NOTE FROM ALICE
NFCA Executive Director
"Just take a pill." Sounds easy, doesn't it? Not so fast! As those with celiac disease know, taking a pill, even medication that is designed to cure your specific illness, can possibly make matters worse. How? Gluten is often a hidden ingredient in the medicines we take, both over-the-counter medications and those offered via prescription. The binders and excipients in medication can possibly turn an intended treatment into a threat to the good health that celiac patients work so hard to achieve.
This is a very real problem that needs to be addressed—now! NFCA, in partnership with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and Giant Supermarkets, is pleased to announce the Gluten in Medications Education Session on Friday, April 11th at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, MD. This is a both an educational session and a stakeholders meeting that will include representatives from the federal government, hospital-based and chain store pharmacists, and major pharmaceutical firms, all stakeholders in this matter. Our goal is to educate the participants about celiac disease, inform them of the impact of gluten in medication, and gain their participation in bringing a solution to this problem. This matter is at the heart of NFCA's motto: restore health and reclaim lives.
What happens if you can't attend the April 11th session? Good news, the Gluten in Medication program will become available nationwide as an online program with materials that can be ordered for distribution in our local area.
ASHP has taken a leadership role in this program to ensure that the medicine we take is safe for celiac patients. We thank them, heartily! We also thank Giant, our sponsor for the Gluten in Medication event. Giant is a key player in the distribution channel both for gluten-free food products and, via their in-store pharmacies, of safe medications. It is so gratifying to have partners that understand the need for awareness and change in this field.
Just last week, I heard a story that emphasizes how important this issue is in the everyday life of a family coping with celiac disease.
On Easter Sunday, the young daughter of a friend became sick. Her doctor prescribed an antibiotic. When the parents picked up the medication, they asked the pharmacist if there was gluten in that particular medication. As some of you might guess, they were met with blank stares. This child was sick and needed medication but no one could answer this very essential question. They simply did not realize the danger for this child and they did not have the tools to help this family.
This issue also affects those who have not yet been diagnosed as the medication they take is not being absorbed, an equally daunting problem. This is another reason why NFCA's driving force is gaining a prompt and correct diagnosis for those 2.9 million Americans who suffer and don't know why.
In August 2004, Congress passed the critically important Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALPCA) requiring food producers to specify the presence of allergens on the product label. This includes the eight main allergens: milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Significantly, allergens are to be listed if they are secondary ingredients in the spices, natural or artificial flavorings, additives, and colorings in a product.
None of this is true for medications—of any kind.
Again, we want to thank our wonderful Partner, ASHP for helping us bring to you this Gluten in Medication event as a good first step in making a difference in this field. We urge you to talk to your local pharmacist and medical professional about attending this event and to look at the online materials that will become available.
After all, there is more to it than just taking a pill!. Here is the schedule of events for Friday April 11.
What is Celiac Disease?
Dr. Aline Charabaty, Gastroenterologist, Georgetown University Hospital
Gluten in Medication & When is Gluten-Free Really Gluten-Free?
Dr. Robert Mangione, Dean of the St. Johns University College of Pharmacy
Parallels with the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act
Rhonda R. Kane, MS, RD from FDA's Office of Nutrition, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Excipients & Stakeholders
Gerry McEvoy, ASHP vice president, drug information
USP: Opportunities to Address Labeling Issues
Andrzej Wilk, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, United States Pharmacopeia
What You Can Do to Help Celiac Patients–Action List
Vanessa Maltin, NFCA Director of Programming & Communications
To register, click the link below:
Back to Top
BEYOND RICE CAKES
Gluten-Free Meal Please: Triumph Dining Publishes Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide
By Vanessa Maltin
NFCA Director of Outreach & Programming
I'm finally turning 25…my car insurance is becoming $500 a year cheaper, I can rent a car without paying a hefty penalty and I think that I'm actually going to avoid a quarter-life crisis…now, all I have to do is find a restaurant to celebrate at that can make a gluten-free meal and satisfy the stomachs of my family and friends…oy vey!
As I began planning my birthday party, my immediate instinct was to go somewhere that I go all the time. Somewhere that I know is safe and can make me a gluten-free meal that will definitely not leave me with explosive diarrhea on my birthday. But then I thought about it for a few minutes and decided that this is the start of a new era of my life and with it should be new and exciting dining experiences!
My dad has a bad stomach and is on a high-fiber diet, my mom also has celiac and colitis, one of my best friends is kosher and another is allergic to citrus! AHH! What to do?
