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Living the gluten-free good life in D.C.

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It’s all about the sammie

July 9th, 2012 by Brandi
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Like Brooke mentioned, we’re mommies! And with mommyhood comes a life full of love … and sandwiches. While little W is only just beginning to snack on the brown-bag lunchtime staple, I find it’s the meal of choice for me most weekend days when I’m running after a crawling toddler and navigating the rest of my life.

A little PB&J on the go sounds okay, but it’s not nearly the same on gluten free bread. Many gluten free brands are sorely lacking in the sandwich department. Some are too crumbly. Some require toasting before they’re sandwich worthy. Others taste delish, but are sized all wrong. Here are my thoughts on three brands that are taking up room in my freezer for different reasons.

Udi’s: When Udi’s made its debut at my local Giant, I jumped with joy … literally, looking like a fool in the freezer section. But now I find it leaves a little to be desired. The texture is there. The flavor is good. It tastes just fine defrosted and not toasted. But I need to eat 12 Udi’s sandwiches before my lunch is complete. They’re sized more like Melba Toast than Wonder Bread. I keep it on hand for the perfect breakfast sandwich, grilled in the bacon grease and all. It also makes for a bit-sized grilled cheese. Get it for a little more than $5/loaf at Giant and Whole Foods. Available at the Lee Highway Giant and the Clarendon Whole Foods.

Whole Foods Prairie Bread: Moving on to the slightly pricier freezer section down the road, Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse is a huge step up from Udi’s, literally. In comparison, each slice is HUGE. The loaves are sized to rival traditional sandwich loaves and come in a variety of flavors, including prairie bread complete with seeds and nuts and traditional white sandwich bread. Personally, I prefer the prairie bread for French toast in the mornings and a tuna salad sandwich on the go. And while the entire freezer section will lighten your wallet, you can get a loaf of Gluten Free Bakehouse bread for less than $5 at Whole Foods exclusively. Available at Clarendon and Foggy Bottom Whole Foods Market.

Rudi’s: Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Not to be confused with Udi’s, Rudi’s is my go-to sandwich bread of the moment. It’s perfect. Perfectly sized. Perfectly chewy. Perfectly flavorful. Rudi’s is a standard bread, and the whole grain option adds a nutrition boost. Now that it’s available at Costco, it’s perfectly priced, too. You can walk out the door with two loaves for $7. What’s more, they’re linked up with my favorite nonprofit advocating for healthier school food, The Lunch Box. Available at the Pentagon City Costco.

No sandwich in our house will be complete without Rudi’s in my house until the next best thing finds its way to the local grocer.

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We’re Not Dead, We’re Just Moms

June 27th, 2012 by Brooke
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Ok, so between the two of us left here in DC, we had three kids in under two years. We haven’t given up on blogging. In fact, we feel like we are just getting started. We have grand plans for a whole new approach.

Not only do we have tales to tell when it comes to getting pregnant, staying pregnant, eating while pregnant, weight gain, weight loss, C-section vs. natural, the NICU, breastfeeding, pumping, sleep deprivation, first foods, a gluten-free year 1 and toddler tantrums, we can tell you all about how we’re doing it all while living the gluten-free good life. [Note: As career women, we'll be the first to tell you is that doing it all is not the same as having it all.]

So consider this a solemn promise from your humble, stressed-out, diaper-changing (where do you think the DC comes from?!) gluties to stick the kids in the sandbox and get back online and chirping again!

Love and a big old bucket of amaranth flour,

Brooke and Brandi

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FDA Moves … Closer … to Gluten Free Labeling?

August 2nd, 2011 by Brandi
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Today, the US Federal Drug Administration announced two (small) steps forward in its effort to define gluten free in the retail marketplace. According to the FDA’s website, the agency has reopened the comment period on the proposed gluten free standards originally introduced in 2007. It has also released and is seeking input  on a paper about the effect of gluten on the health of those living with celiac disease.

After years of waiting, I am disappointed by this announcement. I was anticipating the final word on gluten free labeling from the federal government. Instead, we were given a statement designed to buy the feds some more time under the guise of consumer feedback. 

Consumers desperately need federal standards that will eliminate confusing labels that misrepresent the possible gluten found in foods. Consider those that indicate an item prepared in a facility or on shared equipment where other gluten-containing products are found as gluten free. It is time for the FDA to establish norms in the marketplace for gluten free products as it has for other allergens. I wonder how long gluties will have to wait before we can get the straight facts at the super market. Only with this move from the government will businesses be held accountable for delivering products that keep those of us with celiac disease and other gluten-related illnesses healthy.

Post your comment when the period opens August 3 and urge the FDA to act swiftly in it’s implementation of gluten free labeling that clearly indicates which products are safe for everyone living with a gluten intolerance or allergy.

