December 2010

December 22, 2010

December 2010

Note from Alice

Feeding Your Curiosity


Tid Bits with Tina

Holiday Baking with Your Celiac Child


Gluten-Free on a Budget

5 money-saving tips


NFCA Reports from Celiac Conference

Top 6 highlights about Development of Therapies

Prebiotics and the Gluten-Free Diet

Are you getting enough?


20 Ways to Give Joy (and Share the Celiac Story) This Holiday

‘Tis a gift to be simple

It’s December: Time to Go Crackers

Fun facts about rice crackers

Gluten-Free Recipe Contest

Win $500 cash!


Athletes for Awarness

Meet the new additions!

Lunch and Learn Success

Dietitians get a taste of gluten-free


Coming Attractions

“Temptation” Webinar: Dec. 15

All Things GREAT

NFCA Founder to speak at conference

Hot Products

A cookbook, cookies and more

Hot Products Extra Scoop!

What’s new from Appetite for Awareness vendors

Celiac in the News

Gluten-free holidays and a statement to the FDA

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Alice Bast
Note from Alice

NFCA Founder & President

Feeding Your Curiosity

My family members probably thought I was nuts when I suggested we wrap my niece in toilet paper at our Thanksgiving gathering. It was meant to be symbolic, a way to visually “wrap up the year” while still keeping celiac awareness in mind. A little tongue in cheek, yes, but good digestive health is something to appreciate, especially around the holidays.The wrapping game begins

It also will make for an interesting post on our new staff blog, Celiac Central: Bits and Bites ( Yes, we’ve joined the ranks of non-profits opening their doors to give you a bigger glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.

Many of our staff members have chatted with you via Facebook, Twitter and email, but Celiac Central: Bits and Bites will help you get to know the faces behind the logo. Plus, our posts just might answer a few burning questions. Which celiac-friendly chef has our eye? Do we get frustrated when it’s 7am on a Tuesday and our favorite box of gluten-free cereal has gone MIA? You’ll have to read to find out.

Wrapping with Toilet PaperThe staff blog is also a chance to watch program development (and your donated dollars) in action. Looking back at 2010, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) had groundbreaking achievements. We launched the first Gluten-Free Showcase Pavilion at the 2010 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, expanded access to gluten-free food through the GREAT Business Association, hosted the 7th Annual Appetite for Awareness, and published continuing education materials for both primary care and women’s health practitioners.

But those are all end results. The journey of planning and process often get left out of the mix, so Celiac Cental: Bits and Bites is our chance to bring you along for the ride. Will we throw in a few laughs and random observations along the way? You bet.

And don’t get me wrong. Despite all that I’m proud NFCA accomplished this year, there’s still plenty to be done. At the recent Development of Therapies for Celiac Disease Conference held at Columbia University in New York, I was reminded again of how far celiac awareness has to go. We need standardized terminology, consensus on standards of care and best practice guidelines. When you consider that the fight for attention pits us against ubiquitous campaigns like breast cancer awareness and heart health (both of which are worthy causes, of course) the celiac community could use all the unity we can get.

Fortunately, the staff and I already have some exciting projects on the horizon for 2011, and many will help foster connections. We’ll be speaking at Natural Products Expo West and the Institute of Food Technologists Wellness Conference, both in March. You’ll also see more Webinars, Alternative Appetites cooking videos and resource materials on, plus a new Twitter event via @CeliacAwareness.

Our focus next year is all about empowerment, which means we need your input and help more than ever. Please take the opportunity to comment on our staff blog, and keep the discussions going on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve even All Wrapped Upintroduced a new weekly post on Facebook, “Take Action Tuesday ,” which shares quick and easy ways to promote celiac disease awareness without the need for a credit card. (Thanks to everyone who participated in our first one on Nov. 30!)

So what’s my Thanksgiving “wrap” got to do with it? Consider it our first empowerment challenge. Many families are too embarrassed to talk about toilet issues, so wrapping someone in t.p. is an easy way to break the ice. Let us know how it goes by tweeting us a photo or posting a pic on Facebook. And while you’re at it, tell us about your funniest or most embarrassing gluten-free cooking moment. We promise to share some of ours on Celiac Central: Bits and Bites and, more importantly, we’ll let you know how we learned from it.

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Alice Bast


Snyder's of Hanover eat smart naturals

Tid Bits with Tina

Tina Turbin

Holiday Baking with Your Celiac Child

Now that the holidays are here, it’s time to celebrate with family togetherness and, of course, lots of seasonal goodies. Rather than focus on yourceliac child’s gluten-free dietary restrictions, take advantage of this opportunity to establish a special tradition of baking gluten-free cookies or cakes. Not only will you help establish a love and skill for gluten-free cooking in your celiac child, making him more willing and able to prepare his own gluten-free foods when he’s older, but you’ll also make cherished memories with him, making him look forward to holiday festivities that everyone is included in.

As a gluten-free advocate and mother, one of my favorite ways to support the celiac community is to help parents with celiac children make the adjustment to a gluten-free diet. One of the ways to do this is by turning the holiday season into a truly celebrated time of gluten-free baking and enjoying goodies without the pain and troubles.

Baking cookies and goodies goes back a long way in my family, and I was quick to establish it as a Turbin family tradition with my own kids. When I was diagnosed withceliac disease several years ago and adopted a gluten-free diet, I began accumulating gluten-free recipes for cookies and other baked goods, adapting recipes and testing all sorts of my wild ideas so the baking tradition could carry on.

There are plenty of straightforward, delicious gluten-free recipes for everyone’s favorite cookies and deserts. I publish a wealth of gluten-free recipes on my website. [NFCA also has compiled a Gluten-Free HolidayRecipe Box for the season.]

