Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gourmet Frais Update

I've previously written about a local company called Gourmet Frais which makes Gluten Free Raw foods and snacks. If you stopped by my table at the recent Whole Foods Gluten Free Vendor Fair, I had some samples of their products. Stay tuned for new products like Pizza crust, flat bread and donuts.

Gourmet Frais is now offering some cooking classes. See below for more information.


"Living Foods" PIZZA $25
Learn how to make "living foods" pizza crust, non-dairy cheezes, marinara sauce, as well as a pesto topped pizza. Bring your appetite, as the class includes eating our creations! Note: Class size limited to 6, so sign up early.
  • Sunday, April 19 2:00 - 4:00 PM
  • Sunday, April 19 6:00 - 8:00 PM
  • Sunday, May 17 2:00 - 4:00 PM
  • Sunday, May 17 6:00 - 8:00 PM
"Living Foods" CHOCOLATE CANDY $30
Learn how to make "living foods" chocolate candy using raw cacao butter, nuts, and/or dried fruits. You will be able to bring home your creations, unless you eat them first! Note: Class size limited to 6, so sign up early.
  • Sunday, May 3 2:00 - 4:00 PM
  • Sunday, May 3 6:00 - 8:00 PM
  • Sunday, June 7 2:00 - 4:00 PM
  • Sunday, June 7 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Learn how to make an easy green smoothie, nut mylk, pumpkin seed mylk, and nut mylkshakes. Bring your appetite as we will taste all of our creations! Note: Class size limited to 6, so sign up early.
  • Saturday, May 16 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Saturday, May 16 1:30 - 4:30 PM
  • Sunday, May 30 1:30 - 4:30 PM
Future 2009 Classes...
  • All About Chocolate (Cake, Mousse, and More)
  • Dairyless Ice Creams
  • Just Desserts (Key Lime Tarts, Cheezecake, and More)
  • Easy Lunches
  • Appetizers for Entertaining (No one will even know they are "living" food)
  • Growing & Juicing Wheatgrass
  • All About Juicing
  • Sprouting Techniques
  • How to Dry Foods

Increased Celiac Diagnosis can Reduce Health Care Costs

Findings from a recent study called "Economic Benefits of Increased Diagnosis of Celiac Disease in a National Managed Care Population in the United States" has some pretty interesting numbers I'd like to share with you. The study was published in this month's Journal of Insurance Medicine and was conducted by The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center. Click here for an article from Medical News Today.

Dr. Peter Green and colleagues of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University along with CIGNA HealthCare, conducted the study using anonymous data collected from 1999 through 2003 on more than 10 million managed care patients in the U.S. They divided patients into four different groups: (1) newly diagnosed with Celiac disease, (2) one symptom of Celiac disease but no official diagnosis, (3) two symptoms of Celiac disease but no diagnosis, and (4) three Celiac disease symptoms but no diagnosis. The researchers then analyzed the costs of medical care between the four groups listed above. As shown below, the newly diagnosed had the highest costs right after diagnosis but then decreased once the correct diagnosis was made. The other groups of undiagnosed Celiacs had higher costs.

The study found that...
"...the mean medical cost in the 12 months before diagnosis was approximately $8500; it peaked at the time of diagnosis and one year after diagnosis at $12,000; then went down to an average of $7,400 in the two to three years afterward."
We all know the long list of associated symptoms and diseases that come with Celiac Disease. This study has now identified hard numbers to go along with the actual impact of undiagnosed CD to the health care system in the USA. Dr. Green says that the study clearly proves "there needs to be greater physician education in the various modes of presentation and manifestations of Celiac disease and more use of the widely available screening blood tests that detect the disease."

We also know that the average time for correct CD diagnosis in the US is about 10 years. This study proves that increased awareness and correct diagnosis (goals of this blog) will result in health care cost savings.

Click here to read the study.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Petition Update

Thanks to Sue Stock from the News & Observer for blogging about my food allergy poster petition over the weekend. Click here for her blog entry from Taking Stock.

However, it was a little disheartening to see the comment from ncsulilwolf on her blog post.
They wrote the following...
Why doesn't Becker drum up some donations and volunteers and provide them to restaurants as a public service of his interest group instead of requiring our tax payers to do this? Besides, it might end up quicker on that end if don't wait around for it to become public policy.
I'm guessing this person does not have a food allergy or know what living with or eating out with a food allergy entails. Is eating out safely a right that folks with food allergies have? Maybe we all should just live in a bubble and stop bothering the "normal" people out there. Do you feel our city government should try to make restaurants a little more safe for people with food allergies?

My goals of raising awareness for my "interest group" and helping people have safe meals will continue on despite these comments. So far, about 120 people agree with me.

By the way, click here for the petition.

Recap: Gluten Free Vendor Fair - Whole Foods Raleigh

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone that came out and crammed into the Raleigh Whole Foods on Saturday for the Gluten Free Vendor Fair. I'm sure some sort of fire code was violated with all the Gluten Free consumers that were there (just kidding if you are reading this Fire Marshall).

I estimate I meet about 100 people during the few hour event - with about 50% who were already familiar with this blog and the other 50% not familiar (but are now). I didn't have any time to take pictures as I was busy talking with folks - so check out the recap post over at Celiac Underground for some pics.

Special thanks goes out to Sherry from Whole Foods who coordinated the event and invited me to have a table. Also, thanks to Rosie's Plate and Gourmet Frais for providing samples. Some folks from Rosie's Plate were nice enough to come to the event and hand out their samples (and information) personally which was great. If you didn't try their brand new pita bread and cheese crackers - you really missed out.

I hope you got to sample these items plus all the good stuff from Lee Tobin and the Gluten Free Bakehouse - along with Bella Monica Flatbread Company GF Pizzas. It was very encouraging to meet and see so many Gluten Free folks. It just reaffirms that the market is there and more companies will cater to us or expand their offerings.

I also received nearly 50 signatures for my Petition which is great! There are about 120 total signatures now. Please continue to sign and forward on to your friends and family.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reminder: Gluten Free Vendor Fair - Whole Foods Raleigh

I wanted to send out a friendly reminder about the upcoming Gluten Free Vendor Fair which is happening this Saturday, March 28th from 11am to 3pm at the Raleigh Whole Foods Location. Make sure you stop by and say hi - I'll be there with my own Gluten Free Raleigh table and tons of information on Celiac Disease and the Gluten Free Diet. I will also have some tasty samples from Rosie's Plate and Gourmet Frais. You can also take a moment and sign my Petition to the Raleigh City Council for Food Allergen Posters in all city restaurants.
It's a Gluten-Free Fair Day!

This event will feature Lee Tobin from the Whole Foods Market Gluten Free Bakehouse, Zach from the Gluten Free Raleigh blog, and demos from a variety of vendors including 3 Hot Tamales, Bella Monica, Bard’s Gluten Free Beer, Namaste, original dishes created by our chefs, and more.

Enjoy our vendors and team members while they tempt your taste buds with tasty treats! This will be a day you won't want to miss whether you are a newly diagnosed Celiac or more knowledgeable about this disease, or want to avoid gluten for any reason.

Enter to win a Basket filled with a top-notch selection of Gluten Free products!
March 28th, 11a.m. to 3 p.m.
Whole Foods Market
3540 Wade Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27607

Useful Resources: Children's Celiac Book

I recently stumbled across some Celiac Disease/Gluten Free information provided by the Bonnie Lynn Mechanic Celiac Disease Clinic at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
The Bonnie Lynn Mechanic Celiac Disease Clinic uses a multidisciplinary approach to treating children and families with celiac disease. The clinic is staffed and led by board-certified pediatric gastroenterologist, Grzegorz W. Telega, MD. The team consists of a pediatric gastroenterologist, nurse and nutritionist.

Each physician partners with a nurse to provide ongoing case management. As education on diet and nutrition is key to managing celiac disease, Elaine Danner, clinical dietitian specialist is an integral part of the care team and a resource for patients diagnosed with celiac disease and their families.

