Salad, Pancakes and Self-Reflection

When you can look at a croissant, bagel, baguette, beer or any other gluten food or drink and simultaneously feel that you HAVE to have it but also know that you are not going to have it, and that nothing in the world could make you change your mind, food begins to lose its power over you. And, after some time, other things do too.

Knowing that, it is odd to me that I still crave things like Dutch Baby pancakes, as I posted this morning – one look at the ingredients makes it clear that they are not good for me – when I am just as happy having my salad with homemade dressing (lemon, honey, oil, salt and pepper). It must be the search for variety and the need for comfort foods every once in a while….

So in my attempt to not only “return to Glutenfreelandia” but also use this space to reflect on my habits and choices, being more conscious about creating a food-life and whole-life that works for me, I have gone on a hunt.

I decided to hunt for other Dutch Baby recipes, and I will try one next time and write about it here at some point (including how it is received by my kids – will they both still like it???) If I am up for it, I will try two at the same time – a dairy and a vegan version, or a sweet and savory, in each case with ingredients that pack some more nutrients without sacrificing flavor. I also learned through my brief tour of the Internet how to fix the uneven cooking (puffing) I had posted about this morning. The answer is obvious, and I am sure I knew it but had forgotten – turn the pan during cooking!

Here’s what I turned up in my search for vegan Dutch Baby, savory Dutch Baby and other variations and recipes. If you decide to try one of them, please leave me a comment below!

Cardamom Apple Dutch Baby (gluten free)

Savory Dutch Baby

Savory Spring Dutch Baby

The puffy oven pancake that’s sweeter when it’s savory (Washington Post)

The Almond Dutch Baby

I also went searching for Dutch Baby Pizza, and although I did not easily find a gluten free version online, I am sure that another recipe could be adapted to it.

Dutch Baby Personal Pan Pizza (Recipe Redux)

Pizza is one of those things that I miss and don’t miss, since at some point a few years before my diagnosis of celiac disease, I had stopped liking pizza (which, in retrospect, should have been a clear sign something was wrong!) What I miss now is not the pizza itself, it’s the feeling of eating something warm out of the oven that – as I said above – feels like comfort food. Dutch Baby pancakes sure fit that description.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach at Segal Coaching and someone who lives with the ups and downs celiac disease (her own and her daughter’s) every day. Through this blog, Anne Marie provides insight into the gluten free lifestyle (for all those whom it may help), promotes wellness and educates those with celiac disease and their communities about this important issue affecting 1 in 133 Americans and many others worldwide.

Copyright Anne Marie Segal 2017. All rights reserved.

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Brunch: Gluten Free Dutch Baby Pancakes

Sometimes “busy” is just busy. And sometimes it is more than that.


I started my last post saying I was busy this week. Truth be told, it has taken my body a full seven-day cycle to fully recover from eating out last Saturday. I am finally starting to feel like myself again, more than 150 hours later. Busy recovering is a different kind of busy, but nonetheless….

This does not mean I have not also been busy in the vernacular sense of the word. I gave a webinar on job interviews to alumni from the University of Chicago that was well-received. I worked with clients, met “deliverables” and spent time with my family at home and events. But I also did a lot of recovering around the edges and corners of my day – sleeping and catching up. As anyone with a fast-growing business or career who also has a chronic illness or temporary setback knows, sometimes we push ourselves too hard and need to take a few steps back. In fact, we are just like everyone else, except that our bodies very acutely speak to us to let us know what we need.

Before the celiac disease diagnosis, I must admit that I ran myself into the ground all too often in my career as a lawyer at a top firm and later in-house role. Life could seem like a race, and I could never catch up.

It seemed like every quarter or so, I would just want to give up. In retrospect, it may be that the gluten was affecting my body without my knowing it. Yet I see the same in my clients and friends. Without preaching, I do my best when relevant to let them know that chasing the brass ring – or just pushing ourselves for some amorphous sense of achievement, which is the more common thread among overachievers, not even knowing why we do it – can have long-term consequences to our health. If we worked as hard to at wellness as we do to meet some internal or perceived expectation of success, we would actually start to make some progress.

