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Friday, January 31, 2014
Gluten-Free Friday Funny: 1/31/2014


My apologies to those who are easily offended. 

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Thursday, January 30, 2014
Update on Udi's Gluten-Free


WOW. It has been a crazy night. It always seems that a gluten-free "scandal" erupts when I am out here in Portland. It must be the gluten-free-ness of this city that brings these stories right to me.

Tonight when I logged into Twitter, I saw a ton of reposts about an article on The Daily Meal called "Udi’s Bakery Bids Farewell to Gluten-Free with Name Change." The article was confusing and even after re-reading the press releases involved, there was still confusion. Top bloggers and very smart colleagues of mine were also confused as we continued to post and repost this one article. A lot of people that I know and trust were putting this out there in their social media channels, but it looks like not only were we confused but we were wrong.

Well, when I am wrong, I admit I am wrong BUT I also back up my wrongdoing with an explanation and some major research. I read the Daily Meal article again, I went to the Udi's renaming contest page, and read the press releases. In all of my sources of information, there was mention of Udi's Gluten-Free and even the gluten-free logo on the Udi's renaming contest page. I was confused so I went directly to the main source: Suzanne, the social media manager for Udi's Gluten-Free.

The social media manager agreed that the article was very misleading and that she was happy I reached out. Udi's Gluten-Free is actively doing damage control on their Facebook page to also clear up any confusion.

Here is what Udi's Gluten-Free has to say:

Unfortunately the article very misleading. It is about a different company, the Udi's Restaurants in Denver (www.udisfood.com),  and has been worded in a very confusing way. We are not changing our name and will not stop selling gluten free goodies!

In 2012, a local bakery in denver sold the gluten free portion of their business (the Udi’s retail breads and other baked goods) to what is now Boulder Brands. When they sold the gluten free portion they also sold the Udi’s name with it. They’ve had 2 years to change the name of the local restaurants here in Denver. They’re finally getting around to it and hosting a big contest to have Denver help them rename their local bakeries.

Nothing will change with the Udi’s baked goods that you know and love. The restaurants are just finally changing their name to avoid confusion (since their restaurants are also not 100% glutenfree)

I apologize for any confusion my previous post may have caused and I have learned my lesson to reach out to the source first. I can admit I am wrong publicly like this but I am also glad I am not alone in my total confusion. (See the Udi's Gluten-Free Facebook page for all of the other fans that are equally confused!) Please continue to support Udi's Gluten-Free and spread the word that Udi's Gluten-Free is not going anywhere!

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No More Udi's Gluten-Free (UPDATED)
UPDATE: Udi's Gluten-Free is NOT changing its name or product!!! Read the updated article here: 

Update on Udi's Gluten-Free


I saw this article online today: Udi’s Bakery Bids Farewell to Gluten-Free with Name Change

Basically, Udi's Gluten Free has sold their gluten-free line to Boulder Brands and will be now sold under the name Smart Balance. In addition, they are changing the actual name "Udi's" to something new and have launched a contest called "Rename Udi's. According to their press release, "Prizes will be awarded to the top three finalists. The grand prize is party for 20, worth up to $1,000, the second-place prize is $300 and the third-place prize is $150 to use at restaurants, café, farmer’s markets or catering. In addition, the finalists will be invited to a brand party unveiling the name and to parties at each of the restaurant and cafe locations as the name is rolled out."

I think this could be very confusing to the gluten-free customer since the brand Udi's will continue making bread but just not gluten-free bread. Apparently, all of the Udi's products and restaurants will be renamed, but I still find this really confusing. How do you feel about this change? Do you think Udi's will improve or get worse under the new parent company? 

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Monday, January 27, 2014
Globally Gluten-Free in New York City
One of the best things about living in New York City is all of the amazing food options we have available to us. There are cuisines from around the world, many which are naturally gluten-free, that are only a subway ride away. Last week, I posted on my Gluten-Free Globetrotter website a list of gluten-free friendly restaurants in NYC that will allow you to travel the world without ever leaving the Big Apple.

