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5 Tips for Talking to Your Family about Cross-Contamination this Holiday Season
The holidays are a time of fun, family and, of course, food. While the holiday season should be a happy occasion, it often can be a source of anxiety for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. What if there isn’t anything to eat? Is it rude to bring my own food? How can I explain the seriousness of cross-contamination to my family?
These are all the questions I asked myself after my diagnosis. I’ve been on a gluten-free diet for nearly 20 years, and I’m fortunate that my family knows the ropes, but it wasn’t always easy. While we were all working to gain a better understanding of the gluten-free diet, I found these tactics to be most helpful throughout the holiday season.
Your family won’t know about cross-contamination if you don’t tell them about it. A quick phone call to your hosts to alert them to your dietary needs will be appreciated; the more notice they have, the more time they’ll have to prepare to accommodate your diet.
After getting in touch with them by phone, you can follow up with an e-mail explaining cross-contamination. The printable guide, Entertaining Gluten-Free Guests, will be extremely helpful in explaining safe gluten-free meal preparation. Plus, touching base electronically may feel less intrusive and allows your host to read the information at leisure.
Mistakes Can Happen
Explain to your family that you understand cooking gluten-free may be confusing at first, so they should feel free to ask you questions. Keep in mind that even the most well-intentioned hosts can make a mistake. Stress that if they feel they have made an error, they should let you know before you eat the food. It’s better to know there is a risk of cross-contamination and avoid eating a dish than to unknowingly ingest gluten, causing you to get sick later.
While you don’t want to overwhelm your family with information, sharing one surprising statistic with them will help them remember why your dietary needs are so important. For example, you can tell them that one crouton in a large salad bowl is enough to make you sick, even if you don’t show any outward symptoms. It only takes a pinky nail-sized amount of gluten to cause damage to your intestines.
Consider asking to join your family member on their trip to the grocery store. This way, you can see all of the ingredients going into the meal and take note of the ingredients that aren’t gluten-free. If you cook together the day of the party, you can keep an eye on the preparation process to make sure that cross-contamination is avoided. Cooking gluten-free in a shared kitchen can be a challenge, but with a watchful eye and a little education, it is possible!
Keep Things Separated
Cross-contamination can occur throughout the serving process, not just while cooking. If the party is a buffet-style, ask for the gluten-free food to be kept on a separate table and clearly labeled gluten-free. Consider adding a note to use the designated spoon only.
If you’re attending a sit-down dinner, ask to be served first so you can be sure cross-contamination hasn’t occurred from serving spoons touching other foods on a fellow family member’s plate.
Your best defense against accidental gluten ingestion is to talk to your family openly about your needs. Odds are, your family will be eager to help accommodate your gluten-free diet, but they have to understand them first!
Just remember, if you have any doubts that a dish is truly gluten-free, it’s better to skip it than deal with symptoms later and long-term health consequences. Bringing your own dish is always a fallback plan, as well. Not only will you know it’s gluten-free, but you can show your family just how delicious gluten-free can be!
To your GREAT health,
Breakfast Ideas for Your Celiac or Gluten Sensitive Child
By Miranda Jade Turbin
With the rush of the holidays and the plethora of sugar-filled foods you probably have lying around the house, I wanted to remind parents of celiac kids of the importance of providing a healthy gluten-free breakfast and to offer some ideas.
According to studies, the importance of feeding children breakfast is undeniable. Children who eat breakfast are more likely to do better in school, be less irritable, be healthier overall, have a healthy body weight, and even be more physically active. It’s also an excellent opportunity to give your celiac child some nutrient-rich food to help heal the digestive system and body, and to stave off the temptation to cheat on the gluten-free diet.
Looking for ideas? Remember, just because it’s gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy for your celiac child. This means gluten-free sweets like doughnuts or cinnamon buns. Rather, aim to give your child high-protein foods, such as eggs, turkey bacon, sausage, peanut butter on a gluten-free English muffin, or yogurt with some fresh fruit.
