NEWS & UPDATES
CONNECT WITH NFCA:
Where in the World is the NFCA Team?
While it doesn’t feel like it yet here in Philadelphia, spring is just around the corner. Spring signifies the beginning of the travel season for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) team. Around this time each year, various team members pack their bags and head to conferences and expos throughout the country, all with the goal of ultimately advancing our mission to drive diagnosis and improve the quality of life for people on a lifelong gluten-free diet.
Whenever I am traveling for NFCA, I send the team my usual update – a “Where in the World is Alice?” email, outlining my travel schedule. Since much of the team will be out and about raising awareness this month, I thought I’d give you the same update: “Where in the World is the NFCA Team?”
I am heading down to Atlanta, GA in two weeks with NFCA’s Director of Foodservice, Jerry Norris, to present to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Executive Study Group, which is comprised of dietitians working for restaurant chains. There, I’ll educate attendees on the importance of safe gluten-free food preparation for the celiac disease and gluten sensitive communities.
The following week, I will make my way to Columbia University in New York City with NFCA’s Healthcare Relations Manager, Kristin Voorhees. This year’s educational sessions will focus on the “Development of Therapies for Celiac Disease.” I, for one, cannot wait to learn more about new developments from leading celiac disease experts, like Drs. Alessio Fasano, Carlo Catassi, Peter Green, Donald Kasarda, Benjamin Lebwohl, Daniel Leffler, Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Joseph A. Murray and many more. Talk about an A-team of speakers!
Today, NFCA Vice President Jennifer North is arriving in California to attend Natural Products Expo West, a huge expo featuring manufacturers from across the country. There, Jennifer will scope out the newest gluten-free products, meet with many of NFCA’s amazing sponsors and raise awareness of the rising need for gluten-free options among other manufacturers. Jennifer attends Expo West each year and always brings back samples to try for NFCA’s Gluten-Free Hot Products review blog. Stay tuned for reviews on some of the newest gluten-free products to hit the market!
NFCA Director of Gluten-Free Industry Initiatives Beckee Moreland will be presenting at the Midwest Foodservice Expo in mid-March in Milwaukee, WI. Beckee runs our GREAT Kitchens program, which is an online course designed to teach foodservice professionals about safe gluten-free food preparation. So, she will be out there doing what she does best – educating on the importance of gluten-free options for our community and how to serve it the right way. Just like the entire NFCA team, Beckee’s goal is to help people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity eat without fear.
The rest of the team will be holding down the fort in the Philadelphia office. Those of us traveling are excited to take our mission out on the road to help make life better for those living with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. We won’t stop spreading the word until everyone who remains undiagnosed or misdiagnosed joins those of us who were lucky enough to receive our life-saving diagnosis.
Want to help us spread the word? All you have to do is take NFCA’s “Test Your Gluten-Free Knowledge” quiz and then challenge your friends and family to give it a try. The quiz is designed to help educate people on the many aspects of living the gluten-free lifestyle. By challenging your friends and family to take the quiz, you’ll be spreading awareness of gluten-related disorders – not just the gluten-free diet.
To our GREAT Health,
Spring is just around the corner! Enjoy these naturally gluten-free dishes as the warmer weather starts to roll in.
LABNEH – YOGURT CHEESE
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/blog or ‘Like’ her at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook.
Tips for Sending Your Gluten-Free Child to Summer Camp
Get your gluten-free cooking and baking questions answered by the expert! Have a question for Silvana? E-mail Alicia at
This is one of those parent moments where you have to take a leap of faith that everything is going to be okay. When Isaiah went to camp, I was plenty worried. But that only made him anxious and did neither of us any good. After his diagnosis with gluten sensitivity, Isaiah wanted to continue to go to his favorite sports camp. It was up to me to make his weeks at summer camp as seamless, safe and as fun as possible. Here are my three tips for a successful camp experience:
You’ve been teaching your kids how to eat gluten-free safely. Now, you need to set them free.
As our kids get older and go off to camp, we need to trust that they were listening to all of our safety advice. Whether at school, a friend’s birthday party or summer camp, they eventually need to learn to eat gluten-free on their own. As much as I wish I could be by Isaiah’s side at all times helping him make the best food decisions, that’s not a reality. He has made bad food choices and it hasn’t always been pretty, but he has definitely learned from those experiences.
Talk to the camp counselor who will be with your child during meals.
Camp meals are always frenzied with everyone starving from the day’s activities. So before your child gets lost in the shuffle, talk with his counselor and set some eating guidelines. Remind them that when your kid is happy and healthy (just like all of the other campers), it makes the counselor’s job easier and everyone has tons of fun!
Pack and carefully label food to send along with your kid to camp.
Start by getting the menu for the time your child will be at camp. Whenever feasible, prepare or buy similar foods so he fits in with all his new friends. Also, having camp cooks in charge of feeding your child could easily result in cross contamination since they’re usually cooking for hundreds of kids and camp staff. I always preferred to make or buy food so I was confident that I reduced as many contamination points as possible. Plus, label everything, even down to the day, if you’re cooking to mirror the camp menu. Remember that with some planning, our kids can have their s’mores and eat them, too!