For your convenience, I put together a cool map using a new app called CityMaps. This app is free to download and you can follow me on CityMaps @GlutenFreeGlobetrotter for future gluten-free maps across the world.

Not following Gluten-Free Globetrotter yet? What are you waiting for?
http://glutenfreeglobetrotter.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gluten-Free-Globetrotter
http://www.twitter.com/gfglobetrotter

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Friday, January 24, 2014
Introducing Gluten-Free Friday Funny
In a world that is often annoying, depressing, or just mean, I thought I would add a little bit of humor into our lives. Each Friday, I am going to try and find a funny bit about being gluten-free. My humor might be crass for some of you, so I apologize in advance. My funnies might not be funny at all, but hey... at least I tried. I have been living with Celiac for 33 years and I am originally from New York. I have sarcasm and gluten-free down to a science!

Let's kick this off with a birthday card from one of my college friends.




Have a Gluten-Free Friday Funny you want to showcase here? Send me an email at gfreefun@gmail.com


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014
My Take on (Gluten-Free) Oats
I do not eat oats. 
I do not eat gluten-free oats. 
This is my personal decision, one that does not make me right or wrong. 



I have been living with Celiac Disease for almost 33 years. For 32 of those 33 years, I have always avoided oats. I was always told by my gastrointerologist to avoid oats. I was told at an early age through my support group to avoid oats. After hearing something is off limits for three decades, you tend to believe that oats are not safe for someone living with Celiac Disease.

The idea of "gluten-free oats" is a rather new one. I believe it has only been in the last ten years or so that gluten-free oats has even entered into the picture for Celiac patients. I was intrigued but skeptical about introducing oats into my diet. Oats are questionable mainly due to the high risk of cross-contamination in production and transport. It is also believed that 10-15% of people living with Celiac also react to oats.

Well, I am in that minority. I have a reaction to gluten-free oats. I had severe brain fog last summer when I started eating gluten-free oatmeal for breakfast. I had a reaction to both Crunchmaster crackers and Dr. Lucy's cookies. I felt "glutened" every time I tried gluten-free oats or gluten-free oat products and do not plan to intentionally eat oats in the future.

It is my personal decision to not eat gluten-free oats. The biggest problem I have with this decision is the nasty reactions I receive when I tell people I choose not to eat oats. At the GFAF Expo in NJ in September, I had a vendor flat out stop talking to me when I told her I didn't eat oats and couldn't eat her cupcakes. I had an Udi's demo guy tell me at Natural Foods Expo East that my reaction to oats was all in my head and I should eat their granola. I've had PR people email me and tell me that I was wrong and all gluten-free oats are safe for everyone and I MUST try their products. I've read through full-on Facebook fights in support groups that I belong to that result in people attacking strangers when they say they have a reaction to oats.

WHAT??? It is my choice to not eat gluten-free oats, people. It is my body and my reactions. Who are you to tell me otherwise?!?! What gives you the right to dictate my diet? 

Ok, I'm done yelling but I really have a big problem with other people telling me what to eat or not. This is gluten-free world is complicated enough to navigate at times and having people tell me I am wrong about what I eat is just plain aggravating. Please remember that my celiac is not your celiac and I have been eating gluten-free for a VERY long time... probably longer than you have even been alive let alone diagnosed. Let me choose to not eat gluten-free oats and let me be right about my decision. Thank you!