If you don’t have too much time in the mornings, you may be able to feed your child leftovers or plan breakfast the night before. Cut up fresh fruits at the beginning of the week after you go grocery-shopping as a timesaver during the week. Setting your alarm clock for fifteen minutes earlier is well worth it to give your celiac child a health breakfast.
About Miranda Jade Turbin
Miranda Jade 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, developing gluten-free recipes and reviewing companies for celiac consumer safety at the award-winning website: GlutenFreeHelp.info.
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Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes
By Chef Oonagh Williams
Even with all the recipes we’ve adapted to gluten-free, there are probably still a few that you’re working on to achieve that remembered favorite flavor. This month, I thought I’d share a variety of recipes you can make using all of your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. Happy Thanksgiving!
I found the original version of this Winter Tabbouleh in a very old copy of Gourmet Magazine. Obviously, if you are gluten-free, you can’t use the bulgur wheat in the original recipe, but luckily, quinoa makes for a great replacement and is a better nutritional choice. The original recipe called for endive (chicory), fennel bulb, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses, but I left those out of this recipe. Feel free to try out those new ingredients to put your own twist on my Winter Tabbouleh!
ITALIAN TURKEY PASTA
This recipe is great for your Thanksgiving leftovers since you can add in just about any vegetable or sauce you like, depending on your family’s taste preferences.
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 Ursula Saqui, Ph.D.
All I could do is cry after my diagnosis.
I often listen to people's stories of how they were diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder and the aftermath. While everyone's story is uniquely his or her own, I see many similarities across the stories in that they contain some or all of the five stages of grief developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Experiencing this diagnosis as grief makes sense given the many things people feel they lose such as choice, their social life, and favorite foods.
By Lisa Fitterman of Allergic Living
NFCA has partnered with Allergic Living, a print magazine dedicated to the celiac and food allergy communities. Each month, we’ll feature a Q&A, news item or article excerpt from the Allergic Living team.
There has long been interest in whether the gluten-free diet can help kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Now Dr. Alessio Fasano tells Allergic Living magazine about his work investigating his theory that non-celiac gluten sensitivity may be to blame in up to 20% of ASD cases. “We can’t help all kids with autism,” Fasano cautions of the continuing gluten and ASD research. “But that help, when it comes, can be pretty dramatic, not just for the child but for the whole family.”
By Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Can moving to a new place affect how your brain functions?
It sounds odd, but that’s exactly what happened to a patient of ours. This gentleman grew up in southern India, where rice is the major staple when it comes to grains. Wheat is rarely eaten. As a young man and throughout college, he was top of his class and got straight As. It all came very easily to him.
He was accepted to a graduate school in northern India and studied there for a few years. For the first time in his life, he struggled in school and suffered from brain fog. In hindsight, he states that he suddenly felt “stupid.”
After struggling through graduate school, he took a job as an engineer for a high tech company in Silicon Valley, CA, where I practice. He came to see us for a variety of health problems, and the real miracle occurred when we removed gluten from his diet.
While this patient didn’t have celiac disease, we diagnosed him with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Upon going gluten-free, he suddenly felt like his old self!* His brain fog disappeared and he started thinking clearly for the first time in almost a decade.
It took a little time to put two and two together, but he finally realized that he grew up eating practically no gluten, and when he moved to northern India, he indulged in wheat-containing breads and desserts. Moving to the U.S. only further encouraged gluten consumption. He never realized that his reaction, brain fog, could be a result of consuming those foods.
He is now excelling at work, not struggling mentally and feels fully restored to his prior brain function.
*Note: It is important to maintain a normal, gluten-containing diet when getting tested for celiac disease. Going gluten-free before getting tested can affect the accuracy of results.
About Dr. Vikki Petersen
Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, is founder of the HealthNOW Medical Center in Sunnyvale, CA, and co-author of The Gluten Effect. Dr. Petersen has been published in national and international medical journals, newspapers and magazines for her cutting edge work in the field of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Her commitment to increase the awareness of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity nationally is well recognized. She has a been a featured speaker at the annual Gluten Sensitivity & Celiac Forum held in northern California. HealthNOW Medical Center is a destination clinic, treating patients from all over the country.