Thankfully, the latest edition (2008-2009) of the Triumph Dining Essential Gluten-Free Dining Guide arrived in my mailbox last week, as did my Gluten-Free Dining Cards. YIPPIE!
The guide provides instant access to celiac-friendly restaurants and gluten-free lists including:
- More than 1,600 individually-owned restaurants specifically recommended by other Celiacs for their ability to accommodate the gluten-free diet.
- More than 900 individually owned restaurants offering printed gluten-free menus, gluten-free pastas or gluten-free pizza.
- More than 2,600 chain restaurant locations that have extensive gluten-free options.
- 80 lists of gluten-free items provided by regional and national chain restaurants, from fast food joints to high-end steakhouses.
- Strategies for ensuring successful and safe gluten-free restaurant dining.
So, I took the book and a cup of coffee out onto my balcony and immediately flipped to the Washington, DC section. There were about 40 restaurants in this section. I also looked at the Maryland and Virginia sections, which upped my options to more than 200 restaurants in the DC-Metropolitan Area, all that are gluten-free friendly!
I read descriptions of so many restaurants and my mouth was watering! I came up with a list of three and sent copies the menus to my friends and family who would be attending dinner. After a very un-democratic vote that was whole-heartedly influenced by ME, we decided that my party would be at a Maggianos in Friendship Heights.
Now, you would think that since we picked a gluten-free friendly restaurant that the difficulty would be over…Not quite yet. Maggianos is a family-style Italian restaurant, so when you have more than 4 people, they ask that you order large portions to share...this is what is known as family-style dining. How on earth would everyone be accommodated? Not to worry! Triumph Dining gave me complete contact information for Maggianos, so I knew exactly whom I needed to speak with about my utterly difficult family.
Within one minute of dialing Maggianos, I was connected directly with the chef and we went over the family-style menu and he highlighted options that would work for a large party. The menu allows you to choose: 2 salads, 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 2 pastas, 2 vegetables and dessert—all of which are bottomless, so you can refill as many times as you want!
Here's the menu we came up with:
- Grilled Calamari with lemon butter dipping sauce
- Sliced beefsteak tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese; drizzled with our Italian Vinaigrette
- Chopped Salad with chopped iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, crumbled bleu cheese, green onion, avocado, crispy Prosciutto, tossed in our signature House Dressing.
- Maggiano's Salad with Iceberg and romaine lettuce, crumbled bleu cheese, crispy Prosciutto, red onions, tossed in our signature House Dressing.
- Rigatoni pasta, herb roasted boneless chicken, mushrooms and onions, tossed in a light Marsala cream sauce. (substitute gluten-free spiral pasta)
- Fettuccini noodles tossed with broccoli and garlic in a creamy alfredo sauce.(substitute gluten-free spiral pasta)
- A whole roast chicken marinated in fresh herbs, roasted and cut into pieces. Served in a light chicken sauce.
- Beef Medallions, Portabella Mushrooms, Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
- Broccoli sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
- Asparagus sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
Even though my menu is all set, I'm still going to take my Italian Triumph Gluten-Free Dining Card with me to make sure that the staff working on my birthday know exactly how to prepare the food. Not only does the card say in English what I can and cannot eat and what to check on, but it also provides the information in Italian, just to be sure the chef understands!
The cards are also available for the following cuisines: Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Greek, Mexican and French.
Thank you Triumph Dining for helping make my birthday a fabulous experience! I'll let you know how the big night goes!
How to get your copy of the Triumph Dining Guide:
Back to Top
As the Peach Turns: Using a Sweet Fruit in Your Meal
By Edgar Steele
NFCA Chef Spokesman
Throughout history, on farms and in cities, in the media and through symbolism, the peach has been an integral part of social and economic development. The peach is a stone fruit said to have come from China. The peach plays an important role in traditional Chinese culture symbolizing a long life. Whether the peach holds a strong traditional family role or is simply a staple fruit in our households, lets explore some fun ways to use the fruit, from picking to eating.
Upon entering the market, the sweet-smelling produce section is usually one of the first you will walk through. Amongst all of the beautiful fruits and vegetables, you will find the peach, usually next to the plums and nectarines, which are also in the family of stone fruits. Although the nectarine is often thought of as a cross between a peach and plum, this is not true. They do, however, grow from the same tree, which is also called a peach tree.
The skin of the peach is furry, while the skin of a nectarine is smooth and furless. Although the fuzz on the peach compromises the luster associated with the nectarine, it provides protection for the peach, resulting in less bruising on a peach than a nectarine. Peaches range from having yellow or white skin, and are classified to be either freestones or clingstones, depending on whether the inner flesh clings to the pit or not. The white peaches are usually very sweet with little acidity and are generally favored in Asian cultures. The yellow-skinned fruits are more acidic and sweet and are typically more popular with Americans.
