Interview: My Gluten Free Bakery

Last week I was traveling to mid-Missouri and decided to swing down to Jefferson City to see My Gluten Free Bakery. While there, I sat down for an interview with the owner, LaVerne Frederick.  I always love hearing stories about how someone became gluten free and how they turned it into a business.

LaVerne talks about how she determined she had to be gluten free, how she planned and opened the business, what products she offers, and what she has planned for the upcoming months.  It was very informative and interesting.

She offers more products than any other gluten free bakery I have ever heard of.  She will also modify her products to meet many different dietary needs.  Please view all of her products on her website.

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Afterward, I got to sample some of her fresh products.  Her bread, chocolate cupcake, and cinnamon roll were outstanding!  I had to buy some things to take home with me.  I’ve been enjoying them all week.

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Here is one excerpt of the interview where she nearly gives away all of her secrets for gluten free Twinkies and Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits.

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My Gluten Free Bakery

312 W. Dunklin Street

Jefferson City, MO  65101

(573) 634- 3733

www.myglutenfreebakery.com

Gluten Free Lifestyle Survey

I am always thinking about ways to make life easier. My current, and will be lifelong, obsession is the gluten free industry. Please take this survey to help us decide what products and ideas to finally put into action. It is only 20 questions and confidential. Thank you!

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Debra’s Story: Orchestrates the Meals

Here is Debra’s personal story via her answers to my list of gluten free questions for the Mary’s Gone Crackers contest.

1. What are your favorite restaurants? Are these different than before you followed the diet?
I’ve always liked different ethnic foods so many of the same restaurants are fine (e.g., Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Thai). I now also go to steakhouses since they tend to have the fewest dishes with gluten.

2. Are food industry workers knowledgeable about Celiac disease?
Not very many are but I always ask for recommendations from the chef and often the chef will even come out to ask about my meal.

3. Do you trust that the food you receive from restaurants/friends/family members is gluten free?
I trust restaurants more than friends, simply because I expect that chefs will have some knowledge of ingredients and what is and is not gluten free (although in a recent restaurant experience, the chef told me a dish contained soy sauce but it was gluten free so I asked him to check the ingredients on the soy sauce and he was surprised to see it contained wheat).

4. What were some things you believed about Celiac disease that have proven false?
I can’t think of any at the moment.

5. What precautions do you take when eating at family and friends’ houses?
I always go over ingredients in dishes with friends and do not eat dishes which might be questionable. At my parents house, we always cook gluten free and my sister and I orchestrate the meals to be sure that they are gluten free.

6. What is the biggest difficulty with having Celiac Disease?
Eating out with friends and family.

7. What are the foods you missed the most?
Pretzels and beer, especially dark beer.

8. Does your significant other/friends eat gluten free with you?
My husband has been wonderful and he went mostly gluten free at home from day one. The one exception was bread; we needed to find a bread he would like since he eats most of the bread in our house. Once we did that, our house is now only gluten free.

9. If you initially did not follow the gluten free diet. What made you change your mind?
I have followed it since I was officially diagnosed with celiac and felt better within 2 weeks.

10. Has Celiac Disease affected aspects of your life other than your diet and health?
Yes, I dislike always having to explain to coworkers, friends and family about celiac and what I can and cannot have. I would just like to go out and order whatever I wanted and not think about the ingredients.

11. Why did you start your blog? What are your goals with the blog?*
I don’t blog but I do tweet! (Follow Debra on Twitter)

12. What are the most common topics on the blog?*
I tend to tweet about exercise and food!

Laurie’s Story: Avoids Chains Like The Plague

Here is Laurie’s personal story via answers to my list of gluten free questions for the Mary’s Gone Crackers contest.

What are your favorite restaurants? Are these different than before you followed the diet?
We tend to eat at the same independent neighborhood eateries. I have avoided chains like the plague, but I am encouraged by the thought of GF menus in more “big name” places.

Are food industry workers knowledgeable about Celiac disease?

No. Nope, and just plain “not even close”. The staff at any restaurant turns over too fast for there to be any lasting impact on training. Lanuguage barriers are most often the problem.

