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Monday, August 30, 2010
Local Chefs Present First Taste of Gluten-Free Event in the US
Southlake, Texas, (August 30, 2010)- The North Texas Gluten Intolerance Group (NTGIG) and Gaylord Texan proudly announce the first ever “Taste of Gluten-Free” dining experience coming Sunday, September 19th, to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The Gluten-Free Makeover: a Healthier You showcases 20 DFW restaurants that offer gluten-free dining options, over 25 food samples from gluten free manufacturers and advice from experts about the gluten-free lifestyle.

Gluten-free dining has been acknowledged by the National Restaurant Association as a top ten menu trend for 2010, and this event will showcase local establishments that are at the forefront of the gluten-free dining movement including: The Gaylord Texan, The Grill on the Alley, PF Chang’s, Carino’s, Italianni’s, Fresco’s, Blue Mesa Grill, Fish City Grill, Kozy Kitchen, Wildwood Grill, Garliq, Thai Papaya Garden, Taste of Spain Texas Paella, Chadra Mezza, Asian Mint, Palios Pizza Café and Wholesome Food Bakery. According to the Gluten Intolerance Group, 15 to 25 percent of consumers seek gluten-free options, both at grocery stores (such as Whole Foods Markets, Central Market and Sprouts) and when dining out.

PF Chang’s has offered a gluten-free menu since 2003. This year they introduced five new beef dishes which have been well received by the gluten-free community. “We have 28 choices on our Gluten Free menu and our guests have a lot of heart for all of the dishes,” states Laura Lasseter of PF Chang’s. “Our Gluten Free Chang’s Spicy Chicken and Mongolian Beef are two of the most popular and our gluten-free Mini Triple Chocolate Mousse dessert is a must try!”

Chef Daniel Winans, at the Dallas location for The Grill on the Alley, asserts that the Grilled Lime Chicken Salad is the most popular gluten-free item. Their gluten-free clientele is small but growing as are fans for his Flourless Chocolate Cake. At the Gaylord’s Glass Cactus Nightclub, Chef Mike Sammons notices an overall increase in requests from guests with food allergies. “We also see a lot of peanut, egg, soy, dairy and shellfish allergies. About a year ago we came up with what we call our allergen matrix. This allows us to capture the allergies of our guests, and with the use of a special program, print a menu for the guest that shows them exactly what they can safely order off our menu. This service has been extremely comforting to our guests with allergies.”

The field of culinary arts is just beginning to address this market demand as consumers continue to seek full flavor, satisfying menu options that meet specific dietary needs. This trend is good news to the three million Americans currently diagnosed with celiac disease, as well as an additional 30 million who have non-celiac gluten intolerance or wheat allergies and rely on gluten-free foods. While awareness of celiac disease is rising, an estimated 97 percent of those who have it remain undiagnosed.

“Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune intolerance to gluten, the protein in wheat, rye and barley that causes damage to the small intestine villi. Non-celiac gluten intolerance is also an immune-mediated reaction to gluten but without intestinal villi damage. The symptoms for either type of gluten intolerance can vary significantly from person to person and affect every system in the body,” states Dr. Claudia Pillow, author of The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook and Director of the event. “The monies raised will help support awareness, educational programs, and medical research so that persons with gluten-intolerance can lead healthy lives”

The Gluten-Free Makeover: a Healthier You is Sunday September 19, 2010 from 4 to 8pm at the Glass Cactus Nightclub, Gaylord Texan, Grapevine, Texas. Tickets are $25 preordered and $30 at the door; children 12 and under are $10. For more information and advance ticket purchases go to http://www.northtexasgig.com or email manager@northtexasgig.com.

North Texas GIG is a branch of The Gluten Intolerance Group, also known as GIG, and is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010
Gluten-Free Fun 400th Post!
In just three and a half years, I have reach my 400th post here at Gluten-Free Fun. I honestly cannot believe I have made it this far and have continued writing as much as I have. I am very excited to reach post number 400. I even more excited to see that my readership and site visits have skyrockted in the two years since I started keeping track via Google analytics!!! This is very exciting.

I was diagnosed in 1981 with Celiac Disease after months of my parents toting me around from doctor to doctor. Once I was diagnosed, I went gluten-free almost immediately and there was no looking back. It was the early 1980s and my parents were clueless, simply because there was NO information out there about Celiac Disease. There was no Internet so my pediatric gastroninterologist put them in touch with one of the oldest celiac support groups around, the Celiac Support Association. We received occasional printed newsletters throughout the 1980s and then joined the local CSA chapter in the early 1990s. The information we got from these meetings was good, but it wasn't like it is today.

As the Internet became more popular, I started learning so much more about Celiac Disease. Despite the fact that I had grown up with the disease, there were all of these new products and foods that I had been nervous to try until I had more information. Quinoa, millet, and buckwheat were just a few of the grains I introduced into my diet after reading about them online. Glutino, Schar, Kinnickinick, the new-to-me product list was endless. I wanted to learn everything I could. I also now how the community that I had been lacking. Although I appreciated the CSA meetings, no one ever really was close to me in age so I assumed I was the only person under the age of 40 with Celiac. Not the case in the online world.

I soon realized that I wanted to share all of my gluten-free experiences with the public. I wanted to let my readers know that you can grow up with this disease and still thrive. I wanted to share with others that I have lived my entire childhood and adult life with this disease and I turned out just fine. I went to day care, school, sleep-away camp, college, lived with gluten-eating roommates, and I survived and thrived on a gluten-free diet. I am healthier than I have ever been and have not let Celiac Disease ever stop me.

With encouragement from my dearly missed friend, David Fischer of Gluten-Free NYC, I started my blog as a New Year's resolution in January 2007. The rest is history!

