NOTE FROM ALICE
NFCA Executive Director
On September 24th, over 1400 people turned out to
celebrate NFCA's fifth anniversary and to raise funds
for celiac disease. The party was a huge success
thanks to our Chairs Bethann Schaffzin Kagan and
Laurence Kagan and our many volunteers. Called
Appetite for Awareness, this extravaganza showcased 35 top chefs
from Philadelphia's premier restaurants as they partnered with
43 top doctors to create gluten-free dishes for everyone to try.
Our center stage "Iron Chef-style" competition gave eight of
these chef/doctor teams a chance to pull out all of the stops to go
for the first place prize for Best Gluten-Free Dish in Philadelphia.
The award went to Brad Spence, of Vetri, and Dr. John Marks of
Lankenau Hospital, Main Line Health. Pasquale Masters of
Pasta Pomodoro won the coveted People's Choice Award. We have a great video of the chefs, so be sure to check it out! Watch the video now!
NFCA was fortunate to have the talents of two "foodies" as
commentators. Lori Daniels of Two Chefs on a Roll, and Christina
Pirello of Christina Cooks. Marc Summers of The Food Network
was the emcee while Chef Bill Orton of Disney served as a
judge. You can see photos and learn more about all of the chefs
All participating restaurants have made a commitment to include
gluten-free items on their menus. This means that folks with
celiac disease can dine out without worry! Dr. Ritu Verma of
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia declared Philadelphia the
first gluten-free celiac-friendly city in the US. See photos from the event!
A huge thanks to all of our generous sponsors, donors,
volunteers, and loyal friends who joined us for this record-setting
event. Please help the NFCA expand its programming and
educate doctors and restaurants nationwide by making a
donation today at www.CeliacCentral.org. Your support will be
critical in achieving our goals for the rest of the year and into
2009. And, help us meet the last part of our outstanding
challenge grant of $45,000. We're almost there!
See you all next year at Appetite for Awareness 2009!
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BEYOND RICE CAKES
Ouch! My Head Hurts: Celiac Disease & Migraine Headaches
By Vanessa Maltin
NFCA Director of Programming & Communications
No one likes to have a headache. That pounding, throbbing, irritating pain that rumbles through your
head is absolutely miserable. For years, I thought this was just a way of life....but no more.
This is actually a quite marvelous time for people with celiac disease. And, it is especially wonderful for
me since I suffered for more than 21 years with debilitating migraine headaches. I always thought that
migraines just ran in my family. My dad and grandmother got them all the time and I just thought it was
somewhat normal to always have a pain in the right side of my head....or at least I thought it was normal
until the pain got so bad in college that I could hardly function. I was taking Intravenous prednisone
daily (yes, a nurse came to my dorm room to administer it) and was nauseous and miserable all the time
until that magical day that I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease.
Within six weeks of being on a a gluten-free diet, my headaches were gone. In my mind, it was truly a
miracle. Since my diagnosis, I've told everyone I know who complains about migraine headaches to get
tested for celiac disease. Today, I actually have scientific proof to send them that migraine headaches are
an indicator of celiac disease! So here you go....published Turkish research about the connection
between migraines and celiac!
But before we get to the study, we need to understand more about migraines. First of all, what is a migraine
Definition of a Migraine Headache:
A migraine is defined as a disabling headache that can be preceded or is accompanied by a sensory
warning sign—flashes of light, blind spots or arm or leg tingling. The exact cause of migraines is not
well known but is believed to be partly related to the nervous system and chemical imbalances in the
Signs & Symptoms of Migraines:
- Moderate to severe pain, can be on one side of the head or both sides, that lasts from 4-72 hours
- Head pain with throbbing or pulsating sensations
- Pin that worsens with physical activity
- Pain that interferes with regular activities
- Nausea with, or without, vomiting
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Feelings of elation, cravings for sweets, thirst, drowsiness or irritability before headache strikes
- Possible aura preceding or accompanying headache, meaning:
- Seeing sparkling flashes of light or dazzling zigzag lines
- Slowly spreading blind spots in vision
- Feeling of tingling, pins and needles sensations in one arm or leg
- Rarely, physical weakness of language and speech problems can occur
Diagnosis and Treatment of Migraines:
If you have typical migraine symptoms or a family history of migraines your doctor will likely diagnose
you based on your medical history and a physical examination. If your headaches are extremely severe,
unusual or sudden your doctor may recommend other testing to rule out other potential causes of
migraines. There are also many other types of headaches such as cluster and sinus headaches, so it is
important to provide your doctor with a complete list of symptoms and family history.
