Monday, December 31, 2007


Here's wishing you a very Happy and Healthy 2008!

Eat safely, drink safely. And, if you must get sloshed, don't drive. Try making a video instead.

Source (1:50)

Click here for the "Cecoeliac" parody.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


I've got mixed feelings about Disney Incorporated, but I've only heard positive things in terms of Disney restaurants accommodating guests on medical diets.

In this video, Karina of talks with two upper-level Disney chefs—Chris Justesen and Bill Orton—about how Disney on the West Coast serves guests with allergies. Orton and Justesen come across as thoroughly professional and describe some of the routine for serving gluten-free pancakes. They also emphasize the importance of communicating directly with Disney restaurant managers and chefs (as opposed to waitstaff) when spelling out one's dietary requirements.

Gluten-Free in SD offers more details about dining chez Disney, SoCal.

Source (4:05)

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Days after I made my case elsewhere for glutened (and gluten-free) as Word of the Year 2007 (December 27, 2007), I note that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has identified gluten-free as a food buzz word for 2008. Other foreseen buzz words: sustainable, healthful, seasonal, local, organic, antioxidant, artisanal, kids, yumberry, probiotics, carbon footprint, locavore, cage-free, pasture-raised, micro-greens, and all things Latino.

This was in an article by Marlene Parrish about trends for next year. The article quotes Giant Eagle supermarkets spokesperson Dick Roberts as saying, "...we see a big trend toward foods that provide solutions for consumers with allergies. Gluten-free food is a front runner as far as consumer demand and availability of product."

This is in line with food industry buzz covered here in August.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Source (2:43)

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Have you ever been to a medical panel discussion about celiac disease? Now, free on YouTube, you can see a comprehensive seminar on the basics of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet offered by the William K. Warren Medical Research Center for Celiac Disease at the University of California, San Diego.

Originally aired on November 29, 2007 by University of California Television (UCTV), the panel features director Martin Kagnoff ("What is Celiac Disease?"), gastroenterologist Gregory S. Harmon ("Do You Have Celiac Disease? Understanding Testing in Celiac Disease"), and nutritionist Susan J. Algert ("Mastering the 8 Principles of the Gluten-Free Diet"), plus a Q&A session.

One point that comes up in the program: Of the estimated 3-4 million people with celiac disease in the United States, only 40,000 have been diagnosed so far! Elsewhere, it's interesting to see how much faith Dr. Harmon has in the tTG for diagnostic testing, but I suspect the full panel of blood tests might still be worth giving just to get a good baseline and overview, especially in light of persistent questions regarding non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Dr. Harmon also mentions chronic borderline anemia as a red flag that can be investigated via tests for ferritin. Regarding the hot subject of whether one would take a pill (or just adhere to the diet), Dr. Kagnoff says that many gluten-free Netherlanders say they're very happy with the diet and wouldn't want to switch to a pill, though younger people and those new to the diet seem more enthusiastic about such medication.

Anyway, this is a very good and clear presentation. Instead of being broken up into several portions, it's offered in one big serving that's about as long as a feature film, so get out the popcorn and M&Ms and make yourself nice and cozy to watch it if you want to know what you need to know. After all, seeing the presentation via YouTube is a helluva lot cheaper than going back in time to see it live in San Diego! Plus, in this format, you have the power to pause the lectures to make sure you don't miss anything for whatever reasons.

Source (1:26:48)

Friday, December 21, 2007


Plus: The Best Brownies Ever?

Here's a snappy-looking recipe video for chocolate chip cookies from NYC transplant Elana of Elana's Pantry in Colorado. I confess I haven't tried the recipe myself, so feel free to let me know what you think of it. (The almond flour alone sounds very promising.) Just don't get grapeseed oil and agave nectar all over your computer!

(Oh...looking for the best gf brownies ever? Try the recipe at A Gluten-Free Guide...and feel free to get back to me about that, too!)

Source (1:55)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


It's official: Time's 2007 Person of the Year is Vladimir Putin—not GFNYC favorite Gluten.

Yet both make people worry that something in the food might be making them sick—as these cartoons show.

So now it's time to see if glutened will qualify for Word of the Year!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Here, courtesy of Glutafin, is a video clip showing how to eliminate gluten using an ordinary household appliance.

Source (00:59)

I'd grown accustomed to thinking of gluten in terms of tiny amounts, so it was kinda refreshing to see this big ol' glob of the stuff.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Just a reminder about the line of GF ABC products available at the Gluten-Free NYC Boutique!

GF Alphabet Jr. Ringer T-Shirt!

GF Alphabet Kids T-Shirt!

GF Alphabet Mousepad!

Supercool GF Alphabet Rectangle Magnet!

And if you think the GF ABC is offbeat, try the Three Stooges version!

Source (2:02)

GF Alphabet by Debbie Glasserman Design

Thursday, December 13, 2007


You know that WHEAT that's mistakenly on Vita herring labels? Turns out it should have been on the labels for Wegmans Bouillabaisse Seafood Sauce, 8oz.

That's why Wegmans has announced a recall for all packages with "Use By" dates up to and including 12/24/07:
Wegmans has recalled this item because it contains wheat that is not listed on the ingredient label. The recall is of concern only to individuals who have an allergy to wheat or have a gluten sensitivity. Consumption may cause serious reactions to people with a wheat allergy.

All product can be returned to the customer service desk for a full refund.

For more information, please call 1-800-WEGMANS (934-6267), ext. 4760, Monday through Friday 8:00am-5:00pm.
So far, it seems there have been no reports of illness due to the mislabeling.