Thank you, dear readers, for your comments and your encouragement over these 400 posts. Please keep in touch and keep on reading.

Erin S.
Gluten-Free Fun

As an aside, we just marked one year since David Fischer has passed away. Over the past year, there have been so many gluten-free events and tidbits I wanted to share with this good friend. David, you made a wonderful contribution to the gluten-free world and a lasting impression to those around you. You are thought of often and are deeply missed.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010
2010 Appetite for Awareness: A Gluten-Free Cooking Spree
Looks like I will be heading to Philly this fall. This is a city I have been wanting to visit for a while and this event looks like a really worthwhile event!


Appetite for Awareness: a Gluten-Free Cooking Spree
October 24, 2010 at the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier 1

Get ready for a fabulous time! Appetite for Awareness 2010 will be spectacular. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is preparing an extraordinary event full of fun, food and gluten-free delights!

This annual fest and Philadelphia tradition has something for everyone!

*Children's Pavilion
*Vendor Marketplace
*Gluten-Free Cooking Spree

Appetite for Awareness brings the best of gluten-free dining and delicacies under one roof. Attendees can sample gluten-free goods and get a taste of the hottest restaurants catering to celiac needs. During the event, prestigious chefs and top doctors will team up in a cooking challenge to produce the best gluten-free dish.

Don't miss out!

Appetite for Awareness: a Gluten-Free Cooking Spree is moving to a new and fabulous venue. The amazing Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier One offers 40,000 square feet of space for our celebration of the gluten-free lifestyle.

The Children’s Pavilion is new this year and is accompanied by family pricing! So, bring the entire family to this delightful spot right on the Delaware River. The kids will have a great time while the adults shop and enjoy a wide range of tasty treats prepared just for this event.

As always, Appetite for Awareness will feature delicious gluten-free food from well-known area restaurants and Philadelphia’s premier chefs cooking up a storm with top docs from local hospitals. Watch these skilled food artists prepare delectable treats for your enjoyment.

When: Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010
Time: 2-6 p.m.
Where: Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier One
at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center
5100 South Broad Street
Building #3
Philadelphia, PA 19112


Early Bird Pricing
Adults: $50
Students with ID (age 12+): $25
Children (up to 12 years old): $20
Families (of four): $125

Tickets at the Door
Adults: $75
Students with ID (age 12+): $35
Children (up to 12 years old): $25
Families (of four): $150
Purchase Tickets

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Giving Up Gluten to Lose Weight? Not So Fast
From today's Wall Street Journal

Diet Regimen Effective in Treating Celiac Disease, Wheat Allergies, But Not for Shedding Pounds
By MELINDA BECK

Gluten-free foods are everywhere these days—but they're much more than just a health craze.

How widespread are gluten-free foods? Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, sells gluten-free hot dogs and beer.

The bevy of new products, from gluten-free pasta to pizza and beer, are a boon to people with celiac disease, wheat allergies or gluten sensitivity who are on very restrictive diets. That group has grown dramatically in recent decades, for reasons not understood.

Are they beneficial to everyone else? Probably not.

The notion that a gluten-free diet can help people lose weight or avoid carbohydrates is a myth. "Many packaged gluten-free products are even higher in carbs, sugar, fat and calories than their regular counterparts, and they tend to be lower in fiber, vitamins and iron," says Shelley Case, a registered dietician on the medical advisory board of the Celiac Disease Foundation. "Gluten-free does not mean nutritious," she notes.

Gluten, a protein in wheat, barley and rye, is not only a key ingredient in baked goods. It's also used as a thickening agent in ketchup and ice cream. It helps ferment vinegar and alcoholic beverages. It's even in lip gloss and envelope adhesives. Some condiments, such as ketchup and soy sauce, contain gluten, a detail on food labels easy to overlook.

For people with celiac disease, ingesting even tiny amounts of gluten can set off an autoimmune reaction that flattens the finger-like villi lining the small intestine. The most common symptoms are bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation, as well as early osteoporosis. The autoimmune reaction can also cause skin rashes, chronic fatigue, bone and joint pain, neurological problems, liver problems, diabetes, infertility in both men and women and cancers, including lymphoma. An estimated three million Americans have celiac disease—and the vast majority don't know it because it can have no symptoms or mimic other diseases.

Separately, a smaller group of people have a specific allergy to wheat; exposure can lead to rashes, asthma and even anaphylactic shock.

A third category of people—as many as 20 million Americans—appear to be sensitive to gluten without having full-blown celiac disease. For them, symptoms may be less typical, involving depression, mental fogginess, mood swings and behavior changes. Much less is known about this group.

"It's only in the last couple of years that we have realized there truly is a third condition that involves the immune system, but in a different way than a typical allergy or autoimmune reaction," says Alessio Fasano, a celiac expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Exactly how gluten sensitivity might cause psychiatric and behavioral changes isn't well understood. One theory is that some people have unusually permeable intestines—a so-called "leaky gut"—which allows gluten fragments and immune cells to escape into the bloodstream and trigger inflammation in the brain. Dr. Fasano and his colleagues also have identified a protein called zonulin that makes intestines unusually permeable. In people with celiac disease, gluten itself stimulates the release of zonulin.

Until now, gluten sensitivity was diagnosed mainly by ruling out celiac disease and wheat allergy in people with symptoms. But researchers are evaluating antibodies to gliadin, a gluten component, as a possible biomarker. About 7% of the population has these anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA); intriguingly, so do 18% of people with autism, and 20% of people with schizophrenia, according to Dr. Fasano's studies.

Few Gluten Studies

That may explain why some parents of autistic children say they have seen dramatic improvements when their children avoid both gluten and casein, a protein found in dairy products. To date, randomized controlled trials testing such diets have been small, and results have been mixed, but more research is under way.

