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April 2011

April 2011                                                                                                                                    Subscribe today

Note from Alice

COLUMNS

Tid Bits with Tina

Cooking with Oonagh

Recipe Redux

HEALTH/WELLNESS

Gain Weight the Healthy Way

Health Resource Q&A

FOOD/LIFESTYLE

Gluten in Tea

Gluten-Free Dos and Don'ts for Spring Holidays

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NFCA Gears Up for Celiac Awareness Month

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Alice BastNote from Alice

NFCA Founder & President

Celiac Diagnosis: Battle of the Sexes?

How were you diagnosed? I’ve shared my story about 672 times, maybe more, and I’m always fascinated by the way others come to learn of their condition.

Research shows that women are diagnosed with celiac disease 2-3 times more often than men. But what does that really mean?

Other autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis are more common in women, so it could simply be that the prevalence is higher among females. But research and habits also indicate that women are more likely to see a doctor and get tested - 3 times more likely, according to a recent study. As one researcher put it, ‘‘Men are just really bad at seeing their doctor. They don’t want to acknowledge their symptoms.’’ Personally, I have a number of female friends who say they have to “push” their husbands to see a doctor.

So why are women more proactive? Think about it.

Women make annual trips to the gynecologist. We get blood tests when pregnant. We get blood tests when we can’t get pregnant. We watch “Dr. Oz.” We shop. We wonder about new products when we shop. We tell our friends when we’re sick. We tell our friends when something makes us sick. We bring our kids to the doctors, and ask questions while we’re there. All of these are opportunities to hear, see or read about celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Men, on the other hand, have little reason to visit the doctor from age 18-40. Until colonoscopies, prostate exams and cholesterol checks become an annual gig, symptoms of celiac disease could easily fly under the radar. And when those symptoms are embarrassing ones, it’s even more tempting to shrug them off. Just think – How many guys do you know (your father, husband, son – or maybe yourself) who have put off seeing a doctor, even when something clearly seemed wrong? Even worse, many ignore symptoms for so long that feeling ill starts to feel normal… until they get diagnosed.

Now, with Facebook and Twitter more popular than ever, the question seems to be: How will social media play a role in diagnosis? Public posts on Facebook walls and pages allow anyone to eavesdrop on details that used to stay between friends. The results could do wonders for diagnosis – bringing attention to conditions that otherwise would have taken years to travel ear-by-ear.

But, it also means there’s a greater likelihood of self-diagnosis. Private individuals, in particular, may take it upon themselves to try going gluten-free without talking it over with a doctor first. As a result, we may never know the true prevalence of celiac disease, and worse, some individuals could be poisoning themselves with hidden gluten and not even know it.

Current testing methods aren’t perfect, I know. But there’s a huge value to getting diagnosed, including the relief that comes with finally having an answer. You know that, but many who are about to embark on a gluten-free diet don’t.  So, I’m asking you to share your story.

Whether it was a routine check-up, a casual mention from a friend or curiosity about the gluten-free diet that sparked your trip to the doctor, I want to hear about it. Submit your Personal Story, including symptoms and diagnosis, to CeliacCentral.org. The more we know about how you got diagnosed, the better we’ll be able to reach others who might be living in illness. Who knows? Your story might just drive someone else to get tested.

If you still have some family members or friends putting off that appointment, send them the Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist. (Throw in some information about CeliacCMECentral.com, so their doctor can get informed, too.) For my fellow queen bees of the household, tell them it’s an early Mother’s Day gift. 

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Cheers,

Alice Bast


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Tid Bits with Tina

Tina Turbin

Celebrating Easter with Your Celiac Child

By Tina Turbin

Easter may seem as overwhelming as other major holidays, like Halloween and Christmas, but with a variety of gluten-free activities to enjoy – egg decorating and hunts come to mind – Easter can be especially fun for celiac kids. With a few tips, you and your child can have a worry-free holiday.

One of the greatest concerns for parents regarding holidays are school celebrations. Your child’s teachers and school administrators are likely already informed about his or her condition and diet. I recommend sending an email or letter to your child’s teachers before each holiday to remind them of the gluten-free diet restriction. You can also drop off gluten-free candies and goodies for the classroom, as long as the school allows such treats.

As Easter approaches, it’s time look up which companies offer gluten-free candies and treats. An updated list can usually be found online, or you can research companies yourself. Your child should also have a copy of the list, if he or she is old enough for this. For Easter egg decorations, use natural, gluten-free dyes, such as those made from vegetables, juices, and teas.

On Easter weekend, you can organize an egg decorating party and an Easter egg hunt. While you’re at it, throw a gluten-free baking party! Baking cupcakes and cookies with friends will make your celiac child feel like a “normal” kid.

Learn how you can turn a Cupcake Party into a fundraiser for NFCA »

Gluten-Free Easter Cookies

Try this simple gluten-free project at your Easter celebration. Transfer images onto cookies for a decorative treat!

What You Need:

  • Vintage postcard or photos
  • Gluten-free sugar cookie dough (Get a recipe for gluten-free sugar cookies»)
  • Cookie cutters, pastry cutter or pizza slicer (for cutting dough)
  • Drinking straw
  • Cookie sheets
  • Gluten-free icing (white and pastel-colored)
  • Edible gluten-free glitter (optional)
  • Ribbon

How-To:

1. Reduce vintage postcard or other image to 65% of its original size on a standard color photocopier, then bring it to your favorite local bakery to have it reproduced with edible ink on thin, sticker-like sheets made of rice, potatoes, or cornstarch.