I try to keep this perspective, as I move through my days. Gluten avoidance is not the only goal. The true goal is wellness.

On to Dutch Baby Pancakes!

So let’s be honest then, shall we? Dutch Baby pancakes are not really part of the “wellness” program in the sense of being healthy food, they are more of a weekend treat. Thankfully, it’s the weekend, and if you live in the U.S., hopefully you have two more weekend days ahead of you!

One of the most isolating parts of celiac disease is the very fact that eating out often puts us into a tailspin. So we need to recreate those same rituals – like Saturday or Sunday brunch – at home. My kids have come to love Dutch Baby pancakes on the weekend, made with gluten free flour. They taste amazing and are pretty easy to make, and best of all they do not require you to stand over a griddle like individual pancakes.

Here’s the final product. Sometimes it puffs more than other times. Sorry I couldn’t set up the shot with better lighting. My son was dying to eat it, since I haven’t made it for a few weeks!

The ingredients are pretty straightforward, all pictured below. As I was setting up this shot and saw how the flour spilled over the measuring cup, I was reminded of why so many kitchens are off-limits to me. In fact, on my recent trip to California, I brought my own food into an event, not trusting the kitchen due to the very fact that they boasted of “housemade bread” on the premises. To me, that’s a warning sign. Translation: “gluten present!”

Anyway, the recipe I use is from the Joy of Cooking, which is the source of many of my recipes. I have the 1997 version, which I received as a present for my wedding, and it honestly calls for WAY too much butter. I put in half of what the recipe says (so 1/4 stick of butter not 1/2 stick). The eggs should be room temperature, so take those out first as you are pre-heating the oven (which needs to be 425 degrees, so pretty darn hot!)

This pancake is one of the few gluten free equivalents of a traditionally gluten-filled item that really works, as long as you have the right flour. I am not an expert on gluten free flours, but I have learned that more sorghum (although containing more nutrients) leads to a more savory result, while the lighter flours give you that sweet baked goods taste. For this recipe and many others, I use Cup 4 Cup which allows you to simply substitute 1-to-1 for any recipe calling for all-purpose flour. I caution that it does contain milk powder, so vegans will need to find another alternative (and will also need to replace the milk and butter – I have not tried this so cannot attest to its taste). King Arthur’s Flour is a good choice for vegan baking flour, and it also does not have xantham gum (which some people also avoid for health or sensitivity reasons).

Here’s how the butter fits into the recipe. You coat the pan. As you can see here, even with half the butter, there is quite enough! I only eat a small portion of this pancake (if any), when I make it for the kids. If I were still a kid myself (or had the stomach of one), I would eat the whole panful! It is that good. In addition, you can add apples to the top, sliced thin (peeled or not), or complete it with powdered sugar (to me that seems too decadent) or fruit jam/preserves, to make a beautiful and tasty alternative.

Note: If you make this for a celiac friend, the pan needs to be 100% clean of any gluten residue from prior cooking, as does anything that comes into contact with it.


One advantage to eating at home versus a restaurant, of course, is that you get to see your cute pets while enjoying your food!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend (to my U.S. readers), and happy Saturday (morning, afternoon or night) to everyone else!


Recipe (adapted from the Joy of Cooking):

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together:

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Melt 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter into 10-inch cast iron skillet, coating the sides of the pan. Pour in the mixture from above and cook for one minute, without stirring. Place the skillet in the oven and cook 12-15 minutes until the pancake is puffed up and golden. (It may not brown evenly, but take care not to overcook and burn the bottom, which is also browned from all that butter, and it’s delicious!) Serve immediately while it is still light and airy. Enjoy!

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Yale Pediatric Celiac Program and Day

Busy day, busy week, but I am committed to keeping up this blog!

