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Friday, September 30, 2011
Expo East Wrap-Up: Part 1

Last week I attended Natural Products ExpoEast in Baltimore, MD. For those of you unfamiliar with ExpoEast, this is one of the premier natural foods shows in the entire country. Organized by New Hope Natural Media, "The show engaged over 20,000 industry members, representing 80 countries, and the show floor comprised of 1,450 exhibits." Although not every exhibitor was gluten-free, I can say without reservation that gluten-free was one of the most popular themes at the Expo.

This show is no joke. When I first walked into the Baltimore Convention Center, I was overwhelmed with the sheer size of the building and the layout of the Expo. Once I got my bearings, I started in the New Product Pavilion. This was the perfect way to start the show. These vendors were all launching new products to the natural foods market. The gluten-free, new product stand-outs included:

  • Catalyst Gourmet: "All Natural, Gluten-Free, Artisan, Innovative Gourmet Blends."  According to founder Kaushika Patel, it is not uncommon to say "WOW" when you smell these blends. I did just that when I smelled the Enchanted Chai blend. Adding some to a sample of apple cider, it tasted as good as it smelled. The packaging was cute too! These would make a wonderful gift for your favorite chef.
  • Sheffa Savory Bars: These bars caught me totally off-guard, in a good way. Almost all of the gluten-free bars on the market these days are sweet and nutty. These bars were the exact opposite. They were savory and full of flavorful herbs and spices. As soon as these hit the shelves, I plan on eating these again. They are due out later this year.  

    Next up was the ExpoEast exhibit floor. Whoa... Yep, over 1,400 booths in one building. This was truly the mecca of all food shows I have ever been to in my life. (Rumor has it that ExpoWest is even bigger) There are just so many amazing gluten-free products both new to the market and new-to-me to report on. There were also a handful of gluten-free importers that I want to keep an eye on as well. For this blog post, I am focusing on the new products only. New-to-me and imports will be posted next week.

    My gluten-free highlights include:
    • Mareblu Naturals Almond Rice Pops: "wholesome rice crisps, crunchy roasted almonds and sweet dried blueberries." Think puffed rice treats with almonds and blueberries. This snack comes in a huge bag which can be purchased directly through the website.
    • Wan Ja Shan Asian Sauces: A new line of organic, gluten-free sauces including organic Worcestershire sauce, organic Ponzu (citrus seasoned soy sauce), organic wheat-free tamari, and organic low-sodium wheat-free tamari. Please note that not all of Wan Ja Shan sauces are gluten-free so be sure to read the label. I was most excited about the organic Ponzu product, although I didn't try any of these sauces at the show. 
    • Dr. Schar Frozen Pizza: That's right, you will soon have another great Schar product to enjoy. Although I didn't try the pizza, I have never tasted a Dr. Schar product that I didn't like. I am sure this pizza will be another new favorite of mine. This frozen gluten-free pizza should be on the shelves soon.
    • Mama Jess: Organic "kids" pasta sauce. I put kids in quotes because that is how Mama Jess markets itself but I would definitely suggest this sauce to anyone who is looking for an organic pasta sauce without sugar. The Bean Good sauce is vegan, gluten-free, and made from a northern bean puree. The Garden Good sauce is chock full of veggies. I have to admit, I first stopped by the Mama Jess booth because I loved the logo and my lovely sister is also a mama named Jess and I wanted to text a picture of their booth to my sister. I was not disappointed that I stopped by, these sauces are delicious. 
    • Udi's Gluten-Free Muffin Tops and Frozen Pizza: Udi's is expanding their popular gluten-free line with new products later this fall. The Blueberry Oat Nutri-Tops are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. They also have 5g of fiber, 2g of protein, and only 130 calories per muffin top. The frozen pizzas are coming in three flavors including Pepperoni Pizza, Margherita Pizza, and Three Cheese Pizza. 
    • Chobani: The Greek yogurt favorite is adding three new flavors to their line this fall including apple cinnamon, blood orange, and passion fruit. I tried the apple cinnamon and felt like I was eating apple pie with yogurt. I was pleasantly surprised by the chunks of apples and the cinnamon swirl. This felt like dessert in a cup. I love Chobani and they certainly have another big hit on their plate! 

      Stay tuned for even more products from ExpoEast next week including gluten-free veggie burgers, bagel chips, wraps, and more!

      Expo East Mosaic
      1. Catalyst Gourmet, 2. Savory Bars from Sheffa, 3. Udi's Nutri Tops, 4. Udi's Frozen Pizza, 5. Almond Rice Pops, 6. Wan Ja Shan GF Sauces, 7. Mama Jess GF Sauce, 8. Natural Products Expo East

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      Thursday, September 29, 2011
      McDonald's and Gluten
      To this day, my post "McDonald's Fries are NOT gluten-free" still gets the most traffic. I know that restaurants update their ingredients from time to time, so I thought I would revisit this topic. Guess what?? McDonald's fries are still NOT gluten-free.

      Please note: All information in this blog posting is for McDonald's in the United States only. From the comments and tweets I am getting, it looks like McDonald's around the world have VERY different ingredients. Beware!

      Here are a few other menu items that might surprise as having gluten. You can find all of this information and the complete list of ingredients for all products on the McDonald's website.

      French Fries: Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*), citric acid (preservative), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), salt. Prepared in vegetable oil ((may contain one of the following: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness), dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent).
      *CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK (Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients).

      Hash Brown: Potatoes, vegetable oil (canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor [wheat and milk derivatives]*, citric acid [preservative]), salt, corn flour, dehydrated
      potato, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), extractives of black pepper. Prepared in vegetable oil: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness. Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.
      *CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK. (Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients).

