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    Traveling Gluten-Free in Grand Mound, Washington—A Great Time at Great Wolf Lodge


    Melissa Blanco

    Celiac.com 09/01/2009 - I recently passed a milestone, upon reaching the first anniversary,since my celiac disease diagnosis.  There was no golden coin or awardceremony, but rather a sense of personal accomplishment.  Although itis true that I feel better not eating gluten than I have in years—Istill miss my former diet every single day.  I no longer crave glutenfilled meals, nor do I feel sorry for myself, as often as I did,immediately following my diagnosis.  Yet, I still find it necessary tojustify my condition whenever I get confused looks at dinner parties orpotlucks.  There are also the days when I will pass a pizza shop orhave a craving for a glazed donut with my morning coffee.  It is inthose moments when familiar pangs will resurface and make me long forjust an instance that I could put on my gluten shield and indulge.


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    Itwas at this time last year, that I celebrated my first summergluten-free.  I ate at only restaurants with gluten-free selections, Ibegan dabbling in store bought wheat-free mixes, and jumped up and downin my kitchen the day my husband discovered a gluten-free bakery,several towns away.  Last summer was also my first opportunity totravel gluten-free.  It was during those normally carefree months thatI attended a Family Camp, at a retreat center, in the mountains. Although I meticulously planned for the trip; packing clothing, extratennis shoes, swimming essentials, and toiletries—I neglected toremember that I now had dietary limitations which would possibly have atremendous impact on the outcome of this family weekend.  Yes, I packedgluten-free breakfast bars and fresh fruit, but that was it.  I didn’tcall ahead and ask if they had menu options for celiac sufferers, nordid I plan for lunches and dinners.

    Walking into the retreatcenter dining hall among the smell of fresh baked bread, pasta salad,and breaded chicken made my mouth water like one of Pavlov’s dogs.  Iglanced around the table to see salad drizzled with vinaigrette andrealized that was all I would be eating for the day.  My head began toache and tears stung the back of my eyes.  I inwardly cursed myself formy lack of preparation.  I am the mother of three young children, thewife of a deployed soldier, a responsible and organized woman—yet Icompletely forgot to prepare for a weekend in the mountains, withceliac disease.

    I soon learned two of my fellow campers alsosuffered from gluten intolerance and was informed that there wasgluten-free bread and peanut butter, in the kitchen.  I breathed a sighof relief as I walked up to the chef and asked him if I could possiblyhave a slice of gluten-free bread.  He looked at me and responded,“sure, but this is the only loaf we have, so when it’s gone, it’sgone.”  He was completely put off by my request and irritated thatthree celiacs would arrive at his retreat center, simultaneously,forcing him into a position to alter his meals for dietaryrestrictions.  I grabbed the smallest slice of bread in the loaf,ensuring that the young boy with celiac would have food to eat, andwalked out of the kitchen, in tears.

    That was one year ago, andalthough the date on the calendar has changed, I am still coping withmy condition and learning to travel gluten-free.  My husband recentlyreturned from his yearlong deployment to Iraq, and decided it was timeto treat the family to a couple days of fun-filled water adventure;with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington.  It wouldbe an understatement to say that my children were excited—rather, theywere beyond ecstatic at the prospect of water slides, swimming pools,and the giant bucket of water which spills and drenches everyone in itspath, every few moments.      

    I packed my morning gluten-freebreakfast bars, alongside of my toddler’s swim diapers, and we hit theroad, ready for an adventure at Great Wolf Lodge.  As I prepared formeals of bunless hamburgers and grilled chicken Caesar salads, minusthe croutons, my children began psyching themselves up for the thrillof a rushing waterslide.  I wasn’t sure how food allergies would begreeted at this indoor water park, as was I nervous for a reoccurrenceof past experiences.  My ultimate hope was that my Celiac Disease wouldbe understood and recognized for its seriousness.   