"Some of this may be a placebo effect. But we are starting to see pieces of the puzzle that make a little more sense," says Dr. Fasano, who advises parents to have children tested for AGA before embarking on such a restrictive diet.

Indeed, experts urge anyone who has gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, diabetes, unexplained infertility or a family history of celiac disease to be tested first before attempting a gluten-free diet, since eliminating gluten in advance will affect the test results.

Blood tests for celiac disease check for AGA and several other antibodies given off when the intestine has an immune reaction to gluten.

More sophisticated tests check for one of two genetic markers—HLA DQ2 and DQ8—common to most people with celiac disease. Since about 30% of the population has those markers, the most definitive test is a biopsy of the small intestine, which looks for tell-tale damage to the villi. But the damage can be patchy, and early cases are often missed.

The incidence of celiac disease has taken a mysterious leap in recent decades. It was once thought to affect only about 1 in 10,000 Americans, but recent studies have put the rate as high as 1 in 133.

Environmental Links?

The increase can't be explained by greater awareness alone. In a novel study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic tested blood samples taken from 9,133 young Air Force recruits in the 1950s and found that about 1 in 700 had undiagnosed celiac disease at that time. Tests on subjects exactly the same age now found that the rate was nearly five times as high today.

"Human genes haven't changed that much, so there has to be something pervasive in the environment that is making this disease more common," says Joseph Murray, a Mayo gastroenterologist who led the study, published in the journal Gastroenterology last year. It may be that people are more susceptible because we are eating much more wheat today—or that wheat is being processed or cultivated differently. Autoimmune diseases in general are also on the rise.

Celiac was also once thought to only begin in childhood. But researchers now know that it can start at any time, most likely when someone with a genetic predisposition encounters an infection or some other triggering event.

"I've diagnosed people with celiac disease in their 40s, 50s and 60s," says Brian Landzberg, a gastroenterologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

Eating a strict gluten-free diet can reverse many of the symptoms of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Intestinal villi regenerate every few days. Neurological improvements and autoimmune changes can take longer. After four years on a gluten-free diet, the increased risk of cancer and other complications that come with celiac reverts to normal.

Not an Easy Eating Plan

But that can require great vigilance. "Done correctly, a gluten-free diet is a major, life-alerting change," says Dr. Landzberg. "It doesn't just mean avoiding bread and pasta. It's reading every label, and every time you go to a restaurant, giving the waiter the third-degree as to what might have been thickened with flour."

Unreliable Labels

Even then, it can be difficult to know where gluten is lurking. Lip gloss and envelopes aren't required to be labeled. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue final rules for what constitutes "gluten-free" so manufacturers can interpret it very differently.

Eating a gluten-free diet isn't necessarily harmful for people who don't need it—but it can lead to vitamin, iron and fiber deficiencies if they don't eat a balanced diet.

Fruits, vegetables and meat are naturally gluten-free, so experts advise loading up on those rather than relying on packaged products.

Also, for dieters, going back to gluten after avoiding it can lead to stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea and other symptoms, at least temporarily.

Giving Up Gluten To Lose Weight?

  • Cake, brownie and cookie mixes are available in gluten-free versions, but like regular baked goods, they often contain high fat and calorie counts.

  • Products made from wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats contain gluten. But other starchy foods, such as rice and cornmeal, do not.

  • 1 in 133 The rate of people with celiac disease in the U.S., an increase of more than 20-fold since 1989. Sources: Archives of Internal Medicine Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

  • 41 vs. 46 Grams of carbohydrates in a serving of regular pasta versus grams of carbohydrates in a serving of gluten-free pasta.

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Monday, August 23, 2010
P.F. Chang's Home Menu Meals are NOT Gluten-Free
Despite P.F. Chang's having a revised gluten-free menu at their restaurants and being very attentive to the gluten-free community, I am sad to report that their frozen Home Menu Meal are NOT gluten-free. I wrote to the customer service center of P.F. Chang's and they said

Thank you for writing us regarding PF Chang's Home Menu. At this time, none of the P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Meals for 2 are gluten free. We will forward your email to our Brand Management Group so they are aware of your comments.

I was happy to get a response, although disappointed to learn that we cannot enjoy the meals at home.

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Friday, August 20, 2010
Katz Gluten-Free Products and Contest
I just got a huge box of gluten-free desserts from Katz Gluten-Free. I will be on vacation laying on the beach by the time this posting goes up, so I have yet to dip into the goodies. Ok, that's a lie. My coworker and I did open the Cinnamon Rugelech for a sample before I left the office. It was a bit crumbly, as many gluten-free products are, but the cinnamon flavor was good and the rugelech itself was light. We each had 2 (or 3). Yum!

Katz Gluten Free invites you to join them in their sweet summer giveaway. They have partnered with blogs across the gluten free spectrum, Gluten-Free Fun included, with Katz GF giveaways on each blog. Additionally, they are sending the summer off with a grand raffle for $100 Katz Dollars!! Simply completing the special form on their website which will give you a chance to win $100 Katz Dollars! The contest begins on August 13th, and runs until September 13th, the first ever National Celiac Disease Awareness Day! When entering, please tell them you came from http://glutenfreefun.blogspot.com.

Here is the entry form: http://www.katzglutenfree.com/news_a/160.htm

Don't forget to tell them I sent you!!!

You can learn more about Katz Gluten-Free here.
Twitter: www.twitter.com/katzglutenfree
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/katzglutenfree


About Katz Gluten Free for Gluten Free Products, Foods & Recipes
From their website...

