You Can Teach Children About Allergies

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With the passing of time, society has slowly started to realize the severity of allergies and the potential in which they can kill. Peanuts have been banned from schools, buses and some public places and followed up with praise from those who require this step to lead a safe life. It’s a step in the right direction to protect the ones that matter the most. The ones that can’t defend themselves and need everybody to watch over them; the children.

And every step taken towards allergy awareness is important.

For the most part, some children don’t understand the fuss that is put over them. It’s both a good an bad thing. If children can be taught about what could kill them, in food form, then they have an easier way to protect them in the future. A smart child coupled with caring adults makes the world of difference.

A good example of the tragedy and triumph of allergies in pop culture is in the television show ‘Freaks and Geeks’ where one character is deathly allergic to peanuts and a bully in the school thinks he is faking and puts peanuts in his sandwich at lunch time. The show was filmed in 1999 but takes place in 1980. Just based on this one series of events, you get a true idea of how far allergy awareness has come. And every step taken towards allergy awareness is important.

Teaching a child at a young age about the food that can harm them is a extremely double edged sword:

One one side, by educating a child, as young as possible that a specific food type could harm them to an scary degree is teaching child to take part in protecting themselves. But, what if knowing to much about what could harm them creates an introvert who refuses to participate in activities? Or creates a little person who is almost ashamed to do anything and doesn’t feel like they will fit in.

On the other side, by not teaching a child about what can harm them and attempting to do it on your own is dangerous. They would have no clue as to what to expect and when/if it happens, it is scary.

“Allergy to peanuts appears to be on the rise in children. According to a FARE-funded study, the number of children in the U.S. with peanut allergy more than tripled between 1997 and 2008.1 Studies in the United Kingdom and Canada also showed a high prevalence of peanut allergy in schoolchildren.” -from the FARE website

No allergy or food intolerance is worse than the other. Each one needs to be taken seriously.

With peanuts taken out of school and the proper care taken in the public, peanut allergy awareness has been elevated to incredible and commendable heights. The awareness surrounding gluten intolerance or celiac disease still needs a lot of work. We can’t be in the classroom with the kids and see what happened when they eat their gluten-free lunch, or say a five year old in kindergarten trying to explain why they can’t share snacks with their desk buddy. Sometimes the misinformed diet (which is also the fad dieter’s gluten-free diet) projects in your family and out onto a your child, which they then repeat to a child who cannot defend themselves when they are made fun of for being gluten-free.

A child with a legitimate and medically diagnosed gluten-free diet can’t share the cupcakes at the school pop and cheap party and shouldn’t really play with the wheat-based plasticine.

It all comes down to the message I received. It broke my heart, and I can’t not think about it.

No allergy or food intolerance is worse than the other. Each one needs to be taken seriously.

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a 4 year old saying this to his mom

If you’re an adult who bad mouths allergies or fad diets, do what you want, just be aware of who is around you. If one child hears it and that information trickles down to a fellow student with deadly food issues… the cycle will never stop.


King Gluten Free is a diagnosed celiac since 2008 and his children don’t have allergies or gluten issues, but his family member do. Sometimes all a 4 year old needs is a role model who can’t eat gluten. I want to be there for him. Find Jordan Middlebrook (AKA King Gluten Free) at Instagram by clicking HERE

I Review Gluten-Free PowerBar ProteinPlus Bars

I was diagnosed with celiac disease (an autoimmune disease where the lower intestine’s ability to absorb the protein ‘gluten’ is practically impossible) in 2008 when I was 27 years old and at that point in my life I was well into being an adult. I had a full time job, I was married, I owned a house and I was getting ready to start a family. In the 27 years leading up to my celiac diagnosis I HAD NEVER EATEN A POWERBAR.

It wasn’t that I was ever actively avoiding them, it’s just that there was a never a though too grab one as I was on the go. I knew they existed, the idea of a PowerBar is steeped in pop culture that its hard not to think about PowerBar as THE nutritional, energy and protein bar. As I grew up, movie characters where saying they were going to grab a PowerBar or scenes in television had someone eating one or again, mentioning them. It’s funny how in all those years I never tasted a PowerBar, and now as a 36 year old man, I’m diving in. Head first. Mouth first. Eyes first. Now its just starting to sound weird how many firsts. Welcome to me eating a PowerBar for the first time.

I am no science guy. I understand things and how they work.

In 2016 PowerBar created the entirely gluten-free ProteinPlus Bars: lower sugar, 20 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre. When all balled up into portable bar form, you get a handy little pick me up.

With celiac disease, any individual like myself needs to eat 100% gluten-free in order to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle.

If there is anything you need to take away from learning about what celiac disease is; its just that, what you read above. Having gluten-free food options is always a plus, and when protein bars like these new PowerBar ones come out and are readily available for us diagnosed celiacs on the go, its a blessing in disguise.