Wegmans was on the cutting edge when it came to supermarkets stocking gluten-free products in designated areas. Its website includes a list of gluten-free products and a page about gluten sensitivity. It even submitted a statement to the FDA about...labeling!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Today I ate a food even though its label clearly stated that it contained WHEAT. Yet the food did not, in fact, contain wheat!

How could this have come to pass?

Jars of Vita herring have long sported such a label, but only recently did the company do the research that led it to recognize that its vinegar does not, in fact, contain wheat. So, for the time being, the labels continue to say WHEAT...but soon they will not.

I first got wind of Vita's policy switch from a post on the international celiac mailing list:
I just got off the phone with Vita Herring. What a wonderful conversation. The woman (Joan), actually knew what she was talking about.

The labels on the herring say wheat, because the vendor who provides them with the vinegar wanted to go through the steps to get his product tested by a reliable lab, to be sure it was really o.k. to say gluten-free or to leave off the wheat as an ingredient. In the meantime, when the labels were printed, in accordance with the Jan. 06 food labeling law, since the vendor wouldn't confirm gf, Vita put wheat on the label, to play it safe.

The vendor has verified that his vinegar is gluten-free, and provided Vita with documentation. They are in the process of using up the old labels, and printing new ones, at great cost.

But the bottom line is Vita Herring is gluten-free, and always was, despite the label.
Here's the note I subsequently received from a customer service manager at Vita:
I have good news! Vita now has certification from our suplier [sic] that our Vinegar does not contain any gluten. The vinegar we use was the only ingredient that we could not get certification from the supplier. We have now received certification from our supplier that our Vinegar does not contain any gluten. In addition, we had gluten testing performed by an outside lab on our vinegar containing products. The tests were negative for gliadin, a component of gluten.
Now that Vita's vinegar confusion has been cleared up, soon the only thing fishy about its labels will be the herring itself!

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Yes, it's that time again! Soon Time will announce the Whatever of the Year!!

Don't get me wrong: Of course I think You should get it. But face it: You already got it last year! And I know you're not the greedy sort.

So instead I'm nominating Gluten as the Molecule of the Year—and not just because of that celiac thing. Sure, that's a biggie, but there was also that melamine scare, when media warned that millions were endangered by food containing wheat gluten...that is, millions of pets were endangered by pet food wheat gluten that contained the poison melamine.

That message about gluten really got through to the public over the past year. Also making some inroads into public awareness was one of this blog's pet issues: Millions of undiagnosed and misdiagnosed Americans are endangered by food containing wheat gluten. As the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) puts it, "Roughly one out of every 133 Americans has celiac disease, but 97% remain undiagnosed. This means that almost three million Americans have celiac disease and only about 100,000 know they have it."

So Gluten gets my vote for the pet food and the human food angles...and also for its metaphoric value. At present, it stands for the way foods and other products can turn out to contain some hazardous surprises...especially when labeling, quality control, and medical knowledge are lacking.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I'm still making my way through the latest issue of Gluten-Free Living (Fall 2007), but it already strikes me as a keeper. I'm going to try to go over some of the highlights while not stepping on too many toes, and also take note of an opportunity to save on future issues of the magazine.

As you might recall, Gluten-Free Living has been in the forefront of using research to debunk myths about eating gluten-free, such as the unsupported fear of distilled liquor and most vinegars. In this issue of Gluten-Free Living, associate editor Amy Ratner investigates the issue of gluten in envelope and stamp glue. After contacting envelope glue manufacturers as well as the United States Postal Service, Ratner finds that both types of glue are gluten-free. So, if you're still using snailmail, worry no more about winding up like George's fiancée Susan on Seinfeld!

Elsewhere in the magazine, Ratner also covers opinions about the continuing issue of "gluten free" labeling. (I tend to concur with Bruce Ritter of Elisa Technologies, who favors identifying specific test results, such as "Contains less than 5 ppms of gluten," rather than simply using blanket statements such as "gluten free" or "low gluten," which are recommended by food industry interests including General Mills, as Ratner reports.)

The new issue also includes a remembrance of the late Bette Hagman, a mention of the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group (NYCCDMG), advice on fat in gluten-free diets from Tricia Thompson, cold weather recipes from Jacqueline Mallorca, and articles on "tricky" ingredients and healthy pregnancies by magazine founder Ann Whelan. Plus, there's a $1.50 coupon for Erewhon cereals!

Which brings me to the money-saving opportunity. The cost of the magazine is due to go up to $34/one year or $56/two years starting on January 1, 2008, so there's still time to subscribe at the current rate of $29/year or $49/two years. Supporting Gluten-Free Living supports its journalistic research, which plays an important role in addressing the day-to-day needs of gluten-free people. You might even want to bring the publication to the attention of area libraries that could add it to their holdings.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Like it or not, we count on the Food and Drug Administration to establish and maintain standards of quality and honesty when it comes to foods, medications, nutritional supplements, and the like. Currently involved in defining "gluten-free," the FDA also went after the French Meadow Bakery in 2006 after the bakery proved slow in removing the wheat-free label from its spelt products.

The FDA is, of course, hardly above criticism. The latest comes in the form of yet another report, entitled "FDA Science and Mission at Risk," that finds that consumers are at risk due to the FDA being underfunded and understaffed. As reported by Julie Schmit of USA Today, foodmakers are only inspected about once every ten years, poor IT at the agency results in slow responses to product complaints, and FDA inspections of the food supply have dropped 78% over the past 35 years due to inadequate FDA funding combined with dramatic increases in products, to cite just three of the worrisome findings.

