Friday, May 11, 2012

Come On, Get Appy

I was a late adopter to the smartphone trend (but it's okay, because I have the currently trendy Celiac disease, so it all works out), but ever since I got my iPhone last year, it is like an appendage.

So needless to say, when I found some gluten-free lifestyle apps, I was all over them like whoa. In the spirit of sharing, here's what I'm using, and why it is awesome.

1. Is That Gluten Free? is probably my favorite and most-used app. It's a little pricey, but really, well worth it. This is PERFECT for grocery shopping. It is essentially a database of companies, products and statements. It's easy to search by category ("bacon"), by brand ("Hormel") or by ingredient. It includes oft-updated information from manufacturers that has been CONFIRMED via e-mail, Web statement or phone. This was a huge help when I first needed to re-stock my fridge and pantry. It's really interesting to see what stores and brands are more accommodating. There is a sister app, Is That Gluten Free? Eating Out, that is pretty good too, and lists menu items and variations you can get at popular chain restaurants.

2. Find Me Gluten Free is a hot pick in the Celiac world, partly because it is so dang easy to use. You can search restaurants either by name, chain or location, and find things that you can eat. It not only lists places that have a dedicated GF menu (hello P.F. Chang's, my lover), but also other places that have items that can be adapted, as well as reviews, maps, the restaurant's phone number and more. It also includes a digital dining card that you can flash at your server. Very handy, indeed.

3. ScanAvert is my newest app. It lets you set up a profile (like that you are avoiding gluten) and then you simply scan the item barcode and it will tell you if foods are safe or not. It doesn't have a lot of store-brands, but if you were looking for info on a national brand (like, Rice Chex, for example), it would be pretty useful. I still have to see if it is worth the $1.99 monthly subscription cost, though.

Like everything, these are not completely fail safe, and it is up to me to make sure I am comfortable with a product. There is no substitute for reading the ingredients. But these certainly help!

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