Your child's first visit to the clinic will take about 30 minutes to one hour. The visit will include a physical exam and review of your child's past and present medical history. Please come prepared to discuss your overall family health history. Following the visit, the team may recommend some screening laboratory tests. If the initial screening is positive, a recommendation may be made for future testing to accurately diagnose the disease.
In addition to being a center solely based on diagnosing and treating Celiac Disease, they also have a couple other useful resources. These include a Guide to going Gluten Free, a Celiac Disease survival guide and an illustrated, easy to understand children's book about Celiac Disease.

Guide to going GF

Celiac Survival Guide

The Trouble that Jack Had Children's book

With all the technology, pharmaceutical and bio-tech research places around here, not to mention Duke and UNC hospital systems, why can't the Triangle have a Celiac Disease Center?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Celiac Disease and Fatigue

Many people experience fatigue before their Celiac Diagnosis. It is a very common complaint and is a logical side-effect of malabsorption. If your body isn't getting the nutrients it needs to function, you'll feel tired, weak and unenergetic. After a successful diagnosis of Celiac Disease and some time spent on a Gluten Free Diet, your energy levels should improve. But what happens if you are still experiencing fatigue - even after several years Gluten Free? Check out the following article recently published on Celiac.com by Registered Nurse Wendy Cohen.

In the article, Wendy describes a situation where fatigue is still an issue after going Gluten Free. She suggests a possible issue with the body's adrenal glands could exist.
Although relatively tiny, the adrenals have a very big job. Adequate levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol are required by the body to help prevent inflammation and tissue destruction, keep blood sugars level, moderate nervous system responses, and attempt to maintain homeostasis, or the steady-state of balance in the body. Periodically experiencing incredibly painful episodes of inflammation and tissue destruction from an accidental exposure to gluten places a huge strain on the adrenals, including a sudden demand for high cortisol levels to help moderate the inflammatory response. Each time, the body is able to cope, but with each experience it may take longer for the adrenals to recover. When stress is prolonged, these high levels of cortisol must be maintained. And if there is no significant recovery period during which the adrenals can rest and replenish themselves, adrenal fatigue results.
She goes on to list several other auto-immune diseases that have been studied and proven to be linked to Celiac Disease - Diabetes affecting your pancreas, thyroid disorders and hepatitis affecting your liver. Wendy suggests that Autoimmune Adrenal Hypofunction and Autoimmune Hypo-Adrenalism are two possible related diseases to Celiac that have not been fully studied in the USA as of yet. Check out the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue below as outlined in the article. Sound familiar?
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
* Fatigue
* Depression and memory difficulties
* Sleep Disturbances
* Migraine Headache
* An increase in allergies or the development of new allergies
* Alcohol Intolerance
* Low Blood Pressure and Low Body Temperature
* Blood Sugar Regulation Problems (Hypoglycemia)
* Low Libido & Hormonal Imbalances
* Inflammation
Good information to know which establishes yet another link to an associated disease.

See my other posts about Celiac Disease and related symptoms or diseases here.

NFCA - Gluten-Free Lifestyle Webinar Series

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has announced the third Webinar in the new Gluten Free Lifestyle Webinar program. See my previous posts about the first and second Webinars.
Gluten-Free Lifestyle Webinar Series -Going to School Gluten-free

April 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm EST

Nancy Baker, MEd
NFCA: Director of Education

Margaret Weiss Masiello, RD
Clinical Coordinator
Kogan Celiac Center

Beckee Moreland
GREAT Guide Coach
Click the following link to register (Click the Upcoming Tab).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Campbell's Gluten Free List Updated

I wrote last December about a change in the Gluten Free status of Campbell's soup, Pace salsa, Swanson broth and Prego sauces.

Campbell's has just come out with their brand new Gluten Free food list. See below for more information. It's a good idea to call the company (1-800-257-8443) to check since they do not publish a list on their Web site. Looks like Pace salsa is still out.
Campbell's Gluten-Free Products

"Because we are constantly improving our products, please check the ingredient statement on the label of every product. We will make every effort to keep this list up-to-date.

Gluten is a protein found in rye, barley, oats and wheat (including atta, bulgur, couscous, durum, einkorn, emmer, farina, kamut, seitan, semolina, spelt, triticale and triticum aestivu).

Every effort is made to avoid cross-contact with our ingredients and products that have gluten ingredients. This includes sanitation controls, storage controls, manufacturing controls and product rework controls.

The following list contains products in which every ingredient in each product was verified as being gluten-free. As a further safeguard, we analyzed each product to ensure compliance with our strict gluten-free standards."

Swanson Broth & Stock (Aseptic)
Natural Goodness Chicken Broth
Chicken Stock
Chicken Broth
Beef Stock

Swanson Broth (Canned)
Natural Goodness Chicken Broth
Chicken Broth
Vegetarian Broth
Chicken Broth with Garlic

Prego Italian Sauce
Chunky Garden Combo
Chunky Garden Mushroom & Green Pepper
Chunky Garden Mushroom Supreme with Baby Portobello
Chunky Garden Tomato Onion & Garlic
Flavored with Meat
Fresh Mushroom
Italian Sausage & Garlic
Mushroom & Garlic
Organic Mushroom
Organic Tomato & Basil
Roasted Garlic & Herb
Roasted Garlic Parmesan
Three Cheese
Tomato Basil Garlic

Prego Heart Smart Italian Sauce
Heart Smart Mushroom
Heart Smart Onion & Garlic
Heart Smart Ricotta Parmesan
Heart Smart Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic
Heart Smart Traditional

Campbell's Tomato Juice
Tomato Juice
Low Sodium Tomato Juice
Organic Tomato Juice
Healthy Request Tomato Juice

V8 Splash Smoothies
Strawberry Banana
Tropical Colada

V8 Splash & Diet V8 Splash Juice Blends
V8 Splash Tropical Blend
V8 Splash Strawberry Kiwi Blend
V8 Splash Berry Blend
V8 Splash Fruit Medley
V8 Splash Mango Peach
V8 Splash Diet Tropical Blend
V8 Splash Diet Berry Blend

V8 Vegetable Juices
V8 Vegetable Juice
Low Sodium V8 Vegetable Juice
V8 Spicy Hot Vegetable Juice
A-C-E Vitamin Rich V8
V8 Fiber Vegetable Juice
Organic V8 Vegetable Juice

V8 V-Fusion Blends
Strawberry Banana
Tropical Orange
Peach Mango
Pomegranate Blueberry
Acai Berry
Light Strawberry Banana
Light Peach Mango
Light Pomegranate Blueberry

ZPizza Gluten Free Pizzas in High Demand

Cool - looks like ZPizza is selling a lot of their new Gluten Free Pizzas!

Check out this post over at Gluten Free Cary. Make sure you call ahead to see if they've got the GF crusts in stock so you don't waste a trip.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wake Celiac Support Yahoo Group

Just an update about a recent change for the North Raleigh Celiac Support Group. A new Yahoo Group called Wake Celiac Support has been created which will allow for members to contact each other and post messages to the entire group at once. Normally, emails go through the support group organizer, Pat Berger. Pat's list includes over 100 people and I'll assume that most will want to join this new Yahoo group. You do need to register for a Yahoo account if you do not already have one and you will need to be approved by the group's moderator. The Yahoo group also has features like recipe sharing, photo sharing and links.

Click to join WakeCeliacSupport
Click the picture above to join WakeCeliacSupport

Useful Resources: CSA's Good Search

The Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) has a new search engine to assist in fund raising for their organization. Most of us do some type of Internet searching on a pretty regular basis. The CSA Good Search is a way to do our normal searching (built on Yahoo search engine technology) and to raise funds for the CSA at the same time.
The search engine GoodSearch donates 50-percent of its revenue to the organizations designated by its users. It’s a simple and compelling concept. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. Because it is powered by Yahoo!, GoodSearch has proven results. The money GoodSearch donates to the causes comes from advertisers—the users and the organizations do not spend a dime.

The Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) is registered with GoodSearch and estimates that each Web search will generate approximately $.01. Over a year’s time, with 1000 supporters averaging two searches a day, the estimated annual revenue to CSA would be $7,300 a year. That would be enough funds to cover the printing costs of our CSA New Patient packets! Visit www.goodsearch.com for more information and designate CSA to be your GoodSearch charity.
Click here to use the CSA Good Search.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Raleigh CSA Support Group 3-19-09 Meeting Recap

Special thanks to Gail for taking meeting minutes during the last North Raleigh Celiac Support Group meeting on 3-19-2009. Below is a recap for those of you that could not make the meeting.
North Raleigh Celiac Support Group
CSA Chapter 108
March 19 2009 7:00-9:00 PM
Rex Hospital Private Dining Room

The meeting was largely focused on the discussion given by guest speaker, Nancy Mentzel, a registered pharmacist. Her topic was Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. These items are considered food products which are not regulated. Only prescriptions are monitored by the FDA.

Nancy stated that most of these products are produced following good manufacturing practices (GMP) but NOT all over the counter supplements are, and some contain hidden gluten contents. In addition, some do not even provide the body with the quantity listed on the label.

Nancy noted the important fact that vitamins and minerals are not absorbed in isolation, as many need other vital nutrients to be used by the body. She gave these examples: Calcium is better absorbed with vitamin C and Lysine helps with Magnesium. Some vitamins are water soluble whereas others are only fat soluble. Nancy said that it is easier to absorb vitamins and minerals from food rather than supplements. But if the diet does not provide these nutrients, or there are absorption problems that many newly diagnosed celiacs face such as iron deficiency, these products can contribute to overall health.

Several questions addressed gluten absorption through the skin or via eye drops. This can be a problem for some especially sensitive celiacs (esp. with Dermatitis Herpetiformis).

Several members of the group recommended vitamin products they have used in the past. Both the Vitamin Shop and Country Life brand vitamins follow GMP and are certified G-F. Also, the web site Freedavitamins.com is a good source.

Zach provided feedback from the Jules Shepard event which had a great cooking demo. He also gave an overview of the upcoming Whole Foods Gluten Free Fair scheduled for March 28 and his online petition regarding food allergen posters for food service workers in Raleigh restaurants.

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 16, 2009.

Submitted by,
Gail Harris

Friday, March 20, 2009

Petition to the Raleigh City Council - Food Allergen Poster

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about new ways to improve the lives of those with Celiac Disease and/or nother food allergies. Dining out in restaurants is a big issue for the estimated 12 million Americans with a food allergy. For those of us on a Gluten Free Diet, we are well aware of the dangers of eating out.

About this same time, I saw an interesting article about something the City Council of New York City did. The NYC City Council actually passed a law which requires restaurants to display a food allergy education poster and will fine locations $100 for non-compliance. I thought this was a great idea and would be a good starting point in the education of food service workers in the food allergy arena. Of course this does not guarantee that food allergy sufferers can have a safe meal, but it is a start down that path. Food service workers need to know what the allergies are and how to prevent cross-contamination.

So, I decided to email the Raleigh City Council about the issue and my proposal. I offered up my services on the creation of the poster and anything else they would need. I have not heard back as of yet. In the meantime, I created an online petition to gain a little more ammunition. Please take just a few minutes to read the petition and to sign it. The more signatures, the more the City Council will take this issue seriously. Thanks for your time and support!

Click here to sign the Food Allergy Education Poster Petition to the City Council of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Coupon: Uno Chicago Grill - Gluten Free Pizza

I plan on writing some more about the new Gluten Free Pizza now offered at Uno Chicago Grill in the near future. But in the meantime, here is a $1.00 off coupon for the pizza. Click the image below to get your coupon.


15,900 - That's my estimate on the number of Celiac's in Triangle area.

15,423 - If you go by the NFCA's estimate that 97% of Celiacs are undiagnosed, this is my estimate of undiagnosed Celiac cases in the Triangle.

So here we are, 477 of us - with more coming each day thanks to increasing awareness and better diagnosis. From the statistics kept on visitors to this blog and the number of RSS subscribers, I would estimate that about 120-140 of the 477 are reading this blog each day.

I didn't just make these numbers up of course, new information was released today (see this article from the N&O) about Triangle population estimates. The Raleigh-Cary area now tops the nation in growth.
The Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area, which includes Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties, grew by 4.3 percent from July 2007 to July 2008, and is now home to close to 1.1 million people. It well outpaced its closest rival, the Austin, Texas, area, which grew by 3.8 percent, to become the national leader.

The national growth average was just under 1 percent.

The Triangle has been near the top of the nation's growth chart for more than a decade, as newcomers poured into the area to take jobs in technology, tourism and academia. The resulting building boom, and the jobs that came with it, drew hundreds of thousands of new residents.

The Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area, which includes Durham, Orange, Chatham and Person counties, didn't make the Top 10, but its population continued to swell at a steady 2.5 percent, up slightly from the year before. Just fewer than 490,000 people live in that area.
So there are 1.59 million Triangle residents. Some estimates say that 1% of the population in the US has Celiac. So what does this mean to all of us? The Triangle has a formidable number of Celiacs and this information should help drive the market for Gluten Free products. I hope to see more and more restaurants, grocery stores, etc... catering to us in the future. With almost 16,000 of the most loyal customers ever created, how could they not?

More Gluten Free Products from General Mills?

Blogging and the Internet is a great thing! You can find out so much information - it really is changing the way and frequency of information provided to consumers. Check out the following posts I found recently from a blog called kill.the.gluten about new Gluten Free baking mixes from Betty Crocker (another General Mills company).

Sneak preview of new Betty Crocker GF Cookie, Brownie and Cake Mixes.

Brownie Mix Review

Cookie Mix Review

Cake Mix Review

It appears these may also be released around the June 1, 2009 time frame as I mentioned yesterday with the new Gluten Free Chex varieties.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

General Mills Update - 5 Gluten Free Chex Cereals Available June 1, 2009

On Monday, I wrote about an update to several Chex cereals from General Mills that would make them Gluten Free. The word is now that the following Chex cereals are indeed being reformulated as Gluten Free but will not be available until June 1, 2009.
  • Corn Chex
  • Honey Nut Chex
  • Chocolate Chex
  • Strawberry Chex
  • Cinnamon Chex
As always, check the box for labeling and ingredient lists to be 100% safe.

Alba Therapeutics & Larazotide Acetate Update

I have written previously about the Celiac Disease drug therapies that are currently under development around the world. Alba Therapeutics is one company that is doing research and development with a drug called larazotide acetate. Here is an update from Alba posted yesterday on the PRNewsWire.
Alba Therapeutics Corporation announced today it will initiate further clinical studies for patients diagnosed with celiac disease with their lead compound, larazotide acetate. "Our most recent Phase IIb study, the largest trial with an investigational medication conducted in patients with celiac disease, was a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, dose ranging, multicenter study to determine the safety, tolerance and efficacy of larazotide acetate in 184 adults with controlled celiac disease during a gluten challenge. The data are promising and will be publicly presented at upcoming scientific meetings this spring," said Bruce Peacock, CEO of Alba Therapeutics. "Recently, Alba restructured to concentrate its efforts on advancing the clinical program for larazotide acetate, and we are now moving forward with initiating our next clinical trial in patients with celiac disease."
I had written earlier about the "restructuring" (layoffs) at Alba and have since been wondering what the status was at the company. It appears as if the company is moving forward, solely focused on using larazotide acetate as a treatment for Celiac Disease. Just as a side note - this drug and all the others I have written about are designed to be used in conjunction with the lifelong Gluten Free Diet. Their goal is to eliminate the damage done by unintentional Gluten exposure - not to allow the person to eat as much Gluten as they would like and then just pop a pill afterward.

Alba Contact Information
Contact: Wendy Perrow, MBA
Phone: 410-878-9850
E-mail: info@albatherapeutics.com
Web site: http://www.albatherapeutics.com

Rosie's Plate - Grab & Go - March 16 - March 20

See below (click image to enlarge) for Rosie's Plate Grab & Go options for March 16 - March 20.