      Big Mac® Sauce: Soybean oil, pickle relish [diced pickles, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, vinegar, corn syrup, salt, calcium chloride, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate (preservative), spice extractives, polysorbate 80], distilled vinegar, water, egg yolks, high fructose corn syrup, onion powder, mustard seed, salt, spices, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate (preservative), mustard bran, sugar, garlic powder, vegetable protein (hydrolyzed corn, soy and wheat), caramel color, extractives of paprika, soy lecithin, turmeric (color), calcium disodium EDTA (protect flavor).

      New Premium Ranch Sauce: Soybean oil, buttermilk, water, sour cream (milk, cream, food starch-modified, guar gum, sodium phosphate, carob bean gum, sodium citrate, carrageenan, dextrose, potassium sorbate), egg yolks, distilled vinegar, maltodextrin, salt, dextrose, food starch-modified, soy sauce (soybeans, wheat, salt), dried onion, garlic powder, lactic acid, natural flavor (vegetable source), shallots, preservatives (sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, calcium disodium EDTA), xanthan gum, spice, phosphoric acid, sodium acid sulfate, propylene glycol alginate, autolyzed yeast extract.

      Snack Size Fruit & Walnut Salad: Apple Slices and Red Grapes [apples, red grapes, calcium ascorbate (a blend of calcium and vitamin C added to maintain natural freshness and color)].

      Candied Walnuts: walnuts (TBHQ and BHT added as preservatives), sugar, peanut oil, dry honey, salt, wheat starch, maltodextrin, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, natural
      (plant source) and artificial flavor.

      Sweet 'N Sour Sauce: High fructose corn syrup, water, apricot puree concentrate, peach puree concentrate, distilled vinegar, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), salt, food starchmodified, dextrose, soybean oil, xanthan gum, spices, sodium benzoate (preservative), natural flavors (fruit, vegetable and plant source), garlic powder, cellulose
      gum, dried chili peppers, malic acid, onion powder, caramel color, extractives of paprika, succinic acid.

      Newman's Own® Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing: Water, soy sauce (soybeans, wheat, salt), sugar, corn syrup solids, distilled vinegar, soybean oil, freeze dried orange juice concentrate, roasted sesame seed oil, corn starch, guajillo pepper, ginger, dehydrated onion, corn vinegar, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated bell pepper, brown sugar, garlic, salt, parsley, xanthan gum, apple cider vinegar, spices, citric acid, sea salt, caramel color, maltodextrin.

      Newman's Own® Low Fat Family Recipe Italian Dressing: Water, corn syrup solids, distilled vinegar, Romano cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), soybean oil, sea salt, sugar, worcestershire sauce [distilled vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, water, salt, caramel color, garlic powder, sugar, spices, tamarind, natural flavor (fruit source)], anchovy paste (cured anchovies, salt, water), dried onion, dried garlic, spices, xanthan gum, barley malt extract (contains barley gluten), citric acid, paprika (color), hydrolyzed soy protein.

      Tangy Barbeque Sauce: High fructose corn syrup, water, tomato paste, grape vinegar, distilled vinegar, salt, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), food starch-modified, spices, dextrose, soybean oil, natural smoke flavor (plant source), xanthan gum, caramel color, garlic powder, cellulose gum, dried chili peppers, malic acid, natural flavor (fruit and
      vegetable source), onion powder, sodium benzoate (preservative), succinic acid.

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      Wednesday, September 28, 2011
      Free Gluten-Free Sandwiches in DC This Friday!
      If I lived in DC, I would be all over this event on Friday. The new gluten-free Genius bread is awesome and the sandwiches are free! What could be better? If you go, drop me a note.

      Free sandwiches to be served, including original recipe from Equinox’s Todd Gray

      Who: D.C.’s own sâuçá food truck is teaming up with leading gluten-free brand, Glutino, to offer customers FREE gluten-free sandwiches for lunch on September 30.

      What: For the first time, D.C.’s unique sâuçá food truck will be serving up delicious, made-to-order gluten-free sandwiches, courtesy of Glutino, to generate awareness of NEW Genius® by Glutino® bread hitting grocery store freezers now.

      The event also coincides with the final days of public comment on the FDA’s gluten-free food labeling ruling. The FDA’s proposed ruling will help create a uniform and enforceable definition of gluten-free food labeling, an important step for the safety of those eating gluten-free.

      When: Friday, September 30, 2011
      11:00 am – 2:00 pm

      Where: Farragut Square
      K St NW and 17th St NW
      Washington, D.C., 20006

      Contact: Jessica Benjamin, Glutino

      Background Glutino, a trusted pioneer and leader in convenient gluten-free living, has teamed up with sâuçá to celebrate the introduction of Genius® by Glutino® bread to its extensive line of gluten-free products. Soft and light in texture, Genius by Glutino bread features full-sized bread slices that are perfect for making sandwiches and is available in two great tasting varieties, White and Multigrain Sandwich Bread.

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      Tuesday, September 27, 2011
      Come Meet Dr. Alessio Fasano in New York
      The distinguished Alessio Fasano, M.D., world-renowned researcher of Celiac Disease, Pediatric Gastroenterologist, research scientist and head of the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research will be giving a presentation on Celiac Disease.

      Please join The Suffolk County Celiacs on November 6th when Dr. Fasano will be presenting “Celiac Research, 16 years of Discovery.” There will be an opportunity for Q & A after the presentation.