According to "FDA Science and Mission at Risk," taxpayers contribute about 1.5 cents per day to the agency, but a contribution in the vicinity of 3 cents per day would enable the agency to better fulfill its mission. That would mean paying about $11 per year instead of $5.50 for FDA services—certainly food for thought during a big election year.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Source (00:04)

I happened upon the above video clip but didn't know it was from the CBS show Rules of Engagement until I found this post among those related to celiac disease at The Flibbertigibbet.

The episode, "A Visit from Fay," can be found online via the show's official website; Stacey Wynne Stewart offers a detailed episode summary. In brief, Fay (played by guest star Peggy (The Mod Squad, Twin Peaks) Lipton) is a hippy-dippy Mom whose way of life freaks out her future daughter-in-law Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich, above), but by the end Jennifer realizes she should be more flexible and accepting of Fay. Not unlike the character Red Goldreyer on Cavemen, Fay is gluten-free.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Here are two upcoming events in addition to the Holiday Cooking Class fundraiser scheduled for Monday, December 2, 2007 and the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group meeting scheduled for Sunday, December 9, 2007.

Both of the following events are fundraisers for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).

Lest you think this is just another boring event post, check out the videos at the end. They feature exciting footage of two celebrities involved in the second event. Wowee!
Raising Our Celiac Kids (ROCK) Holiday Party
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Morris County Library (less than a 5-minute cab ride from the Morristown train station)
30 E. Hanover Avenue
Whippany, NJ
6:00 to 8:30 pm
This event features a magician and some great vendor sampling. Joan's GF Great Bakes will bring bagels and English muffins and pre-orders. You can also order items right away (by day's end November 29) at Joan's website, choosing the "no shipping" option and putting "Dec. 5 ROCK event" in the comments section. (Sorry if I'm late in posting this—I suppose you can always contact the bakery and beg....)

Preorders are also available from Everybody Eats, which will bring samples of pizza, baguettes, cinnamon buns, and chocolate chip cookies.

Other vendors: Conte's Pasta (ravioli, pierogies, and other Italian specialties), Gluten Free Joy (local GF catering company with dishes including manicotti and macaroni & cheese), The Grainless Baker (featuring graham crackers and muffins), Cinderella's Sweets/Shabtai (kosher treats that are gluten, casein, lactose, soy & dairy free), Celiac Specialties (featuring donut holes), Blackwell's Organic (gelato and fruit sorbetto), Food Allergy Gourmet (holiday sugar and gingerbread cookies), and some place called Whole Foods (GF Bakehouse pie crust and sandwich bread).

Through December 11, 2007, you can also help to raise money by purchasing kitchen stuff through vendor The Pampered Chef by following these directions: "If ordering any product, you will be asked whether you have been invited to a show. Put in 'ROCK' in the organization line and press the search will then see the Morristown ROCK group listed on the left hand side. Click on this link and this way any product you order will be counted toward the NFCA fundraising event."

Gannascoli Winter Wonderland

Saturday, December 15, 2007
48 Davison Ave
East Rockaway, NY
Suggested Donation: $25

Joe Gannascoli—Vito from The Sopranos—and his family host a Winter Wonderland block party also featuring Kevin Covais from American Idol.

There will be food sampling, a cooking demonstration, and appearances from magicians and Mickey Mouse. Dress warmly!
Here's a 2006 Sopranos tour with a cooking demonstration from Joe Gannascoli.

Source (3:57)

And here's Kevin Covais auditioning for Idol.

Source (2:02)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


On Monday, December 3, 2007, from 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm, the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University (CDCCU) will host a gluten-free holiday cooking class at Cooking by the Book (13 Worth Street, New York, NY).

The event includes a talk from Dr. Peter Green plus a Wine and Hors d'Oeuvres Reception, a Three-Course Gluten-Free Meal with Seasonal Wines, Professional Cooking Instruction, Personalized Aprons, and Gluten-Free Recipes. Cooking by the Book and its director, Suzen O'Rourke, were involved in the celiac disease episode of Keeping Kids Healthy that aired in the metropolitan area over the weekend.

Tickets costs $220 per person, with a percentage going to The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. To register, contact Cynthia Beckman at 212-342-4529 or

ADDENDUM (November 28, 2007) Thanks to Ben on the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group message board, I see that The New York Times says the dishes will include a chocolate roulade with mocha-whipped cream filling and that $55 of the cost goes to the CDCCU.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


The celiac disease episode of Keeping Kids Healthy turned out to be an outstanding opportunity for families to learn about celiac disease, so I'm very sorry I didn't post about WNET's Saturday morning broadcast sooner than Friday night.

You can, however, get an idea of the episode in this very post and the episode's web page, and even order the episode on DVD for private or public screening. The segment used two case studies—one revolving around a little girl (Emma Teitelbaum), the other involving a teenage boy (Colin Leslie)—to discuss symptoms of the condition, the length of time that can pass before doctors even suspect it, ways that families can adjust to a gluten-free diet, and the reasons for family testing and continued family vigilance even when tests come out negative. (Celiac disease, which has a strong genetic association, can manifest at any time.)

Among those appearing on the segment were the show's host, Dr. Winnie King, as well as Dr. Peter Green (pictured), Dr. Govind Bhagat, and Cynthia Beckman of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University (CDCCU), and George Chookazian of Foods by George.

