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Negative Celiac Test: Next Steps
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Gluten in Medications: Take the Survey
You monitor every morsel you put in your mouth, but you still feel sick. What gives? Well, it may be time to stop looking in the fridge and start checking your medicine cabinet.
In addition to soy sauce, salad dressing, gravy and the other usual suspects, gluten can also be hiding in prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements. Pharmaceutical companies aren’t required to label gluten in medications, and reading the ingredients list is about as easy as learning Greek. So, you, I, and all of our gluten-free friends are left to make an educated guess and hope for the best. The problem is, we never know how big of a gamble that is.
Last month, we announced that the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) would lead a nationwide study on gluten in medications. We want to learn which medications are giving you trouble, what types of symptoms you’re suffering, and how often it happens. If you’ve never had a “glutening” experience with medication, we want to know that, too.
So, this is where you come in.
We need you to take this survey. We need your gluten-free friends to take it, too. And, your celiac support group members. In short: Tell everyone. (Everyone who’s gluten-free, that is.)
Why should you take the survey? So we can get real answers, real data and real evidence that could lay the foundation for a whole new level of gluten-free safety. Because if it’s gluten in medication that’s making you sick, we’ll never know… until we know.
Hosting a Cookie Exchange with Your Celiac Child
By Tina Turbin
Between family get-togethers, school parties, church fairs, and other social activities, your child is often bombarded with offers of gluten-containing goodies. I’ve written before about throwing cupcake parties, which can be done at any time of the year. Now I’d like to recommend another special event for celiac kids - a cookie exchange - as a way to celebrate any holiday and make them feel excited about their gluten-free diets.
I’ve attended several gluten-free cookie exchanges and am quite enchanted with them. The more attendees, the better. After all, everybody brings cookies for the party and usually share their recipes, too. Several of the gluten-free cookie recipes on my blog have come from these events.
So, how do you host a gluten-free cookie exchange with your celiac child? Coordinate with your gluten-free friends and family, with your local chapter of a celiac support group, or even with your non-celiac neighbors, friends and relatives. (I’ve found that non-celiacs love gluten-free goodies because gluten-free certainly doesn’t mean sugar-free or taste-free!)
Ask everyone to bake their favorite gluten-free cookies. Challenge them to bring unique recipes of their own so that people can expand their cookie horizons. Urge them to bring copies of their recipes to share with everyone.
Here are a couple of my favorite cookie recipes. Bake these for your cookie exchange, or try something of your own invention:
About Tina Turbin
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 update to date on her projects, sign up for her newsletter at www.TinaTurbin.com.
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Gluten-Free Recipes for Your 2012 Super Bowl Party
By Chef Oonagh Williams
This is chili to my taste and preferences with beans and corn. Make a triple batch to fill a 6 quart slow cooker. I make the recipe a day ahead of time, then refrigerate overnight and heat the next day, all in the slow cooker for a party.
When I first came to the U.S. from England, I learned about foods by going to social gatherings and play groups. Many of the dishes were very different to me, but I made sure I got the recipes of the good ones. This is one of them, from my friend Beth. The cheese mix is also good on baked nachos with strips of chicken, lettuce and tomato. You won’t find much left.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER FANTASY
This is a mix of some of my favorite tastes and textures. I love the pecan crust from a chocolate truffle tart. The peanut butter filling is based on ‘buckeyes,’ which are the best peanut butter cups you have ever tasted. Then, I top it with my lazy chocolate mousse, which is made from chocolate and real cream.
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.
To learn more, visit Chef Oonagh’s website at www.RoyalTemptations.com or ‘Like’ her at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook.
It is estimated that 8-10% of all celiacs are affected by at least one of the many neurological conditions associated with the disease.
Among adults, some of the neurological conditions most frequently experienced are ataxia, depression, epilepsy, migraine headaches, and peripheral neuropathy. Other ‘softer’ neurological disorders, such as ADHD, developmental delay, hypotonia and chronic headaches have also been reported in patients with celiac disease. In fact, research suggests 39.5% of children and adolescents diagnosed with celiac disease report frequent headaches.
While less common, brainstem encephalitis, cerebral vasculitis, dementia, Huntington’s disease, myoclonus, neuromytonia, progressive myoclonic encephalopathy, and stiff-man syndrome have been reported in celiac patients.
In an effort to learn about some of the neurological disorders affecting individuals with celiac disease, NFCA will showcase some of the most frequently reported conditions as part of its ‘Celiac &’ educational series.
By Dr. Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
There is good reason to work hard in raising awareness of celiac disease. It might not be easy to maintain a gluten-free diet, but speak to someone who drastically improved his or her health by removing gluten, and he or she will tell you it’s a small price to pay.
Now let’s assume that your blood test for celiac comes back negative. Your doctor tells you that gluten is not a contributing factor to your ill health.
