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NFCA Founder & President
Show Your Love this February
With Valentine’s Day sandwiched right in the middle, February has been dubbed the official month for love. Sticking with the love theme, this February, I’m encouraging everyone with celiac disease to show their love for their families and talk to them about getting tested.
I know this can be really tough for a lot of reasons. Some of our family members are resistant to hearing us out and others don’t have any symptoms, so they might not understand the importance of getting tested. Educating them about celiac disease and the family link is the first step.
Here are a few fast facts to share with your family to get the conversation started:
After I learned of the genetic link associated with celiac disease, I encouraged my family to get tested. Some were resistant, some were not. It all will depend on your individual family members and how you approach them. Not everyone will get tested, but you can do your part by giving them the information they need to make an informed decision on their own.
Part of the mission here at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is to increase the diagnoses of celiac disease so people won’t live for years with symptoms no one can seem to explain. What better way to start increasing diagnoses than by starting with the group that is most at risk: our families.
Getting the conversation started can be difficult, but with a little patience and persistence, we can get our family members to see the importance of celiac disease testing. You can start the dialogue with the simple statement: Ask me why I am gluten-free. I encourage you to check out our family resources and share them with your relatives, especially those who may be hesitant to get the testing process started. We also believe that it’s important to learn from each other. Once you talk to your family, send us an email here at NFCA to tell us what worked and what didn’t. Let us know who you inspired to get tested – or even who you helped get diagnosed. Email your feedback to Alicia at [email protected] and she’ll share it with our team.
To your GREAT health,
Easy Gluten-Free Valentine’s Day Recipes
Even before going gluten-free, my husband and I usually opted to stay home for dinner on Valentine’s Day. I’ve always found meals to be better at home during the busy holiday rush. Here are two recipes you’ll find on our table on Valentine’s Day. Try them for yourself to see just how delicious they are!
LOBSTER, SHRIMP & ASPARAGUS RISOTTO
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
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 RoyalTemptations.com or ‘Like’ her at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook.
By Silvana Nardone
Get your gluten-free cooking and baking questions answered by the expert! Have a question for Silvana? E-mail Alicia at
Q. When baking, how can I successfully convert a gluten-containing recipe to gluten-free? What are the proper flour ratios to do this?
A. Whether you have celiac disease, a wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity—like my 15-year-old son, Isaiah—there’s no need to toss out your baking pans just yet. In fact, you don’t even have to sacrifice flavor or texture if you pick the right ingredients for your cup-for-cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.
These days, there are so many gluten-free flours to choose from that things can get complicated. Don’t get distracted. If your goal is to recreate your favorite baked goods recipes, keep your blend simple. Many of the gluten-free flours have unique flavors that won’t resonate with the flavor profile of your original recipe. And, if you’re buying a blend, the same philosophy applies.
If you’re making a blend from scratch, consider the ingredients: A so-called “starchy, white, old-school” blend (like mine) is comparable to gluten-full unbleached all-purpose flour. If you want a “healthier,” high-protein flour blend, consider it comparable to gluten-full bread flour or whole wheat flour. It’s going to be heavier in your finished baked good.
In my experience, the classic ratio for a gluten-free flour blend that mimics gluten-full unbleached all-purpose flour is 60% grain flour (brown rice, white rice) and 40% starch (tapioca flour, potato starch or cornstarch). For a healthier blend, the classic ratio is 50% grain flour, 25% protein flour (bean, oat, quinoa and nut flours) and 25% starch. If you decide to use a gum, which can help with overall texture, add ½ teaspoon of xanthan or guar gum per 1 cup flour blend.
You can always tweak the ratio; just remember what you’re using the flour blend for. If you’re making brownies, they’re supposed to be a treat, not a power bar. Do they really need to contain a high amount of protein? Ultimately, the choice is yours. Base your decision on your expectations, dietary needs and health preferences. You know yourself better than anyone else.
For the recipe for my popular, cup-for-cup flour replacement—Silvana’s Kitchen Gluten-Free Flour—please visit SilvanasKitchen.com.
About Silvana Nardone
The survey will help NFCA identify students’ most pressing concerns and guide the development of new resources and tools to address those issues.
NFCA also encourages individuals to share this survey with students living gluten-free on college campuses across the US. The survey will close on February 15, 2013.
To view NFCA’s current resources for living on campus, visit Gluten-Free in College.
NFCA offers a gluten-free training program for college and university dining services. Learn more about GREAT Schools, Colleges and Camps.
New Q&As have been added to the Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) informational section of beyondceliac.org! Check out the Q&As for answers to commonly asked questions about testing, diagnosis and more.
