Friday, January 31, 2014

EAT: Who doesn't love Cupcakes! Babycakes in Orlando, FL

I know I do! Finding an allergen free cupcake or mix is hard enough, but finding some when traveling is even more difficult. This is no longer the case if you are in NYC, LA, or Orlando. Babycakes is an organic and vegan bakery free of many of the top allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, casein, and nuts (except coconut). They also use agave nectar instead of sugar. Agave nectar is derived from the cactus plant and is low glycemic and great for some diabetics. Beware for those with corn allergies, the baking powder and vanilla they use are NOT corn free and their icing has corn starch in it. 

I took my trip to Babycakes in Orlando. The location in Downtown Disney is very accessible, even if you are not in town to visit Mickey and Minnie. They had a wide variety of cupcake flavors, such as red velvet cake, carrot cake, chocolate, vanilla, and lemon. Not feeling like a cupcake today? Babycakes also bakes doughnuts, cookies, and brownies. For more details, check out

Downtown Disney Marketplace
1674 Buena Vista Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Best hotels for food allergies

Traveling with food allergies can be difficult. It can mean eating out three meals a day and finding a safe place to eat is not always easy. To make my travel as painless as possible, I usually stay in hotels that have kitchens in their rooms such as Residence Inn, Homewood Suites, Hyatt House, and Staybridge Suites. For the same price or just a few dollars more, I can have a room with a kitchen to cook my own meals and snacks. Eating healthy and safely is imperative for any athlete with food allergies. I really like to be able to head back to the hotel to make a quick dinner after a long day on the golf course, instead of waiting an hour for a table at a busy restaurant. Most of these hotels offer a full hot breakfast daily and an Evening Social, ranging from heavy hor'dourves to a full meal Monday - Thursday. Due to my food allergies, I cannot always partake in these amenities, but can occasionally find something. 

A great tip: be sure to register for the frequent stay reward program at your favorite hotel chain! Being a repeat guest earns you points (sometimes airline miles) and free nights. It is great to earn perks during your stay for being a Platinum member of a hotel's loyalty program!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

EAT: Healthy Fast Food?

Most fast food restaurants are out when you have food allergies, unless you are interested in eating a prepackaged salad. Yuck! My favorite fast food meal (pretty healthy too!) is a Burrito Bowl from Chipotle. In my Burrito Bowl, I usually get rice, black beans, meat, chunky mild salsa, guacamole, and a sprinkle of cheese. 

Now, there are plenty of things I cannot eat there: flour tortillas, corn tortillas, corn chips, and corn salsa to name a few. Chipotle has a list of common allergens in its menu items on its web site located at: To get as safe a meal as possible (no guarantees when eating out!) and since they touch the tortillas with their gloved hands, I kindly notify the server that I am allergic to the tortillas. Usually even before I can ask the person to please change their gloves, the server is already doing so! Chipotle totally gets it! The whole line of servers change their gloves for me or one server personally handles my order, even during peak hours. If this sounds like an extreme request, it is not for those of us who are very sensitive, where even a tiny amount of an offending food can cause a reaction. Since the cheese and the lettuce are the only items handled with gloved hands, the servers are more than happy to grab some from the back when asked.

When a restaurant makes an effort to accommodate those of us with food allergies, I think it is very important to support these businesses and thank them regularly. When a server at Chipotle really goes out of his or her way to make sure my meal is as safe as possible, I thank him/her for taking care of me, make sure to get a name, and send Chipotle a quick email thanking them for the allergen training and how a particular server went above and beyond to make my experience great. And, no surprise, I always get a response thanking me for my patronage. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Who Doesn't Love Starbucks??

When I found out that I needed to be dairy free, I thought my Starbucks days were over. Starbucks currently does not offer almond milk or coconut milk. The soy milk they do offer is not always gluten free. Be sure to check ingredients at your local Starbucks in case manufacturers change ingredients. After many posts to My Starbucks Idea requesting the addition of a dairy free, soy free, and gluten free milk alternative, I finally decided to bring in my own milk. Depending on state laws and different Starbucks stores, baristas are not allowed to stream your milk and some are not allowed to even pour your milk into your drink. However, I have found a solution. I order an iced coffee (my favorite is White Chocolate Mocha) except for the milk. I bring my favorite Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk, which to me, tastes just like the "real" White Chocolate Mocha, to add to my espresso shots and syrup. I have also found that sometimes I can sweet talk the barista into charging me for the ingredients I actually buy, rather than the whole drink. 

