Rethinking The Dinner Table

The first thing so many newly gluten-free folk do is try to recreate their gluten-indulging pasts. I think that’s a bad idea; it’s rough enough transitioning to a new lifestyle without constant (and not-very-satisfying) reminders of a past that won’t be coming back. I strongly advocate for making a clean break with your past eating habits, and I promise that following a gluten-free diet is much easier than you initially think. Continue reading “Rethinking The Dinner Table”

Creating a Shared Gluten-Free Kitchen

As I mentioned last week, my husband and I made the decision to run a wholly gluten-free kitchen. When it’s just two people and two cats, that’s easy enough to do, and we’ve developed tricks to deal with unwanted gluten when it arrives in our house, usually via guests. It turns out I work in an office filled with people who will happily scarf down cookies, pie, and cake, no questions asked. Continue reading “Creating a Shared Gluten-Free Kitchen”

Starting the Gluten-Free Life

As I mentioned last week, it’s critical to stop, think, and plan before embarking on a gluten-free lifestyle. Here’s a story to explain why. Years ago, long before my doctor and I had “the talk”, I was vacationing and had a spa appointment. Before beginning my treatment, my aesthetician asked if I had any allergies to products.

Oh yes, I said, I am allergic to grasses and pollens and just about everything except chocolate (a sad irony, since I am not a fan of chocolate). She assured me that the products being used were safe for me. The conversation went this way and that way, and somehow turned to gluten. Having a friend who’d just gone gluten free due to an Addison’s disease diagnosis, I wondered if gluten might be the source of some of my digestive problems. Continue reading “Starting the Gluten-Free Life”

Gluten Free in Las Vegas Nevada

When my mother, sister, and I planned a trip to Vegas, I didn’t have high hopes for great gluten-free dining. My sister, however, did a bunch of research — okay, my sister hit Google for a few minutes — and discovered great news: both of us could safely eat in Las Vegas. I, being me, perused the list; she, being her, made a list and lead us on a culinary trip of sorts.

The first thing we learned was that there is a high-level of gluten-free awareness in the restaurants in hotels on the Strip (we didn’t venture off the strip this trip as it was August, and we were playing it on the side of staying as cool as humanly possible). This is great news for everyone. Well-trained restaurant staff make life so much better for those of us who are gluten free!

  • Border Grill. Border Grill, which is local to Los Angeles, is a family favorite, and I’ve eaten safely (and gluten free) there many times. My husband and I are huge fans of the Green Corn Tamales. Specializing in Mexican dishes, you can get great variety for lunch and dinner. Just don’t fill up on the chips and salsa before your meal arrives! Gluten-free menu items are labeled “GF” on the menu (there’s also a GF menu, if you prefer), making it easy to identify your choices, but do tell your server you’re gluten free. Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas. 702/632-7403.

    Gluten-free posole at the Border Grill Las Vegas
    The just-spicy-enough gluten-free posole at the Border Grill in Las Vegas was the perfect end to the day.
  • Burger Bar. Great gluten-free burger options. Perfect for any craving. And I loved the Chicken Wings with Fire Hot sauce. It was a huge portion, so I, um, ended up sharing with couple next to us at the bar as they were curious about the heat level. The Shoppes at Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd, S, Las Vegas. 702/632-9364
  • The Cracked Egg. Corned Beef Hash with gluten-free toast. That’s all you need to know. Also, scrambles. Breakfast done right. 1000 N Green Valley Parkway, Henderson. 702/868-5505
  • Ferraro’s. Gluten-free diners can order a wide range of items, including gluten-free pizza and pasta. Many of the entrees are naturally gluten free or can be modified to suit your needs. Work with your server to ensure you are eating safely. 4480 Paradise Road, Las Vegas. 702/364-5300
  • Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab. Well, no question about what they here, right? Request the gluten-free menu, and know that many of the offerings are naturally gluten free. The Forum Shops as Caesars, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas. 702/792-9222.
  • Marche Bacchus French Bistro. A French bistro that features GF French Onion Soup and Steak Frites, among other options. Definitely a place for a romantic dinner. Desert Shores, 2620 Regatta Drive #106, Las Vegas. 702/804-8008.
  • Mint Indian Bistro. I love Indian food, and so many of the dishes are naturally gluten free. Go for the korma, stay for everything else! 730 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas. 702/894-9334
  • Mon Ami Gabi. My sister made a beeline for this restaurant the moment we entered the facility. No stopping to enjoy the fake Parisian streets, or the charming little shops. Nope, she was hungry (as were Mom and me). I had an amazing Cubano on gluten-free bread. My sister loved the cheesecake for dessert. The gluten-free menu was varied, and our server was amazingly helpful. You can even get gluten-free bread to start your meal. Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas. 702/944-4224.
  • MOzen Bistro. MOzen Bistro offers up a variety of items to help you get your Asian food fix, including Pad Thai and XO Fried Rice. Request a gluten-free menu. Mandarin Oriental, 3752 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas. 888/881-9367.
  • Nine Fine Irishmen. We’d eaten at Nine Fine Irishmen on previous trips, before either my sister or I realized gluten was a problem. And it appears I dined gluten free without realizing it! Shepherd’s Pie, Lamb Stew, and other entrees are gluten free. The atmosphere is pure Irish pub, Vegas style. Request a gluten-free menu. New York, New York, 3790 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas. 702/740-6463.
  • Onda Ristorante and Wine Lounge. This is a great choice on the Strip if you’re craving gluten-free pasta. Seafood and steak entrees are also gluten free. Make sure you inform your server that you are gluten free. Mirage, 3400 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas. 702/791-7354.
  • P.F. Chang’s. Yes, this is an old standby, but when you are totally craving gluten-free fried rice (and we’ve all been there!), this is the place. They have lots of other great GF options as well, so you can enjoy variety safely. Planet Hollywood, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas. 702/836-0955
  • Roy’s Restaurant. Roy’s is another household favorite, because the food is delicious and Roy’s commitment to accommodating gluten-free guests makes my life so much happier. Nine times out of ten, I go straight for the short ribs, but that tenth time, I get wild and creative! Seriously, the short ribs. Or everything else on the menu. Request the gluten-free menu. 620 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas. 702/691-2053.
  • Seabreeze Cafe. We hit the Seabreeze before a huge day of touristing. Great, filling, gluten-free breakfast. Our server was amazing at guiding us through the menu, and caught herself before asking what kind of toast we wanted… Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas.
  • Slice of Vegas. Pizza, pasta, gluten-free, and vegan options. We were too tempted by the Burger Bar to eat here, but made a mental note for next time. The Shoppes at Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd, S, Las Vegas.