There are two new gluten-free flavours:

Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter is exactly what you think it is. The description of the actual bar ends up being exactly how it tastes. There have been times when you might have a protein bar and there is a subtle, if not heavy taste of chemicals, the gluten-free PowerBar ProteinPlus was no where near that. And judging by how heavy the box was when I picked it up, I had a sense that it would be that way. The opposite is in fact true; the Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter bar could also double as a candy bar in a grocery store. While the bar might feel heavy, it’s perfect in taste.

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make sure you watch the video at the end of this review to see me eating a PowerBar for the first time

If not for the fact that, too much protein would do me in, I could eat a box of these bad boys with no problem. The Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter was a surprise to my taste buds, a good surprise.

I am no science guy. I understand things and how they work. The idea behind protein and energy related to the human boy isn’t lost on me. The PowerBar Trisource blend of three different types of protein kinda blew me away. The blend is designed to digest at different intervals throughout out the day to continue providing energy to your person. Its funny how the simplest answer like sustainable energy for your body via varying breakdown times makes so much sense. Its what you need to keep going.

The new gluten-free PowerBars ProtienPlus did work for me over the few weeks I had a box of them at my side.

The Lemon Poppy Seed by PowerBar was a tough one to wrap my head around. Right off the bat, I’m not a fan of lemon flavoured food. I will avoid it at all costs. I waited until last to try the Lemon Poppy Seed bar because frankly I’m just not keen on it. The front of the box has a loaf of bread to entice you to think of this wheel consuming the new gluten-free bar, and the look of the actual bar, when opened, was exactly like what a loaf of lemon poppy seed would. It was crazy. Taste wise, okay. It was a lighter flavour that I truly expected, which isn’t bad, but I felt it was a little more dry that in should have been. Granted, I may be biased to the fact that its lemon, and it was well enough tasting, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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it looks like a loaf of bread put into bar form. I can appreciate the science behind that.

PowerBar was often asked in their products were gluten-free and now they can claim that the two new products, the ProteinPlus bars and it’s two flavours are gluten-free. Formulated to give you energy and work with your body. As a father of a six year old girl who never stops moving. A full time outdoor property maintenance worker. A cartoonist for an international magazine and a television host can mean a lot of meals on the go, and with all those jobs and work, a lot energy needs to be filled. The new gluten-free PowerBars ProtienPlus did work for me over the few weeks I had a box of them at my side. And along with the fact they worked for me, the Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter tasted great.

 


I was paid for this review and received free product by PowerBar Canada. Make sure you click all the links in the above review to take you to the PowerBar site and find out for yourself how you feel about the ProtienPlus bars by PowerBar.

My Trip to the Glutenberg Craft Brewery

Everywhere you look there are companies, not just food companies, out there trying to create the idea they operate as a industrious family. And, unless you get a chance to visit the factory of business and it’s buildings, no one ever has the opportunity to know this first hand. I had a chance to see this family atmosphere first hand when I visited the Glutenberg Craft Brewery in December of 2016.

Glutenberg and their story isn’t new to how amazing foodstuffs are created; friends wanted to create a new and great tasting gluten-free beer and through dozens of tests and over a year of trial and error they created an award winning gluten-free beer. It’s what has happened in all those years since the creation of ‘the Gutenberg Blonde’ that sets them apart from all the other beer companies: they care.

They care, not just about making a traditional beer taste with all gluten-free ingredients, but making sure that their brand treats its fans, drinkers and supporters like family.

Read the Glutenberg story directly from their site by clicking HERE.

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December in Montreal, Quebec, Canada? Yes, it was cold.

I was able to visit the Glutenberg Craft Brewery in Montreal, Quebec to tour the facility, see the process in which the gluten-free beer was made and sample some of their amazing beer flavours (most of which aren’t available in my home province of Ontario). I didn’t just get to visit Montreal (which I have never done before), I also got to take a train from Toronto to Montreal (something I also haven’t done). The whole day was filled with amazing firsts. And the tip on that iceberg was visiting the Glutenberg Craft Brewery.

While some flavours of beer I sampled didn’t come out as my favourite in the line, there was still a remarkable taste to every one of them, and every one of the gluten-free beers that Glutenberg makes deserves to be tasted and enjoyed. Glutenberg has attempted AND succeeded in doing what they originally set out to do: make a good gluten-free beer. I have had my share of gluten-free beer because I am a diagnosed celiac, some good some bad some terrible, and I can safely say that Glutenberg has their stuff together. All of their hard work has paid off and it reflects in the end product of the gluten-free beer.

What started out as a small company, Glutenberg still maintains that sense of a small company, even as it expands itself past international borders and still considering themselves a craft brewery. When looking at how in the past, traditional craft breweries where the tastes accommodating and manufactured for the area or local towns, Glutenberg is still a craft brewery, manufacturing small batches in MANY different flavours, and while doesn’t just stick to its own area, it is the craft brewery to the world. Their awards prove that.

