Tips & Tricks

Living Social Gluten Freely

We know how you feel, birdie. We know how you feel.

It’s a pretty well established fact that the ultimate objective of college is to get a degree in something. However, that certainly does not mean that college is all about classes. I’d say that for most students, it’s about 50% class/education, and 50% social stuff. But hey, what else would you expect from several thousand 20-somethings all in one place together? For the sake of our collective college student mental health, we all need to get out and do some fun stuff every once in a while!

Seeing as eating is probably one of the top social activities that we humans partake in, us gluten free eaters need to be prepared for just about every occasion where food will be present, and we may or may not be able to eat it. Whether it be a tailgate BBQ or a nice dinner out with your girlfriends, here are some scenarios that I have come up with, and how you might approach them…

{You and Your Friends Want to Go Out for a Meal}
Have a repertoire of restaurants that you can safely eat at in the area of your campus. This way, you’ll be able to make suggestions as to where you can eat out- most of the time, your friends will actually appreciate this because no one really likes the burden of having to make executive decisions. For example, when my friends want to go out for dinner, I will immediately suggest Chipotle, Garbanzos, or Tokyo Joes, because I know that I can eat safely at all of these places. They are also fast and relatively inexpensive, which is a plus for college students.

{You Go to a Restaurant with Friends, and There Are No Gluten Free Options}
Avoid this anxiety and discomfort altogether by always having a snack with you. It will give you peace of mind to know that you won’t starve to death, and it makes you (and your eating friends) feel less awkward if you have at least a little something to nosh on. A Larabar might not fill that void in your heart that is just craving some chicken wings, but it will most certainly be better than eating nothing at all.

{You Are Invited to A BBQ, Dinner Party, Team Picnic, etc.}
Do not, do not, do not, turn down an invitation just because you are nervous about the food options. I remember when I was a new celiac and I turned into a hermit of sorts because I was overly nervous about not having any food options and/or getting sick from food prepared by others. When in doubt, simply eat a large meal beforehand so that you are not hungry and just get a soda or something else to drink. Eating is great, but it doesn’t determine whether or not you will have a good time. Another thing you can do is bring some gluten free food with you to contribute. Everyone loves free food, and it will be a great conversation starter when you say that it is gluten free.

{Someone Has Invited You to a Birthday Party Dinner}
First step is to bug the person about where this dinner will take place. Get the name and location of the restaurant, and Google like a mad man! Do some undercover work– check out the online menu, see if anyone has eaten gluten free there before, and try to get a vibe of how nice/expensive the restaurant is (oftentimes, the fancier the restaurant, the more they know about gluten free). Also, be sure to Google the name of the restaurant along with the term gluten free. For example: “Hacienda, gluten free”. This will pull up any reviews or postings about the restaurant and their gluten free friendliness level. If there is zilch online, either call or email the chef at the restaurant so that you can at least warn them of your special dietary needs so that they aren’t overwhelmed when you get there for the birthday party.

{You Are Eating Somewhere with an Interactive Food Element}
Take for example, Benihanas or the Melting Pot. These places both feature dining that is mixed with entertainment, and they also present an eating environment that is waiting for cross contamination. At a place like the Melting Pot, be sure to notify the waiter of you gluten free-ness. If you don’t you will be sharing a pot of cheese with people who are dipping bread into the same cheese that you are dipping your gluten free foods into. NOT GOOD. If you are going to a place like Beni Hanas (with an open grill and mass cooking), be sure to tell them that you want your food cooked before everyone else’s so that you don’t have any soy sauce or other sauces on your food. Just be careful of places where your food is cooked with everyone else’s food. It can get sketchy.

{Tailgate Time}
I don’t really know how it goes at other schools, but at my school, we have a grilling society that basically makes a bunch of grilled foods in bulk at hockey game tailgates/BBQs. They are fantastic, and their food is always amazing, but unfortunately it’s hard to tell if I can always eat it or not. Sometimes it is slathered in mysterious BBQ sauce, slapped on a bun, or cooked in too-close-to-call proximity with glutenous foods. When in doubt, just don’t do it. I know that those ribs look amazing, and you could really go for a hot dog, but just don’t do it. Bring your own food with you, or just get a soda. If there are roasted veggies available as an option, go for it! Otherwise, be weary of BBQ food.

