Note from Alice
NFCA Founder & President
Spring has finally arrived, and the return of sun isn’t the only thing that has me feeling warm these days! My wonderful trip to the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, CA was a thrilling affirmation that the gluten-free market is more enthusiastic and vibrant than ever before. The newest and most innovative gluten-free products and vendors comprised a substantial presence at this show, spanning over 300,000 square feet and attracting an attendance of over 53,000 industry representatives from more than 28 countries.
This experience supports recently published market research, from Package Facts, indicating that the gluten-free market continues to grow by leaps and bounds. It’s sustaining double-digit growth and sales projections that will exceed previous estimates and expectations, reaching $2.63 billion by 2012.
These developments thrill me because it means our voices are being heard, and our collective efforts to raise awareness and education about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet have had an impact on all aspects of the food industry. I hope you all take a moment to revel in these wonderful accomplishments and feel satisfaction and appreciation for how far we have come.
Spring is a time for personal renewal and, as part of our mission to improve the quality of life for those with celiac disease, NFCA is bringing you two very special programs. Be sure to read the article entitled “Food Sensitivities: The Hidden Cause of Your Health Problem?” I know many celiac patients are dealing with other chronic health issues. Food sensitivities may be an important piece of the puzzle. For those interested in genetic testing, read “First-Ever Genetic Study Open to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Community.” Both programs are offered to the NFCA community at a vastly reduced rate.
I can think of no better time, in this season that embodies rejuvenation and renewal, optimism and promise, for us to press on in pursuit of this cause so we may continue to make a difference and realize the ideal world we envision.
By: Linda Simon, Registered Dietitian
Rebirth. Every year. It is so miraculous! In the north, spring brings welcome warm winds and sun on your cheeks. Shoots of early perennials leap from the earth. In March, I inspect our garden for the earliest signs of life. In April and May, I am signing the praises of fresh tender asparagus and tangy rhubarb.
Sure, you can buy it fresh in many markets throughout the year. It is often expensive and I ignore it most of the time. Too often, it looks like tired little soldiers with droopy heads. The quality of super fresh asparagus is so superior that I buy it only when I can get it from local growers. In the spring, it is olive green with a crisp snap of the spear. Thick or thin stalks, which is better? That is a personal choice, I prefer thick. And for me, frozen and canned asparagus just do not measure up.
Asparagus is a dieter’s delight. It has less than 30 calories per cup! But it is rich in iron, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins A, C, and K. And a 1-cup serving even has 3 grams of fiber. Serving roasted asparagus is such a treat you will not feel deprived in any way.
So spring-y, so simple, so quick. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.
Fresh asparagus spears, 5-7 per person
Olive or canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450-degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, trim bottom end of the spears. Arrange the spears in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with a bit of oil and rub it around the spears. Roast for about 10 minutes. Season to taste.
*Lemon punch - sprinkle fresh lemon juice and grate the zest over the top before serving.
*Orange dream - drizzle thawed orange juice concentrate over the spears. Use calcium fortified OJ concentrate for a little boost of calcium.
*Sweet tang - drizzle with good balsamic vinegar when the spears come out of the oven.
*Crunchy and salty crust - top spears with grated Parmesan before roasting.
*Soft and creamy finish - about half way through roasting, top with crumbled goat cheese.
*For even more texture - top any of the above with chopped nuts.
Only the stalks of rhubarb are edible. They can be green or red, but the red is prettier. Rhubarb stalks are harvested in the spring. As the weather turns to summer heat, the stalks loose their puckery tang. Good quality chopped rhubarb is available in the freezer section year round.
Rhubarb is an excellent source of vitamin K, and has two grams of fiber per one cup serving. It is also less than 30 calories per cup, but you will need to add sweetener to it. Sugar, brown sugar, agave nectar, honey, and sorghum or maple syrups all work well. You can also use Splenda, or the new stevia based sweeteners to avoid adding extra calories. Since the sourness of the stalks change over the growing season, it is a good idea to start with less sweetener and add more only if needed.
4 cups chopped fresh or frozen red rhubarb
½-1 cup sweetener of choice
½ cup dried cranberries, dried cherries, or raisins (optional)
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional)
Put rhubarb, and dried fruit if using, in a medium saucepan. Add just enough water to keep the rhubarb from sticking to the pan. Fresh rhubarb might take ½ cup. Frozen might not need any, it oozes moisture as it heats up. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft. The soft pieces will be whole one minute, and completely fall apart a minute later. I like some chunks, so I take it off the heat as soon as it is tender. Add sweetener to taste. Add balsamic vinegar if using. If you have an abundance of rhubarb, make sauce and freeze it for later use. It freezes well and can be a welcome addition to next winters meals.
Rhubarb sauce is excellent with roasted pork or lamb, or as a topping for ice cream! Veggies for dessert? When it tastes this good, why not?
