Friday, February 27, 2015

V Pizza brings another gluten-free pizza option to the Beach

Another place I've been waiting and waiting to try was V Pizza, ever since I saw Jennifer write about it on her Gluten Free Jacksonville blog. Unfortunately, its San Marco location was inconvenient for me.

But fortunately, V Pizza finally opened its Beaches location a couple of weeks ago in downtown Jacksonville Beach, across the street from the Pier. So I got to try it this week.

I ordered a standard sausage pizza. The thing I liked about it was that it was kind of different than the standard gluten-free pizzas I've been getting. The crust was the same, but the sauce was different than your standard pizzas. Also, the sausage was basically chunks of sausage, which was not what I expected.

I know that's not a good description but I'm having a hard time describing it. But it was good, and it's worth a try if you're looking for new gluten-free pizza options.

The one drawback to V Pizza is that it's pricey. On the regular menu, pizzas start with a base price of $14 and they add a $3 surcharge for gluten-free pizza. Fortunately, they have a lunch special where you can get a one-topping pizza plus a drink for $9.95. Of course, they did add $3 for the gluten-free pizza but the total, with tax, came to a reasonable $13.86.

Sorry, gluten-free pizza isn't cheap, but at least there a lot of options out there now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cap's a great choice for a gluten-free dinner

It was long overdue, but I finally made to Cap's on the Water, which is on the Intracoastal Waterway near Vilano Beach.

I've been meaning to go for a long time because I understood it was gluten-free friendly, but I know it draws a big crowd on the weekends and that has deterred me in the past. It's the old Yogi Berra joke: nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded.

Anyway, I went on Monday night when it had a good crowd (it was a nice weather day) but was not overly crowded.

Sure enough, I saw right away that it was gluten-free friendly because it has a gluten-free menu paged tucked in the back of its regular menu booklet. I didn't even have to ask for a gluten-free menu.

Of course, there are seafood options on the gluten-free menu but also a couple of other interesting items. It has gluten-free pasta dishes made with rice noodles and appetizers that are available with gluten-free crackers. I don't remember seeing gluten-free crackers available anywhere else.

I went for blackened grouper, and it was excellent. There are also several gluten-free sides to choose from with your entree.

I didn't want to drink beer because it was a long drive, but I should also note that it has Estrella Damm Daura on its beer menu.

All in all, Cap's was a good experience.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Eggo waffles now available gluten free

I'm not a fan of frozen waffles but if you are, you'll probably be interested to know that Kellogg's announced it is now offering gluten-free Eggo waffles.

The gluten-free Eggos will be available in original and cinnamon flavors and the company said they are available in the frozen food section of the supermarket with a suggested retail price of $3.29.

Like I said, I probably won't be trying these, but it's interesting to see breakfast staples like Cheerios and Eggos going gluten-free to try and tap into that market. I hope they're not just targeting fad dieters.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cheerios going gluten free

General Mills, which made several varieties of Chex cereals gluten free several years ago, is now doing the same for Cheerios.

The company said on its website Wednesday that five varieties of Cheerios will be going gluten free: Original Cheerios, Honey Nut, Multi-Grain, Apple Cinnamon and Frosted.

"We’ve developed a way – years in the making – to sort out the small amount of wheat, rye and barley in our supply of whole oats that are inadvertently introduced at the farms where the oats were grown, or during transportation of the whole oats to the mill," the company said.

"This ensures that the oats used for Cheerios allow us to meet the FDA’s strict guideline for gluten free."

The Multi-Grain Cheerios will be reformulated to replace wheat and barley with sorghum and millet. The other four will basically remain the same.

The gluten-free Cheerios products will be available beginning in July.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Actual dieting on a gluten-free "diet"

My Times-Union column this month is on actual dieting while on a gluten-free "diet." Most people gain weight on a gluten-free diet and I figure it's time for me to try to lose the 10 pounds I've gained in the last four years.

As part of the column, I asked Ginny Nehring of Native Sun if she could suggest some products in the store that may help us lose weight, or are at least less fattening than some of the gluten-free foods we eat.

