Posts tagged ‘food photos’

Healthy Times Ahead

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our 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 experiences as she follows the Phillies year-round.]

Healthy Times Ahead

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

There are many reasons to love February, but Phillies Spring Training definitely tops the list.  While the excitement of team changes, athlete updates and ticket sales resonate for fans, the Phillies pitchers, catchers and position players are preparing for Clearwater, Florida in one week.  If healthy teammates translate into prospective wins, it is imperative the lineup stay off the injured list this season.  Be-Lee-ve it, healthy times are ahead for Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and the rest of the Phightin’ Phils.

For those of us Phightin’ to be gluten-free, the food we eat determines how healthy our season will be.  When it came to our wedding menu, my husband and I made no exception.

Nadina and Michael wedding photo

Jennifer Childress Photography

Criteria:  Kosher, gluten-free and lactose-free menu that incorporates our favorite foods and fresh ingredients.

Vision:  Beautiful presentation, delicious flavor and variety that is reflective of us and our enjoyment of healthy, delectable dishes.

Experience: Romantic, festive, memorable and a gourmet gluten-free culinary experience for our friends and family.

Our lineup for the big day included Jannette Axlerod of Food Designs and her chefs.  They had prior experience safely cooking gluten-free for affairs and were a great addition to our Fraimow-Bronstein all-star team.  Practices were rigorous with menu tastings, ingredient changes and creative food pairings.

Tuna rumaki with wasabi on pineapple and lox on gluten-free rice cracker.

Tuna rumaki with wasabi on pineapple and lox on gluten-free rice cracker. (We paired the tuna with a gluten-free rice cracker for our wedding day.)

Outcome:   Grand slam!  With the support of our strong, loving management team, we pulled-off a perfect win.  Our playbook now includes new dishes that we can replicate for healthy, fun times ahead.  Read below for a taste of our wedding bliss and ideas for your next party.

A sampling of Butlered Hors D’oeuvres:

  • Tuna rumaki with wasabi on a gluten-free cracker
  • Lox on a gluten-free cracker
  • Cherry tomatoes stuffed with quinoa
  • Sushi rolls

A sampling of Stations:

  • Portabella bar
  • Carving station, including oven roasted turkey and prime rib

 First Course:

  • Spring vegetable soup with rice noodles

Intermezzo:

  • Alternating strawberry kiwi and lemon sorbet

Entrees:

  • Herb crusted baby lamp chops
  • Grilled sea bass with mango salsa
  • Vegetarian Napoleon

Accompaniments:

  • Baby carrots and green asparagus
  • Roasted russet potatoes
Herb crusted baby lamp chops, accompanied with baby carrots, green asparagus and roasted russet potatoes

Herb crusted baby lamp chops, accompanied with baby carrots, green asparagus and roasted russet potatoes – Jennifer Childress Photography

Grilled sea bass with mango salsa, accompanied by baby carrots, green asparagus and roasted russet potatoes

Grilled sea bass with mango salsa, accompanied by baby carrots, green asparagus and roasted russet potatoes – Jennifer Childress Photography

About Nadina:

Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011.  In January 2013, Nadina was conclusively diagnosed with celiac disease by one of the nation’s leading gastroenterologists.  Prior to her diagnosis, Nadina was living gluten-free for over three years due to what was originally thought to be non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  Nadina enjoys having fun in the kitchen and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy with her husband.  She is a Communications and Marketing professional living and working in Philadelphia.  Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.  She will be happy to answer messages sent to her attention at info@celiaccentral.org.

February 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm 1 comment

A Great Gluten-Free Day!

Two northwestern sections of Philadelphia were jumpin’ on Saturday, January 26th.  Weavers Way, the fabulous community owned co-op that has made a name for itself in the Philadelphia region, held its annual Gluten-Free Day from 12 until 4 p.m.