    Gluten-free sign at Slice of Vegas in Mandalay Bay
    Slice of Vegas Pizzeria in Mandalay Bay makes it clear they have great gluten-free and vegan options for everyone.
  • Top of the World. Lots of gluten-free options, but no separate gluten-free menu. Dishes are identified as gluten free on the regular menu, though some dishes may require modification. Work closely with your server to ensure your meal is safe to eat. Stratosphere, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas. 702/380-7711.
  • Trevi. We had an amazing lunch featuring gluten-free ravioli with chicken. Seriously hit the spot. Other options are available. The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace,3500 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas.

This is, obviously, not an all-inclusive list, so please share your favorites. And if anything changes, please let me know so I can update this post! As always, take all regular precautions when ordering and consuming gluten-free meals in restaurants. None of the restaurants noted above have dedicated GF kitchens, so cross-contamination is always possible, despite the best precautions.

Tip of the Week

Vegas has glammed up since the days of super-cheap all-you-can-eat buffets and not-great-food. Reservations are important if you’re traveling at peak times, or if you want to eat at a specific hour. Always check in advance to ensure gluten-free options are available.

Gluten-Free Meal of the Week

I admit it: we ate way more than we gambled. I’m not much of a gambler to start with, so this wasn’t a challenge. On my return home, I definitely needed a detox-type meal, especially since I’d had both a hamburger bun and a sandwich — way more carbs than my body is accustomed to eating in a single weekend.

Yeah, this means what you think it means: big salads! Actually, since it was August, big salads were already on the menu. Since my husband hadn’t over-indulged in my option, I had to make a salad that would satisfy both of us. A steak salad was perfect. I loaded my plate with lots more greens while he did the same with the steak. Total win for both of us!

Wheat By Any Other Name

Food trends come and food trends go, but I’m thinking the trend toward vegetables and whole grains is going to stick. I love that restaurants are switching their menus to feature these foods. As a gluten-free diner, I’m happy that quinoa has become common on menus (though I hope other gluten-free grains join the trend!). And, as a gluten-free diner, I think it’s time to talk about the grains showing up on menus that *aren’t* gluten free. Continue reading “Wheat By Any Other Name”

Gluten-Free Myth 5: You’ll Have Bloating and Constipation

Ha. Ha. Ha. And ha.

Do you remember the days before you went gluten free? Did you suffer from bloating and constipation? It’s okay if you don’t want to admit it here, but it’s pretty clear the makers of this video have No Idea what celiac disease is like. Bloat, I am embarrassed to say, used to be my middle name. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Myth 5: You’ll Have Bloating and Constipation”

Gluten-Free Myth 4: You’ll Experience Mood Swings

Nothing makes me more angr–oh right, this is yet another gluten-free myth. My moods since going gluten free have been pretty even. Yes, I still get yell-at-other-drivers mad when I get cut off on the freeway. Yes, I still get giddy when I see a Labradoodle on the street. Yes, I feel joy when I come home after a long day of work.

The video mentioned weeks ago (it’s been a long time, no?) attributes these mood swings to lack of B vitamins. I think we covered that one pretty thoroughly in the fatigue piece, so all I want to say this week is that this myth is totally bunk. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Myth 4: You’ll Experience Mood Swings”