To submit your comments electronically to the docket go to www.regulations.gov

 1. Choose “Submit a Comment” from the top task bar
2. Enter the docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 in the “Keyword” space
3. Select “Search”

To submit your comments to the docket by mail, use the following address:

The Division of Dockets Management
HFA-305
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
Include docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 on each page of your written comments.

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Crazy Sexy Diet 21-Day Cleanse Update

March 1st, 2011 by Brooke
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Today is Tuesday. Sunday was day 21 – officially the last day. Part chronicle, part confessional, here’s the status of my adventure on the Crazy Sexy Diet.

The good: I already live gluten-free so that part’s been a cinch. Choosing vegan foods is easier – and tastier! – every day that goes by. Beans really are cool. I feel smart and sexy when I order salad and everyone else orders sandwiches. Getting black bean and guacamole tacos at the burrito joint by my office was no headache. I am staying within one pound of my happiest weight – marking a total of six pounds lost in three weeks. After a two year hiatus, I’m rocking high heels again because I just feel lighter in my step. I made a simple beef stew for the Little Guy Friday night and had no urge to taste it. Giving up coffee was tough and painful for the first three days and now I don’t miss it. I’ve rediscovered the gym and even checked out a 6 a.m. spin class. We have more time in the evenings because we’re not making such labor-intensive meals. If I eat an banana, avocado-romaine smoothie for breakfast every day for the rest of my life I will die happy. My sleep is extremely restful and my productivity at work has gone up. And, since it’s the real measure of health and wellness, I’ll go ahead and tell you I’m as regular as a Metamucil commercial star for the first time in eight years. And, perhaps what is most amazing to me as someone who has dumped entire bags of apples and good intentions in the trash, is that we only tossed one half head of cabbage during the entire three weeks.

The bad: I never found the time to do the daily meditations though I do read the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy blog on my Kindle. I haven’t been doing as much yoga as I had planned. I admit to having totally irrational cheese fantasies. I ate a piece of pumpkin that touched some yogurt. (Forgive me!) We’ve already started repeating recipes. We’ve only juiced a handful of times. Despite our neti pots and supplements, we both carried the end of a long-winter’s cold with us at least l8 of the 21-days.

The ugly: Tortilla chips. We ate some every day. I’m not sure what void they were filling but we voraciously gobbled them up far more often than we would have liked. By the middle of the cleanse, we switched to the more complex Food Should Taste Good chips and ate them with hummus and baba ganouj so I feel a little less guilty but I’m going to work on transitioning to eating carrots and peppers with dips. Also…on day 19, we broke down and had some wine. Really good red wine! It was divine but I feel like I need to speak to a priest. On Day 21 we broke out of our veganism to try some of Georgetown Cupcake’s new gluten-free lava fudge cupcakes and since then I devoured at least five more.

The bottom line: We’re still going strong. We’re committed to eating vegan about 5 days a week. Neither of us has had a bite of meat and my husband tried some cheese and found it totally unsatisfying. We’re in training for a half marathon in May. Sunday we went to the Dupont Farmer’s Market and after 21-days of eating vegan it was like going to Mecca. Finally, we were empowered veggie eaters; we knew what everything was and how to use it. And the one thing we didn’t know about – sunchokes – we bought immediately and will make in a stir fry this week. We found smoked potato and kale soups and the purveyor made sure to tell us they were vegan. Huh? Were we wearing big green Vs on our jackets? How did we get in the club? Is it a club? Definitely. And everything old is new again and we’re in it together. And we’re pretty happy about it.

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“DC Cupcakes” Cameo on TLC

February 23rd, 2011 by Brandi
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While we may have been quiet on the blog of late, we sure have been busy behind the scenes. Between raising babies and growing babies, we found a little time to contribute to the second season of “DC Cupcakes,” set to premiere on TLC Friday, February 25.

Here’s how it goes … an e-mail comes in from a “DC Cupcakes” producer looking for advice on best practices for adding gluten free offerings to their menu. E-mails are exchanged. First between Brooke and I exclaiming our joy over the opportunity to share our wisdom with the bakers at the famed Georgetown Cupcake. Then with the producers of “DC Cupcakes” explaining the importance of thoroughly cleaning the kitchen and ensuring a dedicated cooking area for preparation of gluten free baked goods. Fast forward several weeks and we’re planning our cameo appearance on the show!

I won’t give you all of the details … you’ll have to watch for yourselves. The  gluties’ cameo is slated for the episode airing this Friday, February 25, 1o:30 p.m. EST on TLC.

And good news, after trying out gluten free cupcakes for the episode, the sisters have perfected the recipe. Rumor has it that gluten free cupcakes will be available by pre-order beginning Saturday, February 26.

DC Gluties with Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis of Georgetown Cupcake.

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