Note from Alice: Food Safety is a Celiac Disease Issue
September is National Food Safety Month, and though many people will associate this with viruses and food poisoning, the availability of gluten-free food is also a safety issue for those of us with celiac disease. The gluten-free diet is the only treatment we’ve got for now, so it’s essential that we have access to safe, gluten-free foods on store shelves, in family homes and at restaurants.
Despite our best attempts, even the most vigilant among us can’t detect every stray particle of gluten that may come in contact with our food. The reason? Doing so is an impossible task for mere mortals.
There are, of course, the precautions we mortals can and must take: checking ingredients, consulting a registered dietitian, calling ahead before going to a restaurant. But then there are also the precautions that require a whole lot more scientific expertise, industry partnership, legislative protection and manpower: verifying food factories prevent gluten cross-contact, ensuring gluten-free labeling is valid and safe, getting clear warnings when gluten is used in medications. This is where Beyond Celiac comes in.
Beyond Celiac works throughout the year to educate you about the gluten-free diet and to expand your access to safe gluten-free food. In addition to the great resources about the diet on our website, we proactively seek better and safer gluten-free food options for you. We endorse the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP), which uses stringent testing and safety standards to certify foods as gluten-free, so that you know to trust foods with the GFCP label. We offer GREAT Kitchens and GREAT Schools gluten-free training programs to teach foodservice professionals how to prepare and serve gluten-free meals.
So what can you can do to stay updated during this National Food Safety Month?
To living better, longer,
Beyond Celiac CEO
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Cooking with Oonagh
The Tortilla Tower (a.k.a. lazy quesadilla) is great for a quick back-to-school dinner because it requires almost no cooking. Standing making quesadillas for a family is a pain, so I make a tortilla tower instead. Use your favorite corn or gluten-free flour tortillas for this recipe. I use Mission or Ole corn tortillas that are labeled gluten-free. Add as many vegetables as you like. Zucchini and summer squash cut into small pieces are tasty additions. You can easily leave out meat to make it vegetarian. Get the recipe here.
Pecan and Chocolate Fudge Ring
This delicious cake is gluten-free, paleo and can be dairy-free. The original gluten-containing version of this recipe came from one of my English cookbooks. I adapted it to be gluten-free, dairy-free and less sugary. The sauce resembles toffee—chewy and almost hard on the outside, but soft and creamy on the inside. You must turn the cake out of the pan within a few minutes of removing it from the oven, or the sauce hardens like caramel, and the cake won't turn out. Get the recipe here.
About Chef Oonagh Williams
Chef Oonagh Williams has a culinary arts degree and has celiac disease. Chef Oonagh has always cooked from scratch with real ingredients. 'Like' her at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook, where she posts TV appearances, recipes, advice, consultations and conferences where you can meet her.
Join her for delicious, easy and fun cooking class demos in Merrimack, NH and Milford, NH, or arrange them in your home town, for private or group dinner party cooking class, or for a corporate lunch and learn. Chef Oonagh's article on her trip to the Dominican Republic, along with a recipe, will be in next issue of Gluten Free New England Magazine. She will be teaching gluten-free cooking classes for adults at Merrimack Park in NH and at the Milford, NH Town Hall.
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Blood Tests Used to Diagnose Celiac Disease Come Under Scrutiny
By Amy Ratner, Beyond Celiac Medical and Science News Analyst
The tests most commonly used to diagnose celiac disease in the United States held up to scrutiny in a broad review of research published by the federal agency charged with producing evidence to make healthcare safer.
But the accuracy of both the blood test and the biopsy used for diagnosis depends on where they’re done, who does them and who reads the results.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which works within the U.S. department of Health and Human Services, did a systematic review of 60 individual studies and 13 previous systematic reviews of research into the methods used to diagnose celiac disease. A clinical summary of the report was recently released.
“We hope clinicians will use the information to make evidence-informed decisions when ordering tests to diagnose celiac disease,” said Alison Hunt, AHRQ communications specialist.
“The fact that celiac disease has been given a comprehensive evidence review indicates an acknowledgement by Health and Human Services that there is a need for increased celiac disease diagnosis,” said Ciaran Kelly, MD, medical director of the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Beyond Celiac Scientific/Medical Advisory Council Member. Read more.
