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Gluten Free, Celiac Safe

Two gluten free breakfast plates
A sample Riverside breakfast: Choice of quiches (both made with gluten-free crusts), one with summer squash from the Inn's garden and sundried tomatoes, served with chicken sausage; OR the second, made with mushrooms and Inn-grown sweet peppers, served with bacon; both accompanied by baked rosemary/garlic fingerling potatoes, choice of gluten-free Inn-baked toast or gluten-free Inn-baked English muffins, and fresh seasonal fruit
Gluten free French Toast from inn-baked bread Gluten Free complete breakfast

Riverside Inn is Gluten-Free and Celiac-Safe

Most guests are surprised to discover that Riverside is a Gluten-Free Bed and Breakfast Inn. The food is so good that guests are usually unaware that the wonderful tastes and textures of their Inn breakfasts have been carefully created from selected ingredients which are wheat- and gluten-free. Those who must follow a gluten-free diet are delighted. When the Inn went totally gluten-free in July 2012, it was the first and only bed and breakfast inn in New England to be offering this environment to its guests. Of course, there are many foods which are naturally gluten-free, like fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, poultry, nuts, and more, which are deliciously featured in Riverside breakfast selections.

Why is the Riverside Inn gluten-free? Innkeeper Ken Lydecker explains:

"When our daughter Catherine, who plans a career as an osteopath, said a gluten-free diet could drastically improve the health and well-being of our whole family - as it had for her - I was skeptical. But after reading up on the subject and eliminating foods containing gluten from my own meals, I experienced positive results very quickly. The more I educated myself on the topic, the more I was convinced that the wheat- and gluten-free lifestyle can benefit everyone. I vowed to convert to a gluten-free lifestyle myself."

"Once I made my own personal diet changes, I began to feel uneasy about preparing and serving breakfasts to our guests which were made with conventional flours and other wheat ingredients. We've built our menus around healthy, nutritious, quality ingredients, while - most importantly - never sacrificing taste. I became passionate about converting the Inn to gluten-free, making sure I could do it so invisibly that guests who have no special dietary needs would be unaffected by the changes. I didn't want anyone to learn Riverside Inn is gluten-free and think it would make it undesirable to stay and eat here. Breakfast is such an important part of the Bed & Breakfast experience, and we certainly didn't want to jeopardize our reputation for extraordinary morning meals. I learned that gluten-free certainly doesn't mean something is going to taste bad. It became a personal challenge to find substitutions which behave like wheat in foods like pancakes, French toast, coffee cakes, and other selections, so we could continue to serve our guests their favorite breakfasts."

"It took a lot of self-education, experimentation, restocking, label-reading, and re-outfitting the Inn's kitchen to convert to being a gluten-free Inn. You can find a few restaurants and lodging properties which offer some gluten-free menu choices, along with their regular menu selections, but my goal was for Riverside Inn to be entirely gluten-free. While testing new recipes, the dog ate some of my rejects, but, simultaneously, Inn guests were asking for recipes from my successes - and were surprised to learn the foods they liked so much were gluten-free. Now, in an effort to provide a complete and enjoyable Bed & Breakfast experience to the growing number of people who are either eliminating glutens for improved health, sensitive to gluten, or suffering from the more dangerous autoimmune dysfunction called Celiac disease, Riverside Inn is proud to proclaim that all foods served here - from the breakfast breads to the afternoon cookies to the candies in the guest rooms - are wheat-free, gluten-free, and celiac-safe, with no cross contamination risks in our kitchen preparation. The one-in-a-hundred undiagnosed people who have gluten intolerance might even discover they feel better during their stay at Riverside Inn! And we are happy to add that we have successfully converted to gluten-free transparently, and our guests continue to be delighted with the breakfasts at Riverside Inn." - Ken Lydecker, Innkeeper/Owner

To be gluten-free friendly, Riverside Inn not only eliminated wheat, rye, and barley flours and other gluten ingredients from its kitchen staples, but also eliminated ingredients where gluten is often hiding, such as flavorings, seasonings, condiments, and sides. Chef Ken also succeeded in converting the Inn-made breakfast selections and afternoon cookies to gluten-free, without resorting to prepackaged "gluten free" products that sometimes are lacking in nutrition compared with their wheat counterparts. Most Inn creations are made-from-scratch, always with special focus on flavor. Even the candies in the guest rooms were replaced which choices known to be free of gluten ingredients.

Click for Ken's Kitchen Blog

Decontaminating the Inn Kitchen:

To be celiac safe, the preparation and handling of the food also has to be free of "contamination." This means that the gluten-free foods must be prepared in a kitchen not shared with the preparation of gluten-containing foods, and not made using appliances, equipment, utensils, tools, work surfaces, or cooking surfaces used for gluten-containing foods. For example, if an egg is cooked on a grill which has just been used to cook wheat pancakes, a person eating the eggs who has gluten intolerance can suffer - sometimes to the point of being life-threatened. So the Inn's kitchen had to be de-glutenized. The initial changes were extensive and required an investment in time, labor, and dollars - a task only someone truly committed to the mission would undertake. New bread machines, mixers, waffle irons, griddle, cutting boards, and other appliances replaced the old. Teflon pans, nylon spatulas, and other utensils which might harbor residues were removed. Ovens were cleaned at 1200 degrees. The pantry, cupboards, refrigerator and freezer were emptied of gluten products and replenished with non-gluten ingredients. Baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and other staples which might have previously been measured with spoons and cups used for gluten-laden ingredients were replaced. There is currently no gluten-free food service health certification, and restaurant guidelines to operate as gluten-free are virtually non-existent. So Riverside Inn pioneered its own level of commitment to provide truly safe food for celiac and gluten-free guests to eat - and for all guests to enjoy.

More about being Gluten Free:

Vacationing and dining out can be challenging for people who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Some severely affected individuals can be sick for days after merely eating crumbs of the wrong ingredients. Riverside Inn eliminates these concerns for those with gluten intolerance. "Glutens" are proteins found in wheat and other grains, present in our most common dietary staples, and affecting everyone differently. Those with Celiac disease cannot eat glutens at all, while other people have discovered that glutens are the cause of their gastrointestinal discomfort, inflammation, arthritis pain, and other health problems. A gluten-free diet is not a weight loss diet; it is a lifestyle way of eating to avoid the problematic gluten protein. Gluten is found in grains most commonly used to make flour, such as wheat, rye, and barley, and in the many derivatives of these grains which are ingredients in a wide variety of processed food products. It might seem challenging to remove wheat and gluten from your diet, but many foods are naturally gluten-free (fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, beans, etc.), and there are gluten-free grains, nuts, and beans which substitute for gluten products, so there are many, many wonderful foods for everyone.

Gluten-Free Resources:

As one might expect, the Riverside Inn kitchen has amassed a library of gluten-free cookbooks, recipes, terrific online references, and favorite brands and products which produce great results. The Inn is happy to have guests browse them! Innkeeper Ken is always happy to share his own gluten-free knowledge and experiences, so go ahead and make him your resource. The Inn staff can also direct you to local eateries where gluten-free options are offered, for lunch, dinner, take-out, or retail pre-packaged selections. A nearby restaurant even offers occasional free celiac disease presentations.

PLEASE NOTE: It is ultimately up to the Guest to use his or her individual discretion to make an informed choice regarding whether to eat any particular foods. Riverside Inn cannot guarantee that allergens may not have been introduced during another stage of the food chain process or, even with all precautions taken, during preparation at the Inn. The Inn commits to do its best to ensure gluten-free dining, and invites guests to request information about ingredients and inspect any labels of products used in food preparation before having them served.

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