      Date: Sunday, November 6, 2011
      Place: The Sheraton Hotel (Vanderbilt Room)
      110 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway
      Hauppauge, New York 11788

      12:30 - Vendor Access
      2:00 - Dr. Fasano
      3:00 - Q&A
      4:00 - Vendor Access
      5:00 - Event Ending

      Price: $25.00 per ticket

      Seating is very limited and available by advanced purchase only.

      Gluten free lunch available for purchase.

      Click here for more information including how to purchase tickets.

      Don't know Dr. Fasano? You can view a recent video from Dr. Fasano regarding the proposed FDA labeling law below.

      Fasano FDA from UM news on Vimeo.

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      Monday, September 26, 2011
      Gluten-Free Celebrities
      There is a lot of hype around gluten-free celebrities. Some have Celiac, most do not but everyone seems to get excited to learn about who of their favorite stars are now gluten-free. None of this excites me. I admit, I do like to hear the words gluten-free on TV or read it in the mainstream press but knowing that a celebrity has tried the gluten-free diet and likes it does not impress me. I don't care that Gwenyth talks about it on her blog, that Elisabeth "educates" (often with false information) on TV, or that Mariel has a new cookie. My gluten-free celebrities are quite different.

      To me, gluten-free celebrities are the people on the ground who are making a difference for those of us with Celiac Disease. These celebrities are the ones educating others about celiac disease, writing gluten-free blogs and cookbooks, providing us with gluten-free products that allow us to eat healthily and live our best gluten-free lives, and basically making our gluten-free world a better place.

      This weekend I was privileged to meet and reconnect with lots of gluten-free celebrities at Expo East in Baltimore, MD and WPIX11 Health and Wellness Expo. Yes, I tried lots of new gluten-free food and stuffed my face for two days straight but to me the highlight of the weekend was meeting the real folks in our gluten-free world. I don't mean to brag, but meeting these folks was a really big deal to me! Here are some of the great people that I spent time with this weekend:

      I am sure I am forgetting some people so my apologies in advance. It really was such an amazing weekend; being surrounded by so many inspiring gluten-free individuals was terrific. Stay tuned for my food reviews and announcements in the upcoming days. There is really so much to cover!

      Bob Moore, founder of Bob's Red Mill, and I at Expo East

      Carol Kicinski, of Simply Gluten-Free, and I at the Kinnikinnick booth at Expo East

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      Tuesday, September 20, 2011
      Scott's Pizza Tours Hosts 1st Gluten Free Pizza Safari

      On Saturday, October 15  Scott's Pizza Tours will offer a specialty bus-guided pizza safari of gluten-free pizzerias in New York City. The tour starts and ends in Greenwich Village but our stops will be all over the city. We'll meet with owners, chefs and managers for Q&A sessions to find out more about their preparation methods as we sample a slice at each stop. Not only will the pizza be gluten-free, but each slice will also represent a different historical or geographic style. Neapolitan, Roman and New York slices will all be part of the curriculum on this amazing adventure. Every participant will receive a Pizza Tour Survival Kit, filled with materials to help analyze the day's slices - including gluten free candy! There will also be detailed discussion about the history, culture, chemistry, physics, economics and flavor of pizza.

      $60 per ticket
      All pizza is included in the ticket price. The tour will take a bus from location to location.

      The tour will be led by Scott Wiener, who has been guiding tours of New York's most significant pizzerias since 2008. He has been featured on the Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Daily News and several print and online publications because of his depth of pizza knowledge. Scott also writes for the pizza blog Slice and has a monthly column in Pizza Today Magazine. The tour has been ranked in TripAdvisor's Top 10 for over two years and is currently listed as the #1 tour in New York City on Yelp! This Gluten Free Pizza Safari is being offered as part of National Pizza Month along with several other specialty tours. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so $1 will be donated to the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation for every pizza tour participant throughout the month. 

      $60 per ticket
      All pizza is included in the ticket price. The tour will take a bus from location to location.

      What is not included?Beverages are not provided at most of the tour stops. It is strongly suggested that you bring a refillable water container. A wedge of lemon will aid digestion!
      Meeting LocationDowntown Manhattan (New York, NY)
      Exact meeting location details will be provided immediately upon purchase of ticket.

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      Monday, September 19, 2011
      The Soft Serve Fruit Co. Gluten-Free Happy Hour

      The Soft Serve Fruit Co. Gluten-Free Happy Hour

      Monday, Sept. 26 5pm-7pm 1371 Third Ave  Between 78th St and 79th St 50% off your entire order (with Meetup RSVP ticket)

      The Soft Serve Fruit Co. makes the tastiest and healthiest alternative to soft serve ice cream or frozen yogurt. Simply put, it is a dairy free, gluten free, certified kosher frozen fruit served as a delicious soft serve treat. They make their soft serve fruit with only three ingredients:  
      • Natural Fruit
      • Filtered Water
      • Organic Cane Sugar
      Their Soft Serve Fruit is 100% Natural and is: vegan, dairy free (correct, that means no yogurt or milk),   fat free, gluten free, cholesterol free, and free of all 8 major food allergens. 

      Join the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group on Monday, September 26 from 5-7pm for The Soft Serve Fruit Co. Gluten-Free Happy Hour. From 5pm-7pm, NYC Celiac Disease Meetup members can get 50% off anything in the shop. Simply RSVP Yes, print out your ticket (print option will appear once you respond), and present your RSVP ticket to The Soft Serve Fruit Co. during the Gluten-Free Happy Hour.

      Learn more about The Soft Serve Fruit Co. here:
      You can also find them on  Facebook and  Twitter

      Don't forget to print your ticket after you RSVP! You will need this to get your 50% discount during the Gluten-Free Happy Hour!