Katz Gluten Free Bake Shoppe was established in early 2006 by F. Katz, with not much more than a home model kitchen mixer, some thoroughly tested recipes, and an unyielding quest for perfection. As word of our famously delicious confections rapidly spread, so did our base of operations.

Today, Katz Gluten Free operates out of a state-of-the-art facility, which has been Certified Gluten-Free by the Gluten Intolerance Group® (www.gluten.net) , for our unmatched reliability in complying with strict gluten-free standards. Our facility is completely nut-free and dairy-free. All of our products are certified Kosher, and are under the stringent supervision of the OU and Rabbi Y. Gruber.

As the mother of two children who are gluten intolerant, Mrs. Katz knows firsthand the hardships and daily struggles parents endure in their attempts to maintain a thoroughly gluten-free diet for their kids. She knows - as only a parent could - that the only way to minimize and avoid temptation, is by offering a variety of products that are rich in flavor, texture, and taste. That is why she constantly strives to concoct recipes that are as luscious as they are healthy.

We feature an extensive, ever-expanding selection of products, to meet the culinary demands of every gluten-intolerant individual. Our products consist only of pure, all natural high-quality and fresh ingredients, with no preservatives added, and are thoroughly taste-tested to ensure absolute goodness in every bite.

At Katz Gluten Free, we are truly passionate about our products and we hope that so are you. Our entire staff is committed to earning your satisfaction. We therefore welcome and anticipate your comments and suggestions. It is, after all, your input and feedback that have helped us achieve our goal of creating the most sought-after baked goods in the gluten-free market.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010
FREE Webinar: Heading Off to College with Celiac Disease
Date and time: Sunday, August 29, 2010 9:00 pm EST

Panelist Info: Rebecca Panzer is a registered dietitian practicing in Boston, MA specializing in food allergies/intolerances, developmental disorders, diabetes, and disordered eating. Deb Mailand, diagnosed with celiac disease at age 15, is currently a Senior at Tufts University where she advocates for both herself and others!

Duration: 1 hour

Description: Wondering how the gluten-free diet will affect your college experience? Announcing NFCA's "Back to School" Webinar: Heading Off to College with Celiac Disease on Sunday, August 29th at 9pm EST

Thanks to a generous donation from Blue Diamond Growers, this webinar is available free of charge and the only requirement is a working Internet connection!

Join NFCA as Rebecca Panzer, MA, RD, LD, offers professional guidance for college-bound celiacs! Rebecca will be on hand to:

-Explore the challenges young adults with celiac disease may experience living on and off college campuses.
-Answer common questions of college-bound celiacs and gluten-free teens.
-Suggest ways to best navigate college administration, dining services and social challenges.

Celiac advocate Deb Mailand, a Senior at Tufts University, will also join us to share her firsthand experience and explain how gluten-free can be a success away from home and on campus!

Click here for more information and to sign up.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Lettuce Help You Be Gluten-Free, Says Tossed®
Over A Dozen Gourmet Salad Options—Plus Tips On Designing Your Own Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Salad Entree—Put Tossed Atop Crop of Lunchtime Favorites




FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Tossed®, home of garden fresh salads, crepe wraps and sandwiches, today announced its lineup of wheat-free and gluten-free menu suggestions for customers. Consisting of over a dozen fresh, healthy salads including all three of Tossed's Signature Salads, Tossed's gluten-free menu provides a welcome and diverse alternative for diners who suffer from gluten sensitivity, including those with celiac disease or wheat allergies*.

A growing number of Americans are avoiding gluten, the protein in wheat, rye and barley, because of an allergy or sensitivity. According to research studies, one in every 100 to 200 Americans is sensitive to gluten. Many of those with gluten sensitivity suffer from celiac disease, a life-long condition that causes an abnormal auto-immune response in the digestive tract to products containing gluten. In addition to severe gastric distress, celiac disease can stunt growth and weight gain in children; both adults and children with the disease carry a higher than average risk of lymphoma and other forms of cancer.

In addition to its broad variety of gluten-free chef-designed salads, Tossed also helps guests who prefer to make their own salads while following gluten-free guidelines. Tossed's "Design Your Own" salad alternative offers tips for making gluten-free salads from over 50 lettuces, toss-ins, chicken and seafood toppings, cheeses and dressings.

"Tossed is pleased to be able to offer so many delicious and healthy choices to individuals who must restrict their gluten intake, or avoid gluten altogether. Between our Signature and 'Design Your Own' choices, there are literally thousands of ways to enjoy a flavorful, gluten-free meal at Tossed," said Eric Clark, Chief Operating Officer of Tossed Franchise Corporation.

Tossed's gluten-free lineup includes eleven chef-designed salads: Caesar, Apple Walnut, Summer, Asian Chicken, BBQ Chicken, Southwest Blackened Chicken, Greek Salad, Cayenne Shrimp, Spinach, Garden and Cobb. All three of Tossed's Signature Salads also qualify as gluten-free:

* Tuna Salad: Baby field greens, tuna salad (mixed with apples, dried cranberries and mayo), avocado, shredded carrots and cucumber with fat-free cucumber dill dressing.

* Tossed Signature Salad: Baby field greens, roasted chicken, goat cheese, toasted almonds, mango, jicama, cucumber and dried cranberries with Tossed Vinaigrette.

* Tossed Chef Salad: (order without croutons) Crisp hearts of romaine, bacon, smoked turkey, cheddar, apples, and hard-boiled egg with honey balsamic vinaigrette.

For complete nutritional information on all of Tossed's menu items, visit the Tossed website at www.tossed.com.

