Note from Alice
NFCA Founder & President
The Year of You
I know this is usually where I take some time to share my thoughts and experiences. But enough about me. How are you? Really, give it some thought: How are you?
If you're like most Americans, you probably work too hard, play too little and sometimes make less-than-wise decisions about your health. As the New Year reminds us, we could all stand to turn more attention inward.
Obesity rates have more than tripled since the ‘80s, heart disease is reaching pandemic levels and cancer takes a life every 60 seconds. In all, chronic disease accounts for 75% of healthcare spending. The worst part is, so much of it can be prevented.
As a member of the celiac community, you probably have a better grasp of where your health stands than most. You read food labels, monitor intake and probably know your family medical history by heart. You know if you're at risk for diabetes and which family members have high blood pressure. Now the question is: What do you do about it?
Our healthcare system has long suffered the problem of being reactive instead of proactive, giving us the tendency to “wait and see” rather than take responsibility for our health before a problem arises.
Consider this: How long did you struggle with celiac disease symptoms before you called a doctor? Did you have a history of celiac disease in your family, but didn’t rush to get tested? And since your diagnosis, how many family members have talked to a doctor about their risk for the disease?
With our demanding schedules, we all too often put health on the back burner until a problem becomes too disruptive to ignore. At that point, it may be too late.
So, I present a challenge: Make 2011 the Year of You, the year preventive health and wellness replace patchwork treatments and 'too little too late' recommendations.
You've already started it. Social networks have made it easier to share ways to promote wellness - Check out the Pinky Swear Facebook app for mammogram reminders or the MyNetDiary Smartphone app for food journaling. Healthcare providers are also getting in on the trend.
Now, I'm not advocating for self-diagnosis. If you suspect you have celiac disease and have not yet been diagnosed, it's crucial to get tested. What I would like to see is more self-care: taking responsibility for diet, exercise and proper screenings. That also means helping others discover what they need to do to get healthy because, well, you like having them around and need them in good standing to do that.
As the year progresses, let me know how you're doing. Submit your Personal Story about how you got diagnosed, or be one of the first to share a "Celi-Act" - what you've done since your diagnosis that changed your health and your life.
To keep you involved, NFCA will present a new social media challenge designed to promote celiac awareness and preventive health each month. Click the “Take Action” tab on NFCA’s Facebook page to complete our challenge for January. And of course, make sure to refer your doctor to CeliacCMECentral.com. It’s a free course for doctors, but the real one benefiting is you!
Health by Gini
Calcium and Celiac Disease
By Gini Warner, Clinical Nutritionist
Most of our calcium absorption takes place in the proximal portion of the small intestine. This is the area that is damaged by celiac disease. Therefore, many people with celiac disease have osteoporosis due to poor absorption of calcium. Calcium in the diet is important for strong bones and teeth.
Most people think about consuming dairy products as a way to increase calcium intake, but there are actually many other sources of dietary calcium that are lower in fat than dairy products. These non-dairy sources do not contain the enzyme lactose, which is beneficial for those with celiac disease who are also lactose intolerant.
The following chart is an excellent reference for non-dairy sources of calcium:
Rhubarb, 1 cup
Collard/mustard greens, 1/2 cup
Kale, 1 cup
White beans, 1 cup
Beet greens, 1 cup
Broccoli, 1/2 cup
Okra, 1/2 cup
Rutabagas, 1 cup
Green beans, 1 cup
Lima beans, 1 cup
Orange, 1 medium
Cabbage, 1 cup
Salmon, 3-4 oz
Oyster, 3 1/2 oz
Clams, 1/2 cup
Source: NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases - National Resource Center and the Food and Drug Administration.
About Gini Warner, Clinical Nutritionist
Gini Warner completed her master’s degree in Health Education and Nutritional Science at New York University in 1988 and has been working with families, individuals and corporations in the fields of celiac disease, immune dysfunction, diabetes, osteoporosis, weight loss and overall wellness. She has been a practicing nutritional counselor for more than 20 years.