Do you trust that the food you receive from restaurants/friends/family members is gluten free?
Not really, given that I have told them that I can’t have anything with “wheat” and they sub “spelt” noodles (which are wheat), or think by giving me white bread, it is then transformed from “wheat bread” … it’s all very disheartening. Making the gravy with “flour” doesn’t make it less of a wheat product for me.. it’s still just as toxic.

What were some things you believed about Celiac disease that have proven false?
That I can live day to day without gluten.

What precautions do you take when eating at family and friends’ houses?
Absolutely bring and prepare separate food. No question. Do not trust that they even begin to understand cross contact. Make or bring your own food. It’s not worth being sick just to be polite.

What is the biggest difficulty with having Celiac Disease?
Systemic reactions to wheat, rye, barley, oats or sorghum or any other grain product that was ever stored in the same grain bin as wheat or grown in rotation the year after wheat was grown in that field, or hauled in the same truck. It goes way beyond intolerance to wheat.
20PPM is still too much for me.

What are the foods you missed the most?
I have found my way to GF versions of everything.

Does your significant other/friends eat gluten free with you?
No. He insists on his daily ration of gluten. Why, I have no idea other than he thinks he is entitled to it in some way.

If you initially did not follow the gluten free diet.  What made you change your mind?
Initially I was told to eat “wheat free”… but not gluten free. I was sicker than ever.
Serious health consequences resulting from doctor lack of advice, knowledge, guidence in anything “gluten free”. They continue to tell me they know nothing about how to live gluten free… even prescribing medications that have wheat as an ingredient. They are clueless.

Has Celiac Disease affected aspects of your life other than your diet and health?
not really

Janelle’s Story: Carries Own Soy Sauce

Here is Janelle’s personal story and answers to my list of gluten free questions for the Mary’s Gone Crackers contest.

What are your favorite restaurants? Are these different than before you followed the diet?

I never ate out much, I have always cooked.  I have had to adjust almost every recipe I use and it was very overwhelming at first.  I have finally gotten to the point that I feel like I can make all the things I used to make for my family but in a safe, gluten free way.  We eat at Chipotle when we go out ten times for every once we go to another restaurant.  They have safe food and have always been very accomodating with us.


Are food industry workers knowledgeable about Celiac disease?

We have had very good luck with this, seems every time we try a new place our server will either know a celiac or at least be familiar with gluten. Of course we have had the servers who say they understand and then bring the meal with a large slice of french bread on top or gravy over everything.  Generally speaking things seem to be improving in this area.
Do you trust that the food you receive from restaurants/friends/family members is gluten free?

I trust the food I get from friends the most.  They all seem to understand and really try hard, sometimes TOO hard, to help us out.   I am suspect in restaurants when I don’t know what is going on in the kitchen unless our server is knowledgeable.  When they come back and comment on something gluten related like having left off the croutons or whatever I am happy.  It lets me know they really do get it.  Family, sadly, I don’t trust at all.  I have watched them sabotage us.  I think they are offended we don’t eat their cookies or pies.  I have even had them lie to me that something didn’t have gluten when I clearly watched them add a gluten filled ingredient!  I think it is denial, they may have the problem, too, but don’t want to know.  They would rather be sick than have to take the trouble to be gluten free.
What were some things you believed about Celiac disease that have proven false?

I was depressed for at least 3 months thinking we would  have to give up so many of our favorites.  I have found that replacements are either available, or can be prepared, for almost every item.  OK, I still haven’t found good beer!  But otherwise I think the food we eat now is actually better than what we ate Pre-Celiac.
What precautions do you take when eating at family and friends’ houses?

We make sure they are aware of the situation so they understand why we don’t eat everything.  Where it is possible, like at a children’s party, I try to find out the menu ahead of time and replace the items they will serve that we can’t eat.  I keep cupcakes in the freezer for the kids to take to birthday parties, I also keep slices of baked pizza frozen so they can be microwaved.  Seems like every kids party has pizza!  Otherwise we just eat what we know is GF, enjoy the company of our friends, and if we leave hungry we eat again later!
What is the biggest difficulty with having Celiac Disease?

