Gluten Free For Good


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My twenty-something daughter and I both have celiac disease, although it’s much easier for me to manage since I have virtually no social life compared to her. I’m not complaining as the thought of going out partying until all hours of the night borders on horrifying to me, but when you’re young and living in a groovy city like Chicago, maintaining a healthy (and fun) gluten-free lifestyle can be a challenge.

I just spent the past few days in Seattle at the Gluten Intolerance Group’s national conference. Part of the professional track focused on the pathology and treatment of celiac disease and what’s in the future for drug therapies. I’m passionate about increasing awareness and am thankful for the research taking place and the new product development that has made GF living so much easier now than it was a decade ago when I started on this path.

Having said that, the photo above sums it all up for me. Eat real food – wholesome nourishing food – and not only will you heal and thrive, you won’t have to stress yourself out reading cryptic food labels or risking gluten contamination.

Tevis (my daughter) took this photo last week to prove to her nutritionist mother that she’s eating well and taking good care of herself. I was thrilled with her food choices until I heard she was carting all this stuff home from the market on her custom-made bike. Winding around in city traffic. While wearing work clothes. Knowing her, she probably had on a skirt and her Jackie O sunglasses.

When I was younger, I always wanted to raise colorful, creative, adventurous kids. That’s all well and good until you actually have kids like that.

Kids who email you stuff like, “Guess what mom? I’m in Berlin right now. I’m gonna be an “extra” in a scary movie.” Or, “We’ve changed plans, we may backpack through Tasmania before going back to New Zealand.” Or, “The steelhead fishing is amazing up here, but the weather’s bad and so are the grizzlies.” Or, “The surfing here in Costa Rica is amazing, mom. You can’t believe what we’ve been doing.”

Probably not. Thank God I don’t know. And where is up here?

They owe me big time, even though I have a good idea where some of this behavior came from. My mom says I got exactly what I deserved.

But when it comes to the food part, I’m not too worried about what they’re doing. They all have a fairly good idea of what makes up a healthy diet and how to create nourishing meals. As you might have noticed, there are some random bottles of alcohol in Tevis’ photo above. Beer and cider β€” at least they aren’t bottles of tequila or whiskey. (Don’t even tell me.)

Here’s her picks for the best gluten-free beer and cider options. What are your favorites?

Tevis’ GF beer and cider picks
Green’s Gluten-Free Beer (pictured above)
Bard’s Tale Gluten-Free Beer
St. Peter’s G-Free Beer
Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider (pictured above)
Doc Smitty’s Cider (pictured above)
Original Sin Cider

Tevis’ favorite Chicago bars/restaurants that serve GF beer and cider
Map Room
Blind Robin
Twisted Spoke
The Small Bar

Melissa and Tevis (scroll down the list of DJs to find her)
P.S. Be safe and make smart choices (my “mom” mantra).

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17 Responses to “gluten-free and twenty-something in Chicago”

  1. Cid says:


    I’m with you on the motherly advice…. having children and worrying goes hand in hand. My own daughter is in her teens and never wrong πŸ™‚ It’s not just my imagination I’m sure but life is more dangerous now than it was when I was growing up…. so many mood altering substances easily available that promote extreme behaviour and so much junk food. I try to give straight talking views…. my mother used to skirt round issues so I made up my mind to ‘tell it like it is’.

    Back on track with the cider and beer… well I don’t drink either but I do cook with them from time to time. I didn’t realize they could be gluten free but I’ll remember that.


  2. What a great, sweet post! I could so relate to hearing those words from one’s child. Usually I try to be noncommital, but often go into Mom mode and get groans and “Mom, you worry too much” and occasionally, “Mom, I’m not going to call you if you start telling me what could go wrong or freaking out.” So, mostly, I listen and go “really?” at the right moments in the conversation. πŸ˜‰ I tell very little of this to Mr. GFE, because he’s a far bigger worrier than I am.

    Wonderful, healthy food! As far as carrying it all on her bike, I had a sudden vision of the scenes we’ve witnessed in other countries on mopeds … whole families (even babes in arms) on them. I’m not kidding. And, emails go around all the time showing all the things folks carry on mopeds and bikes–definitely in overload mode. Tevis has probably got a good, sensible system for transporting so much,, Melissa. Really.

    Chicago is such a fun town. Next time, I visit my friend who lives right outside the city, I’ll check out these spots. Admittedly, though I am not much of a beer or cider drinker. But if they carry gf brands, they have to have good karma, right? And, if I run into Tevis, I’ll let you know! (I enjoyed her D.J. write-up, too. Fun and clever, and she’s a very pretty girl.)


  3. CoconutGal says:

    Melissa– the first sentence of this post cracked me up!! I have no life either and it doesn’t bother me at all πŸ™‚
    I couldn’t agree more- healing and management comes from REAL food. I once again had a good reminder this weekend trying some salmon jerky– even though it was real, and I asked several questions where they insured me it was dried only salmon, honey, and salt– I am very sick today…. so something was not right! Processed anything just isn’t safe in my book. Guess it’s time I get my own dehydrator!
    Your daughter sounds like lots of fun and she’s a dj! I think it’s kind of cool that you both have celiac together, not that having celiac is cool– but that you have a partner in it ya know? You have someone to relate with, who is also your daughter!
    I’ll pass these recommendations on to my husband, who just recently went GF, DF for me (bless his heart) and dearly misses his beer.
    Thanks for the fun post Melissa and Tevis!!

