Monday, January 30, 2012

Game time for the Gluten-free

So even though my team didn't make it into the Super bowl this year (Geaux, Saints!) it doesn't mean that I will not be watching the big game with friends. Get-togethers can be hard when you are the only person on a restricted diet and in cases where you were invited to someone else's home, it can be difficult to guarantee the safety of the food. So, I wanted to list out a few tips that can help make the day go smoothly, at least snack-wise. ;)

1) Chips - when have you been to a Super Bowl party when there have not been any chips? Its the quintessential party snack. Try coordinating with the hostess And offer to bring the chips for the whole gang. If she already purchased them, ask her what kind they are beforehand so you can decide if you can bring your own or not. Most tortilla chips should be safe. I always like Mission tortilla chips because they are low in sodium, are NOT made with soybean oil, and have a short, simple ingredient list. They also have the best taste in my opinion!

2) Dip - most salsas are gluten-free however, be careful of any non-gluten free chips or other items being dipped in. A safer option may be to try bringing some hummus. It's lower in calories and comes in lots of fun favors. Perfect for sharing and great for dipping veggies into. A much healthier option! If you have a soy allergy though, you might want to double check the hummus label. Sabra hummus is made with soybean oil. . Athenos and Tribe are good brands though.

3) Drinks - top two drinks at Super Bowl parties? Soda and Beer. Most parties are BYOB but in cases where the hosts are providing, call ahead to see what's on tap. If there is not GF beer, ask if it's ok to bring your own. Most people are fine with that and will probably offer to chill it for you. As for soda's, there is a nasty rumor that they are not gluten-free due to the caramel coloring. In America, this is not true because almost all soda manufacturers use corn as their base for caramel color. If you are still in doubt, stick to the clear soda's or for a healthier choice, drink water!

4) Grilled items - for those of you blessed with great weather in order to grill out at this time of year (or for people who brave the cold). Most meats are gluten-free however, double check to make sure the host or hostess did not add anything to the ground beef just to be sure. Hot dogs should be fine as well but, it's always healthier to go with the 100% beef ones. There are a lot of additives in the cheapest. Grilled steaks should be completely fine but double check any seasoning or ask for yours to be plain. You can also ask the griller to make sure to cook your meat and an area where they have toasted the buns.

When in doubt, just ask. Advocate for yourself! You don't have to be rude but, you would rather be safe than sorry. It may even open the host or hostess up to ask about your Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. That way, you can help raise awareness and spread the word. I always encourage people to educate others about their food needs. If I had never opened up, my best friend would not have been diagnosed with Celiac and my good friend at work would've never been checked for wheat allergies. You never know when you can make a difference!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Can skin contact with gluten containing flour be harmful? Ask the Dr.!

For the answer to this question please view the posted video!

Originally posted by the wonderful people at

Friday, January 27, 2012

Clothing Ideas for Go Red Day

National Go Red Day is in exactly a week! Have you chosen what you are going to wear yet? Most people have one thing red in their closet but just in case you are going shopping this weekend there are a few stores with some red inventory you may want to visit.

For the boho chic gal, Circular Ak has some great options! Kim, the owner, has great taste when it comes to clothing. This beautiful dress is one of her favorites. I originally thought it was a skirt but it turns out it is one full piece. It's a gorgeous way to celebrate Go Red Day and show off your personal style.

For the more casual jeans and a t-shirt kinda gal, Blush has some new Quicksilver shirts in with one in the perfect color! Since Friday is typically more casual at most work places, this is ideal option for finishing off the week.

Lulu E. Bebe is know for their classy selections. This lacy red strapless dress is perfect for a night out with some high heeled pumps. This jersey knit one should sleeve dress is great for an outfit that has the ability to transform from night to day. Wearing with a button up jacket at work with flats then she'd the coats and switch to high heels for cocktails after work! The best thing about these options is they will double for a Valentine's day date too!

Now, every girl loves that quintessential red shoe! When it comes to shoes, the options are endless! We. I saw these Alexander McQueens I fell in love! Too bad they're sold out and even if they were available $2,000 is a steep price - yikes! However, these Gianni Bini are very similar and will not break the bank! They're $69.99 at Dillard's.
Perhaps you want a little bit more of a comfortable shoe for Go Red Day? Tom's shoes gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes you buy from them. Their logo is "One for one". The have plenty of different styles but the red classics are available at the Nordstrom's in 5th Ave mall.
 Would you rather just accessorize in red? Maybe you have a neutral color dress (black, grey, dark blue) and want to wear it and add red in a different way. A great way to help the Heart Association and stay warm in these last months of winter is with this great silk/wool blend pashmina! To find it visit 

What about nail polish? OPI's "I'm not Really a Waitress" has been popular for years and is one of their top sellers.

Don't forget about accessories! Nordstrom in the 5th Ave mall has the beautiful bracelets on sale! I have a solid gold set and really love them. They also have these Ariella collection red stone rings that would work well with them. Alone or together they can be used on Go Red Day and afterwards!

Happy shopping and don't forget to post your pictures of your outfit from next week!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Follow Me on Twitter!

