Archive for August, 2011

Commanding Greatness and Scoring Excellence

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our newest volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experience throughout the 2011 Phillies season.]

Commanding Greatness and Scoring Excellence

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

Cliff Lee led the Phillies to victory with five straight starts. Even Mets fans cannot deny our past Cy Young winner’s Un-Be-LEE-vable talent.  We cheer for Lee’s every move on the mound—and the bases, as he relentlessly commands greatness with his pitches and scores excellence with his runs.  Read below for details and other recent Lee highlights:

August 17:  Phillies 9-2 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks
Pitching Highlight: Lee’s un-Be-LEE-vable command of the ball leads him to pitch 7 strong innings with 2 runs, 3 hits and 7 strikeouts.

Run Highlight: Great run support from Hunter Pence, Ryan Howard, John Mayberry Jr., Shane Victorino, and Jimmy Rollins. Lee hit an almost safe grounder to second and Coach Charlie Manuel even challenged the call.

August 22: Phillies 10-0 win against the New York Mets
Pitching Highlight: In it to win it, Lee pitched 7 impressive innings with 3 hits and 7 strikeouts.

Run Highlight: With the Phillies in strong scoring position, Lee contributed to the scoreboard with a single to right, and Victorino’s triple sent him to home plate.

Cliff Lee’s amazing August run can inspire all of us to command greatness and score excellence on our mound.

This week, as the rain set in and the Hurricane Irene moved up the northeast, I was enjoying the gluten-free life with a stocked up kitchen!

First, to prepare for the storm, I made a trip to Whole Foods for non-perishable snacks including Lundberg Brown Organic Rice Cakes (gluten-free and vegan),  Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks (free of the 8 common allergens and a new addition to Whole Foods shelves), and 365 Organic Unsweetened Applesauce (to enjoy with ground cinnamon from my spice cabinet).

My next trip was to Trader Joes for a box of 50 raspberry dried fruit bars, water, Double Rainbow Chocolate Sorbet, Dark Chocolate Nibs, Frozen Organic Jasmine Rice, canned tuna, egg whites and an assortment of vegetables.  Saving the best for last, I connected with my family team for fish and meat.

gluten-free food supplies

My home run: scoring fun, enjoyable gluten-free foods before Hurricane Irene

For all of us Phightin’ to be gluten-free, dining anywhere, at any time, with or without power, requires Lee’s command.  When Lee is in command, the pitch he throws is the pitch he intended to throw.  With “in a pinch” snacks, a full kitchen and supportive teammates–it’s time to score!

Tune in tonight and cheer for Cliff Lee and the Phillies at 7:10 p.m. as they play the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

– Nadina

See additional gluten-free disaster preparedness tips.

About Nadina:
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011, and will be happy to answer messages sent to the email account. Nadina learned that she has gluten sensitivity in February 2011, and is grateful for having been diagnosed promptly and correctly by a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. She enjoys running, shopping for gluten-free sweets and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy. Nadina is a Marketing and Communications professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.

August 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

Off to Medical School: A Mom’s Day Out

I will never forget the day my husband, youngest daughter and I drove to Boston to drop my eldest daughter off at college 7 years ago; the day we sat with hundreds of parents at her graduation 3 years ago; or the day we put her on a plane as she headed off to Indonesia to work in Borneo 2 years ago.

Now, I’ll never forget driving to West Philadelphia for her medical school orientation.  After all these adventures, I thought I was prepared for this event. It was only around the corner, right?

Yes, around the corner physically, but emotionally it was a monumental occasion. I knew that attending  her White Coat Ceremony (a tradition in medical school orientation) would be memorable, but I had no idea how much it would mean to hear my child recite the Hippocratic Oath with her peers.  Every day, I work hard to educate physicians around the country about the signs and symptoms of celiac disease and ask them to be our partners in diagnosis and treatment.  Now, my own daughter is now going to be one of them. Wow!

Alice and Elizabeth at White Coat Ceremony

Me and my daughter at her White Coat Ceremony

What was this day like? It started off with a session that explained how grueling the first year of medical school can be, yet reassured parents that all of our kids will strike a balance.

