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The International Celiac Disease Symposium 2013
Members of the NFCA team trek to a new city every two years to attend the International Celiac Disease Symposium (ICDS), the most comprehensive celiac disease meeting in the world. This year was no different; we are back from Chicago full of new information on exciting research findings that can have big implications for people living with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’) in the future.
While it would be impossible to recap the entire conference in just one newsletter note, I do want to give you an idea of what’s happening in celiac disease research. It’s exciting stuff! We may not hear about celiac disease research in our everyday lives, but rest assured there are skilled researchers working every day on improving diagnostic tools and finding new treatments for celiac disease. Researchers are making encouraging progress with possible drug development, including a pill that could potentially protect us from cross-contact (cross-contamination). Gluten sensitivity was also a major topic at this year’s symposium. Research is starting to show gluten sensitivity may not really be a physical response to the gluten protein as previously thought, but perhaps other wheat proteins (and possibly other foods altogether) are causing symptoms that mimic celiac disease. Findings like this bring us one step closer to determining how to best manage gluten sensitivity, a condition that is still very much in its infancy when it comes to scientific research.
The team really enjoyed a session focused on debunking celiac disease myths, presented by Dr. Stefano Guandalini of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, Melinda Dennis MS, RD, LDN, Nutrition Coordinator at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Dr. John Zone, a dermatologist, Dr. Don Kasarda, a research chemist and member of NFCA’s Scientific/Medical Advisory Council and Dr. Markku Maki, a leading expert on celiac disease from Finland. Many myths about celiac disease and its treatment can be dangerous to our community’s health. For example, one of the misconceptions cited was that current “gluten-digesting” enzymes on the market will protect people with celiac disease. (They don’t.) These types of sessions are great reminders of how important it is to take our health in our own hands and work with knowledgeable doctors to manage our health. We need to ask question after question until we are confident that we have a real understanding of our condition and our treatment.
NFCA’s Healthcare Relations Manager
While the NFCA team was busy attending sessions, we also had the opportunity to discuss our own research through poster presentations at ICDS. Kristin Voorhees, MA, NFCA Healthcare Relations Manager, shared research on two focus areas: “Celiac Disease Online Course: Impact and Barriers to Diagnosis” and “Neurocognitive Effects of Gluten Exposure: Results of a Nationwide Survey.” For more specific details on these poster presentations, visit the Celiac Disease in the News feed.
Attending ICDS is a whirlwind, but it’s an experience we always look forward to. As we follow up on our conference findings, keep an eye on beyondceliac.org. As always, NFCA will provide you with the most up-to-date information on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
To your GREAT Health,
Game Day Snacks & Halloween Treats
Football and hockey season are underway and Halloween will be here in a flash! This month, I wanted to bring you two tasty recipes: one is perfect for game day and the other is a sweet pumpkin treat for Halloween (or any fall day!).
I was inspired to make these gluten-free corn dogs for my gluten-eating cousins who were in town for a visit. They loved them and I bet whoever you make these for will love them, too. These are great for game day snacks or a treat for the kids.
‘Tis the season for pumpkin flavors galore! I’m adding my own recipe to the pumpkin mix with these gluten-free Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. You can easily turn these into Halloween treats by rolling them in Halloween-inspired sprinkles or topping them with gluten-free candy.
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.
By Silvana Nardone
Get your gluten-free cooking and baking questions answered by the expert! Have a question for Silvana? E-mail Alicia at
What tips do you have for parents of gluten-free kids on Halloween?
Halloween will be here before you know it! While the kids may be distracted by the fun of picking a costume, going on hayrides and carving pumpkins, you may be worrying about how to handle the candy situation. It’s inevitable; the kids will get gluten-containing candy in their trick-or-treat bags but, fear not, I have tips to get you and your kids through Halloween, worry-free and gluten-free.
Have gluten-free candy ready to go at home.
A popular tactic of parents with younger gluten-free children is to keep a stash of gluten-free candy at home. Once the kids have finished trick-or-treating, you can swap candy with them. Give them a new piece of gluten-free candy for each gluten-containing treat in their bag. If you’re trying to keep the candy eating to a minimum, you can always sub other fun things like pencils, erasers, plastic spider rings and other small Halloween-themed toys.
Think of it as a learning opportunity.