      Please note, this discount is only available at the 3rd Avenue location with your ticket!

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      Thursday, September 15, 2011
      Gluten-Free at PIX11 Health & Wellness Expo
      For my readers in the Tri-State area, here is an upcoming event. Leave me a comment if you plan on going. Maybe we can meet up, I will definitely be there.

      This September PIX11 is bringing together the top experts in the health and wellness fields for an all-day, all-ages expo. The PIX11 Health & Wellness Expo will take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan on September 25th from 11am to 5pm and will be hosted by Dr. Steve Salvatore, of the nationally syndicated program ―Dr. Steve.

      PIX11 has created a special offer for exclusive use by NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group members. Members will receive a $5.00 discount off the $15.00 advanced sale Expo ticket price. Please visit our website for details and the "secret" code.

      Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011
      Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
      New York, NY

      Through the use of classes, demonstrations, seminars and hands-on experience, PIX11 will provide a day of information and entertainment that the whole family will enjoy.

      The event will bring a variety of doctors, nutritionists, sports and fitness specialists, wellness celebrities, authors and a diverse group of experts in the areas of: Food Allergies, Breast Cancer Awareness, Diabetes Prevention and Treatment, Thyroid Disease - Detection and Care, Pregnancy Health, Men’s Fitness, Childhood Obesity Prevention, Sinus/Snoring/Sleep Apnea and GERD treatment options, Naturopathic Medicine, Vitamins as Natural Medicine, Figuring Out Fiber, Gluten-free Eating, Taking Charge of Your Health and How to Get Healthcare if You Lose Your Health Insurance.

      The Gluten Free exhibit area is anchored by Gluten Freely, LLC, and the participating advocacy group is The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

      Gluten Freely is a community and e-commerce website with many different resources for gluten-free and celiac awareness, which provides a wealth of information on living a gluten free lifestyle. A wide variety of products are offered in their online store and the site also provides a growing list of easy to make, gluten free recipes. In the Gluten Freely Community Section, users can read blogs, comment on them, join a conversation, ask a question and even share their own stories. Gluten Freely, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of BrandJourney Venturing, LLC which works closely with General Mills, Inc., in the development and operation of the website and e-commerce business.

      The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) was formed as a national 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization to raise awareness of celiac disease among the general public and the healthcare community, and to facilitate research to better understand the causes, mechanisms, and treatment of celiac disease. NFCA is affiliated with the leading researchers internationally and supports collaboration and partnership among scientists and institutions to optimize research potential with the goal of improving the quality of life for those who have celiac disease.

      At the Expo, there are two speaking presentations for the Gluten-Free community scheduled thus far:

      • Food Allergies 101 will be presented by Dr. Scott H. Scherer, Professor of Pediatrics, Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and member of the Medical Advisory Board for FAAN / the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. He will discuss prevalence, symptoms, current diagnosis/treatment and prospects for a cure. Founded in 1991, FAAN is the world leader in information, resources, and programs for food allergy, a potentially life-threatening medical condition that afflicts approximately 12 million Americans, or one out of every 25. It is dedicated to increasing public awareness of food allergy and its consequences, educating people about the condition, and to advancing research on behalf of all those affected by it.
      • Gluten-Free Eating: 10 Worries to Forget Forever will be presented by Nicole Hunn, the author of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, a cookbook and guide to making gluten-free eating enjoyable and affordable. Nicole has been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times and the New York Daily News and has appeared on television and radio programs such as ABC News New York and the nationally syndicated Michael Smerconish Show. She has also written feature articles for Living Without Magazine and Gluten-Free Living, and her next cookbook is due out in late 2012. Nicole is a former practicing lawyer and a mother of three young children. She provides new gluten-free recipes and tips every week on her blog:

      Also note that PIX 11’s healthy lifestyle show Dr. Steve (Sunday’s 6:30-7PM) will be a must-see in October (airdate TBA) for sufferers of food allergies, and celiac disease, and for those that must live on a gluten free diet! A special gluten free informational segment featuring Nicloe Hunn and an expert representative from Gluten Freely will help to alleviate many of the common concerns of gluten-free cooking and eating. In addition to airing on PIX 11 in New York, The Dr. Steve Show will soon be televised in 17 major markets* providing national exposure for this special gluten free awareness segment! (* New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington DC, Houston, Seattle, Miami, Sacramento, Portland, Indianapolis, San Diego, Hartford, Harrisburg, Grand Rapids, and New Orleans)

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      Tuesday, September 13, 2011
      Happy Celiac Awareness Day: Celebration Tips
      Today is Celiac Awareness Day. Never could I have imagined this day five years ago, let alone 30 years ago when I was diagnosed in 1981. Yep... thirty whole years of living gluten-free and proud of it!

      Some of you reading might think that this day isn't worth celebrating because you are still feeling really sick or you are struggling being gluten-free. Trust me, it gets better and you are living in the gluten-free primes of your lives! You have hundreds of gluten-free options on supermarket shelves and online, you have Facebook/Twitter/blogs to connect with other gluten-free folks, and you have so much more awareness than ever before. Now is your chance to not only educate yourself about Celiac Disease, but to educate others.

      In honor of Celiac Awareness Day, here are my suggestions of how to celebrate the day.

      1. Join a local or online Celiac support group. Realize you are not alone in your gluten-free life.

      2. Try a new gluten-free recipe. Don't be afraid to experiment in the kitchen. Sometimes my biggest mistakes end up being the most delicious.