I also got a chance to speak with the dean of the medical school (any chance to hand out my card and spread the word). She turned her head toward me and simply said, “Celiac disease; this disease certainly is receiving a lot of attention lately.”

We were then invited to spend some time as a medical school student.  This was fun! We watched standardized patient actors simulate different patient/physician scenarios, which was fascinating.  In one situation, the actor kept insisting that the physician give her a prescription. ”I want medicine,” she pleaded, even though she only had a virus! It truly hit home. In our case, there is no pill…at least not yet. So, we make ourselves better through diet and dedication.

After that, we checked out the robotic patient.  They asked for a couple of volunteers to assist with “surgery.”  Of course, I jumped right up (I am a learner at heart). My patient had a heart attack and I had to use the defibrillator.  No worries, he made it through.

Next, we headed to a room where we worked with partners on a project.  It was truly interesting because it taught us all about teamwork. Statistically, patients fare better in medical situations if they have a communicative team caring for them.  Lunch was next (gluten-free for me, of course).

Finally, after a number of speeches, we all had the chance to watch our sons and daughters receive their white coat and stethoscope. (Did you know that the length of the coat depicts your level  of schooling?)   I must say that watching my “baby” up on stage was a bit overwhelming.  My mother died of pancreatic cancer before I graduated from college. It changed my life. I too was headed to medical school, but changed my mind as I couldn’t bare the pain of spending time in the hospital. Looking back, I was always passionate about medicine, and now I’ve turned that passion into preventive medicine and raising awareness for celiac disease.

I can’t express how proud I was when Elizabeth took her oath.  And, thanks to getting properly diagnosed, I was there watching her.

– Alice

Want your doctor to be more informed about celiac disease? Learn how you can talk to them about NFCA’s free online course for physicians.

August 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm Leave a comment

Tales from an NFCA Intern

[As summer comes to a close, we at NFCA are remiss to say goodbye to our dedicated interns. We know they’ve learned a lot, and we sure liked having them around! Here, our Communications intern Rachel shares how she made a difference in the celiac community.]

Let me start off by saying that working as the Communications intern here at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has been such a great experience.  Not only have I improved my writing skills, organizational skills, and communication skills, but I also have learned so much about celiac disease.

I am returning to the University of Rhode Island as a junior with a better understanding of my own work ethic and how well I manage tasks. I have participated in so many projects here at NFCA that have taught me a lot.

I would have to say that my favorite project was conducting interviews with children that have celiac disease for the next phase of Kids Central on the NFCA website. It was great to hear kids discuss and speak out about their disease in a healthy and triumphant way. I was delighted to know that the questions I put together had some impact on them and that they would end up published on the website with their answers. Not only was this a project that I found to be successful, but I also feel as if it might open other doors in the future with NFCA.

Gluten-Free BBQ Chicken

Leaving my mark - Gluten-Free BBQ Chicken for the office!

In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed reading and writing book reviews. I reviewed quite a few books, with material ranging from nursing advice to easy-to-follow recipes for any gluten-free foodie. One of my book reviews even turned up on a Google Alert, which impressed and delightfully surprised me.

I will miss spending my Tuesdays and Thursdays here in the office helping outreach to people who need to be educated about celiac disease. My 10am-4pm slots on those days will soon be filled with class; however, I won’t be making as much as a difference in the community as I was working for NFCA over the summer.

I hope my journey with NFCA won’t end here and that I will return next summer!

Sincerely, Rachel Fox

August 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm 1 comment

There is No Place Like Home (Plate)

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our newest volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experience throughout the 2011 Phillies season.]

There is No Place Like Home (Plate)

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

Cliff Lee homers to right field, runs through home plate and enters the dugout with a look of sheer excitement, also shared by his teammates.  There is no place like home (plate).  Just as Lee successfully commands his pitches, he’s also proven to successfully command his swing and make exceptional contact with the ball this season. Read below for details and other recent Lee highlights.
August 4: Phillies 3-0 win against the San Francisco Giants
Pitching Highlight: Lee’s un-Be-LEE-vable command of the ball leads him to a seven-hitter shutout with 8 strikeouts and 0 walks. Also Lee’s fifth shutout of the season.