If your children are older, you can turn checking ingredients labels into a game and a learning experience. Have your child put candy into two piles—one for gluten-free candy and one for gluten-containing candy. Once they have finished, go through it together to ensure they’ve made the appropriate separations. If they haven’t, read the ingredient labels together and show them why a certain candy is or isn’t gluten-free. Then, go ahead and dive into the gluten-free candy with your kid!
Know which candy your child can and can’t eat beforehand.
It’s easier than it sounds! Each year, NFCA shares the Gluten-Free Candy List developed by the folks at MyGlutenFacts.com. While it’s a comprehensive list, be sure to always double check ingredient labels! You can learn more about the candy list in the article below.
Having a general idea of which candy is safe or off-limits will come in handy when your kids ask to have a piece of their candy while you’re still out trick-or-treating. By being prepared, you can minimize the chance of frustration for everyone.
There are so many things about Halloween that don’t revolve around food.
Sure, candy is a huge part of the Halloween experience. But so are the costumes, haunted houses, scary stories, hayrides, decorations, pumpkin carvings, movies, the list goes on. Focus on the other fun parts of Halloween and your child will most likely follow suit.
Experiment with new Halloween treats.
You can make homemade gluten-free Halloween treats with your child (and even some extra to send in to their classmates). Not only will you be able to control the ingredients this way, but you’ll also get to spend some one on one time with your kid in the kitchen and show them the ropes of gluten-free baking. Here are two recipes that have been hits with my kids in the past:
Halloween Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch
Gluten-Free Cheesecake-Stuff Pumpkin Cupcakes
About Silvana Nardone
Last month, NFCA hosted the first webinar in a free two-part series: “Understanding the FDA Rule on Gluten-Free Labeling Part 1: What You Need to Know.” This webinar, which focused mainly on what is and isn’t covered by the rule, is now available for download 24/7 in the Webinar Archive.
As a follow up to the webinar, NFCA is compiling key details from the live airing to create the Gluten-Free Labeling Fact Sheet. This fact sheet will address frequently asked questions on the new FDA regulations. Sign up to be one of the first to receive the fact sheet, which hits inboxes on Tuesday, October 8th.
“Understanding the FDA Rule on Gluten-Free Labeling Part 2: Focusing on Compliance” is tentatively scheduled for December 2013. Keep an eye on the webinar schedule for specific details as they become available.
Celiac and Your Sex Drive
Phil Zimbardo wants to talk about sex. More precisely, he wants to talk about the utter misery of losing interest in it. As a life-long lover of women, he was at a loss when it happened to him, a Dr. Phil, a psychologist more used to seminars on mental health than dealing with his own, a prolific author and speaker – a guest, even, on the TV talk show hosted by that other Dr. Phil.
In his early 70s, Zimbardo was hit by a perfect storm of symptoms that included extreme fatigue, a bloated belly, constipation and the constant, embarrassing need to pass gas. Zimbardo knew it wasn’t just age-related, and his doctors were mystified. Maybe it was irritable bowel syndrome, they suggested, or excessive gas syndrome, which seemed little more than a catch-all term for a condition they couldn’t fix, no matter how many colonic treatments and anti-flatulence medications he was prescribed.
As his body betrayed him, Zimbardo grew depressed to the point that he lost interest in all things sensual and sexual. This was astounding since he’d always adored women: gorgeous, plain, curvy and not. Sex with his wife of nearly 40 years had become something he did out of duty; he “serviced her,” pretending to enjoy it because he was not able to be a full and willing participant. At the same time, he was aware that he was a faker, a guy who was crumbling on the inside as everything he had taken for granted about himself – his wit, his sexuality and his very masculinity – was erased. It was sheer torment.
We are just one week away from NFCA’s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration at the Arts Ballroom in Philadelphia! This fundraising event is being held to recognize a decade of restoring health and reclaiming lives.
For those in the Philadelphia area, feel free to join us in this celebration. Please consider a donation to NFCA in support of our programs and services, which are provided free of charge to people living with gluten-related disorders. No donation is too small to make a difference!
If you can’t attend the event, you can still celebrate with us from the comfort of your own home. We’re launching new videos on 10/10 featuring personal stories from the community. Take the party to the web by watching and sharing the videos on social media.
Check out our 10 Year Anniversary page for more details on the event, plus personal stories, a photo gallery and the 10/10 videos from the community mentioned above.