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Beyond Celiac Goes to Washington to Advocate for Labeling of Gluten in Medications
Nancy Ginter, Beyond Celiac Director of Administration, met with the offices of Representatives Tim Ryan (OH) and Nita Lowey (NY), to support their proposed bill to label gluten in medications.
Gluten in medications is a confusing topic for people living with celiac disease. Some medications include gluten as an excipient or binder in medications. Excipients are what holds medications together and can include gluten.
There’s debate as to whether or not the amount of gluten found in some medications is enough to trigger the autoimmune response seen in celiac disease. This lack of information leaves the community confused and ignites fear about taking medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. The process of finding out if a medication is gluten-free can be frustrating. Calls to pharmacists, doctors and drug manufacturers can be inconclusive and can leave consumers in the dark about the potential gluten content of specific medications. Read more.
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College Students with Celiac Disease Don't Have Access to the Gluten-Free Food They Need
The New England Celiac Organization (NECO) conducted a survey of college students living with gluten-related disorders. They discovered that 60% of surveyed students would not recommend their university to others with gluten-free needs.
Beyond Celiac has discovered similar findings in preliminary results from a 2016 survey of college students. Our survey found out the top three concerns of gluten-free college students:
- Lack of variety in gluten-free food options
- Lack of training by the dining hall staff in safe gluten-free cooking practices
What’s more, 44% of the students surveyed by NECO said that their trouble with getting safe food persisted for their entire time at the university. 30% reported that they have absolutely no solutions for their dietary needs.
Beyond Celiac offers a solution. Read more.
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Allergic Living Sneak Peek: The Craft Brewmasters Who Are Getting Gluten-Free Beer Right
By Jason Rehel
Making craft beer without barley is challenging, but for suds lovers with celiac disease, the rewards are worth it. This story was first published in the Summer 2016 issue of Allergic Living magazine.
The range of emotions for a person who has just received a celiac diagnosis can vary widely, from sadness, shock, and confusion, to relief and hopefulness. But ultimately when the reality of the celiac treatment — a diet that is 100 percent free of gluten — is introduced, an inevitable feeling of loss can set in. And near the top of almost every celiac patient’s list of things they’ll miss the most are the twin holy grail of pizza and beer.
Fortunately with pizza, gluten-free recipes abound these days, and restaurant options have improved, too. But with beer, it’s more complicated, given that most people don’t make their own, and that malted barley – the roasted, gluten-filled grain – is at the heart of nearly every beer recipe on Earth. Read more.
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The Gluten-Free Certification Program Receives ANAB Accreditation
The Gluten-Free Certification Program, which is run by the Allergen Control Group and endorsed by Beyond Celiac, received global accreditation from the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) last month. The GFCP uses independent third-party audits to verify that food manufacturers who want to display the GFCP seal on their products correctly manage the production of gluten-free products. Now with ANAB accreditation, the production of these gluten-free products has yet another layer of oversight.
What does that mean for you as a gluten-free consumer? It’s one more reason to confidently buy GFCP certified products when you are shopping in the grocery store. The ANAB accreditation provides additional credibility to the GFCP and makes sure that consumers who need gluten-free food for medical reasons like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity ('gluten sensitivity') are safely able to consume foods bearing the GFCP seal.
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Think Outside the Lunch Box!
Change up the boring lunchbox routine with these easy and fun ideas.
If you're already wondering what to pack in your gluten-free kid's lunchbox, use this infographic as your guide to lunch recipes that are anything but boring.
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Thanks to Blue Diamond for making this infographic possible!
FREE! Lunch Box, Collapsible Water Bottle and Snack Packs
Beyond Celiac is teaming up with our friends at Blue Diamond to get you set up with the ultimate back to school lunch gear – plus some gluten-free food samples to try!
Want in? Here’s how to get your free stuff:
- Enter your information in the form found here.
That’s it! The first 500 people to sign up will receive this prize pack, so act fast.
Here’s what’s inside:
- A soft lunch box
- A snack pack to fit inside
- Collapsible water bottle
- Samples of Blue Diamond’s new individual serving sized Nut Thins, which are gluten-free. Those who prefer to choose foods made in a dedicated gluten-free facility will be happy to know that these products fit the bill.
