About galenaylor

Technical communicator. Math tutor. Former aerospace engineer and programmer/analyst.

Celiac Safe Eats in Seattle

When my daughter was accepted to the University of Washington, I knew I needed to find places nearby where we could eat safely.  Gluten Free Mom got us started on the right track with Razzi’s Pizzeria (see below), and I’m happy to have discovered several additional places.

Because neither my daughter nor I have very noticeable symptoms after eating gluten, I have to preface this post with a disclaimer: Always do your due diligence before eating out. Ask questions, trust your instincts, and don’t eat anywhere you aren’t comfortable. But then, you already know that. 🙂 Please let me know if you find any issues with any of the restaurants on this list. And now, on to the list!  Continue reading

Meatloaf, Flatbread and a Connection to Mom

2016-08-26 14.22.482011 was a pretty rough year. Less than one week after completing a grueling mathematical methods class for my master’s degree, I came down with acute GI symptoms that eventually lead to a diagnosis of celiac disease and microscopic colitis. While I was adjusting to my dual diagnoses (and the likelihood my 13-year-old daughter also had celiac), my mother’s health deteriorated, requiring many trips to the hospital, several hours drive away.

I was still figuring out what I could safely eat at home. And now, on top of the gluten-free diet for celiac and the low-fiber diet for colitis, I had to figure out what to take for a multi-day trip. Fortunately, not long after my diagnosis, I read an article that advocated taking real food (not just snacks) while traveling and found a simple recipe for flatbread that tasted like bread. 

I cannot emphasize enough how important this flatbread was.

Until then, I had yet to find anything even remotely bread-like. Although I now eat fewer baked goods, to say the flatbread saved me during this transition phase is barely an exaggeration.

So, on my first gluten-free trip away from home I brought frozen slices of home-made meatloaf, several pieces of baked flat bread, and a little ketchup. The frozen meatloaf slowly defrosted and was perfect when I was ready to eat. After weeks of plain chicken, rice, and canned green beans (which is almost all I ate while the doctor figured out what was wrong with me) it was like heaven!

I made several trips that spring and summer, some to rehab and some to the hospital. Meatloaf and flatbread continued to be a major staple. In September, I started a student teaching assignment and was no longer able to visit my mom. Student teaching turned out to be quite stressful, compounded by a decline in my mom’s health. I managed only one brief visit to the hospital before she passed away.

Continuing my teaching assignment was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Fast-forward to 2016 and I’m on a flight to Hawaii. My lunch? A meatloaf sandwich. To save time, I made it using good gluten free bread—it’s still satisfying and portable—and the taste takes me right back to my first trip to the rehab center to see my mom, to the beginning of my search for celiac-safe eats.

And the connection? My great-grandmother’s meatloaf. It’s a simple recipe I learned from my mom, who learned from her mom. I know my daughter will take this recipe with her as well. Good food. Comfort food. And each bite is a connection to Mom.

Now, I need to try that flatbread recipe again.

Chocolate and Celiac-Safe Fast Food

dark-brown-milk-candy

What do you want to know when you’re traveling to a new country? Here’s what one traveler recently asked on Facebook:

…does any one have a list of gluten free chocolates and candy? And are any fast food chains safe? :)

I love the priorities! (And wish I could still eat chocolate, but that’s another story…) Smart questions. Chocolate (or other candy) can be very comforting (and keep you from starving!) when you’re in an unfamiliar setting. Let’s face it, there are very few celiac-safe places to eat, so when we find a restaurant chain that’s safe, it’s golden! (Heck, I’m even ecstatic when I find a safe restaurant that has more than one location!)

So, which chains are celiac safe? Continue reading

Celiac Awareness Month: #60ForCeliac

Invisible Illness Campaign_Beyond Celiac logoI’m excited to be part of Beyond Celiac’s Blogger Force for Celiac Awareness Month in 2016!