By Gigi Stewart, MA
It’s a day to gather with those we love most and give thanks, but there’s no denying the focus on food when it comes to Thanksgiving.
When that focus must turn to eating gluten-free, holiday meals can become more frightening than festive, especially on that first gluten-free Thanksgiving. However, we can enjoy a fun, festive holiday on our gluten-free diet, no matter where we are when the stuffing is served!
Use these tips to help make your gluten-free Thanksgiving a success!
We’re on the hunt for the best gluten-free holiday recipes, and our friends at Crunchmaster are offering free crackers for a year just to find them.
Now through Sunday, Nov. 25, submit your original gluten-free holiday recipe to [email protected] and you could win a year’s supply of free Crunchmaster crackers (a $500 value). Nine first prize winners will receive a free case of Crunchmaster’s new Grammy & Cheezy Crisps, too!
Best of all, we’ll compile the Top 10 recipes into an exclusive holiday e-cookbook. Sign up to receive a special NFCA eblast with the download link for the e-cookbook. The special eblast will be sent the week of December 3-7.
Will the Grand Prize be a one-pot wonder or a fancy flan? It all depends on the gluten-free recipes you submit!
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Vitacost.com is an online health & wellness retailer offering discounts on everything from almond butter to gluten-free ziti. This month, the company is running a special promotion on Pinterest: Pin to win a basket of gluten-free goodies!
The promotion will run November 12-16. During that time, visit NFCA or Vitacost on Pinterest and click on the Pin to Win banner. There, you’ll find all the details to enter the giveaway. You can also visit Vitacost's Sweepstakes page for details starting November 12.
While you’re checking out the gluten-free products on Vitacost.com, make sure to swing by NFCA’s blog, The GREAT Life.
On October 27-28, leaders of the national organizations working in the field of gluten-related disorders gathered together to work on projects of mutual interest to all of our communities. NFCA is proud to be a part of this continuing effort! Read more about the meeting in Celiac in the News.
Front Row: Mary Schluckebier (CSA), Cynthia Kupper (GIG), Nancy Ginter (NFCA), Deborah Ceizler (CDF) Back Row: Alice Bast (NFCA), Carolyn Lynch McKinley (CSA), Marilyn Geller (CDF), Andrea Levario (ACDA)
By Alicia Carango, NFCA Communications Assistant
Celiac Disease and Fertility Survey Update
Earlier this year, we posted information about a survey on celiac disease and fertility being conducted by researchers at Jefferson University and Hospitals. We would like to thank all who completed the survey. The lead researcher, Dr. Stephanie Moleski, recently presented the study’s findings at the American College of Gastroenterology Scientific Meeting. You can read more about the findings in NFCA’s Research News.
NFCA Honors Dr. Keith Laskin
Each year, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) honors someone who has had a positive impact on the lives of people living with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders. At this year’s fundraising party in Philadelphia, NFCA recognized Keith J. Laskin, MD, the founder and medical director of The Celiac Center at Paoli (PA) Hospital.
Dr. Laskin is dedicated not only to accurately diagnosing celiac disease, but also to helping people embrace a healthy gluten-free lifestyle. His efforts in founding the center are especially noteworthy, as it is the first community celiac center in the Philadelphia suburbs. The Center’s regular educational programs offered to the community extend the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge.
NFCA is pleased to recognize Dr. Laskin’s efforts in the community, but we couldn’t have done it without the help of Joan and Richard Cantor, who generously opened their beautiful home to host the fundraising party. A big thank you to Barb Powers, Cheryl Lynne Simpson and all of the committee members who helped coordinate this event.
Congratulations to Dr. Laskin and thank you to all of our supporters for helping NFCA take another step in securing diagnoses and raising awareness of celiac and gluten-related disorders!
Event photos courtesy of Regina Miller, Origin Photo.
For one night only, the Iron Hill Brewery in Chestnut Hill, PA, will donate 20% of dinner sales to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness through its Give20 program. Simply download the Give20 coupon and present it to your server and 20% of your bill will go directly to support NFCA's free patient services.
When: Monday, November 12, 2012
Time: 5-10 p.m.
