Tags: Restaurant Review
Tags: Restaurant Review
I have watched Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill transform their 40+ locations into a gluten free haven for those of us who have Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. Starting with ‘gluten what’, to offering one meat and chips, to now all meats and even corn tortillas made fresh every day.
Corn tortillas are made fresh first, before wheat flour is pulled out. Most corn tortillas are made small and round, so they will use two for the burritos and often leave them open (making them not really burritos, but still good). Some locations are making large corn tortillas too. Maybe they all do, but when the large runs out, they substitute with small ones. If they run out, the will not have more until the next day. I have never seen them run out in our locations.
When you ask for gluten free options, the server will change their gloves and the same person will follow your meal through.
You will find all options available to you, as they have changed all their formulas to be gluten free. Smart. Smart.
Cross Contact is an issue in any eating establishment that uses both gluten and non-gluten ingredients. The only thing that has gluten at Costa Vida are the flour tortillas. We have found that tortillas do not leave as much traces of gluten as its bread counterpart. So luckily, to start off with, there are less chances of cross contact.
The rice is always put down first on the tortillas and if there was to be cross contact with gluten, that would be the first place I watch for it. Sometimes they will have extra rice in the back. We used to request they get that for us, or we would call as they open asking them to save rice and beans out for us, but we have gotten lazy and luckily, we haven’t gotten sick! It may be restaurant practice to not touch the spoons to the tortilla, but that is a hard one to monitor. But, we haven’t gotten sick and we always get sick if there is any gluten.
The first group of people touch the wheat tortillas and reach into the condiments on the first section so we don’t trust those condiments. BUT, the second set of condiments (the one to top the burritos) are put on with people that don’t normally touch the tortillas so those are much more safe. You can ask for condiments from the back and they have always been willing to get them for us.
Ok, the taste. YUM!!! To have their sweet port again is heaven! love, Love, LOVE that one! But their chicken, steak and beef are yummy too. Just love sweet things. We normally have the sweet pork burrito which sometimes ends up being more like an open faced burrito since they are using small tortillas, but still so very tasty and very filling.
And get this, YOU ARE NOT charged extra simply because it is gluten free. How is that for a nice break. For a community that is so used to being charged extra because either the ingredients or the time was more, it is nice to not see a difference. Let’s face it, we are ok with a little difference, but some places will charge $3-5 extra a plate, even though it is the same food. Seriously? Daily specials are $5.99 which includes drink. Big burritos are 7 or 8. They have salads and enchiladas and such too.
Costa Vida is a casual restaurant. You order your food. They make it while you follow it through and let them know what you would like. We always get away from there for 2 full dinners under $20.
Ok, so there you have it. I could put shorter posts, but today I feel like telling it all. Maybe shorter is better. What do you think?
Do you have a Costa Vida by you?
Tags: Restaurant Review
My son and husband were diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2005. We decided that we they would eat 100% gluten free with no cross contact of gluten. It took me a year to ‘figure it out,’ but finally they weren’t hungry all the time and actually had good food to eat. Back then, store bought brands were a joke. We spent too much money on bad tasting gluten free food and we gave up on bread and buying most commercial gluten free products.
After 5 years gluten free, I ran into the founders of New Grains Gluten Free Bakery and fell in love with the products and the owners. I blogged a little for them, did things on facebook and twitter, had my daughter work in their bakery and then jumped on board more full time 10 short months after it all began. All online campaigns, amazon, special projects and more are my specialty.
So after I searched all over for great tasting products, I aligned myself with the best product with the best team. You will find us soaring to the top and dominating the gluten free market. If you haven’t had a chance yet, order is online and we will ship it right to your doorstep. Let me know what you think.
100% dedicated gluten free bakery
Celiac Sprue Association Certified at below 5ppm (most strict certification)
Largest number of gluten free products available from one source
In 150 stores, over 9 states and shipping across the nation in less than 2 years
Only naturally aged gluten free sourdough known
and the BEST tasting gluten free products on the planet!!
If you would like to be a part of have them in your store, let me know and I will see what I can do.
I was answering an email on line and got very long winded. But since I basically spilled out so much of our story with Celiac Disease, I thought I would post it. The original question is on the bottom of this post. Here you go….