2. Roll out your gluten-free sugar cookie dough so it’s ¼-inch thick. If you want to use vintage postcard images, cut the dough into rectangles of 3 ¾-inch by 2 ½-inch. Use an egg-shaped cookie cutter for egg-shaped cookies.

3. Punch a hole carefully at the top of each raw cookie with a drinking straw. This hole will be for the ribbon.

4. Bake the cookies according to instructions. While they’re baking, cut out the images from the edible paper, making corresponding holes at the top for the ribbon using a hole punch.

5. Let the cookies cool, then place an even, thin layer of white icing on them. Peel the edible paper from its backing and carefully and gently lay edible images down on the surfaces of the cookies. Allow to set for a few minutes.

6. Pipe pastel-colored gluten-free frosting along the edges of the cookies. Dust with an edible gluten-free glitter, then thread the holes with a thin ribbon that you can use to hang them with on Easter centerpieces.

More about Tina and the "Danny the Dragon" children's book series:

Danny the Dragon

Tina Turbin became extremely interested and involved in the subjects of celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and gluten issues a number of years ago, after being diagnosed as celiac after many years of unresolved troubles. Since then, she has engaged in diligent research and writing about these topics, weekly radio shows, developing gluten-free recipes and reviewing companies for celiac consumer safety (http://GlutenFreeHelp.info)

Tina is an award-winning children's book author 
(http://DannyTheDragon.com) and donates her current children's audiobook profits to celiac research. To stay updated on her projects, sign up for her newsletter at www.TinaTurbin.com.

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Cooking With Oonagh

Gluten-Free Dishes Fit for a Queen (Wills and Kate, Too)

By Chef Oonagh Williams

It’s hard to miss the hoopla surrounding the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  I'm a Londoner, so while part of me wants to fly back and take part in the festivities, the rest of me knows that I will see far more on TV without having to pay the airfare and hotel fees. That being said, the Royal Family is part of our lives, so we’ll be partying.

During many major celebrations in England, villages, neighbors host the equivalent of block parties, with tables outside and everyone contributing.  On April 29, an estimated 2 million people will “take to the streets” in celebration of the Royal Wedding, according to the Daily Mail.

Prince William and Kate will have a formal afternoon reception that’s expected to follow tradition. But a second reception, the evening dinner-dance, will give them a chance to display some personal style. With Prince Charles shouldering the bill, an all-access pass to Buckingham Palace, and England’s glossiest upper-crusters on the guest list, we’re not talking about Jell-O shots and a mac & cheese station. The select 300 friends and family attending this shindig are expecting the party of the century, and this is one royal obligation the bridal couple are probably eager to fulfill. Long live the after-party!

Every bride is a princess on her wedding day, so try my recipes for a bridal shower or small wedding. The Royal Family tends to go for good food, perfectly cooked and simply and elegantly presented. Now you, too, can eat gluten-free like royalty - anytime you want!

I will be making these recipes as part of a Royal Wedding Breakfast on Wednesday, April 27 (just 2 days shy of the actual wedding) on WMUR's ABC's Channel 9 Cooks Corner in New Hampshire. Watch for clips on my Facebook page.

ASPARAGUS IN ORANGE VINAIGRETTE
Using orange zest as well as orange juice concentrate gives a really tangy orange vinaigrette. Leave out orange zest if you prefer vinaigrette to be less tangy.

SHRIMP, LOBSTER AND HERBED CUCUMBER SALAD
Although I am not of Lithuanian descent, I have taught Lithuanian cooking classes for many years and spent July 2005 in the capital city, studying Lithuanian food and culture. This is my favorite of various recipes I have seen or tasted. I like the clean, fresh taste. Sometimes I go overboard with the dill and it tastes a bit bitter, so beware!

PAVLOVA
Pavlova is Australian in origin and supposedly was created for Anna Pavlova, a famous ballerina. It is like a meringue, but while a meringue is meant to be dry and crispy throughout, a pavlova should have a crisp outside and have marshmallow texture within.

About Chef Oonagh Williams

Chef Oonagh WilliamsBritish-born award-winning chef Oonagh Williams has a culinary arts degree and was trained in London and Switzerland.  Based in New Hampshire, Chef Oonagh began adapting meals to gluten-free versions after her son was diagnosed with gluten and lactose intolerance two years ago. Chef Oonagh gives presentations and classes on gluten-free cooking and living, consults and guides people in adapting to a gluten-free lifestyle. She appears most months on her local New Hampshire ABC station, WMUR, as the featured chef. 

To learn more, visit Chef Oonagh’s website at www.RoyalTemptations.com or ‘Like’ her at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook.

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Recipe Redux

Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Our friend KC Pomering is back with another gluten-free twist on a mealtime staple. KC and the rest of the G-Free Foodie crew are awash in April showers, but they know May flowers will soon be in bloom. In the meantime, they're staying warm with yummy soups and stews, including this favorite!

Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Recipe conversion by G-Free Foodie

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, washed and trimmed
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onions
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 7 cups gluten-free chicken or vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup rice flour or gluten-free flour blend
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. Cut a few florets off the broccoli and divide into small sections. Simmer in lightly salted water for 2 minutes.  Drain and immerse in cold water to stop cooking.  Set aside.

2. Cut remaining broccoli, including stalks, into small pieces. Place in a large saucepan or stockpot.

3. Add onions and 3 tablespoons of butter to saucepan. Sauté over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of the broth and oregano to the saucepan; simmer 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Carefully process hot mixture in batches in a blender until smooth, or use an immersion blender inside the pot to process soup; then remove soup from pot.

5. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the large pan or pot. Stir in gluten-free flour and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Stir in mustard, salt and pepper.

6. Gradually add processed mixture and remaining 4 cups of broth. Continue to cook while stirring until mixture begins to bubble.

7. Add milk and cheese. Stir until smooth and cheese is melted. Add remaining broccoli florets and heat through. If desired, top with additional shredded cheese when serving.

About G-Free Foodie:

G-Free Foodie offers recipes, restaurant listings, blogs, reviews and the popular Free Recipe Conversions. The staff loves a challenge and would rather be in the kitchen than any place else. Give them your recipe and a couple of weeks, and they’ll get back to you with a G-Free version you can safely enjoy! Request a Free Recipe Conversion at: http://www.gfreefoodie.com/recipes/recipe-conversion/

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Gain Weight the Healthy Way

By Shannon Longhurst, RD

For those who had “classic” celiac symptoms and lost a lot of weight before diagnosis, it can be very frustrating trying to gain weight. Friends and family may push high fat/high sugar foods on you, and the nagging can get old quickly.

Following a gluten-free diet can help some people quickly gain weight, but others need extra help by adding more calories. So how do you boost calories without overloading on sugar or low-nutrient foods? Here are some options to help you gain wait the healthy way:

1. Heart-Healthy Fats

Olive oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil and other vegetable oils are great ways to add calorie-dense fats without clogging the arteries. Mayonnaise, usually made from canola or olive oil, can easily add extra calories; it is typically not thought of as healthy, but when trying to gain weight, the extra calories are your friend.

Avocadoes and fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, also contain heart-healthy fats. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, help to balance mood, and they assist in relieving dry eye, dry skin and dry hair.

Flaxseed also can be converted to the omega fatty acids in the body, but it must be ground up to get the oil. If the seeds are eaten whole, they are a good source of fiber, but do not provide the necessary fatty acids.

Try adding oils to salad (infused oils and oils with herbs added are delicious), pesto on gluten-free pasta, dipping gluten-free bread in oil, or a nice helping of guacamole with your favorite Mexican dish. 

2. Calorie-Dense Cereals

Gluten-free granola cereals are available that are enriched (vitamins added back that were taken out during processing) and full of fiber. Some gluten-free cereals, however, are not enriched.

You can tell if the cereal is enriched by looking at the nutrition label; it should contain thiamine, folate, riboflavin, niacin, and iron as ingredients, or as a percentage of daily value. Pour 2% milk over the cereal (if tolerated; substitute a non-dairy alternative if necessary).

Hot cereal, such as quinoa, can be made with a form of milk and/or with milk powder. Try adding nuts or dry fruits, as dry fruits are calorically dense and will not fill you up.

Dry milk powder can also be added to mashed potatoes and casseroles to add protein and calories.

3. Nuts, Nuts, and More Nuts

Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, filberts, pecans, and more - all delicious and healthy! An old diet myth told people to stay away from nuts because they are high in calories, but most nuts are now recognized as heart-healthy. Nuts are high in healthy fats and fiber, which fills you up and assists with proper bowel function.

Macadamia nuts are the exception, as they contain saturated fats; however, when you are healing and trying to increase your calorie intake, macadamia nuts are a good choice.

Nut butters are another wonderful option. Spread them on gluten-free bread or crackers, or top apples, bananas, or celery with your favorite flavor.

4. Healthy Beverages

Yes, juice has sugar, but when trying to gain weight, the goal is for every calorie to count; this includes fluids. (If you have diabetes, be aware of carbohydrate content; juice may not be the best choice, as it raises blood sugar quickly.) 

Juice contains calories and vitamins – just make sure you choose 100% fruit juice.

Try mixing juice, fruit, and yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt substitute; soft tofu also works well) in a blender to make a smoothie. For even more calories, blend peanut butter, banana, honey, and lactose-free milk/milk substitute.

Commercial supplements, such as Ensure or Muscle Milk (fluid form), can be used to supplement food intake. Be sure to drink the supplements in between meals; in this case, “supplement” means it’s intended to help you get adequate meal intake and much-needed calories and vitamins.

Consuming these foods can help you not only gain weight, but also consume necessary vitamins and minerals that may be deficient in the body.

As a general tip, be sure to consume three meals and at least two snacks a day. Some people prefer to eat six small meals a day, which is also acceptable. Don’t forget the “everything in moderation” concept. It is certainly okay to have the occasional treat!

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Health Resource Q&A: Jill's List

By NFCA Staff

Across the U.S., patients are exploring new options to help them get and stay healthy. But finding those treatments, and a trustworthy provider, isn’t so easy. Hence, the impetus for Jill’s List (www.jillslist.com), an online resource that aims to link patients, providers and health information in a whole new way.  With an impressive advisory board that includes notables like Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. David Riley, Jill’s List could be the next step in patient empowerment.

We grabbed Jill Shah, founder of Jill’s List, for a quick Q&A about the resource.

Why did you start Jill’s List?

I started Jill’s List to help patients and practitioners of Complementary and Alternative Medicine find one another.  There are so many modalities or health disciplines that consumers are beginning to explore broadly – acupuncturists, massage therapists, ayurvedic practitioners, naturopaths, etc. – and yet many of us don’t really know what they do, how to find one, or which will likely be best at helping us to get or be well. We have incredible people behind Jill’s List - a board of advisors who are brilliant thinkers in medicine and business, and guiding forces in how we will deliver medicine in the future. 