Gini develops nutritional programs for people with food allergies, for safe weight control, diabetes, eating for energy, disease prevention, and overall nutritional balance. She believes that the key to achieving proper nutrition and overall health is in making positive lifestyle changes.
To learn more, contact Gini:
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Cooking with Oonagh
Gluten-Free Super Bowl Recipes
By Chef Oonagh Williams
There’s no denying it. When you get diagnosed and learn that you need to go gluten-free, part of you is happy to get answers, but part of you is also saying “Help! What do I do now?”
In today’s busy world, where takeout or prepared foods are so much a part of our lives and people rarely cook complete meals from scratch, it is a mind boggling diagnosis to hear. I call it a combination of a minefield and a maze to go gluten-free.
I was lucky. As a chef, I understand food labels and have always cooked from scratch. So when my 24-year-old son found out he was gluten and lactose intolerant two years ago, I found it easy enough to make meats, soups, salads, vegetables, etc. gluten-free.
Many people, however, don’t make the switch as easily. I received an email from a man last year asking me how to prepare meats, soups and salads gluten-free. I replied that I didn’t know what he wanted, since many foods are naturally gluten-free until processing or packaging introduces gluten in some way.
Baking was another matter. The selection of gluten-free baked goods has increased over the last few years, but some still leave much to be desired. Yes, I know I am picky, but I believe gluten-free baked goods have a lot of potential. One of my students said it best after one of my gluten-free baking classes: If you grew up eating or making packet mix cookies, cakes, etc., you would probably be happy with gluten-free packet mixes. But if you grew up baking from scratch, gluten-free goods baked from scratch will make you swoon. Her words not mine.
There is a great deal of conflicting advice about what’s safe to eat and what’s not. I am frequently asked to give practical help about reading labels, using gluten-free products and making your kitchen a gluten-free zone. Even with the help of nutritionists, many people still need help dealing with gluten-free food on a daily basis.
And thus, “Cooking with Oonagh” was born. Each month, I’ll share seasonal gluten-free recipes from my kitchen, with step-by-step instructions on how to make delicious food from scratch. Happy cooking!
BUFFALO CHICKEN SOUP
In the winter this is a great comfort soup recipe, quite low-fat (good for watching your waistline!), and also suitable for a Super Bowl party. I was inspired to create my version after finding a similar soup on an online menu.
SHRIMP, MANGO AND BLACK BEAN SALAD
Think of this as a fancy salsa served as a salad. Serve this in a bowl with a spoon as an appetizer to top tortilla chips, or as a main course. It’s a tasty addition to a Super Bowl table when the ladies (or men!) want something more than chili or burgers.
For a video clip of this recipe, visit WMUR’s Cooks Corner.
SAVORY CHEESE BREAD
I like to make my breads in muffin top pans. I find that they cook quicker and more evenly than in a muffin pan. Also since they have the shape of a mini focaccia bread or sandwich thins, they can be easily packed or eaten as an open sandwich.
CHOCOLATE PECAN INDULGENCE
I based this recipe on one I found in Bon Appetit magazine years ago, which included a homemade warm caramel sauce. It’s definitely a dessert that you’ll find yourself returning to for “just one more sliver.”
About Chef Oonagh Williams
British-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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The Vitamin D Controversy: How Much is Enough?
Vitamin D has been a hot health topic since the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released new recommendations for calcium and vitamin D intake in November 2010. The report cautioned against the use of supplements, stating that overconsumption of vitamin D could potentially cause harm.
While these recommendations work for the typical individual, those with celiac disease have different dietary needs. So, how much vitamin D is enough? The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) contacted Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, of HealthNow Medical Center, and Shannon Longhurst, RD, CD, who specializes in gluten-free nutrition, to get the scoop.
Note: The views expressed in these statements are those of the featured medical professionals only and are not attributable to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
1. Should people with celiac disease change their dosages and vitamin D supplement behavior?
Dr. Vikki: The most critical thing that all celiacs and non-celiac gluten sensitive individuals should do is get a current vitamin D level through a blood test. The blood tests are accurate, and getting a baseline is very important. Supplementation levels would be based on the result of their lab test, and followed up every 3 months in highly deficient individuals. If the baseline is borderline (above 30 ng/ml) then retesting in 6-9 months is probably adequate.