Like Susan Cohen's video Generation Gluten-Free, this episode of Keeping Kids Healthy seems very comfortable with its subject matter. Just about my only quibble is that it refers people to the Celiac Sprue Association but doesn't mention more organizations, such as the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), that have a better track record in terms of accuracy.

Photo of television: David Marc Fischer

Friday, November 23, 2007


Some publicity came in recently from the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University (CDCCU):
Keeping Kids Healthy, a children’s health television series produced in association with Thirteen/WNET New York, will air a segment on Celiac Disease (Show #807) featuring the Teitelbaum family, the Leslie family, and Dr. Peter Green. Many of the air dates are below. Please check your local station for additional programming.

11/24 Saturday 6:30am WNET (NY, NJ, CT)

11/24 Saturday 7:30am WLIW (NY, NJ, CT) [unconfirmed]

11/24 Saturday 8:00am/4:00pm WCNY2 (Syracuse, NY)

11/26 Monday 11:30am KRCB (San Francisco, CA)

12/01 Saturday 4:30am WTVS (Detroit, MI)

12/01 Saturday 9:00am WHUT (Washington, DC)

12/06 Thursday 9:00am WYBE (Philadelphia, PA)

12/06 Thursday 6:30am KRSC (Tulsa, OK)

12/09 Sunday 11:00am KRSC (Tulsa, OK)

12/16 Sunday 10:00am WFYI (Indianapolis, IN)

12/23 Thursday 10:30am KUEN (Salt Lake City, UT)

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


At this time of year I'd like to offer thanks to a special group of people who have made New York City a much better place for gluten-free dining. I deeply appreciate the Big Apple restaurateurs who agreed to join the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP) and abide by its guidelines for serving gluten-free food, but the people I'm about to recognize are the GFRAP volunteers who have served as the liaisons and resource people who help the restaurateurs stay on the gluten-free path.

It might come as a surprise to some readers that these volunteers were originally organized by a group outside the city: the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group (WCSSG). According to the WCSSG August 2007 newsletter, the volunteers (and restaurants) were as follows:
Lynn Hyman
Candle 79

Pam Goodman-Rogers

Elyn Rosenthal
Gus' Place

Danielle Valenti-Smith
Asia de Cuba

Doug Meadows
Thanks to Lynn, Pam, Elyn, Danielle, and Doug for their great and important work. And thanks also to Pat MacGregor for founding the GFRAP program, and to current area coordinator Liz Lebo for her own crucial work, which is certainly appreciated in these parts.

BONUS Check out this entry in WNYC'S Cartoon Cornucopia Contest.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Monday, November 19, 2007


Gluten played a supporting role in last week's episode of the ABC series Cavemen (with Austin native Julie White!).

Thanks to a note buried in this post at Gluten Free Blog, I watched the online capture of the episode, "Rock Vote" (Season 1, Episode 6, November 13, 2007), and (to my surprise) found it amusing, although I have mixed feelings about the gluten aspect.

Here be spoilers: The episode revolves around a state political contest involving perennial loser Caveman candidate Red Goldreyer and his possibly anti-Caveman opponent Jack Whitman. Goldreyer turns out to see gluten ("the stuff that's in bread") as his key issue: "[I]t's not just bread. It's everywhere! Gluten is attacking our immune system! It's poisoning our minds! But you'd never know it because Big Gluten doesn't want you to know it." (Amen to that!) Goldreyer hands out a drink, saying "This water is gluten-free," but really goes over the top when he asserts that only after "purging our bodies of gluten" will "peace between nations" be possible. Impressed, Andy the Cavemen jumps on the anti-gluten bandwagon, stocks up on Glutino pretzels and something from Bob's Red Mill, and starts ridding his home of gluten although there's no indication he even got himself tested for celiac disease. Holding up a jar of peanut butter, he asks, "Gluten? No gluten? What do you think?" (No one really answers that, but of course it's likely that it's contaminated by the process of spreading peanut butter on bread and crackers. Okay, back to the synopsis.) After another caveman brings Andy to his senses, calling Goldreyer "a lunatic," Andy complains about gluten-free cookies, crying "They taste like dirt. Okay? Dirt!"

I kind of like much of the phraseology, which resembles verbiage that comes up often in gluten-free circles. (I can take a little ribbing!) And I don't know how aware writer Chris Kelly might be regarding the historic/evolutionary undermining of a gluten-free Paleolithic diet, but I'm sort of impressed by the idea of a Caveman candidate taking a stand against it. Possibly clever! I just feel a little bummed that, while the storyline offered a reasonable basis for Whitman's too tough anti-crime stance, the very sound basis for being concerned about gluten got shorter shrift, making gluten concerns come across as kookier than crime concerns while also perpetuating the cliché that gluten-free cookies suck. So overall I thought the episode was okay, but not on a par with the movie Sydney White.

Coincidentally, the episode featured the song The Underdog by the Austin band Spoon. I first heard it at Risotteria, which recently received a small shipment of two beers from Green's: Quest Tripel and Discovery Amber. It looks like the restaurant also started tagging pizzas that are gluten-free, for better identification.

Source (3:51)

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Manhattan's pan-Asian GFRAP restaurant Lilli and Loo recently posted its gluten-free menu online.