Run Highlight:  Great run support with Hunter Pence and John Mayberry’s back-to-back home runs in the second inning.

August 9: Phillies 2-1 win against the LA Dodgers
Pitching Highlight: In it to win it, Lee pitched eight scoreless innings with 4 hits and 10 strikeouts.

Run Highlight: With the Phillies ahead by just one run at the top of the seventh, Lee increased the lead with a home run to right field.

This week, my sister begins her own journey.  There is no place like home (plate) resonates, as we get ready to move my sister into her freshman dorm at college. Similar to Lee’s teammates in the dugout, our family team is Phightin’ strong and cheerin’ loud, hoping she experiences Lee’s sheer excitement as she encounters her own successful endeavors.

Family Team at the Beach

Family Team at the beach!

Feeling inspired by home, I put on my chef’s hat and share one of my recipes cooked in the comfort of my kitchen.  Below is my recipe for an oven cooked Whole Branzino stuffed with Mediterranean herbs and flavors.

Oven Cooked Mediterranean Branzino


  • Whole branzino (request fish de-boned for stuffing)
  • Lemon
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Olive Oil
  • Pepper
  • Garlic cloves


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Score whole branzino, 3 times on each side.
  3. Stuff inside of fish with 3 lemon slices, thyme, rosemary and 3 peeled garlic cloves.
  4. Massage olive oil and pepper into fish skin.
  5. Wrap aluminum foil loosely around fish. Place in oven.
  6. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove stuffing from inside fish and serve.

Recommendation: Branzino pairs nicely with brown rice or white jasmine rice.

Oven Cooked Mediterranean Branzino

My Home Run: Oven Cooked Mediterranean Branzino

Tune in tonight and cheer for Cliff Lee and the Phillies at 7:05 p.m. as they play the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park.  It’s time to Be-LEE-ve!

– Nadina

For more gluten-free recipes, see NFCA’s Gluten-Free Recipe of the Week.

About Nadina:
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011, and will be happy to answer messages sent to the email account. Nadina learned that she has gluten sensitivity in February 2011, and is grateful for having been diagnosed promptly and correctly by a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. She enjoys running, shopping for gluten-free sweets and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy. Nadina is a Marketing and Communications professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.

August 17, 2011 at 10:43 am Leave a comment

Celiac Expert Q&A: Dr. Edward Hoffenberg

[Join NFCA for a FREE Back-to-School Webinar on August 25. Register now.]

While at Digestive Disease Week in Chicago this past May, NFCA Healthcare Relations Manager Kristin Voorhees met Edward J. Hoffenberg, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist specializing in celiac disease. As Professor of Pediatrics at University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and Director of the Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Diseases at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Dr. Hoffenberg has plenty of experience working with gluten-free kids. So, we picked his brain for a few tips and insights:

NFCA: How long have you been specializing in pediatric celiac disease?

Dr. Hoffenberg: Since 1995, so 16 years.

What’s the biggest challenge in working with kids? 

Helping kids learn for themselves. Allow them to try and fail, but still be safe.

When teaching celiac children about gluten, how do you make the danger clear without scaring them? 

I talk about things you can feel and experience, like abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, growing taller [vs. lack of growth due to undiagnosed celiac]. Then I talk about things you cannot feel or experience, like thin bones and fracture risk.

You use role playing as a therapy in your clinic. How does it work, and what’s the benefit? 

Role playing helps the kids identify potential trouble areas, and helps them develop some skills for coping with these areas. For example, what words to use when you want to say “I can’t have gluten.”

How do you handle kids who cheat on their gluten-free diet? Does the child’s age have any effect on how you address it? 

Kids experience the same issues differently at different ages. It is certainly easier for the preschool age group and early elementary school. Middle and high school ages can be more difficult.