It is clear that those with celiac are at a high risk for vitamin D deficiency due to damage to the small intestine. For the newly diagnosed celiac or the individual who is having trouble healing their small intestine, it may be a good idea to engage in some mild sun exposure. When doing so, be very careful and use sunblock to protect against damaging rays.
Shannon: The American Dietetic Association's Evidence Analysis on celiac disease recommends 800-1,000 international units (IU) per day of vitamin D3 (the active form of vitamin D) for individuals at risk for vitamin D deficiency. The amount of vitamin D needed for supplementation is individual, depending on how much the body is absorbing through diet and sunlight. The IOM does make the new recommendations with minimal sunlight as the standard. I typically do not recommend below 1,000 IU per day and more often find myself prescribing 2,000 IU. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that you need to take it with food that contains fat for absorption. Take vitamin D with meals for best results.
2. The concern of too much Vitamin D has also been discussed as a result of the new recommendations. Are patients with celiac disease [who continue to take more than the recommended dosage because of their autoimmune condition] at risk for developing complications associated with excessive Vitamin D, such as tissue and kidney damage?
Dr. Vikki: Those with celiac disease are at high risk of developing many diseases due to their malabsorption of vitamin D. Excess consumption is an unlikely problem for this population. It is prudent to test one's levels frequently, but deficiency is a greater concern than excess.
Most of the research I found on vitamin D and its relationship to kidney function pointed to the fact that those with kidney disease are unable to convert vitamin D into its active form and therefore were more likely to be deficient. In the July 2010 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, a study evaluated vitamin D deficiency with arterial stiffness, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Vitamin D supplementation of 2,000 IU per day resulted in a decrease in central arterial stiffness. In the study, 44 participants were randomly assigned to receive either 400 IU of vitamin D per day (the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics) or 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day. "Study subjects taking 400 IU of vitamin D per day did not achieve vitamin D sufficiency, while their peers who took 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day on average became vitamin D sufficient," the article noted.
There is highly compelling data confirming that supplementation of vitamin D is not only vital for the health of most people, but the dosages needed are likely double and above what is currently being recommended.
Shannon: The news of the risks of too much vitamin D may be startling, especially for those who are deficient and are prescribed megadoses. As vitamin D is fat soluble, that also means it is stored in the body, so too much vitamin D over time can build up and cause damage to body tissues. However, I have yet to see one person in practice with vitamin D toxicity. The recommendations state that for blood levels, 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) is sufficient for bone health (below the normal limit if 30 ng/ml). In my practice, most people report better mood and more energy at 50-70 (ng/ml). Until the lab tests are standardized, I aim for clients' blood levels to reach at least 35-40 (ng/ml).
If a person is taking large amounts of vitamin D and not absorbing it, there is likely no risk of tissue damage, as it is lost when eliminated through fat malabsorption. If the intestines have healed, however, most people should not have to take more than 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. In the case of chronic kidney disease where the body can no longer convert dietary and sunlight-derived vitamin D to its active form, refer to your nephrologists for specific vitamin D3 recommendations.
3. What should the dosage for newly diagnosed versus long-term diagnosed patients with celiac disease look like?
Dr. Vikki: It is important to realize that this most recent IOM report analyzed vitamin D and calcium as it related to bone density, not as it affected other diseases and conditions, such as celiac disease. There is no argument that those with celiac disease are at increased risk for osteoporosis and typically are deficient in vitamin D. While I will reiterate that the best approach is to test via blood for vitamin D levels and then retest to ensure that levels are normalizing, let's assume that for some reason that's not possible. In that case, I would say that a newly diagnosed celiac could very safely take 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D per day. It is likely that is insufficient, unfortunately, but then we're back to the need for testing to know for sure.
The most important message is to be tested and then retested to ensure that what you're doing is working. Too often those with celiac disease are still absorbing so poorly that their levels are not rising, and that continues to put their health at great risk.
