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Found 21 results

  1. Celiac.com 04/17/2019 - Hundreds sign petition calling for dining reform at Hofstra. The petition stems from the experience of junior marketing major Sarah Peres, who has celiac disease. Peres began the petition after receiving a salad with wheat croutons on it. First, she was mildly upset, but then she turned toward action with her petition. Peres says that she is tired of feeling hungry and frustrated whenever she is in the dining halls at Hofstra, and that she hopes to make a change in campus' food policy. “It is almost as if Hofstra would rather us starve than be able to eat a safely prepared gluten-free meal,” Peres said in her petition. Her petition, titled “More gluten-free, allergy-free, and dietary restriction food options at Hofstra University,” exposed serious flaws in the dining hall policies. Her efforts have been met with support from more than 500 concerned students, parents and community members. Lisa Ospitale, the District Marketing Director of Campus Dining by Compass Group, said that available options are based on sales, sales history, and requests from the overall community population. Basing food offerings on sales and demand is fine, but schools still have responsibilities under the ADA to offer options for students with food allergies and sensitivities. That means adequate training and policies to ensure student well-being. Speaking of the school’s current allergen-friendly dining area, Ospitale says that the school should “offer G8 in the Student Center, because it is an area that is separate from other areas creating a safe location for those with allergies to eat.” Peres feels that Hofstra still has a ways to go. “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done,” she says. They need to have a second kitchen…They need to educate their staff more. If they don’t have a separate kitchen, then they need to clean their utensils and have separate utensils for everything,” Peres added. Stay tuned for more on this and other stories about gluten-free and allergen-free food options at colleges and universities. What do you think? Do colleges and universities need to do more in general to accommodate students with food allergies? Share your thoughts below. Read more at The Hofstra Chronicle
  2. Celiac.com 04/25/2019 - In the last few years, we’ve run a bunch of stories about colleges and universities making big changes to their dining services to accommodate gluten-free students. College Students Hungry for Gluten-Free Meals But, for all of the improvements in the last few years, getting a gluten-free meal at a college campus can still be a challenge. At too many colleges, students still struggle to find easy, reliable, nutritious gluten-free meals, even though research shows that students are hungry for gluten-free meals. Celiac Students Push for Gluten-Free Food In some cases, students with food allergies feel they are being treated like second-class citizens. A number of prominent legal challenges have resulted in agreements by some colleges to improve their food offerings for students with food allergies and gluten intolerance. A number of universities have been forced to settle claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including Lesley University, and Rider University. UCLA is the latest college to come under fire. A recent complaint alleges that many of UCLA Dining Services’ dishes contain gluten, and even those that do not are usually made in kitchens with gluten contaminants, making cross contamination likely. UCLA Dining Services says that the school’s gluten-free pantries contain toasters, microwaves and certified gluten-free dishes. Onerous Rules for Gluten-Free Students Gluten-free students say the dining halls provide allergen information, and note which foods contain wheat, but they lack comprehensive gluten information. They also enforce arcane rules that make gluten-free students jump through hoops. For example, before students can access the gluten-free pantries in De Neve dining hall and Bruin Plate, they must contact the Center for Accessible Education and fill out an extensive form. The basic complaint goes like this: By offering unequal access to high-quality campus food, UCLA is discriminating against students with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. As it stands, these students pay the same fees for others do for a meal plan, but they get unequal options. Additional information about the ADA can be found at
  3. Celiac.com 04/10/2019 - With more universities under pressure to provide for students with food allergies and sensitivities, it’s little wonder that students who feel that schools are falling short are pressing the matter legally. That often means filing a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to prompt a settlement. Most recently, Rider University agreed to make changes to its dining options to accommodate students with food allergy-related disabilities after a former student filed a complaint claiming violations of the ADA, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced. The actions were the result of a complaint by a former student with celiac disease, who claimed the University had failed to make reasonable accommodations. The changes came after the U.S. Attorney's Office found that Rider failed to create “reasonable policies, practices, and procedures for students with food allergy-related disabilities and failed to adequately train its staff on appropriate policies for accommodating individuals with food allergies," Carpenito said. On the positive side, Carpenito said that, from the onset, “Rider University has worked cooperatively to develop and amend its policies and practices to comply with the ADA." Under the agreement Rider University will create its own policies for students with food allergy-related disabilities, rather than relying on third-party food service vendors. Rider will create dedicated allergen-free food preparation areas in its dining facilities, and employ a full-time dietician to address food allergy-related disability issues. Lastly, Rider will create a "pre-order" option for students with food allergies. Rider spokeswoman, Kristine Brown, says that the school has gone beyond the terms of the agreement to open a new, allergen-free food-preparation station that will serve food free of the eight major food allergens – peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, wheat and soy. The food at the station is also gluten-free, Brown said. Anyone who believes they have been wrongly discriminated against may file a complaint with the U.S Attorney's Office at justice.gov/usao-nj/civil-rights-enforcement/complaint or call the U.S. Attorney's Office's Civil Rights Complaint Hotline at 855-281-3339. Additional information about the ADA can be found at ada.gov, or by calling the Department of Justice's toll-free information line at 800-514-0301 and 800-514-0383 (TDD). Read more at Patch.com