This year Beyond Celiac (formerly the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness) is highlighting the invisible aspects of celiac disease with the goal of showing the world that celiac disease disrupts more of our lives than just what we eat.

See how many times you can relate to the questions in this 60-second video, and consider sharing it to raise awareness of celiac disease. (Use the hashtag #60ForCeliac.)

Follow @CeliacSafeEats (and the other Beyond Celiac bloggers) on Twitter for more information about celiac , Celiac Awareness Month, and gluten-free dining.

Celiac Safe Eats - small logo

CDF Expo and Conference: Where to eat?

This will be my first time attending the Celiac Disease Foundation National Conference and Expo. The conference is in Pasadena, CA, home of the Rose Bowl (Go, Bruins! But I digress…)

Breakfast and lunch on Saturday (gluten free, of course) is taken care of as part of the conference, which leaves several other meals to round out the weekend. Although I’m bringing food with me, I would really like to find safe, good restaurants for dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday.

I did my usual research using Yelp reviews and came up with a few (insert your favorite sad emoji here) possible choices within a 20 minute walk from the conference.
Continue reading

Restaurant Review: Open Oven Pizza Co, Roche, Cornwall

I love this review. It makes me wish I were closer than a 15 hour plane ride so I could try the pizza! If you’re visiting England, check out Open Oven Pizza, Co. and chroniclesofagrumpycoeliac.wordpress.com.

chronicles of a grumpy coeliac

Oh. My Goodness. Where to begin. Last week I was in Cornwall and had the most amazing cream tea ever, I thought right that’s my blog for the week sorted (who am I kidding, I definitely don’t post that often, I’m not organised enough for that) but then. But then, my friends, I went for pizza. Pizza in the oddest place one would go for pizza… pizza in a services…

Oh god. When our friends suggested it (they assured me they did gluten free) I felt my heart drop… surely no pizza place in a services, in Cornwall, is going to have a clue about cross contamination procedures. No matter, no matter, deal with it, you can only ask and then eat later if necessary. Deal with it JessOkay…

Now, to clarify, these services are newly built just off the A30 near Roche in Cornwall. They’re pretty…

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Pill to Treat Celiac? Ha ha.

In my inbox this morning is a Google Alert: “A Pill to Treat Celiac Disease Could be Coming Soon.” Be still my heart! Ha ha.

Of course, we’ve seen these types of claims before. It sounds like a real alternative to a life-long gluten free diet, but is at best a way to avoid damage from occasional cross-contamination. If it works. If it passes all the FDA requirements. If it doesn’t have nasty side-effects. Gluten Dude puts it directly and succinctly: No…There is NOT a drug that will allow celiacs to eat gluten.

But, as someone who essentially has no symptoms from being glutened, being a little less nervous every time I eat out would be great. Some people know first-hand to avoid a restaurant that talks-the-talk, but doesn’t walk-the-walk. Not me.  Continue reading

Nima sensor at Pica Pica in SF

Last night I attended the Nima sensor demonstration at Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen in San Francisco. There was excitement, a big crowd, and best of all – great 100% gluten free food!

Photo of Gale (Celiac Safe Eats) with Nima sensor co-founder Shireen Yates and restaurant owner Adriana Lopez.

At the Nima sensor demo (L-R): Gale Naylor (Celiac Safe Eats) with the co-founder of 6Sensor Labs Shireen Yates and Adriana Lopez, owner of Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen in San Francisco.

At the demo, I met 6Sensor Labs co-founder Shireen Yates, whose frustration with food allergies and eating out lead to the development of the Nima sensor. Adriana Lopez, the owner of Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen, was also there and told me how her native Venezuelan cuisine is naturally gluten free. Even so, she has learned what is necessary to make her food celiac safe, and uses the Nima sensor to perform random checks, all of which have been negative for gluten.  (Check out Adriana’s blog and you will be salivating over the pulled pork pernil platterpassion fruit sangria, and the arepas!) See Shireen and Pica Pica in this PBS NewsHour video, which also shows how the Nima sensor works. Continue reading