Offerings include a Fresh Saigon Roll (rice paper wrapper with fresh mango, avocado, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, rice vermicelli, and spicy mint dipping sauce, served cool and not fried), Tom Yum Seafood soup (hot and spicy lemongrass kaffir lime broth with shrimp, scallop, squid, okra, tomato, and mushroom), Green Papaya Salad, Pad Thai, and teriyaki chicken and salmon. Also available is sushi with gluten-free soy sauce.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Looking for a gluten-free gift? Consider the offerings at the Gluten-Free NYC Boutique. Here is a sampling of what's available.




More Shirts!

All of the above...and more...await your consideration at the Gluten-Free NYC Boutique!

Designs by Debbie Glasserman Design

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


BurgerFuel is a New Zealand burger chain that is introducing a gluten-free bun option. Here's an online promotion...

Source (00:43)

...and here's the press release:
BurgerFuel Launches Gluten-Free Buns
Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 3:40 pm

Kiwi gourmet burger company BurgerFuel has launched Gluten-Free buns across New Zealand. This has already been a busy year for the company as they continue to expand their store network, with new stores opening in King’s Cross, Sydney and Napier, Hawke’s Bay in October.

“Yes, it has been a busy year for us, but that’s never an excuse to stop product innovation” says Managing Director, Chris Mason. “We’ve been approached by a lot of different people from the Coeliac and wheat-intolerant communities to introduce a gluten-free bun so we wanted to make sure we got it right” says Mason.

BurgerFuel have spent a lot of time testing and tasting their latest product innovation and think that the bun will appeal to a more mainstream market as well.

“I remember when we introduced true vegetarian and vegan options to the market, instead of just alternatives and substitutes. Over time, even self-confessed meat eaters were enjoying them too! We’ve taken the same approach to our gluten-free buns. They are what we call a true option, not just an alternative for people who can’t eat wheat. It wasn’t easy, but we’ve created a gluten-free bun that tastes light and fresh.” says Mason.

“During tests with Coeliac interest groups, many said it was the best gluten-free bread they’d ever tasted. Some even went as far to say they couldn’t believe that we’d made a gluten-free bun that didn’t taste like cardboard or concrete” says Mason.

Gluten-Free buns are now available at all BurgerFuel stores in New Zealand. Gluten-free product information for BurgerFuel is also available in store.

BONUS Here's a version with different lyrics.

Source (4:31)

Sunday, November 11, 2007


As mentioned previously, pediatric gastroenterologist Amy DeFelice of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University (CDCCU) is scheduled to speak at the celiac disease/allergies presentation at the 92nd Street Y this coming Sunday, November 18, 2007, from 3:00 to 5:30 pm.

Dr. DeFelice is also scheduled to speak at the upcoming meeting of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group (WCSSG), Sunday, December 9, 2007 at 2:00 pm in the auditorium of Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Children's entertainment will be provided by a magician. Arrive by 1:30 to shop with the visiting vendor Mr. Ritt's Gluten Free Bakery (you might be able to place an advance order by contacting the bakery in advance) as well as Karen's Decorative Cakes, Within the Ribbon Cookies, Roni-Sue's Chocolates, LesserEvil Snacks, Gluten Free Solutions (Food-Tek), and DeCicco Marketplace.

Friday, November 09, 2007


The Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP) just announced the addition of two area restaurants.

Located near Bloomingdales in Manhattan, the Chinese/Asian/Sushi restaurant Lilli and Loo is yet another Upper East Side eaterie that welcomes gluten-free folk. Lilli and Loo is a two-star GFRAP restaurant, which means that the restaurant receives a complete packet of education and training materials, the assistance of a Resource Person to answer questions, and intensive assistance in menu review by qualified nutrition experts.

And, over in Hackettstown, New Jersey, GFRAP welcomes Mama's Restaurant and Cafe Baci. The Italian restaurant's gluten-free menu includes pizza as well chicken and seafood entrees. Mama's is a one-star GFRAP restaurant, which means that the restaurant receives a complete packet of education and training materials, the assistance of a Resource Person to answer questions, and a review of the restaurant’s GF menus.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I'm fascinated by the transformations undergone by certain foods. Take quinoa: The grains are tiny specks before boiling water turns them into miniature ringed planets. Cool!

Then there are the frozen beef hot dogs sold at Risotteria. They come nestled snugly in bun blankets. But pop 'em into the oven at 350 degrees, wait about 20 minutes, and behold the weiners, buns unfurled!

It's like they go through two seasons.



Photos: David Marc Fischer

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Attention chocolate fanatics!

Two summers ago I covered verē chocolates
, but now it's time for an update.

There's an article about verē chocolate founder Kathy Moskal by Lore Croghan in the Daily News (November 5, 2007). "All the products are made of dark chocolate with 75% cocoa content and are gluten-free," notes the article, which also states that "The handmade treats contain so little sugar that a diabetic can eat them. A serving has less sugar than an apple, more fiber than a piece of whole wheat bread and more antioxidants than two pounds of broccoli."

The chocolates can be on the pricey side, but the article says that, as of November 15, 2007, "Moskal is launching a line of three-ounce organic chocolate bars with a suggested retail price of $5." Hm. Maybe that's pricey too.

Anyway, what's really exciting is that the verē factory at 12 West 27th Street is actually open to the public on Friday afternoons. You can go and taste samples and see the chocolates being made!

For a sense of what that's like, here's some footage smuggled out of the factory.

Source (2:57)

Sunday, November 04, 2007


If you're familiar with Gluten-Free Living, you know how important it has been in shining a clarifying light on such concerns as vinegar. (To learn more about that, see Gluten-Free Living's Ingredients list.)