Gluten-free doesn’t mean sugar-free, so the kids will enjoy the gluten-free alternatives as much as gluten-containing cookies. There are numerous sugar substitutes these days too. As for gluten-free flour mixes, Bob’s Red Mill, Glutino, and Pamela’s Products have received rave reviews from the celiac community.

It’s best to bake for occasions that give your child a chance to share his gluten-free baked items with others; it gives children the pleasure of not only baking gluten-free, but also giving to others. Encourage your celiac child to share hisgluten-free treats with classmates and teachers. Contact teachers at the beginning of the holidays, and let them know your child’s dietary needs and ask if there will be any class parties that you and your child could prepare gluten-free goodies for. This way, your child can bring in cookies or other baked goods for the class and focus on sharing his own treats, rather than on being excluded from others’ goodies. With the recipes that are available these days, there is no doubt that your child will impress his classmates. When going to a relative’s house for dinner, bring along a plate full of your child’s gluten-free cookies for everyone to enjoy.

Consider baking healthy and gluten-free cookies throughout the season so there’s a regular supply of treats and healthy snacks for your celiac child. He may be offered gluten-containing treats at friends’ or relatives’ houses or at school, but by including a holiday cookie in his lunchbox or letting him enjoy a gluten-free cookie with a glass of milk after school, you’ll help him to not feel left out this season.

Inviting kids over for a baking party is also another way for your child to enjoy holiday baking. His friends will enjoy the gluten-free goodies and can bring some home for their own families. The praise his friends will give over the cookies and baking experience will make your child feel just like non-celiac children. As part of my gluten-free advocacy, I host regular monthlygluten-free parties, inviting families from whatever state I am in, usually mothers and their celiac or gluten-intolerant children. You can also host a gluten-free baking party for the holidays and invite other families, allowing your celiac child to meet and bond with other celiac children. It raises awareness, which is what we all need.

At the start of this holiday season, get with your celiac child and have him pick out some gluten-free recipes and get started baking. With these tips, you’ll soon have established a memorable family tradition while delighting the friends and classmates of your celiac child, increasing support and awareness for the gluten-free lifestyle. In the end, you’ll have given your celiac child a tasty and unforgettable holiday gift.

Happy Holidays and to a Lovely New Year!

Tina Turbin

[Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Tina Turbin for a successful year! The NFCA newsletter columnist recently won second place in the .INFO Awards and her children’s book just took home another award, this time for cover art. We’re proud to have Tina as a regular contributor and gluten-free advocate!]

More about Tina and the “Danny the Dragon” children’s book series:

Danny the Dragon

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

Tina is an award-winning children’s book author
( and donates her current children’s audio book profits to Dr. Peter Green’s Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center. To stay updated on her projects, please sign up for her newsletter at Tina resides in both her East and West Coast studios and kitchens continuing her writing, promoting and working within the celiac and gluten-free arena–and always writing more children’s books to entertain the world.

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Udi's gluten-Free foods contest

Gluten-Free on a Budget: 5 Money Saving Tips

by Genevieve Sherrow, MS, CN

Gluten-free diets can be costly. The availability of gluten-free foods in the marketplace is on the rise; however, market prices of many of these products make them inaccessible to those on a budget. Here are 5 tips that will help you sustain the gluten-free diet on a budget.

Tip 1: Find the bulk bins in your supermarket: Foods that are sold in bulk, such as whole grains, nuts and seeds, and dried fruits, are less expensive than their packaged counterparts, so look for the bulk section when you’re in need of these foods. For example, 1 pound of bulk rice costs $0.89 at most supermarkets, whereas a 1-pound box of packaged rice is $1.69 – almost double the price of bulk.Gluten-Free Shopping Cart

Caution! Cross-contamination can be an issue in bulk bins. If the bins and scoops are not washed out thoroughly before adding a gluten-free item, there can be risk of cross-contamination. Individuals with celiac disease must be careful about this, and research indicates that non-celiac gluten intolerant individuals should be equally as careful. Always read bin labels. If you see evidence of cross-contamination, such as flour dust on or near the gluten-free items, report it to the grocery manager. Some stores are more conscious about this than others, exclusively assigning gluten-free and non-gluten-free items to specific bins. When in doubt, inquire with the grocery manager.

Tip 2: Cook with whole grains: There are many whole grains that are naturally gluten-free, such as rice, corn, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and teff. Grains are versatile and can be used as the base of a dish such as fried rice, polenta or kasha. They can also be used in side dishes, salads or served hot with nuts and fruit as breakfast porridge. Noted above, it is cheaper to purchase whole grains in bulk rather than packaged.

Tip 3: Eat a whole foods diet: When individuals are put on a gluten-free diet, the first question that pops into mind is “Oh my god, what am I going eat?” Do not panic. The fact is, there are countless whole foods that are naturally gluten-free, including fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheeses, butter, whole grains noted above, nuts and seeds, soy products, beans, coffees and teas, oils, honey, maple syrup and spices. It can be more time-consuming, but it is less expensive and more nutritious to construct meals using foods in their natural state.

Tip 4: Minimize consumption of gluten-free packaged foods: If possible, reduce the frequency with which you purchase gluten-free packaged foods. When purchased in abundance, these foods will inflate your grocery bill. They are enticing because they’re “ready-to-go,” and it is challenging to find decent prepared meals, cookies, bars, etc. that are also gluten-free. However, naturally gluten-free whole foods can make healthy, low cost snacks and meals.

