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Celiac in the News
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Sisyphus Has Nothing on Celiacs
They tricked me! This past March, the Philadelphia Award committee called me downtown to present about NFCA. Part of the vetting process, they said. I walked in expecting to see a discerning duo, but instead was greeted with smiles and applause by the dozen. Turns out, I had already won the award; the “presentation” was just a ruse to get me in the building.
While I may have been the only celiac in the room, I know that moment will be a defining one in our advocacy. The sheer fact that an organization devoted to celiac disease stood out among countless other causes is proof enough that we (the whole community) are doing something right. And that’s a tip of the hat we need.
Over the past year, we’ve come face-to-face with both sides of a double-edged sword. We’ve embraced the boom in gluten-free food, but were disparaged to see it coupled with “fad” diets. We’ve filled the web with resources about celiac disease and gluten intolerance, but now doctors recommend those sites instead of learning the information themselves. We’ve convinced restaurants to offer gluten-free options, but often feel less confident eating those meals than if we just ordered a plain salad. We celebrate the fact that we’re healthy and strong, but then fight to show the true pain that untreated celiac can cause.
No one said growing is easy.
Fortunately, we’ve got something going for us: persistence.
So many of us endured years of misdiagnosis, visited doctor after doctor, pored through websites to figure out what the heck was wrong with us. But we made it through. Now, we need to apply that energy to our advocacy.
This month, you’ll likely encounter a lot of people writing, talking or inquiring about celiac disease. And chances are, their knowledge of the condition, or its gluten-free treatment, will have some misconceptions. It’s frustrating, but instead of raising our hands in defeat, let’s raise our voice and clarify the issues.
Need some help? That’s what NFCA is here for. If it’s your physician who needs an update, learn how to Tell Your Doctor to Get Informed through NFCA’s continuing medical education program for physicians (www.CeliacCMECentral.com). If it’s a restaurant that’s sorely misinformed about gluten-free food prep, hand them an info sheet about gluten-free training through GREAT Kitchens . If it’s a reporter who needs a fact-check, send them to beyondceliac.org (or better yet, our Director of Communications, [email protected]) to straighten it out.
Of course, it can’t be Celiac Awareness Month without some celebration, so check out www.beyondceliac.org/awarenessmonth for details on all the activities we have planned. (Hint: Tons of bloggers and some Jeff Foxworthy-inspired fun.)
In honor of National Celiac Awareness Month, we’ve devoted much of this month’s newsletter to all the ways you can join the celebration. NFCA has a number of opportunities to learn more about celiac disease and spread the word.
For an overview of NFCA’s Celiac Awareness Month activities, visit www.beyondceliac.org/awarenessmonth.
Hosting a Gluten-Free Family Barbecue
By Tina Turbin
There’s no better way to welcome the fun and freedom of summer than hosting your first barbecue of the year. You can choose any day for a gluten-free barbecue, but Memorial Day is often a great holiday for your event. (No school or work to spoil your plans!) Throwing a gluten-free barbecue is simple enough, but by following a few tips, you’ll find that yours will be a smashing success.
If possible, make the entire barbecue gluten-free. Feel free to invite your gluten-consuming family, friends, coworkers and neighbors over, and let them know ahead of time that the food and beverages will be gluten-free. You can prepare a list of gluten-free products they can bring in case they’d like to contribute to the barbecue, or you can just ask them to come early and help with the food preparation. Gluten-free kids will enjoy this opportunity to have so many people they know eating gluten-free food with them.
If you would like to have gluten-containing food at your barbecue, make sure it is clearly designated. I prefer to set aside a separate “gluten-free” table with a brightly-colored tablecloth and match the color of the serving dishes and the plates for the gluten-free foods.
Rest assured that gluten-free alternatives exist for all the traditional barbecue foods, snacks, and beverages, even beer. Your pantry is most likely already stocked with gluten-free condiments, sauces and marinades. You may prefer to bake your own hamburger and hot dog buns, but there are several gluten-free brands these days that make delicious ones. There are also several crowd-pleasing gluten-free snacks to serve your family and guests. (Browse NFCA’s Gluten-Free Hot Products blog for reviews of the latest products to hit store shelves.)