A one-year (four issue) subscription to Gluten-Free Living costs $29 and a two-year (eight issue) subscription costs $49, and now you can sample three recent back issues (Fall 2006, Spring 2007, and Summer 2007) for $20 by ordering the magazine's special "Catch-Me-Up Package." The letters column of the Spring 2007 issue fields the question "Is there gluten in either scotch or bourbon?" while both that issue and the Summer 2007 include Amy Ratner's research into labels, which explains what that "gluten free" on a package currently means (and doesn't mean), and what it could mean in the future. You might be surprised by what you learn.

There are two ways to take advantage of the Catch-Me-Up Package while supplies last. You can call 914-231-6361 to order by credit card or mail a $20 check to
Ann Whelan
Gluten-Free Living
560 Warburton Avenue, 2nd Floor
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
Contact the magazine for more information.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Here's a parfait view from the attractive (and upscale) Upper East Side vegan restaurant Candle 79. It's the Live Ginger-Apple Parfait, made with ginger-cashew cream, nut granola, apples, and huckleberry ice cream. It's pretty...and gluten-free!

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


A big health story this week relates to new reports of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calling for vigilance regarding signs of autism. "What's brand-new is that we're asking pediatricians to screen all children for autism at the 18-month and 24-month well-baby visits—not just children with speech delays and children of parents who have a concern. We're also telling pediatricians to ask parents about social and language deficits that may be present in very young children," Chris Plauché Johnson told U.S. News & World Report.

The AAP press release refers to the use of gluten-free diets to help children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs):
Although use of the gluten-free/casein-free diet for children with ASDs is popular, there is little evidence to support or refute this intervention. More studies are in progress, and it is anticipated that these studies will provide substantially more useful information regarding the efficacy of the gluten-free/casein-free diet.
So what's to be done while the world awaits the result of the studies?

Well, I see some benefit in pediatricians and parents being similarly vigilant for celiac disease and other forms of gluten intolerance. Some reasoning:
  • The frequency of autism is about 1:150; the frequency of celiac disease is higher, about 1:133.

  • Blood screening for celiac disease is a relatively safe procedure that should not jeopardize a child's health (though a pediatrician should make sure that the blood tests are evaluated correctly).

  • Even if tests for celiac disease are negative in children suspected of having autism, there should be some consideration that there could be a neurological gluten intolerance that does not fully register in tests for celiac disease. A recognized example of a neurological gluten intolerance (not to be confused with celiac disease or autism) would be gluten ataxia.

  • Monday, October 29, 2007


    When I first went gluten-free, there was basically one gluten-free pasta to be found at supermarkets. It was made from corn and it was pretty awful—fragile and mealy.

    Things continue to look up. At my local Food Emporium I can find relatively protein-rich Bionaturae gluten-free pastas, which are made with rice, potato, and soy...

    ...and I can also find Notta Pasta. I've had a soft spot for this Thai-made rice pasta (especially the broader varieties) since I spotted it at an Upper East Side health food store. It cooks fast (which makes it convenient and a good choice for cooking in hot weather) and has a slightly chewy consistency that's somewhat similar to that of cellophane noodles. It's not quite a substitute for traditional pastas, but it has its own noodle-y merits.

    Photos: David Marc Fischer

    Saturday, October 27, 2007


    Last year Zagat seemed to make a giant step forward by mentioning gluten-free options in its listings for Risotteria ("sets the standard for gluten-free dining") and Sambuca ("also offers a gluten-free menu - 'is that an oxymoron for Italian?'").

    This year the restaurant guide seems to have taken a baby step backward. It still doesn't acknowledge gluten-free dining in its Cuisine and Special Features sections...and its choices of comments for Risotteria and Sambuca are actually misleading. The guide says that at Risotteria "'everything is gluten-free,'" which is just not true. And the guide says that at Sambuca "a separate sans-gluten menu lets everyone 'eat freely'"—a bit of an exaggeration.

    Risotteria is still a bargain spot compared to the other rated restaurants. Asia de Cuba still gets a special "top spot" designation. According to the guide, the average tip went up a smidgen to 19%. And I still suspect that Outback Steakhouse is treated too harshly.

    So here are the ratings for the NYC GFRAP restaurants listed in Zagat 2008. Alas, the ratings tended to stay the same or decline in comparison with last year's results.
    Candle 79
    Food: 23 (down 1)
    Service: 21 (down 2)
    Decor: 17 (down <4)
    Estimated dinner for one: $36 (down $4)
    Top-rated vegetarian restaurant

    Food: 23
    Service: 20
    Decor: 24 (down 1)
    Estimated dinner for one: $58 (up $2)
    "Hottest Servers"

    Food: 21
    Service: 16 (down 2)
    Decor: 10
    Estimated dinner for one: $23

    Gus' Place (reopened, relocated)
    Food: 20
    Service: 20
    Decor: 16
    Estimated dinner for one: $37

    Lumi (unlisted 2007)
    Food: 19
    Service: 19
    Decor: 18
    Estimated dinner for one: $52

    Food: 18 (down 1)
    Service: 18
    Decor: 16 (up 1)
    Estimated dinner for one: $38 (up $2 from 2006)

    Outback Steakhouse
    Food: 14 (down 1)
    Service: 15 (down 1)
    Decor: 12 (down 1)
    Estimated dinner for one: $32

    Thursday, October 25, 2007


    Here's a YouTube video of Heidi Collins's substantial October 15, 2007 CNN Newsroom overview of celiac disease featuring Georgetown University gastroenterologist Dr. Aline Charabaty, who talks about the range of symptoms (which can include diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, anemia, depression, malnutrition, infertility, osteoporosis, joint pains, abdominal pain, neurological disorders, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, gastrointestinal malignancies, and weight and growth problems), the fact that celiac disease can manifest at any age, difficulties in raising research money, and the presence of gluten in many items including some pharmaceuticals.