*This menu is offered only as a "guideline" of suggested appropriate menu items for people who need a wheat-free, gluten-free restricted diet. Menu items and ingredients may change at any time. Staff may have not been necessarily thoroughly trained. We cannot guarantee that cross contamination may not occur. Not all locations have the same ingredients and methods of preparation. Ask your usual detailed questions to the restaurant manager and disclose if you have individual food sensitivities before you make a final decision. No responsibility is assumed by Tossed® for any errors in labeling or changes in ingredients or prepared products used in recipes and menu items that are the direct or indirect result of the actions and activities of the suppliers, distributors, and purveyors of said ingredients and products.

About Tossed: Since 1998, Tossed has been the home of made-to-order salads featuring dozens of gourmet ingredients and unique dressings. Now also offering whole wheat crepe wraps made fresh throughout the day as well as sandwiches, melts, soups and smoothies, Tossed has grown from its original location on Manhattan's Park Avenue to include restaurants across the United States. Tossed Franchise Corporation, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers franchises to companies and individuals interested in one of the freshest, most exciting concepts in fast casual dining. To learn more about Tossed, go to www.tossed.com.

Tossed NYC location
295 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010-4503
(212) 674-6700

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Monday, August 16, 2010
I Loved, I Lost, I Made (Gluten-Free) Spaghetti
Back in January, I spent a cold weekend home reading a great book called I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti: A Memoir of Good Food and Bad Boyfriends by Giulia Melucci. This book was such a fun read and I finished it in less than 24 hours. I found myself laughing out loud and relating to so much of the book. From the quirky NYC men, the tiny kitchen, and the cooking, I felt like so much of my life was written on the pages of that book! I was inspired to try some of Giulia's recipes that cold January weekend. Her recipes are so easy to adapt by using gluten-free pasta. I was so inspired by this book, that I actually wrote to the author to thank her for putting together such a fun memoir. Much to my surprise, the author wrote me back. Here is what Ms. Melucci had to say:

Dear Erin,

Thanks for writing! I'm happy to hear you've found a way to make the recipes work. You could probably use rice for some of them too.

I wish you a New Year filled with love and lots of delicious things to eat.
Giulia


Not only was it a fun book to read, but the author took the time to write back to a fan. I thought this was an especially nice touch. If you are looking for a light-hearted memoir full of yummy recipes, pick up I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti: A Memoir of Good Food and Bad Boyfriends today!

Not only does she have a great book, but Giulia also has an amazing playlist on her website. One of my all time favorite songs, Destiny by Zero 7, is her closer song!

www.giuliamelucci.com
www.ilovedilostimadespaghetti.com

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Sunday, August 15, 2010
Gluten-Free Crepes
It's Sunday morning and I really wish I had some Nutella crepes and Italian coffee right now... seaside... with a cabana boy serving them to me. ;-) Ok, so much for day dreaming.

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago in the The Gluten-Free Challenge e-newsletter and it has been on my mind ever since. Sunday is usually my cooking day, so maybe I will try making these later today.

Pamela's Crepes
1 cup Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix
1-1/3 cup water
1 egg (large)
1 tablespoon oil

Yield: approximately 9, 7-inch crepes.

Mix all ingredients together. Batter will be very thin. Preheat crepe pan or a round 12-inch pan (low to medium/low heat). Pre-grease skillet before baking each crepe. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into skillet and quickly rotate pan in circular motion to disperse the batter into a thin, even coat. Air holes will appear, do not try to fill them in. When edges start to brown, lift edges of crepe with spatula, then flip. Remove crepe and place flat on parchment or wax paper. Use a paper liner in between crepes when stacking while continuing to cook additional crepes. Keep crepes covered to prevent drying out. Fill with favorite fillings, roll and serve.

*Consumers concerned about gluten should check that all flavorings and additional ingredients added to recipes are gluten-free.

Summer is the season for fresh fruit, so enjoy your favorite berries in cream wrapped in a warm, savory crepe. Or try peanut butter, cashew butter or Nutella (hazelnut spread) and bananas - kids go crazy for that one!

Nutella® does not contain any ingredients derived from gluten containing cereals: wheat, barley, rye, oats or triticale.

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Friday, August 13, 2010
AlternaChips: As Seen on Vital Juice
If you aren't subscribed to Vital Juice Daily yet, sign up today. I love their e-newsletter. It's brief, fun, and gives great information about healthy living.

Last week they had an e-newsletter that talked about "alternachips". These are healthy alternatives to the usual potato chip that all sound delicious. Have you tried any of these yet?

Here is what Vital Juice had to say:

Move over, Spud. The latest healthy chips are gluten-free, not fried and pack unexpected body benefits.

Beanitos come in four flavors and are made with black beans or pinto beans. Gobble up 10 chips and get 5 g of stay-full fiber and 600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids--about the amount in one ounce of salmon. Find them at a Whole Foods near you or order here.

Rhythm Kale Chips are raw, vegan and insanely crunchy. (There's a 16-oz. bunch of kale in each bag!) One serving is a mere 100 calories and comes in Zesty Nacho, Kool Ranch or Bombay Curry. Buy here.

Mediterranean Snack Food Co.'s Baked Lentil Chips use lentils, adzuki and garbanzo beans as a base and provide 4 g of protein and 3 g of fiber and fat per serving. We couldn't get enough of the cucumber dill flavor. Find them at a store near you.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010
Schär USA Luncheon
A few weeks ago I was privileged to be invited to a special gluten-free luncheon and presentation hosted by Schär USA Inc. The featured presenters included Dr. Alessio Fasano, the Director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Anne Roland Lee, MSEd, RD, LD, the Director of Nutrional Services at Schär USA Inc., Hannes Berger, President and CEO of Schär USA Inc., and Colin Leslie, Founder of the Colin Leslie Walk for Celiac Disease.