Is that correct? Maybe - maybe not. Let’s explore this further...
By Suzy Schurr, Holistic Health Coach
If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or have an intolerance to gluten, you know how overwhelming the process of going gluten-free can be. Not only do we worry about ingredients and cross-contamination when other people are cooking for us, but we also worry about getting accidentally glutened in our own homes.
Here’s my step-by-step plan to keep your home as safe for gluten-free eating as possible.
Many of you already know the Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, Shauna and Danny Ahern, from their popular blog and cookbooks. Now, you can join them on a fabulous trip to Italy while supporting NFCA at the same time!
We were really excited when we heard from Jovial, an Italian company dedicated to making authentic, organic and safe certified gluten-free products. (Their gluten-free Brown Rice Pasta was named the best Gluten-Free Pasta by Cooking Light Magazine!) Jovial contacted us because they are offering the chance for anyone (celiac or not!) to experience a dream vacation in an 18th century Tuscan villa with Shauna and Danny Ahern. The Aherns, along with the folks at Jovial, will take you on an exciting, gluten-free culinary adventure in Lucca, Italy, where you will eat exquisite gluten-free Italian meals and, even better, learn to cook them yourself!
The best news of all is that Jovial is selling rooms at the villa with 25% of the proceeds going to NFCA to help fund our efforts to raise awareness and support those with celiac disease. The trip will take place May 27-June 2, 2012, and the room sale ends March 31, 2012.
You can find additional details and make your purchase at www.jovialfoods.com/getaway. Space is limited, so book your trip and support NFCA today!
“You Did It” is a new section of NFCA’s newsletter where we’ll share stories and advice from NFCA volunteers. We hope these articles will inspire you to take action and say “I did it!” today. For more volunteer stories, see NFCA's Awareness All-Stars blog.
Gluten Freed: How to Make a Difference Locally
By Cecilia Bonaduce, NFCA Volunteer
For a lot of people, a celiac diagnosis can feel like a prison sentence. The things you used to find joy in are taken away and replaced with a strict and difficult-to-follow diet. How can you turn the gluten-free diet into something that feels positive and productive?
“You Said It” is a new part of NFCA’s newsletter where we share something insightful that YOU said on Facebook or Twitter. Join the conversation with NFCA on Facebook and Twitter.
How do you decide when and how to give?
Food as Medicine for Celiac Disease: Nutrition Beyond the Gluten-Free Diet
Join NFCA as Rachel Begun, MS, RD, also known as The Gluten Free RD, explores how “food as medicine,” a central component of the growing prevention and wellness paradigm, can be used in the management of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. The use of “food as medicine" brings to light the important role of nutrition in preventing, treating and even reversing illness. Rachel is one of NFCA's Ask the Dietitian bloggers and a member of NFCA's Scientific/Medical Advisory Board.
Sponsored by Blue Diamond and Cabot Cheese, this webinar is free of charge.
How Well is Your Digestive System Working?
Set aside February 1, 8-9:30 p.m. ET. Two internationally recognized experts will host a discussion on probiotics and their role in gastrointestinal health. Authors Dr. Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, and Shelley Case, BSc, RD, will touch on the latest studies and take questions from the public regarding probiotics and their role in celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. There’s limited space, so register now.
For more gluten-free and celiac awareness events, visit our Upcoming Events page.
TaMolly’s Mexican Restaurants, with 11 locations throughout Texarkana, TX and from Abilene, TX to Johnsboro, AR, has completed GREAT Kitchens training!
In an interview, Travis Strate, Director of Operations for TaMolly’s Mexican Restaurants, shared some thoughts on TaMolly’s gluten-free menu and their decision to participate in GREAT.
Why did you become interested in providing gluten-free options?
I realized that awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is growing, but it’s just catching on in the hospitality industry. If TaMolly’s can make a connection with people who need gluten-free food, we can initiate a program that does it the right way, then maybe stand out from other restaurants and gain loyalty.
TaMolly’s developed a menu in the corporate office. Their current menu has several things that could be gluten-free because of the ingredients. Knowing the right ingredients is the easy part, but learning about cross contamination was the biggest concern.
Why did you choose to enroll in the GREAT program?
A professional training program like GREAT Kitchens helps with the message we are trying to convey to our customers - that we are taking their dietary needs seriously.
The way GREAT is set up makes it accessible to each manager any time day or night. They can bookmark it, and review. GREAT is easy to access and understand.
What were the most valuable items or insights you learned through GREAT?
Learning about cross contamination. GREAT provides excellent explanations of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity and how they translate into the foodservice industry. Once the managers understood the reason why it was important to keep food separate and safe and what the effects of gluten have on a customer, it was easier to understand how to set up procedures.