Shannon: If a person newly diagnosed with celiac disease has a known vitamin D
deficiency, treatment is typically 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 a week for 6-8 weeks or until blood levels reach normal limits. This is necessary to build up body stores of vitamin D. For the first year or more, doses closer to or even higher than the tolerable upper intake may be necessary to maintain healthy blood levels. Once a person has become knowledgeable about the gluten-free diet, cross-contamination and non-food gluten sources and the intestines aren't exposed to incidental gluten, less is usually required for maintenance. Primary care doctors should be monitoring vitamin D levels a minimum of annually in patients who have celiac disease (more frequently while levels are still below recommended range), and based on levels, dosage can be adjusted.
Clearly, opinions vary on vitamin D supplementation. What these experts do agree on, however, is that blood testing at diagnosis and at intervals throughout treatment are best to monitor vitamin D levels and determine whether supplementation would be beneficial.
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Tips for a Healthy New Year
Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or a lifelong goal, getting fit is an important part of living a healthy gluten-free lifestyle. To help you start 2011 on the right foot, we gathered tips from some of our favorite gluten-free athletes: Pete Bronski of No Gluten, No Problem, and Erin Elberson Lyon of Gluten-Free Fitness. Here’s what they had to say…
Getting (and Staying) Motivated:
If you’re struggling with fatigue or lack of motivation during these cold, gray winter months, you’re not alone. One of the best remedies is to get out and exercise, which boosts serotonin levels. One hour of exercise has been shown to be as effective as 2.5 hours of light therapy, a common treatment for winter blues. The result is a positive feedback loop. The more regularly you exercise, the better you’ll feel (physically AND emotionally), and the more motivated and energized you’ll become to exercise again!
Goal setting is an important part of maintaining an active lifestyle, so if your goal is walking to the end of the street or completing a half Ironman, set that goal and stay focused on it. When you’ve achieved it, set a new and more challenging goal.
Too tired to exercise? Try exercising in the morning. It may take some time to get accustomed to training that early, but your body and mind will thank you for being persistent. The important thing is to be consistent and follow your exercise plan.
Choosing Your Exercise:
If arthritis, nerve issues, or other inflammatory conditions are hampering your ability to exercise, try low-impact activities such as yoga or swimming. They can give you a great cardio workout by raising your heart rate, and will help to strengthen muscles, too.
Treadmills, barbells and weight machines have their place, but you’re much more likely to successfully stick with an exercise routine if it’s fun. Maximize the fun by focusing on “lifestyle” exercises. Go for a trail run or hike. Ride your bicycle. Go snowshoeing or skiing. Do something active that also counts as a workout, and make it a regular part of your life each week. Soon, your week won’t feel complete without it, instead of you dreading another drive to the gym for a workout.
An hour at the gym 3 times per week does not counteract our otherwise sedentary lifestyle. In addition to structured exercise, make it a point to get up and move as often as possible: Take a quick walk at lunch, walk the dog, play with the kids, clean the house, stand and cook your food instead of opening a box or bag, go to the farmers market or grocery and walk around. You get the idea.
Resistance training (weight training) is very helpful for those with bone loss seen so commonly with celiac disease. It’s not about becoming a bodybuilder. It’s about being able to lift and carry laundry, groceries, your children. It’s about being strong and vital for your life.
When You’ve Been Glutened:
If you’re feeling a little sick, there’s nothing wrong with pushing through a mellow workout. But if you’ve been glutened, consider taking a few days off from your workout routine and allowing your body a chance to recover. In a sense, recovering from the gluten is your workout for those days. Once your body is back on track, your workout routine can be, too.
If you are not feeling well (for example if you have a cold), the general rule of thumb is that it’s OK to exercise lightly if your symptoms are above the neck (i.e.: stuffy nose) but not if they are below (i.e.: chest congestion.) If you’ve been glutened, it’s OK to exercise lightly, just be sure to stay hydrated with lots of fluids.
For more pointers, including how to eat right and the best ways to gain or lose weight, watch NFCA’s staff blog, Celiac Central: Bits & Bites. We’ll post additional tips from Pete and Erin on Friday, Jan. 7.