Besides a very impressive panel of speakers I have never met before, the Schär products were abundant. The entire cocktail hour and luncheon was gluten-free. From the delicious passed hors d'oeuvres, to the gluten-free bread baskets on every table, a delicious entrée of chicken and pasta, to the gluten-free Schär Lady Fingers tiramisu, the caterers did not miss a thing. I was equally impressed with the speakers as I was with the food.

Schär USA Inc. is expanding its distribution across the United States. Popular in Europe, I was lucky enough to eat a lot of Schär products in Italy last year. I have been noticing Schär products around New York City. Has Schär hit your shelves yet?

There is so much to recap about this fabulous event, but I thought I would start by making you jealous with pictures of the abundant gluten-free spread. Thank you Schär for inviting me to such a great event.



All pictures by Erin Smith.


Here is the press release about the event.

Schär USA Hosts "Living a Gluten-Free Lifestyle" Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Awareness Event

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Heartland Brewery at Port Authority Now Offering Gluten-Free Menu

I had the pleasure of meeting with Randy McNamara, VP of Operations, and Michael Gitten from Heartland Brewery on Tuesday, August 10th. I also met with the general manager, John Kekalos, during our meeting. The Heartland Brewery on 41st Street and 8th Avenue has just launched their new gluten-free menu and it is now available to all diners at this location.

From the moment I sat down with Mr. McNamara and saw the GFRAP manual in his hand, I knew Heartland Brewery was taking this gluten-free menu planning very seriously. Heartland Brewery has clearly done a lot of research and understands that gluten-free menus go beyond the ingredients but also careful preparation. The three of us went through the entire gluten-free menu and discussed ingredients, preparation, and education of his staff. The gluten-free menu has been available to patrons for about 2 weeks and the GFRAP certification is in the works. The head chef at the 41st Street location is going to speak to the GFRAP dietitian in the next week or two to review the final menu. This is standard process for gluten-free certification through GFRAP.

Mr. McNamara pointed out that although the gluten-free menu does not yet include the french fries, they are fried in a dedicated gluten-free fryer. In order to be 100% sure that the fries are truly gluten-free, he wants to build a divider between the gluten-free fryer and the non-gluten-free fryer. It is this kind of attention to detail that really shows that a restaurant understands the gluten-free food preparation process.

Another way Heartland Brewery intends to avoid cross-contamination in their kitchen is to use special red bowls for all gluten-free preparation. These red bowls will be dedicated for gluten-free food and will not be used for any preparation other than gluten-free foods.

The gluten-free menu includes some of my personal favorites including nachos, BBQ ribs and sweet potato fries. The only thing I felt that was missing from the gluten-free menu were dessert options. Unfortunately, I think this is often the case with many restaurants that put together a gluten-free menu. Mr. McNamara apologized for this oversight and took down some ideas for gluten-free desserts for their menu. Stay tuned for gluten-free dessert options soon!

Another nice touch of the gluten-free menu incorporated into the regular menu. I noticed this new trend at a few restaurants around town. It is very nice to feel "normal" when ordering from the same menu as the rest of your dining party. The gluten-free menu items are clearly marked with an asterisk. On the bottom of each menu it clearly states "*GLUTEN FREE. Heartland Brewery regards allergy and dietary concerns very seriously. We want our Guests to dine with us with confidence. If you have an allergy or dietary concern, please ask to speak with a manager." As mentioned earlier, all staff will be trained in gluten-free meals but for complete reassurance the management staff is always available.

The gluten-free drinking options at Heartland Brewery now include Woodchuck Cider and RedBridge Beer. In the future, Heartland Brewery might consider brewing and bottling their own gluten-free beer but nothing is planned at this time. I think it would be great for a local brewery to offer a home-brewed gluten-free option.

For the time being, the gluten-free menu is only being served at the Heartland Brewery on 41st Street on 8th Ave which is conveniently located outside of the Port Authority Terminal. This location is in the heart of midtown and this new gluten-free menu is a much-needed dining option in an otherwise lacking neighborhood.

Heartland Brewery on 41st Street and 8th Avenue should have their full GFRAP certification in the next few months but their gluten-free lunch and dinner menus are available immediately. Additionally, the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group will hopefully host a future event at this Heartland's location to welcome the gluten-free menu to New York City. I plan to announce this event as well as certification here on Gluten-Free Fun as soon as I have more details.

Lunch Menu

Dinner Menu

Midtown West
625 8th Ave. at 41st St.
(outside the Port Authority)
646.214.1000

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes
Shauna James Ahern, Gluten-Free Girl, and her husband Daniel Ahern, the Chef, have written their first cookbook Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes. It is being published in September and it can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com. They made a wonderful promotional video for their book which features their adorable daughter Lucy. Congratulations to Shauna and Danny!

Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef from Daniel Ahern on Vimeo.

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Monday, August 9, 2010
Delicardo Treasure Hunt
Win a Packet of 50 DELICARDO Foodcards of Your Choice With The DELICARDO Treasure Hunt.

Simply answer the 5 questions below and you can go into the draw to win your very own packet of personalized DELICARDO Foodcards.

More people than ever before have restrictive dietary dos and don'ts that they need to communicate to others. DELICARDO Foodcards help people do this effectively and easily. When eating out the card is simply given to the waiter or chef avoiding long or awkward explanations about your special dietary needs while also making life easier for the restaurant staff. The cards clearly communicate what one can’t eat under the heading ‘NOT ALLOWED TO EAT’ and what one can eat under ‘ALLOWED TO EAT’. There is also a list of products where the allergen(s) concerned may be found.

