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Articles by Karen Broussard of GlutenFreeTravelSite

Plan Ahead for Summer Camp for Your Gluten-Free Child

Destinations that Raise the Bar for Gluten-Free Travelers Part One

Summer camp. The words are enough to instill panic in parents of celiac kids. In fact, after our son Ryan was diagnosed with celiac 12 years ago, I remember thinking he’d probably never be able to attend summer camp. I figured it would be nearly impossible to keep him food-safe. Years later, we heard about Camp Celiac in Rhode Island. It started as a weekend camp in 2000 and soon evolved into a fi ve-night traditional sleepaway camp. The fi rst of its kind, it offered a safe environment for kids following medically necessary gluten-free diets. Once Ryan was old enough to attend Camp Celiac (they take kids ages 8 to 16), we signed him up. I volunteered to fi ll one of the much-needed parent counselor slots during the week. This was partly altruistic and partly because my husband and I felt a bit nervous sending our 8-year-old off to a sleepaway camp for the fi rst time. Fast forward to the present, and I can tell you this has become the highlight of Ryan’s summer. As a parent counselor for the past six seasons, it’s also been rewarding for me to observe “kids being kids” – not worrying about whether they can or can’t eat something, not wondering if they’ll get sick, not feeling different.

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Venturing Abroad as a Gluten-Free Traveler: Tips and Advice on What to Expect

Tips-and-advice-on-traveling-gluten-free-overseas

As I sit here on our return flight after a two-week family trip to Italy, I marvel at how we did it. Not how we traveled with two teenagers, but how we managed to do it without any major gluten-free dining snags! As any of you who have traveled abroad know, this is no small feat. It’s a landscape that’s still filled with potential hazards. In fact, some of you may remain skittish about traveling anywhere – let alone out of the country. I don’t blame you for being cautious. After all, no one wants to get “glutened” on a trip. But what I can say is that I’m so thankful for how far the gluten-free community has come (not just domestically, but internationally) in terms of awareness. Traveling abroad even five years ago wasn’t nearly as easy as it is now.

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Hitting the Slopes in a Gluten-Free Friendly Western Ski Town

Dining-gluten-free-in-Aspen-Colorado

There’s nothing quite like spring skiing out West. The temperatures are tolerable, there’s a great base of snow built up on the slopes, and there’s even a good chance for some fresh powder, too! With our boys’ spring break falling in March this past year, when ski resorts are still open, we seized the opportunity to plan a family ski trip. After debating the pros and cons of ski areas in both Utah and Colorado, we chose Aspen, Colorado. Although it’s a full four hours from Denver, this “remoteness” equates to fewer crowds, shorter lift lines, and more time skiing!

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Our Gluten-Free Journey Aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

Gluten-free-dining-on-Royal-Caribbean-cruise-ships

Ever since we took our first cruise as a family almost nine years ago, we’d been talking about going on another. I get many cruise reviews submitted to my website, and over the years I’ve been impressed by what I’ve heard about the Royal Caribbean cruise line. Back in 2012, they formalized their gluten-free (and dairy-free) program by notating those choices clearly on breakfast and dinner menus in the main dining room. Upon contacting Royal Caribbean, I was put in touch with Ron Pettit in ADA and Access Compliance. He was proud to say that gluten-free meals are one of their top requests, which helps explain why our own experience aboard the Oasis of the Seas , currently the largest cruise ship in the world, was so good – and why I would highly recommend considering a Royal Caribbean cruise.

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Gluten-Free By the Sea: Dining Gluten-Free in America's East Coast Beach Towns

Dining-gluten-free-at-east-coast-beaches

Since I was a child, I’ve been visiting Ocean City, Maryland, and my husband and I have continued the tradition by taking our own kids there each summer. It’s a popular beach town full of attractions like mini golf, amusement parks, movie theaters, water slides, go-karts, and a boardwalk spanning over 30 blocks. Our favorite dining spot in recent years is The Cafe on 26, located about a 20-minute drive north in Ocean View, Delaware. Almost everything on the menu, with the exception of the bread, can be made gluten-free. Another place to stop, just a few miles away, is the Good Earth Market & Organic Farm, which stocks many gluten-free groceries and houses a casual and entirely gluten-free café called the Birch Tree Cafe.

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Kids & Sports: Help Your Gluten-Free Child Feel "Part of the Team"

Gluten-free-kids-and-team-sports

Whether your gluten-free child is three or 13, it’s no walk in the park. With each stage of a gluten-free child’s life come new challenges in following the strict diet. The biggest challenge with Ryan over the past few years is helping him feel like he fits in. He wants to eat what other 12-year olds eat … and eat where they eat. While it’s certainly easier for Ryan than kids growing up with celiac 10 to 15 years ago, there are still some challenges. If your child plays a sport, I’m sure you can relate. There are team parties and dinners, snacks at games, and dining out when attending out-of-town tournaments. All require a good amount of thought (and a healthy dose of flexibility)!