Most migraine pain can be treated with over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin or
Excedrin. However, if these medicines do not work, stronger prescriptions may help including Imitrex
(caplet and injection) or Amerge. The medications tend to work best if you take it the moment you begin
to experience symptoms. Although the medicines do relieve pain, they will not prevent the migraines
from coming back.
The Latest Research on Migraines & Celiac Disease:
The latest study is published in the September issue of the journal Cephalalgia and finds that children who
experience migraine headaches have a greater risk of being diagnosed with celiac disease than children
without headaches. I was first diagnosed with migraines when I was seven years old, so right in this age
Researchers from Baskent University Faculty of Medicine in Turkey studied 73 patients ranging in age
from 6 to 17 who complained of migraine headaches and compared them with 147 healthy control
patients. They found that 5.5% of the patients reporting migraine headaches tested positive for celiac
disease, compared with only 0.6% of patients in the control group. Not all of the patients who received a
positive blood test result underwent a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, so the researchers are considering
the findings a "reliable indicator of the presence of celiac disease."
The researchers concluded that their findings of a higher prevalence of tTGA antibodies in migraine
patients "suggests that an association between migraine and celiac disease might exist in the pediatric age
Although the researchers note that significantly more research needs to be done, the study is a milestone
for thousands of celiac patients who presented only with headache symptoms before receiving a
So...if you know someone who has routine migraine headaches, tell them to get tested for celiac disease!
Send them to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and tell them to fill out a symptoms
checklist and take it to their doctor! You never know...a simple blood test could change your life!
- Mayo Clinic
- "Association Between Migraine and Celiac Disease: Results from a Preliminary Case-Control and
Dr. Maurizio Gabrielli et al. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2003: 98, 625-
Vanessa Maltin is the author of Beyond Rice Cakes: A Young Person's Guide to Cooking, Eating & Living Gluten-Free. Read more at www.BeyondRiceCakes.com.
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Seasons of Squash: Delicious Tips for Cooking with Squash
By Edgar Steele
NFCA Chef Spokesman
Now in late 2008, it seems that the weather turned from uncomfortably hot to briskly cool
overnight. We are now graced with the cool wind, color-changing tree leaves and an abundance
of fall foods. When you step out of the warm comfort of your home and walk the residential
streets of the city at this time of year it is incredible how the smell of the changing season can
bring to mind all that is autumn; country haystacks, fresh apple cider, that last trip to the
amusement park and of course... seemingly endless shapes and colors of squash. Although it
may not be classified by definition, I consider it fair to say that squash is the garnish of the
Squash has been cultivated for thousands of years, and is actually classified in the berry family.
The Native Americans planted squash as one of the three essential crops which have become
inherent to us today: beans, corn and squash. Magnificently, the squash plant is used not only for
the fruit, but for the seeds, shoots, leaves, tendrils and the blossoms as well. The seeds can be
eaten roasted, or they can be used to powders, pastes and oils. The foliage can be sautéed and
eaten as greens. The blossoms are a delicacy in Native American cooking, and are often stuffed
and either sautéed or fried.
Squash in America is separated into three major groups; summer squash, autumn squash and
winter squash. Summer squash is picked while still very young and immature, while the autumn
or winter squash are picked when older and very mature. The tender summer squash can be
eaten with little to no cooking, while the older and thicker winter and autumn varieties generally
require some sort of cooking before they are consumable. The summer squash such as zucchini
can be shaved into a salad, or used for pickling. The winter squash such as butternut and
spaghetti squash are ready to be eaten after being boiled, sautéed, roasted, broiled or fried.