    The Loose Moose Cottage


    Onthe first evening of our stay, my husband suggested eating at The LooseMoose Cottage, to partake of their dinner buffet.  After being seatedin a comfortable booth, we ordered our drinks, before I perused ourselection of food for the evening.  The buffet was quite organized witha variety of offerings assembled in different ethnic sections featuringMexican food, Italian food, and Chinese cuisine.  There was a selectionof sautéed vegetables, potatoes, and sliced roast beef; a kid’s stationwith macaroni and cheese and mini corndogs, a salad bar, and a dessertstation.  After preparing my children’s’ plates, I approached a chef,as she refilled the nacho tray, and asked if the enchiladas were madeusing corn or flour tortillas.  She informed me that they were madewith flour before asking if there was something she could help me with.

    I told her that I have celiac disease, and expected to explain to herwhat that was; yet was surprised as she began walking down theselection of foods, informing me one-by-one which were safe for me toeat.  As I kept up with her, amazed at her accommodating demeanor, sheworked all the way from the Mexican food to the salad bar.  She thenwalked back to the kitchen and returned with two pieces of gluten-freegrilled chicken breast.  As I was thanking her, she offered to make megluten-free pasta.  When I declined, she told me that if I would likethem to make me pasta the following day, to let the kitchen know andthey would be more than happy to prepare it for me.

    My personalreview of The Loose Moose Cottage: The food was good, the service wasexceptional, and the atmosphere was accommodating for my family.  Theonly thing which would have made dining easier would have been if eachdish’s ingredients were listed on a sign beside the dish itself.
      

    Poolside Grill


    During our afternoon of swimming, we ventured outside where staff wereoffering grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, along with potato chips anddrinks.  The smell of the grill was invigorating—after several hours ofswimming, we were starving—so my husband and I decided it was time fora power lunch.  I requested a hotdog, without a bun.  The chef lookedat me and asked, “Do you have celiac disease?”

    I nodded my headand said, “Yes, I do.”  Then I watched with astonishment as sheimmediately removed the plastic gloves she had been using, beforereplacing them with new gloves, and sticking my hotdog on a clean partof the grill.  When I questioned her about her knowledge of foodallergies, and specifically celiac disease, she explained that GreatWolf Lodge has a lot of guests with food restrictions and the chefsmake every effort to be knowledgeable and helpful.

    My personal review of the Poolside Grill: The food was delicious and the staff was informed and respectful.

    Bear Paw Café


    The smell ofthe Bear Paw Café began wafting through the air the moment I exited theelevator.  This small café is not to be taken lightly by the averagedieter, with the aroma of delicious desserts; fudge, ice cream, bakedgoods and popcorn.  Typically, this is an area I would avoid; however,I decided that in order to fully assess the food selections of theGreat Wolf Lodge, it would only be fair to visit the bakery.  Plus, Ireally wanted a piece of fudge.

    When I approached the personat the counter and explained that I was unable to eat anything withwheat in it and wondered if they had any gluten-free offerings, shesmiled and went to find a person more capable of assisting me.  A bakercame out from the kitchen and greeted me with a smile, before tellingme that her mom has suffered from Celiac Disease for twenty-years.  Shethen pointed out the assortment of gluten-free fudges and offered tomake me gluten-free cookies.  Although I was tempted to take her up onthe cookies, I rather, chose a piece of fudge.  I can say, without adoubt—it was delicious.

    My personal review of the Bear Paw Café:The fudge was delicious and the service was exceptional.  I do wishthere was more of a variety of baked goods for those with foodallergies; such as wheat, peanut, and egg-free ingredients.