It sounds like the pain was related to gluten, but I am not doctor. Sharp pain like that in the intestinal track is very common. Having it radiate to other positions like your back or other side is also common from those I know with Celiac Disease or maybe even a gluten intolerance although that line is getting more grey as time goes on. They feel like gluten intolerance is only a precursor to celiac disease.
I know when going gluten free, we could tell an immediate change. After three days, we felt so much better. After two weeks, it was amazing. It wasn’t’ that we were SO sick, it was that we never felt real good. My husband and son got diagnosed at the same time.
My son was 17 and his acne was awful! We could get it clear, but if he did anything wrong like touch his face or sneeze it seemed (not sneeze, but you know what I mean) it would flair up again. I took him into the doctor for that, and when we were there, we mentioned that he was also choking on his food on occasion. I thought it was only every other month, but he told the doctor that he would choke on his food every week at school. The doctor sent him for a scope, was told that he probably had Celiac Disease but we would wait for the biopsy. As we read the info on Celiacs, I realized that my husband had more typical symptoms than my son. His best friends were Ammonium and Pepcid to help with diarrhea and heart burn. Always really gassy. Looking back, my son was sometimes so fatigued, he couldn’t even get off the couch. He is really active usually, so I just figured he had worn himself out. They both went for the blood test and it came back positive.
We went 100% gluten free (I am pretty anal about it) and like I said, I remember the bench marks of 3 days and 2 weeks and we knew we would never put them on gluten again.
Now when they get gluten or barley it effects them different. I think in the last 7 years, they have only had true gluten twice each at different times. It put my husband completely out for 4 days and bad effects for a full 2 or 3 weeks.
If my husband gets a crumb of wheat through cross contact, after 20 minutes he gets sharp pains. He says it is like a small dough ball with needles poking out of it. It hits his small intestine and he can feel it as it makes the first 3 turns. Many times he is in cold sweat and curled up on the floor in a ball. After 20 minutes, the harsh pain is gone and he is fatigued. He may or may not need to go to the bathroom and then goes to bed. So tired. Can’t move. The next day he usually wakes up and is better.
Barley is different. His stomach gets kind of bubbley after eating it. After 20 minutes he has to get to a bathroom right now. No sharp pains there, just uncomfortable.
he has never had cross contact with rye.
His sisters said they didn’t want to go on a gluten free diet because once you do, you are so much more sensitive to wheat and they didn’t want to become more sensitive. So what, you would rather be sick all the time?! Well, they finally repented and are now on their gluten free diet and sticking to it. I don’t know if they are as anal as me about it, but they don’t’ have kids with it yet. I think when your kids get it, you are more cautious.
So, my son never chokes, his face is clear except when he gets cross contact with wheat it will break out two days later, and he goes so much I can barely keep up.
That was 6 or 7 years ago. We figure my son’s celiac disease was triggered when he had a really bad viral infection that lasted about 2 weeks. Missed tons of school, so sick. He had it for about 2 years before he was diagnosed.
My husband, we aren’t sure. At least 8 years from when he lost his job, but as we look back, he wasn’t well for a long time, over a decade.
So once you go gluten free, you cannot do the blood test for Celiac with any accuracy. Even if you do a scope, sometimes the damage is repaired.
Celiac Disease just means you have to eat gluten free the rest of your life. It is genetic. Your kids or grandkids can come up with it at any time in their life if they have that gene after a traumatic experience or a viral infection.
Doctors don’t’ really know what they are doing because there are over 250 symptoms. Well, they know what they are doing, but will miss this many times.
Three months ago, my cousin (not related to my husband’s celiac family) has two daughters she has been trying to find out what is wrong forever. The 15 year old twin was in the hospital and she was calling me because the doctor wanted to take out her Collin NOW. She asked my opinion and I told her to get out of there and get a second opinion , but after talking some more and after my suggestions of how many things in her family are related to celiac, she put her on a gluten free diet. Within 3 days, her body was back to normal functions, she no longer needed an enima every day to do her business and she was out of pain. After a month of needing one and almost getting her collin out?! Her twin sister has asperger’s. They put her on the diet and her mood swings are much better. So many other symptoms that are different in each one of her siblings but they are all benefiting from the diet. Crazy. Doctors thought she was crazy too. After 8 years of taking her girls in and out of the hospital, she was the one that made the diagnosis and they are all better. Overnight, re-enrolled in public school (they had to be pulled out 3 years ago), socially able to be in a crowd and more.