A popular and traditional use for an abundance of zucchini is zucchini bread. Zucchini bread is
a dark, dense, sweet and moist preparation which is a great way to use extra fruit. The squash
blossoms are a very popular item on menus mid-year. Squash blossoms are often stuffed with
cheese, fish, meats or salads, and then coated in a light batter and cooked. The heavier varieties
of squash are often found to be used in soups, purees, or cooked slowly and then cut into cubes
and used with hot dishes. The key to creating a delicious squash based dish is to treat the squash
delicately to preserve its natural flavors and characteristics.
A great soup can be made with only squash water and butter, when cooked properly. The thing to
keep in mind is the density and firmness of the squash, and how long it must be cooked (if at all)
to become tender enough to eat. As with any vegetable or in this case fruit, the less you do to it
the better it will be in the end. Butternut squash is commonly cooked for a long period of time
and then turned into either a soup or puree, while zucchini is often either eaten raw in a salad or
lightly sautéed in oil or butter. The attention must be given to the characteristic of each of these
varieties to understand the reasons for preparations. The butternut squash if very firm and dense
and must therefore be cooked over a long period of time to make it tender, while young zucchini
is already tender and requires very little manipulation. The following preparations will be a good
starting point for those who are new to the sport of squash cooking.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 pounds butternut squash
- 8 oz. onion, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ounce butter
- water, as needed
- salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the squash on a sheet pan, put it in the oven and
roast until it is soft. Remove the squash from the oven and place it on a rack to cool.
- Melt the butter in a large pot, and add the onion and the bay leaf. Cook the onion over a
low flame until it is soft and translucent, about 30 minutes.
- Once slightly cooled, peel the squash. Cut the squash with the seeds into large chunks and
put into the pot with the cooking onions.
- Cover the squash with water and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. Season the mixture
with salt, and then blend it on the highest possible speed your blender has
until it is smooth and free of any lumps or sediment. Note: A high power
blender will liquefy all seed pieces, while a soup blended with a lower
power one may require straining before ready to eat)
- After blending, return the soup
- Yogurt (optionally flavored with some spice)
- Toasted pumpkin seeds
- Small pieces of herbs such as parsley, cilantro or basil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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GLUTEN-FREE ON A BUDGET
Gluten-Free, Fresh & Delicious: Garden Vegetable Risotto
By Vanessa Maltin,
NFCA Director of Programming & Communications
Garden Vegetable Risotto—Cost: $16.06 at Giant Food
Makes 4 servings
Vegetables are a great source of nutrients and fiber for everyone, but especially for those of us on
a gluten-free diet! There's nothing I love more (well ok chocolate) than coming home from work
and cooking up a dinner filled with fresh veggies! But I like the vegetables even more when they
are mixed with risotto. This vegetable risotto combines a variety of vegetables into a satisfying
gluten-free and vegetarian meal. I used squash, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots and peas, but you
can use any vegetables you like!
The best news is that this is a super cheap dinner to make that will go a long way! I purchased all
of my ingredients at Giant Food and was pleasantly surprised at how little it cost. And, there
were plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day!
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup zucchini, diced
- 1 cup yellow squash, diced
- 1 cup green peas
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
In medium-sized saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté onions and garlic in oil until
they begin to brown. Add rice and remaining olive oil and allow to brown for 2-3 minutes,
Slowly add vegetable stock one cup at a time and allow liquid to absorb before adding more.
After adding 3 cups of vegetable stock, add in mushrooms, zucchini, squash, peas and carrots.
Add in white wine gradually, allowing time for liquid to absorb. After adding second cup of white
wine, add parmesan cheese. Allow cheese to melt for about two minutes. Add salt and pepper to
taste. Once cheese is fully melted and liquid is absorbed, remove from heat. Allow to cool for 2-3
minutes before serving.
See more low-cost gluten-free recipes at www.GlutenFreeonaBudget.com.