Now, for more information about oats and the Celiac patient that will guide you in making your own personal decision:

Oats and the Gluten-Free Diet
Are Oats OK on the Gluten-Free Diet?
What about oats?
Gluten-Free Whole Grains

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Monday, January 20, 2014
New 100% Gluten-Free Bakery in New York City: By The Way Bakery

On a busy Friday morning, I had the pleasure of meeting Helene Godin, the powerhouse behind By the Way Bakery, the new 100% gluten-free bakery in Manhattan. Helene started her gluten-free bakery, By the Way Bakery, back in 2011 in Hastings-on-Hudson and then decided to bring her delicious baked goods south to Manhattan. From reading about Helene and watching her on the Good Life Project (watch this!!) to our pleasant emails before my visit, I could tell I was about to meet a very happy, kind, and caring individual who wanted to feed her customers safely and deliciously.

Once I stepped into By the Way Bakery at 2442 Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I was not disappointed. All of the staff were friendly and helpful and all of the customers were happy. My favorite quote of the morning was from a gluten-eating customer who said "I think you removed the gluten and added crack, I am addicted to these baked goods!" As you know, for a gluten-eating person to say anything good about gluten-free food is a MAJOR compliment.

Helene and I chatted about the bakery both here and in Hastings-on-Hudson (where all of the products are baked each day), the product ingredients, and  the new Kosher certification which was easy to come by since everything in the bakery is already dairy-free. As we started talking more in-depth about the ingredients, Helene showed me the recipe book for all of her products and the ingredients of every single item used in the bakery. This was HUGELY impressive. You could see the manufacturer labels for all of the ingredients by flipping through the binder that Helene was more than happy to share with me and every customer that asks when they come into the bakery. I love the transparency that By the Way Bakery has with their customers. No surprises about what goes into the gluten-free/dairy-free products you are about to eat!

Helene was overly generous with the gluten-free samples she sent me home with and I know a few extra gym sessions would be needed this past weekend. I had a half of a banana muffin and a half slice of carrot cake for breakfast when I got to my office. The first thing I noticed about the food was how moist it was. Gluten-free baked goods tend to be really dry, but not these products. They were flavorful, moist, and delicious. I also tried a sour cherry coffee cake and another mini cake (can't remember what kind, just know it was good.) Helene also gave me a chocolate mini cake but I decided to save that for my friend.

It may sound cliche but By the Way Bakery is awesome. Plain and simple. I would go as far to say that this might be one of the BEST gluten-free bakeries I have ever been too and probably my new favorite gluten-free bakery in New York City. Go out of your way to go here or in Hastings-on-Hudson if you find yourself north of the city. You will not be disappointed!


By the Way Bakery
100% gluten-free, dairy-free, and Kosher
2442 Broadway between 90th St and 91st St
Open every day 8am to 6pm



Reasonable prices for a New York City bakery! 

A sampling of gluten-free goods

Now serving Stumptown Coffee

Cake of the day by the slice, muffins, and even more cakes

Samples! 

Ingredients and recipes available for ALL customers to review upon request

Helene was overly generous with giving me samples

Banana walnut muffin, carrot cake slice, and the cute bakery on the way out



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Friday, January 17, 2014
Chronic Intestinal Damage Raises Hip-Fracture Rate in Celiac Disease Patients
I received an interesting press release from the Endocrine Society yesterday. Apparently this society "is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology." Endocrinology is the branch of medicine that focuses on the endocrine system which includes the thyroid, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries and testes, pancreas and more.

As someone living with both Celiac disease and a thyroid disorder, I find this society's information and this study interesting. Please read on...



Chronic Intestinal Damage Raises Hip-Fracture Rate in Celiac Disease Patients
Gluten-free diet reduces inflammation, may lower risk of complications

 Chevy Chase, MD–Celiac disease patients who experience chronic damage in the small intestine may be more likely to break a hip than those whose intestinal tissues have begun healing, according to new research accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects about 1 percent of the U.S. population. When people with the condition eat gluten—a protein found in grains like wheat—it triggers an immune response in the small intestine. Patients with this condition face a higher risk of breaking a bone, but studies have reached contradictory conclusions about whether the fracture risk remains elevated long after the disease is diagnosed and managed with a gluten-free diet.