Peaches can be used in both sweet and savory applications, but are classically used on the sweet side of the kitchen. Cream, holding a strong stance as being a perfect match with many fruits, is especially tasty and often paired with peaches, hence the traditional match "peaches and cream." With the creamy texture of the peach's inner flesh, it seems natural that a lactic product would pair well with it. While the white-skinned, sweet fruit matches beautifully with a dairy product, the yellow-skinned peach offers a much more complex outcome when used as an ingredient as it adds a level of acidity to balance, add more character and add a new depth of flavor profile to a dish.
After graduating from culinary school and working at my first couple of restaurants, I knew a peach to be an ingredient used in desserts. From peach cobbler to the more elaborate brown sugar macerated peach slices with peach liquor and vanilla bean ice cream, it was what was happening for dessert in my historical knowledge. My historical knowledge was shifted when I stumbled across a new matching Café Atlantico. It was two summers ago, and Jose Andres had dropped off some fresh yellow peaches to our busy kitchen after walking through the outdoor market just outside of Cafe. He said, "Here, these look beautiful. Use them." At the same period of our summer menu, gazpacho was a popular item prepared for our guests. A few days had gone by since Jose gifted us with the fruits, so I turned to the executive chef to ask what we would do with them. He suggested that we try blending them with tomatoes to make that day's recipe of gazpacho. I placed some chopped tomatoes and cucumber, a splash of sherry vinegar and a touch of honey into the blender.
After blending these ingredients and adjusting the seasoning with salt, I added the peaches with the blender running, and kept adding peaches until I was satisfied with the sweet, salty and acidic balance of the soup. We had some peaches left over after preparing the soup, so we diced them into small cubes and made a fresh "salad" by mixing them with fresh chopped basil, jalapeno peppers, sherry vinegar and salt. As a garnish for the soup, we placed a bit of the fresh peach salad in the center, topped it with a dollop of thick Greek yogurt and then drizzled some basil oil around the plate. I received more compliments and recipe requests for that soup than any others I can remember.
- 1 lb. plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 lb. yellow peaches, pitted and chopped
- 1⁄4 lb. chopped cucumber, with skin
- 3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. honey
- salt to taste
- Place all ingredients excluding the olive oil and salt into a blender. Blend on high speed, until there are no chunks left and the liquid is smooth.
- With the blender running on high speed, slowly drizzle in the oil to create an emulsion. Add salt to taste.
- Depending on the machine you use, the soup may need to be passed through a fine mesh strainer before serving.
- Garnish the soup with anything you like. Yogurt may be nice, as well as some fresh diced peaches and tomatoes and fresh herbs.
- 1⁄2 lb. peaches (yellow or white), pitted and chopped
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. honey
- pinch salt
- 1 quart isi bottle with 1 no. 2 cartridge
- Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high speed, until the mix is smooth, liquid and free of lumps. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer if there are any lumps left after blending.
- Place this mixture into the refrigerator and allow to chill completely.
- Put the cold mixture into the isi bottle and charge the bottle with one no2 gas charger. Shake the bottle for about 30 seconds.
- Use the cream as a garnish on any dessert.
Back to Top
EDUCATION & AWARENESS
Planning Ahead: Creating a Gluten-Free Emergency Kit
By Linda King
The idea of a gluten-free survival kit became important to me recently as my family was subject to some of the floods that made their way across the Midwestern states. Suddenly, we found ourselves with almost two feet of water in our basement for a total of 48 hours. We lost heat, hot water and electricity while working really hard to keep our positive mindset! After all, no one was injured, but instead we temporarily lost the conveniences that we depend upon, including those to help us prepare gluten-free meals for our family.
Now that heat, water and electricity are restored to our family home, I've browsed some Internet resources to help put together a gluten-free emergency kit, in the event that our house is flooded again. I am hoping that we won't need this kit, as one flood was more than enough.
The outline below is adapted from the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org/services/disaster). The gluten-free food items were collected from manufacturer websites and the Delphi forum product lists.
There are essentials that we all need in any kind of emergency situation, whether or not we live gluten-free. These include water, food, first aid kit, non-prescription drugs, tools and supplies, sanitation, clothing and bedding.
Below, I focused on the food details and what brands will accommodate the emergency survival kit guidelines. Please check all labels when choosing items for your emergency kit, as labels can change anytime.
- Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
- Canned juices
- Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
- High energy foods
- Food for infants
- Comfort/stress foods
Ready-to-eat canned meats
- HORMEL® Chunk Meats: Breast of Chicken, Chicken, Ham, Turkey
- HORMEL® Corned Beef
- HORMEL® Corned Beef Hash
- HORMEL® Dried Beef
- HORMEL® Vienna Sausage
Bumble Bee Brand canned seafood products (crackers in ready-to-eat products are not)
- Oberto Natural Style Beef Jerky original, hickory and peppered
Oberto Natural Style Turkey Jerky original and peppered
- StarKist® Tuna (except StarKist Tuna Creations® Herb & Garlic, StarKist Tuna Fillets Teriyaki, and the crackers in Charlie's Lunch Kit® items, as well as all StarKist Lunch To-Go® items College Inn® Garden Vegetable Broth and Organic Beef Broth
Ready-to-eat canned fruits and vegetables
- Del Monte
- All Del Monte® and S&W® Canned/Jarred Fruits
- All Del Monte® Fruit Cup® Snacks (Metal and Plastic)
- All Del Monte and S&W Canned Vegetables
- All Del Monte®, Contadina®, and S&W® Tomatoes & Tomato Products
Protein or Fruit Bars
- Lara Bars Apple Pie
- Lara Bar Cherry Pie
- Lara Bar Ginger Snap
- Organic Food Bar Chocolate Chip
- Organic Food Bar Omega-3-flax
- Organic Food Bar Vegan
- Think Thin Brownie Crunch
- Think Thin Chocolate Fudge
- Think Thin Chunky Peanut Butter
- Think Thin Peanut Butter
- Tiger's Milk Peanut Butter
- Tiger's Milk Protein Rich
Dry cereal or granola
- Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal
- Envirokids Organic Gorilla Munch
- Envirokids Peanut Butter Panda Puffs
- Gluten Free Granola
- Golden Roasted Flaxseed With Blueberries
- Golden Roasted Whole Flaxseed
- Skippy® peanut butter - all varieties of Skippy® peanut butter, Roasted Honey Nut, and Reduced Fat peanut butter spread are gluten-free.
Dried fruit and nuts
- Trader Joe's DRIED FRUITS, NUTS & SEEDS
- All Dried Fruit (except Black Currants)
- All Fruit Leathers
- Fiberful Fruit Bar
- All Raw And Roasted Nuts
- Almond Nut Meal
- Antioxidant Nut And Berry Mix
- Candied Macadamia
- Cinnamon Almonds
- Cranberry Trail Mix
- Dry Roasted Edamame
- Go Raw Trek Mix
- Marcona Almonds (All)
- Nutty American Trek Mix
- Organic Trek Mix With Chocolate Chips,
- Almonds, Cranberries, Pistachio, Almond, And
- Cherry Mix
- Pistachio, Almond & Cherry Mix
- Pumpkin Seeds And Pepitas
- Rainbows End Trail Mix
- Roasted Plantain Chips
- Spicy Almonds, Cashews & Cranberries Trek
- Glutino's "Ritz" Style Crackers
- Glutino - Pretzels
- Ener-G - Pretzels
- Del Monte 100% Fruit Juices
- V8® 100% Juice
Non-perishable pasteurized milk
- NESTLé CARNATION Instant Nonfat Dry Milk
Vances Dari-Free Non-Dairy Milk Alternative-Original
High energy foods
- NESTLé® CARNATION® INSTANT BREAKFAST®. in the powdered form except for the chocolate malt flavor (contains wheat flour and malted barley extracts).
- Sunbutter (Sun Gold Foods) Creamy, Natural Crunch and Organic varieties are GF
- Equate Brand
- Equate Children's Multivitamin complete with Iron, Minerals and Calcium (chewable) confirmed gf. All Equate Brand vitamins sold at Walmart that begin with lot number 6 (indicating the year 2006) will clearly list the word "gluten" (not just wheat, barely, rye) if there is gluten in the product.
- Ensure liquid products are gluten free
- Necco Wafers, Mary Jane's Peanut Butter Kisses.Sweethearts Conversation Hearts (Valentines Only), Canada Mints & Wintergreen Lozenges, Haviland Thin Mints and Candy Stix, Eagle Brand Choc. & Vanilla. Necco with Dairy are: Thin Mints:have milk, soy and eggs
- Nestle Candy Bars-Baby Ruth; Butterfinger; Chunky; Nestlé Milk Chocolate; Oh Henry!