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Tax Deductions for Gluten-Free Groceries: Are They Worth the Effort?

Taking-a-tax-deduction-for-gluten-free-food

I am not a certified tax consultant, I am just a normal taxpayer, which has prompted me to research the question about whether or not gluten-free taxpayers can or should take a tax deduction for their gluten-free groceries. In the 11 years since our own son was diagnosed with celiac, we’ve never taken any sort of tax deduction for the massive amount of gluten-free food we buy. Initially, it seemed like a lot of work for questionable benefit. After all, you need to keep close track of the cost difference between the gluten-free items you buy and similar non-GF items. (It is this difference , not the full  price, of gluten-free foods that you can deduct.) 

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Disney's Message to Gluten-Free Diners: Be Our Guest

Gluten-Free-dining-at-Disney-World

For years, Disney World has been the place for people with special dietary needs to vacation, and I’m thrilled to announce that Disney has done it again. They’ve taken their commitment to gluten-free and allergy-friendly dining up another notch. I recently spoke with Gary Jones, Culinary Dietary Specialist at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts – and a 29-year veteran of Disney. Things have certainly come a long way since his first year at Disney, when he remembers getting a letter from a convention guest who needed to eat gluten-free. No one on his team knew what that meant, and they had to look it up. Of course, the program for exceeding the expectations of guests with special dietary needs has evolved tremendously since those early days. 

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Gluten-Free Traveling Made Easy

Gluten-free-travel-made-easy

In the early years after our son was diagnosed with celiac disease, traveling meant we were essentially “on our own” in uncharted territory. This was way back in 2005, before “gluten-free” was a household term. My research for any trip involved calling chefs at resorts to have lengthy conversations (and in many cases educating them on what it meant to prepare a safe gluten-free meal). At one well meaning resort, we’d finish one meal, and I’d immediately have to track down the chef at the restaurant where we had decided to eat our next meal. I’d begin all over asking about ingredients, preparation methods, and labels. But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and it was actually after this particular trip that I began my work launching GlutenFreeTravelSite. The vision was to give people a place where they could share reviews about their good (and bad) dining and travel experiences with others in the gluten-free community.

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Destinations that Raise the Bar for Gluten-Free Travelers: Part Two

Gluten-free-travel-opportunities

Welcome to the second installment of our gluten-free friendly destinations showcase. In the May/ June 2015 issue of Simply Gluten Free, I covered hotel and resort chains like Hyatt, Omni, Ritz Carlton, and Canyon Ranch – all with multiple locations. In this issue, I’ll focus on some inns, bed and breakfasts, and exotic resorts that are “hidden gems” for the gluten free traveler.

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Destinations that Raise the Bar for Gluten-Free Travelers: Part One

Destinations that Raise the Bar for Gluten-Free Travelers Part One

I’ve written in the past about the many choices we gluten-free travelers now have when it comes to picking a travel destination. In fact, no matter where your heart longs to take you, chances are you’ll be able to find safe gluten-free options for meals whether you cook in, dine out, or take most of your meals at your hotel or resort. But there’s a growing group of large hotel chains – as well as independently owned properties – that is emerging as another class of destinations altogether. They are places you can go and feel understood, nurtured, and spoiled.

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Share Your Story: Maureen Burke, Owner of One Dish Cuisine

Interview with Gluten Free restaurant Owner of One Dish Cuisine in Ellicott City, MD

Maureen Burke is no stranger to hard work. She rises at 7 am each morning to begin her day as the owner of One Dish Cuisine café, bakery, and deli in Ellicott City, Maryland, on the outskirts of Baltimore. Her day usually wraps up when she and her husband leave the restaurant around 9:30 pm. She has one day “off” – Tuesdays – that are typically spent doing laundry, writing newsletters, working on weekly specials, and doing administrative work.

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Is Going Gluten-Free Enough…or Should We Avoid All Carbs? An Interview with Dr. David Perlumutter

Dr. David Perlmutter, Is Going Gluten Free Enough?