Tip 5: Get curious about gluten-free baking: Packaged gluten-free baked goods and baking mixes can be quite pricey. For example, packaged gluten-free cookies may run $3-6 dollars per box, depending on the brand and where you shop. Gluten-free cake and bread mixes also run about $4-7 dollars per box. Gluten-free baking can be intimidating, even for a seasoned pastry chef, but there are a multitude of resources, online and offline, to help you navigate this new world. Many natural food stores and food co-ops now offer gluten-free baking classes, a worthwhile investment. Find recipes online and begin experimenting with gluten-free flours, such as quinoa, sorghum, rice and bean. Blue and yellow cornmeals and nut-based flours also work well in gluten-free baking. Bob’s Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills sell these products certified gluten-free.

Genevieve Sherrow

Genevieve is a nutritionist, writer and chef based in Philadelphia. She writes for her own gluten-free food and nutrition blog at

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Development of Therapies for Celiac Disease Conference: Top 6 Highlights

By Kristin N. Voorhees, NFCA Healthcare Relations Manager

NFCA Founder and President Alice Bast and I were thrilled to join the celiac disease field’s key opinion leaders, scientists and industry experts at the Development of Therapies for Celiac Disease Conference on Nov. 18-19, 2010.

Held at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center, researchers and physicians from all over the world convened to discuss the future of non-dietary therapies for celiac disease. It was particularly fascinating to hear Ii-Lun Chen, MD, of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discuss the FDA’s requirements for an effective drug to treat celiac disease. Her presence was unique in that rarely do physicians, drug developers and drug administration members come together to discuss potential pharmaceutical therapies.

The two-day conference was packed with information and discussions, but here are the top six highlights (in no particular order) about the present and future of celiac disease research:

1. International leaders presented those therapies currently being investigated to treat celiac disease, including enzyme and vaccine therapy . Enzyme therapy would involve breaking down the gluten in the stomach before it reaches the intestine, and would likely act as a supplement, not a replacement, to the gluten-free diet. On the other hand, vaccine therapy would instruct a person’s immune system to ignore gluten.

2. In his discussion of the mortality and morbidity of celiac disease, Alberto Rubio- Tapia, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, presented findings on the rate of mucosal healing . Rubio-Tapia et al. (2010) found that among diagnosed adults who were adherent to the gluten-free diet, it took two years for 34% of patients’ mucosa to heal and five years for 66% to experience mucosal healing. These low rates of mucosal healing might suggest that patients diagnosed with celiac disease in adulthood should undergo regular follow-up with small intestinal biopsies.

3. A considerable amount of attention was paid to refractory celiac disease , which occurs when symptoms or villous atrophy remain or return despite a patient’s adherence to the gluten-free diet. Although current treatment includes medical monitoring and medications such as steroids, immunosuppressants and enhanced nutritional support, the majority of refractory cases are treated symptomatically. Christophe Cellier, MD, PhD, from the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou in France, concluded that a more effective treatment is greatly needed.

4. Alessio Fasano, MD, discussed the possible role of the microbiome
in the onset of celiac disease and whether it could help treat this autoimmune disease. Defined as very dynamic bacteria that we inherit from our mothers, the microbiome changes within individuals based on environmental interactions. Each person’s microbiome is different. Dr. Fasano suggested that the changes in environment might trigger a person’s tolerance to move to the state of autoimmune disease. A day earlier than Dr. Fasano, Stefano Guandolini, MD also cited the microbiome as a possible factor in the development of celiac disease. It certainly appears that the role of the microbiome will be more closely examined in celiac disease.

5. Given the media’s recent attention on gluten-free as the latest fad diet, it was a pleasant surprise to have the conference’s organizing committee add Knut Lundin, MD, PhD of Norway to the program. Dr. Lundin acknowledged that the gluten-free diet has become a trend across the globe and discussed the reality of non-celiac gluten intolerance . In his research, Dr. Lundin found this population to be just as strict with the gluten-free diet as those diagnosed with celiac disease and concluded that the mechanisms of non-celiac gluten intolerance remain unclear and more research is still needed.

6. The conference also incorporated workshop panels where physicians, scientists, patient advocacy leaders and even patients contributed to the conversation. The panelists shared their perspectives on the need for a therapy and raised several key questions , such as:

  • When will patients use this drug? Are patients in need of a therapy to supplement the gluten-free diet? Do they want something to protect them against cross-contamination? Is there an interest in providing relief after “indulging” in gluten-filled food?
  • What side effects, if any, will occur with the therapy? Will they mimic any symptoms of undiagnosed celiac disease?
  • How will patients accept the new form of treatment?
  • Who should manage patients with celiac disease?

The last question surfaced frequently, and the resounding reply heard around the room was: “The primary care provider.” This provided the opportunity for Joseph Murray, MD, to introduce the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Primary Care Continuing Medical Education (CME) activity, Defining, Diagnosing & Managing Celiac Disease, to the audience. The discussion of the primary care provider’s role in the management of celiac disease also prompted the matter of diagnosis. We know that this community can help to improve the diagnostic rate. (That is exactly why NFCA created the CME activity.) It’s also well known that pharmaceutical therapies can increase diagnoses, too. Direct-to-consumer marketing brings the potential to raise awareness of symptoms and, ultimately, improve celiac disease diagnoses.

Tell us:What would you look for in a drug?

We invite you to share your thoughts on a pharmaceutical treatment for celiac disease. Do you want something to protect you against the long-term risks associated with exposure to gluten in small amounts (from things like cross-contamination)? What about to supplement the gluten-free diet so you can enjoy the occasional gluten-filled favorite? Or are you ready for a total replacement?

Share your thoughts on NFCA’s Facebook page or the new staff blog, Celiac Central: Bits and Bites.

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Prebiotics and the Gluten-Free Diet

By Frank Jackson, MD

Awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance is growing. We physicians and gastroenterologists now have the message that these problems are very common and that we need to be more diligent in testing for and treating any gluten-related conditions. But what do prebiotics have to do with celiac disease and gluten intolerance, and what are they anyway?