Please participate in our little survey. Rhubarb is often a love it or hate it veggie. Do you love it or hate it? Send your vote to Linda@glutenfreekitchentherapy.us.
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Pies, Crepes and Other Delicious Spring Desserts!
By: Christina Gentile, NFCA Volunteer Staff Writer
Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and delicious fruit is abundant! That can only mean one thing…spring is here!!! Many of us have been anticipating the warm, soothing nature of spring for many months now, and what better way to celebrate the joy of spring than with delicious treats that incorporate the many delicious elements of the season!
During this season, I like to bake desserts that integrate the flavors of fresh fruit as well as the appearance of bright colors. Desserts that are light and fluffy, sweet, fulfilling, and flavorful are just what we need for this beautiful season! Some of my favorite desserts that I like to bake include loaf cakes, trifles, crepes, and tarts. These desserts are the perfect indulgence and use fresh fruit without being overly sweet! When baking, I like to use a combination of flours such as rice, sorghum, tapioca, and corn. I have tried all-purpose mixes such as Bob’s Red Mill GF and have had good results. I also like to add xanathan gum to my products to help it better adhere together; I use about 1 tsp per cup of gluten-free flour.
The first recipe that I am presenting is a Blueberry Lemon Loaf. For this recipe, I like to use fresh blueberries and lemons, but frozen blueberries and lemon juice concentrate should work too. However, for the lemons, I like to add the zest and if you use concentrate, you will not have the same effect. The lemon helps bring out the flavor of the fresh blueberries. If you enjoy the taste of lemon, I recommend adding more zest!
Blueberry Lemon Loaf
1/3-cup butter, melted
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF (or try ½ c corn starch + ½ c sorghum + ½ c rice flour)
2-teaspoons Xanathan gum
1-teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1-cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 x 4” loaf pan.
2.In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, xanathan gum, and salt together.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1-cup sugar until fluffy.
4. Add eggs one at a time, and beat well. Mix in the juice of 1 lemon. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk.
5. Fold in the lemon zest and blueberries. Pour into prepared 8 x 4” inch pan.
6. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. For the glaze, combine ¼ cup sugar with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Drizzle over the cake while it is still warm.
The next recipe is a trifle recipe that uses custard, berries, and your choice of gluten-free cookies or gluten-free pound cake that is mixed together and can be served with chocolate shavings and mint leaves!
Berries and Cream Trifle
½ cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups whole milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
1 pound fresh strawberries, quartered
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh red raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 cup seedless blackberry jam
21 (or more) Gluten Free Cookies or 1-8” GF pound cake (Arico Foods Triple Berry Gluten-Free Cookies,
Dr. Schar Frollini Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies, Dr. Schar Gluten-Free Ladyfingers, Glutano Custard Cream Gluten-Free Cookies)
White chocolate shavings (garnish)
Fresh strawberries (garnish)
Fresh mint sprigs (garnish)
1. Whisk sugar and egg yolks in medium bowl. Sift cornstarch over the bowl and whisk well. Bring milk and vanilla to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Slowly add hot milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return custard to saucepan. Place saucepan over medium low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and just begins to boil, for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate and whisk until completely smooth. Pour custard into large bowl and cool. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold, about 3 hours.
2. Toss berries with 2 tablespoons sugar. Let stand at room temperature.
3. Once custard is completely chilled, use electric mixer to beat whipping cream to stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 of whipped cream into chilled custard. Gently fold remaining whipped cream into custard to make pastry cream.
4. Heat jam in small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth.
5. Line bottom of 8- to 10-cup clear trifle bowl with single layer of GF cookies to completely cover bottom of bowl. Brush or drizzle with 1/3 cup of jam. Top with 1/3 of pastry cream. Spoon half of berries over cream. Top berries with another layer of cookies, 1/3 cup of jam, 1/3 of pastry cream, and remaining berries. Top berries with cookies, remaining jam and remaining pastry cream. Cover and chill at least 3 hours before serving. Garnish trifle with white chocolate shavings, fresh berries, and mint leaves. Serve chilled.
The last recipe that I love to make using fresh fruit is a gluten-free crepe. They taste amazing when served immediately, and I like to garnish them with powder sugar and chocolate for a real, decadent treat!
1-cup rice flour
1 tsp sugar
¼tsp salt 2 eggs
1-tablespoon butter, melted
Fresh fruit: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries
Whipped Cream, Chocolate, Powder sugar
Toasted Almonds, Toasted Coconut
1. Sift rice flour. Combine with sugar and salt.
2. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk to make a thin batter. Beat until smooth. Stir in melted butter.
3. Pour some batter into a lightly greased skillet and flip once top begins to bubble. Fill with your choice of fruit, or spread with chocolate, and roll it up. Sprinkle top with powder sugar, melted chocolate, whipped cream, almonds, or coconut
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April Showers Bring Opportunities for Cooking with Kids
By: Abby Schwartz, NFCA Volunteer Staff Writer
Spring is here, bringing a flurry of outdoor activities for the whole family. It also brings April showers, which means you will find yourself on a rainy Saturday looking for ways to keep your kids entertained. One activity to consider is cooking.