Travel.  We are pretty good at it now, but handling all of the meals when you may not even have access to a grocery store isn’t easy.  We have learned what types of foods are safe at what types of restaurants.  Sushi is always a good choice… we carry our own soy sauce.  Planning is the key.  We always make sure we have food with us unless we are sure we will be in an area that will have GF foods available.
What are the foods you missed the most?

Cookies.  It took me a while to get good at making them.  And pizza, of course.  Now that there are frozen crusts that are pretty good that is not such a problem even when we don’t have time to make one ourselves.  Beer is still a problem.  GF beer is just too sweet!
Does your significant other/friends eat gluten free with you?

I am actually the non-Celiac in my family.  I gave up gluten when everyone else had to.  It is easier to maintain a gluten free home than to worry if there is cross-contamination.  I don’t cheat, either!  Even when I go out alone or with friends I eat gluten-free.  I won’t make my family do something that I won’t do myself.
If you initially did not follow the gluten free diet.  What made you change your mind? n/a
Has Celiac Disease affected aspects of your life other than your diet and health?

It has changed the way I live in many ways.  I spent about the first three months on the computer trying to get the information I needed to get everyone healthy and follow the GF lifestyle.  And I find I am still on the computer at least a couple hours a day now.  Part of it is still research, some for recipes, but now part of it is sharing my information with others via blog responses and my own new recipe blog.  I have made friends through the GF community and I share online with them as well.  I am more outgoing with people.  I have had to be to make sure they understood what we were dealing with (like in restaurants.)


Why did you start your blog?  What are your goals with the blog?*

I started my blog  “Living(Gluten)Free.blogspot.com” to share my recipes with friends.  I got lots and lots of requests and rather than continue to send them via email or snail-mail, I decided I would add them to the blog.  I will continue to add recipes as I have time and I hope to put it all on a disk one day for my daughters to use when they are cooking for themselves.  All three of them have Celiac disease.
What are the most common topics on the blog?*

My blog is all recipes.  I occasionally add a short story if it is related to the recipe.  This is for my girls, sort of like scrapbooking!  I want to spend more time on it, make it a lot better, but right now time is limited so I just do what I can.

Velmoose’s Story: Tired of Being Sick

Here is “Velmoose’s” personal story and answers to my list of gluten free questions for the Mary’s Gone Crackers contest.

What are your favorite restaurants? Are these different than before you followed the diet?

Outback Steakhouse and a local Mexican place.  I’ve always loved Outback.
Are food industry workers knowledgeable about Celiac disease?

Sometimes, I’m finding more and more servers and so on who know more about it, usually because they have a family member with celiac.
Do you trust that the food you receive from restaurants/friends/family members is gluten free?

If I go to a place I’ve been to before and order something I’ve ordered before, I trust it.  Otherwise, no.
What were some things you believed about Celiac disease that have proven false?

Yes, that you can cheat sometimes.
What precautions do you take when eating at family and friends’ houses?

I ask lots of questions about what will be served and offer to bring along something to share that I’m sure will be safe.
What is the biggest difficulty with having Celiac Disease?

People who just don’t get that I’m not trying to be difficult about what I can and can’t eat, that I don’t have a choice.
What are the foods you missed the most?

‘real’ pizza
Does your significant other/friends eat gluten free with you?

My husband will eat rice pasta but that’s about it.  My 18 year old daughter will often share.
If you initially did not follow the gluten free diet.  What made you change your mind?

I was tired of feeling sick.


Has Celiac Disease affected aspects of your life other than your diet and health?

Not really.


Why did you start your blog?  What are your goals with the blog?*

I haven’t started a blog, GF is just part of my life.  I sometimes share about it on my Sparkpeople.com blog though.

Free MGC Giveaway Contest

I can’t “love” many of my favorite foods anymore, but after switching to gluten free, there are two things I do love: Mary’s Gone Crackers and hearing other people’s stories.  For the next month, I am able to combine the two!

The Contest: Answer as many, or as few, of the following questions as you wish.  EMAIL your answers to me.  I will post them as a new article on my blog so that others can enjoy and learn from your story.  After many submissions, a third-party will then select which three responses they enjoy the most and another three as runners-up.