      3. Wear your gluten-free pride! Buy a t-shirt, button, or apron for your favorite Celiac.

      4. Travel. Too many people are scared to travel gluten-free, but you shouldn't let Celiac stop you. Book a trip to celebrate your gluten-free living but do your research first! You'd be surprised to find some great Celiac associations around the globe.

      5. Encourage a first-degree relative to get tested for Celiac Disease. Among people who have a first-degree relative, a parent, sibling, or child—diagnosed with celiac disease, as many as 1 in 22 people may have the disease.

      6. Teach one person about Celiac Disease. Share this Celiac Disease checklist with someone who never heard of Celiac before. Encourage them to share with one another person. Celiac isn't contagious, but spreading awareness is!

      7. Thank your local grocer for carrying gluten-free products. If your local store doesn't carry your favorite gluten-free product, encourage them to start selling it and let them know there is a demand for gluten-free food on their shelves.

      8. Take a picture of your favorite gluten-free food and post it on Flickr!

      9. Get excited when you see a gluten-free product placement or hear the words "Celiac Disease" on tv. It may be cheesy, but trust me... this never happened thirty years ago.

      10. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Ok, shameless self-promotion but if it wasn't for social media I wouldn't have "met" some of you amazing fans and friendsthat I have today.



      Monday, September 12, 2011
      Celebrate Celiac Awareness Day
      Tomorrow is Celiac Awareness Day. In 2010, a resolution was passed in the U. S. Senate, making September 13 National Celiac Disease Awareness Day.

      How are you going to celebrate Celiac Awareness day?

      Here is a list of ways to celebrate from the NFCA:

      1. Share the Celiac Symptoms Checklist. Send the checklist to 10 friends. Odds are, at least one of them will have an “Aha!” moment and recognize the symptoms in a family member, neighbor or friend.

      2. Play a role in research. The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is looking for relatives of celiacs to test a new self-administered blood test. It’s your chance to finally convince your mother, brother, or another family member to take the test once and for all. (Update: Study has been filled. Thank you to all who signed up!)

      3. Go for a run. Restoring health isn’t just about making the dietary switch to gluten-free; it’s also about embracing your new lease on life. I’ll be here when you get back.

      4. Or, support a fellow celiac while he runs. On September 24, Athlete for Awareness Peter Bronski will run 50 miles and scale 10,000 feet for the 2nd year in a row – all to raise money for NFCA. Donate to help him reach his goal.

      5. Tell your doctor “Sorry” isn’t good enough. How many doctor appointments did you waste complaining of symptoms before you finally got diagnosed? End the cycle of misdiagnosis once and for all: Print the Celiac CME postcard from our website and urge your doctor to take NFCA’s free course on celiac disease.

      6. Expand your dining options. If you know a restaurant that needs gluten-free training, now’s the time to act. Print the GREAT Kitchens information sheet from our website and bring it to the restaurant. As an incentive, tell the manager how many friends and support group members are just waiting to find a new gluten-free hot spot.

      7. Be a part of something big. Sign's Letter to the FDA regarding the proposed gluten-free labeling rule. It’s one way to tell the FDA to keep moving and stop stalling when it comes to gluten-free safety.

      8. Have a party. Bake some gluten-free cupcakes. Put out a bowl for donations. Voila! Instant Cupcake Party Fundraiser. (It’s really that easy.)

      9. Head to class. Ask your child’s teacher if you can have a special Celiac Awareness Day at school. Read a celiac disease children’s book, then take questions from the kids. If your child’s school allows it, bring in gluten-free snacks for everyone to try. While you’re there, encourage the cafeteria staff to get gluten-free training through NFCA’s GREAT Schools program.

      10. Sharpen your cooking skills. You never stop learning, so take advantage of NFCA’s library of free gluten-free cooking videos. The videos not only have step-by-step instructions, but also give you helpful tips, like how to sneak veggies into a dessert.

      11. Make a new friend. If you’re not on Facebook or Twitter yet, get moving! The staff and I have met tons of new people through social media, and there’s sure to be a lot of exciting chats and activities for Celiac Awareness Day.

      12. Try something GREAT. NFCA’s GREAT Business Association members are huge supporters of the celiac and gluten-free community. Encourage their continued involvement by picking up one of their products. (Make sure to tweet about it!)

      13. Prepare future advocates. We’ve made incredible progress, but it’s up to our kids to keep that going. Teach them the joy of volunteering and advocacy by helping them contribute to Kids Central. They can sign up for the Letter Writing Fundraiser, share a gluten-free recipe, or submit a product review for kids.

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      Sunday, September 11, 2011
      10 Years Later: My Personal Reflection
      I honestly cannot believe it has been 10 years since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Ten years. At times it feels like just yesterday that I was crying at my desk in Union Square trying to make sense of what was going on around me in my beloved New York City. Everyone mourns and remembers things differently from that day. I respect that and ask you to do the same. This blog posting has nothing to do with being gluten-free but has everything to do with me as a person and my memories of that day. Read on if you like or click away if you don't like. It's up to you. Here is my recollection of the day.

      That Tuesday started like every other weekday for me, except I was excited to go to work that day. It was my one year anniversary of my first professional job after college. I woke up early, headed to the LIRR to commute to the city, and was proud that I had survived one whole year at this job as a desktop production artist at a newsletter company in the "big city". I was very friendly with my manager and I was sure she would acknowledge my work over the past year. As I arrived at the office that day, I settled into my desk just like every other day for the past year.