When you are the parent of a child with celiac disease, cooking is a regular part of your weekly, even daily, routine. If you are like me, on most weeknights the goal is to prepare a tasty, healthy meal that can be cooked in 30 minutes or less. A pair of small helping hands is not always a welcome sight when dinner is running late. On weekends, however, you can slow things down and use a rainy afternoon as an opportunity to teach your little one that cooking can be fun and that most recipes can easily be made gluten-free.
For smaller children, half the fun of cooking is getting messy. Little kids love to help out and can be put to work handling easy tasks like breaking eggs, stirring ingredients with a spoon, pouring liquids and spreading batter into a pan. Pick up one of the many gluten-free cake, cookie or brownie mixes and invite your pre-schooler to help create a delicious treat.
Elementary school-age children can take on bigger chores in the kitchen like using an electric mixer, measuring out dry and liquid ingredients, reading recipes out loud, and working the assembly line of dipping for foods that get coated in rice flour or gluten-free bread crumbs. Older children can be taught to chop vegetables and use the stove, oven and microwave.
Below are some ideas for meals and snacks you can prepare with your child.
My daughter loves to make nachos. First she spreads gluten free tortilla chips on a microwave-safe plate. Most brands of corn-based tortilla chips are naturally gluten-free. She tops the chips with foods she finds in our refrigerator or pantry. Some ideas: leftover cooked chicken, shredded or cut into small pieces; canned black beans drained and rinsed; corn; diced tomatoes (fresh or canned); chopped onions; cooked bacon; or canned olives. Next comes a generous sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese, followed by a quick zap in the microwave to melt the cheese. A few dollops of sour cream provide the finishing touch and voila! A quick snack that is kid-friendly and unique every time.
Since most pizza places use wheat flour to make their dough, if your child craves pizza, you probably have to make it at home. There are recipes out there for gluten-free pizza dough from scratch. In my house, we take a shortcut and buy frozen pizza dough by Chebe, which is made with a combination of flours, includ-ing tapioca, which gives it a nice, chewy texture. While the frozen pizza crust is cooking in the oven, have your child assemble the ingredients for toppings. Ideas include: pizza sauce (canned or jarred); shredded mozzarella cheese or fresh Buffalo mozzarella in slices; fresh arugula or spinach; thinly sliced prosciutto or pepperoni; sliced plum tomatoes; pesto sauce; ricotta cheese; goat cheese or Feta crumbles, and more. The possibilities are as endless as your grocery list. The crust we buy comes in personal sizes so I let my daughter make three of them and we cut them up and share them with my husband. Challenge your kids to come up with the tastiest, most unique pizzas and let the fun begin.
Chicken is such a versatile food for cooking and one of my favorite things to make with it is crispy, oven-fried tenders. Set up an assembly line of bowls and have your child dip the chicken first in buttermilk, then in your favorite gluten-free breadcrumbs that are seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper (adjust amount according to your family’s taste for hot spices). Put the coated chicken on a baking tray and spray the chicken liberally with a cooking spray like Pam or Crisco. Bake in a 400º oven for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through. The chicken will be nice and crunchy from “frying” in the oven, and you will consume less fat than from frying it stovetop in a pan.
Another chicken recipe I love is cornflake chicken. Again, set up your assembly line and have your child dip pieces of boneless, skinless chicken first in your favorite gluten-free ranch or French dressing, followed by a dredging in a bowl of crushed GF cornflakes. Bake at 375º for 45 minutes. Crunchy, sweet and delicious!
Parmesan Fish Sticks
Sometimes it is hard getting your child to eat fish. This recipe comes from Giada de Laurentiis of the Food Network. I modified it to make it gluten-free. Buy a piece of salmon and remove the skin (they will often do this for you upon request at the market). Cut the fish into small fish sticks, roughly 3 inches by 1 inch. Get ready for another assembly line. This one is: a bowl with rice flour seasoned with salt and pepper; a bowl containing egg whites that have been whisked until frothy; a bowl containing equal parts GF bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese mixed together (just use the Kraft—it comes out great!). Have your child dip the fish into the flour, shaking off the excess, followed by the egg whites, and finally the bread crumbs. Put the coated fish on a baking sheet and before putting it in the oven, drizzle it with olive oil. Bake at 400º for 15 to 20 minutes and serve with GF honey mustard, ranch dressing, or your favorite tartar sauce. It tastes great, has a wonderfully crisp texture and is full of healthy omega 3 fatty acids from the salmon and the olive oil.
One final word about cooking with your child. Remember to involve your older child in the selection of recipes, too. Kids are whizzes on the computer. I like to challenge my daughter to do research online and find recipes she would like to make. It is a great way to open her world and show her that a gluten-free diet is limited only by her imagination.