DELICARDO Foodcards are available for many different different allergies, intolerances and diets and are free to configure as one chooses in the online Foodcard Configurator. They are also business card sized, durable and come in a variety of different colours, designs and languages. To go into the draw to win a pack of 50 DELICARDO Foodcards of your choosing (go to www.delicardo.com to see the range of cards available) answer the questions below:

1. What rating did Rosanne give “The Bell Jar” café at http://www.glutensavvy.com?

2. What is the secret word in the magnifying glass on the “Disney with Food Allergies” travel page at http://www.avoidingmilkprotein.com? (Tip: You can find the pages here http://www.avoidingmilkprotein.com/travel.htm)

3. Who is the founder of www.mallergies.com and what is your favourite post there? (Tip: You can choose any post found at the website)

4. What is the name of the trail mix recently reviewed at http://www.foodallergyqueen.com?

5. Which allergies and intolerances are mentioned in the founding story of DELICARDO? (Tip: Check the story page at http://www.delicardo.com)

Send your answers and your choice of cards to Delicardo Foodie via facebook (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000358462929) or email bosson@enomis.de with the subject line “facebook competition”.

Competition ends 24 August 2010.

For more details go to the “Eating Out: Allergies and Diets” facebook group page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=340959892390. Remember all entries must be sent to Delicardo.

Have fun!

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Friday, August 6, 2010
Making Celiac Awareness Pop
Gluten-free Popcorn Company Spreads Education as It Builds Sales
Posted by Karen Egolf on 07.23.10

What started as a food craving is now fueling a startup business that's not just selling gluten-free popcorn, it's working to raise awareness of an often-undiagnosed illness—celiac disease—with an eye toward achieving a cure.

L&J Popcorn offers gluten-free popcorn in three flavors—kettle, caramel and cheddar—in bags or tins. It's available online and through some Chicago-area food stores.

Debbie Gordon, chief popcorn officer and founder of the Northbrook, Ill.-based company, says she initially wanted to create the business because her daughter, who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2002, was frustrated at not being able to find popcorn that was certified as gluten-free. "She's a huge fan of specialty popcorn," Gordon says. "She wanted people with celiac to be able to buy popcorn with confidence."

At the same time, L&J is working to raise awareness of celiac disease as well as funds to help find a cure. It donates a portion of its profits to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, which Gordon says is the premier center for celiac disease treatment, education and research. Its mission is to raise awareness to increase diagnosis rates nationwide. "What we proposed to do is to always donate a portion of our profits to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center," Gordon says.
Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease that affects one in 133 people—or more than 3 million Americans. According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, the disease affects the digestive process of the small intestine and is triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Left untreated, celiac can lead to other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes and other problems.

Yet, according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, of the 3 million Americans with celiac disease, 97% are undiagnosed. In fact, in a 2003 multicenter prevalence study, 60% of children and 41% of adults diagnosed during the study had no symptoms.

Another problem, Gordon says, is that gluten is in many foods that most people don't think contain wheat or other grains. To ensure that L&G Popcorn is gluten-free, Gordon had it tested by a food analysis company and now does ongoing batch tests to ensure its continuing quality. "Gluten is hidden in a lot of things," she says. "Soy is OK, but soy sauce has wheat in it. But once you get into the hang of it, the diet is not difficult to follow."

As part of its awareness-raising effort, L&J is hosting a fundraiser on July 29 for the Celiac Disease Center at Pinstripes restaurant in Northbrook, Ill., with bocce, bowling and gluten-free appetizers and desserts. The event, which will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., costs $50 per ticket with all proceeds going to the center.

Gordon, who got some marketing help from her father, Joe Rabin, and sister, Michelle Elster, of Rabin Research Co., Chicago—both former presidents of the American Marketing Association—says she became interested in the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center after her daughter was diagnosed with celiac. "The thing about the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center is they have this care-package program," she says. "Anyone who's biopsy-diagnosed with celiac disease anywhere, not just the U. of C., is eligible to get this package.

"It's really the first line of defense for people who are diagnosed," Gordon says. "You're so lost—you have no idea what to eat. And there on your doorstep is this beautiful care package with food and information to help you out."

So far, she says, L&J is meeting its initial goals of sales and awareness. "It's going well. We've had a nice start," Gordon says. "We're selling gluten-free popcorn, and we're supporting the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, too."

http://adage.com/goodworks/post?article_id=145042

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Thursday, August 5, 2010
Celiac Disease Diagnosis Up 4-Fold Worldwide
From Medscape Medical News
by Megan Brooks

July 30, 2010 — Studies from the United States, Europe, and elsewhere indicate that the prevalence of celiac disease (CD) has increased significantly in the last 3 decades — possibly by as much as a factor of 4.

"More and more studies indicate a prevalence of CD of more than 1% in both adults and children. This should be compared with lower prevalence figures [from] 20 to 30 years ago," Jonas Ludvigsson, MD, from the Department of Medicine, Epidemiology Unit, at the Karolinska Institute and Orebro University Hospital, Sweden, and an expert in CD, noted in an email to Medscape Medical News.

"The reason for this increase is mutlifactorial, but there is probably a true underlying increase. This has been shown when old sera have been analyzed with modern techniques, (eg, in Finland)," Dr. Ludvigsson pointed out.

Mayo Clinic Research Confirms Rise in CD

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic also report an increase in CD, according to an article in the summer issue of the Mayo Clinic's research magazine Discovery's Edge. Joseph Murray, MD, and colleagues analyzed stored blood samples, taken from Air Force recruits in the early 1950s, for gluten antibodies. They assumed that 1% would be positive, mirroring today's rate. That assumption was wrong — the number of positive results was far smaller, indicating that CD was "rare," Dr. Murray noted in the article.

This led him and his colleagues to compare those results with 2 more recently collected sets from Olmsted County, Minnesota. Their findings suggest that CD is roughly 4 times more common now than in the 1950s.