How do you define "comprehensive medicine"? Why did you choose to focus on this area?

Comprehensive Medicine is really all medicine – conventional, complementary, evidenced-based alternative, and integrative medicine – in whatever combination makes the most sense for the patient.  As Jeffrey Bland, a leader in functional medicine, said recently, “Medicine is everything we choose to do to our bodies and minds every day.”  What he meant was, it’s what we eat (or don’t eat), the exercise we do (or don’t do), the herbs and drugs we take (or don’t), the time we spend with family, how often we meditate, as well as pharmaceuticals and surgery…all of it. Science is also teaching us that practitioners can treat each person uniquely – what we call “personalized medicine.” It’s not that far away in practice, so we think it’s important for both practitioner and consumers to be aware of all of the tools in the toolbox. We can’t be experts at everything, so it helps to know the options.

The areas of complementary and alternative medicine are growing, but they're still not as mainstream as traditional, western medicine. What’s your response to the skeptics?

Well, the skeptics are rightfully skeptics.  There are lots of “weekend warriors” (individuals who take a quick course and decide they have enough expertise to start working with clients) and “quacks.”  But there is also plenty of evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine in practice and brilliant research that shows the impact it can have on the human biological system.  Just look at Harvard Medical School, where researchers are investigating how less invasive methodologies can be used to treat conditions like stroke, heart disease, stress and chronic pain. 

More specifically, Jill’s List focuses on evidence-based integrative medicine.  We use the term “complementary and alternative medicine” because that’s how many people know it, but we highlight practitioners with credentials from state and accredited or vetted organizations in over 25 modalities. 

The patient-provider connection has taken a turn in recent years. What do you see as the reason for this change, and where do you see it headed?

America as a country is really sick.  Nearly 70% of Americans suffer and will die from a chronic disease.  More than 60% of Americans are overweight or obese.  Diabetes and heart disease are on the rise, and conventional medicine specialties like pediatric cardiology have grown enormously over the past decades because our children are getting sick.

On top of that our patient time with the physician is shrinking and our insurance fees are rising.  As a result, many are paying out of pocket to get alternative therapy. I think patients can play a big role in helping to effectively change this system – but it will take time.

Fortunately, integrative, collaborative and patient-centric medicine is growing in popularity.  Practitioners are learning more about ways to help their patients take their health into their own hands, from balanced nutrition to better mindfulness. The provider of the future really needs to be a team leader.  He needs to understand the needs of his patient and then captain a team of experts who can successfully treat the patient.

Your messaging encourages people to take charge of their health. What's the easiest way someone can start doing this today?

Each of us will only do what we are ready to do, so we each need to ask ourselves that question: What do I want to do to be healthier? When we are in control, we have confidence, and confidence is an amazing tool for change.

For some, it may be changing their diet: Getting rid of processed sugar.  Eating more vegetables.  For some, it may be exercise.  For some, it may be taking time for themselves, or spending more time with their families.  If you really think about it, you know what you want to change, to improve, to do more or less of.  Create a scoreboard for you – for the game of YOUR life.  And, play to win.

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Gluten in Tea

By Mariel Wolfson, PhD Candidate

When you follow a gluten-free diet, you get used to reading labels, asking questions and scrutinizing the ingredients in your food. You do everything you can to avoid possible sources of gluten contamination. Yet, have you ever been “glutened” even when everything you ate over the past few days was “safe”?

If so, it’s time to take a look at what you’re drinking, not just what you’re eating. On several occasions I’ve been unexpectedly glutened despite not eating anything suspect. Frustrated, I recall what I’ve consumed recently: Nothing different, except for…wait…that new tea I grabbed off the store shelf in a hurry.

Indeed, it’s true that hot tea, a seemingly innocuous, even healing beverage, can actually be a hidden source of gluten. You need to read labels and educate yourself about tea just as you would with any other new product you consume.

Gluten-sensitive friends have told me that some tea manufacturers use wheat paste to seal their tea bags. This also seems to be the “word on the street” in the celiac blogosphere. However, this is difficult to confirm. It may be a myth, or it may be a distinct possibility, and only some tea companies are forthcoming about their tea bag materials and manufacturing processes.

Lipton, a brand available nationwide, reports: “We do not use any glue in the assembly of our tea bags or tags. Where a staple is not used, we use pressure and heat to adhere the string to the tag and the bag.”1

Tetley, another major tea manufacturer, confirms: “All of the tea bags packaged for Tetley USA Inc. for retail sale, including our decaffeinated, flavored and green blend tea bag products, do not contain any gluten. There is no wheat, corn or rice in the adhesive used to bind the tea bag paper.”2

Traditional Medicinals (www.traditionalmedicinals.com) is a lesser-known company, offering 47 varieties of herbal teas. Their tea bags (made of hemp) and attached strings (made of cotton) do not contain gluten. As for what’s in those tea bags, all but two varieties are gluten-free (their “PMS Tea” and “St John’s Good Mood” tea contain barley and oats, respectively).

Of all the tea companies I surveyed recently, The Republic of Tea (www.republicoftea.com) provided the most comprehensive information. All of their nearly 300 teas (with the exception of Coconut Cocoa Tea) have been certified gluten-free.3 In fact, the company was certified back in 2006, leading the way in gluten-free safety. The Republic’s tea bags are made from unbleached paper and sealed by pressing, without additives or glues.

