Posts tagged ‘NFCA’

GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour Update from Portland & Seattle: Communication is Key

What an exciting time for GREAT Kitchens and gluten-free dining! I can truly say I just had the trip of a lifetime representing the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) on the GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chefs Table tour. Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington were my destinations and the food and conversation were both exceptional and intriguing. I had the pleasure to work along the side of GREAT Chef Ambassador Chef Jehangir Mehta who is a master with spices and showcasing gluten-free ingredients. My favorite dish that he prepared was… well, all of them. But if I had to narrow it down, the halibut with beets and fried onion ring was primo DELISH!

Halibut with gluten-free onion ring

If I could only pick one favorite, I think the halibut dish would be it.

As a true foodie, having the pleasure of tasting some extraordinary gluten-free meals prepared by some of the top chefs in the country was a thrill. In Portland, my favorite dish by Chef Naomi Pomeroy was the quince gallette and Chef Vitaly Paley’s icebox cake… crazy good. Plus, he made me banana bread for a special treat when we arrived for an early morning TV shoot.  How sweet is that?

GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour Update from Portland & Seattle: Icebox Cake

This gluten-free icebox cake was to die for!

Chef John Howie’s tortilla soup’s spicy broth hit the spotand Chef Holly Smith’s cuttlefish ink risotto had such a mild fish flavor and striking presentation. What a contrast! These dishes celebrated fresh, local ingredients and honored key gluten-free ingredients like tapioca, chickpea flour, sorghum and infused flavors proving that gluten-free options should NOT be boring, bland tasting, or blah-looking – EVER!

GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour Update from Portland & Seattle: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour Update from Portland & Seattle: cuttlefish

Perfectly delicious

All of the host chefs had a keen understanding of celiac disease and many had personal connections. Their interest was sparked by friends or family members that had a need for safe gluten-free meals which generated interest and intrigue in preparing their creations in a gluten-free manner to meet the same exceptional standard and quality as all of their offerings. During their presentations to the guests, they explained that when a “GF” request is made, serving gluten-free foods safely is always top of mind and caution in the kitchen is heightened.

GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour Update from Portland & Seattle: Beckee Moreland

That’s me – talking about GREAT Kitchens.

However, I think the GREATest message from the tour was the importance of communication. GREAT Kitchens training emphasizes the importance of communication from taking the order to the serving of the plate. This is an important component in the training for the foodservice community to ensure safe preparation of gluten-free meals for our community. The training stresses continuous communication from host, server, manager, chef and server to get that order right with no mistakes along the way. But the communication doesn’t begin with the host greeting the guest; it really begins with the gluten-free diner. We really need to make our needs known and be clear to the restaurant and chef about what they are. People are eating gluten-free for all kinds of reasons from medical necessities such as celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’) or maybe other medical conditions, but it’s quite possible the diner is eating gluten-free for the perceived health benefit brought on by the gluten-free fad diet. This muddles the message that we need to ensure restaurants receive. Chefs have requests for all kinds of allergies, diets, substitutions, and even requests from plain old picky eaters.

When you go out to eat, make it clear. Communicate. Use NFCA’s Dining Tips Sheet as a guide. Say “I have celiac disease and I must eat gluten-free for my health. This is not a choice. Can you serve me safely?” See what sort of response you get – you might be pleasantly surprised.

How do you handle dining out gluten-free? What has your experience been like? Tell me in the comments section below or on NFCA’s Facebook page. The GREAT Kitchens Chef’s Table Tour stopped San Francisco today and we’re hitting Los Angeles on Wednesday, so be sure to check for updates on Facebook, Instagram or follow NFCA (@celiacawareness) and Chef Mehta (@jehangir_mehta) on Twitter. Be sure to search for the hashtags #GREATKitchens or #GFChefsTable!

Safe and delicious dining to you all!
– Beckee

November 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour – Coming to a City Near You!