    I hope that week's other celiac disease coverage shows up on YouTube too.

    Source (6:55)

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007


    Gluten-free people who have been displaced due to the recent fires in Southern California can call the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) at 818-990-2354 for emergency gluten-free food, according to Maryrose Hopke of the CDF.

    Do what you can to spread the word to those who are displaced and might not have easy access to the Web, phones, etc.

    How prepared would you be in the event of an emergency? Here the New York City Office of Emergency Management on the glories of a Go Bag. I like the idea of using a bag with wheels; gf multi-vitamins seem to make sense, too.

    Sunday, October 21, 2007


    Perhaps you remember that Starbucks test-marketed gluten-free brownies in New York City earlier this year.

    Now there's an update: In today's Clan Thompson newsletter (Issue #115/October 21, 2007), Lani Thompson writes that Starbucks is curious as to how many people want the stores to offer gluten free products.

    I called Starbucks (1-800-235-2883), pressed 0 for a customer service representative, and let my opinion be heard.

    I said that it would be great if Starbucks would add healthy gluten-free items (such as sandwiches) to its roster of foods, and described how great it would be to be able to get a light gluten-free meal at any Starbucks. I specifically mentioned the difficulty of trying to find gluten-free food at airports, where Starbucks can often be found.

    Please consider calling Starbucks to let your own voice be heard. You might even get a Starbucks gift card in the process.

    And now, just to underscore how great it would be to find gluten-free sustenance at an airport, here's a scene of desperation from a terminal in Atlanta.

    Source (00:43)

    Fortunately, Anj managed to scrounge up more gluten-free food and enjoy it near a player piano! But still...wouldn't it be nice if she could count on getting a complete meal at a Starbucks?

    Source (00:54)

    Photo: David Marc Fischer

    Friday, October 19, 2007


    Et tu, Leno?

    On Thursday/Friday's Tonight Show, Jay Leno featured at least two gluten-free products in his "truth in labeling" routine.

    Gluten Free Pancake Mix from Bob's Red Mill
    ? Jay called it Mouth Grout.

    Perky's Nutty Rice? Jay called it Bipolar Disorder Rice Cereal.

    Har de har har. (But kudos to the audience members who cheered when Jay mentioned gluten-free food.)

    Here's something that's more enlightening: a student video from Hong Kong! (I recognize the Orgran, but a lot of the other products are new to me. It's been more than 20 years since I was last in Hong Kong.)

    Source (2:52)

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007


    As has been reported elsewhere, it seems that today (Wednesday) Joy Bauer will present a Today show segment on gluten-free diets for kids.

    And CNN Newsroom is in the midst of a celiac week featuring daily segments hosted by anchor Heidi Collins, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Here's the schedule:
    Monday: What is celiac disease?
    Dr. Aline Charabaty of Georgetown University Medical Center's Division of Gastroenterology will join CNN's Heidi Collins in the Newsroom to discuss the basics of celiac disease, diagnosis and treatment with a gluten-free diet.

    Tuesday: "Non-Gastrointestinal Complications of Celiac Disease"

    Dr. Richard Mandel of the Center for Advanced Orthopedics in Philadelphia will discuss the orthopedic complications of celiac disease and celiac patients can improve bone health. Also in the CNN Newsroom, Dr. Robert Mangione, dean of the St. Johns University College of Pharmacy, will explain how gluten in medication can impact celiac patients and discuss the immediate need for labeling of gluten in medication.

    Wednesday: "Gluten-Free School Lunches"
    Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI) will offer tips for safely sending celiac children to school and federal school lunch requirements to provide gluten-free meals.

    Thursday: "Hope with Celiac Disease"
    Vanessa Maltin of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Beyond Rice Cakes author will be on CNN discussing new resources available to help patients cope with celiac disease including cookbooks, video podcasts, cupcake parties and celiac camps.

    Friday: "Gluten-Free Dining in Restaurants"
    Tips for managing food allergies at restaurants and how patients can ensure a safe dining experience.

    Photo: David Marc Fischer

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007


    Last November at the 92nd Street Y, celiac disease specialist Peter Green gave a lecture on Celiac Disease: An Emerging Epidemic. This coming November, Dr. Green returns to the Y accompanied by a trio: pediatrician Amy DeFelice, nutritionist Anne Lee, and pediatrician Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn.

    Their presentation, Sorting Through Celiac Disease and Food Allergies, is scheduled to take place Sunday, Nov 18, 2007 from 3:00 to 5:30 pm. It's another good opportunity to hear the latest from medical professionals who are "in the know." If you're interested, then RSVP ASAP. OK?

    Thanks to the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group for keeping me in the know!

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    PDA @ PDA

    The People's Design Award (henceforth known here as PDA) welcomes your vote for good design by 6 pm EST on October 16, 2007.

    I'm such a great admirer of Debbie Glasserman's Gluten-Free Alphabet design (pictured) for my Gluten-Free NYC Boutique that I've nominated it in a shameless Display of Public Affection (henceforth known here as PDA too).

    So far it seems to be the only gluten-free design in the competition. If you like it, please go ahead and indulge in your own Public Display of Affection—the design is up against such heavy-hitters as the iPhone and the Vaughan S-2 Split-head Hammer!