      Around 8:50am I got a message from my friend Katie in Rhode Island. She said she just heard on Howard Stern that a plane crashed in New York City. She said he told his fans it wasn't a joke so Katie was just checking on me. I hadn't heard anything yet so I signed into IM and got online to see what was going on. I started to slowly see the most horrific events of my life unfold right before my eyes. I vaguely remember trying to call family members both my landline and cell phone, but all of the phone lines were clogged. IM and email became my connection to the outside world that morning.

      Being on 18th Street and Park Ave. South, we couldn't feel the impact of either plane hitting the WTC but we could see it. All of it. As coworkers started to arrive, we all congregated on the fire escape of our building to watch this horror unfold. I remember people crying, shaking, and frantically trying to get information from one another. No one knew what was going on. I was so scared and felt really alone. My boss wasn't at work yet and not everyone was in the office yet. Alone with strangers on the fire escape.

      I remember going in and out of my office and back and forth to the fire escape all morning. The most awful feeling was walking back onto the fire escape shortly after 10am realizing that one tower was gone. WHAT???? How could it be gone? It was no longer visible and it was just because lower Manhattan was covered in smoke. It was just gone. It was a few minutes later when we heard screams for an upper floor that the South Tower had collapse.


      The realization of the thousands of people who went to work that day was just like me was hard hitting. One minute they were at their desks starting their work day. Less than an hour later they were gone. I felt like I was going to throw up. I went inside and emailed this to my parents at 10:10am:

      Aunt Stasi just called me, her and [Uncle] bruce are both home. We have limited phone service, but we can get a few calls. I am shaking right now. We can see the part of the tower that collapsed. I feel sick. The city is under lock down, so if I have to, I am going to Stasi's house. I will walk. I will keep you both posted. Love you both very much.

      18 minutes later, the North Tower collapsed. On the fire escape, I could see nothing but smoke. I was numb inside.

      10:51am, email to friends and family:
      Ok everyone, here is what is going on. I don't know if everyone has heard yet (how could you not), but there was a major terrorist attack on NYC. Two planes crashed into the twin towers. We can see it from our building and BOTH towers have now collapsed. I have been going out on the fire escape and it is the worst thing I have ever seen in my entire life. There is smoke pouring out of the buildings and masses of people are walking up the street. It is like the whole city is in mourning. Everyone is crying and trying to call anyone they can. We only have one phone line right now for calls in and out. There are fires all over the city down there. Both buildings have now collapsed. I honestly feel like I am goin to throw up right now. This is horrible. I just want you to know that I am ok. The city is on lock down, so I don't know if I will be getting home tonight, my guess is not. I hope any of you in the city are ok. Please keep me updated if anyone knows anything.

      The rest of the morning was a flurry of emails, IMs and attempted phone calls. I couldn't work. I couldn't think. I worried about my friends working all over the city. I simply could not understand what was going on. I was 23 years old and all I wanted to do was cry like a baby and be with my mom on Long Island. I was petrified to get on the LIRR to get out there but I was trapped anyway. Public transportation was stopped so there was no way for me to get out there and I was too terrified to go into Penn Station to wait for a train. The management of my company felt we were safest in the office so that is where I stayed. They expected us to "go on with our work as normal." Are you fucking kidding me? Nothing was normal that day.

      All of my family was accounted for, but I was still waiting to hear about my friends who were all scattered around the city. Thank goodness we were all eventually in contact with one another. I literally got emails from friends around the world checking up on me, my family, and my friends. At my dad's suggestion, I have saved most of them. I cry every time I read them.

      I finally left the office around 4pm after a numbing and blurry day, walking 45 blocks north to my aunt's house with a friend from high school. As we walked uptown, we saw police and national guards everywhere. Also, the city was strangely silent. Everyone was literally stunned silent.

      Although I wanted to be with my mother, I was at least with my family. That evening was the first time I was in front of the television and I was sick to my stomach watching the news. I can't even imagine what my 10 year old cousin was thinking as she watched this sitting next to me on the couch. I never asked. I couldn't sleep that night. I wasn't in my own bed and all I could hear all night long were sirens from the nearby 59th Street Bridge and FDR Drive.

      I went to work on Wednesday, Sept. 12 since I was still in the city but it was another day of disbelief and not being able to concentrate. I sent this email to my friends that day:

      ...The city is a ghost town... I avoid going outside at all costs. There are no cars south of me, the city has shut down. There were no newspapers left on the shelves and people were just buying whatever they could. I just heard on the radio that stores uptown are shutting down because shelves are empty.

      The winds have now shifted coming from the south, so now there is this cloud of smoke hovering over the city. I can smell it and my eyes are actually quite dry and my nose is burning. It is very weird, it is like a massive electrical fire in the air. I think I am going to walk to Penn, I am still scared to take the subways even though they are ok. This seems like it is never going to end. Or it seems like it is just the beginning of something very horrible.

      All my love and prayers to any of you that have been directly affected and all of you for your kind emails all day long.

      That smell. I will never forget that smell. When you realize it is the smell of buildings, offices, and people, it is sickening. My friend in Boston and my aunt in Canada both said that my emails were nightmares making them cry. As I was living my own personal nightmare, I was dumbfounded by what the people down at the WTC and their families were living through at that same moment. I still couldn't understand what was going on more than 24 hours later. I eventually went home to Long Island on the afternoon of September 12th and just cried as my mom hugged me harder than she ever did before.

      I felt broken. I had gone into work to celebrate my 1st anniversary of my professional career and I never wanted to go back into the city ever again. I wanted to stay home from now on.

      Obviously I didn't stay home. I went back to work the next day and the day after that. Now ten years later, I still work in Manhattan with a perfect view of the Empire State Building. I don't think about the events of 9/11 every day, but I think of that day often. I get skittish from time to time when my train comes to a jolting halt for a police investigation or my office buildings of the past have been evacuated, but I go on. That's all I can really do, right?

