August 2011 Subscribe today
NFCA IN ACTION
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A Pie in the Sky Idea Takes Flight
What do gluten-free kids miss the most? Pizza and birthday cake. As much as parents hate to hear it, especially when good nutrition is a national goal, even the healthiest eaters crave the special snacks and foods their peers are eating.
It’s not just the flavor that makes it so desirable. It’s also what’s around the plate: Friends. Family. A camera capturing all the fun. When you can’t eat the food, it’s hard to stay involved. Without a slice to enjoy, gluten-free kids get left out of the picture…sometimes literally.
It’s a struggle when they’re young. You just want them to fit in and feel like a ‘normal’ kid. But it’s a pattern that continues into adulthood. Just last month, NFCA Athlete for Awareness Kaitlyn Breneman noted that her school’s Senior Night celebration featured a cake she couldn’t eat. Then there are the college students who watch their friends eat free pizza at every club meeting or group gathering.
So, NFCA is working to make lunchtime a bit easier. We teamed up with Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., a nationwide foodservice provider, to make their gluten-free pizzas available in cafeterias and dining halls from K-12 and all the way through college.
Schwan’s Food Service offers gluten-free pizzas in ovenable packages for schools, and pizzas on individual trays for colleges and universities. In our role, NFCA will teach Schwan’s sales teams the ins and outs of gluten-free so they’ll be well-equipped to answer questions about these gluten-free options. Schwan’s Food Service teams will also encourage clients to complete gluten-free training through NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens program, so those gluten-free pizzas will stay gluten-free, from box to belly.
That means your child could soon join the lunch line or grab a whole pizza at the dining hall, just like their friends. Like I said, it’s not just about the food; it’s the experience that also makes the difference.
[For more information about Schwan’s new gluten-free pizzas, see Celiac in the News.]
I asked my Facebook friends what they do to help their gluten-free kids feel ‘normal.’ Their answer: Sometimes, you can’t. What you can do is go above and beyond so any differences are positive. Here are some tips:
Of course, one way you can always help is by supporting NFCA’s gluten-free intiatives, including our latest work with Schwan’s. Donate to feed the movement.
Gluten-Free Back-to-School Supplies
By Tina Turbin
With back-to-school time just around the corner, it’s time to get ready to address some crucial issues in safeguarding the health of your celiac child at school. While brushing up gluten-free lunch ideas and gathering some informative pamphlets on celiac disease for your child’s teachers is vital, it’s also important to make sure you’re informed about a hidden source of gluten—your child’s craft and school supplies.
One of the first steps in dealing with celiac diagnosis for your child is discovering hidden sources of gluten in foods. Gluten can lurk in all sorts of food items, such as sauces, deli meats, and canned soups. As if learning about hidden food sources isn’t challenging enough, there are a variety of non-food items that could be dangerous to your child’s health, many of which are commonly found at school.
Examples of products that can contain gluten are play dough, glue, lotions and soap. [Note: Gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin, but can pose a risk if ingested. Read more in Ask the Dietitian.] Before school begins, you can collect gluten-free versions of these products for your child’s classroom or his or her locker or cubby. If he or she has multiple classes, you can contact an administrator about the best area in the school to store these special supplies. Make sure to notify your child’s teachers and administrators in writing and verbally, in person if possible, about the dangers of hidden gluten.
So where do you find these supplies? Check out DiscountSchoolSupply.com, which offers a line of allergen-free products, such as gluten-free craft supplies, play dough and glue. It even offers supplies free of other common allergens, such as tree nuts, latex, casein, dairy and soy.
To start the year off right, here’s a recipe from my blog for a yummy breakfast on your celiac child’s first day of school:
1. Mix all ingredients together. Use a little more of the mix if needed to create a thick enough batter.
2. Pour ¼ cup on the griddle.
3. To be creative, oil a fun shaped cookie cutter and place on griddle. Then pour batter inside, and once bubbles start forming and popping, remove cutter and then flip over.
Hope you enjoy!