This year, the savvy folks at Weavers Way expanded the event to include both their Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy stores.  Bettina de Caumette, Outreach Coordinator at Weavers Way, put the day together to everyone’s delight.  Frigid weather aside, the day seemed just right to explore the wonderful world of gluten-free goodies.

A Great Gluten-Free Day: Bettine de Caumette, Weavers Way Outreach Coordinator

Thank you Bettina for putting together such an amazing day!

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) was on hand in both locations to discuss the gluten-free diet and to go beyond that to the underlying need for this special approach to the menu: celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.

The NFCA team was pleased and proud to have two long-time, stalwart and extremely knowledgeable volunteers distribute literature and answer shoppers’ questions. Becky Lownes Urbano  returned to the post she manned last year in Chestnut Hill.  Annsley Klehr took a brisk walk from home to spread the word in Mt. Airy.  Tema Esberg, a new member of the NFCA volunteer team, joined Becky in Chestnut Hill.

A Great Gluten-Free Day: Becky Urbano, NFCA Volunteer

Big thanks to Becky and all of NFCA’s volunteers for supporting us in raising celiac disease awareness!

Chestnut Hill store manager Dean Stefano and Mt. Airy store manager Rick Spalek each donated an enormous basket of gluten-free products for a raffle benefiting NFCA. One lucky winner from each store went home with a bounty of delicious treats that will have them trying out new items and enjoying old favorites. For our part, NFCA is grateful for the donation that will go toward our educational programs.

On a normal Saturday, about 1,100 people pass through the doors of Weavers Way in Chestnut Hill. That number swells significantly on Gluten-Free Day and this year was no exception. I don’t know how many came to the Mt. Airy store but it certainly was a steady stream of eager shoppers, many with questions about gluten-free food and celiac disease.

In short, it was great!  The NFCA team is looking forward to Gluten-Free Day 2014 at Weavers Way!

– Nancy

February 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

FNCE 2012: NFCA’s Gluten-Free Workshop for Dietitians

After pulling long hours leading up to Appetite for Awareness last month, you’d think our staff at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) would take some time to wind down. Not the case.

Mixing Gluten-Free Flours

NFCA Director of Development Kim prepped our gluten-free flour blends.

We immediately went full throttle on our next activity, which was hosting a Gluten-Free Culinary Workshop leading up to the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE), an annual meeting for food and nutrition professionals run by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). Planning had already been underway for months, and all the pieces were in place:

  • A Gluten-Free Baking Workshop with Chef Richard Coppedge, CMB, author of Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and a professor at CIA.
  • The Ancient Grains Challenge, featuring a “Chopped” style cook-off between teams of dietitians.
  • Educational sessions, including “Current Understandings of Gluten-Related Disorders” and “Case Studies: Living with Celiac Disease,” led by NFCA’s Alice Bast and Beckee Moreland, respectively.

I eagerly volunteered to help out and take photos and video at the workshop. (A chance to spend some one-on-one time with dietitians and top chefs? Please, I’m there.) So, bright and early last Saturday morning, I pulled up with a car full of goody bags and made my way up to the Academic Bistro at Drexel University.

Gluten-Free Workshop Goody Bags

The dietitians took home these goody bags full of gluten-free treats!

Even with all the details our VP Jennifer had provided, I still wasn’t prepared for how active this day would be. After spending the first few hours mixing huge batches of gluten-free flour blends and setting up our impressive ‘pantry’ of ingredients and fresh produce, it was time to step back and put the dietitians to work.

Our participants were from the Food & Culinary Professionals Dietary Practice Group (FCP DGP), a subgroup of the Academy. They already had a basic understanding of gluten-free food and cooking, but they came eager to learn even more. I think had just as much fun watching them as they did participating.

Gluten-Free Baking Workshop

Our baking workshop started off with an introductory lesson from Chef Coppedge. It was clear that he’s an experienced teacher, as his presentation was brief, yet informative. He brought good energy to the room and gave us a few chuckles as he talked. My favorite tip: Use seltzer water to make your dough lighter and fluffier, but don’t leave it overnight or it will over-ferment and deflate upon cooking.

