Gluten Free Guides for Your City

Gluten Free Guides (.org), a guide to local gluten free restaurants, menus, grocery stores, and foods.

This is the newest project I’ve started recently.

The story behind it is that my wife found out about a year ago that she was gluten intolerant. Some people have what’s called Celiac disease, which is not just being gluten intolerant, but actually deathly allergic.

If you don’t know already, gluten is a byproduct of wheat. The theory is that the problem is that our food has been engineered so many times over that the byproduct (gluten) has now become too large to digest. So now, there’s a massive amount of weird symptoms for those who are gluten intolerant – many times the person doesn’t even know they’re gluten intolerant at all, so we just go along our daily lives not even thinking about it.

In my wife’s case, she had a direct correlation between gluten and what we thought was IBS. 15 minutes after eating anything with gluten in it, she’d have a stomach ache so bad she’d double over for the next hour.

So, after living with it for 25 years, she finally figured out what it was by process of elimination and a ton of experimentation. Now, she’s not deathly allergic to it like a celiac would be, but it’s enough of an allergy and consequence of eating it that it makes a pretty compelling motivational factor to avoid it. She figured all this out about a year ago (we think not coincidentally the same time she became pregnant).

Since that time, she’s become a wealth of knowledge to her friends who are just figuring out now that they are gluten intolerant also, or at least have the symptoms.

I thought it was time we started sharing this information a bit easier than by word of mouth. Thus, the Gluten Free Guides was born… well, almost. It’s being built as we speak, so if you follow the link today you’ll not find anything of value… but this is where you come in.

How you can help:

If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably got some knowledge of gluten intolerance or celiac disease. And if that’s the case, you can be a huge resource to your community too! We don’t pretend to know everything about gluten. We know some of the restaurants who have gluten free menus, grocery stores which have good (and terrible) gluten free foods, and some gluten free recipes you can make at home. But we don’t know them all – even for just San Diego.

So, we’re starting a website that will allow us (and you) to add, review, and discuss all these things. We plan on starting with San Diego, but if you’re in another city, let us know and once it’s ready we’ll open it up to you in your city too (tell us in the comments which city you’re in).

That all being said, we want your ideas too. What would make your day in regards to gluten free city guides? What would make you come back and use it all the time? What information would you think would be invaluable? Tell us everything. We want it to be the best possible guide possible – and applicable to our every day lives.

Come on… give us your best shot.

Thanks!

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

4 Comments on "Gluten Free Guides for Your City"

  1. Hi Nate,

    We have a lot of friends in common, but we haven’t met yet. I moved to San Diego last year, and a mutual friend sent me your blog post. I have Celiac disease and appreciate you doing this guide. It means a lot to folks like me!

    One correction: Celiac isn’t an allergy. It’s an autoimmune disease. The way I describe it when people ask is “You know how your body reacts when you get the flu? It fights it off? Well, my body does that when I eat wheat…”

    It’s an imprecise analogy, but it at least conveys the fact that this is autoimmune and not allergy.

    -Erica

    • nate says:

      Erica,

      Nice to (virtually) meet you. I hope we can meet face to face soon. Thanks for the kudos, and the correction. I forget sometimes how different Celiac is from gluten intolerance sometimes. Thanks for clarifying it. I’ll change my post accordingly shortly.

      And if you’re interested, I just created a Facebook page to allow people to start chatting about San Diego’s finest gluten free restaurants, grocery stores, and recipes. If you’re interested, I’d love your input and assistance on that too.

      Thanks again. And feel free to get in touch any time. I’d love to talk more about your experiences and see how we can make this truly a valuable resource for you and those like you.

  2. Hi Nate,

    I was diagnosed with Celiac about 10 years ago. I am a Pilates and Functional Training Coach in Carmel Valley. I constantly research new foods, safe places to eat (which are few and far between) and nutrition in general. I recommend going gluten free for my clients who want to lose weight and reduce inflammation issues (to move and feel better) – since it is a growing problem within our population. When I went gluten free there were not nearly the products available nor the restaurants that were aware or able to accomodate me. So, I wanted to pass on two of my favorite spots up in Encinitas: 2Good2Be Cafe which bakes fresh gluten free artisan breads, baguettes, muffins, cakes, cookies you name it and Healthy Creations that makes everything from pizza, quiche, enchiladas, full dinners for pick up (even your holiday dinners fully made) and more. These are my 2 stops when I’m up there. It used to be that the closest fresh gluten free bakery was up in Berkeley, CA where my son attends. A long drive for a loaf of bread. So, I’m stoked!

    As far as restaurants, there are listings and reviews online, however, I’ve found problems with cross contamination that makes it difficult. It’s a crap shoot when it comes to eating out. If a seasoning (that’s a big hidden culprit) contains gluten, I’m paying for it for days. So, mostly we eat in. Which brings me to why I ended up on your blog. I was googling entrepreneurs who would be interested in starting a gluten free restaurant. I’ve put it out there, but many people don’t understand the whole gluten free process. But, when someone takes this on who has the capital and the restaurant knowledge, the line for this place will be out the door and more. Would you happen to be in touch with a community of investors or entrepreneurs with an open mind (or know where I could find them)? This is a burning need in San Diego – for all of us with celiac we just don’t eat out and don’t get a break from cooking (unless you go to Healthy Creations and pick up your ready made meal to pop in the oven, they are very clean and safe since the owner is also Celiac and she’s wonderful!). Oh, almost forgot Gluten Free beers are available at Bev Mo, Whole Foods and Jimbo’s. Bev Mo carries vodkas, wines, tequilas and other spirits that are potato based (or non wheat, barley based) as opposed to grain distilled. They have the greatest selection of GF products.

    I know this was rather long. Let me know what you think and I’d be happy to share more if it’s helpful.

    Cindy

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