“We believe that giving the mucous membrane—the moist tissue lining the small intestine—a chance to heal can lower the risk of complications, including bone fractures, in celiac patients,” said one of the study’s authors, Jonas F. Ludvigsson, PhD, MD, of Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. “Our research confirmed that patients had a higher rate of hip fractures when tissue damage persisted over time. Sticking to a gluten-free diet is crucial for minimizing tissue damage and reducing the risk of a serious fracture that could cause other complications.”

The cohort study analyzed tissue samples from 7,146 Swedes who were diagnosed with celiac disease from July 1969 to February 2008 and received follow-up biopsies within five years of diagnosis. Researchers examined intestinal tissue from the biopsies to determine the level of damage. Among this population, 43 percent had persistent villous atrophy where the intestinal tissue did not heal. (The villi are tiny structures that project from the lining of the small intestine.)

Researchers analyzed patient records to determine how many had broken bones. Patients were monitored for a median of 10.3 years after being diagnosed with celiac disease. The study found that people who had persistent tissue damage were more likely to break a hip. All patients faced a similar risk close to the time of the follow-up biopsy. The group with persistent tissue damage had a heightened risk of hip fracture beginning five years after the follow-up biopsy, indicating a higher long-term risk.

“Physicians have debated whether people with celiac disease actually benefit from a follow-up biopsy to determine the level of tissue healing taking place,” said one of the study’s authors, Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, MS, of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. “These findings suggest that a follow-up biopsy can be useful for predicting complications down the road.”

Other authors of the study include: K. Michaëlsson of Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden, and P.H.R. Green of Columbia University Medical Center.

The study, “Persistent Mucosal Damage and Risk of Fracture in Celiac Disease,” appears in the February issue of JCEM.

###

Founded in 1916, the Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology.  Today, the Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 17,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endocrine.org. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.

Contact: Aaron Lohr
Director, Media Relations
alohr@endocrine.org

Contact:
 Jenni Glenn Gingery
Manager, Media Relations
jgingery@endocrine.org

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Thursday, January 16, 2014
A Gluten-Free EatUP! Grows in Brooklyn
I was approached months ago by an eager NYC Celiac Meetup member looking to make a difference in our local gluten-free community. Her ideas were grand but her mission was simple: to safely and happily feed those of us with Celiac Disease in the Big Apple. Finally, we can see the fruits of her labor. Deb Goldstein, of Levine's General Store, is co-hosting the first ever Gluten-Free EatUp! on February 9th.



The Gluten-Free EatUP! is a one-day marketplace of locally crafted gluten-free, taste-full delectables. Try a kimchi spiced grilled cheese, grab a gluten-free beer, and take home some sweets. There will be hot savories, sweets, packaged treats and more.

JOIN US! Click here for more information.

Sunday February 9, 2014 
1pm to 6pm 
Freddyʼs Bar 627 5th Avenue BROOKLYN 



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Thursday, January 9, 2014
Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Breastfeeding Study
Have you or someone in your family given birth to a child in the last ten years? If so, please consider taking this survey.

The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University is conducting a study on the breastfeeding experiences of healthy women and women with celiac disease. 
To contribute to the study, we ask that you take just a few minutes to fill out a survey. Participation is completely voluntary and anonymous!
The survey can be found via the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/breastfeedingexperience
There is no compensation for participating in this study, but the information you provide can help further our knowledge about celiac disease. If you have any questions about the study, please email celiac@columbia.edu or Danielle Heller at dh2478@columbia.edu.
The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center was established within the Department of Medicine at Columbia University in 2001.  The Center’s mission is to redefine the future of celiac disease and treatment through continuing advances in patient care, research, education and patient advocacy.   All of the Center’s research is directed toward celiac disease clinical, epidemiology, and mechanisms of pathogenesis of celiac disease and patient and physician education. 

