Archive for October, 2011

Essential Health Benefits: Earning Celiac Disease Treatment a Spot

Last Thursday, October 20, I had the privilege of speaking at the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Essential Health Benefits Comment Session in Washington, DC. Many of you may be familiar with the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance reform legislation President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010, which ensures that Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance. This Act mandates that plans offered in the new Affordable Insurance Exchanges provide a package of essential health benefits (EHB).

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is in charge of defining the EHB. To assist in this process, HHS asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to make recommendations on the criteria and methods for defining and updating the EHB. The HHS also reviewed benefits currently included in typical employer plans as part of the process in defining the EHB.

Now that the IOM has completed its report and HHS has finished its review of typical employer plans,the Department announced that it was ready to hear from the stakeholders. To name just a few, the stakeholders include States, patients, providers, and employers.

I joined other consumer advocates at Thursday’s comments session. The advocacy groups’ interests ranged from obesity to HIV/AIDS to diabetes to teen pregnancy to eating disorders. Although it was very last minute (NFCA was invited Tuesday afternoon!), it was a great opportunity and I was excited to represent NFCA at such an important public stakeholders meeting.

Please check out the attached PDF to read NFCA’s official submitted comments.

NFCA Comments on Essential Health Benefits
NFCA’s Official Comments

NFCA Comments on Essential Health Benefits (PDF)

We hope that HHS takes our recommendations into consideration as they go forward in defining the EHB. As NFCA Scientific/Medical Advisory Board member Dr. Dan Leffler put it, such an achievement is on his “celiac wish list.”



October 24, 2011 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Tailgating (Plus a Giveaway!)

Congratulations Ashley Pelley and Schmidty! You are the winners of our Thai Kitchen gluten-free giveaway. Please email with your mailing address to claim your prize.

When I think of tailgating food, most of it is, well, gluteny. For a morning game, it’s donuts and bagels. In the afternoon, the list consists of burger & buns, hoagies, and soft pretzels. Then there’s the beer, the cups that always seem to get mixed up, and the one friend who insists on touching everything while taking bites of his sandwich. It certainly doesn’t make it easy if you need to be gluten-free.

When Thai Kitchen contacted us about doing a fall campaign, it was the perfect opportunity to create a Gluten-Free Tailgating Guide to help everyone make going to a game less stress and more fun.


Tailgating on a very cold day.

I’ll be honest, Whitney and I racked our brains for a few days while creating this guide. Sure, there were the usual food safety tips, like keeping meats and dairy in a cooler. But avoiding cross-contamination? That required some crafty thinking.

Gluten-Free Tailgating Guide

Our Gluten-Free Tailgating Guide

The guide is now posted in the Thai Kitchen Gluten-Free Recipe Box on our website. It even has a recipe for Curry Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa, because if you volunteer to make the burgers (Warning: some people put breadcrumbs in their burger mix), you might as well impress the crowd.

Gluten-Free Giveaway!

We had such an overwhelming response to last week’s Thai Kitchen Gluten-Free Giveaway that I was thrilled to host another round. This week, we’re giving away the Thai Kitchen products needed to make Curry Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa and Chicken Satay Skewers – another gluten-free recipe that’s great for the game. Here’s what you can win:

  • Coconut Milk (for Chicken Satay Skewers)
  • Fish Sauce (for Chicken Satay Skewers)
  • Red Curry Paste (for Chicken Satay Skewers and Curry Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa)
  • Peanut Satay Sauce (for Chicken Satay Skewers)
  • Sweet Red Chili Sauce (for Curry Turkey Burgers with Pineapple Salsa)
  • 2 Thai Kitchen chip clips
  • 2 Thai Kitchen pot holders
  • Thai Kitchen coupons
  • Tailgating Recipes

To enter, leave a comment sharing your best gluten-free tailgating tip. (We know how resourceful you all are!) We’ll randomly select 2 winners and announce them right here on Friday afternoon.

October 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm 14 comments

Gluten-Free Halloween: Are You Prepared?

I always start thinking about Halloween in August, then completely forget about it until – “Trick-or-Treat!” – it’s right at my doorstep.  I cobble together a costume from whatever’s in my closet, and grab a quick bag of candy in hopes that kids will come, but not so many that I run out of supplies.

Annsley Klehr

Annsley Klehr

I could take a few pointers from our volunteer, Annsley. In her latest article, she offers some tips for making trick-or-treating a fun, not frustrating, experience:

  • Establish a plan way before heading out to trick-or-treat. This is even more effective when you and your child can establish a plan together.
  • Communicate the plan before trick-or-treating and explain why.  Kids do better when they understand the reason. I always tell my daughter that X will make you very sick, and that seems to work. 

For more of her tips, check out her How to Embrace Gluten-Free Halloween in the new Articles section on Kids Central. While you’re there, download the Gluten-Free Candy List 2011 from the Guides section and browse around to see all that Kids Central has to offer (

Other helpful articles:

October 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

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