Alice BastThe National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is proud to call Chef Jehangir Mehta, a finalist on the popular Next Iron Chef series, a partner in creating safe gluten-free options in restaurants so people living with gluten-related disorders can eat without fear.

NFCA team members and Chef Mehta will be taking NFCA’s online gluten-free cooking program on the road over the next six months. Introducing the GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour! The tour will cover 10 cities with the goal of educating chefs nationwide on the need for gluten-free menu items that go beyond just using gluten-free ingredients. It is amazing to see gluten-free options popping up on menus across the country, but unless restaurants are educated on the importance of safe gluten-free food preparation, our community cannot dine safely.

Many things have changed in the 20+ years that I have been diagnosed with celiac disease. When I was diagnosed, gluten-free food was not even available in the U.S. Today, we have access to a wide range of gluten-free food, but the next step on our journey is ensuring all gluten-free food is safe for our community. A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for people living with celiac disease; there are currently no pills, vaccines or cures for celiac disease. Research is taking us closer, but for now, we have to ensure the people living with this autoimmune disease can have access to the food that is our only medicine.

It has been 10 years since NFCA first opened its doors and set out on its mission to raise celiac disease awareness and improve the quality of life for those on a lifelong gluten-free diet. In that time, I have met many chefs and foodservice industry professionals eager to understand celiac disease, the gluten-free diet and our need for food to be free from gluten-containing ingredients and the gluten that can enter our food through cross-contact (commonly referred to as cross-contamination by the gluten-free community). These professionals are eager to accommodate their guests, but first they have to know training and resources are available to help.

NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens program gives restaurant employees from the wait staff to the chefs the tools they need to serve safe gluten-free food. Our ten city tour will help spread GREAT Kitchens logo the message that for the 3 million Americans living with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is not a fad, but the only way to restore their health and reclaim their lives. Ranging from cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, we will be working with executive chefs in some of the best restaurants – complete with gluten-free cooking demonstrations, of course!

Stay tuned as we start the journey at Chef Mehta’s Tribeca restaurant, Mehtaphor on Tuesday, October 22.  Follow the tour by liking NFCA’s Facebook page and following NFCA on Twitter (@CeliacAwareness) and Instagram (@CeliacCentral).  Chef Mehta will also be live tweeting from the road.  Follow him at @jehangir_mehta.

To our GREAT health,
Alice

October 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm Leave a comment

10 Easy Ways to Celebrate Celiac Awareness Day 2013

Raising awareness is a prime focus here at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).  So, you can image that we have lots of ideas for raising celiac disease awareness every day, but especially on Friday, September 13 – Celiac Awareness Day.

Even if you are short on time, we have ideas that will have a big impact if we all work together.  Check out our 10 suggestions for raising celiac disease awareness:

Share the Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist

Did you know 83% of the estimated 3 million Americans living with celiac disease are still undiagnosed or misdiagnosed?  You can help put these people on the path to diagnosis by sharing the Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist.  Share it on social media or print it out and hand it to a friend, coworker or family member.

Provide your insight for parents of gluten-free kids.

Maybe your child has been diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’) for a while.  Perhaps you have a newly diagnosed child, but found a great trick for making things easier for them and yourself.  Either way, share your tip with NFCA for the Back to School Gluten-Free Tip series.  When you do, you’ll automatically be entered to win two mixed cases of Crunchmaster Cheezy & Grammy Crisps.  Grab all the details here.

Try a new recipe.

Cook something new for dinner this weekend.  Not only will this help you find additional recipe options, but if you share it with a friend, you’ll be proving just how delicious gluten-free can be.

Wear green.

Show your support by wearing green – green pants, shirt, shoes, nail polish, hair ribbon, socks, whatever!  If you’re feeling extra adventurous, upload a picture of you and your friends wearing green to NFCA’s Facebook page.  We’ll add it to our “Wear Green” photo album.

Help get the facts out there.