So there you have it. You aren’t crazy. They were probably related. Doctors don’t know everything. But there are good ones out there. If you mention Celiac, they probably won’t want to spend the $$ to test you. Even if you have insurance. If you already went on the diet, there isnt’ really a need to….except for other members of your family. Your kids, sisters, parents. Because if they have symptoms that are completely different than yours and you can see it being caused by Celiac, they may not believe you and ever go on the diet because it is completely different than yours. And you weren’t really diagnosed with it by a doctor, you just changed yoru diet and they think how in the world could something as ‘simple’ as a diet change really change those things. I have a brother in law that is dying because of a heart problem, a nephew that is so small in stature that is 2 year old brother was bigger than him (he was 5), a neice that is so small and skinny if you blew on her she would fall over, a sister in law that could never have babies because she was infertile. Yep. It is rampant in our family.
So, my biggest friend has been a local support group. I found the Gluten Intolerant Group had a meeting near by. Went. Joined. Got into Leadership. I wanted to eat out, so I started working with Restaurants in the area and their gluten free outlook and options been improved dramatically. Starting a new Celiac Sprue Association Support group in the area and am not on the Regional Board of Directors. Found a local gluten free bakery that is amazing and became partners (www.newgrains.com) to take us national. Reach other to others like you from my twitter account @roxlive.
Why? Because someone did it for me. Because there are too many people hurting. Because there are too many doctors that don’t know what to do or whatever.
Ok, now I am on my soapbox. So, the answer is yep! It was probably related. You could find out by going back on gluten, but I wouldn’t. Not that you are feeling better.
Oh, you can do a gene test to see if you have the gene. That way if you do, than you will know that your celiac disease is active and that you should never eat gluten again and you would have proof for your family. Gene test costs about $300 and insurance won’t pay for it. Go figure. Undiagnosed Celiac Disease is the cause and #1 expense in emergency rooms across America…I heard that somewhere or it was something like that.
Ok. Now that you know way too much about me, I hope that it helps. You are not alone. Not crazy. Right on track. Keep up the good work.
Hi Ms. Roxanne,
I hope you are well. Thank you for getting back to me. I am dreadfully sorry that I have taken so long to return your note especially since you were kind enough to offer some advice.
I decided to go gluten free about three months ago. I am in pretty good heath, I just noticed some people that have done the same have lost weight and seem to be pretty healthy, excepting those with serious celiac disease.
Here is my question: Could gluten have caused a pain in my right side?
Now, if you will indulge me, I will elaborate. About 14 years ago I suffered a sharp, stabbing pain just under my right ribcage. It was short but hurt like the dickens. I went to see my doctor and he allowed that since I was 40 the pain was most probably my gall bladder having its way with me. He sent me to be examined with a sonogram. This proved nothing as my faithful gallbladder appeared to be just dandy. He allowed that it might need to be removed just the same. I’d have none of that. But as time crept along I would learn to endure more visits from the pain in my side. Eventually, it became more constant and less sharp and more like the feeling of someone pressing their thumb under my ribs. It may or may not be related but I started getting a pain in the right side of my back as well as if it radiated from the pain in my side.
Over the course of the years, I asked many doctors about the nagging affliction. I had myself a colonoscopy, and two cat scans, all showing a healthy fellow. One doctor friend suggested it might be muscular another an ulcer. Anyway, I got nothing definitive from these learned gents. Then, it was becoming unbearable and the pain was constant. I am a bit of a worrier and I self-diagnosed myself with every disease known to mankind.
Then, I went gluten free. I felt better almost right away and after about three weeks the pain was gone. Now, I occasionally get a glimpse of the pain but it is nothing like before.
Could I have an intolerance to gluten and could it have caused this pain? What do you reckon?
Thank you again for your help. I wish you all the best.
Friend From Twitter……
Whenever you are making a diet change, it can be frustrating. Mostly, I find it is because I must change my way of thinking. Here are some basic gluten free food ideas for those newly diagnosed. Enjoy!
