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Highlights from 2013
At the end of every year, I find myself thinking of all the progress we have made as the gluten-free community. I never cease to be amazed by how much of a difference we can make together! While there were many events and milestones reached this year, there are a few that stand out as the biggest victories for me as a person living with celiac disease and as the President of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).
NFCA Celebrates 10 Years of Restoring Health and Reclaiming Lives
Words truly cannot describe the excitement and immense pride I felt as NFCA celebrated its tenth anniversary. In just 10 years, NFCA has succeeded in increasing celiac disease diagnoses and improving the quality of life of those on a lifelong gluten-free diet. While there is still much work to be done to ensure people living with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can eat without fear, we have made immense progress together. We’ve gone from special ordering gluten-free food from outside the U.S. to having an official ruling from the FDA on gluten-free labeling and more gluten-free options than we can count. There even are potential pharmaceutical treatments on the horizon.
FDA Rules on Gluten-Free Labeling
In August 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially ruled on gluten-free labeling, standardizing a definition for “gluten-free” on food packages. This was a huge victory for the celiac disease community. Not only was celiac disease and the gluten-free diet the center of attention in major news outlets, but it proved to the general public just how vital this lifestyle is to our health. While the rule was met with mixed emotions from the community, one thing is for sure: The gluten-free community came together to push for labeling to keep us safe and our voices were heard. Following the ruling, NFCA created free resources to make the ruling easier to understand. Visit our dedicated FDA web section to access these resources.
NFCA Makes Major Strides in First-Ever Study of Gluten in Medication
In 2011, NFCA was awarded a two-year $50,000 grant to learn more about the potential effects of gluten in medications – the first grant ever given for researching this unexplored territory! We partnered with expert researchers to test gluten content in medications identified by the gluten-free community that seemed to cause a reaction. This testing concluded in September and NFCA will be sending the final report to the FDA in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more news on this landmark study in 2014!
Advancing Research Initiatives
In addition to the gluten in medication study, NFCA is working to advance other areas of research. This year, we examined our free educational program for primary care doctors, designed to educate them on celiac disease and to recognize the signs in their own practices. After partnering with the Celiac Center at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Mayo Clinic, NFCA found that 66% of doctors who took the course plan to incorporate celiac disease testing in the practice. It’s amazing how much of a difference education can make!
The NFCA team is hard at work each and every day to make a significant difference in the lives of those living with gluten-related disorders. We’re making phenomenal progress, and rest assured, we won’t stop until everyone is aware of celiac disease and no one remains undiagnosed. We are doing everything we can to help the gluten-free community live their lives to the fullest.
As the year comes to a close, I can’t thank you enough for your support and for being a part of the NFCA community, whether you’ve been diagnosed for 10 years or 10 days. 2013 has been quite the eventful year and I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for our community!
To our GREAT health,
Gluten-Free Holiday Recipes
The holiday season is upon us once again! As always, I am excited to share delicious gluten-free recipes for you to share with your family and friends. While slightly unconventional for the holidays, these recipes are sure to be a hit!
This recipe originally contained wheat flour, but I adapted it to meet my family’s gluten-free needs. They’re delicious!
There are curry houses on almost every corner in London, so many of my favorite childhood dishes were infused with curry flavors. This recipe was inspired by those dishes and is sure to add a different flavor to your holiday meal.
About Chef Oonagh Williams
British-born award-winning chef Oonagh Williams has a culinary arts degree and was trained in London and Switzerland. Based in New Hampshire, Chef Oonagh began adapting meals to gluten-free versions after her son was diagnosed with gluten and lactose intolerance two years ago. To learn more, visit Chef Oonagh’s website at www.RoyalTemptations.com or ‘Like’ her at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook.
Creating New Gluten-Free Holiday Traditions with Your Child
Get your gluten-free cooking and baking questions answered by the expert! Have a question for Silvana? E-mail Alicia at [email protected] and your question could be answered in a future NFCA newsletter.
How can I make the transition to the gluten-free diet easier for my child during the holiday season?
The holidays are a time when food is the focus and this can be stressful for parents of children newly diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. I know firsthand how worrisome that first gluten-free holiday can be! I also know that new traditions can be made and new favorite recipes can be cooked or baked to perfection. Here are my tips for making the transition easier for you and your child.
Shift the focus from food.
Baking goodies during the holidays is such a fun way to bring the family together, but it can cause some stress for mom and dad after a recent diagnosis. Keep in mind that it’s ok to break away from the food focus and embrace other holiday activities. You can color holiday-themed pictures with the kids, watch their favorite holiday movie, or craft new homemade decorations together. Years from now when your kids look back on their childhood holiday traditions, they won’t be thinking of the type of cookie you baked, but rather the times you spent making memories.
About Silvana Nardone
Celiac disease research is rapidly advancing and 2013 proved to be a big year for research news. Below are NFCA’s picks for the top research headlines of the year.
By Kristin Voorhees, MA, NFCA Healthcare Relations Manager
Last month, NFCA President Alice Bast and I headed north to New York City to attend Partnering for Cures 2013, a conference hosted by FasterCures, acenter of the Milken Institute and an action tank determined to remove barriers to medical progress.