"This tells us that whatever has happened with CD has happened since 1950," Dr. Murray said. "This increase has affected young and old people. It suggests something has happened in a pervasive fashion from the environmental perspective," he added.

Excess Mortality Seen With CD and Latent CD

Recent research by Dr. Ludvigsson's team (JAMA. 2009;302:1171-1178) and others supports the concept of "latent CD" or "gluten sensitivity." Latent CD, defined in the Journal of the American Medical Association study by Dr. Ludvigsson's team as having normal small intestinal mucosa but positive CD serology, is something that is estimated to occur in at least 1 in 1000 individuals.

Dr. Ludvigsson's team has also reported evidence that in 1 year, 10 of 1000 individuals with CD will die compared with an expected 7 in 1000 without the disease.

"Not only is the mortality raised in patients with [CD] but also in those individuals with latent [CD]," Dr. Ludvigsson noted in a statement from the United European Gastroenterology Federation.

However, in comments to Medscape Medical News, he emphasized that "although patients with CD are at increased risk of a number of disorders, and at increased risk of death, the absolute risk increase is very small."

A Tricky Disease

CD remains a "tricky disease," Dr. Ludvigsson said. "It can be asymptomatic; have so-called traditional symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, failure to grow (in children), fatigue, and malnutrition; and have nontraditional symptoms such as osteoporosis, depression, adverse pregnancy outcome; and increased risks of both malignancy and death."

The onset of certain autoimmune disorders including autoimmune liver disease, thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, and Addison's disease can actually signal CD, he noted. "This means that clinicians should consider CD in a number of symptoms and disorders."

CD Often Undetected; Cause Unknown

CD often goes undetected, although the percentage of undetected cases varies between countries, Dr. Ludvigsson noted. "In most countries, at least two thirds of individuals with CD have not received a diagnosis by a doctor." The reason for the high percentage of undetected disease is that the disease can be difficult to diagnose, and "it is sometimes almost asymptomatic," he added.

Detection Methods Are Improving

Over the years, Dr. Ludvigsson told Medscape Medical News, "we have improved existing means to diagnose CD. Antibody tests are becoming better and better, although a positive antibody test should be confirmed with a small intestinal biopsy before the diagnosis is certain. Transient increases in CD antibody levels occur. In the future, I expect microscopy in the very small intestine to become a tool for diagnosis."

Alternatives to the Gluten-Free Diet?

At this time, Dr. Ludvigsson said, the gluten-free diet remains the cornerstone of treatment for CD. However, "in the future, alternative treatment strategies may be available. The recent discovery of the structure of transglutaminase 2 may help in designing inhibitors of transglutaminase 2 to treat CD," he said. "Another potential treatment strategy is to ingest enzymes that digest gluten, thereby increasing the safe threshold for gluten intake.

"There is also ongoing research on the topic of decreasing the bowel's permeability to gluten, Dr. Ludvigsson told Medscape Medical News. He added, however, that the safety of this approach is unclear, as "a decreased permeability here might mean that the body cannot absorb other needed substances.

"Finally, agricultural research may mean that we can modify the gluten structure in wheat produce a kind of wheat that will not illicit an immune response in patients with CD," the researcher noted.

Counseling CD Patients Is Important

Although evidence is scarce, said Dr. Ludvigsson, "most researchers believe that a gluten-free diet will reduce the risk of complications/comorbidity in CD, and it is important for the doctor to underline this for the patients. In patients with CD who do not become better on a gluten-free diet, the most common reason is probably that the patients do not eat a strictly gluten-free diet," he said.

Dr. Murray advocates greater vigilance in CD patients. "It's not enough to say, 'You've got CD, be gluten-free, goodbye,' " he said. "CD requires medical follow-up."

This October, at the United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, Spain, Dr. Ludvigsson will be 1 of 8 researchers to receive the Association of National European and Mediterranean Societies of Gastroenterology and United European Gastroenterology Federation Rising Stars award.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Mr. Ritt's Isn't Getting Out The Gluten Free Business Completely
Mr Ritt's Bakery isn't getting out of the gluten free business at this time. What they will be doing is making a full mix line which will include all of the breads, including the healthier ones like quinoa and buckwheat, as well as their flour and waffle mixes. Ritt has also been reworking all of the recipes as he creates the breads into mixes to improve taste and texture, since he now has more time to work with them. The versatility in a home kitchen with the mixes versus them having to make everything will really make this work well for people as well as cutting costs. They are currently working on getting them developed and into distribution so they can be available at retail level rather than having to direct ship. Mr Ritt's last day of retail operations was July 31st.

Mr. Ritt's will have available the following mixes, which are being developed for multiple purposes:

  • 3 different cup for cup flour blends
  • L&W bread
  • Challah Bread/cinnamon breads/sticky buns
  • Multi purpose Italian bread (this is the current test, and it makes a soft bread with a solid crust as well as a Pizza crust and Foccacia. The customer reviews on the samples have been more than positive) Mr. Ritt's is also try to make this work for a pepperoni or sausage bread.
  • Buckwheat bread
  • Quinoa bread and soft pretzel mix
  • Artisan Bread that will make Olive bread, Tomato Basil, Pesto, or cheddar breads.
  • Buckernickel (mock pumpernickel) - already developed
  • Mock rye bread mix - to make mock rye, mock onion rye, mock caraway rey, and mock caraway onion rye breads


On another note, Mr. Ritt's is moving back to the midwest, and hoping to expand these lines out there and keep the biscotti going.

MR. Ritt's Gluten Free Bakery
212 East Vine Street
Entrance on 2nd
Millville, NJ 08332
856-825-8770

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