For daily updates and pictures, sign up to follow me on twitter @BrandyWendler

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One small step for Celiacs in Alaska

A Spoonful of Wellness and the Anchorage Gluten-free Support group are pleased to report that Senator Cathy Giessel (R-AK) has introduced SRC 16 to the House of Representatives, designating May as National Celiac Awareness Month.
 I am encouraging all Alaskan Celiacs (and their loved ones) to spread the word about this groundbreaking bill and contact their Members of Congress to cosponsor the measure. New York and California are the only other states with such a resolution in place. This resolution will also serve to align the United States with South America, Europe and Australia for the international observance of May as Celiac Disease Awareness month.
I believe that there is a strong chance to get the measure passed very soon so please, act now!

Contact your senator or representative and ask them to cosponsor and support SCR 16.

Click here to find your representative:

Click here for contact information:

The picture is sample letter you can use! Here is the wording for you to copy and paste:

<Date>, 2012

Alaska State Legislature
120 4th Street, State Capitol
Juneau, AK 99801-1182

Dear Committee Members of the House and Senate,

<As a diagnosed celiac (or loved one of a diagnosed celiac)>, I am writing to ask you to join with Senator Cathy Giessel (R-AK) by co-sponsoring SCR 16, which endorses May as Celiac Disease Awareness Month.

Celiac Disease affects 1 in 133 individuals in the United States or roughly 1% of our population. This equals over 3 million Americans, including more than 5,000 Alaskans. These facts were confirmed in 2004 by the National Institutes of Health, yet 97% are undiagnosed with this autoimmune disease because of the lack of awareness and research. 

Your support and passage of this resolution will encourage screening and early detection thereby eliminating costly medical expenses from delayed diagnosis and unnecessary years of suffering with a compromised quality of life.  The average length of time from symptoms onset to diagnosis is 6-10 years. <I was diagnosed after __ years.> This resolution will also serve to align the United States with South America, Europe and Australia for the international observance of May as Celiac Disease Awareness month.

I thank you in advance for your support.


<Your name>

Please post any questions you may have! I look forward to posting more the day this has passed!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Famous and Gluten-free? Celebrities with Celiac Disease and other food allergies

This is a story from the Huffington Post Healthy Living Section posted 1/23/2012. For the link o the full article click the picture at the end of the blog.

What do Zooey Deschanel, Keith Olbermann and Billy Bob Thornton have in common?
Aside from fame, the trio reportedly suffer from food sensitivities and allergies that limit what they can eat. And they aren't alone. It's no secret that serious food allergies are on the rise. Between 6 and 8 percent of children suffer from potentially fatal reactions to food -- as do about 4 percent of adults, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. And while between 100 and 200 people die each year in the United States from allergic reactions to food, extreme reactions don't tell the whole story of food sensitivity in America. Conditions like Celiac disease, which is a profound gastrointestinal intolerance for gluten, has quadrupled in the past 60 years, according to recent research.
That means alternatives to gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts and other common irritants and allergens are more important than ever. And the public face of food allergies is as well: a 2010 study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the journal from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, found that 35 percent of school-aged children with food allergies are bullied specifically about their limitations.
On the other hand, constant discussion of food allergies in the media can influence the way we perceive reactions to food: while only about 4 percent of adults actually have food allergies, about 15 percent believe they have them.
Make sure to see a specialist to determine if a reaction is truly due to a food allergy or sensitivity before eliminating a food group from your diet. But, in the meantime, 16 celebrities to keep company with the food intolerant among you:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Channel 4 KTBY - FOX report on Anchorage GF support Group

For those of you who missed the report that sister channels ABC 13 (KIMO) and FOX 4 (KTBY) did on my gluten-free support group, here it is! That night was my largest single group yet and Vicki, owner of Natural Pantry was kind enough to cook up some burritos from Glutenfreeda for us! We had no idea the news team would show up - but we are grateful they did. I never contacted them and neither did Vicki. I asked the camera guy how he heard of us and he said he was just in the neighborhood.
Funny how they did this story on the eve of my senate resolution being read on the floor in Juneau. The Chief of Staff saw the report and mentioned it to Senator Giessel when she proposed the bill! God is definitely looking out for me on this one! ;)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Go Red for Women is celebrating National Go Red Day on February 3rd! As a former Cardiovascular nurse and someone who has heart disease on both sides of the family, this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart!

A Few Reasons To Make it Your Mission
·         Heart disease is still the number one killer of women age 20 and over, killing approximately one woman every minute.
·         More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
·         In fact, while 1 in 30 American women die of breast cancer, about 1 in 3 die of cardiovascular disease.
·         Still, only 1 in 5 women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
·         Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
·         Eighty percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.

·         Research shows that women who Go Red are more likely to make healthy choices.
·         More than one-third have lost weight.
·         Nearly fifty percent have increased their exercise.
·         Six out of ten have changed their diets.
·         More than forty percent have checked their cholesterol levels.
·         One-third have talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.

On Wear Red Day, February 3, 2012, millions of Americans will join together in the
fight against heart disease in women by wearing red. Please show your support by wearing red with us!

