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The Guru of Gluten Free Eating

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on healthy and gluten free living!

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Well, the one here at Bountiful was fun-filled, thought provoking and idea-focused. A group of eight strangers came to Bountiful to help us define who likes Bountiful, what they like about Bountiful and how they heard about us. This gave us the chance to ask: Do they have any ideas on how to improve on what we are doing already?

The group was made up of six women and two men, all eager to share and try new food. They had the opportunity to try some new menu items we are testing out. Quinoa breakfast bowl, warm dinner quinoa bowl and sweet potato pancakes were only a few of the many items served.

Their enthusiasm was wonderful and the ideas they shared were great. They thought some dishes were incredible, and others were dry, or mushy, or bland…and everyone had a unique idea about each item.

After sampling the foods, they completed a questionnaire designed to answer all the questions we had.

In the discussion area, they shared thoughts and ideas we hadn't thought to cover on the questionnaire. Things such as, we need to have more hot entrées. What about a smoothie with coconut milk? How about putting the bison burger on a bun? I've searched for a great bun and have yet to find one. If someone knows of a good gluten free bun please let us know.

Some of the other new ideas were fresh juices, new kids menus with entrée items, pasta and create your own quinoa or rice bowl.

We are set to test out these new ideas and see if we can deliver on the quality that we have accomplished currently with the existing menu.

Marshall who owns GFB was just here. I got to introduce him to Marisa of M's Kitchen. OxandPen has signed on to sponsor our upcoming seminars: Gluten Free Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 17th; Kids Holiday Gluten Free Cookie Decorating on Nov. 15th and a Holiday Gluten Free Dinner planning on Dec. 9th.

We will also be at the Binny's Gluten Free Beer tasting on November 13th.

I'm just thrilled about these upcoming events, and I'm even more excited to share the new menu items that this focus group helped to create.

Friday thoughts: What hot items would you like to see served at Bountiful Eatery?

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Each day is a new adventure -- some up, some down, but each day is always interesting. On Saturday, my loyal staff and I set out from the restaurant shortly after 6 a.m. for University of Chicago's Annual Free Blood Screening and Ask the Experts Panel.

Fall is surely upon us; it was a little brisk outside, and it was raining. We were all a bit groggy from prepping for the event on Friday. It was well worth it, as the event was attended by over 900 people.

Upon arriving at U of C, we were greeted by warm, friendly faces who were eagerly awaiting our arrival. Staff members helped us to the fourth floor with carts in order to setup for the event. The hall was beautifully laid out. Everything was in place so we could quickly begin our setup.



Having attended events like this before, we quickly setup so I could have time to meet and chat with the other vendors. I was delighted to meet the husband and son of the Sweet Ali's owner. They had brought pound cake, which was great, though I've heard their cupcakes rock. We chatted for a while about the gluten free community and exchanged numbers. I'm hoping to taste more of their products and even sell some at Bountiful Eatery.

I also met with Lise from Basketworks. For someone who is gluten free, this is such a great gift idea. It's completely customized for the gift recipient.

The women from Delight Magazine were also at the event, and I had the opportunity to speak with them about their gluten free magazine. I sampled the Simple Squares bars that were on sale. There was a wonderful assortment of crunchy and tasty crackers this year, including rice and lentil flavors.

The esteemed panel took the stage at 10:30 a.m. and answered questions from the audience for an hour. The questions mainly related to gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. They discussed the recent reporting of arsenic in rice. The Tribune recently reported that Consumer Reports recommends "capping weekly servings to less than a cup of cooked rice for kids and about 1 ½ cups of cooked rice for adults." The panel also talked about the over usage of brown rice in products as a sweetener as manufacturers move away from corn syrup.

The panel's main recommendation was to be aware of your body and how it reacts to food. Ask yourself these questions: Are you very tired after you've finished eating? Is your body in "shut down mode" in order to process the food you've eaten? It's important to maintain awareness of the food you eat and how it physically affects your tiredness, exhaustion and even mental state.

Lara Fields, the renowned nutritionist, recommends balance in all diets. As long as you balance your sweet tooth with lots of proteins, vegetables and fruits, your body will thank you. Vary you carbs, too. Don't only eat rice; instead, include quinoa and amaranth, for example. You can keep a food journal if that helps you, but don't torture yourself with it. You can find out easily if you are balancing your diet this way.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending this rainy day meeting and talking with new people, all of whom are knowledgeable about celiac disease and gluten intolerance. It is amazing to hear about others' struggles. Each person is impacted by gluten sensitivity in a different way. I've been told that more than 100 symptoms of celiac disease and gluten intolerance exist. I had an incredible time at this event making new connections and learning information. I'm excited to be able to share all of my newfound knowledge with you. Until Friday, be well.

 
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