AdobeStock_84417253 (children).jpg

I wanted to give a shout out to thank Dr. Anthony Porto, his colleagues and Yale for the recent Second Annual Pediatric Celiac Family Education Day earlier this month and the great information on its website about diagnosis and supportive care for children with celiac disease. Yale has posted a “Celiac: Back to School Toolkit” and PowerPoint on “Understanding and Navigating Section 504 Plans,” as well as some other great information. Click here to visit their site.

And another shout out to Doreen Manchester who spoke about gluten free labeling laws and the many hidden sources of gluten that can nonetheless make it into our food. She tweets at @DMLManchester, if you would like to know more.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach at Segal Coaching and someone who lives with the ups and downs celiac disease (her own and her daughter’s) every day. Through this blog, Anne Marie provides insight into the gluten free lifestyle (for all those whom it may help), promotes wellness and educates those with celiac disease and their communities about this important issue affecting 1 in 133 Americans and many others worldwide.

Image from Adobe Stock Images.

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Gluten-Free Restaurant Review of Jake’s Del Mar, San Diego, CA – 3 Stars Out of 5

Restaurant: Jake’s Del Mar
Location: 1660 Coast Boulevard, Del Mar, CA

Three stars out of 5 ★★★

Review: Jake’s Del Mar is known for its breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean from just about any spot in the place, and in this respect it did not disappoint in the least. Sitting at a table at Jake’s can make anyone feel like a king, queen, venture capitalist or other lucky soul who was won the La Jolla real estate lottery, if only for the evening.

On the celiac front, by contrast, I give Jake’s mixed reviews. I have eaten here twice on two special occasions, once in November 2016 and once in May 2017. The first time, the staff was super careful, and we had a great meal that left me as happy after I ate it as I was while enjoying it. On the second trip, I was not as enthused about the food, and despite choosing only items marked “G” for gluten free and informing my server of a serious allergy, I suffered some “celiac side effects” the next morning. (Full disclosure not needed, but if you go through any list of common side effects, you will find some of mine there.)

On the food front in my most recent visit, the salad elements did not all pull together into a cohesive whole (maybe I’ve been watching too much Top Chef, but that was my reaction). Also, the Curry and Cumin Crusted Scallops were overseasoned to the point of tasting really salty and strong. The scallops were a substitution from the menu’s Curry and Cumin Crusted Ahi, but my husband ordered the latter with the same issue. And again, the different flavors on the plate did not come together as I would have expected.

Kids: Pretty kid-friendly as far as these types of restaurants go. When we went in November, they did a special order for my daughter, who has celiac disease.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach at Segal Coaching and someone who lives with the ups and downs celiac disease (her own and her daughter’s) every day. Through this blog, Anne Marie provides insight into the gluten free lifestyle, promotes wellness and educates those with celiac disease and their communities about this important issue affecting 1 in 133 Americans and many others worldwide.

Posted in Celiac Disease, Restaurants, Three Stars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

4x Tacos and 5 Stars: Trilogy Cafe, La Jolla, San Diego, CA

Restaurant: Trilogy Cafe
Location: 7650 Girard Avenue, San Diego, CA

Five stars out of 5 ★★★★★ 

Review: I happened upon this place while my husband was at the Urgent Care Clinic down the street, although I had read about it beforehand. I give it five stars without hesitation, and you can read some more about it below and in my prior post.

I have spent four days in La Jolla and have eaten Trilogy’s “Perfect Tacos” four times. They are amazing, and here’s what they are made of: house-made corn tortilla stuffed full with quinoa chorizo, roasted sweet potato hash, avocado, pico and mildly spicy almond love sauce. The tortillas were indeed “perfect,” a wonderful flavor (and I have a Mexican husband, so I do know tortillas!) Also, I have never had quinoa chorizo before but very quickly looked up a recipe to see how it is made.

I wanted to try the rest of the menu, but the tacos were so good that I kept choosing them so I wouldn’t miss out. They also made me feel good after eating them, which as someone with celiac disease, is just as important. (And not just feel good as in “not get sick,” but I felt refreshed from eating, which is hit or miss for me at restaurants.)