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First-ever Genetic Study Open to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Community
If you had more complete knowledge of your genetic make-up, would you be more likely to make lifestyle changes, seek further medical advice or take other action that could lead to disease prevention or early diagnosis?
The Scripps Genomic Health Initiative invites you to participate in a first-of-its-kind genetic study that will assess actions people take after learning more about their genetic susceptibility to disease.
Participation includes a state-of-the-art scan of your genome that assesses your genetic risk for more than 20 health conditions, including celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, several types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, heart attack and more.
Though receiving an advanced gene scan and personal analysis is not free, a partnership between Scripps Translational Science Institute, Navigenics Inc., Affymetrix and Microsoft Corp. has significantly reduced the cost. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness community, friends and family members can participate and receive this genetic testing service for the substantially discounted cost of $470 (retail is $2499).
Alice Bast, NFCA’s founder and president, will be taking the Navigenics genetic test and writing about her experience in an upcoming newsletter. Join her as she learns more about her genetic risk for several common health conditions – including celiac disease. Learn more...
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Food Sensitivities: The Hidden Cause of Your Health Problem?
By: Susan Linke, MS, RD, CLT
If anyone knows how harmful eating the wrong foods can be, it’s those with celiac disease. Yet despite carefully avoiding gluten, many celiac patients are plagued with other chronic unresolved health problems. Headaches, joint and muscle pain, diarrhea, heartburn, lethargy and fatigue, skin eruptions, excess mucus production and mood swings are symptoms many celiac patients experience on a frequent basis even while living a gluten-free life. For many, the cause of these lingering symptoms also has a dietary basis.
“Many celiac patients have food sensitivities that are causing them other health problems,” says Jan Pate-naude, a Registered Dietitian who specializes in helping her clients overcome health issues related to adverse food reactions. “Food sensitivities are a common side effect of celiac disease because the damage to the gut that occurs causes a leaky gut. This makes celiacs more susceptible to developing sensitivities.”
And just as with celiac disease, most doctors are unaware of how to properly diagnose and manage food sensitivities. So, most patients go on suffering for many years before improving their health. “It takes 10 years on average before the diagnosis of celiac disease is made,” says Dr. Fred Williams, a GI specialist at Gateway Gastroenterology in St. Louis, Missouri. “It can take even longer for doctors and patients to consider that food sensitivities may be causing their irritable bowel syndrome or their migraines.”
Also known as “delayed food allergies,” or “hidden food allergies,” food sensitivities are one of the more common types of adverse food reactions, affecting an estimated 25-40% of the population. But they’re not nearly as well known as food allergy, food intolerance, or even celiac disease. The main reason is because, like celiac disease, they too are difficult to diagnose.
“Food allergy is fairly straightforward,” says Dr. Ted Kniker, past Chairperson for the Adverse Food Reactions Committee of the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. “Reactions tend to be experienced quickly so it’s fairly easy to identify from history the one or two foods a person is typically allergic to. Food sensitivities are much more challenging. With food sensitivities, reactions are often delayed and dose-dependent and there are usually many reactive food items.”
Like food allergy, sensitivities involve an immune response to foods or additives in which inflammatory chemicals called mediators, such as histamine and prostaglandins, are released during a reaction. “There are 4 types of immune mediated hypersensitivity reactions,” says Patenaude. “Of these, 3 can be to foods. Type 1 refers to food allergy; Type 3 and Type 4 refer to food sensitivity, although Type 4 appears to be the most common. But regardless of the pathway, if foods are triggering hypersensitivity reactions, then chemical mediators will be released. If mediators are released, then the patient will experience some type of symptoms.”
Identifying reactive foods and food-chemicals is of first importance when dealing with food sensitivities. There are several options to accomplish this, ranging from carefully designed elimination and challenge diets, to various blood tests. “I’ve used many approaches to identify reactive foods in my practice,” says Patenaude. “Elimination diets are effective at identifying all classes of reactive foods, but they’re hard to work with and take a long time. IgG blood tests are limited because they’re only good for Type 3 hypersensitivity and they can’t help with additives and other food-chemicals.”
“My experience on hundreds of patients has shown me that the Mediator Release Test (MRT) is the best blood test for food sensitivities. MRT reliably accounts for both Type 3 and Type 4 reactions and it also tests for reactions to food-chemicals. So it gives me the most complete information to help my patients.”
Once reactive foods are identified, relief follows quickly. “It typically takes about 4-5 days for IBS and 5-7 days for migraine, but the vast majority see dramatic results within about a week,” says Patenaude. “I remember a patient who had suffered from migraine, GERD, fibromyalgia, depression and mood swings for almost 50 years. She had seen more than a dozen doctors and had essentially resigned herself that she ‘just had to live with it.’ Within 10 days of changing her diet, every symptom was gone. She was absolutely thrilled. Of course not everyone has the same level of commitment or the same degree of clinical response, but when food sensitivities are the cause of their symptoms and the patient follows my advice, they get better every time.”