Where: Iron Hill Brewery
8400 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Download the coupon for 20% of your bill to be donated to NFCA
Tuesday, November 13th at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT
Each year, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a season that brings unique challenges to those living gluten-free. Extra careful attention must be paid to the food and drink passed around at holiday parties and ingested at a family’s special gathering. NFCA will turn to two of the gluten-free community’s well-known and trusted bloggers - Silvana Nardone of Silvana's Kitchen and Easy Eats and Amy Green of Simply Sugar & Gluten Free - to share tips on eating safe, delicious gluten-free goodies during the 2012 holiday season.
Sponsored by Crunchmaster, this webinar is free of charge!
Wednesday, November 14 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT*
Type 1 diabetics are at an increased risk for developing celiac disease, which adds a challenge to an already strict diet. In fact, both celiac disease and diabetes are associated with the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes and 3-8 % of people with type 1 diabetes will have biopsy-confirmed celiac disease. NFCA will review the research on the link between these two conditions and provide dietitians with strategies on how to successfully treat patients living gluten-free while also needing to manage their diabetes.
Sponsored by Vitacost, this webinar is free of charge.
*Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, this webinar has been rescheduled from its original date to 11/14.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 12 p.m. ET/ 9 a.m. PT
NFCA’s special three-part non-celiac gluten sensitivity webinar series culminates with top researchers answering the gluten-free community’s most pressing questions. Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, of The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Joseph Murray, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, will share their expertise as they respond to your questions. This webinar will include live polling for a more interactive experience.
To submit a question for the expert panelists, email Kristin Voorhees at [email protected] by Friday, November 16. Please note that this opportunity is intended for general questions about research and developments in the fields of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Personal and off-topic questions will not be included in the question pool.
Supported by a generous anonymous donor with a passionate interest in health and wellness, this webinar is free of charge.
NFCA Hosts Gluten-Free Workshop for Dietitians
Part of the mission at NFCA is to educate healthcare professionals on the importance of the medically necessary gluten-free diet. NFCA continued to work towards that mission in October at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) when the staff got together to host a day full of gluten-free cooking, baking, and more with dietitians at Philadelphia’s Drexel University’s Academic Bistro, the centerpiece of Drexel’s Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts, and Food Science programs.
The day started with a Gluten-Free Baking Workshop hosted by Chef Richard Coppedge, author of Gluten-Free Baking with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Chef Coppedge imparted some baking wisdom to the dietitians as he demonstrated ways to overcome the difficulties of gluten-free baking.
Next up was the Ancient Grains Challenge, where dietitians faced off in a gluten-free cooking competition. The dietitians had to cook an assigned dish using only gluten-free ingredients. Not every ingredient provided was gluten-free, so dietitians were challenged to ensure they knew where gluten could be hiding.
Finally, Director of Gluten-Free Industry Initiatives Beckee Moreland presented different scenarios of people living with celiac and adhering to a gluten-free diet. Founder and President Alice Bast also made a presentation focused on gluten-related disorders, explaining the spectrum of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Through this fun and interactive training session, dietitians were made aware of celiac and the gluten-free diet. These dietitians are now equipped with the tools to help the newly diagnosed take control of their diet.
For photos and a full play-by-play by Director of Communications and New Media Cheryl McEvoy, head to the NFCA staff blog, Celiac Central: Bits and Bites.
By Alicia Carango, NFCA Communications Assistant
Erewhon Super Grains: Buckwheat & Hemp Cereal
Although some of us here at the NFCA office (myself included) had trouble pronouncing “Erewhon,” we’ve agreed that what’s inside the box of cereal is delicious. This cereal looks like dark brown corn flakes and packs a mean crunch. It’s good by itself, but you could probably use these in some baking endeavors, like adding it to a homemade breakfast or snack bar. Check out all the varieties available at www.AttuneFoods.com.
Good ‘n Natural Fruit, Nut and Seed Bars
If you’re looking for a new go-to snack bar, you definitely have to give the Good ‘n Natural bars a try. I tried out the Cranberry Almond flavor, and it’s the perfect blend of ingredients. They are super chewy and pack 10 grams of protein, so they will be more than enough to keep you satisfied in between meals. They have other varieties like Lemon and Chocolate, and I bet the Peanut Butter flavor will be extra chewy and delicious. You can check out these vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free bars at www.GoodnNaturalBar.com.
