Life's a Beach...Well, At Least This Week

Life's a Beach...Well, At Least This Week

I woke up early this morning and decided to take advantage of a quiet, sleeping house on our first full day of vacation in Michigan. As I was running next to the gentle waves lapping up on the empty beach, I looked out to the west. Endless water. No Chicago in sight. Though we are only 2 hours and change from Chicago, it feels like a thousand miles away. When we arrived yesterday evening, just in time to let the kids jump in the waves (clothes still on, of course) and catch the last peek of the sun dropping below vibrant pink clouds, I could feel calm over me. Everybody needs a little time to get away from life's demands...to calm....to sand, sun, and water.

So, this week's Gladly Gluten Free Posts will be coming to you from the sandy beaches on the other side of Lake Michigan. If I spot any good gluten free spots while out and about these next few days, I'll be sure to share them with you. To get started, here are this week's News N' Nibbles.

 To Supplement or Not to Supplement? That is the question.

It's common among newly diagnosed celiacs to have various nutritional deficiencies. Once on the gluten free diet, it can still be difficult to get proper nutrients since the diet is quite restrictive. So, what supplements are needed and when? Iron, Vitamin D, calcium/magnesium, and B complex were prescribed to me when first going gluten free, and according to Melinda Dennis (Nutrition Coordinator & Research Investigator of the Beth Israel Deaconess Celiac Center), these tend to be the most common nutrients celiacs need. Green leafy vegetables, lean meats, and gluten free grains can be good sources of iron. For those that are lactose intolerant or have a casein allergy, good sources of calcium and vitamin D can include fortified milk alternatives (almond, soy, hemp), greens, blackeyed peas, beans, and almonds.
Gluten Free Grocery and Restaurant Guides

I received a complimentary copy of Triumph Dining's The Essential Gluten Free Restaurant Guide and The Essential Gluten Free Grocery Guide to review. I figured this Michigan vacation would be the perfect place to bring these guides and put them to the test. The Grocery Guide is very thorough, listing gluten free brands by categories: Dairy & Eggs, Beverages, Baking Aisle, Canned & Pre-Packaged Foods, Cereal, Breads, Condiments, etc. I love that they've done the legwork and contacted the manufacturer for me. I do see several store brands (e.g. Meijer, Great Value, Flavorite), so it would be nice at the beginning of the book to have a list of the major grocery store chains that are included in the book. That way, I know ahead of time when coming into a new town which grocery stores would be most gluten free "friendly". As a side note, the Hardings markets over here in Michigan offer quite a few gluten free offerings.

I quickly referenced the Restaurant Guide on our way into Michigan, scouting out any potential dining options in Saugatuck and South Haven, which we will be visiting later in the week. Unfortunately, there are not too many options. It is difficult with any restaurant guide, let alone one catering to gluten allergies, because menu options change so frequently. I like that the guide is organized by state, making it easier to locate the particular area you are interested in. I'd recommend they go one step further and organize restaurant listings by city within each state vs. alphabetical by restaurant name. More often than not, I am unfamiliar with the city that I am traveling to and rarely know specific restaurant names. I'd rather see a listing of all gluten free restaurant options for that city. I love that it lists out chain restaurants, complete with gluten free menu options, pricing, date options were confirmed gluten free, and any notes from Triumph.

Nibble: Silver Beach Pizza (St. Joseph)

St. Joseph is the first popular tourist spot along the southwestern Michigan corridor. It has a great, kid-friendly beach complete with a carousel. Chicago commuters can take the Metra right into St. Joseph as well. Right next to the train station is Silver Beach Pizza restaurant - a great option for family dining. Their gluten free menu includes gluten free pizza, hummus & veggies, spinach artichoke dip, gluten free garlic bread, and bruschetta for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

 

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