About Tina Turbin:
Tina Turbin became extremely interested and involved in the subjects of celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and gluten issues a number of years ago, after being diagnosed as celiac after many years of unresolved troubles. Since then, she has engaged in diligent research and writing about these topics, weekly radio shows, developing gluten-free recipes and reviewing companies for celiac consumer safety.
Tina is an award-winning children’s book author (DannyTheDragon.com) and donates her current children’s audio book profits to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center. To stay updated on her projects, sign up for her newsletter at www.TinaTurbin.com.
Gluten-Free Favorites for a Happy Birthday
By Chef Oonagh Williams
August is my birthday month, so I thought I would share with you some of my favorite things. In New Hampshire we are lucky with the amount of fresh fish we can get, either caught at the lake or on the coast. Fish restaurants abound; in many cases, they’re literally shacks that have a roaring business during the summer tourist months. Diners eat off paper plates with plastic forks, sitting outside next to the harbor and overlooking the boats tied to the piers.
CARIBBEAN CHOWDER: This recipe is based on a reader’s request in the June 2006 edition ofGourmet magazine. I like to take inspiration from magazines and then add my own proven recipes to the dish. For this recipe, I combined my whitefish chowder, Neptune stew and shrimp and crab bisque to create this soup, which I would call more of a Caribbean Chowder. This is very mild and creamy and packed full of wonderful fish. A bit of smoky paprika gives the soup a nice hint of heat without being overpowering.
SALADE NIÇOISE: Made famous in America by Julia Child, the originalSalade Niçoise came from Nice, France, and included raw red bell peppers, shallots, and artichoke hearts. Since then, the dish has been reinvented by numerous chefs, myself included. I took into account what was in the market, so this dish has a lot of flexibility.
PANNA COTTA (PLUS DAIRY-FREE VARIATION): This is an Italian dessert that translates as ‘cooked cream.’ It is an eggless custard that is made in about 5 minutes, tastes truly sublime and would be suitable for a special dinner. It has a very rich flavor without being too rich or heavy to eat. Serve it alone or with a chocolate or raspberry sauce. (Served with gluten-free almond cookies in photo.)
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.
By Whitney Ehret, NFCA Director of Communications
Last month, we introduced “Celiac & Skin,” a two-part series highlighting the conditions you’ve been itching to know more about. Part 1 was all about dermatitis herpetiformis, the skin manifestation of celiac disease. This month, NFCA looks at psoriasis and eczema, two skin conditions that are often found in individuals with celiac disease.
Get a breakdown of each condition, then learn how you can get relief from the pesky and painful symptoms.
Rudi’s “Unbelievably Good” Contest Winner Shares Gluten-Free Recipe
By Chef Dan Kohler of Renegade Kitchen
It is one thing to consider yourself a judgmental person; it is a completely different game to be considered a judge by others. With great honor, I took the role of judge in Rudi’s Unbelievably Good Gluten-Free Recipe Contest a few months ago, and I must say it was more challenging than I imagined.
Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery sponsored the contest, asking fans to create recipes using the company’s gluten-free products. The top three contestants were flown to Boulder, CO, for an ‘Iron Chef’-style battle.
Each contestant had a very personal connection to celiac disease, whether it was their own diagnosis or the careful preparation of food for a loved one, and these stories pulled on familiar heartstrings. This disease still is not readily diagnosed, and I’m shocked that most doctors don’t think of celiac at the outset of any treatment plan. Needless to say, the work NFCA does to raise awareness is critical.
The cook-off was held at Restaurant 4580 in Boulder, and Martin Hammer, the owner, also was a judge. Martin spoke at length about training his staff to not only smile and nod at requests for gluten-free meals from patrons, but also engage customers. His approach is one I’d like to see all restaurants take: active, positive and scrumptious.
The winner of the competition, Annalyn Varalla Wills, is my special guest in this episode of Alternative Appetites. Annalyn spent the morning cooking with me and sharing her stories. I love a guest who’s ready to laugh with me on camera, and Annalyn was just ripe for the occasion.