      Bryant Park did a touching memorial this weekend called 2,753 Chairs, in remembrance of the 2,753 lives lost as a result of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks, facing the site where the Twin Towers once stood.

      It took my breathe away.

      Yesterday I participated in Hand in Hand: Remembering 9/11, when thousands of people grasped hands to form a human chain along the waterfront from the tip of Lower Manhattan heading north. Although the event itself was kind of anticlimactic, the volunteers and participants were extremely friendly. After than hand holding, I walked around lower Manhattan for three hours. This is something I never do. I just don't like being down there and for years it bothered me that this was a tourist destination. As I walked around, I finally realized that every one was there for different reasons. Many were there to pay their respects while others wanted to see the WTC site for themselves. I heard audible gasps when people realized exactly how large the site is. People were respectful and curious. I softened my thoughts and appreciated these tourists for the first time in 10 years.

      I continued to Battery Park City where I saw a very moving tribute called "One Life ~ One Flag". This was a display of over 3,000 flags and it literally took my breath away. As the sunlight hit the flags and the wind gently lifted them, I realized the flags all had the names of those who lost their life on September 11th. It was very moving and very beautiful.

      I then walked north to St. Paul's Episcopal Chapel which is directly across from the WTC site. St. Paul's is where 9/11 recovery workers received round-the-clock care for days and weeks after the terrorist attacks. This is when I broke down and cried openly. This church was simple, but the displays were powerful. Most of the displays were artifacts from 10 years ago. There were patches from fire departments around the world. There were missing persons posters and prayer cards of those who perished. There were also paper cranes sent from Japan. Seeing all of these pieces of history really hit home. Reading the displays made me realize how not just us New Yorkers, but the world was truly affected that horrific day in September 2001. I was glad I stopped into that church. It felt appropriate being there to mourn the day. The staff at the church was extremely friendly and understanding as I cried openly. Here is a slide show from my Day of Remembrance in lower Manhattan on September 10, 2011.

      Yesterday I cried, today I will cry, tomorrow I will probably cry too. I cry because I remember being so scared that day. I cry for those who lost their loved ones. More than anything, I cry for those who lost their lives on the horrific day of September 11, 2001. May you rest in peace today, tomorrow, and always.

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      Wednesday, September 7, 2011
      NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group
      In addition to having a day job in the educational technology world, writing two gluten-free blogs, maintaining multiple social media accounts, and attempting to have an active social life in New York City, I am also the lead organizer of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group. WHEW! Yes, I stay busy!

      As I mentioned in my June 2011 article "Gluten Free Support Groups" in Easy Eats magazine, support groups are an amazing way to build up your gluten-free community. When I "inherited" the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group almost five years ago, never did I expect the group to balloon to over 1,330 members. According to, there are 67 Celiac Disease Meetups worldwide and the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group is the largest by more than 900 members!

      With more than 100 events under my belt, at least 10 events in the making, and new sponsorships every month, our group is stronger than ever before. Although hectic and even frustrating at times, I wouldn't give up this leadership role for anything. Our group is amazing and I learn something every time I hold an event. Whether it is a new gluten-free restaurant to dine in or an unfortunate"glutening" story, I can relate to (almost) all of my group members in one way or another. This group consists of people that are still waiting a Celiac or gluten-intolerance diagnosis to others that have been diagnosed for years, such as myself. This support community has been so helpful to me and I hope that others find my efforts helpful to them.

      With 7 upcoming events on our fall calendar, I am without a doubt busier than ever. I have weekly calls with venues, tour operators, and sponsors; I exchange flurries of emails throughout the week from both vendors and group members; and I also try to moderate our ever growing message boards. If I can help just one newly diagnosed individual navigate their new gluten-free world, I feel like my efforts have paid off.

      Membership to our NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group is free! We have group members that live in NYC or others that are simply passing through New York on a vacation looking for some gluten-free tips. We've have regular locals attend our events as well as guests from as far away as Australia. It is the virtual connections and the in-person meetings that keep me going.

      Are you a member of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group? How has the group helped you? Have you used our message boards to find restaurants in NYC and the five boroughs? I would love to hear from you in my comments section below. It's your feedback that helps shape our group and gives me ideas for future Meetups.

      Visit the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group today.


      Tuesday, September 6, 2011
      Back to School with Rudi's Gluten Free and Giveaway
      I chose two winners using Thanks for entering!

      As you all know, I have been a huge fan of Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery since the first day I met them back in October 2010. Their breads are amazing and so are the staff behind the gluten-free products. Since 2010, Rudi's has launched pizza crusts, rolls, and buns. With their expanding, gluten-free baked goods line I am excited to see what's next for Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery.

      Rudi's knows gluten-free school lunches can be a challenge. Their gluten-free breads are loaded with goodness; they are a tasty and easy solution to the lunchtime dilemma. And, unlike many gluten-free breads on the market today, Rudi’s GF breads contain no modified starches or gums, no artificial preservatives, and no artificial chemicals. Send your kids off to school and feel GOOD about what they are eating.

      Rudi's Gluten Free knows school lunch planning is hard, but planning a FUN and HEALTHY meal EVERYDAY can be an even bigger challenge! To help you out, check out this easy lunch planning calendar and yummy, kid approved recipes to help get the school year started.


      In honor of September and back-to-school, I am giving away 2 Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery prizes including a cute sandwich box and a VIP coupon. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me your lunchtime favorite. Winners will be chosen using on September 9th.

