St Pat’s Day; Safe GF Beers and Food!

How do you navigate Saint Patrick’s Day with Celiac, Wheat Allergy or Milk Allergies? Well, I am gonna give you some insight and talk about the food and the beer. Yup, where do you get some safe food and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly when it comes to Gluten Free (GF) and Gluten Removed Beers!

When I remember St Paddy’s day, I think of corned beef, Irish Stew, Colcannon (Irish Potato Salad) and beer.  I have great memories of my childhood and the parties my parents would throw with our friends, neighbors, parish priests and nuns all letting their hair down to celebrate Saint Patrick; the Patron Saint of Ireland.

Who was this Saint Patrick and why do we all want to party with this guy?  Why do we have this religious and cultural celebration each year on the anniversary of his Death; March 17th?  Well, it started off as Religious Holiday in the 1600’s; a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics because it was he who brought Christianity and Catholicism to the Pagans of Ireland. It is said that he taught them about the Holy Trinity using a 3 leaf clover.

Shamrocks

I guess everyone caught onto all of the fun that the Irish were having and now this holiday is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival!  Ah, those were the days..not that I was around in AD 385-461, hanging out with St Pat, but passing on traditions is what the Irish do best. However, way back in once upon a time, time;  I could go to church, come home and celebrate and I could drink beer; real beer. Most Catholic Dioceses allow consumption of meat on Friday when the holiday falls on a Friday during Lent. The good news is that you have dispensation if you live in the Archdiocese in Baltimore or Washington, DC!  The Cardinal said…let them eat meat!

The Danger Foods on St Paddy’s Day: These memories get my mouth watering  for the real deal folks! Many don’t realize it but a whole lot of beer (Guinness) can be put into the stew and even the corned beef or something as innocent as a burger! (yes, a burger). Not to mention that the stew in mainstream places is thickened with flour too. Although, you don’t need to thicken with flour when you have potatoes in a stew.  Then there is the butter and milk in the mashed potatoes in a shepherd’s pie. Wow, talk about feeling left out. Not this year gang, you can have traditional Irish fare without sacrificing taste or getting sick! Here we go gang; first the food and then the Beer.

FOOD: We have you covered with safe food at the Cafe, Deli and Bakery; then you can pick up your safe beer on the way home!

-Traditional Irish Stew: Maureen’s recipe with Beef and Lamb and a soft roll to soak up the juice; Free of Gluten, Dairy and Top Allergens

-Traditional Reuben: Maureen’s recipe available free of all top allergens or choose real Swiss cheese.

-Irish “Cream” Whoopie Pies: Chocolate and mint “cream” filling!

irish stew 3

Beers: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Taste Good GF Beers:  I have not had them all, so the other source is Gluten Dude!

-Pyro (Burning Brothers Brewing out of MN, co founder has Celiac)  Click Here

-Glutenberg (Quebec, Canada; owner gluten sensitive) Click Here

-Harvester Brewing (Ground Breaker Brewing out of Portland, OR) click here

Taste Bad GF Beers:

-Redbridge: I really, really, really tried to like this one back when it came out; it was my only choice and tasted like sorghum, bitter, yuck enough said! Turned m

Ugly Gluten “Removed” Beers that you should not drink if you have Celiac or Gluten Sensitivity or serious allergy to wheat or rye or barley!

-Omission

-Daura

-New Planet

I have had several gluten sensitive customers tell me that if they have 2 or more of these “Gluten Removed” beers, they get sick..so why would a person with Celiac. Gluten Sensitivity or a Food Allergy try them? It is like people knowing that “GF” Cheeri-oh-nos, as I call them, are not safe but are still eating them. Then they go to the doctor when they can’t understand why they don’t feel good and he says their celiac antibodies are high. Crazy. Here is the info you need to know about Gluten Reduced Beers and why they ARE NOT safe referencing a study done by GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group). Click Here

What does Gluten Dude have to say? Click Here

 

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“No sex, age, tissue or organs are spared from effects of Celiac Disease”

This is the #1 thing you should listen to if you or someone you love has Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity. If you have people in your life or even one of your doctors who doubt the serious nature of it, have them listen too! (link at bottom)

2/27/17: Dr Allessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research is interviewed by Dr Theresa Nacassio on her radio show.

He talks about Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, the Microbiome, Leaky Gut, neurological complications in the brain and Autism, ADHD, Dimentia, Depression, Skin (Dermatitis Herpeteformis), Probiotics, Fecal Transplants and more!  He even talks about the Non-hybridized wheat myth, GMO’s, pesticides and more.

“No sex, age, tissue or organs are spared from the effects of Celiac Disease….”

The interview starts at  4min and 55 seconds on the timer in the link. You can fast forward through commercials too.  Dr Nacassio also has lots of other links to Dr Fasano’s interviews and talks on Celiac Disease up on her site.

Click Here

A Funeral and Safe Eats in CT!