Thanks to Blue Diamond for making this back to school giveaway possible!
10 Easy Recipes for On-The-Go Eating
By Julie Terrana, Certified Health and Wellness Coach
What used to be your ideal grab-and-go breakfast before being diagnosed with celiac disease? A bagel with cream cheese from Dunkin Donuts? A packet of instant oatmeal that you could make at your desk with hot water from the water cooler? Was it a breakfast sandwich from your local fast food chain or food cart?
As we all know, these options are no longer available to us, yet our lives are just as busy, and the demand for eating on the go is continually on the rise. It is not uncommon to go to a coffee shop for breakfast and wait in line for 10 minutes, only to realize that you cannot eat anything on the menu. Also, relying on the gluten-free savviness of a waiter at a restaurant is not always safe and can often lead to unexpectedly consuming gluten or being the victim of cross-contact.
This was also my life on a regular basis before I cracked the code on making great breakfasts and lunches at home that are perfect for eating on the go. Thankfully, I have been able to revamp my meals into healthier, gluten-free and portable options that are just as tasty and satisfying as the sandwich I used to buy at a local shop.
Julie is a Certified Health and Wellness Coach in Philadelphia. She has been a volunteer for Beyond Celiac since 2013. Living with Crohn’s Disease, Julie has had a goal to reach remission since 2009. Despite trying numerous medications, she continued experiencing severe flares that led her to being hospitalized and eventually having surgery. In the summer of 2013, Julie went gluten-free and it changed her life. She has since experienced fewer flares and was able to run a half marathon in November 2013. Julie’s journey adjusting to a gluten-free diet has led her to develop a passion for helping others adapt to a similar lifestyle changes. She shows her clients that living with dietary restrictions does not have to be difficult and teaches them to navigate the obstacles of gluten-free living with ease and grace. Physical and emotional health are the main focal points in working with clients, which has led Julie to committing to her motto, “It is not about being skinny. It’s about being your best whole self.”
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Stanford Medicine X
September 16-18, 2016 in San Francisco, CA
Beyond Celiac will present at Stanford Medicine X 2016. Each year Stanford Medicine X brings together the most innovative and engaging minds in academia and industry to exchange bold new ideas about the future of medicine and the role technology plays in improving health. The annual gathering of leading clinicians, researchers and educators is a catalyst for healthcare innovation and patient engagement. Learn more.
GREAT Kitchens & Schools Training
September 19, 2016 in Boston, MA
Learn to serve gluten-free food safely and improve the quality of life for those with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. Beyond Celiac, formerly the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), is excited to announce that the GREAT Kitchens and Schools, Colleges and Camps courses are being brought to you free of charge by U Mass Club, Barilla and AllergyEats. That's a $100 value! The GREAT Kitchens & Schools courses teach everyone from the front-of-house to the back-of-house the ins and outs of safe gluten-free food preparation. It will thoroughly address each step in creating a team-based approach with industry best practices, including each staff member’s role in providing a safe gluten-free dining experience for your customers. Learn more.
Gluten-Free Awareness Carnival
September 22, 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA
Don’t miss the 5th Annual Gluten-Free Awareness Carnival at the University of Pittsburgh! Hosted by the campus’ Gluten-Free Awareness League, this event offers free food, raffle prizes, speakers, games and more. Learn more.
International Tampere Celiac Disease Symposium: Measuring Treatment Outcomes
November 24-26, 2016 in Tampere, Finland
The University of Tampere School of Medicine warmly welcomes medical professionals to attend the international Tampere Celiac Disease Symposium – Measuring Treatment Outcomes. Novel therapeutic approaches for celiac disease are at our doorsteps, and this scientific meeting will focus on ways to measure clinically significant gluten sensitive readouts in celiac disease and in clinical drug/device/vaccine trials. In addition, the second Maki Celiac Disease Tampere Prize (€15,000) for significant contribution to the fields of Celiac Disease and Gluten-Induced Disease Entities is awarded at the symposium. The meeting takes place parallel to the Gluten-Free Life Expo 2016 organized by the Finnish Celiac Society. Learn more.
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