  4. Celiac.com 03/08/2019 - How many times have you gone out to dinner and tried to find a gluten-free meal that wouldn't make you sick? How many times have you eaten that gluten-free meal, only to think, "gee, I wouldn't feed this to my dog?" This leads to the question, do restaurants that serve gluten-free menu items taste test their offerings? If not, why not? Why do they think that people with gluten-intolerance or celiac disease want to eat cardboard? These and other questions continue to baffle me. There are a few things that restaurants could do better. The gluten-free wave is sweeping the nation. Restaurants need to learn how to swim, or be swept away with the tide. These are some of my pet peeves when it comes to dining out gluten-free. Running out of gluten free items, such as hamburger rolls or bread It is really easy to buy really good packaged gluten-free hamburger buns or bread. How many times have you been told that the only gluten-free offering is a lettuce wrap? Really? If I want to eat salad, I will order salad! Offering inedible gluten-free items Have you ever had a really awful gluten-free muffin in a restaurant, or for that matter, on a cruise ship? I am sure that if the kitchen staff tried these stale pieces of sawdust, they would not want to eat them. Why do they think someone with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance would? Trying and Failing to do it themselves (especially with dessert) Believe me, I really do appreciate the effort a chef makes to give me a gluten-free dessert other than sorbet or a fruit plate. I had a wonderful experience on a cruise a few years ago. The chef attempted to make me a gluten and dairy free cake (I am also dairy intolerant). It was really great. Unfortunately, they waited until the last night of the cruise, and I could only eat one piece of it. But I have to admit, by that time I was really tired of eating fruit plates. It's not that difficult to buy a ready made gluten-free cake, cookie or muffin mix and give us some options. Removing the "offending" gluten-free items until there's nothing left How many times have you ordered a wonderful sounding dish, only to receive a pale, gluten-free comparison? Believe me, before I go out to eat, I study the allergen menu really closely and try to find something that will not be entirely ruined if it is made gluten-free. I am not always successful. Sometimes the chef goes overboard in the interest of caution, and removes everything that could "possibly" contain anything remotely containing gluten. What I get is a tasteless shadow of the original dish, and resounding disappointment. I don't order certain items, like crab cakes, because even though gluten-free breadcrumbs actually exist, it wouldn't occur to the chef to try to use them. Improperly trained staff I am sure you have all seen the eye-roll and the deer in the headlights look of waitstaff who panic, or sneer at the mere mention that you are gluten-free. Nor do they have a clue about menu items that might contain gluten. It might be obvious to those of us who live this life everyday, but the waitstaff and kitchen staff don't seem to know. It is imperative that waitstaff and kitchen staff know what contains gluten, and what does not. I can't even count how many times I have gotten sick because I was told something was "fine". Cross-contamination with gluten-containing foods If you think your restaurant has a dedicated area to handle your gluten-free meal, you might be sadly mistaken. Using the same fryer, using the same pasta water, using the same utensils; these are just some of the things that are going on in the kitchen. It is far easier for a busy kitchen staff to take shortcuts than to properly prepare a gluten-free meal. I have also noticed that the attention to detail goes up with the price-tag of the meal in question. You are likely to get more attention in a fine-dining restaurant than in a small mom and pop owned one. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. You are also more likely to get "glutened" on a busy night, as opposed to a slow one. In Conclusion I know in my heart that as the numbers of gluten-intolerant diners grows, so will the improvement of our collective dining experience. My love for dining out has waned since I became gluten-intolerant. I find I can make better food at home. I know this is not an option for everyone. But why should gluten-free be a tradeoff?
  5. Celiac.com 06/28/2017 - Announcements from colleges revamping their dining halls to offer gluten-free and allergen-free foods to students, faculty and guests with food allergies or sensitivities are coming at a rapid clip. The latest gluten-free feather in the cap goes to Cornell University, which has restructured its campus dining halls and food services to include 100-percent gluten-, tree nut- and peanut-free kitchens, including offering a new 100-percent plant-based burger at two campus locations. Cornell received its gluten-free facility certification from Kitchens with Confidence after cleaning or replacing equipment and meeting the rest of the qualifications for gluten-free certification. Still, even before the certification was official, Cornell had been quietly serving gluten-free dishes for the last two years. During that time, Risley offered a stir-fry station that served only rice noodles, and also served rich brownies and fluffy biscuits made with gluten-free flour. Risley’s plant-forward, made-from-scratch menu items also include house-made soups and salad dressings, and the introduction of a 100-percent plant-based Impossible Burger at two Cornell Dining eateries on campus. These initiatives are part of Cornell’s commitment to the Menus of Change principles of healthy, sustainable eating, including a focus on whole, minimally processed food and transparency in menu items. As an additional part of that commitment, Cornell Dining will soon implement high-quality ingredient standards in several clean ingredient categories. The department's Clean Ingredients team has already changed more than 50 ingredients currently purchased, and is actively changing recipes at both the AYCTE locations and the retail eateries. Cornell Dining now oversees concession operations at Cornell Athletics facilities, while Cornell Catering manages events at Moakley House, offering snacks, meals and beverages at Big Red games, the winter season at Bartels Hall, and adding more concession sites for Cornell's spring sports season. Meanwhile, Cornell Concessions will manage events at Moakley House, the clubhouse at Cornell University's Robert Trent Jones Golf Course. Students, faculty and visitors at Cornell can look for these gluten-free and other menu changes at all campus food locations and events. Look for stories like this to become commonplace as more colleges and universities provide accommodations for students, faculty and visitors with food allergies and sensitivities.