- Nestle Candy Pieces-Nestlé Turtles; Sno-Caps; Butterfinger BB's; Goobers; Raisinets; Nestlé Treasures; Bit O Honey
- Nestle Sugar Candy- SPREE; Nips
Ideally none of us will need this emergency kit, but it never hurts to give thought to being prepared!
Back to Top
Where Everybody Knows Your Name: The joys of becoming a restaurant "regular"
By Abby Schwartz
The sign outside of the new Italian restaurant in Lansdale said Ristorante Toscano. Could this be the same place I used to frequent nearly a decade ago? I entered through the grocery side, which houses the restaurant's kitchen, and said hello to the chef behind the counter. His name was John and he was the chef and owner. He confirmed that this was the new location for an old favorite—home of what I consider the best meat sauce on the planet. I would definitely be back, I promised. As an afterthought, I asked if he would be able to accommodate my daughter's gluten-free dietary needs. I gave him a basic rundown of the diet, and to my surprise, he pointed to a grocery shelf behind me. Next to the bags of imported pasta sat the familiar packages of Tinkyada rice pasta. John's former location had been next to a health food store. He had become familiar with the gluten-free diet and carried a supply of rice pasta for customers who needed an alternative to wheat pasta. On my way out the door, he stopped me and handed me a container full of creamy mushroom risotto. "Here," he offered. "Give this to your daughter."
Thus was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Three years later, we are regulars at Toscano, where my daughter has feasted on Caesar salad (no croutons), pasta with Alfredo sauce or John's famous meat sauce, chicken marsala, shrimp scampi, salmon and more. I frequently call on Saturday evenings to order takeout, and I speak directly with John, who answers the phone himself. The comfort of being able to walk into a restaurant, speak directly to the chef, and relax, knowing that he understands how to cook for my daughter, is priceless. That the food is excellent is just icing on the gluten-free cake.
For almost ten years, we have been living a gluten-free lifestyle and have witnessed a substantial increase in the public's awareness of celiac disease. Happily, this has resulted in a growing number of restaurants that either offer a gluten-free menu, or are willing to make accommodations for special dietary needs. For the most part, we can go out to eat and feel reasonably sure that we will be able to communicate our needs and trust the food that my daughter receives.
I must confess, though, that there are times when I am apprehensive about asking the wait staff too many questions or concerned that the chef is too busy or the kitchen too hectic to pay attention to our specific requests. Getting to know the owners of our favorite neighborhood restaurants has made life easier. Ristorante Toscano is one example. Another is Yantze, a gourmet Chinese restaurant within walking distance of our house. My husband and I had been regular takeout customers, picking up food every Friday night after tennis. One night while waiting for our order, I struck up a conversation with Paul, the owner. I was surprised to learn that some of their regular dishes were naturally gluten-free, including shrimp with seasonal vegetables and chicken with plum sauce. Much to my daughter's delight, we started including her on our takeout orders.
Several years later, we have expanded our menu repertoire. We learned from Paul and his wife, Ruby, that most of their fresh fish specials are gluten-free. We know to avoid brown sauce (usually made with soy sauce, which contains wheat). We also discovered that the crispy coating on their shrimp and chicken is often made not from wheat flour, but from crushed water chestnuts. Who would have guessed? When I call for takeout now, I usually ask for Paul or Ruby so I know that any special requests we make will be translated correctly to the kitchen staff, most of whom speak Chinese. We also love dining in, where we can ask about the daily specials and—just like with John at Toscano—relax in knowing that they understand enough about the gluten-free diet to steer us toward delicious selections our daughter can safely enjoy.
To enjoy a similar experience, I offer these suggestions:
- If there is a restaurant in your community with a menu that looks promising, stop by at an off-peak hour and ask to speak with the owner or chef. Introduce yourself and let him or her know that you have special dietary needs and are looking for a restaurant that can accommodate them. Ask if they would be willing to answer questions about how some of their menu items are prepared.
- When you first eat there, start with the foods you have confirmed are gluten-free. Let your server know that you are ordering a special way because of a food intolerance and that it is important to make sure that this is pointed out in the kitchen. Tip well. Remember: every time you raise awareness about the gluten-free diet, you are representing our celiac community and paving the way for the next celiac family who comes along.
- When you return, be sure to say hello to the owner or chef, to start establishing yourself as a regular. As you become a familiar face, you can ask more questions about the menu and food preparation, with the goal of expanding your choices. Many times, chefs are willing to make modifications. I have found they are even more willing to do so for someone they know, and when that person is a child—it's a slam-dunk.