Clearly, this is not an exhaustive survey of tea manufacturers and their ingredients. Rather, it is meant to alert the gluten-free community that gluten is a possible, though uncommon, ingredient in tea and tea bags, and that tea is not exempt from scrutiny.

As always, the best way to protect yourself is to be educated and prepared. Here are some tips:

  • Use loose tea (in a pot or cup) and eliminate the tea bag entirely. Tea connoisseurs insist that this is the best way to enjoy tea anyway. Use a metal tea ball, ceramic filter, or the attachment that comes with your pot or cup. If you enjoy this sort of thing, check out the brewing supplies at local kitchen stores or tea shops.
  • When using tea bags, look for those closed with only staples or string, rather than bags with crimping along the edges. Wheat paste in tea bags may be a thing of the past, but it’s always better to have peace of mind (calling the manufacturer directly can also be reassuring).
  • Even when brewing loose tea or paste-free tea bags, you need to be aware of your tea’s ingredients. As mentioned above, certain teas can contain barley or barley malt. This is especially likely in sweet, flavored, or “dessert” teas. For example, Yogi Tea (www.yogiproducts.com), reports that while its tea bags and packaging do not contain gluten, four of its teas do contain barley malt: Healthy Fasting, Kava Stress Relief, Calming, and Stomach Ease.4
When reading tea ingredients, watch out for the familiar culprits of wheat, rye, and most likely barley, and don’t forget “artificial flavors” and “natural flavors.” There is simply no way to know exactly what ingredients go into these.

When I contacted Tazo tea company to ask about the "natural flavors" in their tea, I received this response: “While we understand that some customers may have a need to know specific ingredient information not listed on the ingredient panel prior to consuming a product, our flavor information is proprietary, and not something we reveal.”5

In short, we consume added flavors at our own risk, unless the manufacturer has thoroughly investigated its sources. The best way to avoid possible gluten contamination through natural or artificial flavors is to choose simple, pure teas: those made only with tea itself (black, green, red, white) and other ingredients that are naturally gluten-free, such as spices (i.e. cinnamon or cloves) or fruit (i.e. dried lemon or orange peel).

I recently discovered a British company called Pukka (www.pukkaherbs.com) that offers flavored teas (such as Chamomile Vanilla and Herbal Chai Spice) made with only real ingredients, no mysterious “natural flavors.” Again, drinking tea gluten-free is much like eating gluten-free: keep it natural!

Fortunately, as celiac disease and gluten sensitivity become recognized health concerns, tea companies (like food companies) are improving their labeling. Both Celestial Seasonings and Bigelow teas label certain boxes “gluten-free.” Celestial Seasonings even states “contains gluten” on teas that do (especially their sweet “holiday teas,” which usually contain barley).

Many companies are more forthcoming on their websites than on their packaging. Stash Teas, for example, does not label its boxes as gluten-free, but reports on its website: “All of the flavors used in our blends are gluten-free. We do not use barley malt in any of our blends.”6

A little research ahead of time can give you peace of mind and keep you from accidentally derailing your diet.

Consumers should note that declared gluten-free teas can still contain other allergens, especially soy lecithin, and occasionally coconut. And as with all processed foods, ingredients can change at any time and without warning, so stay up-to-date and don’t assume that because a tea was fine last year, it will always be safe for you or your family.

As with gluten-free eating, when you’re at home, or at the grocery store, you are in control. But what if you want to order a cup of hot tea at a restaurant or coffee shop? Be proactive: try to find out which brands are served, and read ingredients on the tea bags if possible. Your safest bet is to go for the simplest tea (i.e. straight black tea) and with a brand that you already know to be gluten-free, as many of the major national brands are. Another idea is to keep a few of your favorite gluten-free tea bags in your bag so you know you are safe.

If you are vigilant about maintaining your gluten-free diet and your health, don’t let a simple cup of tea sabotage your efforts.

References:

1. http://f0122a2k9rd.realdialogdirect.com/askLipton/. Accessed March 29, 2011
2. http://www.tetleyusa.com/AboutTea_TeaFaqs.php#gluten. Accessed March 29, 2011
3. Personal communication with Republic of Tea customer service, March 7, 2011.
4. Personal communication with Yogi Tea customer service, February 25, 2011.
5. Personal communication with Tazo customer relations, September 12, 2009.
6. http://www.stashtea.com/faq.aspx. Accessed March 29, 2011

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Gluten-Free Dos and Don'ts for Spring Holidays

By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Online Content Manager

Passover and Easter are on the way, which means it’s time to brush up on strategies to stay gluten-free. Whether you’re at temple, in church, or among friends and family, here are some dos and don’ts to keep gluten from spoiling your holiday.

Gluten-Free Passover

DO: Try new products. As Passover approaches, you may notice more gluten-free items on shelves. This is your chance to find a new family favorite and stock up on items that may be hard to find in the off-season.

DON’T: Purchase goods without getting the facts. Just because an item is promoted as wheat-free for Passover doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to be safe. Items produced in bakeries or on production lines that typically include gluten could be contaminated. Look for “gluten-free” or “non-gebrokts” to indicate that the product is safe.

DO: Keep traditions. When dealing with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it’s important to maintain a sense of normalcy. Order gluten-free matzoh so those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can still participate in the Seder.

DON’T: Wait until the last minute. Specialty items will be in demand, especially with rising interest in gluten-free over the past year. If you order too late, you’ll run the risk of items being out-of-stock.