  6. Celiac.com 11/29/2017 - Wellington's Victoria University is the first institution of its kind in New Zealand to receive a full Celiac accreditation for its residence dining halls. Under a new partnership between Coeliac NZ and Compass, the company that provides food and support services to the six residence Halls at Victoria, the university achieved gluten-free accreditation through independent auditing company SGS in August 2017. Compass caters to resident university students with a range of food allergies and intolerances. The company already has a robust allergen management system in place, but wanted to do more to improve their gluten management practices. As part of its Dining Out program, Coeliac NZ helped Compass to further sharpen their focus on gluten management. "Providing safe food for residents is essential for [student] wellbeing and the success of their studies. The program has given us added confidence around managing safe gluten-free food service throughout our kitchens and dining halls," says Compass Group Dietitian Margaret Thorson. As part of the program, the entire Compass team, everyone from dietitians and site managers, to front-of-house workers, conducted an intensive review of entire process of gluten-free food preparation and practices.This included delivery, storage, food preparation, cleaning, service and communication. Compass staff also completed the Coeliac NZ online training focusing on gluten management. Coeliac New Zealand General Manager, Dana Alexander, says the organization is incredibly proud of the work done with Compass to offer safe gluten-free dining at Victoria University Halls of Residence, which helps take away one of the biggest challenges for people living with coeliac disease – eating meals they haven't prepared themselves. "Our Dining Out Programme provides the food service industry with the knowledge and skills to prepare safe gluten-free food, free from the risk of cross-contamination via utensils or food-prep surfaces. They can confidently tell customers they're delivering a reliably excellent gluten-free dining experience," she says. Read more at: scoop.co.nz
  7. If you have ever traveled to Newport, RI then you know there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from. But if you have celiac disease or a gluten-intolerance then you know that dining out in an unfamiliar city is very difficult. Luckily, Newport has many gluten-free friendly restaurants that can easily be found if you know about them. I have comprised a list of celiac friendly restaurants in this scenic, colonial city. These restaurants have responded to a survey that was sent to over 100 restaurants and bakeries in Newport. All of the places listed have also stated that they are familiar with the necessary precautions that come with preparing gluten-free food such as avoiding cross-contamination. I have attempted to verify the accuracy of the statements provided by the restaurants to the best of my ability. If you are a tourist or local, I hope this list can help in keeping your gluten-free lifestyle. Places that offer gluten-free menus:Brick Alley Pub 140 Thames Street Newport, RI (401) 849-6334 www.BrickAlley.comEva Ruth's Specialty Bakery 796 Aquidneck Avenue Middletown, RI (401) 619-1924 www.EvaRuths.com * Eva Ruth's is located 10 minutes out of downtown Newport and specializes in making only gluten-free products. O'Briens Pub 501 Thames Street Newport, RI (401) 849-6623 www.theobrienspub.com Safari Room at Ocean Cliff (Sunday brunch menu) 65 Ridge Road Newport, RI (401) 849-4873 www.newportexperience.com Tucker's Bistro 150 Broadway Newport, RI (401) 846-3449 www.tuckersbistro.com Yesterday's and the Place 28 Washington Square Newport, RI (401) 847-0116 www.yesterdaysandtheplace.com Places that are familiar with gluten-free foods and offer gluten-free options:A Little Café 27 Connell Highway Newport, RI (401) 849-0123 www.Alittlecafe.usBouchard Restaurant and Inn 505 Thames Street Newport, RI (401) 846-0123 www.bouchardnewport.com Callahan's Café Zelda 528 Thames Street Newport, RI (401) 849-4002 www.cafezelda.com Castle Hill Inn 590 Ocean Drive Newport, RI (401) 324-4522 www.castlehillinn.com * Castle Hill Inn is working with Eva Ruth's bakery to offer more gluten-free options. Diego's 11 Bowen's Wharf Newport, RI (401) 619-2640 www.diegosnewport.com Fathoms Restaurant at the Newport Marriott 25 Americas Cup Avenue Newport, RI (401) 849-7788 Fluke Wine Bar and Kitchen 41 Bowens Wharf Newport, RI (401) 849-7778 www.flukewinebar.com Gas Lamp Grille 206 Thames Street Newport, RI (401) 845-9300 www.gaslampgrille.com * Gas Lamp Grille is in the process of creating a gluten-free menu. It's My Party Bake Shoppe 84 William Street Newport, RI (401) 619-4600 www.itsmypartynewport.com * Must call in advance to place an order for gluten-free products at It's My Party Bake Shoppe. Lucia Italian Restaurant 186 B Thames Street Newport RI (401) 846-4477 www.luciarestaurant.com Mamma Luisa Restaurant 673 Thames Street Newport, RI (401) 848-5257 www.mammaluisa.com SAPO Freaky Burrito 16 Broadway Newport, RI (401) 847-1526 www.freakyburrito.com Sardellas Restaurant 30 Memorial Boulevard W Newport, RI (401) 849-6312 www.sardellas.com * Sardella's carries gluten-free pasta, but it is recommended that you call in first to make sure that they have it in stock. Sushi-go 215 Goddard Row Newport, RI (401) 849-5155 www.sushi-go.com Tallulah on Thames 464 Thames Street Newport, RI (401) 849-2433 www.Tallulahonthames.com The Barking Crab Restaurant 151 Swinburne Row Newport, RI (617) 206-8294 www.barkingcrab.com The Mooring Seafood Kitchen 1 Sayer's Wharf Newport, RI (401) 846-2260 www.mooringrestaurant.com The Smokehouse Café 31 Scotts Wharf Newport, RI (401) 848-9800 The White Horse Tavern 26 Marlborough Street Newport, RI (401) 849-3600 www.whitehorsetavern.us *Some of these restaurants may only offer naturally gluten-free items, but will be more than willing to accommodate any changes to their options if asked
  8. Hello All, I will be traveling to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in a few weeks and am looking for gluten free friendly places to eat. I can find the chain restaurants on my own but am hoping for recommendations for any smaller independent type places. Thanks!