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Cooking with Garbanzo Bean Flour
By Christina Gentile,
NFCA Newsletter Staff Writer
Garbanzo bean flour is a type of gluten-free flour made from grinding garbanzo beans (also known as
chickpea or cici). The garbanzo beans are ground until they produce very fine flour. The bean itself is not
a grain; it is a legume that has a slightly nutty flavor. Garbanzo beans have several nutritional benefits such
as protein, cholesterol-lowering fiber, folate, and the trace minerals molybdenum and manganese. These nutritional qualities make using garbanzo bean flour in baking and cooking an excellent way to increase your
Garbanzo bean flour can be used in a variety of products, especially in combination with other gluten-free
flours. Additionally, it can be used to thicken or cream soups or stews, and to make fillings or dips, such as
hummus. It is commonly used as a flour mix to make gluten free breads. For example, 1-cup garbanzo bean
flour can be used with 1-cup tapioca flour and 1-cup cornstarch. I have also noticed that 1-cup garbanzo
bean flour works well in combination with 1-cup brown rice flour, 2/3-cup potato starch, and 1/3-cup sorghum
flour. I have used this type of flour mix in cakes, cookies, dessert rolls, and bars, and the result has
been successful and delicious! If you are not fond of the nutty flavor, and your recipe calls for a higher ratio
of flour, you can mask its flavor with chocolate, spices, or fruit purees.
If you are having trouble locating garbanzo bean flour, it can be purchased through Bob's Red Mill through
the following link: http://www.bobsredmill.com/product.php?productid=3571&cat=109&page=1. Bob's
Red Mill provides purchasing information, as well as different recipe ideas you can use it in.
Every fall, I enjoy baking the gluten-free pumpkin muffins included in the website. Besides being delicious
and aromatic, they are easy to bake and are the perfect treats for a chilly October day!
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins (adapted from Bob's Red Mill)
Yield: 12 muffins
- 3/4-cup Canned Pumpkin
- 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup or Honey
- 2 Tb Molasses
- 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp Cider Vinegar
- 3/4-cup Garbanzo Bean Flour
- 1/2 cup Potato Starch
- 1/3 cup Tapioca Flour
- 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/2 tsp Allspice (ground)
- 1/2 cup chopped Pecan Halves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray standard 12-muffin pan with cooking spray or use paper liners.
- Combine pumpkin, maple syrup, molasses, oil, egg, and vinegar in large mixing bowl. Beat on low
until very, very smooth – about 1 minute.
- Combine remaining ingredients (except nuts) and add to pumpkin mixture. Blend at low speed until
moistened. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan (use spring-action ice cream scoop for
uniformly-sized muffins) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm.
- Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Another recipe that I love to bake using garbanzo bean flour is my ultimate chocolate brownies! When
baked in a glass pan, they produce a thicker brownie with a chewy crust. These have been a family favorite
for years and they disappear very quickly! I hope you enjoy baking (and eating) these brownies as much as I
Ultimate Chocolate Brownies:
Yield: 24 brownies
- 1 cup Garbanzo Bean Flour
- 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
- 1 cup Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp. Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 5 eggs
- 2 cups Superfine Sugar
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- 2 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
- 3/4-cup Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels
- 3/4-cup Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
- Powder Sugar—for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11-by-8-inch glass-baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a bowl, combine the bean flour, tapioca flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk
to combine them.
- In another larger bowl, beat the eggs and then add the sugar; beat until blended. Add the butter and
vanilla and use mix lightly.
- Stir the flour mixture into the bowl. Add the chocolate morsels. Stir the batter together until no dry
patches show. Pour into the pan.
- Bake the brownie in the middle of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is set. Cool completely
in the pan.
- When cooled completely, cut the brownies into 24 pieces. Sprinkle with powder's sugar.
Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days. After that, store in the refrigerator. Brownies will freeze well for
about 1 month.
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USDA Accepting Comments on Revisions to Child Nutrition Act
By Vanessa Maltin,
NFCA Director of Programming & Communications
More than three million Americans have celiac disease. Many of these patients are children who cannot
get gluten-free lunches at school. Currently the National School Lunch Program does not include any
provisions for gluten-free food. The good news is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is revising the
Child Nutrition Act and needs to hear from you to help guide their revision process!