New York Times #1 best-selling author and board-certified neurologist David Perlmutter lays out groundbreaking evidence about how our dietary choices – and dependency on carbohydrates – are leading to an epidemic of brain disease. The gluten-free diet – and who should follow it – is a hot topic of debate these days. While some people continue to adopt a gluten-free diet by choice – and often under the misguided notion that they’ll lose weight – many doctors do not necessarily recommend it without a diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

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Take a Vacation from Worry: Advice for Safe Gluten-Free Travel

Take a Vacation from Worry: Safe Gluten Free Travel

These days, I’d be hard-pressed to think of somewhere that wouldn’t be possible to travel while following a gluten-free diet. Be it to a popular amusement park, Caribbean resort, European city, or African safari, if you want to plan a trip there, there’s a gluten-free friendly way to do it! It can be tempting to plan your vacation yourself (after all, who else will understand your gluten-free needs?), but rest assured there are now quite a few travel agents and companies that specialize in gluten-free travel planning.

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Blog Talk Radio: Traveling Gluten Free

Blog Talk Radio: Travelling Gluten Free

In her interview with Jules Shepard on the Gluten Free Voice show on Blog Talk Radio, Karen discusses how her GlutenFreeTravelSite website, DINE GLUTEN FREE mobile app, and Gluten Free Travel Blog help take the worry out of dining and travel for people following a gluten free diet. She talks about the resources available on her site and app -- including user-submitted reviews of "gluten-free friendly" restaurants and other businesses all over the world. There's a discussion about recommended destinations, types of travel, and even travel specialists who can help you plan a worry-free trip. Karen also shares her thoughts on what's fast becoming the most GF-friendly type of trip, traveling with kids, who to contact in advance of your trip, and the best accommodations. She even touches on the subjects of gluten free dining at college and camps that cater to gluten free kids.

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Southern California: So Many Great Places to Dine Gluten-Free!

Gluten free restaurants and dining in Orange County Southern California

I‘m lucky enough to have family in Southern California, so every 12-18 months our family has been visiting this beautiful part of the country. Each time we do a little something different … and each time we try new restaurants (while also feeling the pull back to some of our old favorites). Most of our time is spent in Orange County, where you’ll find everything from gluten-free friendly national chains, to more unique regional chains, to one-of-a-kind local restaurants. No matter how you choose to spend your time in the area, you’ll likely have plenty of safe dining options nearby.

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Gluten Free Dining at Restaurant Chains

Gluten free restaurants and dining in Gettysburg PA

Thank goodness for P.F. Chang’s and Outback. That was one of the many thoughts running through my mind nine years ago when our then two-year-old son Ryan was diagnosed with celiac disease. I’d always been a health-conscious label reader when grocery shopping and also took pride in being able to put a well-balanced dinner on the table most nights during the week. So embracing the learning curve of gluten-free cooking at home didn’t take long. But after Ryan’s diagnosis, what really threw our family for a loop was the challenge of dining out.

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Gluten-Free Journey to Whistler, British Columbia — by way of Seattle and Vancouver

Gluten free restaurants and dining in Gettysburg PA

Our family loves skiing, but with our kids’ spring break often falling in mid to late April, it’s often too late for a spring ski trip. Last year, however, we lucked out, as our county’s spring break fell in late March. When we realized this, we could hardly contain our excitement and began deliberating where we would go. Although we are big fans of skiing at Deer Valley in Utah (and big fans of the surrounding town of Park City), we wanted to try someplace different. Upon recommendations from friends, we chose Whistler, British Columbia—about 75 miles north of Vancouver.

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Four Score and Seven Years Ago...Gluten-Free in Gettysburg, PA

Gluten free restaurants and dining in Gettysburg PA

Four score and seven years ago… none of us knew what gluten was. But I’m happy to say that the battlefield town where President Lincoln delivered the famous address beginning with those words is a gluten-free-friendly place to visit. Yes, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—celebrating the150th anniversary of the famous battle this year—has something for everyone: history, battlefields, ghost tours, museums, shopping, and even gluten-free dining.

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Get Tech Savvy with Gluten-Free Technology!

Get Tech Savvy with Gluten-Fre Technology

We live in a mobile era where up-to-the-minute information and news is in demand and we want it at our fingertips – anytime and anywhere. Whether you prefer to use your desktop or laptop computer or click on an app on your smart phone, there are plenty of useful resources to help make gluten-free living easier and more enjoyable.

