BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse’s Certified G-free Menu

I had received a flyer in the mail about BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse’s gluten-free for two dinner. I have been a fan of their restaurant for a few years now. It use to be the place where my friends and I would meet up for Friday dinners. They have a wonderful menu filled with pasta dishes, specialty salads, deep dish pizzas, and their super yummy pizookie (vanilla ice cream on top of a warm chocolate chip cookie). Oh, and did I mention their beer menu and large flat screen televisions? BJ’s is the kind of restaurant where you can take date or watch the game with friends.

The flyer sat in our “things to do” pile until  my husband and I finally went for our Friday date night dinner. We were able to get seated  before the dinner rush and asked for the gluten-free menu. It was interesting to see that one side of their menu was g-free offerings and the other was a chart composed of all their dishes and the most common allergies. Making it very simple to see what dish contained what food allergies. I had a verity of items to choose from including their version of a gluten-free pizookie! But I had my eye on the pizza!

My husband and I decided to share the barbe que chicken chopped salad (no onion strings), veggie pizza, and a pizookie for dessert. They didn’t have any gluten-free beer in-house but offered 3 different  ciders. After chatting with my husband and looking over the menu time passed and our food was on its way.

My eyes lit up at the sight of our thin crust pizza as my nose took in the wonderful aroma of my long missed friend. I was so taken by the pizza that I didn’t even look at the salad. Helping myself to a slice of and salad it was time for tasting! Trying the salad first I enjoyed the sweet BBQ ranch dressing against the crunch of the fresh lettuce. It was super tasty and I can image it to be quite filling had it been the only thing I ordered.

Next it was time for the pizza, after tasting a hand-full of mushy g-free pizza I wasn’t sure if it would hold up to my memories. Going into my first bite as a skeptic but after tasting I thought I was dreaming! It was delicious! Bit after bite I consumed my first slice quickly. I was happy to see that the middle of the crust wasn’t a mushy mess  and could hold all the toppings without wilting. Diving into my second piece I took care to enjoy it at a slower pace. I had finally found it! A gluten-free pizza that I didn’t have to make myself or lack in flavor and texture.

Noticing that they are certified GF I inquired about their g-free pizza production. Speaking to the manager, Rich C., he informed me that they have separate pans, refrigerator, bins, and utensils that are only for their g-free dishes. That the cooks are knowledgeable about cross contamination, changing their gloves and sterilizing any surfaces before use. The gluten-free items are stored in their own refrigerator and are covered with green caps. They even use separate cooking pans for the pizookie that are also green. Gluten free ice cream is only scooped with their gluten-free scooper and then booth are covered after use.

After we devoured the bar-b-q salad and pizza it was time for our pizookie. Out came a warm g-free chocolate chip cookie with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Again BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse could have fooled me into thinking this was a regular cookie because it flavors were amazing.

I will gladly return to BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse for more of their gluten-free dishes. I would recommend stopping by and enjoying their gluten-free offerings!

Now that I am writing about it… if you’ll excuse me, I have a pizza to order.

Hello Gluten-free Cosmetics

After coming across this question:

Celiac disease: Can gluten be absorbed through the skin?

I have celiac disease. Do I need to be concerned about sunscreens, shampoos and cosmetics that contain gluten?

on the Mayo Clinic site I decided it would be best to take a peak inside my own cosmetic bag. Even though I have been cutting gluten out of my diet I didn’t know it could be lurking in my lipstick! I’m not a fan of eating my lipstick but I do lick my lips so I must ingestion some of the product. Even when putting on my blush or face powder I could get some in my mouth or leave it on my hands. Gluten is even in nail polish! It seems to be everywhere and in everything. I could have been infecting myself this whole time without my knowing.

Grabbing my cosmetic bag and pulling out my body lotion I began the never-ending task of reading ingredients. And I thought  reading food labels was challenging… this was taking it to another level. Rather then checking out every single ingredient I decided to go brand by brand. Here are some of my findings:

Searching the Nars, Orgasm Blush which is my favorite, site and found this statement under customer care:

“DOES NARS CONTAIN GLUTEN (WHEAT, BARLEY, RYE OR OATS)?