  9. At the start of the 2016 academic year, Kent State University becomes the first university in the country to feature an entirely gluten-free dining hall on campus. Kent State restructured Prentice Café after administrators noticed that the number of students arriving on campus with gluten intolerance was rising each year. The new dining facility will meet the ever-increasing demand for gluten-free foods. An estimated 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process. When a person who has celiac disease consumes gluten, the individual’s immune system attacks the small intestine and inhibits the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It is essential for those with celiac disease and sensitivity to gluten to avoid products containing these ingredients. Some individuals who have not been diagnosed with an allergy or sensitivity to gluten also choose to restrict their gluten intake as a personal preference. Until recently, however, it has often been difficult to find suitable gluten-free food options, especially when dining away from home. Kent State aims to make college life easier for students who need or prefer gluten-free foods. At Prentice Café, all menu items are gluten-free. Although many campuses offer gluten-free products and some even offer gluten-free stations in their dining halls, Kent State is the first campus to offer an entire dining hall that is certified gluten-free. "Students’ needs have always been our top priority," said Rich Roldan, director of university dining services at Kent State. "Students have enough to worry about - they should not havve to worry about their food being safe to eat. It is important they can eat in a safe environment, which is why we decided to make Prentice Café a gluten-free dining location." Prentice Café earned certification from the Gluten-Free Food Services Certification Program, a food safety program offered through the Gluten Intolerance Group. The Gluten Intolerance Group is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the gluten-free community through consumer support, advocacy and education. Although gluten intolerance has gained attention in recent years, it can still be challenging to address the needs of students who have celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten. One issue is students’ reluctance to self-identify as gluten intolerant. Students are sometimes self-conscious about special dietary needs and often prefer not to feel singled out when dining on campus. This was something administrators considered when developing Prentice Café. "It’s important for students who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance to be able to have a safe location where they can go and not have to worry," explained Megan Brzuski, Kent State’s dining services dietitian. "There are many different menu items and options available for students to choose from at Prentice Café." Anyone is welcome to dine at Prentice Café, which is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to every item being gluten-free, the menu also features a variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes, as well as foods that support a healthy lifestyle. The café accepts meal plans, cash and credit cards. Prentice Café opened on Aug. 29, the first day of the fall semester. A grand opening celebration will be held on Sept. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students, faculty, staff and all members of the Kent State community are invited to attend the event, which will include opportunities to sample items, as well as educational displays and prizes. The Gluten-Free Food Service Certification Program, a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group, is a proven model of established best practices for food service establishments offering gluten-free options. Certifications and protocols are customized to the specific needs of each food service establishment who works with the Gluten-Free Food Service Certification Program, including considered factors such as facility size, number of locations and the type of food establishment. For more information about the Gluten-Free Food Service Certification program, visit www.gffoodservice.org. For more information about Kent State’s Dining Services, visit www.kent.edu/dining.
  10. Celiac.com 01/29/2016 - The drive to introduce specialties like kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly foods at college campuses has really taken off in the last few years, with more and more colleges establishing alternative dining halls and food selections on their campuses. The latest beneficiaries of the this movement are the students of the University of Delaware, which just opened the new, state-of-the-art Caesar Rodney Residence Hall Complex and dining hall, in partnership with food-service vendor Aramark. The dining hall will offer a new dining options for students with dietary restrictions, including kosher, gluten-free and vegan. Asked about the focus of the project, Ryan Boyer, marketing director for Aramark, says that main idea is "a restaurant-driven, culinary brand," where customers "see the food being prepared in front of them." The dining hall features an open floor plan that can seat nearly 1200 people at a time, but there are no slow, long cafeteria lines. That's because the hall relies on food preparation stations, much like a food court at a local mall. This way, large numbers of students can choose from a wide variety of offerings. To make it work at scale, each station makes just one main course per meal so the culinary staff can focus on preparing it well. But, with more than a dozen stations, there is no shortage of choices. Among the stations are one that is strictly gluten-free and another that is strictly vegan. There is also a kosher station that uses strict preparation techniques, and the facility even keeps a mashgiach on staff, to monitor food preparation to ensure it meets kosher standards. Here's hoping more university students nationwide will soon join their peers at the University of Delaware in enjoying the benefits of specialty dining options that meet their individual needs. Source: delawareonline.com