Basic Gluten Free Food Ideas
Breakfast: Fresh Fruit, Yogurt, cottage cheese & fruit, Omelet w/cheese & vegi’s, eggs & hashbrowns, gluten free cereal, gluten free oatmeal
Snack: boiled eggs, cheese stick, fruit, vegi w/dip, tortilla chips w/refried beans
Lunch: left overs from dinner, gluten free soups, chili over beef hotdog, salad w/meat & cheese, taquitos, tamalies
Dinner: meat w/potatoes, chicken w/rice, roast w/vegi’s, bbq chicken & corn on cob & beans, taco’s on corn tortillas,
Treats: Ice cream, fruity pebble marshmellow treats, fudge
Some of my favorite popular brands with gluten free products. Remember, always check the current ingredients. General Mills Chex Cereals, Post Fruity/Cocoa Pebbles, Delimix taquitos, Stag’s Chili, Progresso GF Soups, Hidden Valley Ranch, Bush Baked Beans, Van de Kamp Pork N Beans, Kirkland beef hot dogs.
My favorite gluten free fresh products, mixes and flours come from New Grains Gluten Free Bakery. When you find a gluten free source you love, you can have your favorites grilled cheese sandwiches, french toast, pizza, brownies, cookies and more all over again! Or, you can just use mine and have it shipped from http://newgrains.com.
I just sent these ideas to my cousin. Thought I would share them here as well. If you need a sugar fix quick, here are some ideas…..
Marshmellow treats with fruity pebbles. Most fruity pebbles are gluten free, even the generic brand. I believe that cocoa pebbles are too (the name brand, not the generic brand are usually gluten free).
Bag of small marshmellows (16 oz)
1 stick (could do 2/3 stick) butter
Cut butter into squares and put in big plastic or glass bowl and put in microwave for 20 seconds
Add marshmellows into bowl and put in microwave for 1 minute
Stir for 30 seconds
Put in microwave for another 30 seconds
Stir for 30 seconds and it should be good enough if not put in micro again for 30.
Stir in 16-10 cups of fruity pebbles, depending on how much marshmellow you like in it. I never measure, so that is why I can’t tell you how much. Maybe 8 cups.
Package of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
2/3 can of sweetened condensed milk
Put chips in GLASS bowl in microwave for 1 minute
Stir well (30 seconds – minute)
Can put in micro again for 30 seconds and stir so no chuncks are left.
Add sweetened condensed milk, usually 2/3 can.
Put in pan
Let harden in fridge
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
bag of chocolate chips
Melt chocolate chips in glass bowl for 1 minute in microwave. Stir. Melt again for 30 seconds. Stir. Dip in Pretzels. Let cool on Wax wrap or plastic. Enjoy.
Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies get gluten free brownies from Betty Crocker. They are usually in the normal betty crocker section.
Microwave Brownies when you can’t wait
I like the betty crocker brownies, but if you have to have them NOW, then this one works in the microwave. Best if eatten that night with ice cream and fudge and whipped cream.
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup melted butter or 1/2 cup canola oil
• 3/4 cup sifted rice flour
• 1/2 cup sifted cocoa
• (i never sift them, fyi)
*Beat together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and salt for one minute.
*Add melted butter or canola oil. Stir well with a wooden spoon (not mixer) so that the sugar is well mixed with the butter or oil. Stir in the sifted flour, cocoa and walnuts Lightly spray or grease a glass 10 by 10 inch baking pan
*Microwave on High for 5- 6 minutes
*When done the top looks dry but will spring back.
*In a 1000 watt microwave I recommend baking on medium high for 5- 6 minutes.
Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/gluten-free-chocolate-mint-brownies-microwave-recipe-gf-86139#ixzz1wkS88Ivy
May 21st, 2012 by Roxanne
I am gong back in time to understand the new Gluten Free Labeling Laws. What were the governments initial findings in Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection
Public Law 108-282 of August 2, 2004 found that
“celiac disease is an immune-mediated disease that causes damage to the gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, and other organs.” (Sec 202 – 6A) And
“the current recommended treatment is avoidance of glutens in foods that are associated with celiac disease” (Sec 202 – 6B)
The labeling of the eight major allergens with a ‘CONTAINS’ statment applies “to any food that is labeled on or after January 1, 2006″ (Sec 203 – 2D) Wheat is included as one of the major eight allergens but Barley and Rye are not included in that list. This is why the “Gluten Free Labeling” is so important as hidden ingredient can be “derived from….a major food allergen” (Sec 202 – 5B) or “ingredients….declared as a class… [like]…spices, flavorings…are exempt from the ingredient labeling requirements.” (Sec 202 – 5C) Note that the eight major allergens and gluten free were intertwined throughout the record.
“Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with appropriate experts and stakeholders, shall issue a proposed rule to define, and permit use of, the term “gluten-free” on the labeling of foods. Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue a final rule to define, and permit use of, the term “gluten-free” on the labeling of foods. (Sec 206)
Also, “shall….pursue revisions of the Food Code to provide guidelines for preparing allergen-free foods in food establishments, including restaurants, grocery store delicatessens and bakeries, and elementary and secondary school cafeterias.” (Sec 209)
This was a good start, although weird that it was attached to as Section II to Public Law 108, which is a law about animal drugs. At least it is being addressed.
The labeling with “Contains” of the top eight allergents started January 1, 2006 as mandated, but the final ruling on gluten free was just made May 2011 and goes into effect September 2012…years after the 4 year mandated.
Responsible Parties are…..
sec 207: Improvement
a) In General.–The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in consultation with the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, shall improve (including by educating physicians and other health care providers) the collection of, and publish as it becomes available, national data on–
(1) the prevalence of food allergies;
(2) the incidence of clinically significant or serious adverse events related to food allergies; and
(3) the use of different modes of treatment for and prevention of allergic responses to foods.
sec 208: research
(a) In General.–The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the National Institutes of Health, shall convene an ad hoc panel of nationally recognized experts in allergy and immunology to review current basic and clinical research efforts related to food allergies.
(b) Recommendations.–Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the panel shall make recommendations to the Secretary for enhancing and coordinating research activities concerning food allergies, which the Secretary shall make public.
Approved August 2, 2004
Like I said, this is old news, but I am trying to understand the new laws as they go into effect and I thought I would bring you down that same road. If you feel I am incorrect in my findings, please let me know! I am not a lawyer or expert, just a member of the Celiac and Gluten Free Community.
May 3rd, 2012 by Roxanne
May is Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance Awareness Month. Let’s face it. How long did you go undiagnosed before figuring it out?! It’s all guess, from what I figure, but we think it was two years for my son and 6 years for my husband. We’ll never know, for sure. I feel like we were just lucky. Well, maybe not lucky to have Celiac Disease, but lucky that we found out. It answered so many questions, and solved so many problems when we went gluten free.
May is all about that. Helping others know more about the disease, symptoms, support systems and choices out there for a gluten free life style. Years ago, it was more like a death sentence, at least now there are some good gluten free food options out there. Restaurants are becoming more aware, stores are caring more options, manufacturers are actually making gluten free food that tastes good.
So it’s our turn to turn up the volume, to start raising the awareness in our circles, to start watching out for others. We know through research that 1 out of 22 of our close relatives are more prone to Celiac Disease. Have your children, siblings or parents been tested? Maybe this is the month. When you see that person reading labels or vacillating between gluten free products at the grocery store, do you offer your support or personal favorites? Have you found a restaurant that really knows how to safely take care of their gluten free patrons and do you share that with others? What about your favorite gluten free products?! Have you written a review on Amazon or put it out there on your social media circles.
I think anything we can do to support one another will help make a difference in raising the awareness. Isn’t it time we step up, claim our place and share our views with others. I think so. This month, the month of May, Celiac Awareness Month, is the perfect month to start! May your diets be gluten free, and may you ever be healthy!
Happy Celiac Disease – Gluten Intolerance Awareness Month!!
Apr 30th, 2012 by Roxanne
PUBLIC LAW 180-282-AUG 2, 2004 -
TITLE I-MINOR USE AND MINOR SPECIES HEALTH
Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act of 2004
This law talks about the approval of new animal drugs, the need, the marketing and public interest concerning the drug.
You can google it in its entirety or look at this link for Public Law 108-282