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Celiac Disease: Our Family’s Story – And Why Everyone Needs to Become an Advocate for the Millions of Undiagnosed Children and Adults

Travelling Gluten Free: Planes, Trains or Automobile

I’ve never really written in detail about my son’s initial diagnosis with celiac disease, which happened just before he turned two - over 8 years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago, really. So it seemed appropriate, during this month of Celiac Awareness, to share a bit about our story in the hopes that other people suffering with unexplained health issues will seek out a knowledgeable and open-minded gastroenterologist to help them confirm – or rule out – celiac disease

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Traveling Gluten Free: Planes, Trains or Automobiles

Travelling Gluten Free: Planes, Trains or Automobile

Summer is fast approaching and chances are, your plans include some type of travel—whether it’s visiting friends or family or taking a full-fledged vacation. Travel can admittedly be one of the most challenging aspects of the gluten-free diet. But this, too, is manageable and has become quite a bit easier as awareness of celiac disease has improved. I’d like to share some helpful tips for different types of trips, based on my own family’s experiences and the feedback we receive on GlutenFreeTravelSite from other gluten-free travelers.

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Interview with Gluten Free Travel Site Founder Karen Broussard on Blog Talk Radio

Interview with Gluten Free Travel Site Founder Karen Broussard on Blog Talk Radio

Rebecca Black from the Pretty Little Celiac Blog interviews Karen Broussard, Founder and President of GlutenFreeTravelSite. Karen discusses her family's gluten free journey after her son was diagnosed with Celiac at age two -- and how the challenges of eating out and travel motivated her to launch GlutenFreeTravelSite back in 2008. Karen shares her advice on planning a successful gluten free trip, how to find the most GF-friendly restaurants -- and how to ensure a safe meal once you arrive. She also discusses cruises as a top choice for GF travel, GF camps for kids, and how to research the best colleges for gluten free students. Click to listen to this informative interview filled with valuable suggestions and resources...

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Gluten Free at Summer Camp

10 Easiest Places to Travel Gluten Free

Canoeing on a serene lake…letting your mind wander on a nature hike…eating s’mores around the campfire…singing silly songs and practicing skits…making new friends…sleeping under the stars. Perhaps these are a few things you might remember from a childhood camp experience. And maybe you’ve dreamed of helping to create these same memories for your own son or daughter. But if they have Celiac Disease or another reason for following a strict gluten-free diet...

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Tips for Enjoying Gluten-Free Holidays, Wherever You Choose to Dine

10 Easiest Places to Travel Gluten Free

The holidays tend to create anxiety for many people following special diets, including the growing group of people diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. It’s no wonder, since so much of our culture today seems to revolve around socializing while eating. Whether it’s accepting an invitation to a holiday dinner party, attending a work luncheon, or hosting family for a festive dinner in your own home, there can be challenges to safely following your gluten-free diet. But with a bit of thought and advance planning, you can avoid getting “glutened” – and feel like you’re a full participant in the event……

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10 Easiest Places to Travel Gluten Free

10 Easiest Places to Travel Gluten Free

As the founder of the GlutenFreeTravelSite.com, I have read thousands of gluten-free dining and travel reviews submitted by members of the gluten free community. As the mother of and dietary advocate for my 8-year old son with celiac disease, I, too, have had to travel gluten free with my family. Here is my list of “Top 10” Easiest Places to Travel Gluten Free, based on this unique perspective……

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10 Days of Gluten Free Blog Hop

10 Days of Gluten Free Blog Hop

I had the privilege of participating in a 10 day "Blog Hop" with 9 other gluten free bloggers in honor of Celiac Awareness Month in May 2012. This "10 Days of Gluten Free" event was organized by "Gluten Free Homemaker" blogger Linda Etherton. During the 10 Days, I wrote about all things related to Gluten Free Dining and Travel: tips for dining out at restaurants; best restaurant chains for GF dining; top domestic and international travel destinations; great bets for hotels, resorts, and cruises; and traveling GF to Disney World. These are great posts to share with the gluten free people in your life -- whether they're newly diagnosed or just looking for new ideas for dining and travel. You can link to ALL 10 posts, in reverse order, here....……

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Chef Aaron Flores Continues To Blaze Gluten-Free Trails in the Restaurant and Hotel Worlds

Chef Aaron Flores Continues To Blaze Gluten-Free Trails in the Restaurant and Hotel Worlds

Chef Aaron Flores may not be an everyday name in many gluten-free circles, but he should be. And it's surprising you don't hear more about him. Aaron's work has helped blaze many trails in the gluten-free world, and his energy and enthusiasm for helping people following gluten-free diets is unmatched -- especially given that he himself does not suffer from Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. Chef Aaron's crusade to help people on special diets began at least 10 years ago when he was approached by a little girl, while working as a sous chef at Disneyland's Grand Californian Hotel …

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Carol Fenster Presents Favorite Recipes From Her New Cookbook …
As Well as Gluten-Free Travel Tips

Carol Fenster presents favorite recipes from her new gluten free vegetarian cookbook