Partnering for Cures brought together leaders from across sectors in medical research including academic institutions, technology innovators, philanthropists, nonprofit patient advocacy groups and the pharmaceutical industry to speed up the dialogues needed to drive solutions in healthcare and science. No matter their background, all participants shared this in common: an energy to spur change for patients. And, at the end of the day, aren’t we all patients?
After spending two days filled with lectures, meet and greets and presentations, the take home message that I consider to be the most relevant for patients with a gluten-related disorder is this: Each person makes a difference and it’s critical that patients understand their role in research. Here’s what we can do:
Now, you may be thinking, “How does this apply to celiac disease? We have a treatment – the gluten-free diet. What else do we need to think about?” And, I will assure you that there is plenty to think about!
Once you become familiar with the ins and outs of the gluten-free diet, I encourage you to go one step further and seek out the field of science.
It’s more critical now than ever to understandhow celiac disease works. We are on the cusp of a pharmaceutical revolution in celiac disease treatment. A vaccine, pill or other pharmaceutical treatment is no longer a pipe dream; it’s a very real possibility .
It’s time that we move beyond simply talking about the gluten-free diet to understanding both the root of the autoimmune condition and the scientific advances that are providing the opportunity to change the face of celiac disease. We as celiac disease patients have an incredible opportunity to participate in the development of treatments that could help millions of our peers.
Our goal at NFCA is to empower patients to take responsibility for their own health by providing the education and tools necessary to maximize their health and quality of life.
I encourage everyone to learn more by taking one or more of the following actions today:
NFCA has become well known for our free monthly webinars, each focused on a different aspect of living with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and the gluten-free diet. The staff picked 5 webinars we highly recommend viewing.
Want more webinars? Visit NFCA’s Webinar Archive today!
2013 has been quite a busy year for the NFCA team! We unveiled many new resources for the celiac disease and gluten sensitive communities this year. Here are a few of our favorites:
As celiac disease research advances and evolves, NFCA wants to ensure that our community remains up to date and aware of new and ongoing research opportunities. That’s why we created the Research Opt-In feature. Click the link above to opt-in and stay connected through our regular, targeted emails!
This tip sheet walks you through important questions to help determine if a restaurant is able to safely accommodate your gluten-free needs. It’s also a GREAT tool for educating restaurants on safe gluten-free food preparation so don’t forget to leave the tear-off with your check the next time you think an establishment needs gluten-free training.
What’s your favorite resource from NFCA? Tell us on Facebook!
Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and the gluten-free diet are topics that pop up in news stories every day. Here are NFCA’s picks for some of the top headlines of 2013.
NFCA shares the Gluten-Free Recipe of the Week each Monday, so you can imagine how tough it was to narrow down so many recipes. Try these yummy gluten-free recipes for yourself to determine your personal favorite!
Tomato Soup with Eggplant from Gluten-Free Choices
Asparagus Risotto with Spring Pea Pesto from Sherrie Scaglione of With Food + Love
Warm Spaghetti with Capers and Arugula from Chef Simon Clarke and Allergic Living
Beer Batter and Herb and Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms from Bard’s Beer
Vegetable Spring Rolls with Rice Noodles from Thai Kitchen
Crab Quesadillafrom Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery
Cornbread with Honey and Thyme from Jackie Ourman of C.A.F.E.
Coleslaw from Amy Green of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
Baked Chicken or Fishfrom Mary’s Gone Crackers
Cranberry Pecan Tartfrom Crunchmaster
NFCA receives loads of questions about gluten-free cooking, especially during the holidays. We’re joining forces with Thai Kitchen and top gluten-free bloggers and cooks to answer your questions so you can cook with confidence this holiday season.
NFCA gathered a pool of frequently asked questions about gluten-free cooking and divided them up between our team of bloggers:
Keep an eye out for the answers to the questions, which will be unveiled periodically throughout December.
Bonus! Gluten-Free Holiday eCookbook
Thai Kitchen is sharing their favorite gluten-free recipes that you can try out at your next holiday party (or any day for that matter!). When you download the eCookbook, you’ll automatically be entered into the gluten-free giveaway for your chance to win free products from Thai Kitchen. Stay tuned for the download link to this holiday eCookbook!
Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-Free Gingerbread House
Restaurant Dining during the Holiday Season
Once December hits, the rush of the holiday season is all around us. With all the shopping, preparing meals and baking gluten-free cookies, things can get pretty busy – and fast! The same rule applies to the restaurants experiencing an influx of people coming in for a meal, whether it’s in between shopping trips or for a family get-together. Chances are, you’ll find yourself with an invitation to dinner at a restaurant that you may or may not be familiar with. During the holiday rush, it’s more important than ever for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to be diligent about vetting restaurants and their ability to serve a safe gluten-free meal.
Keep these tips in mind when dining out so you don’t miss a thing this holiday season!
Pick the restaurant if you can.
Call ahead – but not during the dinner rush.
Make an earlier or later reservation.
Check out online reviews.
For more helpful tips for dining out, download NFCA’s Dining Tip Sheet. Be sure to mention GREAT Kitchens training to restaurants so they can learn how to safely serve gluten-free meals to the celiac disease and gluten sensitive community. You can also view NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens list to see if there is a GREAT-trained restaurant near you.
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