NARS does not use any gluten or gluten derived ingredients in its products. Therefore we consider our products to be “gluten free.”

This was amazing news for me! I love NARS so the buck stopped here for me. Heading out to my local Sephora, store #0082, I went to pick up some new gluten-free products from NARS. While searching for the right lip color one of their wonderful associates approached me. Yvonne asked me if there was anything she could help me with. Providing her with some quick info on my search for G-free makeup she was ready and willing to help. She ended up being the perfect associate; listening to my concerns and understanding my need for a G-free product because her boyfriend is a vegan. Thus making her very familiar with reading labels. She suggested I try Too Faced eyeliner and went to double-check that it was G-free. We found this under their site’s FAQ :

“10.  Are your products gluten-free?

Actually ALL Too Faced products are gluten-free with the exception of our Borderline Lip Pencil.”

Great! Another cosmetic brand I am able to use. Next, time to find that perfect tinted moisturizer. Yvone suggested Hourglass‘s Illusion Tinted Moisturizer. It has SPF 15 and is labeled oil, fragrance, paraben, gluten, sulfate, phthalate-free and vegan. She also loves this product because it is not only a cosmetic but a skin care conscious “utilize clinical levels of anti-aging and sun-filtering ingredients“. Nothing like a little anti-aging to go along with my SPF.

An hour after walking through the door I was leaving, with the help of Yvonne, with a bag full of gluten-free cosmetics. It was really great how interested she was in helping me find gluten-free products and went above and beyond her customer service duties. She took a real interested in the subject and was going to further research and make a G-free list for the store. Now every time I put on my makeup I will not have to worry about being exposed to gluten. Thanks Yvone for all the help!

Here are some other G-free face, skin, and cosmetic products that can be found at local drugstores.

Suave sites statement:

“Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and processed oats. For ingredient labeling, our company follows the guidelines of the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and uses the International Nomenclature for Cosmetics Ingredients (INCI).

If any wheat, rye, barley or oat-derived raw materials are in our products, they would be listed on the labels. This includes any hydrolyzed protein from wheat, rye, barley or oats which may contain gluten.

We recommend that you consult with your physician as to whether use of grain derivatives in personal care products will cause the symptoms of Celiac-Sprue Disease.”

Dove‘s site statement:

“Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and processed oats. For ingredient labeling, our company follows the guidelines of the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and uses the International Nomenclature for Cosmetics Ingredients (INCI).

If any wheat, rye, barley or oat-derived raw materials are in our products, they would be listed on the labels. This includes any hydrolyzed protein from wheat, rye, barley or oats which may contain gluten.

We recommend that you consult with your physician as to whether use of grain derivatives in personal care products will cause the symptoms of Celiac-Sprue Disease.”

I also found a number of different gluten-free lotions and body washes at my local health food store. They had a gluten-free cosmetics brand called Mineral Fusion, based in Denver. I didn’t purchase any of their products yet but am very interested in their Intense Hydration Facial Cream.

Wet n Wild:

Are wet n wild products gluten-free?

Most wet n wild products are gluten-free except for the following:
821A-827A Natural Blend Pressed Powder
745-749 Natural Blend Mineral Foundation and Mineral Veil
C641A MegaProtein Mascara
All other products are gluten-free.

e.l.f. email reply:

Thank you for your interest in e.l.f. Cosmetics. Our products do not contain gluten or beeswax. Please be aware, however, that we cannot guarantee that the machinery used to process our products are completely gluten free.

Sincerely,
the e.l.f. team
e.l.f. Cosmetics Affordable Luxury
Ph. 212-239-1530

Neutrogena® Naturals

Are Neutrogena® Naturals products gluten free?
Yes, Neutrogena® Naturals products are gluten free.

While continuing my search at home I came across The Celiac Diva. She has a wonderful site with plenty of G-free cosmetic information! I  would recommend checking her site out for more cosmetic information.