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Gluten-Free Recipes from Dr. Lucy
Renegade Chef Dan Kohler is back for another round of NFCA’s Alternative Appetites cooking videos, and this time, he has company. Dr. Lucy Gibney, founder of Lucy’s Cookies, stopped by the Renegade Kitchen to share a few family-friendly gluten-free recipes: Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Chicken Tenders.
A real physician, Dr. Lucy created her gluten-free, allergy-friendly cookie company after her child was diagnosed with severe food allergies. Available in Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, Sugar and Cinnamon Thin, Lucy's Cookies have won praise in the celiac community. (A tip: Pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to get that "just out of the oven" taste!)
The cookie company may have started small, but Lucy's Cookies are making their way into grocery stores across the country. According to a recent blog post by Dr. Lucy, the cookies will soon be available in more than 6,000 locations nationwide.
Dr. Lucy isn’t all about cookies. At home, she’s cooked up plenty of allergen-free meals for her family, including the ones featured in the Alternative Appetites videos.
We've printed the recipes below so you can follow along with the video, but make sure to listen carefully for additional tips and tricks to add variety to these dishes (Hint: Orange zest can do wonders). And don't miss Dan and Dr. Lucy's special guest, who pays a visit in video 3.
Watch the rest of the video series >>
Twitter Contest! As an added treat, Dr. Lucy is offering a free box of Lucy's Cookies to five video viewers. During the week of Jan. 10-14, NFCA will tweet a question about the videos each day. The first person to tweet @CeliacAwareness with the correct answer will win a box of cookies. You'll have five chances to win, so watch closely!
Dr. Lucy's Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
3 tbsp egg replacer
1/2 cup cocoa
2/3 cup soy milk
2/3 cup boiling water
2 cups gluten-free flour blend
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 cups grated and lightly pureed carrots
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Pour egg replacer, cocoa, soy milk and hot water into a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside to let the egg replacer bloom.
3. In a separate bowl, combine gluten-free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum. Whisk lightly to incorporate.
4. In a third bowl, mix oil, sugar, orange juice and vanilla together. Whisk in the egg and cocoa mixture. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in marmalade and carrots.
5. Pour batter into two greased and floured cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing cake from pans.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups vegetable shortening
7 oz. package of vegan cream cheese (or use a dairy cream cheese)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp orange extract
3/16 tsp salt
7-8 cups of powdered sugar, sifted thoroughly
Whip shortening, vegan cream cheese and vanilla together with a mixer for about 1 minutes. Add powdered sugar gradually, mixing on low speed to combine. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, whisk on high to fluff.
Spread frosting onto cooled cake.
Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders
Chicken cutlets, cut into strips
Soy milk (you can also use dairy milk or another non-dairy alternative)
A few cups of gluten-free flour blend
Paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, or your favorite spices
Salt and pepper
1. Combine flour blend, spices, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Stir with a fork to combine.
2. Dip chicken strips in soy milk, then dredge in flour blend.
3. Place floured chicken strips on a hot, greased skillet. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
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Dinner at Your Doorstep: Gluten-Free Meal Delivery Programs
By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Online Content Manager
What’s for dinner?
It’s a question we grapple with every day, and one made more challenging when gluten-free is a necessity. Recognizing that, gluten-free meal delivery programs have entered the scene, offering safe and scrumptious meals ready to eat in a few simple steps. But while the concept of mail order meals seems restrictive, gluten-free meal delivery programs are more flexible (and delicious) than you’d think.
“We like to say the food is made by GF Meals, but cooked by you,” said Roni Piterman, who started one of the first gluten-free meal delivery programs in 2007. Roni started the business with a focus on gourmet foods, but switched to 100% gluten-free and casein-free after noting a need in the market.
“We talked to parents and support groups,” she said. “Everyone was begging us to please do [gluten-free/casein-free].”
Instead of scheduled monthly deliveries, GF Meals offers ordering a la carte. Customers can purchase a case of 20 Asian-Style Orange Chicken or 16 Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes, for example, and enjoy them as they please. For those looking for more structure, the website offers a suggested meal plan, and customers can order sample packs to try a variety of food at a discount price. But the real emphasis is choosing what you and your family want to eat.