The first strategy is to develop an alliance with the older child. If they feel better gluten-free, then we talk about how to stay feeling good [and the risks of] testing boundaries and peer pressure.

If they do not have a lot of symptoms to begin with, it is harder. I try not to judge, but guide them if there starts to be clear health consequences of continued gluten exposure.

What particular strategies do you find to be successful in the asymptomatic pediatric population that patients or their parents can use?   

For the asymptomatic teen, I will do blood tests for anemia, iron deficiency, Vitamin D, and so on, as well as bone density assessment. I review these with them. I often encourage a trial of the gluten-free diet and see if they feel any different. I review that low gluten is not good enough, and so will follow more closely if they are on gluten, and provide support until they are ready to go gluten-free. [For more, see these tips from an asymptomatic celiac college student.]

Back-to-school is in swing: What are 3 things parents should do to ensure a safe and healthy school year?

  1. Help the child know what to say, what words to use: I have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, etc.
  2. Empower the child to say: “No, I cannot have any. Not even a little bit. If it is unclear if it is gluten-free, then I will not eat it.”
  3. For elementary school kids:  Have a gluten-free snack always available in the classroom, for birthday parties and other special times.

Watch for more tips from celiac disease specialists on Kids Central, NFCA’s new online hub for gluten-free kids and parents. Expanded content coming soon!

August 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm 2 comments

5 Rules for Healthy Gluten-Free Living

[Annsley Klehr has been a dynamo on our volunteer force. She’s embraced the gluten-free lifestyle after being diagnosed with celiac disease, and now she wants to help others get diagnosed and get healthy, too. Here, she shares some tips from her own experience. To read more from Annsley, see her article “My Gluten-Free, Soy-Free World.“]

If you’d like to volunteer for NFCA, visit]

Learning I had celiac disease was a bittersweet moment – one of relief, and one of great anxiety.  I was happy to know I wasn’t crazy and that there was a very clear way to feel better. Yet, I was confused with how to begin my new adventure in life.

Annsley Klehr

That's me!

Being gluten-free is a life-long journey filled with lots of trial and error moments. However, I have learned from them, and I now share with you the top 5 things I wished I had known as I was starting my gluten-free diet.

1.  Keep it simple: The healthiest and easiest gluten-free diet is one of fresh fruits, vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, and meats.  Steer clear of processed foods until you’re sure your gut is healing.

2. When in doubt, call them out: As of now, there are no laws regulating gluten-free products.  A label that says “gluten-free” means the actual ingredients should contain no gluten. However, if the product is processed in a plant or on a conveyer belt that also processes gluten, it could be contaminated.  When in doubt, call the manufacturer.

3. You are what you eat: Medication, supplements, and beauty products may contain gluten ingredients.  While gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin, make up and lotions can pose a risk if you apply them with your hands and then touch your food or mouth. [See more in NFCA’s Ask the Dietitian.] Read the labels carefully and check with your doctor as well.

4. Cleanliness is in the eye of the beholder: Be extra wary of other people’s counter tops, because they aren’t yours.  You don’t know what’s been on them, so be sure to ask for a plate before putting your food down.

5.  ALWAYS carry a dining card: You are the only person who can advocate for you.  Those with celiac disease are living experts, and in some ways, have more expertise than chefs in a restaurant.  Don’t expect the chef and/or wait staff to always know what gluten-free means and how to keep your food uncontaminated.  Carry a dining card with you that specifies what you need. [Note: NFCA trains restaurants in gluten-free food safety through the GREAT Kitchens program. See a list of current GREAT Kitchens.]

gluten-free grilled pizza

Gluten-free pesto pizza, made with basil and tomatoes from my garden!

These five tips have helped me survive and live anxiety free inside and outside of the home.  By educating others, I have been able to ensure a safer eating environment where I can enjoy any setting without worry or compromising my health.  Though it is often a battle of will to not just shovel heavenly food into my mouth, I know that at the end of the day, I will feel better if I follow my motto: Think Before You Eat!

