It was nice meeting you [insert time and place]. I do hope I can help you in any way. I'm even up for going grocery shopping with you just to make it less stressful and complicated. So, if you're up for that, just let me know and we'll schedule something!
Anyway, I'm sure you've done some basic research and have come across www.celiac.com. They are an outstanding resource. www.glutenfree.com also provides great information and great gluten-free products (They also have the lowest shipping cost among online distributors).
I have become quite the connoisseur of gluten-free foods and restaurants that offer gluten-free menus. It's amazing how much more accessible a gluten-free lifestyle has become over the past 7 years. Food manufacturers are labeling products as "Gluten Free". When I was first diagnosed, it seemed as though "gluten" was a foreign word that wasn't understood in any language, but now it has become rather commonplace for people to know about gluten and Celiac Disease. Many people I meet can -- at the very least -- say they have another friend with Celiac Disease. So, that the good news. When you go out to restaurants, you should definitely ask the server if s/he knows about gluten. I've also found it helpful to talk about it as an allergy instead of what it really is: an autoimmune disease. The majority of people can relate to allergies, but not many can comprehend "autoimmune".
Great gluten-free brands: Whole Foods Market Gluten-Free Brand, Glutino, Enjoy Life, Kinnikinnick, Dr. Schar, Amy's (they also offer some very good frozen meals), Think (energy bars).
I'd avoid these brands at all costs: Ener-g, Mrs. Leeper's
Websites: www.glutenfree.com, www.glutensolutions.com, www.kinnikinnick.com, www.celiac.com, www.celiac.org.
I don't buy anything online anymore because I've been able to find everything I need in stores around the area. But, if you don't ant to go on a hunt, it's an easy way to get the food you want delivered right to your front door!
Restaurants that offer gluten-free menus: P.F. Changs, Pei Wei, Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Roy's Restaurant, Legal Sea Foods, Bluestone, Chipotle, and others are popping up all the time.
Grocery Stores: Wegman's, The Natural, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, Superfresh
Foods I consider almost normal tasting:
Van's Gluten-Free Frozen Waffles, Whole Foods Brand Sandwich Bread (toasted), Whole Foods Pizza Crusts, Muffins, Pie Crusts, Mini-Pies, Cookies, Scones, etc...(anything in that freezer case is delicious!), Glutino Pretzels (they don't actually taste like a regular pretzel but they're still good!), Tinkyada Tricolor Fusilli Pasta and Lasagna Noodles, Glutino Personal Sized Frozen Pizzas, Alexia French Fries
In the beginning, grocery shopping is an extremely tedious process. But, as you find products you enjoy, they will become the new staples in your diet. I still read lables, but I no longer have to match up the label with lists of safe and unsafe ingredients. I'm able to quickly scan across a label and identify if it's safe for me to eat that food. Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's and Wegman's provide lists of products that are gluten-free.
A few other notes:
Watch for cross-contamination: toasting bread in a toaster that has had gluten in it, preparing foods on the same surface as something that has had gluten, etc...
All gluten-free bread has to be toasted for it to be even remotely edible! I don't know why, but I guess it is what it is!
If I think of anything else, I will be sure to send you the information, and please, please don't hesitate to contact me!