What do you see as the biggest benefit of your participation in the program?
Consumer confidence. They know that know you’ve taken gluten-free seriously and you have the proper support.
Please share any sentiments you have received from the gluten-free community.
Customers are greatly appreciative that they are bringing gluten-free to the stores. They appreciate the care and wide range of options that are gluten-free!
GREAT in the News
*Tell your restaurant it's time to get GREAT*
Learn more about gluten-free restaurant training from NFCA >>
By Cheryl McEvoy, NFCA Online Content Manager, and Kelly Clayton, NFCA Intern
Girl Scouts of America Blueberry Pomegranate Nut Crunch
It is well known that Girl Scout cookies, which are a favorite to Americans, contain gluten. However, the Girl Scouts have come out with a nut crunch product that is gluten-free. Blueberry Pomegranate Nut Crunch is a mix of almonds, cashews, pistachios, rice syrup, cane sugar, blueberries and pomegranate powder. This nut crunch comes as clusters and is great for snacking. While this snack is very crunchy and brittle, it provides great protein and nutrition, and a ton of flavor. With only 180 calories per serving, this is definitely a snack to try next time the Girl Scouts kick off their nut sale!
Visit the Girl Scouts website
Good news for anyone craving a LUNA bar. As of spring 2011, LUNA Protein bars are gluten-free. The bars are designed for active women, with flavors that make them tasty without being overindulgent. They have a solid, fudgy texture and a slight aftertaste that I often find in energy bars. I liked Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Mint Chocolate Chip best because they reminded me of my favorite ice cream flavors, minus the drippy mess or added calories. As the name says, these bars have a lot of protein – 12g – so they’ll curb your hunger for a while.
Visit LUNA Bar's website
Cookie Land Homestyle Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
There’s something to say for small companies that started in a home kitchen. Cookie Land Cookies look homemade and come in a resealable pouch with an adorable castle graphic on the front. The cookies are buttery with rich chocolate chips, but they do tend to crumble when you take a bite. These would make a great gluten-free cookie to dip in milk or crumble over ice cream. And at 90 calories per cookie, they’re an option that won’t compromise your healthy eating goals.
Visit Cookie Land's website
Sol Cuisine isn’t your typical freezer food. The 100% vegetarian product line includes veggie burgers, falafel and tofu, and many of the items are gluten-free. I tried the gluten-free mushroom and rice burger and found it to be very meaty – so much so that I added it to tomato sauce for a delicious faux Bolognese. I also tried their gluten-free Organic T-Ribz, which are tofu ribs coated in barbecue sauce. They were surprisingly tasty, especially the sauce. You won’t mistake them for real ribs, but this bone-free option is perfect for serving over salad or in a corn tortilla.
Visit Sol Cuisine's website
*Get Hot Products updates from NFCA every week!*
Visit our Gluten-Free Hot Products blog »
2011 Stats Show Boom in Gluten-Free
As the food industry looked back on 2011, gluten-free stood out as an area of growth. SPINS, a market research and consulting firm for the Natural Products Industry, found that gluten-free sales exceeded $6.2 billion in the 52 weeks spanning September 2010 to September 2011. Foodservice consulting firm Technomic found that gluten-free menu items increased 61% in 2011, and the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot” list for 2012 ranked “gluten-free” as No. 7, a slot higher than it ranked in 2010.
See NFCA’s new gluten-free industry fact sheet
FDA Seeks Public Input on Gluten in Drugs
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is has issued a request for information to learn more about medications that use ingredients derived from wheat, barley and rye. The FDA would like input from stakeholders in the healthcare and pharmaceutical communities. In particular, the FDA would like to know what negative effects the use of these ingredients might pose, and whether there are appropriate gluten-free alternatives that could be used in place of these ingredients. NFCA also just launched an FDA-funded study on gluten in medications. The celiac and gluten sensitive community is urged to participate by completing the online survey.
Read more in Research News
Beer Study Raises Interest in Celiac and Gluten-Free Community
A new study published in the Journal of Proteome Research analyzed gluten in more than 60 commercial beers, including several that are labeled ‘gluten-free.’ The study aimed to determine a robust process for measuring the amount of hordein (gluten) peptides in beer. While traditional beers were found to have high levels of hordein, all gluten-free beers tested had no detectable hordeins. The study also tested “low-gluten” beers derived from barley and found those to contain one or more hordein proteins.
Read more about this research
Olympic Gold Medalist: Gluten-Free and Egg-FreeSwimmer Dana Vollmer is going for (another) gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and her gluten-free diet isn’t standing in the way. Vollmer, who won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, recently learned that she has multiple food allergies and now avoids gluten and eggs. The switch has been a challenge, but Vollmer has found new foods to keep her fueled.
Read more about Olympic swimmer Dana Vollmer
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