Saturday, November 25, 2006


How would you like a good gluten-free bagel? You might be able to snag one (or more) at the Sunday, December 3 meeting of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group.

The meeting is scheduled to run from 2 to 4 pm at the auditorium of Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow (accessible by car or a beautiful Hudson River train ride on Metro North), but arrive by 1:30 pm to purchase from Joan's GF Great Bakes (outstanding bagels) and Orgran (love that muesli!) as well as America's Healthy Meals, The Kitchen Table Bakers, and Gluten Free Naturals.

The guest speakers will be Ann Whelan of Gluten-Free Living and Anne Lee of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Topics include
Food labeling

Eating healthily on the gf diet

Celiac disease, diabetes and the gf diet

Managing the gf diet at school and at work

News on grains, nutrition, and ingredients from the recent symposium
Here are driving directions to the hospital. By Metro-North, you can go to Tarrytown (and take a taxi from there) or go to Philipse Manor and walk about 40 minutes, mainly through an attractive and somewhat hilly suburban development (check a map in advance before doing that).

Thanks to Sue Goldstein for spreading the word!

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Living gluten-free in NYC is a lot easier because of people who don't just look out for themselves but work on behalf of others, too.

I really appreciate the efforts of the individuals who volunteer to benefit the gluten-free community, so today I give special thanks to Shanel and Erin of The New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group (founded by the CeliacChicks) and especially special thanks to the active members of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group and the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program, which welcomes volunteers as well as donations (hint hint).

Friday, November 17, 2006


Do celiacs dream of eating rye, barley, and wheat?


QUESTION I think I've had one or two such dreams, though the details aren't coming to mind. How about you?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


You've read his book! You've seen him on CNN! And, if you're a patient of his, you've quite possibly had him stick a thin tube down your gullet!
Dr. Peter Green
"Celiac Disease: An Emerging Epidemic"
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave., New York, NY
Tuesday, November 28 at 6:30 pm
Admission $10 ($5 May Center members)
This is a good chance to see Dr. Green in New York City, regardless of your insurance coverage (or lack thereof).


It wasn't very long ago that I heard a rumor that a TV newscaster was a celiac. Since then, I've learned of two: MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and CNN's Heidi Collins, a patient of Dr. Peter Green.

The CNN transcript of Monday's post-symposium interview between Collins and Dr. Green can be found past the halfway mark on this page. (You can also use the Find function to locate the phrase Millions of people.)

The CNN transcript of Tuesday's follow-up chitchat between Collins and anchor Tony Harris can be found past the halfway mark on this page. (You can also use the Find function to locate the phrase We wanted to follow up.)

Video links can currently be found here and here at the website for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. (They didn't work very well for me, but maybe you'll have better results.) CNN also offers video for pay (though free trials are available) at CNN Pipeline.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Monday, November 13, 2006


You might be hearing more about the African grain teff in times ahead. You might even be eating it, too.

Over the years, I've tended to think of teff as less of a food than as an almost abstract word referring to an alternative to wheat that just wasn't very available at the local grocery or health food store. (It's common in the Ethiopian bread injera, but never assume that Ethiopian restaurants in the USA serve gluten-free bread.)

However, at last week's symposium, Gluten Intolerance Group Executive Director Cynthia Kupper mentioned that the Gluten-Free Certification Organization had given its approval to teff tortillas made by La Tortilla Factory. She gave the impression that they're top-notch. I haven't seen much more about the product at the GFCO and La Tortilla Factory websites, but I figure it'll show up sometime soon.

Teff also came up during a talk by Frits Koning, Professor of Immunology at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Koning was almost casual when alluding to Dutch celiacs who already include teff in their diets. From what he had to say, it seems that teff was an excellent alternative to wheat that just hadn't gained much traction in North America.

But that situation might be changing.

Have you or have you not tried teff? If you have tried it, what was it like?

Saturday, November 11, 2006


While I catch my breath (and some shut-eye) after three days of intense celiazation, here's an article on the International Celiac Symposium from The New York Sun.

And Sue Goldstein recently announced that Dr. Peter Green will appear on CNN on Monday, November 13, at 11:30 am EST.