-Annsley Klehr, NFCA Volunteer

August 10, 2011 at 11:47 am 8 comments

Gluten-Free, Research-Full: Celiac Disease Updates from Oslo

While Alice had secured her participation in the 14th International Coeliac Disease Symposium (ICDS) earlier this winter, it wasn’t until just one month before ICDS that it was decided I would be attending as well. Once I got the green light to book all the necessary details, I was beyond thrilled to join the 500 plus people expected to attend ICDS in Oslo, the capital city of Norway, which is home to 17-18 hours of daylight during the summer months.

On Friday, June 18, Alice and I began our journey abroad. After a three-hour delay on the runway thanks to heavy rain, thunder and lightening and, as a result, a missed connecting flight in Frankfurt, I arrived in Oslo 30 hours later. (A big thanks to Lufthansa for a delicious gluten-free meal and plenty of safe snacks!)

While the official presentations weren’t set to begin until the morning of Monday, June 20, Alice and I arrived in time to attend a special presentation on gluten sensitivity (GS) Sunday evening. ICDS 2011 started out strong with a pre-conference workshop on gluten sensitivity sponsored by Dr. Schar, the European market leader in gluten-free. Alessio Fasano, MD, and David Sanders, MD, led the 2-hour workshop on the emerging condition. (More on this later).

To break it down for those who were unable to participate, ICDS 2011 was divided into two parallel meetings: the International Symposium and the Clinical Forum. The Symposium served as a platform for the field’s top physicians and investigators to present “state of the art” celiac disease research, and the Forum provided an opportunity for patients, families of persons with celiac disease and healthcare professionals to learn the real-life impacts of the latest research in jargon-free language.

Over the course of 3 days, ICDS presented a total of 17 sessions, with much of the content overlapping between the two meetings in an effort to ensure the patient community received the best information. The Symposium lasted the full 3 days, while the Forum took place on Monday and Tuesday.

As is the case with conferences like ICDS, Alice and I found some presentations to be more intriguing than others. And since many sessions had overlapping elements, I thought the best way to share our experience with the community was to outline five recurring themes from ICDS 2011.

Dr. Michelle Pietzak

NFCA Medical Advisory Board member Dr. Michelle Pietzak enjoys a boat trip during ICDS 2011

1. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity/Gluten Intolerance

The medical and scientific community has long agreed that celiac disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by the consumption of gluten. In recent years, the term “gluten sensitivity” has been coined to describe those individuals who also cannot tolerate gluten and at times experience gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those with celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity has been clinically recognized as less severe than celiac, and has been defined as “not accompanied by the concurrence of tTG or autoimmune comordibities.”

It was very exciting to see this topic receive a great deal of attention between Dr. Schar’s pre-symposium conference with Doctors Fasano and Sanders and a 1 1/2 hour oral seminar during Tuesday’s International Symposium. Doctors Fasano and Sanders discussed the following key points about non-celiac gluten sensitivity:

  • Gut inflammation is not present, which is unlike celiac disease.
  • There is no diagnostic tool for non-celiac GS.
  • Prevalence in University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Disease Research ’s
    practice is estimated to be 1 in 17 (6%).
  • Dr. Fasano explained that in order to diagnose a person with non-celiac GS, his Center uses a double blind gluten-free diet intervention lasting for 3 weeks.

Dr. Schar shared the success of their First Consensus Conference on Gluten Sensitivity held in London earlier this year, and also announced the establishment of the Dr. Schar Institute, which is a new point of reference for medical and healthcare professionals in the areas of celiac, gluten sensitivity and gluten-related disorders in general. All in all, it was great to see that the research field is catching up to the publicity of the non-celiac version.

Despite the agreement that a non-celiac version of a gluten-related disorder exists, it is clear that the medical community lacks consensus on the spectrum and terminology for this field. Perhaps the best example is this: the pre-conference workshop used the term “gluten sensitivity” while the ICDS session was entitled “non-celiac gluten intolerance.”

Alice at ICDS 2011

Great photo of Alice (left) at ICDS 2011! Courtesy of Jonas Meek and ICDS 2011 Local Organising Committee.