A prebiotic is not a probiotic. A probiotic is a live bacteria in yogurt, other dairy foods or pills. Prebiotics are certain specialized plant fibers that supply nutrition to the good bacteria we all harbor in our gut, specifically the colon. The technical names for the two best researched prebiotics are oligofructose and inulin. When these healthy prebiotic fibers reach the colon, the good bacteria there grow considerably, and as a result, create many health benefits. One good health outcome is increased calcium absorption and enhanced bone density, which can be particularly important to the celiac patient or anyone concerned with bone health [Osteoporosis has been linked to celiac disease]. Another medically well documented benefit is enhanced immunity in the colon.1 So, what is the link between celiac, gluten and prebiotics?

Recently, research has discovered that Americans may get 70-80% of these good prebiotic fibers from wheat.2,3 Additionally, current research has shown that when anyone goes on a gluten-free diet, there is a deterioration in the good bacterial mix in the colon.4 This, in turn, may result in fewer health benefits that flourishing healthy gut bacteria can supply. It is possible that the reason for this result is the marked reduction in ingested prebiotics that occurs when a person goes on a gluten-free diet.

Prebiotic awareness is gaining momentum. Food manufacturers, including infant formula makers, are now putting prebiotics in their products. They’ve seen the research and have become active in bringing prebiotics to the public.

The dietary goal should be to consume generous portions of gluten-free and prebiotic-rich foods, up to 8 grams of prebiotics per day. Natural sources of prebiotics include onions, leeks, yams, bananas, avocado, asparagus, agave, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root and jicama, to name a few. A prebiotic supplement might also be considered.


1. Gibson GR (2008) Prebiotics as gut microflora management tools. J Clin Gastroenerol42,Suppl. 2, S75-S79.

2. Van Loos J, Coussement P, De Leenheer L, et al. (1995) On the presence of inulin and oligofructose as natural ingredients in the Western diet. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 35, 525–552.

3. Moshfegh AJ, Friday JE, Goldman JP, et al. (1999) Presence of inulin and oligofructose in the diets of Americans. J Nutr 129, 1407S–1411S.

4. Jackson FW (2010) Letter to the Editor – Effects of a gluten-free diet on gut microbiota and immune function in healthy adult human subjects. Brit J of Nutr. Pg 1 of 1.

About Dr. Jackson

Frank Jackson, MD, is a gastroenterologist and president of Jackson GI Medical in Mechanicsburg, PA. He specializes in prebiotics.

Looking for recipes to boost your prebiotic intake?

Try some of these simple gluten-free snacks and sides from NFCA staff member Cheryl McEvoy:

Caramelized Balsamic Onions

Peel and chop 2-3 medium sized onions. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté gently. As the onions begin to cook down and wilt, stream in balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook onions until they are tender and glazed.

Yam Fries

Chop 2 large yams into long strips. Make them thick for steak fries or thin for shoestring. Spread sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil on the fries and toss them to coat. Sprinkle seasoning of your choice (try cinnamon and nutmeg or chili powder and cumin) and toss again to coat. Bake at 350 degrees until fries are fork tender.

Quick and Creamy Guacamole

Cut two medium avocados in half and remove the pit. Score the insides with a knife and then scoop the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. Use a fork or knife to cut the avocado flesh into chunks Slice a lime in half and squeeze the juice of one half over the avocado. Toss to coat (this prevents browning). Dice a medium tomato and ½ onion and add to mixture. Mix well to incorporate ingredients and mash to your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips or rice crackers.

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20 Ways to Give Joy (and Share the Celiac Story) This Holiday

By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Online Content Manager

The holiday season has a magical way of instilling a desire to give, share and celebrate. So what better time to embrace the gluten-free community or spread celiac awareness among those who still confuse gluten with glucose?

Here are 20 simple ways to Restore Health and Reclaim Lives this holiday season. See how many you can cross off your list before the New Year!

1.Host a gluten-free holiday party for 5 friends who don’t know about celiac disease ORGluten-Free Holiday Table Setting

2.Gather a few support group friends for a gluten-free holiday potluck (Need ideas? Check out NFCA’s Gluten-Free Holiday Recipe Box)

3.Know a child recently diagnosed? Give them a children’s book like Mommy, What is Celiac? to help them understand the disease. (Read about the author in our October 2010 Awareness All Stars update.)

4.Participate in a recipe exchange and include 3 fast facts about celiac disease along with your gluten-free contribution. (Fresh out of recipes? Gluten-free cookbook author Silvana Nardone is hosting a “Cookie Countdown,” and NFCA is one of the contributors!)

5.Bake gluten-free treats for a local holiday bazaar and feature celiac disease information at the table (Order free Do I Have Celiac?brochures)

6.Sign up for a gluten-free baking class .

7.Make a gift basket featuring safe treats for your gluten-free friend (Check out our Gluten-Free Food Manufacturers page for product ideas).

8.Send an e-card to your favorite gluten-free blogger (Our Celiac Bloggers are passionate and love to hear from readers).Doctor and Patient

9.Send a thank you to the doctor who helped you get diagnosed. Include a link to NFCA’s Primary Care CME,, to help them stay up-to-date and earn valuable continuing education credits for free!

10.Invite the neighborhood kids in for some hot cocoa, and keep the focus on fun rather than the fact that it’s “gluten-free.”

11.Treat yourself or the cook in your house to a new gluten-free cookbook . And along with that…

12.Put a bread machine or new set of pans on your wish list to help you get excited for holiday cooking.

13.Go out to eat at a celiac-friendly restaurant (try one that’s been trained through NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens program), then leave a note thanking them for the safe gluten-free service.Gluten-free hot cocoa

14.Do a non-food related activity with your support group, like caroling or crafts.