    Camp Critter


    Forour final meal at the Great Wolf Lodge, we ate at the Camp Critterrestaurant.  After a day of swimming, we were all completely famishedand felt at home in the warm atmosphere of this sit down restaurant. The menu had a variety of kids’ meal offerings, as well as adultselections ranging from burgers, to salads, to steaks.  I was onceagain met with a server who was knowledgeable and sympathetic to mydietary restrictions.  I asked for a cheeseburger, without a bun, andwhen it was delivered, I was informed that my fries were made inseparate oil, to avoid cross contamination.  What can I say; it wasAll-American dining, and my entire family enjoyed it.

    Mypersonal review of Camp Critter: Although the menu did not have avariety of gluten-free selections; the food I chose was preparedgluten-free, cooked well, and the staff was accommodating and helpful.

    After two fun-filled days of water bliss at the Great Wolf Lodge, wedeparted for home, exhausted, and with chlorine seeping out of ourswimming suits.  I rate our trip 5 of 5 stars—it was a great get-away,and I didn’t feel hindered by my celiac disease.  And on a side note…mykids thought the water park was amazing.
      

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    Thanks for sharing! We are going to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA next month with my newly diagnosed celiac 5 year old. I was a little nervous about meal times! You article was very helpful. I'm going to call them in advance to see if they have the same policies there...

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    Guest Jean Coy

    Posted

    We've been to the Great Wolf lodge several times. I called ahead the first time and they told me what I could eat at Camp Critter. They seemed very knowledgeable. My husband was also deployed last year, but he went to Djibouti. We're talking about a family trip to Great Wolf Lodge soon. I've was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1987 and I must say, the gluten-free life is getting easier and better tasting.

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    Guest Kelly Taylor

    Posted

    Thank you so much for this information! My daughter is on a gluten free diet and we've been wanting so badly to go to the Great Wolf Lodge however haven't due to her food allergies. In reading this, I realize it is possible now! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this!!

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    Guest Samantha

    Posted

    Thank you so much. My fiance and I are planning on opening a gluten free resort. However, sometimes I want to get away a little and have some fun.

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    Thank you so much my husband and daughter are gluten free. Now I know I don't need to pack food for us.

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    Guest Robyn

    Posted

    I can't begin to tell you about how much that this web sight helped me tonight! For my mom; (85 years old), wanted to take my daughter, (20 yrs old w/ major celiac), over to Europe this next summer. I.E.: She planned an "oldtimers trip" through the back country of England. Whereas, I got upset with her plans, for there was nothing for her to either eat or buy!... So they settled on going to New Orleans instead. Hopefully there is gluten free food there.

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    My girlfriend was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and we are trying to make the best of planning her little brother's birthday party at the Great Wolf Lodge. I just wanted to thank you for creating a detailed and reassuring review of the food accommodations for the resort.

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    Guest Elizabeth P.

    Posted

    Thank you so much for this article! We were considering a trip to the Grand Mound GWL and I was nervous because my daughter (who would turn 1 during our trip) and I both have to eat gluten free. I hope their policies are still as accommodating now as they were when you went.

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    Guest Nancy L Kenaston

    Posted

    Thank you so much for this article! We were considering a trip to the Grand Mound GWL and I was nervous because my daughter (who would turn 1 during our trip) and I both have to eat gluten free. I hope their policies are still as accommodating now as they were when you went.

    Did you end up visiting? And if so, may I ask how it was re: gluten-free options?

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  • About Me

    Melissa Blanco is a freelance writer and blogger who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007.  You can visit her website at www.melissablanco.com.