Chef Coppedge - Gluten-Free Baking

Chef Coppedge helped the dietitians as they baked gluten-free goodies.

Then it was time to hit the kitchen. The dietitians whipped up gluten-free goodies like jalapeno & cheese muffins, spritz cookies and – my favorite – peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes. The hard part was figuring out which of the four gluten-free flour blends to use for each recipe. While the dietitians were mixing and measuring, Chef Coppedge was there offering quick tips. Best of all, they got to bring home a sample of what they baked. And the smells? Heavenly.

Gluten-Free Cookies and Muffins

Yum!

Ancient Grains Challenge

Across the hallway, our participants had to think on their feet as we presented them with pre-cooked gluten-free grains (amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa) and challenged them to make a fresh and healthy meal. For the additional ingredients, we had an impressive display of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, plus sauces, broths, beans and more, to complete their dishes.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

So much fresh produce!

To determine the winner, we recruited a diverse panel of judges:

  • Alice Bast, Founder and President of NFCA.
  • Chef Garrett Berdan, RD, a registered dietitian and chef who is part of the White House’s Chefs Move to Schools program.
  • Chef Charles Ziccardi, Assistant Teaching Professor of Culinary Arts at the Goodwin College of Professional Studies at Drexel University.

NFCA Board Chair Dorothy Binswanger even stopped by to assist with the judging – a deliciously good decision, as it turned out.

Gluten-Free Ancient Grains Challenge - Judges

The judges had some tough decisions to make.

The Ancient Grains Challenge went above and beyond our expectations. The dietitians were incredibly imaginative and resourceful, and their dishes had wonderful flavors. Among the finished plates, there were breakfast/dessert porridge with berries and a touch of orange zest; homemade soup with a side of bean salad; and ‘croutons’ made out of gluten-free grains and flax seed.

Gluten-Free Dish

The dietitians didn’t skimp on presentation.

To make the challenge even more realistic, some of the ingredients on the table were not guaranteed to be gluten-free, such as a broth that wasn’t labeled gluten-free and some premade sauces that required verification with the manufacturer before using. For the most part, the dietitians were cautious about choosing ingredients that were clearly gluten-free. On a few occasions, they asked about questionable ingredients, which became a teaching lesson as our VP Jennifer walked them through the process to verify the ingredient. When in doubt, they left it out.

Gluten-Free Food from Dietz & Watson

Lunchtime! A generous gluten-free spread from our sponsor, Dietz & Watson.

Educational Sessions

While the hands-on activities proved to be learning opportunities, NFCA’s workshop also balanced those active moments with some thoughtful discussions. The morning session on gluten-related disorders prompted good questions from the audience, and the dietitians left with a better understanding of the disease spectrum.

Gluten-related disorders info session

Alice’s morning session focused on gluten-related disorders.

In Beckee’s session, the dietitians discussed a variety of perspectives and scenarios related to gluten-free needs. There was an 8-year-old with celiac disease struggling with her school lunch program; a 19-year-old newly diagnosed and figuring out how to eat gluten-free at college; and a chef who was catering a gluten-free event. The case studies sparked plenty of “A-ha” moments as the dietitians worked through these real-life applications.

Gluten-Free Case Studies Session

Beckee presented three case studies about gluten-free needs.

So, to make a long story short, it was a winning day for all involved. My favorite part was chatting with the chefs and dietitians during and in-between each session. It always amazes me how a group can have similar interests and skills, yet put them to use in such a variety of ways.

Wegmans gluten-free

Thanks to Wegmans for sponsoring our gluten-free workshop!

Bravo to the dietitians for putting in an A+ effort at our Gluten-Free Culinary Workshop. We hope to “see” you again during our upcoming webinar on October 31!

– Cheryl

For more photos from the workshop, visit NFCA’s Facebook page.