15.If you can’t eat it, share it. Donate any gluten-containing non-perishables from your kitchen or any that you receive as gifts to your local food pantry. While you’re there, explain why you’re donating gluten-containing foods – they may be interested in starting a special gluten-free food collection for a celiac family.

16.Find out if a local senior center has any individuals with gluten-free needs and offer to bake something for them. When you drop off the goodies, include a few copies of Celiac 60+.

17.Work with your church to order gluten-free communion wafers so individuals with celiac disease can join the celebration at Christmas (Ener-G has them available online). You can also makegluten-free potato latkes to share with family and friends this Hanukkah.

18.Fill bowls around the house with gluten-free candy (Print the Gluten-Free Candy List before you shop).

19.Share NFCA’s Facebook page with family and friends. Point to some thought-provoking posts.

20.Mentor a newly diagnosed celiac. Sometimes, it really does take one to know one!

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It’s December: Time to Go Crackers

By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Online Content Manager

It’s about as much of the holiday season as snowmen and Yule logs. Crackers. Chances are, you’ve never given much thought to the pint-sized platters as you dip and munch, but crackers are a veritable holiday staple in most homes. In Gluten-free rice crackerfact, cracker sales spike around the holidays, and not just the wheat-based kind. According to Jim Garsow, director of marketing for Crunchmaster, December is the prime time for rice cracker purchases.

Enjoy that little factoid? Well, there’s more to those crispy crunchers than meets the eye. Want to know more? Check out these Fun Facts about rice crackers. They could spare you from an awkward silence at your next holiday party.

  • Rice crackers are a popular food item in Japan, where they’re called “sembei.”
  • Each region in Japan has a unique type of “sembei.”
  • Sembei were originally flour-based. Rice began being used in the 17th century.
  • Rice crackers have been coated with everything from spicy sauce to chocolate.
  • Traditionally, rice crackers were dried in the sun, then brushed with soy sauce and mirin (a type of Japanese condiment) and grilled. Today, they’re often topped with gluten-free tamari sauce or olive oil and can be baked or even deep-fried!
  • Rice crackers are also linked to Chinese and Indian cuisine.


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Enter the Holiday Dips & Dishes Recipe Contest

What to do around the dip bowl? How about tell everyone how you scored $500 for the delicious dish they’re about to enjoy?Plated gluten-free crackers

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is hosting the “Holiday Dips & Dishes ” Recipe Contest now through Dec. 31, 2010. Sponsored by Crunchmaster, the contest will award $500 cash to the Grand Prize winner, and four First Place winners will get $50 worth of free Crunchmaster crackers .

To enter, submit your original recipe for a gluten-free dish that incorporates a Crunchmaster product OR a gluten-free dip that pairs well with gluten-free crackers like Crunchmaster. Recipes can be submitted using the Holiday Dips & Dishes Submission Form at or by emailing the recipe to [email protected]. Make sure to include your name and address, especially if you want the free coupon (see below). If you have a photo of the dish or dip, attach that along with your email, too!

As a thank you for participating, all entrants will receive a coupon for a free 4.5oz bag of Crunchmaster crackers . Coupons will be mailed to those who include their mailing address in their contest entry.

For full contest details and to enter, visit the Holiday Dips & Dishes contest page now.

Need some inspiration? Try this easy recipe that’s won raves at our table:

Baked Brie


  • 1 wheel of baby brie cheese
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries


Sprinkle almonds, brown sugar and dried cranberries on top of brie. Bake in 350 degree oven until sugar is melted and cheese is warm. Serve with gluten-free crackers and celery sticks.

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Two New Athletes Join NFCA’s Mission

Our Athletes for Awareness campaign is pleased to announce the addition of two new outstanding and inspirational athletes who will represent NFCA and help forward our mission through their participation in this very special program!

With that, we are delighted to present our newest Athletes for Awareness, Pierre Poulin and John Forberger!

Celiac Athlete Pierre

Pierre Poulin –Pierre has been competing in 5k races for more than 5 years, and began biking a year ago. He entered his first bike race this past August, scaling over 4000 feet in just 5 miles. Diagnosed with celiac back in 2003, Pierre says that making healthier food choices has strengthened his immune system and energy levels. He now sees every day as an opportunity to embrace the gluten-free lifestyle and live life to the fullest. Pierre and his wife Amy are currently organizing a bike race to raise awareness for celiac disease and a healthy gluten-free lifestyle! (Amy also just published a gluten-free cookbook. Read about Cooking Gluten-Free with Amy in our Hot Products section.)

Gluten-Free Athlete John

John Forberger – The award-winning celiac triathlete believes that adopting a gluten-free lifestyle almost 14 years ago was “the best decision of my life.” A South Jersey resident of 22 years, John’s rare experience in training and winning triathlons while living a gluten-free lifestyle has put him in a place to assist others with meeting their fitness goals. John’s personal website offers fitness advice and gluten-free tips for both everyday parents and hardcore triathletes.

Read more about Pierre, John and all of the NFCA Athletes for Awareness on the official blog!

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NFCA spreads awareness at Tufts University

By Kristin Voorhees, NFCA Program Associate

Educating healthcare providers on celiac disease has always ranked high in NFCA’s approach to raising awareness. We know that education drives diagnosis and treatment, and in turn, improves the quality of life for those living gluten-free.

Central to this awareness is the education of dietitians. Patients with celiac disease rely heavily on this community of providers to provide support in their management of the gluten-free diet. As the diagnostic rate of this autoimmune disease continues to rise, the need for celiac-knowledgeable dietitians will too. Gluten-Free Seminar for Dietitians

NFCA recognized that in addition to supplying the dietetic community with the knowledge necessary to improve patient outcomes, it would also be valuable to keep them up-to-date on gluten-free products new to the grocery store shelves. Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance are always in the market for the latest gluten-free products, so what better way to equip dietitians with gluten-free knowledge than to learn about celiac disease while sampling and taste-testing? Thus, the “Lunch and Learn” program was born.