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    Jill Schaefer
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    http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/1009402816.html http://celiac-disease.emedtv.com/celiac-disease/ celiac-disease-screening.html http://www.prlog.org/10063446-at-last-the-gluten-free-guide-to-italy-guide-to-the-gluten-free-land-of-pasta.html http://www.celiachia.it/default.asp
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    Hallie Davis
    Celiac.com 10/02/2009 - My hubby and I just returned from a wonderful 5 days in Florida’s Key West, and so I want to write about it  while it is fresh in my memory, for I think my experience may benefit others who are trying to stay gluten-free during a stay there.
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    April Baxter
    This article originally appeared in the Summer 2010 edition of Celiac.com's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.
    Celiac.com 07/17/2010 - My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in Nassau, Bahamas.  What a wonderful experience! The resort itself was beautiful but the people working there made the vacation special. Prior to our arrival, I contacted the General Manager, Jeremy Mutton, advising him of my dietary requirements. He promptly responded that I would be taken care of without any problems and had informed the appropriate staff.
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/21/2018 - Would you buy a house advertised as ‘gluten-free’? Yes, there really is such a house for sale. 
    It seems a Phoenix realtor Mike D’Elena is hoping that his trendy claim will catch the eye of a buyer hungry to avoid gluten, or, at least one with a sense of humor. D’Elena said he crafted the ads as a way to “be funny and to draw attention.” The idea, D’Elena said, is to “make it memorable.” 
    Though D’Elena’s marketing seeks to capitalizes on the gluten-free trend, he knows Celiac disease is a serious health issue for some people. “[W]e’re not here to offend anybody….this is just something we're just trying to do to draw attention and do what's best for our clients," he said. 
    Still, the signs seem to be working. D'elena had fielded six offers within a few days of listing the west Phoenix home.
    "Buying can sometimes be the most stressful thing you do in your entire life so why not have some fun with it," he said. 
    What do you think? Clever? Funny?
    Read more at Arizonafamily.com.

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    Bakery On Main started in the small bakery of a natural foods market on Main Street in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Founder Michael Smulders listened when his customers with Celiac Disease would mention the lack of good tasting, gluten-free options available to them. Upon learning this, he believed that nobody should have to suffer due to any kind of food allergy or dietary need. From then on, his mission became creating delicious and fearlessly unique gluten-free products that were clean and great tasting, while still being safe for his Celiac customers!
    Premium ingredients, bakeshop delicious recipes, and happy customers were our inspiration from the beginning— and are still the cornerstones of Bakery On Main today. We are a fiercely ethical company that believes in integrity and feels that happiness and wholesome, great tasting food should be harmonious. We strive for that in everything we bake in our dedicated gluten-free facility that is GFCO Certified and SQF Level 3 Certified. We use only natural, NON-GMO Project Verified ingredients and all of our products are certified Kosher Parve, dairy and casein free, and we have recently introduced certified Organic items as well! 
    Our passion is to bake the very best products while bringing happiness to our customers, each other, and all those we meet!
    We are available during normal business hours at: 1-888-533-8118 EST.
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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/20/2018 - Currently, the only way to manage celiac disease is to eliminate gluten from the diet. That could be set to change as clinical trials begin in Australia for a new vaccine that aims to switch off the immune response to gluten. 
    The trials are set to begin at Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre. The vaccine is designed to allow people with celiac disease to consume gluten with no adverse effects. A successful vaccine could be the beginning of the end for the gluten-free diet as the only currently viable treatment for celiac disease. That could be a massive breakthrough for people with celiac disease.
    USC’s Clinical Trials Centre Director Lucas Litewka said trial participants would receive an injection of the vaccine twice a week for seven weeks. The trials will be conducted alongside gastroenterologist Dr. James Daveson, who called the vaccine “a very exciting potential new therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now.”
    Dr. Daveson said the investigational vaccine might potentially restore gluten tolerance to people with celiac disease.The trial is open to adults between the ages of 18 and 70 who have clinically diagnosed celiac disease, and have followed a strict gluten-free diet for at least 12 months. Anyone interested in participating can go to www.joinourtrials.com.
    Read more at the website for Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast Clinical Trials Centre.

