If you are looking for gluten-free restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores and more in the San Francisco Bay Area, look no further. Now there’s a map! This handy guide gives locations from Mendocino to Monterey and as far east as South Lake Tahoe.
Joe Lewis, a member of the Celiac Bay Area Yahoo group, decided it was time to put together a guide for those that either suffer from Celiac Disease or have a gluten intolerance. If you were to do a search for gluten-free in San Francisco on the internet, every restaurant or store that says they serve gluten-free food will show up.
For those with Celiac Disease or a severe gluten intolerance, simply having a gluten-free menu is not enough. For these patrons, it is very important to ensure the establishment understands how to avoid cross-contamination; it is not enough to simply remove croutons from a salad or serve gluten-free pizza. For example, if the spoon that touches a gluten pizza touches the gluten-free pizza, it’s contaminated.
It may seem insignificant but this can cause tremendous pain and discomfort for people who have a severe intolerance to gluten. Any establishment that serves food has to understand the intricacies of what gluten-free actually means. Members of the Yahoo group use the email list to report both positive and negative experiences along with discussing doctors, symptoms and sharing strategies for living.
There had been a Community-driven map for the Bay Area celiac community prior to this, but for some reason the map inexplicably disappeared, possibly due to some changes within Google maps. Joe decided to recreate it last summer and took it as an opportunity to clean up the listings a bit as some businesses had come and gone and some were not really “gluten-free” any longer. He used the discussion threads on the Yahoo group to decide whether or not a business was worthy of being on the list.
So, what do the other members of the group think about this tool? Lewis says “I’ve received plenty of positive feedback. I’ve heard from people many times saying they had no idea there were so many restaurants and grocery stores with gluten free offerings in the Bay Area. This is particularly useful for us locals going out on day trips, or as a reference for folks coming in from out of town. It’s incredibly handy to have this data linked to Google Earth on my iPhone in those situations.”
Anyone can use the map. However, if you are interested in joining the Celiac Bay Area Yahoo group, you can click this link:
Here is a description of the group from the home page:
Join the Celiac Bay Area online support group to connect with the local celiac community from Santa Cruz to San Francisco. We offer each other support in our journey to better health while living with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Ask questions, exchange recipes, discover gluten-friendly restaurants and businesses, find out about local events, learn about the gluten-free diet, get product information, and, most important of all, receive support from members who are living gluten-free. This is a non-commercial, non-professional online group and only list members exchange all questions and answers. We do allow local celiac-friendly businesses to post occasional announcements. Expand your celiac horizons and learn more about the local celiac community.
Whether you are new to gluten-free or have been following the diet for some time, this tool and group are two things that are hard to live without.
Author Information: Amy Fothergill, San Francisco, CA
Amy Fothergill is the mother of two and owner of The Family Chef. She teaches cooking classes and provides consultations. She blends her culinary techniques with delicious ingredients to create gluten free, healthy dishes that the whole family enjoys.
Blog: http://thefamilychef.blogspot.com (a food blog which is a blend of gluten free and regular recipes)
Gluten-free recipes: http://www.examiner.com/x-13910-SF-GlutenFree-Food-Examiner