Monday, December 29, 2014

A Gluten-free New Year’s Eve

Whether attending a fabulous party, on designated driver duty or hosting an end-of-the year bash, New Year’s Eve is a trying time for those living a gluten-free lifestyle. Temptation – in the form of cold beer, delicious cocktails and scrumptious appetizers – is lurking around every corner. But a gluten-free New Year’s Eve doesn't equal a boring one! We are here to help you ring in the New Year on a happy and healthy note:

For the Party Goers
  • Happy New ‘Beer’! If cocktails aren’t your thing, try a gluten-free craft brew. Find some great options here 
  • Rum, tequila and gluten-free vodka are typically safe for partygoers on g-free diets. If you would like a more comprehensive list, click here 
  • Champagne is gluten-free, so break out the bubbly and toast to a g-free new year!

For the Designated Drivers
  • Designated driver? Enjoy a non-alcoholic, g-free cocktail – we like this festive choice 
  • If you are the designated driver, be aware that there may be trace amounts of gluten lurking in some sodas – choose carefully! Get more information on g-free soda here 
  • As the designated driver, you may need a caffeine boost! Your safest option is to brew your own coffee, and take it to go. For more details on g-free coffee, click here 

For the Host  
  • If you are serving a signature cocktail, ensure that not only the alcohol is g-free but also the soda, juice and other mixers.
  • Stay away from pre-made dip mixes. Play it safe with a homemade dip and fresh veggies or a goat-cheese ball and g-free crackers. Here are a few delectable dips 
  • Host a BYOB celebration to avoid serving any unsafe alcoholic beverages to your g-free guests.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Traveling Gluten-Free

Whether it’s by plane, train or automobile, gluten-free traveling takes a great deal of preparation and organization. Researching restaurant options, prepping travel snacks and studying up on the food and accommodations of your destination are all necessary when planning a trip.  Here is some helpful advice that you can refer to while planning your g-free journey:

Road - Trip
  • Shop ahead of time for gluten-free snacks that travel well – here are a few ideas
  • Bring a large cooler or insulated lunch bags for long car trips – store non-perishables in the trunk.
  • Physically map out your road trip route – circle the pit-stops you plan on making and research gluten-free restaurants in the area, but ensure you have back-ups in case the restaurant is closed or no longer offers gluten-free options.

Traveling by Plane
  • Request a gluten-free airline meal at least three days in advance – follow up on your request closer to your flight time!  Find out which airlines serve meals to meet your dietary needs, here
  • Ensure flight attendants know where you’re seated to avoid your meal being delivered to the wrong passenger.
  • Ship ahead – extra baggage can be an expensive nuisance; consider ordering your g-free items online and shipping them directly to where you’re staying before you arrive.

Going International  
  • Don’t let your dietary needs get lost in translation. “Restaurant cards” are available in several languages for international travel – find downloadable cards here
  • Find out how traditional dishes of your destination are prepared. Knowing what ingredients are used will help you avoid hidden allergens.

Unfortunately, despite all of this careful preparation, things don’t always go according to plan. Traveling is all about adventure and exploring the unknown – so perhaps the most important piece of advice is to be flexible and accept that unexpected challenges will most likely occur.  And for those of us with a medical sensitivity to gluten, remember, it never hurts to bring along plenty of the appropriate medication just in case of unexpected exposure.   

Safe and happy travels!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Gluten-Free Gift Guide

Shopping for friends and family that have adopted a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging, especially with several food-related gifts off the table. 

You may want to face the challenge head on by getting creative with your gift giving!  We have done some of the legwork by putting together this handy gift guide for all of your g-free loved ones!

For Those New to the Gluten-Free Lifestyle
  • Kitchen Necessities - Blenders, loaf pans and serving spoons as well as fun things like divided serving platters that will get them excited about g-free entertaining
  • Gluten Free Cookbook - Take the work of researching gluten-free recipes off their plate (no pun intended!)
  • Educational Books - Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive ResourceGuide and Celiac Disease for Dummies are both great resources for the g-free newbie 
For the Gluten-Free Foodie
  • Restaurant Gift Cards - Find a restaurant that provides gluten-free options, and give the gift of a great meal - use to help with your search
  • Fondue Set - Melted cheese is a quick way to anyone’s heart! Your g-free friends can use this for themselves or for entertaining
  • Gluten-free Gift Basket - How about a combo gift containing a handful of gluten-free food mixes, an apron and a bottle of wine for your gluten-free friend?
  • Gluten-Free Beer - Nothing pairs better with delicious food than an ice cold beer. Check out some of these g-free brews 
For the Gluten-Free Traveler
  • Gluten-free Travel Books - There are tons of books and g-free guides out there suited to specific destinations. Check out a few here 
  • Gluten-free Toiletries - Travel-sized toiletries are convenient and save space. Bonus if you can find a prepackaged set like this one here 
  • Gluten-free Getaway - Check out these g-free friendly hotels and book at night (or two!) for the gluten-free globetrotters on your list 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Amy's Choice: Gluten-Free Products

