Timber City Ginger Beer

Timber City Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer | Beverage | Low Sugar | Product Review

Sales and marketing manager Anna-Lise Chacon and brewer Ryan Doty stand next to the tasting table in owner’s Kara Patt and Kyle McNight’s Timber City Beer brewery in Southpark (South Seattle). Photo by Imei Hsu, published with permission.

Disclosure: Timber City Ginger Beer invited me to take a tour of their brewery. My review of their product is my own. I received a 16 ounce can of original flavor ginger beer as a gift. This is an unpaid and unsponsored product review. 

After I found out I had Celiac Disease in 2014, it wasn’t long before I also realized how gluten-free beer didn’t “work” for me. Like everyone else handed this diagnosis, I went on a hunt for everything gluten free, finding out the hard way that gluten free producers of food and beverage aren’t always making their products in your best interest rather than their bottom line. But beer is a little different. Here’s why.

Beer has a very unique flavor and hoppy properties which are difficult to replicate without barley. Most gluten-free beers are brewed with ingredients such as gluten free oats, sorghum, and millet, and in combination with the high amount of sugar to disguise any unpleasant, non beer-like flavors, a six or twelve ounce serving left me feeling ill. Not just a little ill.  A lot ill. Like crying over a toilet, cramping with diarrhea and nausea, scratching my skin raw kind of ill.

Don’t even talk to me about Omission Beer. I had one back in 2013 that left me so ill, I never thought twice about trying it again. End of story.

I can imagine what the average gluten-free beer lover might be thinking. Why would I even want to try a ginger beer, which really is in a category separate from what most of us think of as beer? Ginger beer doesn’t even have alcohol in it. Where’s the fun in that?

Ginger beer isn’t hoppy,  and it isn’t alcoholic,  but it can be a happy in its own unique way. By blending fresh ingredients in a traditional brewing method, Timber City ginger beer’s small-batch production could easily turn your head towards all things earthy, ginger,  and spicy, all without dumping a truck load of sugar into your system.  Continue reading


The Sensitive Celiac Does IFBC and El Dorado County

Why would I, the Sensitive Celiac, even bother to attend a food-oriented conference? Read how I plan and participate in my food event of the year. Photo by Imei Hsu, October 2017.

You, with your hand raised. Yes, you, the one who carries an EpiPen, inhaler, and has a butt load of food allergies, intolerances, Oral Allergy Syndrome, Outdoor Allergies, and an Autoimmune Disease. Uh huh. I see you.

I believe this is your question after I tell you that I had a wonderful time at the International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento. Your question is: How do you do wine tasting and eating out in El Dorado County and have a good time? Aren’t you scared? Won’t you get sick?

In fact, how do you EVER enjoy the holidays, socialize with friends, and navigate food allergy and intolerance nightmares out there in the real world?

Great questions! Two answers: 1. Fantastic preparation, and 2. Great hosts and chefs who know their stuff.

If you don’t have BOTH of these components when you enter a food-oriented conference and food-oriented events, you won’t have the kind of experience I did in El Dorado County for a day of eating and drinking. In fact, without these two components, you wouldn’t have much fun in any food-related event, which is why I typically won’t attend food festivals where the quality and preparation of food is much harder to vett or control.

Read on for my experience as The Sensitive Celiac at the food blogger event of my year.

Continue reading

Dairy Free Chocolate Moo FTW

The ridges on my fingernails say enough.

When you have dry, brittle, and ridged fingernails, it can often mean you have a chronic illness and/or a nutritional deficiency on board.

I have both, despite eating as much as I possibly can shovel in. Part of this is because I’m a triathlete, and my body’s daily nutritional needs are high. And part of my deficits are because my small intestine gets its own workout when it needs to process and then distribute my medically-restricted diet to the rest of the body. Usually, my finger and toenails show up these deficits in the form of dry, brittle, and ridged nails and occasionally funny-colored nail beds. And my upper body has a tendency to look quite “leaned out” without even lifting weights. Wah wah wah. But it’s a struggle, and I know I am not alone.

Each time I hear someone comment that Celiac Disease and food allergies, with their restrictive diets, make it easier to stay thin, I just want to cringe. The idea that CD and gluten free eating with food allergies could ever be construed as the new fad diet or an eating disorder reminds me how much misinformation floats about the Internets. By now, most of us should know that eating gluten-free, in and of itself, is no guarantee of magical weight loss. Gluten free eating that is not paired with sensible macro and micro nutrient balance can be nutrient poor even if it is calorically enhanced.

Nutrition for the person with Celiac Disease and food allergies and intolerances is focused on a formula of nutrition first, flavor and texture second (so you’re more likely to keep up with it), and easy to source and prepare the foods (to defy the lazy factor) third. With all that, I try to keep the making of food FUN FUN FUN, because I completely understand that if it isn’t fun, you and I are going to be hungry. And when we’re hungry, we’re less likely to make good decisions that keep us healthy.

Case in point: at the end of the 2015 Mt. Si 59 mile Relay race, I was so hungry, I ate a fruit roll up that was available at the finish line. I saw that it had  high fructose corn syrup in it, which is a no-no food for me. Yet, I was so hungry, I stuffed two of those fruit roll ups in my mouth, hoping for the best. This is as real as it gets. I was so hungry, I was willing to risk my guts falling apart.

There has got to be something better! Something easy. Something tasty, And something nutritious. And I think I found one solution: a post-workout, or post-meal beverage that is gluten free, soy free, dairy free, vegan, nut free, and can be made sugar free, if you like.

What is this beverage, you might ask? Dairy free cacao powder milk, that’s what! Continue reading