  11. Celiac.com 10/19/2010 - The plane soared above the vast, blue Pacific Ocean as the gorgeous state of Hawaii loomed beneath it. When we descended into our tropical destination of Maui, my stomach was a bundle of excited energy, with visions of walks along the beautiful sandy beaches and lounging poolside, soaking in the sun’s rays. My husband and I’d planned this trip for months—budgeted for the most cost effective airfare, researched affordable hotels, packed swimsuits and summer clothing for our family of five. Yet, as every person with celiac disease understands, traveling has its hidden dangers of gluten-contaminated food, restaurants that aren’t attuned to the needs of food intolerance sufferers, and the common question of: what am I going to eat when I’m away from my comfort zone, away from my home? Our adventure began in a resort on the Ka‘anapali Shores of Maui, as the sun was setting and a warm breeze rustled through the swaying palm trees. While my family mapped out their wish list of activities to embark on during our paradise vacation, I brainstormed what I’d eat in the land of sugar cane, flowered leis, and tropical fruits. As the warm sun rose each morning, I ate the breakfast bars I’d packed in my suitcase along with a cup of Hawaiian Kona coffee, which we purchased after arriving. For coffee lovers, I highly recommend it, www.konacoffee.com. Kona coffee was available at the hotel gift shop, grocery store, and sold as whole beans packaged at the local Starbucks. Although my diet for the week relied heavily on grilled chicken salads, fresh fruits, vegetables, and almonds, I also sampled local restaurants with my family. We were interested in venues that offered a children’s menu, had a welcoming and fun atmosphere, and were possibly places providing a chance for exploration and cultural experience. Cheeseburger in Paradise Anyone who’s ever listened to the song, “Cheeseburger in Paradise” by Jimmy Buffet, will understand my desire to eat at the restaurant. Maui’s Cheeseburger in Paradise is located on Front Street in beautiful Lahaina. The two story restaurant sits beside the water, as a cool breeze wafts through a windowless dining area, while patrons enjoy cocktails and their signature burgers and steak fries. When I spoke to the hostesses, dressed in festive grass skirts, I was informed that they did not have a gluten-free menu, but could accommodate gluten intolerant guests by serving burgers without buns and salads. Although I contemplated ordering one of the grilled salads, I ultimately decided upon the signature Cheeseburger in Paradise, minus the bun, and a basket of sweet potato fries. I might have been tempted to try the steak fries as well, but learned from my server that they are flavored with a seasoning salt containing gluten. It was a pleasant experience and my only wish was that I’d have brought a license plate to hang on the restaurant wall with others from across the country. If interested, check out their website at, www.cheeseburgerland.com. Old Lahaina Luau Also located on Front Street in Lahaina, Hawaii, this Luau is worth attending if only for the traditional Hawaiian Hula performance. The Old Lahaina Luau is a family affair located beside the ocean, providing a beautiful sunset view, as ceremony and tradition are celebrated following pre-dinner learning activities for both adults and children. Upon entering the Luau, girls are presented with a flower for their hair and everyone is given a fresh flower lei. Adults are offered the signature island alcoholic beverage, a Mai tai—it is up to the patron whether or not to accept it. Before attending the Luau we called in advance and requested a gluten-free menu. This gluten-free request was confirmed by my server when I arrived. Additionally, I was presented with a complete food ingredient list by him for the buffet. I would advise anyone with a gluten intolerance to request a gluten-free meal because while reading the ingredient list, I discovered most of the dishes contained soy sauce. As I joined my family in choosing fresh fruits, salad, and vegetables from the buffet line, my server placed a warm, freshly prepared gluten-free meal of grilled chicken breasts and steamed vegetables where I was seated. Overall, it was an amazing night and a wonderful time to experience a traditional Lu‘au while enjoying a delicious meal. For more information or to make a reservation: www.oldlahainaluau.com. Pacific Whale Foundation Lana‘i Snorkel and Dolphin Watch Eco-Adventure The non-profit Pacific Whale Foundation offers several eco-adventures for people wishing to experience the marine life of Hawaii. We chose to take the five hour Snorkel and Dolphin Cruise, which provided a continental breakfast, barbeque lunch, and refreshments. After departing from Lahaina Harbor, snorkel gear and flippers in hand, we sailed patiently through the choppy waters of the Pacific Ocean in search of dolphins. We weren’t disappointed when about an hour into our adventure we spotted several spinner dolphins spectacularly jumping out of the pristine blue water to entertain us. In preparation for this voyage, I called ahead to inquire about food offerings and was assured that a gluten-free meal would be provided to me. I came to find out, while on the cruise, that it was basically a standard meal for all passengers, in which I was to choose only the food that didn’t contain gluten. As I live with a family who normally consumes gluten, this picking and choosing was not uncommon to me. For breakfast, I sampled fresh pineapple and passed on the banana bread. For lunch, I ate barbecued chicken with lettuce and tomato. As a service to vegetarians, a veggie burger is provided upon request. I would certainly recommend this cruise for people that are interested in dolphin sightings or who want to be introduced to snorkeling. For those who have celiac disease, I’d also suggest bringing along some extra snacks. For more information, www.pacificwhale.org. Hard Rock Café Maui In an effort to introduce my children to the cultural likes of good old rock and roll, I suggested that we eat dinner at the Hard Rock Café, located in the Old Lahaina Center, of Maui. I was happy to find that a children’s menu was available, but slightly disappointed to learn that a gluten-free menu wasn’t. Our server, however, was more than helpful, willing to look at food ingredients in the computer for me and alert me to items containing gluten. Unfortunately, the nachos I’d been craving contained wheat, so I instead ordered a cheeseburger, minus the bun. It was my second cheeseburger of the week and I was truly unable eat a quarter of it because it was such a generous portion. The atmosphere was lively and loud, nothing less than what I’d expect from a Hard Rock Café. It was a fun night out and I was happy to leave with a Hard Rock Café Maui tee-shirt from the restaurant gift shop. If you’re looking for a quieter venue and are interested in seafood, there is a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company located directly across the street from the Hard Rock Café, providing shrimp and lots of Forrest Gump memorabilia. Hard Rock Café’s website is www.hardrock.com. Bubba Gump Shrimp’s website is www.bubbagump.com. Our vacation to Maui was primary restricted to the beautiful Ka‘anapali Shores and town of Lahaina, therefore I didn’t explore a lot of the island, nor did I locate any grocery stores providing a gluten-free selection. This is not to say that they don’t exist, rather, that I was not able to shop at one. I’d recommend travelers to take their own gluten-free snacks, as long as they are approved through the agricultural inspection. Hawaii is a state full of fresh produce, including savory pineapple, seafood, and sweet potatoes, which provide many healthful options for those with celiac disease. My family also enjoyed the thirst quenching and tasty shaved ice, www.ululanisshaveice.com, and the extremely delicious frozen treat, gelato, and its dairy-free counterpart, sorbetto, www.onogelatocompany.com. For the residents of Maui, I appreciate your understanding and willingness to accommodate my gluten intolerance. To you I say, “mahalo.”