    You can find the design, comment on it, and vote for it by searching for the word gluten.

    As of about 10:22 pm Sunday, the Gluten-Free Alphabet seems to be 109 in a field of 290—not bad considering it's late entry? And there's still time to put in some more votes and/or comments....

    Friday, October 12, 2007


    Scroll down for an update added after the original posting.

    This weekend is shaping up as a big one for those of the gluten-free persuasion. I've been reading on the message board of the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group that Everybody Eats—purveyors of great gf rolls and baguettes, among other baked and bready goodies—will now have Saturday storefront hours from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at 294 Third Avenue in Brooklyn. Checks and cash will be accepted along with plastic from Visa, Mastercard, and Diner's Club.

    Everybody Eats will also be at the Colin Leslie Walk For Celiac Disease in Rye on Sunday. Note that registration has been extended for the Family Screening—take care of that asap if you're interested.

    Also coming to the Colin Leslie Walk will be Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef, as part of their whirlwind book tour including a few events in NYC. I hope those two Beatle fans have as good a time in the city as John Lennon seems to have in this video.

    Source (4:14)

    WEEKEND UPDATE UPDATE I had a feeling I'd forgotten something: Tomorrow is that 20% discount day at Macy's. Even if you haven't yet made the donation to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) (thereby qualifying for the discount), you might still have a shot on the premises tomorrow.

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007


    Buy yogurt? If you do, how much do you spend on a 32 oz. container? I was shelling out about $4.00 for each one until I noticed Cascade Fresh yogurt clearly labeled as GLUTEN FREE and priced at $2.39 at Westerly Natural Market.

    Pretty good, huh?

    Click here to find the Cascade Fresh nearest you.

    And did you know that yogurt goes well with fresh apples...and this is apple season? Maybe this will help you to remember!

    Source (00:14)

    Monday, October 08, 2007


    CNBC recently featured an upbeat On the Money segment (Friday, October 5, 2007) in which Scott Cohn reported on the improving situation for gluten-free consumers following a long period of being ignored by corporate America. The item quotes Vanessa Maltin of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) to the effect that the market is projected to reach $1.7 billion by 2010. Maltin also praised Bell & Evans and Bob's RedMill for their gluten-free products.

    Coverage also included interviews at GFRAP restaurant Risotteria. One interview cited soy sauce as a source of "hidden gluten"—okay...but she also mentioned "all the preservatives" in canned foods, which might not have been the best example as it sounds like an exaggeration. Cohn mentions that an estimated 3,000,000 Americans have celiac disease and also mentions that there are an additional 10,000,000 Americans with "gluten intolerance." I'm not sure where he got that latter figure.

    Saturday, October 06, 2007


    As mentioned here in September, Shauna James Ahern (a.k.a. Gluten-Free Girl) has a book (a.k.a. Gluten-Free Girl) out this month. To promote the book (right), she and her hubby The Chef (a.k.a. Daniel Ahern) have put together a DIY book tour, with a stay in New York (a.k.a. NY) from October 12 to October 16.

    Here's an Amazon excerpt. And here's the itinerary:
    Saturday October 13 11:30 pm
    Imagine Circle at Strawberry Fields, Central Park
    Book-signing and "Imagine" sing-along

    Sunday October 14 morning
    Colin Leslie Walk for Celiac Disease 2007

    Sunday October 14 8:00 pm
    Book Launch Party at Sambuca
    Minglers receive wine, appetizers and a copy of the book.
    Cost is $50. RSVP by calling 212-787-5656.

    Monday October 15 7:00-9:30 pm
    Cooking Demonstration at Whole Foods Bowery (book-signing afterward)
    Pasta with salmon, chicken thighs braised in pomegranate molasses, fig cookies
    Cost is $30, including book. Register here.

    Thursday, October 04, 2007


    The October 2007 issue of Pediatrics—the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics—offers a case report entitled "Correction of Celiac Disease After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia."

    It's a fascinating glimpse into the world of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT). Did you know that, as the authors note, there are documented cases of patients developing celiac disease due to stem cells from donors who have celiac disease, but that this case report might be the first to describe a "cure" of the condition due to a stem cell transplant? Or that there has been documentation of improvement or stabilization of systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn's disease after stem cell transplantation?

    The report concludes
    Although we do not, at this time, advocate allogeneic HSCT as the definitive treatment of CD, the decreased morbidity and mortality associated with the use of reduced-intensity stem cell transplants may someday allow HSCT to be an acceptable alternative to a lifelong gluten-restricted diet, which, at best, is extremely difficult to remain adherent to for life. Whether HSCT will reduce the purportedly increased risk of enteric malignancy in this population remains unclear.
    My reaction to this is mixed. I'm fascinated by the thought that HSCT might reverse celiac disease, but I'm also skeptical about this isolated case. There have been tales of remission before, especially for people in this patient's age group. Further monitoring and more research should shed light on what sounds like a very promising medical development.

    Tuesday, October 02, 2007


    Ever wonder where labeling standards come from? Yeah, me too. Well, from November 12 to November 16, 2007, the international Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) will meet in Germany. Standards for identifying gluten-free foods will be on the agenda.

    Earlier this year, the United States requested input on the subject via the Food and Drug Administration. Now the United States has produced draft positions for the upcoming meeting. The positions include a single standard of 20ppm as the limit for a food labeled "gluten-free."

    The draft positions can be found in this PDF document, which includes directions for emailing comments by October 10, 2007.