Grab & Go now Delivers! Call Rosie's Plate at 833-0505 before noon - they will grab your choices and deliver to you TODAY! Click here for more details.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reminder - Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group Meeting

Just a friendly reminder about this month's Greater North Raleigh Celiac Support Group meeting. The meeting is Thursday, March 19th at 7pm at Rex Hospital. This month, Registered Pharmacist, Nancy Mentzel, will be our guest speaker. We will follow our usual format, with the major part of her presentation revolving around our questions. Also included will be information and discussion of vitamins. This is the time to get answers to our pharmacy questions - prescription and over the counter. Bring your questions!

Please email Pat Berger to request more information about the group or if you are interested in attending this month's meeting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

General Mills Update - New Gluten Free Chex Varieties?

There has been a lot of blogosphere news about new Gluten Free Chex varieties over the last few days. We all know about Rice Chex being GF, right? And I previously wrote about General Mills changing ingredients in their Strawberry Chex, Chocolate Lucky Charms and Honey Kix cereals to remove all gluten. That update also mentioned that General Mills would not provide information about where the cereal was made (i.e. dedicated line like Rice Chex). So are they GF or not? I tend to not eat things made on shared equipment but that choice is up to each of you to make yourself.

I have seen several posts recently about changes made to Corn Chex and Honey Nut Chex which would now make them Gluten Free (ingredient-wise at least). In addition, several pictures have been posted and the boxes clearly state in large letters "Now Gluten Free". Click here to see the new Corn Chex box on Gluten Free Post and here to see the new Honey Nut Chex box on Gluten Free Philly.

A quick check of Corn Chex and Honey Nut Chex on the General Mills Web site still lists Barley Malt Extract as an ingredient. While I was there I also found Cinnamon Chex cereal was up to date with the new "Now Gluten Free" logo - see here. UPDATE 3-18-09 - General Mills has removed the Gluten Free picture and barley malt extract is now back in the ingredients listing. Not sure why they changed it. Now I am confused. So I placed a call into General Mills to inquire further. The person I spoke to (who actually was a Celiac believe it or not) did not have any information/notification about the labeling change. They did state that the product packaging is the most up-to-date place to look and that all Wheat ingredients will be listed. They also said the box will contain statements if Wheat is not an ingredient but had a chance to cross-contaminate the product. They took my name and phone number and were going to research further and call me back. I will certainly let you know what they find.


Whole Foods North Raleigh Update

I wrote last September about the possibility of a brand new Whole Foods location in North Raleigh. The proposed location would be Regency Center's The Market at Colonnade shopping center planned at the corner of Six Forks Road and Colonnade Center Drive. Apparently, Whole Foods has been looking for the right location in North Raleigh for 7 years.

Here is an update taken from this Sue Stock News & Observer article.
The North Raleigh Whole Foods is one step closer.

On Tuesday, Raleigh's Planning Commission voted to recommend that the City Council approve the rezoning request for the site near the intersection of Six Forks and Strickland roads.

The City Council will review the matter and could vote on the rezoning plan as early as Tuesday.

Once approved, the 40,000-square-foot store and another 17,000 square feet of small shop space for other stores would take about 18 months to build.

The developers also need to submit a site plan for approval before construction can begin. But if my math is right, that might mean a late 2010 opening.
Click here for the site plan.

Here's a big "attaboy" to the grassroots organization called Bring Whole Foods which has been instrumental in making this new location a reality.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

GF Product Reviews and Locator

Just a little reminder of the Gluten Free Product Reviews and Locator post I created last October. This is designed for you to leave comments about your favorite Gluten Free products. Write a little blurb about it and why you like it or don't like it. Provide your own little GF Food review if you will. As much information as you want to include to help others more easily navigate the GF maze. Please also comment here (can be in the same comment as a GF Food Review) as to where you currently buy the GF product and how much it cost the last time you purchased it (if you can remember).

This post can always be found in the Hot Links section located on the right sidebar.

Gluten Free Product Reviews and Locator

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Good Read: New Information on Gluten Free Market

Check out the following article recently published on MSNBC.com titled "Malady Stricken Consumers Find Relief in Booming Gluten-Free Food and Beverage Market".

See below for some interesting updates on the Gluten Free Market.
  • The market for gluten-free food and beverage products grew at a compound annual growth rate of 28% from 2004 to 2008 to finish with almost $1.6 billion in retail sales last year (2008).

  • Projections show that ensuing years will experience double-digit growth due to an overwhelming number of positive factors, the most important of which is the existence of more gluten-free products in stores through both product introduction and the conversion of existing products to gluten-free status.

  • By 2012, the market is expected to reach about $2.6 billion in sales.

  • The increased diagnosis of celiac disease has been a catalyst and driving force in the gluten-free food and beverage market, rescuing it from being generally regarded as a mere fad popular within the health conscious populace.

  • To meet consumer demand, more than 225 marketers introduced new gluten-free products into the United States in 2008. From supermarkets with private-label brands to single product-line specialty marketers, every conceivable type of food and beverage marketer in the U.S. introduced new products into the market last year.
The data above is according to market research publisher Packaged Facts in the brand-new report, "The Gluten-Free Food and Beverage Market: Trends and Developments Worldwide, 2nd Edition."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Upcoming White House Forums on Health Reform

Late last year, the newly elected President and his White House transition team organized and conducted Health Care Reform Community Discussions all around the country. Some 30,000 Americans participated in this community forums and submitted their feedback and ideas to the White House. To read what was sent in from all the North Carolina discussions, see this link. If you have listened to any recent speeches from the President, you've heard him say that Health Care reform cannot wait.

So how does this apply to Celiacs or those living on the Gluten Free Diet?
  1. Celiac Disease is classified as a Chronic illness a.k.a. "Pre-Existing condition". This dirty little phrase may have already caused some of you out there headaches when trying to acquire new health insurance. Of the 30,000 Americans who participated in the discussions mentioned above, 13% stated that they had difficulty finding health insurance due to Pre-Existing Conditions - that's almost 4,000 people. Scale that out to the entire US population and you could quickly estimate that tens of millions of people are having the same problem. Those tens of millions include the estimated 3 million people with Celiac Disease. If health insurance companies were in the business of helping people and providing care rather than making money, this would not be the case.

  2. We all are too familiar with the difficulty in finding Gluten Free food, medications and personal care products. Since the Gluten Free Diet is our only "medication" and cure in order to live a healthy life, the FDA needs to significantly improve on the 2004 Food Allergen Labeling & Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). Since FALCPA only includes wheat, a guidance on Gluten Free labeling must be solidified and enforcement must be put into place to fully ensure our "medicine" is available and safe. The Gluten Free food we do have available is on average 242% more expensive than it's non-GF counterpart. Most GF consumers spend several hundred dollars EXTRA per month on GF groceries. How many diseases out there require you to spend hundreds of dollars each month for medication? There are some I'm sure but GF foods are not covered by any insurance plan I know of while medical treatments and prescription drugs are likely covered for most other diseases. FALCPA also does not apply to personal care products nor medications (prescription or OTC) - this must be improved. It's pretty simple - why is something that is toxic to 1% of the US population not required to be labeled on items we consume?

  3. To ensure that Celiac Disease gets the proper attention, health care professionals must be adequately trained in it's diagnosis and care. Judging by the fact that estimates show nearly 3 million Americans have Celiac Disease but only about 150,000 confirmed cases exist, clearly shows our health care system is failing us. Celiac diagnosis takes on average 10 years and several doctors. People get cancer, anemia, osteoporosis, have miscarriages and develop other related auto-immune diseases before getting the correct Celiac diagnosis. Our own hospital systems attempt to poison us with their inability to serve Gluten Free meals during hospital stays. Most insurance companies do not cover consultations with Dietitians - the very folks who can help the newly diagnosed learn the Gluten Free Diet.
I could go on but these are the major points. So what is the next step? You may have already heard about the White House Regional Forums on Health Reform that are occurring in March and April. Guess what, one forum will be held in Greensboro, NC on March 31st, 2009. A web site has been created for this very topic and can be found at http://www.healthreform.gov/.