I also had a squash-based soup here (awesome) and shared my son’s buckwheat crepes with bananas, Nutella and cashew cream (very good). The quality of products and preparation here is beyond compare. This is what healthy food should all taste like!

In addition to the fantastic food, the location is amazing. Trilogy Cafe has outdoor seating with great views, and it is attached to an aerial yoga studio.

From the menu, my husband also tried “The Beet Goes On” salad. He’s usually not a huge vegan food enthusiast, but he said it was the best salad he has had in years. There was also amazing kombucha on tap, as I wrote in my earlier post.

To give you an idea of how much I liked this restaurant, I told my family that the next time we stay in San Diego, we need to stay in La Jolla so I can come back a bunch more times!

Kids: If kids are not of the “chicken nuggets” and “mac & cheese” variety, they should find something to eat here, but there were not many children present any of the times I went. They are certainly welcoming to kids, and one of the staff gladly offered my son a sample of eggplant bacon (which was well received).

P.S.: The entire restaurant is vegan and gluten free, but they do use a lot of nuts so cannot accommodate most nut allergies. And if you did not yet read my prior post, the local organic kombucha from Whale Bird is unbelievably good.

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Garlic Powder with “Traces of Wheat (Gluten)”: My Hidden Nemesis

It is a very brave thing to write about your life as it unfolds. You are bearing your very soul, knowing that people are reading it contemporaneously with your days that are unfolding. The future is uncertain, the present may be messy and, as we all know, the path may change course when you least expect it.

As a blogger, you may get personal email responses from friends with probing questions when they see your recent posts, and you harbor very real concerns about how clients or colleagues may react or readers may judge you based on what you have written. You need to build up a thick skin and learn not to be stressed about what people may think.

Funny enough, having celiac disease has given me those qualities in spades. Every time I am invited to lunch by someone new and need to recite my shortlist of “likely but not 100% sure to be safe” restaurants, I am putting myself out there. Every time I need decline a dinner invitation, or pack my own food to bring and eat “out,” I am revealing more personal information than I would wish. Every time I fight back tears that something I am missing (forever) that others take for granted, and try to smile through it, knowing that my poker face needs more practice, I realize how my life has become something else, smaller and greater at the same time. Yes, writing about it publicly is doing it on a larger stage, but it is the same exercise I carry on in my own home and neighborhood.

Just having celiac disease and taking the steps one needs to stay healthy, I have come to realize, is an inherently defiant act. I don’t invite the defiance, yet I am defiant in the same way that any other group in human history has needed to stand up for itself just to have basic human rights. Every day, I defy the status quo. I dare ask for what I need, and I fully expect to get it.

Just having celiac disease and taking the steps one needs to stay healthy, I have come to realize, is an inherently defiant act…. Every day, I defy the status quo. I dare ask for what I need, and I fully expect to get it.

When I first started a blog, I didn’t actually know if anyone would read it. Now, after years of writing about celiac disease and some time being away from it, I know how important my message is, and how many people I can help by being open and honest. There are a lot of words spilled about celiac and other chronic diseases. Monetary incentives, false motives and deliberate misinformation. And then there are those of us just trying to get along, not wishing to be activists, but realizing that our greatest contributions to the world just may be our willingness to share what we have learned.

So I choose again to write and take the risks that may come. The rewards are greater.

On to my garlic powder story….

I have a house that is mostly gluten free, except that my teenage son who is a growing boy and budding chef has some gluten products he still likes to eat. It has been the source of some debate in our home about how much gluten to allow in. Since my son has been making garlic bread, one day someone bought him his “own” garlic powder and put it in the cabinet.

It was not specifically marked on the label as gluten free – or for exclusive use by my son – but the ingredient list did not contain gluten, wheat, barley, rye or malt (all words that indicate gluten is present). I probably would have replaced it if I had known it was there, but I didn’t even see it among the rest of the many spices we have.