For more insights from the celiac disease experts, download and watch the free webinar, “You Ask, We Answer: 60 Minutes with Top Celiac Disease Researchers.“
Beans, Peas and Lentils: Gluten-Free Powerhouses
By Shelley Case, RD
Trying to eat healthy, but also watching your budget? Look no further than the lowly and often under-appreciated legume – dried beans, peas and lentils. These inexpensive foods are nutrition powerhouses: they’re high in fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates, and contain many minerals and vitamins such as iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, folate and other B vitamins.
As if that weren’t enough to make you a bean convert, they’re also low in fat and sodium. But if you’re thinking that legumes are boring – it’s time to learn that this is simply not true. From chickpeas to lentils and black turtle beans, legumes come in a wide range of flavors and can be sensational in cooking, from salads to pasta sauces and even used as flours to make baked sweets healthier.
We always hear about family and friends wanting to cook for their gluten-free loved ones, but they’re not quite sure how to get started. We hear the opposite a lot too; people eating gluten-free want someone to cook for them, but they’re not quite sure how to ask. Either way, this is your chance to get going. (Plus, you can win free products!)
Throughout February, NFCA will feature 7 new gluten-free recipes from Thai Kitchen. Pick your favorite and share it with your special someone by selecting “Email to a Friend.” Make sure to tell them why you want to make (or have them make!) this gluten-free dinner.
After sharing the recipe, you will be prompted to submit an entry for our gluten-free giveaway. We’ll announce one winner each week!
By NFCA Staff
Who are the Awareness All-Stars, you ask? They’re a group of amazing kids on a mission to raise celiac awareness while fundraising for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and winning some really cool prizes!
This year was the second annual fundraising event and the All-Stars did an amazing job! Together, they raised a grand total of $3,888! Their hard work will help NFCA continue our free programs and services, including the kids-only section of the NFCA website, Kids Central.
Thank you to all of our Awareness All-Stars for being such great supporters of NFCA!
Stay tuned for interviews and special features with our top 3 fundraisers!
Free Webinar: Sex and the Celiac: A Focus on Reproductive Health
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT
Celiac disease is commonly associated with gastrointestinal issues, but it also can impact the reproductive system, resulting in complications such as infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Patients even have reported an impact on their sexual libido. Often designated as the unofficial month of everything love-related, February provides NFCA a timely opportunity to discuss the current landscape of celiac disease and reproductive health. Join NFCA as Stephanie M. Moleski, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, discusses this popular topic.
This webinar is free of charge and the only requirement is a working internet connection!
Celiac Awareness Night with the Philadelphia Phillies
Friday, August 16, 2013 at 7:05 p.m.
Join the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) for the 6th Annual Celiac Awareness Night with the Philadelphia Phillies! Watch as the Phillies take on the Los Angeles Dodgers while enjoying even more gluten-free food and drink options at the ballpark.
Get more details and purchase tickets here.
Last month, we introduced you to two members of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Chef’s Table, ambassadors dedicated to spreading the word about the need for gluten-free cooking training. They’re big advocates of NFCA’s Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (GREAT) Kitchens program, designed to teach chefs how to safely cook gluten-free. The Chef’s Table truly getsgluten-free and they’re out working to help make a difference in your dining experience!
Without further ado, meet the next two chefs who have joined NFCA’s Chef’s Table!
Carlyn Berghoff : Carlyn Berghoff, CEO, Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group, is a multi-faceted businesswoman committed to her work, to her family and to her role in the community. She is a chef, caterer and restaurateur and has already written two cookbooks. Her third cookbook is set to come out April 2013 –Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen: Everyday Foods the Whole Family Will Love as told from Carlyn and her teenage daughter, Sarah’s perspective.
Thank you to our Chef’s Table for advocating for celiac awareness and to all of NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens who are dedicated to providing safe and delicious gluten-free options!
By Alicia Carango, NFCA Communications Assistant
Recent Article Asks: Can the Gluten-Free Diet Mask an Eating Disorder?
The Daily Beast highlighted a different side of going gluten-free in a recent article. As the gluten-free diet continues to grow as a fad in weight loss diets, the article notes some doctors fear many people are diagnosing themselves with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) as a means for hiding their belief that the gluten-free diet will help them lose weight or, possibly, even help with an eating disorder. The implications of such actions are not only damaging to the person’s health, but also can cause confusion about celiac disease and the importance of safe gluten-free food preparation. NFCA’s Alice Bast noted that more research is needed in the area of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, especially in developing tests to confirm a diagnosis of the condition.
Read more on The Daily Beast.
University Settlement Puts Gluten-Free Needs on National Stage
A recent settlement agreement between the US Department of Justice and Lesley University in Massachusetts gained major media attention after it deemed the school violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not catering to students’ needs for gluten-free and allergy-friendly food. The settlement agreement resulted in a revamped dining hall program, and offered an impetus for universities across the US to re-examine their food programs to ensure they’re accommodating students’ dietary needs.