Fear: traveling out of town for a funeral with Celiac Disease and Food Allergies.

In this blog post I share with you the story of my trip to Branford, CT for a funeral and the homework I did up front to find a safe place to eat so I could be with my family. Branford is a beautiful seaside New England town just north of New Haven off of Rt 95.

Usually, I would just not go out of town for a funeral for fear of getting sick when out of town.  However, I really wanted to be there for my Aunt Teresa and say goodbye. Not only is she my mother’s sister, she is also my godmother and we were very close.

Last week, prior to leaving I did my homework and planned on packing a cooler with food and also trying out a restaurant I had been wanting to visit for a few years.  I emailed ahead of time and they were very responsive, so I was hopeful about eating a meal while I was at my Aunt Teresa’s funeral.  I packed the car and cooler and had five hours all to myself while driving up route 95.

I reflected on my Aunt Teresa’s life and what I have learned from her.  I definitely shared her sense of humor and love of people and I also share her work ethic.  They were great role models for me. Back in 1968 she and my late Uncle Len founded Lenny’s Indian Head Inn in the quaint seaside town of Branford, CT.  How they did it with 3 kids; a  12 year old, a 6 year old and a 2 year old is beyond me! Teresa ran the kitchen with her incredible seafood recipes and Len ran the bar. They put everything they had into it and they struggled, they really struggled in the early years. My three cousins were working along side of them too. Long hours, six or seven days a week.

Soon they were winning awards in CT and in Boating and Yachting Magazine for their incredible food an casual atmosphere.  I am so happy to have seen them enjoying their success in the later years. Whenever we came to visit, we went to the “Joint” as the family refers to Lenny’s. The whole family was always working and if we wanted to see them, we went to the Joint and chatted in between them waiting on customers.  It became like a second home, we even got to know the employees.

The first call I would make when I was struggling with One Dish Cuisine was to my Aunt T. There was not a situation she had not been in before and she always said to me; “don’t give up if you have great food”. That was and still is great advice.  I will miss talking and laughing with her on the phone.

However, I am very limited in what I can eat at the Joint because the place is full of gluten and there is no gluten or allergy free menu. That is where preparation comes in.

lennys

A few years ago I was coming through Branford to see my Aunt and cousins. I had heard about a new restaurant in the center of town called HOME Restaurant. However, they were closed for vacation and I could not stop in and check them out.  This time, I emailed before my visit and they responded quickly. I felt very comfortable so the plan was to bring my cooler with my own food and stop in there for a meal or hopefully two meals.

I rolled into town at about 2:30 pm and I was greeted by Steve, the owner Jared’s father. I immediately felt comfortable chatting with him.  The interior is very comfortable with a roaring fire going in the fireplace and it reminded me of someone’s home!  Steve provided me with a gluten-free menu and we discussed how they keep items Gluten Free and how they will accommodate dairy free as well.

Steve told me that he has lived with a tree nut allergy all of his life, so it was no surprise that he gets it! They cut all of their own fries and have a dedicated fryer.  The gluten free burger buns are also dairy free.  I ordered their burger (minus the boursin cheese) with caramelized onions. He also discussed their procedures and how they prevent cross contact. However, there was still the disclaimer on the menu. Wow, is all I can say. What a great burger and the fries were fantastic too! I did not have a reaction or get sick.

Jared was busy working on the cooking line so I did not get to meet him.  I told Steve that I would be back the next day, after the funeral, so I could pick up a meal to take back to Lenny’s for the reception.  The next day I picked up fries and brussel sprouts and was able to head back to the Joint and sit with my family and have a meal.  That was the best part, being with my family and actually eating with them too. What was even better is that I did not have to cook the food myself.

I learned a lot from this trip. There are people out there who take Celiac Disease and Food Allergies seriously.  I realized that I miss way too much time with my family and that pre-planning goes a long way.  Prepare by checking out AllergyEats, Allergy Free Passport, Gluten Free Passport, Gluten Free Travel Site and Find Me Gluten Free.  Email the restaurant in advance and take a chance and go out and live!  I am also in process of leaving a rating about Home on all of the apps too.

I got to spend time with my sisters and cousins, niece and nephews. We even took a bunch of group photos in front of the huge stone fireplace at Lenny’s.  Everyone made it except for eight of the cousins. So in typical Irish fashion we got back at them for not being there by yelling out each of their names as photos were being taken of the rest of us.  I am happy to report that  “Maureen” was not one of the eight names being yelled out for being absent.  Being with family and enjoying safe food; now that is what I call “living”.

Thanks to Aunt T and my cousins for being great role models when it comes to work ethic and persistence. Also a big thank you to Steve and Jared at Home Restaurant for taking care of me and making me feel right at home!  I am ready to click my ruby red slippers together and be transported back to that burger and fries because there is no place like HOME Restaurant in Branford, CT!

there-is-no-place-like-home-wizard-of-oz

Click Here for Home Restaurant