I highly suggest you all use the Submit your Question or Idea button on that web site to be heard on this topic. Make sure to select the check box for the Greensboro, NC forum. I plan on sending in the points I listed above - feel free to do the same, send them the link to this blog post or add your own comments. You can also use this link to simply show your support for Health Care Reform - although this does not allow you to enter commentary on the subject.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Good Read: The History of Celiac Disease

Check out the Celiac Disease / Gluten Free Diet Time Line which was recently published in this celiac.com article by Jefferson Adams. Some pretty interesting information about the history of Celiac Disease and the Gluten Free Diet.

A Celiac Disease / Gluten-Free Diet Time Line

250 A.D.—The first written account of celiac symptoms in western medicine occurs when the Greek Physician, Aretaeus the Cappadocean, known as Galen, describes the characteristic stool, noting that the disease was more common in women than men and that children can also be affected.

1669—The Dutch physician Vincent Ketelaer publishes a book that contains an account of a diarrheal illness in which he notes feces so voluminous that, "several basins or pots scarcely hold these accumulations."

1737—John Bricknell writes of patients who suffer from what he terms the "white flux.” Both Ketelaer and Bricknell were likely describing celiac disease, though that name would not be attached it for another century and a half.

1887—Dr. Samuel Gee ushers in the modern era of celiac disease, when he drew attention to the disorder in a lecture delivered at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London.

1888—Gee publishes his classic paper, "On the Coeliac Affection,” in which he describes aspects of the celiac disease with great accuracy and suggests that, "if the patient can be cured at all, it must be by means of diet.” He experimented with various diets and noted that children who were fed a quart of the best Dutch mussels daily, throve splendidly, but relapsed when the season for mussels ended.

1908—British Physician Christian Herter becomes the first to discover that celiac disease can cause stunted growth, especially among children in their middle years.

1921—British Physician John Howland devises the healthy, three-stage diet for celiac patients known as the milk/protein diet.

1932—Danish physician Thorwald Thaysen provides the first clinical explanation of celiac disease in adults, though he lacks detailed knowledge on intestinal pathology for a full understanding of the disease.

1950—Dutch pediatrician Willem Karel Dicke isolates cereal grains as the factor in aggravating the symptoms of celiac disease, especially in children.

1954—Experimenting with surgical biopsy material, Doctor J. W. Paulley makes the first discovery of the intestinal lesions caused by celiac disease in patients.

1955—Margo Shiner invents the tiny biopsy tube that is still used today for confirming the presence of celiac disease in the small intestines. The important celiac disease discoveries of Paulley and Shiner meant that, from the mid 1950s onwards, doctors had a means by which to reliably diagnose the disease. Their discoveries gave rise to an explosion in the understanding of celiac disease that continues to this day.

1965—Dermatologists recognize that people suffering from the itchy skin rash, dermatitis herpetiformis, have an abnormal jejunal biopsy just like those with celiac disease and that the rash usually subsides with the observance of a gluten-free diet.

1970—In the early 1970s, researchers identify genetic markers for celiac disease. Even though the gene or genes that cause celiac disease have not been identified, researchers remain hopeful that they will succeed in doing so, and thereby give rise to a new generation of celiac treatments that do not require a gluten-free diet.

1980s—Fiber optic technology enables doctors to take small bowel biopsies using fiber-optic endoscopes, while the development of reliable screening blood tests greatly increases the number of celiac diagnosis.

1981—The Codex Alimentarius Commission establishes the earliest standards for gluten-free food. Under this original standard, foods labeled “gluten-free” must be made from naturally gluten-free grains, such as corn or rice or from gluten grains (wheat, barley, rye) that had been rendered gluten free through processing. At the time, there was no way to test for the presence of gluten, so tests gauged the levels of gluten by measuring nitrogen levels, an imprecise method.

~1985—It is discovered that gliadin initiate damage to the absorptive epithelium of the small intestine to produce symptoms of celiac disease in susceptible individuals.

1990s—Early in the decade, doctors thought celiac disease to be rare and affect just 40,000 or so Americans. Over the last decade or so, the number of Americans diagnosed with celiac disease has nearly tripled, to 110,000, but that’s just the start. The National Institutes of Health now estimates that about 1% of the population, or about 3 million people suffer from celiac disease, and that only about 3% of existing cases have been diagnosed. A full 97% of celiac cases remain undiagnosed. That’s about 2.9 million people who remain undiagnosed and in danger. More and more of those who are diagnosed are reporting no symptoms.

1995—Scott Adams launches Celiac.com in San Francisco, California, one of the first websites dedicated to celiac disease. The site quickly evolves into one of the most authoritative, informative, and comprehensive sources for celiac disease and gluten-free diet information. The celiac.com forum is one of the most popular places on the web for people with celiac disease to get answers and share information.

1996—Alessio Fasano, MD, publishes his seminal study in the Archives of Internal Medicine that indicates that 1 in 133 people in the USA have celiac disease.

1998—Codex Alimentarius revises its standards for foods labeled ‘gluten-free’ to be made from naturally gluten-free ingredients and contain 20 parts gluten per million, or less, while foods processed to be reduce gluten, such as wheat starch, can have no more than 200 parts per million gluten.

1998—The Gluten-Free Mall (www.GlutenFreeMall.com) launches its "Special Diet Superstore!" to provide home delivery of top quality foods and other products that are free of wheat, rye and barley gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, and other common allergens. The Gluten-Free Mall now sells thousands of gluten-free products including breads, cookies, cakes, pizzas, mixes, full meals, frozen foods, cosmetics, gluten-free guides, books, and more.

1997 to 2007, the number of people under-18 diagnosed with food or digestive allergies rises nearly 20%, and nearly 3 million young people now suffer from food allergies. About 12 million Americans suffer from a food allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, with nearly 90% of all food allergies arising from reactions to just eight foods: Cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy and wheat.

2000—Scientists at the University of Maryland discover Zonulin, which is a protein that participates in tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract.

Since 2004, food retailers have added nearly 2,500 new gluten free products to their shelves.

2007—Studies show a high instance of arthritis and osteoporosis in people with celiac disease, and other studies show a high prevalence of celiac disease among people with type-1 diabetes.

2008—A team of researchers works to develop a simple saliva test after concluding that it is possible to accurately measure salivary tTG-Abs; both at initial diagnosis for celiac disease, and also while patients are following a gluten-free diet.

2008—Rates of celiac disease are shown to be 2.5 times higher among elderly people than among the general population.

2009—Canada debuts the home celiac disease test kit as part of its national health care plan.

2009—The company Nexpep is currently preparing for a clinical trial program for a peptide-based therapeutic vaccine, and intends to commence a Phase 1 in the first half of 2009. According to Nexpep, the peptide-based therapeutic vaccine is designed to treat the main problem T-cell epitopes of gluten, and has the potential to treat at about 80% of people with celiac disease and the appropriate genetic background.

2009—Sometime this year the US FDA is expected to adopt long awaited regulations for the use of the term "gluten-free" on USA food labels. The new regulation would require foods with "gluten-free" on their labels to contain less than 20 parts per million of gliadin.

Several pharmaceutical companies are currently working on treatments for celiac disease, such as Alvine Pharmaceuticals (enzyme therapy), and Alba Therapeutics is developing a zonulin receptor antagonist called AT-1001, which is currently in phase 2 clinical trials.

2012—All food made in the E.U. with ‘gluten-free’ on its label must contain less than 20 parts per million of gliadin, in accordance with the Codex Alimentarius standards.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Interview: Alice Bast - NFCA Director & Founder

Since I began blogging last August, I have met so many great people who are working hard to make the lives of those with Celiac Disease better. When I get the chance to meet important folks in the Celiac/Gluten Free community, I like to share with you what we discuss. So I've published a few interviews in the past few weeks and had the opportunity to have another one today. I look forward to talking with more folks out there, especially leaders of the national support organizations and companies that make Gluten Free products.

Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Alice Bast, the Executive Director and Founder of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). Alice founded the NFCA in 2003 after suffering for many years with undiagnosed Celiac Disease. She went through 22 doctors, the trauma of delivering a stillbirth, multiple miscarriages and a baby born at only 3 pounds. These years were also marked by debilitating physical symptoms and almost unbearable mental and emotional strain. See more about her personal story here. After her CD diagnosis, Alice became co-chair of the Greater Philadelphia Area Celiac Support Group which now serves over 750 members. She became involved in the community and in supporting others with Celiac but eventually wanted to do more.