Whether you have been with us for the past decade or are just finding NFCA, we thank you for your support and look forward to the next 10!
You know how it goes: One minute, it’s October and the next, it’s Thanksgiving and you have no idea what to cook. This year, we’re helping everyone get prepared for gluten-free gatherings before the holiday rush.
NFCA teamed up with Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery to bring you a brand new article series to get you prepared for the holiday season. If you start early, you can save yourself some time, stress and maybe even a few dollars. Check out the tip series to come:
And of course, there will be a gluten-free giveaway from the series sponsor, Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery.
Sponsored by Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery
Note: The Gluten-Free Halloween Candy List is intended to be a guide. Manufacturers can change ingredients, so always double check labels before making a purchase or consuming any candy.
NFCA would like to extend a special thank you to Todd Zimmerman of Pictures by Todd Photography for lending his artful eye to many of our events.
Todd has captured the joy of our guests and the delicious food at Appetite for Awareness 2010 and 2012, and will be lending his talents once again at NFCA’s 10th Anniversary Celebration in Philadelphia. Todd’s photos serve an important purpose for NFCA; we use them again and again in our outreach, from event invitations to trade show presentations to our annual accomplishments sheet. His contributions have enhanced the visual impact of our communications.
Gluten-free croissants, photo courtesy of
We thank Todd for his generous support of NFCA, for his skill in capturing instant portraits of partygoers and for helping us show how delicious and beautiful gluten-free food can be!
To learn more about Todd and view a sample of his photos, visit www.picturesbytodd.com.
GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour
NFCA is hitting the road! We’ll be touring 10 cities to raise awareness of safe gluten-free food preparation for the celiac disease and gluten sensitive community. NFCA Chef’s Table member and Next Iron Chef finalist Jehangir Mehta will be our spokesperson on the tour, sharing his passion for cooking safe and delicious gluten-free food.
We’re on a mission to let chefs know that for people living with gluten-related disorders, a gluten-free diet isn’t a lifestyle preference but a medical necessity. In 2012 alone, more than 200 million gluten-free meals were requested at restaurants. With the gluten-free diet gaining attention as a “fad” diet, it’s more important than ever to make sure restaurants are doing it right. That’s where NFCA’s online training program, GREAT Kitchens, comes in. GREAT Kitchens is designed to teach foodservice professionals the ins and outs of gluten-free food preparation, from ingredient sourcing, to preventing cross-contamination — all the way from the kitchen to the table.
NFCA President Alice Bast (left) with Chef
During the tour, Chef Mehta and NFCA will host exclusive gluten-free dining experiences with top chefs from fine-dining restaurants, gluten-free cooking demos with local media personnel and interactive educational experiences at our partner colleges and universities, all to raise awareness of the medically necessary gluten-free diet.
The NFCA team and Chef Mehta will keep the gluten-free community up to date throughout the entire tour. Look for news from NFCA’s Facebook page, Twitter handle (@CeliacAwareness) and Instagram account (@CeliacCentral). Chef Mehta will be tweeting too, so follow him at @jehangir_mehta and follow the hashtags #GFChefsTable and #GREATKitchens.
Check out which cities we’ll be touring this fall:
Cities and dates for the spring will be announced later this year!
Free Webinar: Kids Central Special: Packing the Gluten-Free Lunchbox
Join NFCA as Chef Garrett Berdan, RD leads a discussion aimed specifically for NFCA Kids Central community members! The audience will benefit from this back to school webinar designed to share suggestions and recipes for healthy gluten-free lunches. Parents will also learn ways to engage their gluten-free children in the menu development process, an important detail to ensure diet compliance and healthy eating behaviors.
Central Pennsylvania Gluten-Free Expo
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) President Alice Bast will be the keynote speaker at the Central PA Gluten-Free Expo. Come to State College to hear Alice speak and enjoy gluten-free samples, meet vendors, attend seminars and get your chance to win some awesome door prizes.
Free Webinar: Holiday Special: Gluten-Free Baking
Join NFCA as we host this webinar dedicated to learning how to navigate the winter holiday months, a time when food is the centerpiece. NFCA community members frequently request information on how to bake gluten-free and we couldn’t think of a better time to deliver these details! Chef Richard Coppedge, Professor of Baking and Pastry Arts at The Culinary Institute of America and author of Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America, will review gluten-free baking ingredients such as flours and starches and discuss how to incorporate them into your holiday baked good recipes. Webinar participants will also benefit from learning about helpful gluten-free baking tips and tried and true gluten-free recipes.