“We’re more like an online supermarket,” Roni explained. Meals come frozen and ready to cook, with clear instructions on how to prepare each dish. The end result is a gourmet meal—not a TV dinner.
“We want them to be able to serve it to friends who don’t eat gluten-free and have everyone compliment them on the meal,” Roni said.
Yvonne Gifford took a different angle with Livefreeda, one of the newest programs to join the bunch. Yvonne, who also founded Glutenfreeda, used a best-of-breed model when developing a no worries way to get celiac-friendly food on the table.
“I have celiac disease myself, so I know how difficult it is to find products that taste good, and they’re expensive,” Yvonne said.
Livefreeda offers a 28-day supply of food, like lasagna from Caesar’s or soup from Kettle Cuisine, plus a menu planner that suggests what to eat when and how to supplement it with fresh items like an apple or glass of milk. The packaged items are thoroughly researched by Livefreeda’s team, so customers can rest assured the food is gluten-free. The delivery also includes tips on reading labels and balancing nutrition, from gluten-free expert Shelley Case, RD.
“What we really want to do is help people learn how to live on the gluten-free diet and have a balanced diet,” Yvonne said.
The program is designed to be a “jumpstart” for people newly diagnosed with celiac disease, Yvonne explained, but more and more people are finding a use for it. College students and senior care facilities find the packaged meals convenient, while parents order a shipment and stock the fridge for nights the babysitter is around and doesn’t know what to cook.
The majority of food comes frozen, but can easily be prepared in the oven or microwave. Baked goods can be set on the counter to thaw.
All gluten-free food is expensive, the entrepreneurs would argue. Besides price, the biggest challenge facing gluten-free meal delivery is storage. Twenty to 30 ready-to-cook dishes may give dinnertime some relief, but it maxes out freezer space. For families who don’t have the luxury of an extra fridge, a month’s worth of gluten-free food might be too much of a good thing.
Despite that, customers are logging on time and again to place their orders. The meals are convenient, nutritious and safe to eat, and for many gluten-free families, that’s reason enough.
Have you tried a gluten-free meal delivery program? Tell us about it on Facebook.
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NFCA Launches Brain Fog and Gluten Exposure Survey
Have you ever felt groggy, forgetful or found it hard to concentrate after being exposed to gluten? Those neurological effects are often referred to as “brain fog.” While it appears to be a common complaint in the celiac community, little is known about the link between gluten exposure and brain fog.
In discussion with The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has recognized that this is an important area in need of dedicated study. In an effort to provide some of the information needed to carry out these studies, NFCA is collecting information from people with celiac disease about this mysterious symptom.
Please take a moment to answer the Brain Fog and Gluten Exposure Survey. The survey takes only a couple of minutes to complete, but your responses could lead to long-term change!
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Pleased 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: Jenny Basselin
Follow Her on Twitter: @glutenfreebham
Tweeting Since: August 2010
1. How long have you been gluten-free?
My daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease in August 2008. I went gluten-free with her, and then ate wheat again for a short while before deciding I felt much better eating gluten-free. I have been totally gluten-free about 9 months now.
2. What do you like to tweet about?
I love to tweet about local events, recipes, gluten-free deals, great news articles and happenings in the gluten-free community.
3. Why do you follow NFCA (@CeliacAwareness)?
I just love NFCA! They are jam-packed with so much information on celiac disease and resources that are so helpful for anyone living the gluten-free diet. I visit several times a week to keep up to date!
4. What's your favorite gluten-free dish?
My favorite gluten free dish has to be chicken fried rice from P.F. Chang’s. Yum!
5. What's one thing you can do now that you couldn't do before going gluten-free?
I don’t think that there is any one thing that I can do now that I couldn’t do before, but I do feel 110% better. I have more energy and am less tired. I like that the gluten-free lifestyle forces me to cook and bake more from scratch. It is so much more cost efficient, healthier and better for you than eating all the processed and fast foods.
