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Opinions Aside, Why We Should Celebrate the FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule
Finally! The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set the standard definition for “gluten-free.” This long-awaited ruling is cause for excitement within the gluten-free community.
I know that our community has a lot of mixed emotions about the ruling. Some people are happy, others are skeptical and still others fall somewhere in the middle. As you can tell from the title of my note, I fall in a fourth camp: Let’s celebrate!
I recently wrote an article for the the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) staff blog, Celiac Central: Bits and Bites explaining my take on the gluten-free labeling rule and why, despite the community’s mixed emotions, this ruling is a positive milestone and a major step forward for all of us.
I encourage you to read the full article on NFCA’s staff blog and keep the conversation going. All of our differing opinions are important in advocating for our own health. As you’ll see in the article, I firmly believe our opinions and voices as a community are what pushed this ruling to completion in the first place. Let’s continue to make some noise, raise awareness of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’) and contribute to positive change for all those on a lifelong gluten-free diet.
So, in closing, I want to just say congratulations to us all! We’ve pushed for change and succeeded. Together, we’ve accomplished something huge and that is something to be proud of.
To your GREAT health,
Easy, Fresh Veggie Recipes
I’m always figuring out ways to add vegetables into my recipes so they can pack a nutritional punch. Here are two of my favorite veggie-heavy recipes that I think you’ll love.
New Hampshire has had an overabundance of fresh, ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers, so what better thing to do than make Gazpacho? If you’ve never heard of it before, Gazpacho is a tomato-based, Spanish vegetable soup that is traditionally served cold.
I was reading the label of a pre-packaged salad at my local grocery store when I remembered a broccoli salad recipe I used to make. I went home, fiddled with the old recipe and came up with this lower calorie version of the original.
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.
Preparing Your Child for the New School Year
Get your gluten-free cooking and baking questions answered by the expert! Have a question for Silvana? E-mail Alicia at
The kids are officially back in school! Parents, I know firsthand how bittersweet this can be. You’re happy the kids are getting back to their routines, but you may be anxious about them managing the gluten-free diet away from home, especially if the diagnosis is relatively new. Even if your child has been gluten-free for a period of time, there’s always a chance they’ll be tempted to stray from their diet or may not recognize a risky food or scenario.
As parents, we are the ones who speak with the teachers before classes start, contact the head of the cafeteria or even touch base with parents of our child’s classmates to ensure our children will be kept safe. As the kids head into the middle school years, however, it becomes increasingly important to teach our children how to communicate their needs since, whether we like it or not, we won’t always be there to lend a hand. Here are my tips for empowering kids to talk about the gluten-free diet, their diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and what they need to do to stay healthy.
Teach them as you go.
Practice their elevator speech.
Remind them why they’re gluten-free.
Here are a few of my family’s favorite gluten-free cupcake recipes:
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes
Gluten-Free Carmel Apple Cupcakes
About Silvana Nardone
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially ruled on the definition of “gluten-free.” NFCA is compiling resources and key details about the ruling so you can have all the information you need in one location to make the best decisions possible for your health. You can view these resources on NFCA’s dedicated FDA page. Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find:
NFCA is proud to announce that the work of two of its 2013 research collaborations have been accepted to the 15th International Celiac Disease Symposium (ICDS), the largest, most comprehensive celiac disease meeting in the world. ICDS2013 will take place in Chicago from September 22-25.
Celiac Disease Online Course: Impact and Barriers to Diagnosis
NFCA’s free continuing medical education (CME) program for primary care providers Defining, Diagnosing and Managing Celiac Disease has served as an integral part of the organization’s mission to drive diagnosis since the activity was launched in July 2010. An evaluation of the program was conducted earlier this year, which included identifying who has participated in the CME, what impact the CME has had on the participants’ clinical practice, and what, if any, barriers remain in diagnosing celiac disease. This evaluation has helped NFCA to better understand the knowledge and behaviors of the primary care provider, a medical community on the frontlines of diagnosis, and will prove to be invaluable as we strive towards obtaining a prompt and accurate diagnosis for the 83% of celiac disease patients who remain undiagnosed. An abstract of this work was accepted to ICDS2013 as a poster presentation.
Study collaborators include NFCA’s Kristin Voorhees, MA; Kristen Sweet, PhD, former NFCA Intern with her doctorate in Genetics and Molecular Biology; and CME Faculty and NFCA Scientific/Medical Advisory Council Members Doctors Joe Murray and Dan Leffler.
Researchers need your input! Be a part of advancing research by answering just three survey questions on celiac disease testing and diagnosis. Your responses will be used to represent the patient voice at the 2013 International Celiac Disease Symposium (ICDS) described above.
Are Spices Safe?
By Shelley Case, RD
Herbs vs. Spices
Herbs and spices have been used in foods and medicines for thousands of years by many cultures, and prized for their unique scents and flavors. Fresh or dried leaves, such as basil, dill, parsley, rosemary and thyme, would be examples of herbs. Spices are from the dried part of plants such as the root (ginger), seed (caraway, cardamom, cumin), bark (cinnamon), bud (clove), berry (allspice, peppercorn) or flower (saffron).
Individual herbs and spices do not usually contain gluten, though a non-gluten anti-caking agent (e.g. calcium silicate, silicon dioxide or sodium aluminum silica) may be added. In rare cases, spices can be adulterated with wheat flour or wheat starch to reduce cost and, depending on where and how the spices and herbs are packaged, it is quite possible that they could be cross-contaminated with a gluten source. Poor manufacturing practices with herbs and spices have been identified more frequently in Third World countries.
A recent report from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is illuminating. Samples of 268 domestic and imported ground spices were collected from retailers across Canada and then tested for the presence of gluten. Twenty-four percent of the samples (63 of 268) contained detectable levels of gluten ranging from 5 parts per million (ppm) to an eye-catching 20,000 ppm.
Looking more closely at the findings of the 63 positive samples, five were domestic and 58 imported. Imported cloves and mace (a spice from the nutmeg plant), and domestic coriander had the highest gluten levels.
CFIA and Health Canada concluded that 62 of the 63 spice samples (97 percent) with detectable levels of gluten did not pose a health risk. However, a sample of mace was recalled because it was exceptionally high – up to 20,000 ppm – and violated Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations.
It’s that time of year again! The kids are heading back to school and you may be wondering how to talk to school administrators about your child’s gluten-free needs, not to mention figuring out what the heck to pack for lunch! NFCA is here to help. Introducing the new infographic, “Back to School Gluten-Free Checklist.”
Since the checklist serves as a general overview of things to consider each new school year, we recruited real parents to share their tips for making back to school season easier for you and your child. We’ll unveil them periodically throughout September on the Gluten-Free Back to School Tips Pinterest Board.*