2. Strong Need to Develop Adequate Programs for Follow-up and Management

Dan Leffler, MD, MS, Director of Clinical Research from BIDMC and NFCA Scientific/Medical Advisory Board member, gave the opening lecture for Wednesday’s session on Clinical Presentation, Follow up and Imaging. Dr. Leffler began his talk by noting that original faith in the gluten-free diet halted research on therapeutic treatments. As he went on to recognize that lifelong adherence to the gluten-free diet ranges 40-75% (yes, a huge range!), my mind wandered to those whose compliance is so varied. Were these people without symptoms, thus not seeing the immediate need for the diet? Or individuals who could not afford the hefty grocery bill that comes with the diagnosis?

Combined with the fact that the blood tests are poor measures of the diet’s success, it’s evident that a better model of disease management be implemented among the celiac population. And Dr. Leffler’s call for the medical community to develop disease management guidelines couldn’t have been clearer. With its disease-related health no different than diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease, two conditions that have management protocols in place, it’s time for celiac to step up to the plate.

A final comment from an audience member led to the conclusion that education among primary care providers is still sorely needed, for both the diagnosis and management of celiac disease. In fact, ICDS attendees from across the world agreed: the lack of awareness and education among primary care physicians is what keeps millions of celiac sufferers in the dark and untreated for so long. [NFCA offers a first-of-its-kind continuing medical education (CME) program for primary care providers at Learn how you can encourage your doctor to complete this free online course.]

3. Epidemiology

Some of you may be familiar with the Swedish Epidemic, which occurred from 1973 to 1997 when there was a fourfold increase in symptomatic celiac in children younger than 2 years old. Anneli Ivarsson, MD, PhD, of Umea University and the Prevent Coeliac Disease initiative (and author of the just published study on the global mortality of undiagnosed celiac disease in children). For those who are not familiar with the Swedish Epidemic, here’s the background:

Before the Epidemic, a national recommendation was made to postpone introduction of gluten from 4 to 6 months of age, an interval during which breast-feeding was at large discontinued in the country as well. As a result, the National Swedish Guidelines for infant feeding practices were updated to the following: Babies should be breastfed for 4-6 months while avoiding gluten-containing foods before 4 months. Gluten should be introduced between the 4 and 6 month window, while still breastfeeding.

Dr. Ivarsson noted that in 1995 the disease’s prevalence returned to its original risk, which strongly suggested that prevention is possible. Today, it is estimated that 1 child in every Swedish class has celiac, with the majority undiagnosed. Talk about a resonating statistic!

In addition to the prevalence of celiac disease, the Epidemiology session included presentations on prevention strategies, such as breastfeeding and dietary intervention. One particular highlight was the overview of Prevent Coeliac Disease (CD), a multicenter initiative in 10 European countries whose objective is to “significantly reduce the number of people suffering from celiac disease in Europe, by developing primary prevention strategies for celiac disease.” To learn more about Prevent CD, check out their website.

I couldn’t fit all the information into one post, so stay tuned for the next installment of my ICDS coverage. On the agenda: Personalized Medicine, Quality of Life, and more!

See more photos in the official ICDS 2011 album.

August 5, 2011 at 8:50 am 2 comments

Resilience: In Lee’s Game and the Game of Life

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our newest volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experience throughout the 2011 Phillies season.]

Resilience: In Lee’s Game and the Game of Life

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

One word comes to mind as I watched Cliff Lee perform on the mound against the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates: Resilience.  Just as Lee’s passion and determination to throw outstanding pitches are clearly apparent, so too is his ability to recover after setbacks.  Exactly when did Lee exhibit resilience from inning to inning and, most recently, game to game?

July 19: Phillies 4-2 win against the Chicago Cubs

Setback:  Lee started off with a few pitches that allowed the first Chicago Cub in batting rotation, Reed Johnson, to double.  Unfortunately, Lee’s next pitch mimicked the last few and he gave up the only two Chicago Cubs runs of the evening—Starlin Castro’s home run that caused Johnson to also score.