The Prizes: The first three selected will receive a box of Mary’s Gone Crackers goodies!- including Mary’s Gone Crackers in original, Caraway, Black Pepper, Herb and Onion and Sticks & Twigs in Sea Salt, Chipotle Tomato, and Curry.  Please visit their website for more information on these great products.  The runners up will each receive a Gluten Free Awareness Wristband.

The Questions: Recently, my sister had to interview someone and write a paper on a food related business.  My answers can be found HERE.  Here are your questions to choose from:

  1. What are your favorite restaurants? Are these different than before you followed the diet?
  2. Are food industry workers knowledgeable about Celiac disease?
  3. Do you trust that the food you receive from restaurants/friends/family members is gluten free?
  4. What were some things you believed about Celiac disease that have proven false?
  5. What precautions do you take when eating at family and friends’ houses?
  6. What is the biggest difficulty with having Celiac Disease?
  7. What are the foods you missed the most?
  8. Does your significant other/friends eat gluten free with you?
  9. If you initially did not follow the gluten free diet.  What made you change your mind?
  10. Has Celiac Disease affected aspects of your life other than your diet and health?
  11. Why did you start your blog?  What are your goals with the blog?*
  12. What are the most common topics on the blog?*

Submitted Answers:

Frequently Asked Gluten Free Questions

On a daily basis, I check to see what search terms people used to end up on my blog.  Some are pretty basic and some get complicated.  I am going to try and cover a bunch of them now…

Chipotle: My “go to” for a quick and tasty meal.  I can always find one nearby when in a hurry.  I get a chicken burrito bowl!  I like it so much, I decided to make my own at home.  It was pretty good.  Every time I go, I watch the cooks to pick up tips and the little ingredients.

Free Wristbands: My wristbands are not free, but I do offer a couple ways to get yours free for helping spread the word about them.  I did give a handful away for free during the gluten free Twitter party #gfree.

Bakeries: There are some great bakeries out there that make gluten free items.  Lots of them are even supplying restaurants so they can offer their version of gluten free plates.  I started a list of gluten free bakeries sorted by state.

Jokes: I would have never guessed that so many people would search for jokes about celiac.  I guess when the symptoms are “dirty,” you could call these dirty jokes!

Margaritas: Yes, margaritas are gluten free!  There are lots of different ways to make them, but I posted my favorite.  I can’t think of anything that is normal in margaritas that could contain gluten.  This is always one of my safe bets.  I used to love a nice cold beer on a hot day(or any occasion) but good margaritas are doing the trick for me now.

Magazine: There are a few magazines about living gluten free: Delight (that I wrote a review of), and Gluten Free Living.

Effects of Gluten/Sleepy/Lethargic:  I didn’t have the typical stomach symptoms, so it was tough for me to make the switch to gluten free and keep on track.  After years of delaying my switch, I noticed I was always tired and could care less about many things.  After switching, I feel great and alert!  When I accidentally get ‘glutened’ I can tell a difference in how I feel that day and the next morning.  I wake up after sleeping 10 hours and think back to something I ate yesterday.

Beer/Light Beer/Redbridge/Bud Light: NO, Bud Light is not gluten free!  YES, Redbridge is gluten free!  There are many alternatives now and many more to come!  ARTICLE

Taquitos: You have to watch out when buying or ordering taquitos,  they can have hidden sources of gluten.  First, you need to make sure they use corn tortillas.  Second, frequently even ground beef can have gluten added to it.  I wrote an article about some taquitos I found that state on the box GLUTEN FREE.

Pizza: Pizza is one of the things I miss the most.  I used to be able to go to the Little Ceasar’s and get a $5 pizza- how convenient, cheap and good.  I can’t do that anymore.  Here are a list of places that serve gluten free pizza.  Through trial and error, I have found some good ones.

#gfree: This was a Twitter tag that is used to categorize Tweets when talking about gluten free.  It was started when we had a gluten free party day.  The #gfree party was a huge sucess, and I hope to see many more in the future.  People continue to use it.

I hope this article has helped give you quick references to the most frequently searched terms on my site about gluten free.  I’m sure I will add more in the future.