Last month, NFCA held our first Lunch and Learn at Tufts University in collaboration with the Frances Stern Nutrition Center. Tuesday, November 16 was an exciting day for Nancy Patin-Falini, MA, RD, LDN, a recognized expert on celiac disease and the gluten-free diet and a member of NFCA’s Scientific/Medical Advisory Board. Nancy traveled to Boston to lead the hour-long comprehensive training. More than 25 faculty and dietetic interns from the Frances Stern Nutrition Center attended the educational session.

During the event, Nancy highlighted the need for gluten-free awareness among dietitians practicing in both food service and healthcare settings. Nancy provided the dietitians with tools and resources to use in counseling the newly diagnosed and those seeking help with the gluten-free diet. The attendees also received support in the development and implementation of a gluten-free menu, including a manual that the dietitians can reference when looking for celiac or gluten-free information.

Kelly Kane, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, the Nutrition Education Coordinator and Dietetic Internship Director of the Frances Stern Nutrition Center, played an instrumental role in arranging NFCA’s first Lunch and Learn program and was pleased with the outcome.

“The Lunch and Learn was a great experience for both the staff and dietetic interns. Nancy presented the information by thoroughly reviewing the basics of the disease and medical nutrition therapy associated with it, but also added many practical tips that will be extremely useful in practice. She gave a great overview of the crucial role of the registered dietitian in the multidisciplinary treatment of celiac disease,” Kelly said.

And of course, there was an abundance of gluten-free goodies! It wouldn’t be an NFCA event without the latest gluten-free products ready to be sampled. French Meadow Bakery, Blue Diamond Growers and TH Foods’ Crunchmaster sponsored the event and each gluten-free vendor supplied products, including:

  • French Meadow Bakery’s recently reformulated brownie
  • Blue Diamond Grower’s new BBQ flavor Nut Thins (read NFCA’s Gluten-Free Hot Products review of this new flavor)
  • TH Foods’ Crunchmaster Original Multi-Seed Crackers

Zocalo Restaurant, a participant in NFCA’s 2008 Boston Gluten-Free Cooking Spree, supplied lunch complete with chicken and vegetable enchiladas, black beans, corn tortilla chips, and homemade salsa and guacamole. The dietitians in attendance couldn’t stop raving about the gluten-free Mexican fare!

NFCA is thrilled to have completed our first Lunch and Learn and hope to continue this program in 2011. Looking back, Nancy was also delighted with the experience and had this to share with NFCA:

“It was invigorating to share my knowledge and experience at the Lunch and Learn. Seeing the faces of receptive preceptors and ‘future dietitians’ eager to learn their invaluable role in the care of celiac disease was both a joy and sign of hope for the future in helping to impact an ever-growing gluten-free population!”

Watch for more Lunch and Learn success stories in 2011!

To find out more about Lunch and Learn, contact Kristin Voorhees at [email protected].

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The holidays are here. The family is over. There’s food on the table.

One bite of REAL stuffing won’t hurt you, right? Wrong.

Announcing NFCA’s Webinar

“Temptation Island: Maintaining a Gluten-Free Diet during the Holidays”

Wednesday, December 15th at 1 p.m. ET/ 10 a.m. PT


Join NFCA as Margaret Masiello, RD, clinical coodinator of the Kogan Celiac Center in Livingston, NJ, explains the risks of cheating on your gluten-free diet and shares tips for staying on track. Whether you have celiac disease, know someone who does, or if you work in the nutrition field, this Webinar offers helpful hints for healthy holidays.

Margaret will:

  • Identify why the gluten-free diet might be more difficult to follow during the winter months of holiday parties, family celebrations, eating outside of the home and social drinking
  • Provide examples of common temptations, such as “just one REAL cookie” or “just one slice of REAL apple pie.”
  • Discuss the role of tradition and memory in temptation (Mom’s cooking, anyone?)
  • Explain the consequences of cheating, both short-term and long-term
  • Address the specific population of those who do not experience symptoms
  • Offer solutions to keep temptation at bay.

Learn more and register >>

Blue Diamond

Sponsored by Blue Diamond, this webinar is free of chargeand on
requires a working Internet connection!

About the Panelist:

The Mobile DietitianMargaret Weiss Masiello, RD, has worked as a clinical dietitian for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the ALS Foundation of Greater New York and as a consultant to several supermarket chains regarding celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. Currently, Margaret is the Clinical Coordinator of the Kogan Celiac Center in Livingston, NJ.

For more gluten-free and celiac awareness events, visit our Upcoming Events page.

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

IFT Set For Gluten-free Presentation at 2011 Wellness Conference

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) will host an educational session titled Nutritionally Gluten-Free during its 20100 Wellness Conference, taking place March 23rd-24th 2011 in Rosemont, IL.

Alice Bast, Founder & President of NFCA, and Jennifer Williams, Application Scientist for Penford Food Ingredients, will host this exciting instructive event. Their presentation will educate the industry audience on how to successfully launch gluten-free foods by using nutritional flours and fibers to create healthy, tasty products. In addition, they will provide a review of the gluten-free arena, evolving gluten-free technologies, and gluten-free ingredient solutions that will enable attendees to identify potential new gluten-free product candidates.

Powered by Food Technology Magazine, IFT’s Wellness Conference offers attendees a unique blend of unbiased perspectives, news about emerging trends, and information on how other organizations within the food industry are penetrating the health and wellness sector.

For more than 70 years, IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow.