NFCA has a section for printable guides.  Consider printing a few, like the “What is Celiac Disease?” information sheet, and leave them at your doctor’s office or favorite local store.

Use a hashtag.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we got #celiacawareness trending on Twitter?  Tweet a celiac disease statistic to spread the word to your followers.  Feel free to give NFCA a shout out at @CeliacAwareness, too!

Donate or make a purchase in honor of Celiac Awareness Day.

At NFCA, we appreciate every donation we receive, whether it’s for $10 or $1,000, it truly makes a difference in our ability to provide free programs and services to people living with gluten-related disorders.  If you live in the Philadelphia area, consider attending our 10 Year Anniversary Celebration, a fundraiser for the organization.  If you can’t attend, you can always share the details with someone you know.

Some organizations, like Scent-Sations, make a donation to NFCA when one of their products are purchased.  More details can be found here.

Talk to your family about celiac disease testing.

Since celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease, meaning that it runs in families, it’s important for family members to get tested, whether they have symptoms or not.  Raise awareness in your family by sharing the facts.  We have some tools to help you get the conversation started.

Make sure you are up to date on the latest celiac disease news and research.

Researchers are working hard to better understand various aspects of celiac disease.  Visit NFCA’s Research News Feed to stay up to date on their findings and check in periodically with the Drug Development and Clinical Research page to see how you can get involved in advancing research.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially ruled on gluten-free food labeling.  Learn what it means for you and your family by registering for the free NFCA webinar, “Understanding the FDA’s Gluten-Free Labeling Rule: What You Need to Know.”  NFCA will also compile an informational sheet with key details from the webinar in the weeks following the live airing.  If you can’t make it, don’t worry!  Just register for the webinar and we’ll e-mail you a link to the archived version when it becomes available.

Share your ideas with NFCA.

These are just some of the many ways we can all work together to raise awareness.  Tell us how you’re celebrating!  Leave a comment on this blog, tweet us at @CeliacAwareness or drop us a line on our Facebook page.

Thanks for reading!  I can’t wait to hear everyone’s ideas.  Happy Celiac Awareness Day!

–          Alicia

September 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm 3 comments

Holiday Wish List

The following is a guest post from Amie Valpone, a Manhattan based Personal Chef, Culinary Marketing Consultant, Whole Living Expert, Professional Recipe Developer and Food Writer specializing in simple Gluten-Free ‘Clean’ recipes for the home cook.

Looking for a few fun stocking stuffers or gifts to get for your loved ones?

Look no further!  I’ve got a list of fun surprises that were carefully curated for your home, kitchen and beauty routine.  Many don’t take up space so you can stuff them into Christmas stockings with no problem.

The perfect gift isn’t easy to find so let me do that job for you. I’ve scoured the web for my 2012 gift guide to streamline your holiday shopping and keep you jolly!

Happy Holidays!

Foodie Favorites

YS Eco Bee Farms Raw Honey

Offer your honey the gift of raw honey in its true, solid state. YS Eco Bee Farms is a pioneer in organic bee farming and you can taste the purity of their product in every bite of this rich, creamy, decadent treat. Packed with natural antioxidants and healing agents, raw honey is amazing in hot teas, on toast, in desserts, with peanut butter—and quite honestly, on a spoon. You can also use this product to make your own beauty products.

Chocolove Dark Chocolate Bar with Almonds and Sea Salt

Dark semi-sweet Belgian chocolate + whole dry roasted almonds + sea salt = a chocolate lover’s dream! All Chocolove bars contain a love poem inside. How sweet is that?!

Pamela’s Products Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Gluten and Wheat Free)

Tantalizing, decadent cookies by Pamela’s Products are gluten-free, wheat-free and non-dairy—and sure to delight dark chocolate lovers (even those with dietary limitations.) The box is adorable and very “giftable.”  (Hint: these cookies are deliciously scone-like in their dryness and taste and are especially yummy when dipped into icy cold almond milk from Blue Diamond Almond Breeze!)

Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams and White Chocolate Wonderful

Peanut Butter & Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams is indeed the stuff of dreams. All natural no-stir peanut butter blends with rich dark chocolate for an amazing spread, ice cream topper or BFF to organic fruit.

Give as a gift along with Peanut Butter & Co.’s White Chocolate Wonderful (soooo good with a cold, fresh pear) and reinvent the experience of peanut butter for someone you love.

Navitas Naturals Raw Chocolate Organic Cacao Nibs

Give the gift of antioxidants, iron, magnesium…and let’s not forget dark chocolate with this certified organic, raw, vegan treat. A foodie must-have, raw chocolate nibs are packed with flavonols and polyphenols. These nibs are also great for baking, delicious in smoothies and decadent in oatmeal or yogurt.

Green Mountain Coffee Dark Magic Extra Bold Dark Roast Keurig K-Cups

For serious coffee drinkers, Dark Magic by Green Mountain Coffee is truly a magical java and bound to become a favorite of anyone closely attached to their Keurig machine. This 100% Arabica coffee blend offers an intense, bold start to your morning.

Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten-Free Dreams Pancake and Waffle Mix

There’s no better treat than fluffy pancakes, hot off the griddle. Free of gluten, nuts, wheat, eggs, dairy and peanuts, this decadent mix by Cherrybrook Kitchen offers a home-cooked treat for people with special diets that will delight everyone else at the breakfast table, too.

Vitacost Extra Virgin Certified Organic Coconut Oil

This super-food is an amazing butter substitute in baking, adds a lightly sweet taste in high-heat cooking and can be used for skin and hair health, too.

The Gift of Gorgeous

DevaCurl Volumizing Frizz-Free Foam

Curly-haired friends will love this frizz-free volumizer, which is free of sulfates, parabens and silicone.

Deep Steep Candy Mist Foot Cream Dynamic Duo Gift Set

Tired feet and legs? This energizing gift set is infused with cooling essential oils and rich Shea butter for a healing and rejuvenating lift. Plus, the deodorizing mist gets rid of foot stinkies! You’ll appreciate that it’s already adorably packaged to fit right under the Christmas tree or beside the menorah.

Alba Botanic Hawaiian Sea Salt Body Scrub

Baby, it might be cold outside, but you can feel as dewy and smooth as if you just emerged from a tropical getaway with this delightful, invigorating citrus scrub. Hypoallergenic and gentle enough for all skin types, this exfoliating medley of tropical oils is scented with jojoba, kukui, macadamia and sweet almond.

DermOrganic Leave-In Treatment with Argan Oil

Made from certified organic argan oil from Morocco, this cruelty-free and vegan hair helper revitalizes and repairs strands, adding softness and shine.  Not only does it protect your locks from thermal damage, it speeds drying time by 30% so you won’t need that hair dryer in the first place!

Earth Therapeutics Neck Pillow

Soft, fleecy U-shaped pillow snuggles around your neck to take you away to your relaxing, happy place. Heat it in the microwave to intensify the scent of lavender and chamomile for an added dose of aahhhh…

Desert Essence Organics Coconut Hand and Body Lotion

This 100% vegan and cruelty-free body lotion is exceptionally kind to your skin, as well. Rich, tropical organic extracts give it its scent and sheen.

Monoi Tiare Tahiti Vanilla Coconut Oil

It sounds delicious—but this light, delicate oil isn’t for eating. Turn any massage into a tropical experience with this exotic body oil, enhanced by the scent of fresh Tahitian gardenias.

Organic Figi Lemongrass Tangerine Nourishing Lotion

This GMO-free, paraben-free lotion pampers skin with cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil infused with a delectable lemongrass and tangerine scent.

Earth Therapeutics Dream Zone Sleep Mask

With a gossamer-soft blend of silk and cotton resting coolly above your eyelids, sweet dreams are easy. Perfect for frequent travelers, light sleepers—and that significant other who complains that you need to sleep with a light on.