If you suspect food sensitivity is causing some of your own unresolved health problems, Signet Diagnostic Corporation offers a complimentary prescreening to assess the likelihood that diet is indeed playing a role in your symptoms. Go to www.nowleap.com and select the “Free Patient Prescreening” tab. Or you can call 1-888-669-5327 and speak with a Signet Representative. Be sure to ask about the Celiac Central promotion, good through April 30, 2009.
Susan Linke is a Registered Dietitian with a successful private practice in Dallas, Texas that focuses on the health problems associated with adverse food reactions. She is also a recognized speaker and lecturer on the subject, presenting at universities, local, state, and national dietetic organizations, and to physician clinics. Email Susan Linke
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Food Sensitivity Testing Promotion Helps Patients and beyondceliac.org
During the month of April, a deeply discounted promotional offer is available to visitors/subscribers of beyondceliac.org for MRT food sensitivity testing and dietary counseling from Certified LEAP Therapist Registered Dietitians. The normal pricing for the patented Mediator Release Test 150 substance food and chemical profile is $595. Through April 30, 2009, this price has been reduced to just $295.
If you also want expert dietary counseling from Registered Dietitians with specialized training in food sensitivities, that price has also been discounted from $795 to $395 and provides 5 telephone consults to help you be successful with your diet. Celiacs in particular know the great value of a properly trained dietitian in implementing dietary changes. In addition, 10% of all proceeds will be donated back to beyondceliac.org to assist in raising awareness about celiac disease and all the other important activities they do to assist those affected with the disease.
To take advantage of this offer or for more information, call Signet Diagnostic Corporation toll free 1-888-669-5327.
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All Things GREAT: Gluten-Free Resource Education Awareness Training
Seattle gluten-free menu launch is in a word, SAVORY
Newly trained Seattle area restaurant Savory Moment debuted its gluten-free menu March 29th 2009 with a grand launch event! Guests on hand including NFCA Director of Education and GREAT program creator, Nancy Baker, savored delicious gluten-free entrees, side dishes, and desserts.
Nancy also gave a short presentation on celiac disease and the gluten-free diet as part this gluten-free menu launch and tasting event. Nancy and the NFCA collaborated with Savory Moment through GREAT training, and assisted in the preparation and development of their new gluten-free menu.
Check out Kay’s local news interview to learn more about her new gluten-free menu.
Savory Moment provides chef prepared meals, packaged by a professional culinary team with more than 50 years of combined experience. Savory Moment meals are not just “assembled” for you to cook later, but made with high quality, fresh ingredients!
Savory Moment meals are both good to eat and good for you! Professionally trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France Kay Conley never compromises nutritional value for taste!
To learn more about Savory Moment and how you can order Kay’s new wonderful gluten-free meals, visit their website www.monthofmeals.com
A GREAT Big Welcome.
The GREAT program has been growing by leaps and bounds! We have been truly delighted by the interest and enthusiasm not only from the many restaurants and kitchens receiving celiac disease and gluten-free education and training across the country, but from those members of the celiac disease and gluten-free community who have registered to become GREAT Guides and represent this wonderful program.
We would like to formally welcome three fantastic new GREAT Guides to our program! Zach Becker, author of the popular blog Gluten-Free Raleigh, Washington State native Jamie Eppenauer, who also authors a wonderful blog entitled Gluten Free Mom, and Jacqueline Yngvason, who is currently studying at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Portland, Oregon.
Our GREAT Guides work on the front lines, both recruiting new kitchens and assisting in the implementation of GREAT training from start to finish. Spread across the country in 13 different states, they are the driving force behind GREAT’s success in training over 150 restaurants and growing!
Learn how you can make your community more gluten-free and celiac friendly by becoming a GREAT Guide and training restaurants in your area using the GREAT Program. Visit the GREAT program page on NFCA’s website for more information.
The Research Chefs Association Culinology Expo 2009
Thoughts from Nancy Baker, NFCA Director of Education and GREAT Program Founder
Although the US Food and Drug Administration is moving to define a policy on, and definition of, “gluten-free,” a plan of action does not appear to be on the immediate horizon. I remain hopeful, but in the mean time realize that the burden lies not only on the government and those in position to change policy, but also on those who carry the influence to change attitudes. I feel we are fortunate to be in such a position, and believe our continued efforts to raise awareness will aid in driving the process and result in these impactful government acts we desire.
Last month, representatives from the NFCA’s GREAT program went to the source at the Research Chef Association’s Annual Expo. Expo Attendees include those food industry professionals who create the recipes and products that fill both our grocery store shelves and restaurant menus. Both NFCA staff and our GREAT Guides hit the floor with three questions on their agenda: Will you label better? Can you offer more? How can you help to keep us safe?