      Don't forget to leave your email too so I can contact you if you are a winner!

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      Friday, September 2, 2011
      Athlete for Awareness Needs Your Help!
      My friends at the NFCA asked me to spread the word about this exciting feat of athleticism. I am happy to support them and a fellow gluten-free blogger, Peter Bronski.

      NFCA is excited to announce that for the 2nd year in a row, Athlete for Awareness Peter Bronski will participate in the Virgil Crest 50 Mile Ultra Challenge.

      Last year, Peter incorporated a fundraising element into his ultra endurance marathon participation, and was able to raise $3,600 dollars for NFCA. This year, he hopes raise $5,000 for NFCA and is appealing to the celiac community for support! (To donate today, click here.)

      On his blog - No Gluten, No Problem, he writes:
      For those of you who've been around No Gluten, No Problem since at least last summer, you'll remember last year's Virgil Crest 50-Mile Ultra, which I ran to raise money for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. The event is an ultramarathon distance trail running race. It covers 50 miles and 10,000 vertical feet of cumulative gain. That's roughly the equivalent of running back-to-back marathons, off-road, while climbing to the top of the Empire State Building 8 times.

      In 2010 (there's a photo of me just after crossing the finish line) I took 7th place, in a time of 11 hours 43 minutes. Most importantly, with your support, we raised nearly $3,600 for the NFCA!

      Well, now I'm at it again, and once again I'm asking for your help to support the NFCA. As with last year, I've created a FirstGiving fundraising page. Please take a moment to visit the site and consider making a donation in support of a great organization and great cause near and dear to the No Gluten, No Problem community.

      There are just under 6 weeks to go until the race (which takes place on Saturday, September 24, 2011), so my fundraising window is more limited than last year!

      In addition to the fundraising goal, I've also set some performance goals for myself. I'd like to repeat my Top Ten finish, and if I'm feeling really good on race day, I'd like to try and crack into the Top Five. And I'd like to finish in sub-11 hours. So, once again, please join me and support the NFCA. Give as much or as little as you can or want. Every little bit helps. 

      - Pete

      To support Peter in his campaign, donate online through his FirstGiving fundraising page:

      And, to read more about Peter’s participation in the Virgil Crest 50 Mile Ultra, click here:

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      Thursday, September 1, 2011
      Gluten-Free in College: Part 6
      Today's guest posting is from Janelle, author of Gluten Free for a Healthy Me. I just "met" Janelle last week via Twitter. We immediately had a number of back and forth tweets so I checked out her blog. The first thing I noticed was Janelle is a college student in Ohio and I thought she would be a perfect guest blogger for my college series. From her blog postings, Janelle seemed down-to-earth and friendly but more importantly she is living the gluten-free college life. As someone who is a few years out (ahem) I figured it was best to get some current experience in this series. I emailed Janelle about guest blogging and she graciously agreed. Please read below for a positive account of Janelle's gluten-free college experiences...

      A Gluten (and Pain!) Free College Experience

      Whether it's your first year of college or you are starting your senior year, the gluten free transition to college can be a little bumpy. But it's totally do-able! Whether you live on campus, in an apartment or commute from home, there are plenty of ways to maintain a happy, fun, gluten free college life!

      I spent my first semester of college at Miami University of Ohio living in the dorms. But before I even moved in, I was meeting with their dietitians and kitchen staffs to figure out how exactly they could accommodate my Celiac Disease. Let me just say, they were AWESOME. And I'm sure the staff at your college want to help you too!

      During orientation the summer before classes started I met with Miami's dietitian. She showed me the typical menus that the dining hall offered and explained how gluten free items were labeled on their websites. I also learned that many of the campus markets sold products from gluten free companies like Pamela's!

      I was always well fed at Miami (perhaps too well fed!) If I ever needed a special meal made (grilled chicken, salmon, etc.) I could simply call the kitchen and they would have it ready for me whenever I wanted to eat! I even kept my gluten free flours and salad dressings in a special cabinet of their kitchen and could access it whenever I wanted. Every Saturday morning the kitchen would make me pancakes! I of course did miss out on pizza nights or donuts at dorm meetings but having my own snacks made these things less painful. I made many trips to the campus markets! It's also important to establish a good relationship with your roommate in terms of food. They need to be educated on what gluten is and how to handle your foods. I had a special section in our fridge and room for my gluten free butter, peanut butter and other snacks, that way they were separate and she didn't accidentally use them.

      Eating at Miami was simple but for many reasons I decided to move back home with my parents and commute to The Ohio State University! Living at home, in a lot of ways, has made eating healthier gluten free foods much easier. Typically, I eat breakfast at home. A new favorite is Bob's Red Mill's gluten free oats. I also eat a lot of eggs and toast (using either homemade bread or Udi's).

      Lunch can be a bit more tricky, but there are tons of options available on Ohio Sate's large campus. I try to pack lunches often. I like to make yogurt parfaits (layer gluten free oats, berries and plain or vanilla yogurt in a mason jar), sandwiches, veggies with hummus or a salad. But if I must eat on campus it's usually a salad or grilled chicken/salmon and steamed veggies. I'm very lucky though because I live on a huge campus with lots of food options available.

      If your campus is smaller or doesn't have as many options, I strongly recommend that you make friends with your kitchen staff! They really do want to help you! And if not, remember: you pay LOTS of money to attend school there. YOU DESERVE TO BE FED GOOD FOOD, food that you can actually eat! Never feel like you aren't entitled to the special treatment that a gluten allergy requires.

      Here's to a swift transition into the gluten free college life!


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