October 12, 2012 at 10:21 am 1 comment

Appetite for Awareness – Truly Philadelphia’s Premier Gluten-Free Food Fest

Appetite for Awareness 2012 is over, but the office is still buzzing with excitement.  When you focus on preparing for an event for months and months, you can’t help but feel a sense of relief and happiness over the success of the event.

I joined the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) team back in May, so this was my first time at Appetite for Awareness.  Leading up to the event, I attended planning and update meetings and absorbed all the fine details that go into coordinating an event of this size.  Last week, NFCA staff and our wonderful event planners, Phyllis and Ed, went over the final plans, and I thought I knew what the event had in store for all its gluten-free guests.  I never could have imagined how big Appetite for Awareness really could be, and how much it could mean to the community.

Appetite for Awareness: National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Store

The first ever NFCA store premiered at Appetite for Awareness

The venue was the Historic Strawbridge Building in Center City, Philadelphia.  For those of you who have never seen it, the building is unbelievably beautiful.  It used to be the Strawbridge & Clothier building, but was just converted into a venue for special events.  It has that historic look to it, with the grand staircase in the back, low hanging, bright chandeliers, and a working fountain in the walkway that divides the massive floor space.  On Sunday, tables snaked through the main hall, loaded with vendor tables all handing out gluten-free samples to the 1,500 attendees.

Appetite for Awareness:  Gluten-Free Vendor Tables

The restaurants and chefs gearing up for the crowds

So here’s how Appetite for Awareness goes:  You come through the door, grab your NFCA tote bag and start eating!  All of the vendors and restaurants get their own table and they serve only gluten-free food.  Even better, all of the restaurants in attendance are trained by NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens program, a training course that teaches chefs all the ins and outs of preparing gluten-free food safely.  This is what makes Appetite for Awareness so special.  From the pasta samples served by the restaurants, to the brews chilling in the beer garden, it’s all gluten-free.   There are no questions to ask your server.  There are no concerns about cross-contamination, because nothing containing gluten comes through the door.  Everyone there knows what the gluten-free diet is and why it’s so important to those living with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  For once, people on the lifelong gluten-free diet can just relax, eat and have a good time without making special preparations, calling ahead or packing their own snacks.

Appetite for Awareness- Line for Registration

The line to get into Appetite for Awareness wrapped all the way around the outside of the building!

I spent most of the day walking through the Strawbridge building, snapping photos, live tweeting from the event, and doing Twitter giveaways. (Shout out to Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple & Crunchmaster, Blue Diamond and PJ’s Beef Steak for providing us with the gluten-free giveaway items.  You guys rock!)

I didn’t get to try all of the dishes, but from the massive lines of people eagerly devouring their samples while reaching for another one, I know the food was delicious.  A returning favorite were the soft pretzels from Tonya’s Gluten-Free Products, which earned rave reviews at Appetite for Awareness 2010, too.  I saw people running to go have a pretzel or two (or three or four).  Kids were covered in pizza sauce, and sticky fingers were everywhere.  It was an awesome sight.

Appetite for Awareness: Tonya's Gluten-Free Products: Soft Pretzels

People were talking about how excited they were to have their first soft pretzel in years.

Personally, I was super excited to meet the people that I talk to on social media all the time.  I met Erin Smith of Gluten-Free Fun, Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple, and the Appetite for Awareness honoree himself, Michael Savett of Gluten Free Philly.

Appetite for Awareness: Honoree Michael Savett of Gluten Free Philly

Michael accepting his award from NFCA Founder & President Alice Bast. (PS- isn’t that staircase great?)

NFCA honored Michael Savett at the event for his major contributions to the gluten-free community living in the Philadelphia area.  When his son was diagnosed with celiac, Michael started teaching restaurants about the gluten-free diet and kept track of the restaurants that could cater to his son’s special dietary needs.  Instead of keeping the information to himself, Michael started Gluten Free Philly for everyone in the area to benefit from.  A driving force in creating more availability for gluten-free options, NFCA would once again like to thank and congratulate Michael for his efforts.