Opening eyes and ears to the issue of labeling.
We approached producers of notoriously difficult ingredients for the person on a gluten-free diet and interviewed them about their products, and visited booths of ingredient manufacturers who produce products like “natural flavoring,” “food starch,” and “caramel coloring.” To our collective surprise, many already knew which of their products was gluten-free and which ones were not. In addition, they expressed genuine interest in receiving more information and direction on how to responsibly test, manufacture, and label products as safe for someone on a gluten-free diet in order to attract a large and growing consumer segment.
With one eye waiting for the FDA decision and another eye on increasing sales, these producers are doing their homework thanks to the efforts of our GREAT Guides who joined us at the RCA Expo event, Beckee Moreland (Nebraska), Marion Recktenwald (Virginia), and Linda King (Missouri).
Offering the resources and information necessary to succeed.
These major players in the food industry not only expressed a desire for information, education, and guidance, but for a solution as well. We were privileged to be able to offer a panel of experts who could communicate OUR information and desires in THEIR professional language during our Expo presentation, ‘rolling out a gluten-free menu or product.’
My role in the presentation was to: enforce our message that the gluten-free diet is not a trend or fad but a nutritional movement, and permanent substantive market driven by the celiac disease population, and draw the connection between the celiac disease population and the market shift using past analysis and projection of sales reports.
With attention at hand: Keith Brunell, Executive Culinary Chef of Maggiano’s Little Italy; Patricia Hamil-ton, Manager of New Products, Godfather’s Pizza; and Executive Chef and Owner Peter Schonman of Biaggis described their different yet successful models of serving the gluten-free customer safely and successfully. Drawing from these vastly different experiences, together they illustrated that a gluten-free menu executed from kitchen to customer IS possible!
Robert Hapanawicz COO GF Natural Foods shed light on a product manufactures perspective as he described his company’s certified gluten-free, whole-grain, and heart healthy, incredibly delicious chicken tender product. He also expressed his hope for this product to replace many mainstream tenders currently served in restaurants across the country, as this product meets the needs of those with special diets without sacrificing flavor and taste.
Sharon Fratilla of Across the Board Resource Inc. described her quest to source the best gluten-free products available and get them into the hands of decision makers in American restaurant chains.
Finally, NFCA - Director of Communications, Whitney Ehret designed and prepared materials distributed throughout the event on celiac disease, the gluten-free diet, and our organizations GREAT program.
This was a powerful group with a powerful message.
Ensuring safety is heart and goal of the process
In the end, we reached out. Not only did we pique interest but also offered solutions for the entire food and restaurant industry through the NFCA GREAT program. I am excited to say, the response has been overwhelming! Ultimately, we hope that the industry steps up and offers safe, affordable, and tasty products to all of us.
Moving forward from here
A special thanks to our panelist and friend Sharon Fratilla, whose help throughout this process has been invaluable and continues to lead us in pursuit of our goals.
Let’s see what happens next month when we try it again at the National Restaurant Association’s Show in Chicago!
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NFCA Advocacy Corner
By: Geoffrey M. Roche, NFCA Advocacy Chairman
Happy Spring to all of you!
This is the inaugural note announcing the NFCA Advocacy Corner. I am excited to be a part of this program and to share our plans to develop and implement a Legislative Advocacy Plan for NFCA. Working with other interested parties, the NFCA will focus on legislative actions on the state and federal level, as well as work with governmental agencies, as appropriate.
Let me begin by introducing myself.
I am a community and government relations professional with more than three years of experience working with government and non-profit organizations including Pocono Medical Center in East Stroudsburg, PA, Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, PA, U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C., Pennsylvania State House in Marshalls Creek, PA and the Pennsylvania State Senate in Bethlehem, PA. I also have served in local government as a township auditor.
At present, I serve on the Board of Directors of AIDSNET, a private non-profit organization that builds healthier communities by planning and funding HIV/AIDS care and prevention services. In addition, I hold a B.A. in political science with a concentration in public management from Moravian College and have completed coursework in management and leadership at East Stroudsburg University.
My involvement with the NFCA stems from being diagnosed with celiac disease. As you can see from my experience, advocacy is a passion of mine. A few months ago, as I researched celiac disease, I discovered the NFCA website. After some thought, I contacted Nancy Ginter, NFCA Director of Operations, to learn more about the foundation and their mission. Nancy graciously took time to educate me and, from there, we discussed how I could utilize my passion and skills to help advance NFCA’s mission through legislative advocacy.
Great news! On March 31, 2009, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania passed a House Resolution (HR153) designating the month of April 2009 as ‘Celiac Disease Awareness Month.’ in Pennsylvania.
This resolution was offered by State Representative Craig Dally of Pennsylvania’s 138th district. It had numerous co-sponsors and was introduced on March 17, 2009 as a noncontroversial, nonpartisan resolution. The goal of this resolution is simply to raise awareness of celiac disease among Pennsylvania residents, as well as in The General Assembly of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania has taken the lead with an action that we hope will be replicated across the US.