Beyond the Label
Label reading can be a gluten-free person’s main pastime. Those little nuggets of information on the backs of food packaging everywhere are crucial to deciphering what is edible and what isn’t. It can be a tedious process, but for gluten-free folks across the globe, it is a necessary one.
Luckily with iBGFree, you won’t need to read any labels or look for any gluten-free logos. Why? Because all the food options we offer are 100 percent gluten free and safe for your consumption. No labels, no hassles.

Amy’s Choice
The secret to this lies in the diet of iBGFree founder, Amy. Since Amy is a Celiac, her food intake must be completely free of gluten and any gluten cross-contamination. Because Amy is eager to take part in her own initiative (which is a good sign for her customers!), she chooses all the machine’s meals, snacks and drinks herself. That’s good news for you, the gluten-free consumer: When you make your selection and your fresh, tasty treat comes out of the iBGFree machine, you’ll know it’s safe for you to eat, too.

While you’ll still see the nutritional labels you’re used to on our packages, we take the guesswork and effort out of eating gluten free on the go. That’s just one more way iBGFree is committed to helping people lead healthier lives. If it’s Amy’s choice, you’re safe to choose it as well.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Entertaining Gluten-Free Guests

Hosting people in your home can sometimes be a stressful undertaking; gluten-free guests can present challenges of their own. But with a handful of common-sense approaches to hosting, you can create seamless, enjoyable gatherings.

Here are a few sure-fire methods for being a good gluten-free host: 

Establish Expectations Through Communication
Honest lines of communication with your guest(s) right from the start are a must. Sensitivity to gluten-free guests’ dietary needs is critical; open communication about their concerns and how you plan to address them will put both sides at ease and make for smoother cohabitation. Be transparent about your methods and ability to accommodate them, and ask for the same honesty about their expectations of you.

Don’t Overdo the Menu
Cooking gluten-free spreads can be simpler than you think. When you add in fruits, vegetables, lettuce wrap-type dishes, suitably prepared meats and the like, filling in the gaps with one or two dedicated, gluten-free recipes is not as daunting as it seems.

If You Go Big, Get Help
If two separate menus – one normal, one gluten free – is your culinary choice, don’t shoulder the burden alone. Enlisting a second cook will greatly reduce the time needed to prepare the meal, and two chefs working separate tasks with different utensils in opposite corners of the kitchen will drastically reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Don’t Forget the Drinks
Beverages can sometimes be relegated to an afterthought when planning a meal, but they shouldn’t be, especially if going gluten free is a concern. Many sodas, pre-mixes, hot ciders, hot cocoa and grain alcohols are a no-no – they are laden with gluten. However, wine is always a winner!

Be Safe, Not Sorry
If you have any doubts whatsoever if something is completely gluten-free – from supplies to groceries – do not serve it to your guests. Err on the side of caution.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Amy's Story

Growing up on a farm in Missouri, I was fortunate to be surrounded by foods I loved to eat: fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses and much more. As I grew up I held onto my love for those foods, but it became harder to enjoy them because they began to wreak havoc on my digestion. 

About five years ago, increased stress in my life made the situation even worse. Then two years later, I was diagnosed with Celiac – an autoimmune disease that required me to eliminate gluten from my diet. This was a real shock to my life: While many adopt gluten-free meals out of choice, mine suddenly became an absolute necessity.  

As an avid business traveler, these nutritional hurdles simply did not mesh with my lifestyle. In fact, they became a pain and often created socially awkward moments. Packing my car or luggage with appropriate snacks prior to a trip became a laborious routine. And going to the concession stand, food court or airport vending machine became frustrating and often embarrassing because there were few things I could eat. 

Seeking a Gluten-Free Solution

Why hadn’t someone addressed this need? Why couldn’t there be a healthy, gluten-free alternative that is easy to access while on the go? That potential ignited a spark inside me, and provided the initial motivation to launch iBGFree.