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Monday, January 6, 2014
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Take the Pledge Campaign
As a blogger over the past 7 years, a Leader, a Facebooker, and a Tweeter, I work hard via social media to help spread awareness about Celiac Disease. I run the largest Celiac/Gluten-Free Meetup group IN THE WORLD and I am amazed about how this group has evolved since I took the wheel. I have been living with Celiac for more than 32 years, so it really is an integral part of who I am. So when the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness asked me to take a pledge to "Educate, Empower, and Advocate" in the name of Celiac Disease, it was a no-brainer. Of course I would help!

Restore Your Health. Reclaim Your Life. Take the Pledge.

What does "Take the Pledge" mean?

According to the NFCA, "It means much more than just committing 100% to your gluten-free diet.
By taking the Pledge, you’re promising to take a proactive approach to managing your health in just three easy steps - whether it’s learning more about celiac disease itself, promising to be more diligent about recognizing and preventing cross-contact or participating in the many forms of research focused on celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’)."

When you take the pledge, you promise to:

"Educate:
The gluten-free diet is not a fad.  We know this, you know this - it's a treatment that's here to stay.
Celiac disease is not a food allergy. Let's take this opportunity to set the record straight!

Be Empowered:
We can work together to amplify our voice to raise awareness of gluten-related disorders.
We are in the driver's seat when it comes to managing our own health.

Advocate:
You play a key role in helping family members understand their risk for this genetic autoimmune disease.
83% of people with celiac disease remain undiagnosed. We have the power to change that by sharing our personal stories and raising awareness of the signs and symptoms."

Are you ready to take the pledge and start educating others about Celiac and empowering yourself to be the best gluten-free person you can be? Let's go!


Leave a comment below if you decided to take the pledge! 

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Friday, January 3, 2014
WEGO Health Awards Nominee: Gluten-Free Fun on Twitter
I reluctantly joined Twitter in 2010 after Jill from Glow Gluten-Free told me it was a great way to reach out to my readers. I slowly made my way into the Twittersphere only to realize that Jill was correct. I could "talk" to my followers and loved the instant gratification. I started participating in Twitter chats, connected with lots of cool people, and even started using Twitter to plan my vacations. It was an awesome and very powerful tool that I was glad I joined. 

Now, almost 3.5 years later, I am so honored to be nominated for this year's WEGO Health Awards for "Best in Show: Twitter." According to the WEGO website, "Best in Show: Twitter is for the Twitter addict who wields their reach for good and spreads #information for all." Ha! Yes, I am a full-fledged Twitter addict these days. With more than 4,500 followers, I am constantly blown away that so many people want to connect with me, read my Tweets, and respond to what I have to say. I appreciate all of you and thank you dearly for considering me one of the gluten-free best on Twitter!

Do you follow me on Twitter? If not, you can find me at @gfreefun. Stop by and say hello.

If you think I am a Master Tweeter or just like my blog Gluten-Free Fun, I would love your endorsement on the WEGO Health Awards nomination page. Don't like me on Twitter, but like my blog or like me on Facebook? I would love a nomination for that too. Thank you in advance! 


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Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Happy 7th Anniversary Gluten-Free Fun
WOW. Seven years of Gluten-Free Fun!! Where has the time gone?? 

Gluten-Free Fun 7th Anniversary
(gluten-free cupcake, of course!)


Today, Gluten-Free Fun turns seven years old. Seven years is practically ancient in the blogging world. When I started this blog seven years ago, I never could have imagined that it would still be around today. This blog has become a direct lifeline to an amazing gluten-free and Celiac community. Through the blog, I have met some really amazing people and tried some delicious gluten-free food. I've continued to travel the world since launching this blog and have NEVER let living with Celiac Disease get in my way. I'm still excited about writing this blog, reaching out to the gluten-free community, and sharing my three decades of Celiac experience with the world.

Here are some fun Gluten-Free Fun facts as I celebrate 7 years of writing this blog!

Happy Gluten-Free Fun Anniversary to me!!


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