Not sure what to wear? Stayed tuned to the blog and I'll be posting outfit ideas! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

January Product of the month

You know that saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him what you are going to do today?" Well, I think I make God laugh at least a few days out of the week. I would like to believe I can plan every moment and organize my schedule but, we all know things happen and we get interrupted or sidetracked from our plans. I pride myself on being able to roll with any disruption but with my dietary restrictions, it can get really difficult to "roll with it" without getting cranky from hunger! So, when my friend Paige, who has multiple allergies as well, bought me a Bumble Bar, I knew those cranky hunger moments were soon to be a thing of the past. Bumble Bar takes a lot of pride in making delicious, certified-organic, gluten-free snacks.These bars are also Vegan and their products are purchased directly from farmer owned co-ops communities. They also use eco-friendly paper products and biodegradable cleaning products. Their shipping boxes are recycled, they use Eco-Flow cornstarch packing peanuts, and their invoices are printed on recycled paper. Enjoying a Bumble Bar means that you are not only eating healthy to support your body but you are supporting a company with good ethics too!
Bumble Bar was kind enough to send samples for my Gluten-free support group this month and they were a hit with all the members. They are perfect for a snack-on-the-go, hiking trails, or in between rests for cross-country skiing (as my husband demonstrated to me).
They have amazing flavors starting from their original peanut, amazing almond, and classic cashew to my all-time favorite, chocolate cherry!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

January Support Group Meeting

Please join me Thursday night (January 19th) from 6-8pm at the Natural Pantry cafe on Old Seward Hwy for the Celiac Disease Foundation's Anchorage Gluten-free Support Group! The kind people at Bumble Bar have sent us free samples! See you there!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gluten-free Awards is a website that sponsors the Annual Gluten-free awards.  Josh and Jayme Schieffer, owners of the website and radio show, are the parents of a child with Celiac Disease. Like most parents, as soon as they found out their child required a gluten-free diet, they cleaned out their home of any foods and products with gluten. They then realized how expensive going gluten-free can be and how, despite the expense of an item, the taste is not guaranteed to be good. Unable to find any reliable sources and opinions on gluten-free products, they created Josh has since been diagnosed with Celiac Disease as well. 
The GFreek awards are based on the need to make quick and easy decisions on foods based on availability, price, quality, and affects. Each year, people that consume or use gluten-free products and services are able to vote on their favorites. The results are then posted onto the website for everybody to use. 
Over 1200 people voted this year on several categories. My website,, sponsored the Best Gluten-free Bread Award and Best Gluten-free Cookies Award. 

Check out all the nominations and winners of each category by clicking this link: 2nd Annual Gluten-free Awards
The Gluten-free Awards (GFA) are sponsored by Delight Gluten-free Magazine

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January Recipe of the Month

I was looking back over all the recipes that I have shared this past year and I was shocked that I had never shared my favorite winter recipe with you!  It is a favorite of my husband and I because it is not only delicious and hearty but high in protein and fiber. It's also really easy to cook and takes only about 40 minutes. I sometimes make a double batch and freeze half for later. Its allergen friendly too!



  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle chile en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 1 tablespoon sauce
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 4-6 ounces of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chile and sauce; cook 1 minute more. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes--crushing them through your fingers into the skillet--along with their juices and the beans; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes.

Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the garnishes of your choice (sour cream, avocado, cilantro, low-fat cheese)

Serves 6 and is about 165 calories per serving!

Check your neck

Did you know that January is national Thyroid Disease Awareness month? I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an autoimmune thyroid disease, at the same time as my Celiac Disease. In fact, my thyroid disorder is what prompted my physician to check for Celiac Disease in the first place! Many people might not know the close connection between your gut and your thyroid but the gut plays an important role in throughout your body. All the nutrients that your body needs are absorbed in the your small intestines (gut). If they are not functioning properly, say because you are allergic to what you are eating and they are inflamed, then you will not be able to get the nutrients that you need to function. Your muscles won't get the nutrients they need to be strong or even to work properly, your brain won't have energy, and your skin and other organs cannot function at their best. The inflammatory markers can carry over to all your organs as well, like your thyroid. Your thyroid is responsible for regulating your metabolism which plays a vital role in how your body absorbs your food as well. It creates a vicious cycle.
Different thyroid disorders have different symptoms. Many women experience issues during or after pregnancy. Here are the two most common issues with the thyroid:
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include any of the following: feeling run down, slow, depressed, sluggish, cold, tired, having dry skin and hair, constipation, muscle cramps, or weight gain. Women may have a heavier menstrual flow. Some patients have a swelling in the front of the neck due to thyroid enlargement (a goiter).
Hyperthyroidism refers to any condition in which the body has too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include weight loss, nervousness, irritability, increased perspiration, a racing heart, hand tremors, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, increased bowel movements, fine brittle hair, and muscular weakness—especially in the upper arms and thighs. In Graves' disease, a bulging of one or both eyes may occur.
Know your body. It could save your life. For more in-depth information visit American Thyroid Association