I set out to provide quality, gluten-free, on-the-go foods that could be conveniently purchased through vending machines. My vision was to place them in airports, schools, malls and anywhere they could benefit those like me: people with a medical need to eliminate gluten from their diet, as well as those choosing to live gluten free.

However, it’s not just about convenience. It’s also about being part of a social fabric and being able to participate and enjoy the very basic act of breaking bread with others (tough since I can’t eat the bread!). Too often I’ve felt excluded because I am living gluten free. Through iBGFree, I’d like to do my part to end that reality for everyone who is eliminating gluten from their diet. 

My goal is simple – to provide good-tasting, healthful, grab-and-go snacks that everyone can enjoy as an alternative to greasy chips or fattening candy.

Beyond Just Gluten Free

Now don’t get me wrong, I remain a huge fan of tasty, fun treats and taste is a huge factor as I select foods for the iBGFree machines. Yes, the treats I choose must meet my strict standards for a gluten-free diet but just as importantly, they must taste really good. Finally, they have to be accessible. Whether shopping, traveling or attending a sporting event, everyone should have easy access to travel-ready, gluten-free foods that taste good and promote wellness.  

Looking Ahead

Aiding people like myself, and helping people in general be healthier, by making that access a reality is my personal mission. Through our brightly colored iBGFree vending machines and helpful tips on this site, we aim to make that vision a reality. 

This is a journey we will share together and I am eager to hear your stories and feedback along the way – so please feel free to share.   

Wishing you good health.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gluten Free Fast Foods

Fast food catches a bad rap, but despite its unhealthy reputation, some chains do have options for us gluten-free customers. Knowing where to go as well as what – and what not – to order are musts when considering adding drive-thru nutrition to your gluten-free diet.

Here are some of my favorite g-free fast food options:

  • A dedicated gluten-free menu including bunless hamburgers, salads, baked potatoes and chili.  Many locations use dedicated fryers, so be sure to ask.
  • Click for gluten free at Wendys
 In-and-Out Burger
Burger King
Boston Market
Some fast food chains to avoid if you’re going gluten-free:
  • McDonald’s
  • Taco Bell

Remember to always request that those preparing your food, change gloves for your order, clean the grill before preparing or use a dedicated, gluten-free surface. Always confirm that your French fries or other fried items are cooked in a dedicated fryer and that the oil has not been recycled from one vat to another (meaning that older oil that was used for all fried foods is now used only for fries, etc…). 

For more information on iBGFree and living a gluten-free lifestyle, check out our website

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gluten Free – On the Go

It’s late. You haven’t eaten in hours. Your flight is leaving soon and all the restaurants in your wing of the terminal are closed. You don’t have time to go out and come back through security, but you also need to avoid that greasy bag of chips and that processed candy bar in the machine next to the restroom. What do you do?

Taken for granted so often in this day and age, is one’s ability to eat on the go. Options are all around us, from grab-and-go choices in your pantry, to fast food chains, to the snack aisle at your local gas station. Also taken for granted? That those on-the-go choices are good for us. Hint: they’re usually not.

Enter iBGfree. iBGfree serves the gluten-free community as a resource for healthy, convenient food and informative, fun content. iBGfree was born out of the necessity for gluten-free, on-the-go snacks in venues where they traditionally do not exist. We provide fun, great-tasting, easy-to-access food for those living a gluten-free lifestyle.

New iBGFree vending machines will be popping up within shopping centers, tourist destinations, entertainment venues – you name it. They might be situated next to a candy or movie dispenser, but what you’ll get from an iBGFree machine won’t be processed goop or the latest box-office smash.

Instead, within iBGFree machines you’ll find health-focused, great-tasting options for those seeking a quick meal. Dispensed like candy bars or bags of chips, iBGFree machines ensure millions seeking healthy food choices will be able to have anytime, anywhere access to quality, individually packaged, gluten-free food and drink.

Here online, iBGfree strives to be a one-stop shop for all things gluten free: helpful information, entertainment, gluten-free human interest stories, helpful tips and the like. We’re also connected to our customers via all the usual social media channels, so give us a follow today.

iBGfree founder Amy’s reason for creating the venture is simple: “My mission is aiding people like myself, and helping people in general be healthier.”

iBGfree will strive to do just that, in multiple ways. Check back weekly here for blogs, and around the web for more iBGfree information. In your region, be sure to watch for the debut of health-conscious iBGfree machines.