Gluten-Free Easter

DO: Treat the kids (or yourself) to Easter candy. Jelly Bellys are gluten-free, as are Peeps and many varieties of chocolate. Use the 2010 Candy Quick List as a starting point.

DON’T: Skip the label. Some seasonal items may contain gluten, even if the manufacturer makes other items that are gluten-free. Check the label and call the manufacturer if you have any doubt.

DO: Cook something. Offer to help out with food prep, or bring a dish along. That way, you can ensure at least one item is gluten-free. Give the host some suggestions for gluten-free ham, or bring along a chicken dish. For a crowd-pleasing dessert, try Dr. Lucy’s Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake.

DON’T: Turn dinner into a hunt. Cooking gluten-free can be challenging, especially for people who don’t do it on a daily basis. If you’re relying on someone else to cook, stick to simple suggestions (think eggs, not gluten-free quiche), so the host will feel comfortable and you can eat confidently. (And, as one Facebook fan pointed out, watch out for that Hollandaise sauce!)

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NFCA in Action

NFCA Gears Up for Celiac Awareness Month

In May, NFCA will launch an entire Web page devoted to Celiac Awareness Month, but we’re giving you a heads up on some activities so you can join in!

  • Submit your photo to NFCA’s Facebook Mosaic
    Whether you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or know someone who does, help us spread awareness by participating in NFCA’s celiac and gluten-free mosaic.

    During the month of May, NFCA will post a collage of photos submitted by the celiac and gluten-free community. The mosaic will put a face on gluten-free needs and bring supporters together in solidarity. We will encourage those who submit photos to tag themselves in the mosaic to show their pride and draw attention to the cause.

    To join the effort, email your picture to photos@celiaccentral.orgtoday. Please send your photo as a jpeg attachment. Photos will be accepted through Friday, April 15.

    We encourage you to share the word with support group members and the rest of the gluten-free community!

    If you have any questions about this project, contact Cheryl at cmcevoy@celiaccentral.org.
  • Wear Green on May 2
    On Monday, May 2, the NFCA team will wear green to kick off Celiac Awareness Month – and we want you to “go green” too! Tweet us a photo of your green gear and we’ll retweet it to celebrate.

New Community Features on CeliacCentral.org

In the effort to serve you better, NFCA has added two new features to CeliacCentral.org. These additions will help our dual goals to increase diagnosis and improve quality of life for those living gluten-free. Plus, they give you another way to get involved!

  • Tell Your Doctor to Get Informed
    Learn how you can play a direct role in getting physicians educated about celiac disease and gluten-free needs. Then, download an informational card you can use to tell your doctor about CeliacCMECentral.com.
     
  • Article Ratings
    We want to know what you think about our online content. Look for our new article rating form at the bottom of our webpages. It’s your chance to give us feedback and shape the future of CeliacCentral.org!

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TwitterPleased to Tweet You

Each month, "Pleased to Tweet You" will highlight an individual who chatted with @CeliacAwareness on Twitter.  If you’d like to be featured, follow @CeliacAwareness and say hello!

Name:Ronni Alicea, RD
Find her on Twitter:@GlutenFreeRD
Tweeting since: A few years ago

1. How long have you been serving the gluten-free community?   
Since the mid-90’s, working with one of the very few companies that made gluten-free foods available.  We made gluten-free frozen pizza, English muffins and lasagna and shipped them frozen. That was before gluten-free was recognized, as celiac disease was underdiagnosed.

2. What do you like to tweet about?
I generally tweet about food recalls. I want to make sure people are safe at the grocery store and when dining out.  Each week, there are bulk items recalled – this is what foodservice purchasers and consumers need to know about when dining away from home.

3. Why do you follow NFCA (@CeliacAwareness)?
I follow for up-to-the-minute news.

4. What's your favorite gluten-free dish?
Anything that is whole grain. I hope to see quinoa in everyone’s shopping cart soon. I was excited to see a new side dish pouch at Expo West. Highly nutritious quinoa is a mystery to many, and this will make it easy to prepare!

5. What's one impressive thing you've seen someone do after going gluten-free?  
I see so many people’s daily quality of life improve, it’s hard to pick one. I am pleased when I see previously chronically ill people enjoy day-to-day life, like taking out the garbage!

6. In 140 characters or less, why should others join the gluten-free community on Twitter? 
For daily inspiration. Follow #gfree for home, business, school and party meal planning while learning tricks to stay healthy.

*Follow NFCA on Twitter @CeliacAwareness*

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FacebookFace It

Each month, "Face It" will highlight a popular post from NFCA’s Facebook page, including a sampling of the responses. “Like” NFCA on Facebook and join the conversation today!

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness: More gluten-free on TV! Dr. Oz welcomed Dr. Mark Hyman to the set yesterday to chat about the gluten-free diet. In short: When you go gluten-free, focus on whole foods, not junk foods. Good advice for anyone!

Comments
Troy Villeneuve: Anyone would benefit from a whole foods diet. Grains are empty carbohydrates which lead to things like metabolic syndrome and other illnesses.

Arlene Carey von Linden: The biggest no-no on the show, imo, was that they recommended going gluten-free for 2 weeks to see how you feel before getting blood work done. It's important to get blood work done BEFORE going gluten-free. If you're gluten free when you get the blood work done that may affect the results. You need to be consuming gluten for the blood work to be accurate.

Diana Babcock: The gluten-free diet can be confusing enough when you first start out or are a family member who has no clue and has no plan to get a clue.