With existing Celiac or Gluten Intolerance groups focused more on support, Alice launched the NFCA with the idea of focusing on raising awareness, improving diagnosis and becoming a change agent for CD sufferers. With her business background, she had hopes of working with corporations (non-profit and for-profit) in the hopes of increasing the products available to those on a Gluten Free Diet. An example of this is her collaboration with Anheuser-Busch on the creation of their Gluten Free Beer Redbridge - the first and only with distribution to all 50 states. Alice and the NFCA were instrumental in getting this product to market.

Alice is passionate about the fact that better awareness will feed better research... better research will in turn increase the number of companies who cater to Celiacs... the more companies that cater to us, the more competition... all of which leads to lower prices, more choices and an easier Gluten Free life. This pretty much sums up the mission of the NFCA.

Here are some interesting items mentioned during my time talking with Alice.
  • Alice's wish is that scientific researchers do Celiac research because CD is an interesting/intriguing genetic disease to study.
  • The NFCA has distributed over 800,000 Celiac brochures to date with the assistance of their grocery and diagnostic partners.
  • Alice and the NFCA are currently working with Wal-mart on their Gluten Free product selection. Introducing Wal-mart into the fold will certainly help bring down prices. Judging by my last poll question in which the majority of respondents said they spend $200 or more per month just on GF grocery items, this is great news.
  • Alice will be presenting at the 13th Annual International Celiac Disease Symposium on April 6th in Amsterdam. The presentation will include the NFCA's approach to physician training and changing physician behavior around Celiac Disease diagnosis.
  • Alice envisions a country where there are Celiac research centers in every major city around the US, not just at Columbia, Maryland and U. Chicago. With Duke, UNC and NCSU so close, there is definitely no reason why Raleigh-Durham can't have one!
A special thanks to Alice Bast for taking the time to talk with me today and to Whitney Ehret, the NFCA's Director of Communications, for coordinating the interview. See my previous posts about the NFCA here.

FDA to Study Gluten Free Food Labeling - Summer 2009

I've been pretty critical of the FDA on this blog over the last few months. Being critical or negative is not something I like to do normally, but I personally think they could be doing a lot more for Gluten Free consumers and manufacturers. However, I do understand how the federal government "works" - slowly.

I received notice a few days ago about a new study the FDA will be doing this summer about Gluten Free food labeling - it is called Gluten-Free Labeling of Food Products Experimental Study. They published a notice about the study and under federal law must allow for 60 days of comments before the study can begin. You may comment on the study notice until May 5, 2009. My comment would be something like "Hurry the heck up already!".
The purpose of the study is to gauge perceptions of characteristics related to claims of ‘‘gluten-free’’ and allowed variants (e.g.,‘‘free of gluten,’’ ‘‘without gluten,’’ ‘‘no gluten’’), in addition to other types of statements (e.g., ‘‘made in a gluten-free facility’’ or ‘‘not made in a facility that processes gluten-containing foods’’) on the food label. The study will also assess consumer understanding of ‘‘gluten-free’’ claims on foods that are naturally free of gluten, and gauge consumer reaction to a product carrying a gluten claim concurrently with a statement about the amount of gluten the product contains. The data will be collected over the Internet from samples derived from two sources: (1) A membership list from a celiac disease special interest organization and (2) an online consumer panel. Participation in the study is voluntary.

We all know that the FDA missed the August 2008 deadline to finalize the FALCPA law proposed in 2004 and passed in 2006. The law states the following for Gluten labeling...
Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with appropriate experts and stakeholders, shall issue a proposed rule to define, and permit use of, the term ``gluten-free'' on the labeling of foods. Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue a final rule to define, and permit use of, the term ``gluten-free'' on the labeling of foods.
Two years was August 2008 - but I guess they technically have until 2010 to make the proposed rule final. Hopefully the FDA will get their act in gear and the study this summer will finalize labeling of Gluten Free products. More to come on this topic - stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Useful Resources: Soy-Yer Gluten Free Dough

I'd like to share a recent discovery with all of you out there with children who are Gluten Free. For those of us on a Gluten Free Diet, it is important that we stay away from conventional modeling dough/clay like Hasbros' Playdough - it contains gluten. Same with Crayola's Dough product.

But playing with Playdough is like a childhood requirement, right? I have been searching for some time for a Gluten Free Dough product without much luck. We're lucky that Hasbro and Crayola actually tell us anything about the ingredients of their products - they are pretty secretive with the formulas.

Back in January, I read a New York Times article featuring a Purdue University student named Sawyer Sparks who had stumbled onto a Gluten Free Dough product after failed attempts at making Gluten Free Beer. The product was originally called Soy-Doh but has recently been changed to Soy-Yer Dough - I guess a play on his name and the fact that Soy is the main ingredient. I began emailing with Sawyer Sparks in January after reading the article. I wanted to post about this great product then but I had difficulty getting my hands on some. Sawyer seemed a little overwhelmed by all the press and I think was swamped by Gluten Free consumers looking for his product. Also, at that time, there was not a user-friendly way to order the product. Sawyer let me know that some changes were underway and that a brand new Web site with an easy ordering system was coming soon.

The brand new Web site is now available at http://www.soy-yer.com. Soy-Yer Dough comes in 11 different colors/scents like Blue/Blueberry, Yellow/Banana or Pink/Watermelon. Each 6 oz. container runs about $2. You also have the choice to buy a variety pack which includes all 11 varieties for $20 - a cost savings of $2. I ordered this variety pack and played with it yesterday. The dough has the same look and feel as normal Playdough and the scents are a nice added feature. In addition to their Gluten Free dough, Soy-Yer also comes in a Soy free version as well.

Poll Results tallied - New Polls added

Here are the results of the set of Poll questions that have been on Gluten Free Raleigh since 2-6-09. I try to put up new poll questions every 30 days or so. I use this information to decide what to research and write about so please vote and let me know what you are interested in!

The big winner of your favorite Gluten Free product is Bella Monica Flatbread Company's Pizza. Coming in a close second was Redbridge - confirming my belief that Gluten Free Pizza and Beer are important topics for this blog.

In a little bit of a shocker, looks like 37% of you spend between $200 and $300 per month on Gluten Free Groceries. Wow. Nearly 10% of you spend more than $400 per month.

What is your favorite GF item?
RedBridge Beer 8 (16%)
Glutino Pretzels 7 (14%)
Blue Diamond Nut Thins 4 (8%)
Bella Monica Pizza 10 (20%)
Kinnikinnick Donuts 4 (8%)
Bell & Evans Chicken Tenders 7 (14%)
Bone Suckin Sauce 1 (2%)
EnviroKidz Crispy Rice Bars 1 (2%)
Mary's Gone Crackers 3 (6%)
Kinnikinnick KinniTOOS 5 (10%)

Votes so far: 50

How much $ do you spend a month on GF Groceries?
How much $ do you spend a month on GF Groceries?
$0-$100 5 (15%)
$101-$200 8 (25%)
$201-$300 12 (37%)
$301-$400 4 (12%)
$400+ 3 (9%)

Votes so far: 32

I have also added some new Poll Questions to the right side bar. I will continue to put up new Polls often to try to get a better understanding of what readers of this blog would like me to focus on.

Please vote!

Rosie's Plate - Grab & Go - March 9 - March 13

See below (click image to enlarge) for Rosie's Plate Grab & Go options for March 9 - March 13.

Grab & Go now Delivers! Call Rosie's Plate at 833-0505 before noon - they will grab your choices and deliver to you TODAY! Click here for more details.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gluten Free Vendor Fair - Whole Foods Raleigh

There will be a Gluten Free Vendor Fair held at the Raleigh Whole Foods location on Saturday, March 28th, 2009 from 11am to 3pm. The Gluten Free Raleigh Blog will have a table setup at this event and will be providing information about Gluten Free Living in Raleigh. Stop by the table to say hello and pick up some valuable information. More to come!

See below for more details.

It's a Gluten-Free Fair Day!