Check out the tribute video NFCA made (with the help of Michael’s friends and family) to say thank you.

I had a blast at Appetite for Awareness 2012, and based on the tweets and Facebook comments, it seems like everyone who attended agrees.  None of this would have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors, the support of the NFCA board and advisory council members, and of course, our amazing volunteers and staff who put in countless hours to make Appetite for Awareness 2012 a fun and safe event for the gluten-free community.

Visit the NFCA Facebook page to see some of my snapshots from the event and stay tuned for the professional photographer’s pictures to come.  While you’re visiting the Facebook page, tell us your favorite part of Appetite for Awareness!

There are so many people to thank and recognize for their contributions to Appetite for Awareness, especially Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals,  KYW Newsradio 1060, PREIT, Mercedes-Benz of Fort Washington and West Chester.   Click here to see all of our amazing sponsors and participating restaurants and vendors.

Thanks to all who came out to make Appetite for Awareness such a memorable event!

– Alicia

September 25, 2012 at 10:42 am 4 comments

Spring Travels: Around the World with Celiac Experts and Dietitians

In my last post, I described where the first half of my spring travels took me – Orlando, Manhattan and Washington, DC. Now, I’m going to fill you in on an international trip and other domestic travels!

It was an honor to share findings from NFCA’s collaborative study with the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR), “The Use of Disease Symptoms Checklist in Self-Initiated Diagnoses of Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity,” as a poster presentation at an International Meeting on Coeliac Disease in Florence, Italy this past March.

Together, NFCA, BIDMC and LIMR aimed to understand the diagnostic experiences of patients who use the web, specifically NFCA’s Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist, to prompt a self-initiated diagnosis of celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. NFCA’s Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist was designed to be a patient education tool that drives awareness of celiac-associated symptoms and conditions. Our ultimate goal was (and remains to be) that patients would use this tool to start a conversation about celiac disease with their healthcare providers. As a result, the Checklist provides the ample opportunity to study health behavior. You can learn more about the study, including the ability to view the poster itself, by heading over to NFCA’s Research News feed.

Of course, I realize that most people don’t have the opportunity to travel to Italy for work. What can I say, I’m a lucky girl and I know it.

For those of you who don’t know, I studied abroad in Florence during my junior year of college (pre-celiac days), so I know the city quite well. It was my first return trip since 2006 and the experience wasn’t anything short of awesome! Between attending presentations from some of the finest celiac experts in the world and enjoying gluten-free pasta and pizza in the country from where pizza and pasta hail, it was wonderful.

What’s more, Alice and I were beyond impressed with how the Italian foodservice industry understood celiac disease and handled gluten-free menu options. Here’s an example: more than once we were turned away from a restaurant who knew what gluten-free required, but were honest about not being able to control cross-contamination. The restaurateurs and servers understood that the gluten-free diet is a form of medical nutrition therapy and not the latest fad diet.

Gluten-Free Pizza with Roasted Vegetables

Vegetable pizza with spicy olive oil for lunch.

Case in point number two: On my last night in Florence I visited one of my favorite gelato spots, Festival Del Gelato, for an after-dinner treat. After suggesting that I pick a different flavor because of the risk of cross-contamination (chocolate hazelnut is popular!), the clerk asked if I would like a gluten-free cone instead of the normal cup and proceeded to grab an individually wrapped cone from a rack. How fun!

Gelato on Gluten-Free Ice Cream Cone

My second favorite flavor, gelato di riso or rice pudding, on a gluten-free cone.

After Italy, my next stop was Little Rock, AR. Talk about night and day, huh?