Can’t wait for the taste of s’mores? Start summer early and enjoy these S’mores Milkshakes at home!
About Silvana Nardone
The Link Between Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes
Managing type 1 diabetes is old hat to 31-year-old Catherine Oddenino. The New Yorker has had the disease since she was 11, and is adept at counting carbohydrates and dosing insulin. But in her mid-20s she was thrown a curveball. Whenever she ate something, she felt like she had food poisoning.
After a visit to her doctor, she cut dairy from her diet. But she was also sent to a gastroenterologist who, tipped off by the fact that she had diabetes, immediately tested her for celiac disease. Two weeks later and it was official: the culprit of her “poisoning” was gluten, not dairy.
Did you know some people may qualify to receive a tax deduction because of a medical need for gluten-free foods? There’s a lot to know when it comes to receiving these tax benefits, so NFCA broke down the rules for you in our Gluten-Free Tax Deduction Guide.
No matter how long you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, chances are you’re still learning new things about living the gluten-free lifestyle. Let’s face it – there’s a lot to learn! Want to see how much you know? Test Your Gluten-Free Knowledge with NFCA and Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery by taking a short 10-question quiz.
After you take the quiz, you can raise awareness by challenging friends and family to try and beat your score.
Special thanks to Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery for making this campaign possible!
Ever wonder how gluten-free food is made? Who determines which ingredients will make a gluten-free alternative even better than its gluten-containing counter parts? The NFCA team went right to the source! We talked to Bryan Scherer, a food scientist and Vice President of Research and Development at Penford Foods Ingredients in Denver, CO.
Question 1: What does a food scientist do?
Food scientists are individuals who have a shared passion for creativity, science and food. They have dedicated their scientific and technical expertise to the study and understanding of food products and their manufacturing processes. They utilize chemistry, physics and culinary art to understand the composition of foods and employ principles of engineering, mathematics and biochemistry to understand what happens to foods when they are produced, cooked, stored and consumed. Some food scientists use their skills to develop new food products and ingredients such as gluten-free foods while others develop the manufacturing equipment and processes to produce these products. The overall goal of a food scientist is to ensure a high quality, safe and sustainable food supply for the general population.
Question 2: What are the major differences between studying and developing gluten-free foods vs. gluten-containing foods?
In order to develop a gluten-free alternative to a food product that naturally contains gluten, a food scientist must fully understand the chemical and physical functionality that gluten contributes to the food. In bread for example, gluten naturally has three distinct functions that must be compensated for with other ingredients which include: dough elasticity, network for trapping gas bubbles and a solid structure for cell formation. In raw bread dough, gluten is responsible for the elasticity or “workability” of the dough during the kneading process and forming the network that holds the gas bubbles produced by yeast during the proofing or rising step. As the bread bakes, the gluten denatures or “hardens” to form the structural backbone of the bread and the light cellular structure and texture. In order to match these functions, the food scientist must identify other functional ingredients like potato or tapioca starches, natural gums or hydrocolloids and gluten-free flours such as rice or sorghum flour in order to get a final product that looks and tastes like full-gluten bread. Developing a great gluten-free alternative marries technical know-how with culinary art.
Question 3: Does a food scientist play a role in developing all packaged foods or just certain kinds?
Food scientists can be involved in the development of virtually any packaged food. They can be responsible for the gluten-free product composition or formula, the manufacturing, distribution, storage processes and the selection of the best final packaging. In addition, sensory scientists are a specialized group of food scientists who try to understand and optimize consumer acceptability of a product in terms of its appearance, flavor, aroma and texture.
Congratulations to our GREAT Kitchens & Schools!
We love the foodservice establishments and colleges and universities that go the extra mile to keep their gluten-free customers and students safe. To us, these places are home to real super stars – the cream of the crop! They not only recognize gluten-free needs, but they understand that for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, food is the only medicine. They know that people requiring a gluten-free meal aren’t just fad dieters.
In order to receive GREAT Kitchens Status, restaurants must take and pass the online training course, an in-depth program that covers all of the requirements of truly safe gluten-free food preparation. Then, these restaurants are required to change their procedures and share their gluten-free menu, ingredients and processes with NFCA, who will review them to ensure best practices are being implemented. Restaurants who have earned GREAT Kitchens Status have given their cooking practices an overhaul just to keep the gluten-free community safe. We hope you will visit these restaurants to show just how loyal gluten-free diners are to the places that really just getit.
No GREAT Kitchens in your area? Just ask your favorite restaurant to become a part of this elite group of restaurants who are leading the way in safe gluten-free food preparation. Just use the right side of the Dining Tips Sheet to help get the conversation started.
The restaurants and schools listed below have successfully completed NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens or Schools program and have earned GREAT Kitchens Status through their proof of commitment to the celiac disease and gluten sensitive communities.
GREAT Kitchens Status
GREAT Schools Status
Thanks to all of the establishments listed above for being committed to serving safe gluten-free meals! Congratulations on achieving GREAT Kitchens or Schools Status!
Free Webinar: “Is Gluten Really the Problem? The Role of FODMAPs in Gluten-Related Disorders”