By advancing food science, IFT feeds the minds that feed the world. NFCA is thrilled to align with this dynamic organization in an effort to raise awareness of the gluten-free diet and advocate for safe and healthy standards and practices within the food industry!

To learn more about NFCA’s upcoming participation in this event, visit the IFT website.

Thank You, Main Line Baking Company!

NFCA also wants to extend a huge thanks to Main Line Baking Company for donating some delicious goodies to one of our recent events (their new gluten-free pumpkin muffin was unreal!). Main Line Baking Company creates great-tasting baked goods for those with gluten-free, dairy-free dietary restrictions that everyone can enjoy! Best of all, online ordering will be available starting Dec. 15, so you can enjoy gluten-free treats throughout the New Year.

Main Line Baking Company is a member of the GREAT Business Association and recently participated in NFCA’s 2010 Appetite for Awareness celebration.

Check out their delicious gluten-free breads, cookies, cakes, muffins and more on their website:

To learn more about GREAT Foodservice , contact [email protected] .

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GREAT Training


By Cheryl McEvoy

Cooking Gluten-Free with Amy

Amy Rota-Poulin always had a passion for cooking, so when her husband Pierre was diagnosed with celiac disease, she headed straight to the kitchen to rehab her favorite recipes. In Cooking Gluten-Free with Amy, she shares the secrets behind her tried and true gluten-free dishes. Her cookbook runs the gamut from breakfast to beef, all with “family-friendly” in mind. Besides baking and basting, the book adds a dash of charity to the mix. A percentage of proceeds from the cookbook will be donated to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, so others can discover the healing and satisfying side of the gluten-free diet.

HomeFree Gluten-Free Cookies

When you see “Oatmeal” on the package, don’t be alarmed. HomeFree Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookes are indeed gluten-free (just make sure you choose the Gluten-Free version; the Organic cookies aren’t certified gluten-free). The cookies are made with gluten-free whole oat flour and gluten-free whole oat flakes, producing a nutty flavor without going overboard on sugar. The texture’s a bit cakey compared to traditional oatmeal cookies, but that also gives it a lighter feel. The gluten-free cookies come in Soft Oatmeal (large and regular sized) and Mini Oatmeal chocolate chip, all of which pack at least 25% of daily recommended whole grain in a single serving. The cookies can even be purchased individually wrapped for convenient lunchbox toting.

Cinque e Cinque

If you’ve never heard of Cinque e Cinque, you’re not alone. In fact, the product’s website is, an ode to its unfamiliarity. To clue you in, it’s a brand of chickpea flour made by Lucini, and one that’s quite versatile. I whipped up a basic batch of Rosemary Chickpea Frittata by simply combining the mix with water and olive oil (Lucini also produces bottles of wonderfully pure olive oil) and then baking at 500 degrees – yes, 500 – for about 20 minutes. My ovensafe pan withstood the heat, and the frittata emerged fragrant and just a tad fluffy. Texturally, it’s similar to polenta, but that’s only one way of using the flour. Spread thin, the mix becomes more like a flatbread, perfect for pizza. Cooked crepe-style, it becomes a light tortilla. And with flavors ranging from Traditional to Fiery Chili, the possibilities are endless.

Motive Pure

When I first received a batch of Motive Pure, I was a little skeptical. The product, touted as an “Oral Hydration Formula,” was packaged in a stout plastic vial. The formula actually consists of a highly concentrated form of electrolytes that, when diluted in water, speeds absorption of nutrients. It’s designed for use before, during or after an athletic competition, but I gave it a whirl at the office. The lemon-lime flavor was noticeable but light, a refreshing break from many overly sweetened sports drinks. Its pint-sized packaging also makes it easy to tote to a gym or sports practice. Did I feel nutrients surging to my system? No, but I did feel replenished after finishing the bottle.


We’ve all been there. You’re standing in the kitchen, don’t know what to cook and end up scarfing three ricecakes and an apple out of exasperation. Sometimes, gluten-free just isn’t easy. Viola, the inspiration for Livefreeda, a gluten-free meal delivery service co-led by Yvonne Gifford of Glutenfreeda. The service includes 28 days of meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks/desserts. And the food isn’t just limited to Glutenfreeda; it includes other favorites like Kettle Cuisine, Amy’s and Udi’s. It’s a new spin on shopping, one that takes the cart out of your hands. It takes the pressure off and guarantees variety in your meals, so if you like the products, this could be worth the plunge.

For more product news and reviews, follow NFCA’s Gluten-Free Hot Products blog .

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New Gluten-Free Products from Appetite for Awareness Vendors

Appetite for Awareness was less than two months ago, but we’re craving another spin around the Vendor Marketplace. It was the perfect excuse to tap our 2010 participants and find out what’s new and scrumptious for your gluten-free shelves. Browse the list and prepare your tastebuds for these latest additions to the gluten-free scene.

Bakery on Main

  • Soft & Chewy Gluten-Free Granola Bars – Made with gluten-free whole grains, flax and chia seeds, and available in Peanut Butter & Jelly, Chocolate Almond and Apple Cinnamon.