In an effort to raise awareness of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity among Arkansas dietitians practicing in the long-term care, foodservice and clinical settings, NFCA partnered with the Arkansas Dietetic Association (ArDA) and the Arkansas Dietetics in Health Care Communities (ArDHCC) to participate in their 2012 Annual Meeting & Expo.

After spending many months coordinating educational lectures, preparing a delicious gluten-free food sampling and organizing materials for the exhibit hall, I traveled to Little Rock where I spent 3 days. It was great to finally meet the ArDA and ArDHCC team with whom I had spent countless hours emailing and talking via the phone. I also had the pleasure of spending some time with Anne Lee, MSEd, RD, LD, Schar USA’s Director of Nutritional Services, and Dr. Lucy Gibney, President and CEO of Lucy’s, a GREAT Business Association Member. You can read more about my experience in Arkansas here.

Gluten-Free Food at Arkansas Dietitian Meeting

Gluten-free food at the ArDA and ArDHCC meeting.

Just two days after returning from Arkansas I made my way north to Boston to attend a presentation by Claudia Dolphin, a graduate student from Emerson College’s Master’s in Health Communication program, on a research project titled, “Screening for Health: Attitudes and Beliefs of Non-Participants in Disease Testing.” As an alum of Emerson’s Health Communications program, which is in collaboration with Tufts School of Medicine, I was honored to serve as a co-preceptor to Claudia over the past 6 months as she completed her Applied Learning Experience (ALE) project, the equivalent to a Master’s thesis. Here’s another twist to the story: the other preceptor providing guidance to Claudia was my own preceptor from my grad school days – Dan Leffler, MD, MS, the Director of Clinical Research at the Celiac Center at BIDMC in Boston. It has been pretty neat experiencing things come full circle.

Anyway, back to the presentation…

Claudia’s ALE project focused on conducting research on the perceptions of celiac disease among families where a member has been medically diagnosed. Her research sought to uncover the attitudes and beliefs of at-risk family members who have not been tested for the disease.

You may have noticed recruitment notices for research participants this past March and April and wondered what would become of the research. Well, now you know! Together with BIDMC, we are currently gearing up to implement Claudia’s work on CeliacCentral.org and into NFCA and BIDMC programming. Check back soon for an update on how you can help persuade your family members to take getting tested for celiac disease seriously.

In late May, my business travels ended with a trip out to sunny San Diego to attend Digestive Disease Week 2012, otherwise known as DDW, the world’s largest gathering of physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.

View from hotel at Digestive Disease Week 2012

The view from our hotel at Digestive Disease Week 2012.

Many of you may have trouble staying awake just reading this meeting’s subject matter, but as a self-proclaimed nerd, it’s the one conference I look forward to each year. In addition to learning the latest and greatest research, it’s always a pleasure to catch up with the field’s different thought leaders, many of whom are members of NFCA’s Scientific/Medical Advisory Board. In addition to attending the lectures, DDW attendees also have the opportunity to visit the poster sessions in the exhibit hall and even speak with the study’s researchers if they happen to be standing at their poster. Each day, the posters are changed to reflect a new topic. Saturday, May 19th was designated for celiac disease.

Here are a few highlights from this year’s conference:

  • Dr. Sveta Shah from BIDMC presented findings from the Boston group’s study “Celiac Disease Has Higher Treatment Burden Than Common Medical Conditions.” A notable conclusion included thatdespite high treatment burden, celiac disease patients reported high disease specific health state.” As a result, Dr. Shah and her colleagues suggest that, “the burden of following the gluten-free diet may be a reason why adherence is limited and argues for the need for adjunctive therapies.” I personally think that this an important finding given what seems to be continually emerging research on the importance that quality of life plays in celiac disease management.
  • Using data of 7,798 persons observed from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2010, Jinjuvadia et al. discovered that an estimated 1 in 111 individuals in the U.S. population has celiac disease. The group also noted that celiac was more common among men than women. While the disease prevalence is certainly not “new” news, I thought their method was an interesting way to capture celiac disease in the U.S. And, given that we currently believe more females are diagnosed than males, I found their other discovery to be interesting, too.
  • In the world of celiac disease, we are programmed to believe that gluten is evil. Judging by the work of a group of researchers led by Dr. Schuppan (the scientist who led the way in identifying tTG as the celiac disease autoantigen), gluten may not be the only “evil” protein involved. On Saturday the 19th, Alice and I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Zevallos, lead author of the abstract “Isolation of Alpha-Amylase/Trypsin Inhibitors From Various Plants and Their Ability to Activate Innate Immunity in Celiac Disease.Zevallos explained that they recently identified non-gluten components of wheat, the family of alpha-amylase/trypsin inhibitors (ATIs), as powerful activators of innate immunity. This time, they took it one step further and defined three classes of grains, including naturally gluten-free grains, and their substitutes according to their ability to fuel innate immunity activity. Stay tuned for more details as their research continues.
  • The North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease (NASSCD), the U.S. national society of medical, scientific and allied health professionals in the field of celiac disease, held its first General Assembly meeting during DDW. Although I wasn’t able to participate since I’m not a clinician, I attended the reception following the meeting and can attest to the establishment being an exciting development. The new group will provide leadership in advancing the fields of celiac disease and gluten-related disorders by fostering research and by promoting excellence in clinical care, including diagnosis and treatment of patients with these conditions. It’s the first time that the U.S. thought leaders have come together to form a clinical and research focused collaboration.

– Kristin

June 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm 2 comments

A Life Saving Diagnosis: 20 Years Gluten-Free and Counting

Whenever this time of year rolls around, I get this feeling. It’s the feeling that I’m forgetting something like a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion. It just so happens that this year the feeling is especially strong and I remember what’s coming.  June 13.

On the 13th, I will be celebrating 20 years of gluten-freedom and the day that was literally life changing.  Not only did my diagnosis with celiac disease save my life, but it changed it as well.

After giving birth to my healthy baby boy, Cole, my body fell apart and I displayed the classical celiac symptoms – weight loss, fatigue, vomiting, depression, and weakness. I wasn’t even able to climb stairs or turn a faucet.

Mommy and Cole at 2 weeks old

Sick Mommy Holding Baby Cole at 2 Weeks Old

Eventually, I was hospitalized, had a small bowel biopsy, and a positive diagnosis. With Dave holding my hand and Cole in my arms, Dr. Dalke described celiac as a “rare” disease affecting 1 in 2,500 people.  Dave whispered, “I knew you were special but not that special.” Turns out, I’m not really that special with 1 in 133 people living with celiac disease. But I was lucky and the gluten-free diet renewed my health, energy, and disposition.

Mommy and Cole at 6 months old

Healthy Mommy and Cole 6 months after diagnosis

Usually on special anniversaries, gifts are in order.  On my special anniversary, I’d like to share a few of many exceptional gifts I’ve received over the years as a result of my diagnosis.

GIFT 1 – Love of Cooking

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is learning to cook well. You’ll never go hungry and you’ll always have friends.

Learning to cook from scratch was a challenge, but I loved the process.  Before gluten-free products were everywhere and labels read “GF,” I learned to season with fresh herbs, spices and pure ingredients to make sauces and dressing from scratch. I learned which herbs and spices produce which flavors and enhance certain foods. My spice cupboard is more like a pantry!

GIFT 2 – Share the Love.

Hosting dinner parties and sharing meals with friends and family gives me a chance to show that gluten-free doesn’t have to be horrible, difficult, or medicinal. Clean, fresh, pure and easy are my approaches to cooking. Hostess tips include set a beautiful table, involve guests, and have plenty of wine.

Chinese New Year Table

Annual Chinese New Year party menu – homemade egg rolls, blood orange salad, stir fry veggies, steamed rice, Asian bbq pork, sweet rice cake, and Gewurztraminer wine.