  4. Melissa says:

    Good morning all,

    First off, I’ve been out-of-town and am way behind in everything, so bear with me while I catch up. Plus, I’ve found out from my blogger friend, Shirley, that some comments have been filtering into my spam folder (which I rarely check). Regular comments, not just spammy viagra ads!

    This blog is about fostering a community where we can share friendship, information, fun stories and maybe even commiserate a bit (whine, laugh, support each other). My intention is to follow up on all comments, even if it takes me awhile. I’m trying to figure out the spam thing, so hopefully I won’t miss anything in the future.

    I’ll be back later with personal responses.


  5. Melissa says:


    I don’t drink cider or beer either and other than an occasional glass of red wine, I actually don’t drink at all. But it’s interesting, the beer makers in the UK seem to be the ones more in tune with making good quality gluten-free beer. That’s changing and more US companies are on board, but it’s the Brits who got the beer barrel rolling.

    Celiac disease is (was) more prominent among northern European populations, so those are the folks who figured out the gluten-free beer drinking first. Beer seems to be a priority in the UK and in Australia, we’re just following suit over here. We’re a bit behind with the whole celiac and gluten intolerance thing. It’s actually sad as so many people go undiagnosed over here.

    About having teenagers — you’re right, they know everything at that age. It’s not easy, but I agree with you that it is more important to be forthright and open when discussing issues. I also agree that there are more stumbling blocks these days than ever before.

    Did your daughter get your “quick wit” gene?



  6. Melissa says:


    Yes, you sound like a mom to me. I laughed thinking of you casually saying, “really” to your son — all the while about to have a conniption fit.

    And then you follow it up by trying to comfort me regarding Tevis riding her bike with 25 pounds of produce and GF beer by saying “REALLY”. That cracked me up.


    Thanks, Shirley. Great comments and it sounds like we can all commiserate a bit about raising kids and having teenagers and twenty-year olds.


  7. Melissa says:


    Sometimes there are additives in jerky products — MSG, nitrates or even “secret” spice mixes that might set off a reaction in someone who is sensitive. Maybe something like that got to you, but I agree that making your own might be a better choice.

    I made a bunch of bison jerky last summer when my son and I did our monumental backpacking trip and it was a wonderful (and healthy) treat to have on hand while wandering the wilderness.

    Dehydrators are expensive, but I’ve used mine in so many ways. I love it!

    I should do a post on dehydrating and making jerky. Hmmm?

    I’ll put that on the list, after starchy veggies!


    The starchy veggie post will come one of these days, I promise.


  8. greedydave says:


    I’m not the mother of a twenty-something daughter but Tevis seems to have it all worked out. Good food, good drink and a great lifestyle. I would kill to hear some of her punk accordian.


  9. Tevis says:

    What’s up GDave? Oh, just wait for the accordion punk band! It’s slowly going to take over the world. I hear that you’re in Glasgow! I lived there for a year and went to the Glasgow Uni. for a literature masters programme. I LOVE Glasgow and miss it every day!

    Hope all is wonderful!

    Take care,

  10. greedydave says:

    Heya Tevis,

    Yeah, I’ve lived here for about a year myself now. Not exactly in Glasgow, about 25 miles to the Northwest but I get into the city quite regularly. My job moved me here this time last year and all is going well so far. Still having difficulty with the Glasgow Patter tho! πŸ™‚ Make sure you let us know when your punk CD hits the stores.

    All the best,


  11. Melissa–Chuckling here … yes, exactly–a suppressed conniption fit!! Such a good term, don’t you think? It sounds just like what it means. Regarding “really,” now I am thinking of the Saturday Night Live skits with Seth and Amy called “Really.” I KNOW you don’t stay up late enough to watch those, but they are pretty darn funny! πŸ˜‰


  12. Renee says:

    Hi Melissa –

    Has Tevis gotten in contact with the Metroceliacs in Chicago? They are a young, going-out-to-eat, city group. We left Chi-town almost two years ago now but I think the group is still going strong. Google Metroceliacs or email me and I can give you the leaders’ emails. It was a fun group.

  13. Melissa says:


    I’ll pass this along to Tevis. If Glasgow Patter is the accent, she eventually got used to it, but I had no clue what people were saying when I went to visit.

  14. Melissa says:


    You’re right, if it’s on after 8 PM, I’ve never seen it, so I have no clue who Seth and Amy are. I’ll have to check YouTube.


  15. Melissa says:


    I’ll let Tevis know about this group. Thanks for the information! I appreciate you leaving this comment — that is what’s so awesome about blogging. People helping people!

    Melissa (P.S. my middle name is Renee)


  16. Adam says:

    Great info about Chicago-area GF places! Check out my blog for info about being a 20-something with Celiac Disease!

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