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In January 2016, Glutenberg was just available in Ontario after being available in other provinces and territories in Canada for a number of years. Even being available in almost two dozen states in the United Sates of America. I had e-mailed the company to keep me in the loop as to when I could get some of their beer from my local liquor store. As fate would have it, as a blogger, as King Gluten Free, the Glutenberg Craft Brewery was awesome enough to send me four beers to be sampled. I. Fell. In. Love.

I wasn’t able to spend to much time in Montreal when I went to visit the Glutenberg Craft Brewery. I caught the train early in the morning on a Friday and spent five and a half hours on the train listening to music on my phone, writing Christmas cards and texting my wife. All the while anticipating my first trip to Montreal. After the afternoon spent at the brewery I was back at the train station and on my way home to Toronto via the train. It was a long day, a fruitful day and an exciting day.

I have never hidden the fact about how I feel about food and the connection I have to it as a child and even an adult. Finding a gluten-free alternative to something I had as a child now as an adult diagnosed with celiac, really does take an emotional toll on me. I remember the first time as an adult I found out that Post ‘Fruity Pebbles’ were gluten-free and proceeded to eat them as a diagnosed celiac, and all the memories of Saturday morning cartoons came flooding back to me and I wept as I ate. My spirit was filled with love and joy as I could again eat something that connected me to the past. It’s kind of like smelling something that reminded you of your passed on Grandfather…only this time, it was food.

From it’s inception, Glutenberg has been creating great gluten-free beer…

In January 2016 when the Glutenberg Craft Brewery happily supplied me with a few gluten-free ‘Glutenberg Blondes’ I was once again filled with love and the memories that took place when I was a young man who had no clue what celiac disease was and was still years away from being diagnosed with it (I was diagnosed in 2008), Glutenberg tasted like high school. While some people would say it was either the best or worst time of your life, I was taken back to the times me and my buddies would go to the cottage and drinking barley based beers or the time my little sister and I would sit in the back yard (funny enough at my Grandparent’s) and drink those same barely based beers on what we eventually referred to as ‘Fun Friday’. The Glutenberg Blonde reminded me of a beer I once loved (and could not have because of my diagnosed celiac disease) and triggered something in me that has been undying since that very first sip; my love of the Glutenberg brand.

From it’s inception, Glutenberg has been creating great gluten-free beer and expanding to create new and promising ways to help out the other craft breweries around them that need just that little bit of help. A program where the vats at Oshlag (their own non-gluten-free distillery) can be rented out to other craft breweries and make much bigger batches and maximize Glutenberg’s own competition’s profit margin and creating bigger batches of a different craft beer. Or a program that helps to distribute smaller breweries brands and help get those unknown and unnamed craft brews to those who might never get it, and help out the small guy.

Glutenberg has become the big brother to all the craft breweries it works with. I stood in a room filled with all kinds of other cans and bottles of beer and was taken aback at how Glutenberg is always helping out those who need it. Companies that are looking for that outreached hand to get their name out there. Glutenberg not only treats everyone in their brewery like family, but even their competition gets treated as such; FAMILY.

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So many litres of delicious gluten-free beer.

It’s not everyday you get to sample award winning gluten-free beer with the Chief Operating Officer of a brewery, and aside for great tasting drinks, I was treated to amazing conversation in an environment that made me feel at ease. Glutenberg not only supplies gluten-free beer to celiacs all over it does amazing things locally to recycle beer cans, and consistently sending back the spent grain to the providing farmer once Glutenberg has finished extracting the sugar from it. The farmer can then feed his soils with the spent grain. Glutenberg has different technologies to create gluten-free beer with presses and countless ways to create new and innovate products that are all gluten-free and safe for me… a diagnosed celiac.

As for how ALL the beer I tasted: (click HERE to see what they offer) I loved them all. From the Blonde to the IPA (which is one of the best beers I have ever tasted) to the White and I even got to take a stab at tasting the ASAP gluten-free beer which is only avail be in Quebec at the time of my visit. A gluten-free IPA infused with flavours of Pineapple, Simcoe Hops and Peach. All great all unique. Even tasting a gluten-free beer made with olives and another made WITHOUT maple syrup that tasted like maple syrup. All of the beers that Glutenberg allowed me to taste were just great.

While some flavours of beer I sampled didn’t come out as my favourite in the line, there was still a remarkable taste to every one of them…

 

 

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This press squeezes hard to breakdown grains. Glutenberg is the only one to utilize this tech in Quebec.

 

 

It’s not everyday you get to sample award winning gluten-free beer with the Chief Operating Officer of a brewery…

 

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All that gluten-free beer making grains

 

I spent the day travelling to Montreal, Quebec, toured a brewery, sampled gluten-free beer and had great conversations with some amazing people. Glutenberg welcomed me with open arms and if you’re not a fan of gluten-free beer, give Glutenberg a try. And if you’re a fan of drinking beer, give Glutenberg a try.

I thank everyone at the Glutenberg Craft Brewery for taking time out of their day to show me around.


My train ride to and from Toronto, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec was paid for by the friendly people at Glutenberg.

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It was a long day