Serving a platter of inherently gluten-free fruits and vegetables is a healthy way to please both gluten-free dieters and gluten-eaters alike, but watch out for cross-contamination if you are also serving gluten-containing items at the party.
Food is undoubtedly the central attraction of any barbecue, but don’t forget to keep your kids and other guests busy with a variety of activities, such as table tennis, swimming or even just running through the sprinklers. A gluten-free family barbecue is a great way for celiac and gluten-sensitive kids to feel like “normal” kids. With a ton of gluten-free barbecue favorites and an array of fun activities, they’ll be sure to feel just this way.
Tina Turbin became extremely interested and involved in the subjects of celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and gluten issues a number of years ago, after being diagnosed as celiac after many years of unresolved troubles. Since then, she has engaged in diligent research and writing about these topics, weekly radio shows, developing gluten-free recipes and reviewing companies for celiac consumer safety.
Tina is an award-winning children’s book author (DannyTheDragon.com) and donates her current children’s audio book profits to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center. To stay updated on her projects, sign up for her newsletter at www.TinaTurbin.com.
Gluten-Free Recipes for Mother’s Day
By Chef Oonagh Williams
May is Celiac Awareness Month, but it also celebrates Mother’s Day. Recently, I learned that as much as three times as many women than men are diagnosed with celiac disease. I tend to agree with some of the comments, that it’s more because women are the ones that will go to the doctor and keep looking for an answer. We all know what it’s like trying to get our husbands to the doctors just for a physical.
Moms need a big thanks for all they do and the way they just know when something is not right, especially when it comes to health. So go ahead, hug your mom and give her a big thank you. Coping with a gluten-free diet is a pain; it’s expensive, time consuming, confusing, and a terrible guilt trip for any parent with a child needing a gluten-free diet. I have that same guilt trip with my son, even though he’s all grown up (supposedly). He still calls his Mom.
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY FUDGE CAKE Easier, quicker and lower fat than my regular chocolate cake, this is truly wonderful (and a little bit evil), even in gluten-free form.
These recipes are for Dad to make with the kids for Mom on Mother’s Day. Nothing out of the ordinary or too expensive for today’s prices. No fancy equipment. If you don’t have the right size baking pan for the cake, use a 9-inch pie plate or 8-inch brownie pan, or buy foil pans to bake in.
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. Chef Oonagh gives presentations and classes on gluten-free cooking and living, consults and guides people in adapting to a gluten-free lifestyle. She appears most months on her local New Hampshire ABC station, WMUR, as the featured chef.
Last month, our Health Resource Q&A introduced you to Jill’s List (www.jillslist.com), an online directory for complementary medicine and alternative treatments. Now, our friends at Jill’s List are hosting an unprecedented virtual event on May 11 , bringing together some of the biggest names in celiac and gluten-free awareness.
Should You Be Gluten-Free? is an interactive, web-based event featuring a panel of celiac and gluten-free experts:
This one-of-a-kind event aims to educate both healthcare providers and patients, covering topics such as who really needs the gluten-free diet, how to recognize celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, what resources are available and more!
Four chances to tweet with the experts!
Each Tuesday, NFCA posts answers to your questions on “Ask the Dietitian.” This month, you can meet and chat with two of our dietitian experts on Twitter.
NFCA (@CeliacAwareness) is hosting four hour-long discussions at the hashtag #GFchat. The chats will take place every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, starting on May 10. Each chat covers a specific topic, but they will all use the #GFchat tag:
Patients, dietitians and healthcare providers are encouraged to participate!
Did you know 30% of newly diagnosed celiacs are over age 60? For this population, going gluten-free (and staying that way) has unique challenges. So, what can you do?
Announcing NFCA’s Webinar “60+: Meeting the Needs of the Mature