices.  I quickly became a fan of the whole Enviorkidz line.  Who cares if I am over 30?  Now, more along the lines of the adult gluten-free foods, I love the Mesa Sunrise cereal.  It has been around for a long time and they even have a frozen waffle version!

List of Envirokidz products:

  • Gorilla Munch cereal
  • Koala Crisp cereal
  • Leapin’ Lemurs cereal
  • Amazon Frosted Flakes
  • Panda Puffs
  • Lemur Peanut Choco Drizzle bars
  • Fruity Burst Crispy Rice bars
  • Cheetah Berry Crispy Rice bars
  • Koala Chocolate Crispy Rice bars
  • Peanut Butter Crispy Rice bars
  • Vanilla Animal Cookies

List of Nature’s Path gluten-free products:

  • Mesa Sunrise Waffles
  • Buckwheat Wildberry Waffles
  • Crunchy Maple Sunrise cereal
  • Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise cereal
  • Mesa Sunrise cereal
  • Whole O’s cereal
  • Crispy Rice cereal
  • Fruit Juice Sweetened Corn Flakes
  • Honey’d Corn Flakes

It is not often that I can say that I have tried every product in a product line of this size.  Surprisingly, I can say it in this case.  One very positive thing about Nature’s Path/Envirokidz is that they are consistent.  Most kids like consistency and don’t do well with change.  Having a company that you can depend on to continually supply excellent tasting, gluten-free products is priceless!  I love that they have found something that works & have stuck with it!  No disappearing products to upset or confuse kids (or adults).  Most of the products on this list are easily found in mainstream grocery stores across the US or online at stores like

I was contacted last week and asked if I would like to do a review of Nature’s Path gluten-free products.   Since May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, they are trying to do their part to get the word out.  Since I have sampled every gluten-free product they offer, I thought it would be fun to have my readers win those products instead!  So, here is the low down…..

1.  Visit the Nature’s Path website, peruse their products and leave a comment telling me which 2 gluten-free products you would like to sample.

For additional entries, complete any one or more of the following, leaving a separate comment for each task completed (for counting purposes).

2.  Follow Nature’s Path on Twitter

3.  “Like” Nature’s Path on Facebook

4.  Follow Gluten-free is Life on Twitter

5.  “Like” Gluten-free is Life on Facebook

If you don’t have Twitter or Facebook, no worries, you still have the first entry from visiting the Nature’s Path website.  This contest will run until Monday, May 16, 2011 at midnight.  The winner will be announced on Tuesday.  Good luck!!!

Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free Winner

First I want to send a big “Thank You” out to all who enter the contest over the past week to win Amy’s new cookbook!  Now, for the moment you have all been waiting for…….

The winner is……

Lisa Torres

May 10th, 2011 at 1:34 pm · Reply

I use Coconut Crystals and coconut syrup. I also use Agave nectar. I am allergic to Stevia and Honey makes my blood sugar spike higher than any other sweetner.

Congrats to you, Lisa!  Please email me with your mailing information.

Cap City Half Marathon Recap

I just realized that while I updated my Daily Mile site with a recap of the Cap City Half Marathon, I hadn’t gotten around to updating you all here.  How silly of me!  I had scheduled posts to go up for the end of last week and the weekend so that I didn’t have to worry about it while I was stressing out about my race.

Let me start by showing you a picture:


Yep, that is me at the finish with a glass of bubbly!  What?  You don’t drink champagne at 10:30 in the morning?  Normally I don’t either, but I just finished my 3rd half marathon and I was trying to loosen up my leg muscles.  It was gluten-free!

I had an amazing race!  While I didn’t break 2 hours, my pipe dream, I followed my plan for the most part.  I got started a little fast, as most people do.  It is so hard to not get caught up in all of the excitement and run with the crowd.  It is much like driving on the highway, you tend to want to go the pace of the others around you.  Note to self: consider lining up a little further back next time.  I have to hand it to the organizers of the race, the corral set-up worked very well.  There was no congestion as the race started, something I have encountered in other races.  I would much rather have to slow down and adjust my pace than trip over walkers or try to fight my way through a sea of runners.  There were several gluten-free food choices at the finish line!  While I would have loved a slice of Donato’s Pizza or bagel from Panera, I chose an apple, banana and could have had a Muscle Milk (gluten- and lactose-free).

I had a plan laid out and I executed it fairly well. By starting out slower, and keeping my heart rate in Zone 2 during the first half of the race, I was able to really pick it up towards the end of the race finish strong!  Now that I see how it works, I hope to work on fine tuning in my next half marathon this fall.

I have learned so much over the past 5 months with MIT.  I love running with a training group on the weekends.  Not only have I met some amazing people & new friends, but the knowledge of the pace coaches & other runners is priceless.  I have gotten over my sorrow of not being able to run The Flying Pig Marathon – it didn’t last long.  I like the fact that I am able to walk without pain after Saturday’s race, something I couldn’t do after my marathon in Cleveland last year.

I am taking the next two weeks to give my body a much-needed break from being beat up.  I won’t run at all until this weekend and then it will be a very, very easy few miles.  I swam yesterday and did Pilates today.  I am also continuing to stretch, foam roll & ice my knee twice a day.  I am really surprised by how good I feel.  The icing is pretty much preventative at this point.

Once I get back into training, I am working on adding more strength training and speed training for fall.  I am setting my goal for my fall marathon – to break 2 hours.  I finished Saturday’s race in 2:07:42, so I know if I focus & concentrate on the right things, I can do it.

I love this quote from Kara Goucher’s new bookI tell runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality & the last part with your heart.” Mike Fanelli, club coach

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