At the time, a few months ago, we had someone cooking dinner for us many nights with ingredients from our home. And on random, multiple occasions, I would get sick. As we went through what she used to create each dish, trying to find the culprit for my ailments, it never surfaced that this very garlic powder was the common thread. If you have never lived with a chronic disease, you have no idea how debilitating it can be. Your muscles can ache, you can get depressed and you can feel a bit hung over whether or not you’ve had a drop of alcohol. And these are only some of the symptoms. So I was not always in the right frame of mind to do the type of investigatory work one might expect to try to track this down.

Anyway, one day as I was visiting someone else’s home, I reached to borrow garlic powder – as I was cooking for myself there – and I noticed it said that “may contain traces of wheat,” so I didn’t use it. When I got home, an alarm went off in my brain, and I took a look at my own spice cabinet. I found the garlic powder I mentioned a few paragraphs above.

I realized they were both made in China, and although China is obviously a huge country, they could have very easily been from a factory with similar manufacturing standards, with the only difference being the labeling. They could have made it through U.S. customs without anyone doing testing for whether wheat or gluten was actually present. They could get on the grocery store shelves, into my cabinet and into my immune system. And, it became clear, they had.

They could have easily made it through U.S. customs without anyone doing testing for whether wheat or gluten was actually present.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. When I eliminated the garlic powder from my diet, I started to feel a lot better. I made no other changes, so it is clear to me that this was my hidden nemesis. I have realized after years of living with celiac disease that anecdotal evidence is sometimes all I will ever have, short of testing every product in my home or seeing a specialist as often as I sneeze.

I share this today in case you are living with celiac or another condition that requires an elimination of gluten, and it is helpful to you. Or if you are throwing a dinner party for someone else, and you are struggling to understand he/she seems so “paranoid” about the sourcing of ingredients. Trust me, it’s a healthy paranoia. An appropriate level of paranoia, as I have come to call it.

My story here will be told in bits and pieces, and at some later date I will give more background about the details around gluten free labeling and some suggestions for where to get safe spices in the U.S. (as I have since done my research more carefully). Come back or subscribe for more.

Posted in Advice for Newbies, Celiac Disease, Labeling, The Basics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glutenfreelandia Revived


Maybe it was the kombucha.

I posted on Facebook yesterday about having grapefruit pamplemousse kombucha on tap. Wow, it was amazing. It’s local and organic, from Whale Bird, and I had it at the 100% gluten-free, vegan Trilogy Cafe in La Jolla (San Diego) yesterday and again today.

It wasn’t just the health benefits that got me going. It was the fact that it tasted so fantastic. Light and airy, with a little fizz. I mean, I wish I could have it in place of a cocktail whenever going out with friends. Why don’t they serve it everywhere?

Kombucha is an acquired taste, yes. But so is beer (and frankly, so is every adult drink from coffee to whiskey.) And, since I have never really found a gluten free beer that I’ve liked, a replacement is in order. I love a good cosmo just as much as the next girl, but my post-celiac body doesn’t love them as much as it did in my 20s.

But it was much more than the kombucha that made me decide to revive this blog. More than my recent visit to the Second Annual Yale Pediatric Celiac Day, where I learned lots of new things, from threats to strategies, on the celiac front. And more than us coming to the end of May, which is Celiac Awareness Month.

The biggest change to prompt me to write again was finally – yes, finally! – figuring out what was STILL getting me sick from time to time despite a thousand big and small changes to my diet. It has been over six years since my diagnosis at age 40. I have a lot to share, and I know this is the place to do it. So welcome back!


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Spring Natural Kitchen, Upper West Side, Manhattan

Restaurant: Spring Natural Kitchen
Location: 474 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY


One star ★ of 5

Review: I was on the Upper West Side last week to have lunch with three friends, and someone suggested a new (or rather, new to me) restaurant with a comprehensive gluten free menu: Spring Natural Kitchen. Friends have heard me say that I’ll only try new places if I know the owner or if the menu is “very gluten free” – as I am one of those celiacs who is highly sensitive and pays dearly for any missteps (on the part of the restaurant staff). Well, Spring Natural Kitchen seemed to fit the bill, as the menu is clearly marked with gluten free options, which make up over half of the entrees.