6. In 140 characters or less, why should others join the gluten-free community on Twitter?
Everyone is passionate about what they are tweeting. I love all the recipes, gluten-free tips and the great people I have met!
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!
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness: Anyone else find that some people confuse "gluten" with "glucose" when first hearing about gluten-free? Happened to us, so we're curious if it's common...
Jenny Rotten: When I say I can't eat wheat the hard of hearing think I can't eat meat. Try explaining that into a drive-thru speaker system.
Michele Ludwig: Yes! It has happened to me a few times. I've even had people request “glucose free meals” for me at parties. I'm pretty proactive and have, thankfully, had chefs who knew what the other person really meant!
Katie Chalmers: No, but I've had people ask about corn gluten before. Other common mistakes are people saying "Celiac's disease" instead of "Celiac" and others seem to think that the word "gluten" will appear on an ingredient label as opposed to all of the other words out there which mean "gluten." Increasing awareness helps with all of these little issues. Keep up the good work!
Andrew Poole Todd: Does an apple have gluten? I’ve heard that one quite a few times.
Berlyn Coleman: Yes! I went to a restaurant once and asked for a gluten free menu. The waitress replied with, "I'll see if we have one, but I'm pretty sure all the menu items have cheese in them."
Susan Mary Mayo Griffin: I was once asked if I am allergic to celery when I said I had celiac disease.
Zibeda Weigel Wood: Actually, I also have diabetes!
Ask the Dietitian
Call for Questions!
NFCA is looking for diet and nutrition-related questions to feature in our “Ask the Dietitian” blog.
If you have a question, whether it’s about reading energy bar labels or finding the best ways to increase your iron levels, submit it through our simple form. We only use first names, but if you’d like to remain completely anonymous, just let us know!
New this year, Rachel Begun, RD, of the Gluten-Free RD, and EA Stewart, RD, of the Spicy RD, will join Nancy Dickens, BS, RD, LDN, and Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN, as our “Ask the Dietitian” experts!
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All Things GREAT: Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (G.R.E.A.T) Program Update
Gluten-Free Tops Food Industry Trends For 2011
The National Restaurant Association’s annual “What’s Hot” chef survey ranked gluten-free 8th on their list of top industry developments for 2011, moving up from 9th last year.
More than 1,500 American Culinary Federation chefs participated in the survey, which helps professionals stay on top of the hottest developments in food preparation and public demand.
According to Bret Thorn, food writer for Nation’s Restaurant News:
“We also might be due for a renewed attack on carbohydrates, and I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow the focus were on gluten.
Gluten is a protein, not a carbohydrate, but it’s found in bread and other wheat-based products, and gluten-free menu items are among the hottest trends going. They’ll no doubt improve in quality over the course of 2011, and become even more widespread.”
To read more about NFCA’s efforts to mainstream gluten-free foods in cooperation with the National Restaurant Association, visit:
GREAT in the News
*Tell your restaurant it's time to get GREAT*
Learn more about gluten-free restaurant training from NFCA >>
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Save the Date!
Celiac Awareness Night at Citizens Bank Park returns this summer. Watch the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Atlanta Braves and meet others in the celiac and gluten-free community. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) will have group seats near a special expanded gluten-free concession stand, so you can stay fueled as you root for the home team!
Date: Friday, July 8, 2011
Time: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Stay tuned for more information on group ticket sales!
For more gluten-free and celiac awareness events, visit our Upcoming Events page.
By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Online Content Manager
Sof’ella Gourmet Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix
Piece of cake. Yes, I ate several, and that’s also how easy it is to use this baking mix. Simply add water, eggs and butter, pop it in the oven and - Viola! - a rich chocolate cake in about 30 minutes. You can top the cake with frosting, but I think it stands fine on its own, almost like a cakey brownie. One note of caution: Be careful when opening the box. The powdery mix has a tendency to plume, and walking around with a streak of brown on the back of your thigh isn’t the most appealing way to tell people you’ve been baking. I speak from experience.