A word of caution for those with a corn allergy, be sure to check the ingredients of the syrups, as I have found that some stores have syrups that contain high fructose corn syrup.

Now, where is the nearest Starbucks??

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The One Item I Don’t Leave Home Without...

Besides my golf clubs, my travel tub is the most important item I take with me when driving to golf tournaments.  My tub is stocked with items I will need that could be difficult to find or might not be available in cities to which I am traveling.  Unfortunately, not every city is allergen-free friendly, so some weeks I have to get creative about my food choices.  I always have breakfast basics in my travel tub for the first morning of a hotel stay, just in case I arrive late to my destination.

One essential item in my tub is a small blender for my protein smoothies.  Other essentials include a manual can opener; small pot and pan; sea salt and grinder; GF Tamari packets;  GF granola, GF pancake flour, GF oats and GF oat bran; small bottle of maple syrup; bottle of extra virgin olive oil; GF crackers; Ziploc Bags; small cutting board;  sharp knife; plastic utensils; Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk; protein bars;  plant-based protein powder;  jar of natural peanut butter; small first aid kit; small bottle of antibacterial soap; and a small flashlight.

What’s in your travel tub?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

GF: Ruby's Gold Golden Granola

Breakfast is the hardest meal for me, especially when I am traveling. I am always on the lookout for a quick and tasty breakfast that will stay with me for a couple of hours. Gluten Free Oatmeal is a great choice and a good source of protein, but it is not always readily available on the road. I found Ruby’s Gold Golden Granola at my local Whole Foods Market, a perfect item to just keep in the car when traveling with a carton of Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Almond Milk.  Ruby’s Gold is made in Chattanooga, TN and my local Whole Foods carries six different flavors:

Almond Crisp – Almonds and Raisins
Eve’s Delight – Orange, Cranberries, Dark Chocolate, Flame Raisins
California Mix – Wild Blueberries, Dates, Walnuts
Walnut Crumble – Walnuts and Cinnamon
Orange Blast – Orange and Cranberries
Cinnamon Twist – Cinnamon and Ginger

My favorite is the Almond Crisp, with Eve's Delight a close second. Ruby’s Gold  is All Natural, Gluten Free, Vegan, Low Fat, Low Sodium, and made in a Gluten Free facility.  With ingredients like Gluten Free Rolled Oats and quinoa, this granola is a healthy way to start your day.

Do you have any great allergen free breakfast ideas? If so, please share in the comments.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Today's Inspiration 01/13/14

"Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while others simply compare their achievements with those of other people."

~Dr. Nido R. Qubein 

Friday, January 10, 2014

GF, DF, EF, SF: Just Mayo has arrived!

I am so excited my local Whole Foods has started carrying Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo!   Just Mayo is a Non-GMO, egg free, soy free, dairy free, lactose free, gluten free, vegan, cholesterol free, and kosher “mayonnaise.”  It has the same consistency, color, and taste of regular mayonnaise and is made from a yellow pea protein that is more sustainable and environmentally friendlier than eggs. You can find it in the refrigerated section with the salad dressings.   The Whole Foods stores on the West Coast have been carrying it for months and even switched to it instead of regular mayo in their prepared food items and on the hot bars.  For those of us with egg and soy allergies, we know how difficult it is to find a good mayo substitute!  I hear it can be used as an egg replacer in recipes, but I have not tried it for this use yet.  Will keep you posted! Hampton Creek also makes a Just Chipotle Mayo and Eat The Dough, an egg free cookie dough.  Can’t wait until those hit the shelves!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy New Year! Happy New Blog!

Hello and welcome to Eat Play Win, a blog about living with food allergies and eating properly for athletic success!  My name is Heather Angell and I am a professional golfer.  While I have a passion for sports and travel, I also have many food allergies. Diagnosis took me on a long journey. The foods I now avoid are: wheat (gluten), corn, eggs, dairy, yeast, along with a few unusual foods like dates, pinto beans, bison, cloves, and oysters. Managing these allergies while on the road for as many as five weeks at a time, in and out of the United States, has made life challenging and interesting.  Follow me on my journey and I will share with you tips, ideas, recipes, and allergen friendly restaurants I have discovered!

Chat soon!