Yolo! Snacks Original Popcorn
I’m a plain popcorn kind of girl, but Our Original Popcorn from Yolo! Snacks is a tasty way to change it up a bit. Their blend is a “unique marriage” of herbs, buttermilk and sea salt. I didn’t think much of the popcorn after the first few bites, but I happened to turn the bag over and realized all of the seasoning settled to the bottom. I gave the bag a good shake and tried again; it definitely lives up to its “unique” description. Slightly sweet popcorn, topped with a salty herbal coating, is sure to tickle the taste buds of flavored popcorn lovers everywhere. Visit Yolo Snacks online to see their other out of the box flavors: www.YoloSnacks.com
Simply Gluten-Free Magazine
I have been slow to adapt to the age of digital books and magazines, so I'm am extra excited to see Simply Gluten-Free magazine available in both digital and print editions. The premier issue has come out just in time to be filled with tips for the upcoming holiday season that will be perfect for the newly diagnosed and longtime gluten-free eaters alike. The pleasant, upbeat tone of the magazine makes for not only an informative read, but an enjoyable one as well. The recipes look delicious and the pictures that accompany the articles are fantastic. This magazine will be a welcome addition to newspaper racks across gluten-free households and will certainly be a handy resource to have around. Check it out at www.SimplyGlutenFreeMag.com.
NFCA Medical Advisory Council Member Receives Distinguished Award in Pediatric Gastroenterology
Alessio Fasano, MD, of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland and member of NFCA’s Scientific/Medical Advisory Council has received the Shwachman Award for making “major, lifelong scientific or educational contributions to the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology or nutrition in North America.”
Read more on Celiac Central.
Wegmans Issues Voluntary Recall on Generic and Gluten-Free Brownie Mixes
Wegmans has voluntarily recalled their gluten-free brownie mix and three types of gluten-free baking mixes due to undeclared allergens. The gluten-free brownie mix may contain milk and pecans; the gluten-free baking mixes may contain soy. Consumers can return their products to the nearest Wegmans for a full refund.
Read more on Wegmans’ Products Recall page.
Olympic Champion Dana Vollmer Explains Post-Competition Diet & Exercise Routine
While her record breaking swims at the Olympics launched Dana Vollmer into the spotlight, her gluten-free diet piqued curiosity among the general public. Vollmer has non-celiac gluten sensitivity and says she feels dramatically better while on a gluten-free diet. She’s keeping in shape by eating right and taking hip hop dance classes. In a Q&A with DietsInReview.com, Vollmer also revealed her favorite gluten-free product.
Read more from Diets in Review.
Jennifer Esposito Placed on “Leave of Absence” from the CBS Hit “Blue Bloods”
After being placed on a “leave of absence” from the hit show “Blue Bloods,” Jennifer Esposito has taken her feud with CBS Studios to Twitter. Esposito says she has been placed on an unpaid leave of absence from the show because of a doctor recommended reduced schedule due to celiac disease. CBS defends the decision, stating this restrictive schedule would make her “unable to perform the demands of her role.” The celiac community has rallied in support of Esposito online.
Renowned Dietitian Sheds Light on Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, the Fad Diet, and More
In a presentation given at the Whole Grains on Every Plate conference in San Antonio, Pamela Cureton, RD, of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland discussed the difference between non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and celiac disease. Cureton presented facts to dispel the gluten-free diet for weight loss myth and noted there is no validated test to date for NCGS.
Read more on Food Navigator USA.
Groundbreaking Research Visualizes the Autoimmune Reaction in Celiac Disease for the First Time
For the first time ever, researchers have created a visual model to show how the T-cells interact with gluten in an autoimmune response in a person with celiac disease. This groundbreaking research has the potential to change the way researchers study celiac disease and will increase attempts to find a treatment for celiac outside of the gluten-free diet.
Read more on Futurity.
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