When I received a package from Lisanatti Foods, I was delighted to find an assortment of cheeses inside. Upon further inspection, I realized the items were actually cheese alternatives. The snack sticks, a dairy-free swap for string cheese, were made from rice and packed with more calcium than a glass of milk. Despite being a bit gummy, the sticks are a good on-the-go option for celiacs who are also lactose intolerant. Lisanatti’s shredded cheese, made from soy and rice, melted nicely on a gluten-free tortilla as well as on top of steamed vegetables. But my favorite was a spicy pepper jack alternative made from almonds. It came in block form, easy to serve with gluten-free crackers or cube for a salad.
Yogurt is a digestive powerhouse, and I often delight in some dairy at lunch. The challenge is finding one that balances nutrition with flavor, and Maia Yogurt does that. Produced by Healthy Woman LLC, the yogurt keeps female nutritional needs in mind. (Don’t worry men, you can enjoy this product, too.) The cup is packed with fiber and protein, with a modest 130 calories per serving. As for taste, Maia Yogurt is creamy and tart, which in my mind feels healthier than products oversweetened with additives. The French Vanilla is just sweet enough to satisfy dessert cravings, while Strawberry had a mild fruit flavor that complemented rather than overpowered the yogurt’s tartness.
Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Forum 2010 (DVD)
If you ever wished you could attend a celiac disease conference, now's your chance. Sponsored by HealthNow Medical Center, this DVD recording of the 2010 Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Forum, puts you front and center in sessions with top celiac experts, without the expense of travel and registration fees. I don't know about you, but anytime I can get tips on reading labels and learn cutting edge information on autoimmunity while in my pajamas, I'm a happy listener. The sessions are informative and inspiring, and there's even a Q&A at the end. Sure, some of the information may go over your head, and you might zone out for a moment. But therein lies another benefit of the DVD: Rewind.
To watch a Welcome message from the DVD and learn more about ordering a copy, click here.
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Celiac in the News
Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles to Bear Gluten-Free Label
Fans of Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles can now rest assured that the popular breakfast cereal is celiac-friendly. Post Foods recently announced that both cereals had met rigorous requirements for gluten-free certification and will soon be sporting a gluten-free label on the box. In addition, the manufacturer stated that, starting in January 2011, Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles would have reduced sugar content: 9g per serving compared to the current 11g.
For more details, read the press release.
Gluten-Free Bloggers Participate in Share Our Strength Fundraiser
Hasselbeck Wins Plagiarism Suit
Several gluten-free bloggers gave back over the holiday season by participating in a Share Our Strength fundraiser. The event, titled "Share Our Holiday Table," was a virtual dinner that ran throughout December 2010. Bloggers contributed recipes for appetizers, dinner, drinks and other categories that added up to a complete holiday meal. Each category featured four options: gourmet, family-friendly, vegetarian and gluten-free. Among the gluten-free participants were the WHOLE Gang, Gluten-Free Easily, Creative Cooking Gluten-Free and Gluten-Free Girl
To see the full list of bloggers and recipes, visit Share Our Holiday Table.
"The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck celebrated a legal victory in December after a judge declared that she did not plagiarize parts of her best-selling book, The G-Free Diet. Hasselbeck, who has celiac disease, was accused of plagiarism in June 2009. Plaintiff Susan Hassett stated that Hasselbeck lifted words from her book, Living With Celiac Disease, which Hassett wrote about her experience with the autoimmune disorder. The judge assigned to the case found no evidence of plagiarism in Hasselbeck's book, according to reports. However, the feud may not be over; a recent article on celebrity website X17 indicated that Hassett has filed a notice of appeal.
Study: Gluten-Free Diet for Potential Celiac Patients
Individuals who have a positive celiac blood test but normal biopsy, known as “potential” celiac disease, may want to go gluten-free, according to new research. A study that analyzed the metabonic profile of celiac disease found that individuals with potential celiac disease shared many of the same traits as those with overt celiac disease, suggesting that the condition would likely progress from potential to overt. Researchers said the findings indicate that individuals with a positive blood test may want to adopt the gluten-free diet even before intestinal damage occurs.
Read more about this study.
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