  12. Celiac.com 07/24/2014 - People that have celiac disease know one of the main concerns is avoiding gluten when they have meals. Their second biggest concern is the possible co-mingling of ingredients that can contaminate otherwise gluten-free food! So how do you eat at restaurants when you have celiac and still have peace of mind? Here is how: Before you are to go out to a restaurant call ahead and ask for the manager, find out if they do offer gluten-free meals that are carefully prepared for people with food allergy (If you are unable to call ahead go online and look the restaurant up to see if they offer a gluten-free menu or gluten-free meal selections, if need be email them). Also ask if the restaurant prepares gluten-free meals in a separate area, and if the restaurant uses different cooking utensils for gluten-free meal preparation. When you arrive at the restaurant that you have confirmed has gluten-free meals, let your server know you have a "Gluten Allergy" (ok, you can use different terms, and this isn't correct, but it conveys necessity instead of trend) and must eat gluten-free. Ask for a gluten-free menu, if they did not offer one to you. If you feel comfortable ask to speak with the manager or chef at your table, so they know that you have a medical need for a gluten-free diet. Let your favorite restaurants know that you want gluten-free meal selections and a gluten-free menu if they do not offer that yet. Do not be afraid to ask! Also, online there are cards you can print out and take to restaurants that you can give to server, manager or chefs to let them know that you are in need of a gluten-free diet. Some restaurants are now getting trained for gluten-free food preparation through National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and Great Kitchens, so that all the staff is fully prepared and educated on how to handle safe preparation of meals for celiac and gluten intolerant individuals. Talk about peace of mind; if a restaurant has had the gluten-free food training, know you are safe to eat gluten-free meals there!
  13. Celiac.com 01/24/2014 - To create a gluten-free, allergen-free station in a dining hall that serves about 10,000 to 14,000 students each week, and offers a different daily menus for each meal, Lehigh University in Bethlehem went the distance. The result was Simple Servings. Lehigh's earlier dining hall offered gluten-free cereals, soups, pastas and breads via their Your Choice station. That original station has been incorporated into Simple Servings, and Lehigh students with gluten intolerance can now experience the same range of choices as their non-sensitive counterparts. Joseph Kornafel, Lehigh's executive chef, says that the school has really paid attention to details, from getting the right equipment when the station was being built, to maintaining a database of allergen-free recipes, Lehigh has also reached out to coaches and student-athletes to make sure they understand how the system works and to always get a clean plate before taking food from the station to avoid cross-contamination. Purple is the color adopted to designate allergen-free items in the food industry, and Lehigh uses purple to designate all gluten-free food preparation items, including utensils, carts and cutting boards. All gluten-free preparation equipment is dedicated, and never leaves that station to prevent cross-contamination. All chefs working that station are specially trained, and and all ingredients are clearly labeled for each dish. Source: Lehigh Valley Live
  14. This article originally appeared in the Fall 2009 edition of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. Celiac.com 12/11/2009 - I recently embarked on a quest for family-friendly restaurants that offered gluten-free selections. I explained this vision to my husband and three children as we set the rules of our experiment: five family members to eat at five restaurants during a five week period. The challenge - the children were to choose the restaurant, the chosen restaurant couldn’t sell Happy Meals or have a drive-thru window and the restaurant had to be a franchise rather than a local venue. Additionally, the mom, me, and the only celiac in the family, had the option of not eating if it might compromise her small intestines. Here is what we discovered: Restaurant # 1: Applebee’s My children chose to eat at Applebee’s on a Sunday afternoon for lunch. The atmosphere was friendly and a plentiful kids’ menu was offered. With over 1900 restaurants nationwide and in 15 other countries, according to the company website, it seems there is an Applebee’s almost everywhere. Additionally, Applebee’s offers a Weight Watcher’s menu for restaurant patrons who are counting points, which led me to hope an allergy/gluten-free menu would also be provided. After we were seated, I perused the menu to read this statement, “To our guests with food sensitivities or allergies. Applebee’s cannot ensure that menu items do not contain ingredients that might cause an allergic reaction. Please consider this when ordering.” I spoke to a manager and asked if a gluten-free menu was available. I was informed, “Applebee’s policy is not to guarantee allergy-free food. Our company does not carry a gluten-free menu, but we can modify food. For example, we can prepare grilled chicken breast strips for kids, rather than giving them breaded chicken fingers. Again, we don’t guarantee the food will not come in contact with the allergen.” Restaurant #2: Red Robin The next stop on our restaurant expedition was Red Robin, which also offers an extensive children’s menu. According to the company website, there are over 430 Red Robin restaurants, in North America. After we were seated in our booth, I asked our server if a gluten-free menu was available. She immediately went to the kitchen and returned with a printed Wheat/Gluten Allergen