Read more on beyondceliac.org.
Celiac Disease in the Top 3 Medical Searches on Yahoo.com in 2012
Each year, the popular search engine Yahoo! releases its “Year in Review,” a collection of the most searched stories and trends for the year. On an episode of the hit talk show, “The Doctors,” editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Shine Jennifer Romolini revealed the third most popular medical question searched on Yahoo! in 2012: What is celiac disease?
Read more on
Researchers Debate if Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Truly Exists
In an article featured in BMJ Group online, researchers weighed in on the existence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. While NFCA firmly believes enough evidence exists to support non-celiac gluten sensitivity as a real condition, some researchers are not quite convinced yet. Currently, there is no formal testing procedure to diagnosis non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The current process is to first test for celiac disease and wheat allergy to rule out the possibility of those conditions. Then, a controlled gluten elimination diet is used to confirm non-celiac gluten sensitivity (see Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Testing and Diagnosis.) Read more on BMJ Group.
Product Recall: AppleGate Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets May Contain Wheat
Roughly 1,572 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets were recalled because they contain wheat, despite the gluten-free label on the packaging. As of January 18, 2013, no one reported any illness due to consuming the chicken nuggets. AppleGate Naturals was alerted to the issue after a regular customer noticed a difference in coloring between the chicken nuggets from two different packages. Information on which product batches were recalled can be found through the link below.
Read more on beyondceliac.org.
Today’s Dietitian Explains the Importance of the Dietitian in the Lives of People with Celiac Disease
The January edition of Today’s Dietitian focused on many aspects of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, delving deep to explain the role that dietitians play in the lives of people with gluten-related disorders. With anecdotal stories and featured experts like Rachel Begun, MS, RD, a member of NFCA’s Scientific/Medical Advisory Council, the article shows how dietitians are essential in guiding patients on their lifelong gluten-free journeys.
Read more on Today’s Dietitian.
By Alicia Carango, NFCA Communications Assistant
Advanced Athletics High Performance Protein Bars
Attention, gluten-free athletes! If you’re looking for a protein bar to keep you fueled before or after your workout, look no further than gluten-free Advanced Athletics High Performance Protein Bars. Normally, I would reach for their Champion Chocolate variety first, but this time I thought I’d switch it up with the Power Pumpkin flavor and I’m happy I did! The bars are more like thick squares and they come two to a pack. Chewy, sweet and full of pumpkin flavor, these bars tasted more like a snack than a protein bar. They’re loaded with vitamins and protein and are free from gluten, soy, grains, peanuts, corn and artificial sweeteners. Check them out at www.AdvancedAthletics.com.
Second Helping Gluten-Free Mama’s Meatballs
Second Helping has successfully created an Italian-style meatball with a homemade taste and the convenience of coming frozen and ready to go. You can bake, fry or microwave these little guys. I opted for the microwave option and they were perfect; no rubbery microwave effect! These are great on a bowl of pasta, and they’re the perfect size for making meatball sandwiches (on gluten-free rolls, of course!) at home. Second Helping products recently expanded to Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennesse and California stores. Their products are also available online at the Gluten-Free Mall!
Dr. Lucy’s Snack ‘N Go Cookie Packs
The latest cookies from Dr. Lucy’s are the new Snack ‘N Go Combo Cookie Packs. They come with six packs in a box; three cookies in each pack, making them the perfect “emergency” snack. I tried the combo pack, which comes with Chocolate, Maple Bliss and Chocolate Chip varieties (each more tasty than the next). The cookies are more crunchy than chewy, but they pack a whole lot of flavor into the modestly sized cookies. They’re great lunchbox companions, too, so be sure to share these with the kiddies! You can find them and Dr. Lucy’s other sweet treats at www.DrLucys.com.
Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas
Who needs croutons when you can add crunchy, flavored chickpeas to your salad instead? I tried the Wasabi and Falafel flavored chickpeas from Saffron Road plain and in a salad. I’m more of a fan of the Wasabi flavor than the Falafel, but they are both welcome additions to my pantry. The possibilities for using these chickpeas are endless. We snacked on a few plain at the office, but you could add them to any kind of chicken or tuna salad, toss them in a gluten-free pasta salad or add them to the top of anything you think needs a little something extra. Check them out at www.SaffronRoadFood.com.
Gluten-Free Resource Directory
Have you heard of the Gluten-Free Resource Directory? It’s a website where you can find a comprehensive list of gluten-free products. If you’re looking for a new gluten-free baking mix or pasta sauce, this is a great place to start. You can find your way to the Gluten-Free Resource Directory anytime by clicking on the logo on NFCA’s homepage. Right now, you can get there by following this link: Gluten-Free Resource Directory.
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