Please check the Advocacy Corner on NFCA’s website at www.beyondceliac.org under the “Get Involved” section where you can read the resolution and the associated press release covering this significant step forward.
As we implement our Advocacy Plan, we welcome your ideas and suggestions. You can contact me at email@example.com. In the near future, NFCA will be calling on you to raise awareness about celiac dis-ease through legislative advocacy. Together, we can make a difference and help others get diagnosed!
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Celiac Disease - There's Nothing Silly About It
Dominick Cura Talks Celiac
Did you know that people that can’t eat gluten also cannot lick envelopes closed? This is because the sticky part contains gluten. Gluten in Greek means glue, and so gluten is used to make stuff stick together and is found naturally in wheat, rye, malt and barley.
The symptoms of Celiac Disease that I had were joint and neck pains, tiredness, jaw pains, and I looked sick all the time, with dark bags under my eyes. Last September I found out I had Celiac (also pronounced Silly Yak) Disease. Since the diagnosis, I can’t eat any food containing wheat, rye, malt or barley because they have gluten in it. Some foods I can eat are natural foods, usually with a short ingredient list. Some foods I can eat are tortilla chips, Breyer’s ice cream, Frito’s corn chips, Doritos in the blue bag, and anything labeled gluten-free. If it is not labeled gluten-free, I always have to read the label and if I’m not sure I have my mom call the company or check the company’s website. Even though I may have had a food before, like Doritos, I still always need to check the ingredients, incase the company changed any of the ingredients to contain gluten.
Some foods I can’t eat are Twizzlers, Kit Kats, wheat-based cakes, cookies and cupcakes, Tillamook ice cream, wheat-based pasta, and pizzas (because of the crust). I might be able to eat salads, but if they use croutons or certain salad dressings then I can’t. When I’m 21, if I want to drink beer, I have to drink sorghum been instead of regular beer.
Adults tell kids that they need to share. But in my house I don’t have to share my gluten-free toaster with anyone, or the food containers that my parents label GF, like butter, peanut butter, and jelly.
Celiac is not contagious and it is not an allergy. Celiac Disease is an auto-immune disease. Auto-immune means that the body attacks itself. In other words, gluten is a poison to people with Celiac because the body attacks the small intestine. The small intestine contains hairlike particles called villi. When gluten reaches the small intestine, the body attacks the villi because the body thinks that the gluten is poison, when really there is no poison. So the villi get flatted out and the body cannot get nutrients from foods. You can only get Celiac Disease if you have the gene for it.
For some people having Celiac Disease would make them feel like they had the flu all the time. Some symptoms of Celiac Disease are abdominal bloating, diarrhea, weight loss, unexplained pains, bone pain, being crabby, being tired, depression, pain in joints, not growing enough and passing lots of gas. These are just some of the symptoms of Celiac.
If you have Celiac Disease and you don’t know, terrible things can happen such as, arthritis, different types of intestinal cancers, seizures, malnutrition, and many others.
If you have pains that keep coming back, you might want to check if you have Celiac by getting a blood test. Most doctors may not think to test you for Celiac Disease. So you should let them know if you have any of the symptoms.
There’s no cure for Celiac Disease. The only way to stop the pain for me was to stop eating gluten. Going completely gluten-free means not eating anything with gluten – not even the tiniest crumb. Plus I can’t have food that’s cross- contaminated with gluten, like oatmeal.
It takes about six months for people with Celiac to get hairy intestines back and feel better. I’m almost a month away from getting my villi back to normal.
If you have any food questions about Celiac, go to celiac.com or glutenfreegirl.com, or to my blog glutenfreekidscorner.blog-spot.com. There are many other places to get information as well: just google celiac. Thanks for listening.
Ms. Gilpin’s 4th Grade Class
From: “Dragon Tales” PALS PTA Newsletter, Lowell Elementary School March 2009.