menu. Printed on the top of the menu was the statement, “Red Robin relied on our suppliers’ statements of ingredients in deciding which products did not contain certain allergens. Suppliers may change the ingredients in their products or the way they prepare their products, so please check this list to make sure that the menu item you like still meets your dietary requirements. Red Robin cannot guarantee that any menu item will be prepared completely free of the allergen in question.” Gluten-free offerings were grouped in the following categories: salads; salad dressings; burgers; chicken burgers; entrees; and available side dishes. The Kids’ menu offered a beef patty burger, turkey patty, and chicken-on-a-stick. It stated: “Kids may also select from any items listed on the Wheat/Gluten menu as adult items to custom design a wheat/gluten free meal for your child. This menu is current and valid until 10/1/09.” I was informed by our server that when a customer orders from the gluten-free menu, an allergy alert is put on their ticket and the area of food preparation is cleaned to avoid cross-contamination. Additionally, the fries are prepared in oil specifically designated for fries, and those with a gluten allergy should avoid the fry seasoning. I ordered off of the Red Robin gluten-free menu and personally recommend the Crispy Chicken Tender Salad with grilled chicken rather than crispy, no garlic bread, and the honey mustard dressing. Restaurant #3: Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza It was a Friday evening and my children decided they really wanted to eat pizza for dinner. This led us to almost break our fast food rule by ordering carryout from a pizza restaurant. Ordering pizza is an extreme challenge for those suffering from gluten intolerance. Therefore, I had to do my research ahead of time. I called Papa John’s, Domino’s, Papa Murphy’s and Pizza Hut to confirm that gluten-free pizza is not offered, at any of these pizza chains. I did find a pizza franchise in my state, called Garlic Jim’s, which offers a gluten-free crust. According to the chain website, “Garlic Jim’s is proud to be the first pizza chain accredited for gluten free food service by the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.” Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza is currently located in seven states including; Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado, Tennessee, and Florida. I was informed at the restaurant that the gluten-free crust is covered with sauce in a separate area in order to avoid cross contamination although the toppings are put on in the same location where wheat-based crusts are prepared. Different pans and utensils are used in the preparation of this gluten-free thin crust which costs three dollars more than their traditional pizzas. The restaurant also posts a sign stating that although they do offer gluten-free pizza, they cannot guarantee the pizza will not come in contact with allergens. I recommend the gluten-free pepperoni pizza, and can attest that pizza has never tasted so good. Restaurant #4: The Old Spaghetti Factory The Old Spaghetti Factory was established in 1969, and as of today, boasts 39 locations nationwide. I was quite pleased to discover, when my children chose to eat at The Old Spaghetti Factory, that they offer gluten-free pasta. Before being seated, I inquired at the hostess desk if a gluten-free menu was available and I was presented with a laminated copy. Each entré includes complimentary salad, bread, and ice cream. Obviously, those with gluten intolerance need to give the bread a pass, but there are viable options available for the remainder of the meal. Gluten-free salad dressings include pesto and vinaigrette—hold the croutons on the salad. The main course is a rice pasta with the following sauce choices: marinara; meat; mushroom; mizithra cheese, and; brown butter. Diners also have the option of adding gluten-free sausage and sliced chicken breast to their meal. For dessert, a choice of spumoni or vanilla ice cream is offered. I ordered the Manager’s Favorite pasta, which includes a combination of two sauces. I chose gluten-free pasta topped with marinara sauce and mizithra cheese. My dinner also included a salad with vinaigrette dressing and spumoni for dessert. Restaurant #5: Outback Steakhouse Our final dining choice was the Outback Steakhouse which, according to the company’s website, is an Australian Steakhouse with over 950 locations worldwide. I was offered a gluten-free menu that is nearly as large as the main menu. Offerings included appetizers, steaks, chicken, seafood, salads, side dishes, and even a brownie dessert. The entire gluten-free menu is available on the Outback Steakhouse website, www.outback.com . Our server was very knowledgeable of gluten intolerance. I ordered off of the gluten-free menu. When ordering salads, it is recommended that you request that they be mixed separately to avoid cross contamination. Overall, it was a very pleasant dining experience for my entire family, with a plentiful menu for me and an ample kids’ menu. I would certainly recommend what I ordered— Victoria’s Filet with a baked potato and a salad without croutons. I passed on the bread which accompanies every meal. It was a pleasant dining experience at what is quite possibly the restaurant that has set the current gold standard for gluten-free dining. Overall, our experiment was a great success with four of the five restaurants we visited offering gluten-free menus. I advise diners to be cautious wherever they eat because even if a company offers gluten-free options you must also take into account the knowledge of the chef preparing your food and the server assisting you. It is encouraging that major restaurant chains are acknowledging the need to modify their menus for those suffering from gluten intolerance. Good luck and happy dining.