    Source:
    FoodProcessing.com.au

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/19/2018 - Could baking soda help reduce the inflammation and damage caused by autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease? Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University say that a daily dose of baking soda may in fact help reduce inflammation and damage caused by autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease.
    Those scientists recently gathered some of the first evidence to show that cheap, over-the-counter antacids can prompt the spleen to promote an anti-inflammatory environment that could be helpful in combating inflammatory disease.
    A type of cell called mesothelial cells line our body cavities, like the digestive tract. They have little fingers, called microvilli, that sense the environment, and warn the organs they cover that there is an invader and an immune response is needed.
    The team’s data shows that when rats or healthy people drink a solution of baking soda, the stomach makes more acid, which causes mesothelial cells on the outside of the spleen to tell the spleen to go easy on the immune response.  "It's most likely a hamburger not a bacterial infection," is basically the message, says Dr. Paul O'Connor, renal physiologist in the MCG Department of Physiology at Augusta University and the study's corresponding author.
    That message, which is transmitted with help from a chemical messenger called acetylcholine, seems to encourage the gut to shift against inflammation, say the scientists.
    In patients who drank water with baking soda for two weeks, immune cells called macrophages, shifted from primarily those that promote inflammation, called M1, to those that reduce it, called M2. "The shift from inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory profile is happening everywhere," O'Connor says. "We saw it in the kidneys, we saw it in the spleen, now we see it in the peripheral blood."
    O'Connor hopes drinking baking soda can one day produce similar results for people with autoimmune disease. "You are not really turning anything off or on, you are just pushing it toward one side by giving an anti-inflammatory stimulus," he says, in this case, away from harmful inflammation. "It's potentially a really safe way to treat inflammatory disease."
    The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
    Read more at: Sciencedaily.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/18/2018 - Celiac disease has been mainly associated with Caucasian populations in Northern Europe, and their descendants in other countries, but new scientific evidence is beginning to challenge that view. Still, the exact global prevalence of celiac disease remains unknown.  To get better data on that issue, a team of researchers recently conducted a comprehensive review and meta-analysis to get a reasonably accurate estimate the global prevalence of celiac disease. 
    The research team included P Singh, A Arora, TA Strand, DA Leffler, C Catassi, PH Green, CP Kelly, V Ahuja, and GK Makharia. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, India; Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Norway; Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Gastroenterology Research and Development, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc, Cambridge, MA; Department of Pediatrics, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy; Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; USA Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York; and the Department of Gastroenterology and Human Nutrition, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
    For their review, the team searched Medline, PubMed, and EMBASE for the keywords ‘celiac disease,’ ‘celiac,’ ‘tissue transglutaminase antibody,’ ‘anti-endomysium antibody,’ ‘endomysial antibody,’ and ‘prevalence’ for studies published from January 1991 through March 2016. 
    The team cross-referenced each article with the words ‘Asia,’ ‘Europe,’ ‘Africa,’ ‘South America,’ ‘North America,’ and ‘Australia.’ They defined celiac diagnosis based on European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition guidelines. The team used 96 articles of 3,843 articles in their final analysis.
    Overall global prevalence of celiac disease was 1.4% in 275,818 individuals, based on positive blood tests for anti-tissue transglutaminase and/or anti-endomysial antibodies. The pooled global prevalence of biopsy-confirmed celiac disease was 0.7% in 138,792 individuals. That means that numerous people with celiac disease potentially remain undiagnosed.
    Rates of celiac disease were 0.4% in South America, 0.5% in Africa and North America, 0.6% in Asia, and 0.8% in Europe and Oceania; the prevalence was 0.6% in female vs 0.4% males. Celiac disease was significantly more common in children than adults.
    This systematic review and meta-analysis showed celiac disease to be reported worldwide. Blood test data shows celiac disease rate of 1.4%, while biopsy data shows 0.7%. The prevalence of celiac disease varies with sex, age, and location. 
    This review demonstrates a need for more comprehensive population-based studies of celiac disease in numerous countries.  The 1.4% rate indicates that there are 91.2 million people worldwide with celiac disease, and 3.9 million are in the U.S.A.
    Source:
    Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jun;16(6):823-836.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2017.06.037.