If you haven't heard of Carol Fenster, then you're likely a VERY newly-diagnosed Celiac...for Carol is legendary in the gluten-free world. She is an internationally recognized expert on gluten-free cooking who now has a total of 10 cookbooks to her credit, including her latest release: 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes. I've used her Gluten-Free Quick & Easy cookbook (not exclusively vegetarian), and one of our family's favorite dishes is the Orange Beef Stir-Fry, which can be served over rice, or even put in corn tortillas and served as "wraps" as we've done. Although no one in our family is a vegetarian, I was anxious to try many of the recipes in Carol's just-released cookbook …

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Gluten Free Restaurant Menus: An Interview with Biaggi's Corporate Chef

Gluten Free Restaurant Menus: An Interview with Biaggi's Corporate Chef

Two years ago, while on a ski vacation in Utah, our family had the pleasure of dining at a restaurant that was new to us: Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano. This 21-location chain, which was founded by Corporate Chef Peter Schonman and two other partners 13 years ago in Bloomington, Illinois, has locations mostly in mid-sized towns in the Midwest and West. After several days of skiing in the Park City area, we decided to take a "day off" and head into Salt Lake City for some sightseeing and a stop at the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum in the Gateway Mall area. While there were numerous restaurants in this area -- and many with gluten-free menus -- it was Biaggi's that caught our eye …

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Gluten Free Restaurants: Picazzo's Sets a High Bar for Gluten Free Menus

Gluten Free Restaurants: Picazzo's Sets a High Bar for Gluten Free Menus

Fortunately for people with Celiac Disease -- and others following gluten-free diets -- restaurants offering gluten-free menus keep growing in number. But there's a difference between a restaurant offering "stripped down," bland versions of their regular offerings (often resulting in nothing more than a grilled chicken breast, baked potato and steamed veggies) and restaurants that really invest the time in creating amazing offerings especially for their gluten-free guests. Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen is an example of the later. With locations throughout Arizona, Picazzo's sets the standard for gluten free dining with their extensive gluten-free menu that includes house-made gluten-free pizza …

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Dining Gluten-Free at Disney World: A 'Magical' Experience

Dining Gluten-Free at Disney World: A 'Magical' Experience

Our younger son Ryan is seven years old and was diagnosed with Celiac just before he turned two. He’s never really known anything other than a gluten-free diet, and he does wonderfully following it. He’s great about trying new foods, will never eat anything unless he’s sure it’s gluten-free, and never seems saddened by the fact that …

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GlutenFreeTravelSite talks with Glory Days Grill's Director of Food and Beverage about their new Gluten Free Menu

GlutenFreeTravelSite talks with Glory Days Grill's Director of Food and Beverage about their new Gluten Free Menu

Restaurants are indeed hopping on the gluten-free bandwagon at a rapid clip these days, launching (or expanding) gluten-free menus at a pace that makes people with Celiac Disease -- and others following gluten-free diets -- thrilled. There are now more choices than ever before, and with increased awareness of Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance -- and the higher rate of proper diagnosis and demand for gluten-free foods that results -- the gluten-free community can continue to look forward to…

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A Discussion With Denise Baron of Burton's Grill

A Discussion With Denise Baron of Burton's Grill

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Denise Baron, Vice President of Food and Beverage for Burton's Grill, about their restaurant's popular gluten-free menu. Denise is also a co-founder of the restaurant, which opened its first location about 5 1/2 years ago. Burton's Grill currently has SIX locations: Boston, MA; Hingham, MA; North Andover, MA, Peabody, MA; South Windsor, CT; and Virginia Beach, VA. Denise is extremely knowledgeable about Burton's gluten-free menu, since she was instrumental in…

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Is Gluten Free Dining and Travel Getting Any Easier? Part II

Is Gluten Free Dining and Travel Getting Any Easier?  Part II

In my first article, I touched briefly on how things have changed for the better (thank goodness!) when it comes to finding gluten-free options at many restaurants. Of course, large suburban areas and big cities tend to have more choices . . . but you can find people who are very knowledgeable about preparing a safe gluten-free meal just about anywhere in the world, as evidenced by the number of restaurant reviews I have received through my website, GlutenFreeTravelSite.com…

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Is Gluten Free Dining and Travel Getting Any Easier? Part I

Is Gluten Free Dining and Travel Getting Any Easier?  Part I

We all know the statistics…1 in 133 people in the U.S. (almost 1% of the population) has celiac disease, while even more of the population (an estimated 30%) is gluten intolerant. Even though the majority of these people have yet to be diagnosed, awareness has grown considerably, especially in the past few years. This not only helps more people to get properly diagnosed, but it helps those with gluten sensitivity who have been following a gluten-free diet for years. That’s because…

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