October 5, 2012

Eric Shepperd

Gluten-Free Scottsdale: Gluten-Free Restaurants, Tours And More

From Lady Gaga to Miley Cyrus and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, it seems going gluten-free is the latest health trend on the celebrity circuit.

While it may seem like a fad to some, the reality is that one in 133 Americans needs to be living a gluten-free lifestyle. For those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, cutting out gluten (wheat, barley and rye) isn’t just a cool thing to try — it’s a medical necessity.

So how is Scottsdale doing when it comes to being gluten-free friendly? Is it keeping up with the new trend and, more importantly, all the new people who are being diagnosed?

Ken Scheer is a Scottsdale resident and the founder of Rock A Healthy Lifestyle, a consultancy focused on helping people live gluten-free while bringing awareness to the community and restaurant industry. Scheer has been living gluten-free for 17 years; he is also dairy and soy free.

He says there are quite a few gluten-free options here in Scottsdale for dining and shopping, but the city could use some education.

“I’ve found more options in other cities, and it seems the staff is a little bit more aware of food allergies,” Scheer says.

He is working to change that here in Scottsdale and throughout the Valley by hosting Gluten-Free Foodie Tours.

Part tweet-up, part foodie event, the monthly extravaganzas introduce those in the gluten-free community to new Valley restaurants that offer gluten-free options delicious enough to satisfy the palate of a foodie.

“The response to the tours have always been positive because I highlight restaurants that take gluten-free seriously and want to target those that are living the lifestyle,” Scheer says. “The bottom line is that the biggest fear amongst those with food allergies is dining out. When individuals attend my gluten-free foodie tours they know they can have a nice meal out without worrying about getting sick.”

When it comes to gluten-free-friendly dining in Scottsdale, Scheer has a few recommendations:

Nourish 123's gluten-free, swordfish dish.Nourish 123

Scheer says Nourish 123 is the only 100 percent gluten-free restaurant in the state. The owner Kristin Carey has Celiac Disease and numerous other food allergies.

Favorite menu picks include: The turkey club, the fish tacos and the three bean chili. Another favorite is the swordfish over a bed of brown rice and mixed veggies.

Bombay Spice

Bombay Spice's Chicken Tikka Masala“I love Indian food and the restaurant is 90 percent gluten-free,” Scheer says. “Over the last year or so, I’ve met with the general manager numerous times, and he’s committed to making sure their food is safe. He takes food allergies very seriously, and they have many options for those that are gluten-free and vegans as well.”

Favorite menu picks from Bombay Spice include: Chicken Tikka Masala, Tandoori Wings and Lentil Cake Towers.

Indulge Burgers and More

Indulge Burgers' build-your-own turkey burger.“Who doesn’t love a good burger, right? But if you top it off with a good-tasting, gluten-free bun, it makes it that much better,” Scheer says. “Again, I’ve gotten to know the owner of the restaurant, and one of his biggest keys is making the dining experience for those that suffer from food allergies comfortable. I love the fact that you can build your own burger, that they bake their gluten-fries to prevent cross-contamination and that they have so many great choices that are gluten-free.”

Favorite menu picks from Indulge Burger include: Well, Ken says he gets the same thing every time. It’s the build-your-own, turkey burger on a gluten-free bun with lettuce, pickles, cranberries and carrots.

If you’re interested in checking out Rock a Healthy Lifestyle’s Gluten-Free Foodie Tours, the next tour stop is October 18th, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Genghis Grill Paradise Valley. You can register here.