Did you know that May is National Celiac Month? We didn’t either! #LatePasses all around! One out of every 141 Americans have been diagnosed with celiac disease and brands and venues alike are creating celiac-friendly offerings more than ever.

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What is Celiac Disease? A digestive disorder in which the small intestine has an immune reaction to gluten causing intestinal damage and the inability to absorb certain nutrients.

Not affected by celiac but are looking to adopt a gluten free diet? Well you are in luck, because you can start as soon as your next brunch. Executive chef Kelvin Fernandez from The Strand Hotel in New York City has put a gluten-free twist on some American brunch classics: Pancakes and Bellinis! So read on sis to find out if a gluten free diet is right for you, and if so, how easy and enjoyable it can be.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease.

  • Abdominal pain, bloating, gas, or indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bruising easily
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Muscle cramps and joint pain
  • Nosebleeds
  • Seizures
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Unexplained short height

Right To Be Gluten Free

In recent years gluten free diets have become more and more popular and have even found a place in the weight loss fad line up. However like most diets and fads the pros and cons are worth exploring. So first up, the pros. Taking on a gluten diet can lead to a healthier diet filled with less processed foods since higher quality grains, like quinoa, are introduced and a greater emphasis is put on fruits and vegetables. In addition to this label reading and more awareness of food increases when a gluten diet is adopted.

Now the cons. Not all carbs have gluten, however often times there is a large reduction in carbohydrate intake (due to lack of education) when one initially takes on a gluten free diet. This reduction not only leads to a lack of proper nutrients (fiber being the main one) but can even lead to possible weight gain: many gluten-free products contain higher levels of fat and sugar and over-consumption in the name of “gluten free eating” can eventually pack on extra pounds. Now the choice is yours ladies – you now have the knowledge to be or not be gluten free.

Gluten Free Brunch Coming Right Up!

Check out these two easy twists on American brunch favorites that are super easy and super yummy!

The Strand Hotel’s Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon and Blueberry

From Executive Chef Kelvin Fernandez

1 2/3 C skim milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice

2 cups pancake mix ( Gluten Free Baking Mix), I prefer Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix

1 cup part skim ricotta cheese

2/3 cup  blueberries fresh

Mix together all the above ingredients. Fire up the griddle and cook these flapjacks a few minutes per side (until brown). Told you it was easy…

Peach Bellini

Most alcohol is derived from wheat, barley, or rye but sippers looking for a gluten free cocktail can enjoy this bellini using LeSutra. LeSutra sparkling liqueur is a great alternative for those with celiac disease. This sparkling liqueur is comprised of vodka and white wine and is completely gluten free and comes in four delicious flavors: Strawberry, Grape, Blueberry and Peach!

1.5 oz LeSutra Peach

.5 oz white peach puree

Top with prosecco

Garnish with raspberry

Serve in a flute. Cheers!

Will you be trying gluten-free recipes of your own?

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Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!

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