Amy Young: ‎@Arlene and all: Great points, my grudges as well. I think Dr. Oz did a huge disservice to our gluten-free community and especially to people who are new and ignorant of what we have learned from experience. Maybe no one can know unless they have "walked the walk".

Rebecca Houser Hales: My absolute favorite thing (exuding great sarcasm in saying that) was Dr Oz. saying something along the lines of 'we're being inundated with gluten-free products every time we go to the grocery store'.... Obviously he's never had to try doing any completely gluten-free grocery shopping.

*Join the daily discussion on NFCA's Facebook Page*

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Survey Says...

Adults with Celiac Disease Needed for Research Study

The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is working to create a new survey to measure symptoms of celiac disease. This survey may be used in the future to test new treatments for celiac disease.

Researchers are looking for people 18 or older who have biopsy-proven celiac disease that have experienced celiac-related symptoms within the last 3 months.

Participants will take an automated phone survey daily for 7 days and take a Web survey twice. This should take about 10 minutes each day.

Participants will be compensated for their time.

This study is being sponsored by Alvine Pharmaceuticals.

If you'd like to learn more, please contact:

Dr. Daniel Leffler
The Celiac Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Phone: 617.667.8397
celiac@bidmc.harvard.edu

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COMING ATTRACTIONS

Celiac Awareness Night at the Mets: May 27

Join the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness for Celiac Awareness Night at the Mets. The New York Mets will be taking on the Philadelphia Phillies, and you can watch it all while enjoying gluten-free concessions.

When: Friday, May 27, 2011
Time: 7:10 p.m.
Where: Citi Field
Flushing, NY

Tickets are now available! Visit www.mets.com/celiac to place your order.

Celiac Awareness Night with the Phillies: Friday, July 8th

Batter up! Tickets are now available for Celiac Awareness Night at the Phillies.

Join the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and members of the gluten-free community as they cheer on the Philadelphia Phillies. The team will be taking on the Atlanta Braves, and you can watch all the action in a special seating section right near the expanded gluten-free concession stand!Celiac Awareness Night at the Phillies

Update: The 200 level seats have SOLD OUT! Don't worry, there are plenty of 300 level seats still available. Be sure to select that level when ordering your tickets.

When: Friday, July 8, 2011
Time: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia

To order tickets: Visit this link and use the code “CELIAC”: http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/phi/ticketing/group/splash.jsp?loc=celiac

Net proceeds of tickets sold through this offer will go toward celiac disease education and awareness.

Thanks to the following supporters. We'll see you there!

*For more gluten-free and celiac awareness events, visit NFCA's Upcoming Events page*

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Advertisement


GREAT KitchensAll Things GREAT: Updates from NFCA's Gluten-Free Industry Initiatives

 GREAT Dietitian Amy Jones Honored By Industry Publication

A hearty congratulations to GREAT-trained dietitian Amy Jones MS, RD, LD, who was honored by Today’s Dietitian magazine in their March feature, “Meet 10 Dedicated Dietitians Who Are Making a Difference.”

Jones currently serves as the Chief Clinical Dietitian and Celiac Disease Support Group Facilitator at Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine, OH.

As Today’s Dietician reports:

“Last year, Jones took her biggest leap in starting and facilitating a support group for those with celiac disease, inspired in part by a friend’s young daughter.

'As I began seeing more and more patients with celiac disease come into our facility, I felt that my knowledge level was not where it should be, and I felt that support in our community was lacking,’ she says. ‘I mentioned this to the wife of one of our physicians, and she said, ‘You have to meet my friend. Her 8-year-old daughter has celiac.’ So I met with her friend for lunch one day and learned about her daughter and her experiences after being diagnosed at the age of 5. … I told her of my idea to start a support group for celiac in our area, and she was very excited about having support so close to home.’

‘One thing working with the area of celiac disease and gluten intolerance has taught me is that food is powerful,” Jones continues. 'It can be an agent for peace and healing in the body or it can be [destructive]. And this is something I’m trying to tell all of my patients, not just those with celiac.’”

To read more about Amy, can read the complete article online:
http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/030811p32.shtml

GREAT In The News

To learn more about GREAT Foodservice, contact Beckee@CeliacCentral.org.

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HOT PRODUCTS

By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Online Content Manager

WildeBerryaki
My dad is famous for his marinated Teriyaki steak. Always delicious, but always the same bottle of sauce. Well, I just found something to switch up his game. WildeBerryaki takes typical Teriyaki ingredients like garlic, ginger and sesame, and bumps it up a few notches by throwing in blackberry and orange flavors. And thanks to the use of gluten-free soy sauce, it’s safe for the celiacs and non-celiacs alike. The couple behind the bottle is Missy and John Villapudua, who quit their day jobs to open WildeBerry Inn on an island off the coast of Seattle. They kindly sent along some recipe ideas, including one for WildeBerry Chicken & Endives, which I’ll post on our staff blog, Celiac Central: Bits & Bites this Friday, April 8. I tested out the sauce on a thick cut of tuna and in a vegetable stir fry. It gives nice flavor to the veggies, but the protein is where this sweet glaze really shines. Like I said, I’m sharing this one with the steak man. 