Bottom line: dont be a hermit just because you can’t eat gluten. That would mean you are letting the gluten win. Gluten sucks. Let’s show gluten that we can do just fine without it.

Tips & Tricks

Halloween, the Gluten Free Way

This is scary…. being gluten free during Halloween is not!
I’ll start by apologizing for that first image there… it was in between a picture of the clown with blood pouring out of it’s mouth or this one, so consider yourselves spared some extra grief.
Let’s face it… Halloween is probably one of those nights for many college students where they find themselves saying, “What happened last night?” the next morning. Maybe more so than any other night of the year (Cinco De Mayo is a major contender). It’s a night filled with girls dressed a sexy cats, guys dressed as girls, a lotta booze (optional of course), a lotta candy (also optional, except not really), and for the most part, a grand ol’ time. Whether you choose to roam campus as Snookie, a zombie cheerleader, or, as I’m doing, Garth Algar from Wayne’s World, you have a great potential of winding up with a pretty solid amount of candy the next day. Before you start shoveling candy in your face, you might want to do what us Celiacs are all to used to doing: do your research. Eating too much candy is going to make us all sick as it is- we don’t want to get gluten poisoning on top of that! Here’s a list that I’ve complied of popular candies that are generally safe for a gluten free Halloween-er:

Please keep in mind that most of these candies are produced in the same facility as gluten and wheat items, so I cannot 100% guarantee the gluten free status of any of these. I’m basing this off of what I would eat, and I consider myself to be about as sensitive to gluten as can be. Please be sure to always double check ingredients before digging in! 

  • Smarties
  • Baby Ruth
  • Bliss, White Chocolate Bliss
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Kisses (special dark, almond)
  • Milk Chocolate Bars
  • Milk Chocolate Bars with Almonds
  • Reese’s
  • Rolo
  • York Peppermint Patties
  • Swedish Fish
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • 3 Musketeers
  • Dove Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Caramel Milk Chocolate
  • M&Ms
  • Milky Way Midnight
  • Milky Way Caramel
  • Snicker
  • Snicker Almond
  • Baby Ruth
  • Butterfinger (NOT Crisp of Snackerz)
  • Raisinets
  • Caramel Apple Pops
  • Charleston Chews
  • Charms Plow Pops
  • Dubble Bubble Gum
  • Junior Mints
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Sugar Babies


Baking for Good: The Modern Day Bakesale

Hello, my lovelies! Long time, no talk! I could start this post off by giving you some lame excuses as to why I haven’t been writing much lately (school, work, Vampire Diaries cough cough), OR we could just get to the fun part… I’m gonna go for the later.

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think “bake sale”?
In fantasy-land this is the image that should come to mind:

Charming… but where the eff is the food? (Im just bitter that I could never achieve this)
But all the bake sales I’ve ever been to (or have had) looked more like this
You can bet your bonnet that this food will taste better.

These examples are both great and good…. if you are A) Not avoiding gluten like the plague or B) A 10 year old girl. What about the rest of us, huh? Huh?? Where’s our bake sale? Well, I’ll tell you where.

It’s online.
 Baking for Good is the modern day bake sale. You can order all sorts of (customizable) goodies, making for a great gift for a loved one, or just all for yourself. But best of all, 15% of your purchase goes to a charity of your choice, hence the name “Baking for Good”! Love it!

This company was launched in September of 2009 by ex-management consultant Emily Dubner. Her fond memories of bake sales, lemonade sales, car washes, and school fundraising inspired her to create this ingenious business that not only allows people to order delicious (and darling) boxes of baked goodies but it also gives you that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing that you have given to a good cause. Baking for Good is currently partnered with over 200 non-profits and community causes, letting customers choose to donate to any cause whether it be animal shelters and the arts to human rights and hospitals. And of course, this would not be on my blog unless they offered gluten free goodies for us Celiacs! They have a selection of dairy free, gluten free, and vegan cookies for us oddballs!
Vegan Granola
Vegan Chocolate Chip
Gluten Free Peanut Butter
Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies
Gluten Free Citrus Cookies
       Baking for Good uses only the finest all natural, organic, locally grown and seasonal ingredients, so you can bet you bottom dollar that these cookies will be just dandy!
Check them out and get your hands of some of these tasty treats at and be sure to follow them on Twitter @Bakingforgood! Tell them The Campus Celiac sent you! =]