Resilience:  Lee did not let one setback inning ruin his game.  He recovered strongly by Phightin’ for no more Cubs to score—which landed him a total of 8 hits, 0 walks and 6 strike outs.

July 25: Phillies 4-5 loss against the San Diego Padres

Setback:  Lee’s game never really started, with a failed pick-off of Padres Jason Bartlett at first base that allowed Padres Chris Denorfia to steal home.  During a short and un-sweet four pitched innings, Lee allowed 10 hits and 5 runs.

July 30: Phillies 7-4 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates

Resilience:  Just a few days after his game setback, Lee definitely appeared ready to score a win for the Phightin’ Phils with one great pitch after the next.  Lee achieved competitive double digit strike outs, with 11 at the final count.  Additional accomplishments for Lee included 4 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks and in first place for number of hits by a Phillies pitcher with 2 more under his belt.

I have learned from Lee that the secret in baseball and the game of life is never getting stuck on the mound for too long and never losing sight of the destination.  For Lee, his focus is on the World Series; for me, I want to be healthy, happy, and gluten-free.

On my journey, I am physically exhibiting resilience, as I recover from a sports injury.  This week, I have a positive outlook with new support from Kinesio tape (increased popularity after the use by athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics) that was recommended by my physical therapist.

This month, I share more dish and product reviews, on the following baseball-inspired scale:

Single– Fair
Double– Good
Triple– Very good
Home Run– Must try
Grand Slam– Sublime

Ciao Bella Dark Chocolate Sorbet- Triple

A very good gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free dessert purchased from Whole Foods.  It appears semi-sweet in coloring, taste and finish.  Nice balance of light consistency and refreshing flavors on palate.

The result:  In contrast to the “decadently rich” and “dark chocolate” labeled pint, sorbet lacks the luster of real 70% dark chocolate. [Note: Due to recent Ciao Bella ingredient changes (as confirmed by a phone call with Ciao Bella staff), the product tastes differently than branding on pint.  Original Ciao Bella Dark Chocolate Sorbet would have received Grand Slam rating, as it was both dark and decadently rich.]

Mixed green salad with grilled chicken and vegetables at The Bards- Triple

A very good dish marked by juicy grilled chicken and an assortment of greens.  The lettuce was fresh with seasonal vegetables and added nice crunch to balance the softness from grilled chicken.  The grilled chicken that I added to the salad was portioned in four wide, pounded flat chicken strips.  All four pieces of chicken were cooked equally well with enjoyable flavoring from grill.  [Note:  Prior to dining, I inquired about the kitchen preparing a grilled chicken dish, which is not included on The Bards after 3 p.m Sunday gluten- free menu.  The Bard’s chef was extremely accommodating and prepared my desired dish.]

Gluten-Free Food at The Bards

A gluten-free friendly sign outside The Bards

The result:  Affordable and delicious grilled chicken dish at a pub in a prime location, on the edge of Rittenhouse Square at 2013 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.  The good news: gluten-free pizza served daily, and at 3 p.m. every Sunday, The Bards prepares a gluten-free kitchen and serves strictly from a new gluten-free menu.

The scene:  A double date at The Bards on Sunday night.  To my excitement, the chef was able to accommodate my grilled chicken dish request, even though it was not among the other delicious pub-esque gluten-free options on the menu.  In recent news, The Bards hosted a gluten-free event with support from NFCA’s good friend Michael Savett (of Gluten-Free Philly) and the local community.

Gluten Free Sign at Citizens Bank Park

Spotted at July 27 Phillies game: Gluten-free sign at Citizens Bank Park

Tune in tonight and cheer for Cliff Lee and the Phillies at 10:15 p.m. ET, as they resiliently play the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. It’s time to Be-LEE-ve!

– Nadina

About Nadina:
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011, and will be happy to answer messages sent to the email account. Nadina learned that she has gluten sensitivity in February 2011, and is grateful for having been diagnosed promptly and correctly by a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. She enjoys running, shopping for gluten-free sweets and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy. Nadina is a Marketing and Communications professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.

August 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

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