Home Sweet Home

Numi Teas Glass Teahouse Teapot

Unique, hand-blown glass teapot captures a flowering tea in bloom and serves up to 14 oz. of delicious, individually brewed tea.

Kiss My Face Peace Candle in Lemongrass Clary Sage

Adorably boxed in 100% recycled packaging, this clean-burning candle is made from hand-poured soy wax and scented with delightful essential oils. It has a 38-hour burn time and 10% of profits support Seeds of Peace.

Aloha Bay Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamp

A warm, peaceful glow emanates from this 110V light fixture, which is made from crystal salt mined from 200-million-year-old salt layers located at the foot of the Himalayas. When the crystal heats, it purifies the air by removing dust, pollen and cigarette smoke.

Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Room Diffuser

Deodorize, naturally. This plug-in unit uses low levels of heat to volatize essential oils. Perfect for rooms inhabited by pets!

Bodum Chambord French Press 8-Cup Coffee Maker

Designed by Normandy craftsman, this coffee maker has been a favorite brewing method of diehard coffee aficionados for decades.

“If the Shoe Fits, Buy It” Coin Purse by Blue Q

Too cute for words! The perfect gift for the shoe addict in your life, this adorable vintage-inspired woven bag is made from 95% post-consumer material.

Aloha Bay Chakra Candle Healing Jar

Made from 100% pure essential oils including lavandin, orange and tangerine, this healing jar is the perfect gift for someone who is dealing with heartache or grief, because it is inspired by the “heart chakra,” the center of compassion and love.

Want more gift ideas?  Check out the  2012 Gluten-Free Holiday Gift Guide from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).

– Amie
www.TheHealthyApple.com

December 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Celiac Disease Information, Please!

Celiac Disease Information, Please!

Even the slightest brush with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders can bring questions to mind.  Lots of questions. The first question usually is … where do I turn for the answers that I need right now?

Most of you know that all of the information on www.CeliacCentral.org is available free of charge and to all comers.  The site covers lots of topics from “What is Celiac Disease?” to “Can I eat spelt on a gluten-free diet?” to getting the scoop on the latest research in the field.

But, from time to time, you just need to ask someone who can and will respond to you directly and personally.  Enter the marvelous ladies who have volunteered to answer the questions coming to NFCA via info@CeliacCentral.org.

Last month while I was visiting my family in Virginia, I slipped away to Washington, DC, to have lunch with one of these amazing women.  Gayle Wald has been ‘manning’ the info@CeliacCentral.org account for over three years, come rain or come shine. She has helped to train the new kids on the block and, undoubtedly, has dispensed answers and information to hundreds of writers with questions about their own situations.

When Gayle is not helping fellow celiac patients, she works as a professor at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and is Chair of the Department of English there. She lives in the District with her husband and son.

At Gayle’s suggestion, we had a healthy and delicious lunch at Founding Farmers, a restaurant specializing in farm-to-table fare just a few blocks from the White House vegetable garden. And, yes, they serve gluten-free dishes.

Gayle Wald

Gayle Wald, just one of NFCA’s wonderful volunteers

Unbelievably, this was the first time that I had met Gayle personally.  It was great fun getting to know the woman behind the email address. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is extremely fortunate to have the benefit of her experience, along with the true care and concern that all of the ‘Women of Info@’ bring to this program.  I truly look forward to meeting each one personally, a neat trick as they live across the country from Pittsburgh to Wyoming to Iowa and beyond.

So, when you send NFCA an email, you will encounter one of these very special volunteers:

Kerry Doyle-Gundlach
Emma Lemon
Lori Magee
Rebecca Podio
Yana Thaker
Rebecca Lownes Urbano
Gayle Wald

A huge thanks to them all –and to Joanne Gallagher for keeping their “on duty” schedules straight. They are maaahvelous!

–        Nancy

 

June 6, 2012 at 10:00 am Leave a comment


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