I am sorry to have to rate Spring Natural Kitchen with just one star, and that only because the food was pretty good. Unfortunately, I fell extremely ill as a result of eating there and now, four days later, it is still working out of my system. It seems that this restaurant is gluten free for those who want to be on a fad diet, but it is not sufficiently careful with cross-contamination to be safe for celiacs. I did ask the waiter about these issues before ordering, and he sounded relatively knowledgeable when I checked nothing was fried with gluten foods, etc., but alas the end result was highly disappointing. I have only been sick twice in the last six months prior to this incident (one noted in a prior blog post), and like the other circumstances, I can pinpoint this incident to the specific restaurant because I had no other food outside of my home in the days before or after. Disappointing!

I am back to evaluating my criteria for a new restaurant, since it seems that a comprehensive gluten free menu as the standard for giving it a try has failed miserably in this case. Maybe they were just having a bad day with a new chef, but their one bad day turns into my many bad days…. In other words, if they are going to have bad days, they need to mark their items as “only safe if you were kidding about the gluten free thing, because we may or may not really do it.” The level of my reaction to the food (full-on celiac response for over 72 hours) indicates that the contamination meter would have been pretty high.

Kids: Appears neutral. Given the location and relatively good prices, it is probably very full at certain times.

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Terra Ristorante Italiano, Greenwich Avenue, Connecticut, Gluten Free

Restaurant: Terra Ristorante Italiano
Location: 156 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich



Four stars ★★★★ of 5

Review: We caught Terra at the beginning of Labor Day weekend, and it felt like the perfect almost end (does it have to end?!?) to a summer of lovely outside dining.

Terra was a restaurant that I always loved when I worked in Greenwich and wanted to have an occasional evening out on the Avenue. With celiac, I was initially wary to try them again, since they are in large part a pasta place, albeit upscale. While Terra doesn’t have a gluten free menu, they do note that gluten free pasta is available. I have happily eaten here three times dining while celiac and have not gotten sick, although I generally stay with what I consider the safer items (e.g., not meat with a pre-made marinade but instead something made on the spot or without a sauce that generally calls for flour). My go-to entree and dessert are the penne rigate and crème brûlée, pictured here.



I give Terra four stars rather than five because they do not have a menu with gluten free options clearly marked for all entrees, which I consider a “must” to generate credibility and inspire confidence in celiac diners, as I have noted on my scoring key. Instead, you need to let the waiter know the pasta must be made in separate water, for example, and he/she checks with the kitchen on some entrees (their gnocchi, for example, is not gluten free, which made me very sad). I am not 100% convinced that I have the free reign of the menu that the waiters imply, although as I said when I have played it safe I haven’t been sick. That said, they still get my vote for overall dining experience and quality of food.

Kids: There are many families with young children, more often outside in the summer than inside during the main dining course, since it gets loud and boring for kids inside. Older children are often present at dinner.

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Risotteria, New York City, Italian and Gluten Free


Restaurant: Risotteria
Location: 270 Bleecker @ Morton, NYC
Alternate location: Amsterdam Ave @ 78th Street, NYC

Five stars ★★★★★

Review: I absolutely love Risotteria! It would be heaven to live around the corner and have this as my local Italian joint. Everything I have ever had from this place tastes awesome, and celiac-friendly gluten free food abounds.

I have only been to the 270 Bleeker location so far, not the newer one on the Upper West Side. It is small and a bit crowded, but not in an off-putting way, more like rubbing elbows with your fellow diners. They greet you with yummy gluten free breadsticks when you arrive, and they make the whole gluten free experience entirely seamless. Above is a picture of the mushroom risotto, one of my favorite menu items. I have been to Risotteria a number of times, and I have never been disappointed. In fact, the place is so good that I have rerouted other activities in the city to be nearby.

Kids: The menu itself is very kid-friendly. They also have some cool and unique dessert items, such as a homemade, gluten free version of a Twinkie.

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