Finally (for now), here's a Reuters item about the link between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Whatever I learn at the celiac disease symposium I want to share with you, my dear reader. So here's the very first thing I learned after arriving at the Hilton this afternoon: Arrive early for lunch!

You see, by the time I got there, greeted a friend from the Westchester Support Group, and registered...the gluten-free box lunches were gone--all gone! D'oh!

Memo to the organizers: You really don't want to run out of food at a multi-day conference for people on medical diets. It's a good thing I've been to enough celiac events to know to head straight for the exhibition room, where I was able to subsist on food samples until I finally feasted at tonight's delicious buffet at the Museum of Natural History. To my regret, I missed out on the pumpkin soup, but I think I sampled everything else. I especially liked the potato-crusted chicken croquettes and the berry-and-cream dessert.

Earlier in the day, there was much food for thought. Here are some general impressions: The world of celiac has changed dramatically (for the better, it seems) over the past twenty years and especially over the past five years. The testing methods improved, more people seem to have gotten correct diagnoses, and the quality of life for the gluten-free seems to have improved, too. At the same time, what we understand as celiac disease seems more and more multi-faceted--especially when one considers international perspectives on the condition.

One intriguing presentation came from Swedish doctor Anneli Ivarsson, who traced the dramatic upsurge in infant celiac disease in Sweden from around 1988 through 1994. (I'm summarizing from my own notes, so feel free to correct me if I've gotten this wrong.) Medical authorities took on the problem and decided to fight it by encouraging parents to continue breast-feeding while gradually introducing gluten into infant diets. After the implementation of this strategy, the number of celiac diagnoses among infants subsided to previous levels. This strongly suggests that breastfeeding, when combined with slow introduction of gluten, can prevent or delay celiac (follow-up studies are ongoing)--but that there is still a baseline population that seems to be unaffected by that particular strategy. One approach worked for some but not all of those Swedish celiac kiddies--you know?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


With the International Celiac Symposium just around the proverbial corner, here are some tips for attendees--I hope I haven't posted them too late!

If you're attending the conference and you've got questions, feel free to ask them here; maybe I or another visitor can be of assistance....

EXHIBITORS Here are some highlights of the exhibitor list:
Bard's Tale Beer
BI-AGLUT Heinz Italy
Carlsberg Breweries
Everybody Eats (good crusty breads!)
Foods By George
Glutino/Gluten-Free Pantry
Kinnikinnick Foods Inc.
Whole Foods Market
GLUTEN-FREE NEW YORK CITY This here blog you're reading has a companion website--yeah, it's not pretty...but it should be pretty functional as a celiac guide to the city.

COMPANION MAP Here's my crazy map of local restaurants that have gf menus supervised by the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program or its equivalent.

RESERVATIONS Call restaurants in advance to make reservations or at least let 'em know when you plan to come. Communicate to avoid showing up when a place is closed or overcrowded.

GF FOODS CLOSE TO THE HILTON As you can see from these dining and shopping lists, there are many gluten-free oases in New York City. Following are four of the closest major destinations; none of the others are very far.

The closest restaurant with a "supervised" gf menu (ask for it!) is the Outback Midtown East (919 Third Avenue on 56th Street, 212-935-6400), where one of the desserts is a chocolate gf brownie topped with ice cream, whipped cream, and sauce.

For groceries, there is a well-stocked health-food store--Westerly Natural Market--at 8th Avenue and 54th Street. There is also a Whole Foods Market inside the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, off the southwest corner of Central Park. The Whole Foods carries frozen items from its Gluten-Free Bakehouse and carries other gf items throughout the store. Inside the store there is a cafe where you can microwave frozen food and eat it on the spot. This particular Whole Foods does not carry beer.

Back to restaurant land: Tropica Bar and Seafood House (200 Park Avenue at East 45th Street in the Metlife Building; 212-867-6767) offers some tangy dishes on its supervised gf menu (ask for it!)--it's closed on weekends, though.

BAKED GOODS If you decide to go to Brooklyn to try out Josefs Gluten Free, call 718-336-9494 in advance and confirm that it will be open. (It closes for the Jewish Sabbath.)

You should be able to find some Josefs products at the aforementioned Whole Foods Market, too.