www.whidbeyfresh.com

thinkThin
Sometimes, you just need a little something to tide you over. Nutrition bars can be great (not to mention, portable), but when lunch is in an hour, even that can be enough to spoil your appetite. Hence, the inspiration for thinkThin’s new Bites, miniature versions of its popular gluten-free weight management bar. They still have the same chewy texture; the same chocolate coating; the same sugar-free punch of protein, just in a 100 calorie portion. We tried the Dark Chocolate flavor and found it was just enough to curb our cravings, especially during that mid-afternoon snack attack. All of thinkThin’s products have been spruced up with new labels, so even the classiest of friends will be curious about your gluten-free find.

www.thinkproducts.com

Hail Merry
It’s been a big month for “raw” products at the office. Hail Merry offers a line of raw, vegan and gluten-free snacks that focus on the benefits of healthy oils. “Raw” means the snacks are dehydrated (not cooked) at a very low temperature, so certain enzymes that are typically destroyed during the cooking process remain intact. The Macaroons have a super sweet flavor, as is typical of that type of cookie. Merry’s Miracle Tart had a rich chocolate flavor with a noticeable hint of mint. At 90 calories for only a quarter of the tart, it was indulgent, but the simple list of ingredients (namely, cocoa, coconut oil, maple syrup and almond flour) was refreshing. Hail Merry also has a sweet and addictive Orange Cranberry Grawnola made with almonds, buckwheat groats  and actual dried cranberries that’s good eaten straight out of the bag, but my favorite was Hail Merry’s Orange Rosemary Pecans. Divine indeed. Whole pecans glazed in a sweet orange flavor with real rosemary sprigs and just a touch of salt. It was the smallest of the bags, and perhaps rightly so. For these goodies, portion control is a God-send.

www.hailmerry.com

Earth Café
Earth Café cheesecakes are raw, vegan, gluten-free and cholesterol free. Yeah, I was skeptical, too. Then I took a bite. The cheesecakes taste smooth, creamy and indulgent. In Kristin’s own words, “This is the best cheesecake I’ve had since going gluten-free.” Now, they’re not quite like a traditional cheesecake - the filling’s texture and tartness is more like a whipped fruit yogurt than a dense cream cheese – but the light-yet-luscious flavor did plenty to win us over. There’s even a crust made from made from soaked cashews, pecans and walnuts for those who can’t bear the thought of a crustless slice. There are several flavors to choose from, but our favorites were Rockin’ Raspberry and Who’s Your Daddy - a carob mousse that seriously (and we mean seriously)tastes like chocolate. Almost mocha-like, in fact. Thumbs up.

www.earthcafetogo.com

*Get Hot Products updates from NFCA every week!*
Visit our Gluten-Free Hot Products blog >>

 

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Celiac in the News

Facebook Post Create Stir in Gluten-Free Community
A man claiming to be a chef caused an uproar in the celiac and gluten-free community when he admitted to intentionally serving gluten when a customer requested gluten-free. Damian Cardone posted the comment on his Facebook page, accompanied with a photo of cake. The comment drew widespread attention in gluten-free and mainstream news, including coverage on WebMD and Zagat’s websites. According to the owner of the restaurant where Cardone last worked, the “chef” was actually a server and had left his position on March 15.

Read more about this story »

Read a response from NFCA Director of Gluten-Free Industry Initiatives Beckee Moreland »

6,000 Sq. Ft. Gluten-Free Store to Open in Burbank, CA
The nation’s largest gluten-free store will soon open in Burbank, CA. Pam MacD’s boasts approximately 6,000 sq. ft. of floor space - three times the size of any comparable gluten-free market, according to the company’s Vice President of Marketing. The store is designed to be a “one-stop shop” for gluten-free customers, with everything from local bakery items to frozen pizzas to a grab-and-go case, according to a report in the Burbank Leader. Shoppers will even have a chance to try daily free samples.

The store was founded by Pam MacDonald, who discovered the need for accessible gluten-free items after she was diagnosed with celiac disease. According to the store's website, Pam MacD's will have its Grand Opening in May.

Study Defines Difference Between Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
A research team led by renowned celiac expert Alessio Fasano, MD, has discovered that gluten sensitivity is associated with an immune response that is very different from the response seen in celiac disease patients. Until now, little has been known about gluten sensitivity. Researchers hope this breakthrough leads to better diagnosis of the condition.

The term “gluten sensitivity” refers to a less severe condition that includes gastrointestinal or other symptoms of gluten intolerance, lacks the elevated tTG or autoimmune comorbidities typically seen in celiac disease.

Read more about this study »

Gluten-Free Segment Airs on QVC
On March 23, retail network QVC dedicated an hour-long segment to gluten-free goods. “Eating Gluten-Free – Food & Cookbooks” included products like Simply…Gluten-free Desserts, by Carol Kicinski, gluten-free ribs from Shane’s Rib Shack, gluten-free baking mixes from The Pure Pantry and gluten-free dried fruit from SensibleFoods. The broadcast generated buzz in the celiac and gluten-free community, with many tweeting as they tuned in. According to Carol Kicinski, QVC was pleased with the feedback it received on the special segment. 

Read NFCA’s product reviews of some of the items featured in the broadcast »

Trader Joe’s Recall
A food manufacturer has recalledTrader Joe’s Pizza al Pollo Asado due to undeclared wheat. Completely Fresh Foods Inc., which produces the 10 oz. frozen pizza, issued the recall after a USDA inspector discovered that a spice blend used on the pizza contained wheat. The product label did not list wheat under its allergen warning. Trader Joe’s issued an apologyon its website and is offering those who purchased the item to return it for a full refund. According to the alert, no adverse reactions have been reported.

*Stay informed between newsletter mailings!*
Check our News & Blogs for frequent updates >>

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