Enjoy our vendors and team members while they tempt your taste buds with tasty treats! Dozens of product displays with free samples on everything from Bella Monica Gluten Free Pizza to Sweet Sin Desserts, Gluten Free Beer to original dishes prepared by our amazing chefs and an array of baked goods from our Gluten Free Bakehouse! This will be a day you won't want to miss whether you are a newly diagnosed Celiac or more knowledgeable about this disease, or want to avoid gluten for any reason.

Enter to win a Basket filled with a top-notch selection of Gluten Free products!

March 28th, 11a.m. to 3 p.m.
Whole Foods Market
3540 Wade Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27607

NFCA's Web site relaunched

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) relaunched their Web site late last week and it is now a little more user friendly. Some new content has been added and some outdated information has been removed.

Check it out at http://www.celiaccentral.org/

Friday, March 6, 2009

Grocery Store Review: Harmony Farms

I recently had the pleasure of spending some time at Harmony Farms Natural Food Store in North Raleigh. Harmony Farms is not only a wonderful little neighborhood grocery but also a complete "Natural Wellness Partner that will work with you while we journey together on your Natural Wellness Path". Harmony is also Raleigh's only 100% Organic Produce store. The best thing about Harmony Farms is their customer service - a friendly environment in which the store representatives are truly helpful and knowledgeable.

Harmony Farms also stocks a HUGE selection of Gluten Free items. In fact, they dedicate an entire wall in the store just for GF items. On a recent visit, I was like a kid in a candy store. They had pretty much EVERY Gluten Free product I have heard of plus a bunch more that I had not heard of. I honestly tried really hard to come up with something that they were missing from their GF selection and couldn't. They have all kinds of items including frozen foods as well as GF suppliments and beauty products.

Here are some of the manufacturers they carry as seen on their Gluten Free page...
Arrowhead Mills, Barbara’s Organic Bakery, Blue Diamond Crackers, Bobs Red Mill, De Boles, Eco Fish, Edward and Sons, Ener G Foods, Food For Life, Garden of Eatin’, Gillian’s, Glenny’s, Gluten-Free Pantry, Glutino, Heartland’s Finest, Ian’s Natural Foods, Imagine Orginic Foods, Jennie’s Macaroons, Kinnikinnick, Lundberg Organic, Mr. Krisper’s, Namaste Foods, Nature’s Path, Newman’s Own Organics, Orgran, Pacific Organic Foods, Pamela’ Producsts, Sun Flour Baking Company, The Buffalo Guys, Tinkyada Rice Pasta.

Impressive huh! Not to mention that they can pretty much get ahold of any GF product out there - all you have to do is ask. A very special thank you to Gineve Yannessa- Marketing & Community Relations/Natural Lifestyle Consultant at Harmony Farms. She took me through a tour of the store's GF items and is on the Gluten Free Diet herself due to Gluten Intolerance.

Harmony Farms Natural Food Store
North Raleigh
5653 Creedmoor Rd
Raleigh , NC 27615

Web site

Store Hours:
Monday – Friday: 10am – 8pm
Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Sunday: 1pm – 6pm

View Larger Map

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Useful Resources: Triumph Dining's Essential Restaurant Guide

I have written before about Triumph Dining's Products. I have seen on a couple of other sites that their brand new Essential Restaurant Guide for 2008-2009 is now available. The guide is normally $26.95 but if you order today Thursday you'll get it for $4.95. Use this link for the special price. The 500+ page guide (3rd edition) includes almost 4,800 restaurants from around the US, including 152 from North Carolina. I ordered my copy just a few minutes ago and with $3.75 shipping the total came to $8.70.

Useful Resources: Gluten Free Cooking Videos

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you will have noticed the lack of recipe posts. This blog is more focused on raising awareness of Celiac Disease and the Gluten Free Diet as well as restaurant reviews and grocery reviews. That being said, there are a ton of great Gluten Free Recipe blogs out there - just do a quick Google search and you'll find a ton. No need for me to repeat what others are already doing so well, right?

I have noticed a new trend though - video recipe blogs about Gluten Free cooking. Here are just a few that I have stumbled across lately that I thought you might enjoy.

Gluten Free Central
- Hosted by Bethany Lee whose husband has Celiac Disease. There are currently 11 episodes with more coming each day. Videos are broken down into recipes, news, reviews and tips about Gluten Free cooking. The videos are well done and are very professional.

The Missing Ingredient Cooking Show - Hosted by Frank Baldassare who has Celiac Disease. There are currently 6 episodes about Gluten Free cooking. These videos are also very well done.

The Gluten Free Video Cookbook Blog - This blog has worked to gather as many Gluten Free cooking videos as possible - there are currently 125 already posted and the blog was just recently started. The blog is authored by David from Ireland and includes a wide variety of videos from all around the world.

Of course, there is always YouTube which has almost 2,000 Gluten Free Cooking videos available as of today.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Jules Shepard / Earth Fare Event Summary

I'd like to thank everyone that came or helped put on the first Gluten Free Raleigh Blog Special Event last Saturday (Feb 28th)! If you don't know, we hosted Celiac author and Gluten Free cooking expert - Jules Shepard - at the Earth Fare at Brier Creek. Jules also did a book signing and Earth Fare had a special guided tour of the store and it's 1000+ GF items. Trevor from Bella Monica Flatbread Company was also on site for a tasting of their brand new GF pizzas. I originally thought that maybe about 20 people would register for the event but we actually ended up with a completely sold out event and even had some walk-ups the day of the event. We had a standing room only crowd of about 40 people when it was all said and done.

The Gluten Free Raleigh Blog will be making 2 donations to Celiac organizations as a result of the proceeds from the event. The first will be a $300 donation to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). I have written about them frequently on this blog and I really can identify with their primary focus of raising awareness. Another $100 donation will be made to the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research on behalf of the event and Jules Shepard. This research center is lead by one of the prominent leaders of the Celiac community - Dr. Alessio Fasano. More to come about this organization in the future.

Thanks again for every one's attendance and hard work. Again - a very special thank you to Jules Shepard for making the trip from Baltimore and for doing such a wonderful job. Also - to Kristi from Earth Fare for doing a wonderful job making sure everything went smoothly.

See below for some pictures from the event...

Restaurant Review: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Check out the following post over at Gluten Free Cary about Five Guys Burgers & Fries restaurant. Sarah does a great job of reviewing the Cary, NC locations.

A new addition to their Web site -The front page now proclaims:
Zero Gluten, except for our buns.
There are 2 Raleigh locations as well...
  • Raleigh at North Hills 4120 Main At North Hills St
  • Raleigh at Brennan Station 8107 Creedmoor Road
I have updated the Fast Food Restaurant listing with this new information.


Celiac Disease and Depression

I have previously written numerous posts about Associated Diseases or Symptoms of Celiac Disease including Seizures, Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer), Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes, Thyroid Disease and Osteoporosis/Osteopenia. Let's add another one to the ever-expanding list; Depression.

Check out the following article from Celiac.com (written by Dr Vikki Petersen - Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center) on Celiac Disease/Gluten Sensitivity and Depression. Below is an excerpt from the article...
In a study examining blood flow to the brain, 15 patients with untreated Celiac disease were compared to 15 patients treated with a gluten-free diet for a year. The findings were amazing. In the untreated group, 73% had abnormalities in brain circulation by testing while only 7% in the treated group showed any abnormalities. The patients with the brain circulation problems were frequently suffering from anxiety and depression as well.

In addition to circulation problems, other research looks at the association between gluten sensitivity and its interference with protein absorption. Specifically the amino acid Tryptophan can be deficient. Tryptophan is a protein in the brain responsible for a feeling of well-being and relaxation. A deficiency can be correlated to feelings of depression and anxiety.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Raleigh CSA Support Group 2-19-09 Meeting Recap

Special thanks to Gail for taking meeting minutes during the last North Raleigh Celiac Support Group meeting on 2-19-2009. Below is a recap for those of you that could not make the meeting.
North Raleigh Celiac Support Group
CSA Chapter 108
February 19 2009 7:00-9:00 PM
Rex Hospital Private Dining Room

The meeting was very well attended, most likely one of the largest ever at Rex. New members introduced themselves. It was great to hear one of them say, "My body is running much more smoothly!"