Her winning recipe for Prickly Pear Rudi-fied Goat Cheese & Rhubarb Treats is easily adaptable to any season, something that earns high marks in my book. Make a tray now and throw it in the freezer. The next time you have guests over, you’ll be thrilled to have a tantalizing dessert already prepared and ready to rock.
By Patrick Staropoli
My relationship with celiac disease is a unique one, mainly because it fell into place by accident.
Two years ago, I had an ulcer in my throat. After the doctor performed an endoscopy, I woke up to hear the not so comforting words, “I have good news and bad news.” It turned out that my ulcer was virtually healed; however, my GI believed I had celiac disease because my intestinal walls appeared very smooth and flat. A biopsy later confirmed it. [Read more of Patrick’s Story.]
Even at college, I have learned to cope quite well by following some basic points:
1. Second opinions are good. I was shocked when I was diagnosed. No one in my family has celiac disease, and I didn’t even know what it was. It was not until I got a second opinion that I firmly accepted it and took my diet seriously.
2. No symptoms No problems. Although my lifelong lack of symptoms made it more tempting to ignore my original diagnosis, it also presents challenges. Unlike someone with symptoms, I am never fully sure if I ingest gluten. I cannot mark certain dishes or restaurants as harmful due to a bad experience. As a result, I have learned to be very careful when reading ingredients or ordering because I do not want to go through all of the trouble to stay gluten-free and still unknowingly cause damage to my body.
3. The dining hall can be your friend. Often, a dining hall has funds set aside for students with specific dietary needs. A couple times per semester, I can order gluten-free foods online and they are kept in the dining hall to eat whenever. Sometimes I end up with better food than they serve! Speaking of which, I have learned to put effort into my regular dining hall meals to add variety. For instance, instead of just eating plain grilled chicken every day, I might mix it into a salad or chop it onto a bed of rice.
4. Watch the gluten-free food industry. Since being diagnosed, I have noticed an explosion of gluten-free options available in restaurants and grocery stores. My favorites like Outback Steakhouse and P.F. Chang’s now have dedicated menus, and thanks to reformulated mixes and cereals, my shelves are stocked full of gluten-free food. Sometimes, it is difficult to eat at local restaurants, but a basic combination (like a burger, no bun, with steamed veggies) can usually be prepared if requested. Which brings me to my final point…
5. Don’t be afraid to ask . At first, I wanted to keep my diet to myself because I thought it would be a burden on my friends or waiters. However, most people know someone with an allergy, so they can relate. My friends frequently tell me about new gluten-free foods or recipes they see because it reminds them of me. Thus, instead of being shy about it, keeping waiters and my friends informed of my condition has been beneficial and opened the door to many more options than I originally thought possible.
About Patrick Staropoli:
Patrick Staropoli is entering his senior year at Harvard University, majoring in neurobiology with plans to attend medical school. Since he was 13, his passion has been racing stockcars, which he does frequently when home on summer break.
NFCA is launching a letter-writing fundraiser, and it’s just for kids. Your child can sign up now to be an NFCA Awareness All-Star.
Kids and parents will be provided with all the information and steps they need to send letters explaining why celiac disease diagnosis is so important and how NFCA is helping them live happy, healthy and gluten-free. By sharing their story, your child can help others realize the magnitude of this need. And, it may even help some people recognize their own symptoms of celiac disease.
Full fundraising tools, including sample letters and how-tos, will launch later this month. Sign up now to stay in the loop.
By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Online Content Manager
When NFCA launched GREAT Kitchens in 2008, two pizzerias stepped up to the plate. Guidos Pizza in Okemos, MI, and Minnesota-based Pizza Luce recognized that celiac disease was a serious concern, and meeting gluten-free needs would benefit everyone in the long run. Since then, we’ve heard GREAT feedback from these restaurants. Now, we’re sharing their success stories with you.
Please visit these establishments next time you’re in the area. Tell them NFCA said they’re GREAT!
Guido’s Pizza/With Out Wheat