To give you a little background, the Child Nutrition Act includes legislation for the National School
Lunch Program. This is the program that provides schools with federal assistance for school lunches. In
2009, the act will be reauthorized and, to help ensure the needs of all Americans are met, the USDA is
accepting input on what needs to be changed to improve the program.
Please help improve the lives of children with celiac disease by sending your comments to the USDA.
You can fax comments to 703-305-2879 or submit comments online.
The deadline for submission is October 15, 2008.
Here are a few key points to remember as you submit comments:
- Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder that interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.
Celiac disease can lead to serious long-term health consequences if it is not treated properly with a 100%
- About 1 in 150 children in the United States are affected by Autism. In some cases, a gluten-free,
casein-free diet has helped autistic children improve cognitive abilities.
The gluten-free diet means eliminating all forms of wheat, rye and barley. There are three million
Americans with celiac disease, many of whom are children attending school. These children cannot take
full advantage of federal nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program because
gluten-free options are not always available or easily identifiable on menus.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is asking the USDA to include the following items when
the Child Nutrition Act is reauthorized in 2009:
- Gluten-free alternatives should be available and reimbursable. Consuming gluten-free food is not a
choice for patients with celiac disease, rather it is a medical nutritional therapy and the only treatment
for the disease.
- Gluten-free alternatives should be available every day for all meal and snack times.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your comments with the USDA and for helping all children
with celiac receive gluten-free food options at school.
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Wegmans Adds Another Store to the Family
By Emily Freedner,
NFCA Online Communications Coordinator
On Sunday, June 8th 2008, Wegmans officially opened the
doors at their new Woodbridge, Virginia location. If you
have never been to a Wegmans, you must find the one
nearest to you and go immediately! Wegmans is much
larger than most supermarkets and offers specialty shops
including French-inspired pastry counters, sushi bars,
kosher delis, cafes, and cheese stands with over 400
varieties. They overflow with organic foods, offer gourmet
cooking classes, catering and carry lots of specialty
products. Among the 70,000 products that they offer, the
Woodbridge branch has an entire isle dedicated to
Another fantastic thing about Wegmans is that they become a part of every community they
enter by including funds for community giving into every store's budget. They make donations to
local food banks, support United Way, make donations for community events and lend support to
help young people become healthy, productive, and independent adults. At some of their
branches they even offer cooking classes to scouts and a bussing service for senior citizens. With a
commitment to excellence, they have pledged to constantly strive toward improvement and show
great respect for both their employees and their
customers. "In 2007, Wegmans received 4,284
requests from people asking the company to open a
store in their community. Another 4,100 customers
wrote to say how much they like shopping at
Wegmans, because they can find what they want, or
appreciate the way Wegmans employees treat them"
Leading up to the opening day of the Woodbridge, VA
Wegmans, a challenge was presented to the people in
and around Woodbridge to describe the store in just
five words. Each week a winner was chosen and received a $25 Wegmans gift card. Thousands
responded with enthusiasm!
Read the full article about the contest
Wegmans is truly a fantastic store with lots to offer those with celiac. If you don't have a branch
near you, write in and ask for one!
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No Trades: Packing a Lunch Your Child Will Actually Eat
By Abby Schwartz,
NFCA Newsletter Staff Writer
Your child has celiac. Given the typical school menu and the chaotic environment of a cafeteria
at lunchtime, buying lunch is difficult on good days and nearly impossible on others. If you are
like me, you pack your child a lunch, thereby ensuring that his choices are gluten free and not
consisting of Skittles and Mountain Dew.
Packing a lunch for a child with celiac is not so different from packing one for a child who can eat
gluten. The key is variety. Obviously, the celiac factor is in the details — finding gluten-free
substitutes for mainstream sandwich breads — and in the not-so-obvious — the social side of
lunch. Children want to fit in. Having celiac separates them from other kids who can eat
whatever they please, whenever they please. When you send your child to school with a bagged
lunch, keep in mind that his or her food will be inspected and evaluated by a critical group of
peers. If it can pass the "normal" test, that is good. If you can whip up a little peer envy, even
In Spain, people create meals out of many