Ginny provided a comprehensive list that was way too long for my newspaper column, so I instead decided to post the list here. I have to admit I have tried very few of these, but hopefully you can find things you like:

Julian Bakery:  Paleo Wrap, Paleo Breads (two varieties of bread)

Miracle Noodles

Nature's Hollow Sugar Free Preserves

Hilary's Dressings (very low fat, very clean ingredients)

Bragg's Organic Braggberry No Fat Dressing and Marinade

Phoney Baloney Coconut Bacon (actually tastes like bacon but made with coconut--no saturated fat so a good replacement for dieters)

Applegate Chicken/Turkey Sausage (not really diet but if people are eating sausage, this is a very low fat and delicious replacement)

Amy's Light & Lean Frozen Entrees:  Mattar Paneer, Roasted Polenta w/Swiss Chard, Black
Bean & Cheese Enchilada, Soft Taco Fiesta

Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles

Sea Tangle Mixed Sea Vegetables

Virgil's Zero Root Beer, Zero Cream Soda, Zero Black Cherry

Zevia Sodas, all varieties

Popcorn Indiana Fit Popcorn  (40 calories per serving--I believe)

NutiLight Sugar Free Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread

Jennie's Sugar Free Macaroons

The Paleo Diet Bar


SweetLeaf Stevia Sweeteners

Xylo Sweet Sweetener

The Ultimate Sweetener Birch Sugar

CocoPolo Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Bars

Lily's Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips

Spry Mints/Gum

Unsweetened Rice Milks, Almond Milks, Cashew Milks, Coconut Milks by various brands (Pacific, Imagine Foods/Taste the Dream, SoDelicious)

Dr. Bronner's Coconut Oil (may help break down bad fat)

Artisana Coconut Oil (may help break down bad fat)

Tierra Farms packaged raw nuts, seeds and dried fruits* moderation but would curb appetite/blood sugar spikes

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lawsuit alleging gluten-free discrimination could be a bad thing

You may have read last week about the lawsuit filed against P.F. Chang's for charging extra for their gluten-free dishes.

The lawsuit was filed by someone who claims that the surcharge violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because those of us with celiac have no choice but to eat gluten-free dishes.

My reaction was that this lawsuit could be a bad thing, because some restaurants would just drop their gluten-free options rather than being forced to eat the added costs of gluten-free items.

Many restaurants that offer gluten-free bread or rolls as options have told me that they didn't see any choice but to add a surcharge because the gluten-free breads cost so much more than the other breads they serve. You look at a place like Epik Burger, where the owner's mother has celiac, and you know these people are sympathetic. But they're also not going to lose money.

At a place like P.F. Chang's where bread is not the issue, the restaurant maintains separate plates for gluten-free dishes so that they don't get cross contaminated with other dishes. I don't mind the extra cost.

I've been watching the reaction on social media and was actually surprised to find a lot of celiacs agree with me. Here's an interesting post from blog G-Free Foodie asking people to support restaurants that offer safe gluten-free options.

Hopefully, this lawsuit will not discourage restaurants that provide safe gluten-free meals.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Let's call Dr. Oz what it is: an infomercial

I've seen parts of the Dr. Oz show before but never really paid as close attention as I did today, to see him tell us how to bring gluten back in to our lives. Now I realize what his show actually is: an infomercial, designed to sell something.

He brought out another "doctor" named Susan Blum who has a website to promote herself and to sell products. She said she has a five-step program to repair your gut and introduce gluten into your life anywhere from six months to a year after going gluten free.

To be fair, they did say this won't work for celiacs. But they suggested this is a good program for people with non-celiac gluten intolerance.

I've already been in touch with one gluten sensitivity specialist who thinks this is a bunch of crap, and I'm pretty sure most of the legitimate medical community will be in agreement.

Dr. Oz could have said something, or even asked one question, to imply some skepticism to her plan. But of course he didn't. Why would he do something to hurt sales?

I think it's time for Congress to bring Dr. Oz back in for another round of questioning.