Available Now

  • GlutenOut Pantondi – Italian style gluten-free panini imported directly from Italy
  • GlutenOut Chocolate Cake – Chocolate Cake with hazelnut and almonds bits
  • GlutenOut Ravioli with Ricotta & Spinach – Authentic Italian Cheese Ravioli
  • GlutenOut Gnochi – Real Italian original home-style recipe imported directly from Italy
  • GlutenOut Pizzette – Snack-size mini pizzas perfect as part of a school lunch or a quick snack on the go
  • GlutenOut Focaccia – Italian quality Focaccia Bread
  • GlutenOut Vegetable Pizza – A delicious twist on an old favorite, tasty and extremely good for you too
  • GlutenOut Margherita Pizza – The original Neapolitan Style Pizza now available gluten-free

Coming Soon

  • GlutenOut Tagliatelle – A gluten-free pasta perfect for everyday dishes
  • GlutenOut Trofie – Traditional Northern Italian homemade pasta
  • GlutenOut Beignets – Gluten-free cream puffs
  • GlutenOut Ice Cream Cones – Be a kid again with gluten-free Italian-style ice cream cones
  • GlutenOut Tiramisu’ – The Italian original tiramisu now available gluten-free
  • GlutenOut Profiteroles – A decadent dessert now gluten-free
  • GlutenOut Pizza Base – Create your own pizza using this gluten-free product

The Grainless Baker

  • Double Dose Chocolate Muffins – A “double dose” of chocolate in every muffin
  • Lemon Poppy Muffins – Moist muffins with a refreshing lemon flavor
  • Cheddar Snackers – An easy snack for kids and adults
  • Graham Snackers – The gluten-free version of graham crackers
  • Pierogies – Potato & Cheddar Cheese – Grab these for a quick dinner

Main Line Baking Co.

  • Pumpkin Muffins – Made with all natural pumpkin, they have a seasonal flavor and moist texture.

Pamela’s Products

  • Single Serve Baking & Pancake Mix – Available in an easy grab and go pouch, with the recipe on the bag
  • Single Serve Chocolate Brownie Mix – Enjoy microwaveable delights in about a minute.

Plum Catering

  • Plum Pits – Bite-sized morsels of crispy rice and peanut butter, dipped in smooth dark chocolate.

Snyder’s of Hanover

  • Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks – Certified gluten-free and have less fat and sodium, giving you a ‘better for you’ snack option.

Sweet Christine’s Bakery


Gluten-Free Hot Products
review of these items)

  • Personal-size pan pizza – Gluten-free pizza crust just waiting to be topped and baked
  • Baked donuts – Moist cake doughnuts with vanilla or chocolate frosting
  • Hamburger & hot dog rolls – Best selling soft gluten-free rolls to help you enjoy barbecues again

Woodchuck Hard Cider

Cider Marker’s Choice variety pack – Includes Amber, Granny Smith and 802, plus a surprise flavor.

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Celiac in the News

NFCA Presents Comments on FDA Safe Use Initiative

On Nov. 17, 2010, NFCA advocate Robin Rosenblum spoke to the Food and Drug Administration on behalf of NFCA, celiac disease and gluten-free needs. Presenting at a workshop on the Safe Use Initiative, Rosenblum delivered comments that had been prepared by NFCA Founder & President Alice Bast and NFCA Director of Program Development Loretta Jay. The statement appealed to the FDA for better medication labeling, specifically with regard to labeling the source of inactive ingredients, which could contain gluten. “Though following a gluten-free diet is a medical necessity for this population, the lack of regulations requiring manufacturers to identify the source of expients puts those with celiac disease in ongoing risk of harm,” the statement declared.

Read the NFCA’s statement to the FDA >>

Learn more about gluten in medications>>

Gluten-Free is Holiday Topic Du Jour

This year, gluten-free food piqued popular interest, so it wasn’t surprising when familiar faces began popping up in holiday-themed news articles. From local papers to the national stage, news outlets called on gluten-free’s top names to give readers the low down on cooking sans gluten.

“Gluten-Free Girl” Shauna Ahern shared some of her coveted recipes with the Los Angeles Times. The recipes accompanied an article titled “Life is good for Gluten-Free Girl,” about her 2005 diagnosis of celiac disease and subsequent rise to cookbook success. Cooking for Isaiah author and Appetite for Awareness 2010 special guest Silvana Nardone was tapped by the New York Times’ Well blog for “A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving,” which shared her recipes for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dumplings and Cornbread Stuffing. CNN’s food blog Eatocracy turned to Vanessa Phillips and Tryg Siverson of Friedman’s Lunch for “Five Tips to Cooking a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Meal.” Phillips, as the post points out, has gluten intolerance, and many of the dishes at Friedman’s Lunch can be prepared gluten-free.

How did your gluten-free Thanksgiving go? If you have a funny or embarrassing gluten-free holiday moment, past or present, share it here for the chance to win a free gluten-free cookbook .

Celiac Disease vs. Food Allergy Distinction Gains Attention

Celiac disease is commonly lumped with food allergies, often for the sake of convenience on food menus, in classrooms and other “allergy-friendly” references. But there is an important distinction between the autoimmune disorder and food allergies, and advocates are beginning to make note. A survey released earlier this year revealed that only 3% of Americans can correctly identify the top four common food allergens (nuts, dairy, eggs and wheat), and 43% considered gluten an allergen. Concerns arose over whether Americans recognize the difference between allergic reactions and bodily responses related to food sensitivities. Similarly, a post by Health Now Medical Center staff explored “Wheat Allergy vs. Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Sensitivity – What’s the Difference?” while an article about the rising interest in gluten-free grains noted, “Celiac disease is more than an allergy.”

“Celiac Disease & Women’s Health” Brochure Now Available

Last month, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) announced the completion of a two-part initiative aimed at raising awareness of celiac disease with specific attention to women’s health. Working with the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, NFCA created a special Women’s Health section on designed to educate the obstetric and gynecologic medical community about celiac disease and its unique impact on women. The second part, a patient brochure explaining female-specific symptoms of celiac disease, as well as proper diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease in women, was also created and is now available for distribution.

Visit the Printable Guides page to download a PDF version of the NEW brochure, “Celiac Disease & Women’s Health: A Guide to Understanding.” To order hard copy versions, contact Kristin Voorhees at [email protected].

Stay up-to-date between newsletters. Follow NFCA’s News and Blogs .

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