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Many people with celiac disease also have other food sensitivities. That’s why Lisanatti’s vegetarian cheese alternative is so wonderful. It’s lactose and gluten-free, contains no preservatives and comes in a variety of types and flavors. They offer mozzarella and cheddar style, jalapeno and garlic and herb, to name a few. Many of the cheeses do contain soy and almonds so be aware if you have a soy or nut allergy. The great thing about this cheese is that it melts like real cheese so you can put it on burgers or even use it in a macaroni and cheese recipe. Or, you can send it to school with the kids for snack time. This is also a great option if you are trying to eat healthier because these products contain no Trans fats or saturated fats, are low in sodium and are good sources of calcium and protein. To learn more about Lisanatti cheese, visit: www.lisanatticheese.com
Herb-ox Beef Bullion Cubes from Hormel Foods
Recently, I was making a stew and was in the store looking for a gluten-free beef broth. I know of several brands of liquid gluten-free broth, but I never use it all at once and then it goes to waste. That’s why I was so excited to find Hormel Foods Herb –Ox Gluten-Free Beef Bullion Cubes. They are individually wrapped so you can use what you need and save the rest for next time. I also really like these because they have no added MSG like many other brands. Curious, I went on Hormel Foods website and discovered a whole list of their gluten-free products. To check it out, visit: http://www.hormelfoods.com/brands/glutenfree/default.aspx. I found the bullion cubes right at my local Giant, so be sure to look for them next time you’re at the store! They are great to have on hand in the kitchen. You can also order them from the online store at: http://hormelfoods.elsstore.com/
Ancient Harvest Quinoa
Last night for dinner, I tried a new brand of gluten-free pasta and I loved it. The Ancient Harvest Quinoa elbows cooked up nice and aldente and were perfect with my pesto sauce. The pasta is a corn-quinoa blend, so don’t be alarmed when your water turns yellow; it’s just from the corn starches. This company takes extensive measures to ensure that their products are gluten-free; be-ginning with the very field the grain is grown in. They offer several other products including various types of pastas, polenta, quinoa flour, Inca “red” quinoa and quinoa flakes. Ancient Harvest Quinoa can be found in many local health food stores. If you can’t find their products near you, you can order from the website at: http://www.quinoa.net/106.html
Gillian’s Foods Garlic Croutons
One of my favorite types of salad is Caesar, but of course, I always have to have it without croutons. Well, not anymore! I recently tried Gillian’s Foods Garlic Croutons and they are delicious! They are crunchy, have a garlic aroma and are, in general, everything you want a crouton to be. I fully intend to keep a stock of them in my cabinet and a baggie of them in my purse for lunches out. Gillian’s Foods also offers a variety of other gluten-free products, including pastas, breads, desserts, entrees and mixes which I can’t wait to try now that I’ve sampled their croutons. You can find these products in stores like Hannaford, Whole Foods and Shaws. They have a store locator page on their website, but if you still can’t find them, you can order direct at: www.glutenfreegilliansfoods.com
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Celiac in the News
The Economic Impact Of Undiagnosed Celiac
Recently, a study was published in the Journal of Insurance Medicine that demonstrated the economic benefit of diagnosing celiac disease. The study was done by the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center and examined a large managed-care population in the United States. The results showed that after a diagnosis of celiac disease, health care costs were reduced. This result was credited to decreased office visits, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and endoscopy procedures. Peter Green, M.D., Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director, Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center said, "We now have evidence that the increased awareness and diagnosis of celiac disease would benefit not only the patients but would result in health care costs savings." http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/144127.php
Celiac Vaccine Trial is Underway in Australia
This month in Melbourne, Australia, WEHI clinician scientist, Dr. Bob Anderson, will begin the Phase 1 clinical trial of an experimental vaccine for the treatment of celiac disease. If this scientific team is successful, it could mean that a strict gluten-free diet for celiacs is a thing of the past. The early trial will test the drugs safety on 40 volunteers that have celiac disease. If the Phase 1 trial is successful this year, Phase 2 will determine the clinical effectiveness of this vaccine. A company, Nexpep, had already been created to lead in the development of the vaccine. "The vaccine itself is intended to gradually desensitize the coeliac sufferer, so that gluten is tolerated. Consequently, the villi in the small intestine should revive and absorb nutrients in the normal way. Ideally, that would mean the end of gluten-free diets for people with coeliac disease."
If You Suffer From IBS, Get Tested for Celiac
It is estimated that between 20 percent of North Americans, up to 30 percent of individuals in some countries, suffer from the painful and hindering symptoms of irritable bowl syndrome (IBS). According to the American College of Gastroenterology, all patients with symptoms of IBS should be tested for celiac disease. IBS and celiac disease share many of the same symptoms and therefore, celiac is frequently misdiagnosed as IBS. If you or someone you know suffers from IBS, get tested, or encourage your loved one to get tested, for celiac as soon as possible.
To learn more, visit: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/142395.php
Pennsylvania Resolution Aims to Increase Celiac Disease Awareness Statewide
Legislation passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives General Assembly recognizes April 2009 as the state’s official ‘Celiac Disease Awareness Month.’ With the passing of House Resolution 153 (HR 153), Pennsylvania takes the lead in raising awareness for celiac disease as the most common and most undiagnosed autoimmune disorder in the United States. The NFCA and Geoffrey Roche, advocacy chairman for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, aim to pass similar resolutions in every state nationwide, providing assistance and resources for citizens working on legislative efforts for the purpose of spreading awareness of celiac disease. Current estimates suggest this disease affects 1 in every 133 Americans. Only 120,000 of individuals with the autoimmune digestive disorder, roughly 1 in every 4700, have been diagnosed.
To learn more, visit: http://www.pr.com/press-release/142775
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