Some restaurants offer gf baked goods, too. At the popular Risotteria (in the West Village), you can usually get bready breadsticks, carrot cake, cheesecake, and brownies and cookies, plus some surprises. Cheesecake (crustless) is also on the menu at Peters' on the Upper East Side. I'm obsessed with the decadent and shareable Latin Lover dessert (pictured) at midtown's Asia de Cuba, but you might want to call 212-726-7755 to learn more about dining gluten-free at this particular restaurant. Candle 79 (212-537-7179) offers unusual vegan desserts.

GF BEER Whole Foods Chelsea sells gluten-free beer; Whole Foods Union Square probably does, too--call 212-673-5388 if you want to confirm. Other places where you can get gf brew include the restaurants Risotteria and Peters' as well as the Ninth Avenue Vintner (moderate walking distance from the Hilton) and the hipster bar Heather's (506 East 13 Street, 212-254-0979), which also carries gluten-free hard cider. In Park Slope, Brooklyn, there's Bierkraft.

TOURIST TIPS The Hilton is just south of magnificent Central Park. Inside the park but about 30 blocks north of the hotel is the magnificent Metropolitan Museum of Art--where the admission policy is always "pay what you wish."

Another cheap thrill is a pilgramage to the original Winnie-the-Pooh at the Donnell Public Library.

Just blocks away from the Hilton are the Museum of Modern Art, American Folk Art Museum, and the Museum of Arts & Design. The first two offer free admission on Friday evenings; the Museum of Arts & Design offers free admission on Thursday evenings. The Museum of Television & Radio (which hosts screenings and talks and houses large recording archives) is also nearby but potentially frustrating unless you have hours to spend there.

Interesting in getting high--by which I mean going to the top of a skyscraper? You might be tempted to go to the top of the Empire State Building, but beware the cost and the long lines. Instead, consider Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center--you get great views in a relatively elegant setting that's closer to the Hilton. It'll still cost ya, but it's more pleasant in many respects.

If you're into classical music, consider attending Carnegie Hall (the Stern Auditorium) or the Metropolitan Opera House, where the acoustics are outstanding.

I could go on...but I'd better post this before the symposium begins!

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Ever get a hankering to get out of the city? Here's a way to do just that, spend hours admiring one of the great wonders of the East Coast, and treat yourself to a funky (and affordable) gluten-free lunch--all without a car!

It's simple: All you need to do is board a Metro North train to Poughkeepsie. You can start your trip at beautifully restored Grand Central Terminal and then seat yourself on the west side of the train for a great ride--much of it alongside the scenic and historic Hudson River. There are views of the Palisades and, farther north, the picturesque Hudson Highlands (including the island ruins of Bannerman Castle). There are some engineering marvels, too: many bridges and the track itself, which at times runs very close to the river. Foliage views make autumn a good time to make the journey; if it's a cold winter, the ice floes on the river can be fascinating--but the excursion is worthwhile any time of the year.

At the end of the line is Poughkeepsie, the home of Soul Dog, a newfangled hot dog joint affiliated with GFRAP restaurant. It's just a short uphill walk from the south end of the train platform--you can check the restaurant's website and phone for more details. (Soul Dog can probably be reached via one of the taxis hovering around the station, too.)

Choosing from the varied menu, I started with a beef hot dog on a homemade gf bun with a bottle of New Grist. I ordered no less than three of the many house toppings: Chipotle Cream, Caramelized Onion, and Roasted Poblano Pepper Salsa.

Then came the crispy, seasoned Soul Fries--most excellent!

I followed the fries with a chicken dog with only one topping: a Spicy Peanut Sauce (with scallion and cucumber). For Soul Dog first-timers, I recommend this one-topping approach, so you can familiarize yourself whatever single topping interests you most.

For dessert, I enjoyed an amazingly moist pumpkin cupcake that I washed down with a warm cider. (These items aren't always available.)

I bought some of Soul Dog's other baked goods to take home with me--my two faves were the spice cookie and the snickerdoodle.

And then it was time for the train ride back--on the west side, of course!

Note: Soul Dog offers a gluten-free pizza, but it has to be ordered in advance.

Also note: Soul Dog lists Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Soda as gluten-free--yippee!

Photos: David Marc Fischer