By Alicia Carango, NFCA Communications Assistant
“To Wheat or Not to Wheat?”
That is the question posed by CNBC in a recent article highlighting the demand for gluten-free menu options in restaurants. NFCA’s Beckee Moreland weighed in on the booming gluten-free market and explains that by serving safe options for the people with gluten-related disorders, they’re not only supporting the community, but building a loyal customer base sure to visit again and again – but only if it’s done right.
Restaurants and an FDA-Approved Gluten-Free Menu
The FDA’s gluten-free labeling rule indicates that restaurants will be expected to follow the federal definition of “gluten-free.” While details are still emerging on that front, restaurants are responding by seeking more information on gluten-free protocols. NFCA’s Director of Gluten-Free Industry Initiatives Beckee Moreland shared her tips for creating a safe gluten-free menu customers can count on.
Gluten-Free Girl Scout Cookies: Coming to a City near You?
Girl Scouts from 20 councils across the U.S. have a new cookie on the menu: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies. If the new cookies prove to be big sellers, they just may be made a permanent member of the Girl Scout Cookie line-up.
What’s Causing the Rise in Celiac Disease?
There are many theories as to why celiac disease is more prevalent today than ever before. A recent study put one of those theories to rest by proving that the gluten content in today’s wheat is not the cause of the increase of celiac disease. No word yet on the true reason for the rise of the autoimmune disease, but with the elimination of this theory, researchers are one step closer to discovering the reason.
Video: Huffington Post Live Tackles the Gluten-Free Trend vs. Medical Necessity
NFCA President Alice Bast joined a panel of gluten-free experts to talk about the gluten-free diet with the Huffington Post. The experts included registered dietitian NFCA Scientific/Medical Advisory Council Member Nancy Patin Falini, MA, RD, LDN; Kiera Butler, Senior Editor at Mother Jones; and Tricia Ryan, Principal and Director at The Gluten-Free Agency. All brought a unique perspective on the gluten-free diet and its importance to those living with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
By Alicia Carango, NFCA Communications Assistant
Nabisco Rice Thins
Nabisco is responding to the rising demand for gluten-free options. The company just released their new gluten-free Rice Thins, which come in Original, Salt and Pepper and White Cheddar varieties. The rice thins are super crunchy and since they are fairly thick crackers, they can easily be served with your favorite topping of choice. (They’re delicious all by themselves, though). NFCA President Alice Bast gave the Salt and Pepper rice thins a try and also gave them two thumbs up. With 130 calories per serving, they are a tasty and light option. I saw them in my local grocery store over the weekend, so it looks like they’re hitting stores already! Get the details at www.SnackWorks.com.
NuGo Dark: Mint Chocolate Chip Bars
This bar is the closest thing to a gluten-free version of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies that I have found. If you’re like me and don’t typically enjoy the bitter flavor of dark chocolate, you can still give these a try. The mint flavor tones down the bitterness, making for a nice, chocolatey combo. The bar has 200 calories, but it is loaded with protein and is certified gluten-free (it’s vegan-friendly too). If you’re not into chocolate and mint, NuGo does have other bars in their dark chocolate line, like gluten-free Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt and Mocha Chocolate. Find your favorite flavor at www.NuGoNutrition.com.
Cookbook: Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield
To all the Paleo folks out there – there’s a new cookbook on the market. This one comes from the authors of Paleo Comfort Foods, Julie and Charles Mayfield, and contains over 100 gluten-free recipes and 30-minute meal ideas. With the kids back in school, after school activities and the holidays right around the corner, this cookbook is perfect for busy families eating gluten-free and following the Paleo diet. Plus, they’re easy enough for even novice cooks to handle. Some classic favorites you’ll find include Fried Chicken Tenders, Tuna Olive Salad and Steak Bites with Creamy Mushroom Sauce. If you’re looking to break away from the “same old, same old,” you’ll find what you’re looking for with recipes like Bagna Cauda, Seasoned Jicama Fries and Chicken Saltimbocca. Learn more about the cookbook at www.PaleoComfortFoods.com.
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