  15. Celiac.com 04/19/2013 - The University of Arizona (U of A) has announced plans to add an exclusive gluten-free space as part of their remodeling of the Student Unions' On Deck Deli. This makes U of A the latest university to offer more convenient and reliable gluten-free dining services to students with gluten-intolerance or celiac disease. Fueled in part by increased diagnosis and awareness of gluten-intolerance or celiac disease, and in part by the recent settlement of a lawsuit between L college and the Department of Justice, more and more colleges and universities are taking strong and rapid steps to provide reliable gluten-free food options for students who need them. U of A had already planned to remodel the deli in order to combat an outdated look and falling sales. As part of that process, the university decided to incorporate a strong gluten-free presence in the space, according to Todd Millay, marketing manager of Arizona Student Unions. “What drove it was the gluten-free and the grab and go. We’re responding to a couple of student patterns and we had the opportunity to integrate those at On Deck Deli," Millay said. Gluten-free and to-go food options were incorporated in the new design, as well as new signs, new food cases, better lighting and the elimination of order slips. Most of the renovation was in electrical work and cost a little more than $6,000, according to Millay. Millay said that the University wants gluten-free students to know that they now have a place designed with them in mind.
  16. Celiac.com 04/16/2012 - Can I eat our at restaurants if I’m on a gluten-free diet? Eating out gluten-free is not as easy as it seems. If you Google "gluten-free restaurants," your bound to find a selection of gluten-free menus and gluten-free yelp reviews. However, a global definition for gluten-free does not exist in the restaurant world. Many times, restaurants, bakeries and deli’s offer gluten-free options like salads (with menu side notes like: order salad without croutons or order meat without bread). If we define gluten-free as less than 20ppm, then the following factors must be followed to ensure safety from gluten contamination (please note this is only a partial list): Eating Salads Out Use of a Separate Strainer: Using a strainer that has been used for pastas or other gluten products, can result in cross contamination. Salad Dressing: Many salad dressing utilize gluten containing ingredients like malt vinegar, spices, natural flavorings, wheat, etc. Vegetable Chopping Board: A vegetable chopping board must either be completely sterilized or a gluten-free dedicated board must be used. Knife: Knife must be sterilized with heat before being used on gluten-free ingredients. Prep Area: Salad prep stations are often housed beneath shelves filled with bread. If bread is stored above the salad prep area, then the area cannot be safely maintained as gluten-free. On an additional note, croutons and other gluten products should not be allowed in the gluten-free prep area (1/6th of a bread crumb is all it takes to be contaminated with gluten). Salad Toppings: If a topping like chicken, nuts, tofu, peppers or onions are sautéd or prepared on a grill, then the grill and the ingredients must be maintained as gluten-free. Gluten-Free on the Grill A grill must be cleaned before a gluten-free product is cooked on it. A separate area for gluten free foods to be cooked is ideal, but not always possible in restaurant settings. Many meats are marinated in sauces containing gluten before they are cooked. Gluten Free Pizza & Bakery Products If an exhaust fan is used in the oven, a screen must be used. Pizza toppings for gluten free pizza should be housed in a separate area. Cannot be prepared in a facility that uses gluten containing flours, because flour dust in the air settles on food. Mixing utensils, wooden spoons, scrapes in bowls and cutting boards must be sterile or maintained for just gluten-free products.
  17. Celiac.com 05/24/2012 - The old, cafeteria-style dining campus hall is fast becoming a thing of the past. Today’s students are bringing their more sophisticated palates and health-related concerns to campuses and schools are stepping up to accommodate them. Driven by these new consumer demands, and more creative management, more and more campus dining halls are beginning to resemble restaurants, featuring selections that reflect world cuisine and emerging food trends. Students are "becoming more sophisticated customers," says Joe Wojtowicz, general manager of Sodexo, Inc.'s Crossroads dining room at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest. These days, it's common for students to press staff about food options, especially questions about celiac disease, gluten-intolerance, food allergies and vegetarian preferences. More and more are moving to accommodate dietary restrictions like vegetarian, Kosher or halal, or putting gluten-free or lactose-free choices on their menus. From higher quality ingredients, such as free-range eggs, humanely raised meats, and fresh, locally produced produce, dining halls are increasingly offering more exotic options like Cuban, Chinese, or Thai dishes. “It’s not just spaghetti for Italian and tacos for Mexican,” said Rachel Warner, marketing director for the National Association of College and University Food Services. Many colleges are hiring restaurant chefs, dieticians and nutritionists to oversee the dining hall operations and some are even customizing meals to meet individual student needs or preferences. “I think that the shift in dining is really driven by the consumers. They come in with higher expectations and are increasingly savvy about the world around them and the different kinds of food,” says Warner. More and more, this higher level of student awareness and expectation is driving camp offerings. At DePaul University, students were asked to vote on whether a particular brand of hummus was suitable at their school. At Northwestern University, students recently enjoyed a “cruise night” offering food of the tropics. At Loyola University Chicago, students drink hormone-free milk. Students at Northewestern University can choose from numerous kosher options. One university in Texas offers a vegan dining hall and a Colorado school has a station dedicated to Persian cuisine. According to Warner, “Students are coming in and they do want to have a little bit more say and more options.” These dining hall improvements are yielding benefits not just to students, but to their communities. In 2011, Wheaton College was ranked by the Princeton Review as having the best campus food in America. The dining services are run by Bon Appetit management company. Raul Delgado, general manager of Wheaton College’s dining services, says “When you look at this, the farthest thing from your mind is a cafeteria…This is a restaurant. And like any restaurant, it’s open to the general public. Esther Howerzyl, 68, who biked to Wheaton from St. Charles with a group of friends, says the food is "very organic health food and I like all the seeds, the variety of seeds.” Do you have experience with these evolving campus dining trends, especially as they relate to gluten-free options? If so, please comment below. Also read a related article: Schools Offering Better Food Options for Students with Celiac Disease, Other Food Concerns.
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