Group leader Pat Berger had a follow-up to last month's question on soy protein's impact on men and thyroid hormones. Shelly Wegman, the RD who spoke to the group in January, did some research but could find nothing to indicate a negative impact on either, but again stressed "as with all things, it is best to use soy in moderation and to make sure there is a variety of protein sources in the diet." She did say there is currently much research being conducted regarding soy and women's health.

The fact that the Wake County Library is a great source of GF cookbooks was mentioned, but magazines are another question. A new GF magazine, Delight, is being launched. Several group members already receive two existing publications: Living Without (multiple allergies) and Gluten Free Living (limited to Celiac disease) Members will bring in past issues for the group to review at upcoming meetings.

Pat discussed new research between Diabetes and Celiac and further evidence of the importance of adhering to a strict GF diet. Several group members shared that Diabetes control is now an issue for them in addition to remaining GF. Other general conversation on GF cooking was discussed as well as a recommendation for a new cookbook: Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America, Richard J. Coppedge Jr. However, we need a source for GF soy flour. Can anyone help?

Zach discussed the NFCA's GREAT program and the goal is to get local restaurants, hospitals, etc... to participate.

The meeting closed with a wonderful presentation and tasting from Bella Monica Italian Restaurant. Chicken, pasta and vino a la Nana's kitchen! Wonderful! Trevor Chambers - founder of Bella Monica Flatbread Company - was present along with Corbett Monica - owner/chef of Bella Monica Italian Restaurant. The two discussed the pizza product as well as the brand new menu offered by the restaurant. They both encouraged as much feedback as possible on both items. See posts from this blog about Bella Monica here

The next meeting is scheduled for March 19, 2009 with a guest speaker, Registered Pharmacist, Nancy Mentzel.

Submitted by,
Gail Harris

Useful Resources: Mystery Diagnosis on Discovery Health Channel

Ever watch that show called Mystery Diagnosis on Discovery Health? Every time I flip this show on I think in the back of my head that somebody has to be on here for Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease has over 300 symptoms, often times looks like other diseases and seems incredibly difficult to diagnose (average time of diagnosis in US is 10 years). Well, I recently stumbled on the story of little Eamon Murphy which originally aired in 2005.

Eamon originally began having some issues at 3 months old. His conditions got progressively worse and he began to fall behind developmentally. Problem was that no one thought Eamon had Celiac Disease - even though his own mother was diagnosed years earlier. Eamon's symptoms were not the typical ones thought of for CD - diarrhea, weight loss, failure to thrive, etc... Gluten was having a more neurological effect on him. He began to suffer from seizures at around age 3. His mother assumed that since the issues were not GI related like hers that it couldn't be Celiac - bad assumption. In fact it wasn't until she attended a lecture by Dr. Peter Green from the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University that she really understood CD to be genetic and that it could cause numerous other symptoms. It took Eamon 4 years to get the proper diagnosis of CD.

This should serve as a reminder to you to get your immediate family members screened for Celiac - even if they are not showing the typical GI symptoms. There is a quote in the second video clip from Eamon's father that goes something like "Celiac Disease causes malabsorption issues - the potential is limitless on what it can do to your body". Gluten leaks from your intestinal track and is highly toxic to patients with Celiac Disease. Not only can it affect your gut, but also your skin, your brain and pretty much anywhere else.

Click here for Part I and Part II of the video on YouTube.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rosie's Plate March Menu & Mail Order Now Available

The brand new March 2009 menu from Rosie's Plate is now available.

Some of the choices include:
  • Entrees like - Garlic Chili Tuna w/ Sesame Seeds, Roasted Veggie Lasagna, Grilled Flat Iron Steak w/ Cilantro Pesto and Spaghetti & Meatballs.
  • Side dishes like - Mexican Corn & Peppers, Roasted Parmesan Potatoes and Sweet Potato Fries.
  • Snacks like - Cheese Crackers, Maple Popcorn, Crunchy Granola Bars and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.
  • Breakfast items like - Cranberry Scone Kit and Pancake Kit.
  • Desserts like - Brownies, Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and white chocolate bread pudding.
Rosie's is now also offering Mail Order services for those of you living outside of the Raleigh area and don't get the chance to experience Rosie's. Give them a call at 919-833-0505 for more information.

After Diagnosis Follow-up: Retesting Antibody Levels

I have chronicled my personal journey with Celiac Disease a few times on this blog and I recently received some good news I thought I would share. I have been Gluten Free for 9 months now since my CD diagnosis last summer. I really had the impression that I was doing the diet correctly but you always wonder in the back of your head just how good you are following the diet. We all know the repercussions of not following the GF diet, right?

The last time I saw my doctor and was diagnosed with Osteopenia, he ordered me to come back and see him in 6 months for a follow-up. At that time he said I would be retested for the Celiac antibodies as well as my Vitamin D levels. At the time of my original CD diagnosis my Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) IgA Antibody level was at 123 (< 10 is normal range) and my Vitamin D levels were extremely low. I was very anxious for that tTG score to come way down on my retest - proof positive that I was indeed doing a good job following the GF Diet.

I'm happy to share that the retest is complete and my new tTG level was 1.1 - a vast improvement over 123! My Vitamin D levels are within the normal range as well. Without doing another endoscopy to be 100%, I feel as though my gut has healed nicely and I'm again properly absorbing nutrients. I have also gained about 30 lbs over these last few months - everything I lost when I first got sick (and then some). I'm feeling pretty confident that my method of following the GF Diet has worked well and that I have not been "glutened" very much if at all. Below you will find my Gluten Free Diet Methodology - I thought I would share since it has been successful for me.

My Gluten Free Diet Methodology
After diagnosis, I dove right in on learning what ingredients and food contained gluten. I developed a nice document containing safe and unsafe ingredients and food which you can find here. We then completely scoured our kitchen, pantry and fridge and removed all sources of gluten. We then changed out cooking utensils and appliances that we felt (and heard) could not be cleaned of Gluten (toasters, wooden utensils, sandwich maker, bread machine, baking supplies, cutting boards, colanders, etc...). A thorough cleaning of the kitchen is recommended as well after all Gluten is removed.

We then began to learn how to grocery shop for gluten free items so we could then cook gluten free at home. See my grocery store reviews here. If you don't have any idea on recipes, see my post on GF menu planning services or you can search the internet for numerous GF Recipe Blogs. We didn't really attempt to eat out (restaurants or friends/family homes) for quite some time as we thought it was important to learn the diet ourselves first. For the grocery shopping, we purchased some handy grocery guides - many companies make these - I highly recommend you pick one or more up. Your first grocery trip will take you about 4 hours and you'll probably end up with a bunch of products from companies you've never heard of and have no idea if they taste good. Check out the GF Product Reviews and Locator post where many readers have chimed in on numerous GF products and their experiences. Feel free to add your experiences!

For Gluten Free products, my strategy was to obviously eliminate any product that had wheat, barley, rye or oats in it. After that, I went with eliminating any product that was made on shared production equipment. I don't believe that the production lines can be cleaned of gluten. However, I also adopted the "made in a shared facility" is okay strategy for a few reasons. First off, there are not that many 100% dedicated gluten free facilities. Secondly, it is pretty difficult to regularly locate a wide variety of dedicated facility products. I took the approach of eating items in a shared facility (even though there will certainly be atmospheric gluten) as a first step. I thought I would try this approach first and see how effective it was when I was rested for the antibodies 6 months later. As I mentioned above, apparently this strategy (albeit risky) has worked for me. You will have to take your own path based on your experiences and own retesting results of course.

Once we felt pretty good about being able to cook gluten free ourselves, we shared our lessons with family and friends. We also began exploring the restaurants again as you can see here in my numerous reviews. Also, please feel free to use my Gluten Free Dining Cards which you can find here. Here are some lists of local sit-down restaurants as well as fast food places. It's an ever-evolving process (see my useful resource posts here) but can be done.

This post pretty well sums up the last few months of my life as I learned how to be Gluten Free. Everyone is different of course - so please feel free to leave a comment about your Gluten Free Diet methodology!