GIFT 3 – Friendship – 2 GF BFs

My two gal pals, Jill and Mary, also have celiac disease. These great women have my back in crisis, tragedy, sickness, and gluten episodes. They share my frustration over gluten-free labeling, restaurant mishaps, and family dynamics. We celebrate the GREAT gluten-free life over amazing dinners, annual holiday cookie baking, and family milestones. I cherish them.

Me and My Gluten-Free Friends

Me, Mary, Janna, Jill on Janna’s wedding day. The food…totally gluten-free

– Beckee

June 4, 2012 at 9:00 am 3 comments

Sweet Times Ahead

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our 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 experiences as she follows the Phillies year-round.]

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

On Wednesday, May 30, the Phillies won 10-6 to the New York Mets at Citi Field. Cliff Lee gets a shout out for pitching, and so do old timers Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz for playing a little offense. If the Phightin’ Phils continue to gain runs, they will have sweet times ahead.

My family team has sweet times ahead with birthdays, summer BBQs, wedding festivities and reunions. My sister and I love to find an unexpected Grand Slam in summer food adventures, just as much as watching the Phillies persevere against the New York Mets.

Below are two summer dessert reviews on the following baseball-inspired scale:

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

SO Delicious- Coconut Milk Fudge Bar Minis- certified gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free – Home Run

SO Delicious Coconut Milk Fudge Bar Minis

SO Delicious Coconut Milk Fudge Bar Minis

Overview:  Allergen-friendly packaging alert!  With a certified gluten-free seal, dairy-free and soy-free labels on the front of the box, the SO Delicious Fudge Bar Minis get right to the point: They are safe.

Safety: In addition to the labels on the front of the box, SO Delicious Fudge Bar Minis contain allergen information on the side of the box, which includes that the company sample tests products for the presence of dairy, gluten, peanut, almond and soy allergens.

Note: For more information, visit http://www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com/

Taste:  One sample of the fudge bar is a satisfying mouthful of chocolate texture and flavor.  As the fudge bar melts on your palate, the dessert becomes a delectable chocolate mousse. After the first bite, the overpowering coconut flavor fades and each layer of the mini fudge bar is more delicious than the last.

Result: Coconut Be-LEE-vers and dis-Be-LEE-vers will come together this summer to enjoy the easily digestible and portion controlled fudge bar mini. (Tip: Be creative and enjoy with an assortment of fresh berries, as seen in above picture). 

BYOBS (“Bring Your Own Beach Snack”): Toss the fudge bar in a cooler and enjoy on the beach with friends and family!

Capogiro Kiwi Gelato- gluten-free and lactose free- Grand Slam

Capogiro Gelato in Philadelphia

Kiwi gelato from Capogiro

Overview:  I found it…the perfect summer treat!  The Capogiro Gelato Café is a great spot to bring family or a special summer date.

Safety:  A portion of the flavors displayed at one time are gluten-free and lactose-free.   The staff is knowledgeable of the flavors, so don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Taste:  I was taken by the cool, natural flavor of the kiwi and delightfully surprised by the presence of the fruit seeds seamlessly placed in every mouthful.  Although I am a devoted fan of the kiwi, I love trying a new flavor every time, such as champagne mango.

Result:  A gluten-free and lactose-free taste of Italy in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia.  

Note: There are a few Capogiro Gelato Cafés throughout Philadelphia. For more information: http://capogirogelato.com/wheretobuy.php?c=n

BYOBS (“Bring Your Own Beach Snack”): Purchase gelato in large container with lid. Store in freezer and take out when ready to eat.

Now it’s your turn to try the gluten-free sweets of summer while tuning into the Phillies weekend series against the Florida Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

– Nadina

*Join NFCA on Friday, July 20, 2012 for Celiac Awareness Night at the Phillies. Tickets are now available.

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 her attention at info@celiaccentral.org. Nadina learned that she has non-celiac 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

June 1, 2012 at 10:37 am 1 comment

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