Saturday, June 30, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Right in time for pre-Bastille Day orders, Catherine of A Gluten-Free Guide shines her spotlight on a gluten-free French croissant available through

The butter croissant is one of 20 Valpiform products--including chocolate croissants, baguettes, madeleines, and chocolate fingers--available via Amazon from I Can Eat It.

The foods can get pricey due in part to shipping charges, but you can inspect the Amazon pages to find offers such as "Save 10% on up to 1 of these for every 1 Qualifying Items you purchase offered by I can eat it" and "Receive a 5% discount on entire purchase cost offered with a promotion code. Enter code EVERYONE at checkout." (Incidentally, Amazon is offering a deal on Haribo Gummi Candy through June 30.)

You might think that a croissant is nothing to shout about...but others (such as Juka from the Japanese band Moi dix Mois) would differ.

Source (00:38)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


The July 2007 Consumer Reports rates a bunch of hotel and motel chains according to reader opinions from 2005-2006. I'm sure experiences can vary depending on specific locations, but I figured I'd share the ratings of the three best-rated chains that include kitchen facilities. I confess I've had some sweet experiences in hotels with kitchen suites...and some of those sweet experiences had to do with the extra space, the reasonable prices, and the financial and health benefits of being able to stock and prepare gluten-free foods!

First comes the rating and then comes the price range. For perspective: The top-rated Ritz-Carlton scored 89 and priced out at $195-$350.
87 $89-125 Homewood Suites (Hilton)
87 $84-110 Springhill Suites (Marriott)
84 $90-130 Residence Inn (Marriott)
Happy travels!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


The Gluten-Free NYC Boutique goes formal--CafePress style! Yes, the shop now carries a shirt with buttons! Is it a golf shirt or a polo shirt? Is there really a difference?? Doesn't it look fresh???

Speaking of golf, here's Robin Williams--famous as the star of Death to Smoochy! Look out for the "strong" yet funny language.

Source (2:19)

Friday, June 22, 2007


Sunday is the annual family picnic of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group. It's accessible by MetroNorth--just get off at the Philipse Manor stop and head south and to the water. (I think you can to do it via Palmer Avenue or, possibly, a station overpass.)
Annual Family Picnic - Special Edition!
Sunday, June 24th
12:00 noon to Sunset
Kingsland Point Park
299 Palmer Avenue
Sleepy Hollow, NY
Bring your own food plus a dish to share. The support group provides drinks, ice, paper goods, and charcoal-fired grills--plus a giant combo Bounce House with water slide, gluten-free Sno-Cones, and a cool Pitch Burst ball toss for the kids, whatever that is.

In case of inclement weather, call the Westchester group's hotline at 845-486-7088 or check its website. For more information, call Westchester leader Chris Spreitzer at 914-737-5291.

The Westchester group isn't the only one to hold picnics. Here's exciting footage from the Bi-State Celiac Support Group in St. Louis.

Source (00:41)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Here's video of Wednesday morning's Today in New York segment in which anchor Rob Morrison talks about celiac disease with medical contributor Dr. Lisa Thebner.

As you can see in the video (4:15 not counting the lead-in advertisement), Morrison knows someone who got a positive diagnosis and experienced improved health after adopting a gluten-free diet. Morrison and Thebner discuss how celiac disease is more common than previously thought and go over some of the classic symptoms: cramps, weight loss, poor weight gain in children, distension, cramps, and stool changes (including diarrhea, foul smell, gray coloration) as well as anemia, skin rash, mood changes, nerve damage (tingling), and joint and muscle pain. Thebner mentions that first-degree relatives of people diagnosed with CD should also get tested.

A companion article is available here.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


WNBC-TV's Today in New York plans to air a segment on celiac disease around 5:50 am tomorrow, Wednesday morning, June 20, 2007.

Too early for you? I'm told the video will be available at the website later in the morning--say, after 10:00 am.

Photo: David Marc Fischer


And now for some good news: The bar Heathers got a green light for its liquor license renewal at Monday night's Community Board 3 committee meeting!

When the bar came up on the agenda, the committee looked over the bar's complaint history, heard supportive remarks from two community members, acknowledged a letter of support cosigned by yours truly and Ben Cappel of the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group, and asked several choice questions of bar owner Heather Millstone.

Then came the announcement that the committee was willing to go ahead with the license renewal! After fretting over this situation for months, I was happy to see Heathers and the committee come to a resolution that would not interfere with the bar's flow of gluten-free cider and beer.

So it's time to celebrate--Lower East Side style! (Just remember: Keep the noise down and don't disturb the neighbors.)


Sunday, June 17, 2007


This weekend the Texas paper The Monitor ran a profile of divorced single dad Fred Cano, who is raising a 2-year-old girl on a gluten-free diet. The article notes that "Each day her father packs her a school lunch of assorted bowls of meat, vegetables and sliced fruit. He also makes sure that her daycare services know what is and isn’t on the menu for Emily." Yet, he says, "It’s hard because sometimes she wants to eat like other kids so badly."

Kudos to Fred and his parents and sister, who together look out for Emily's health--and Happy Father's Day to all the dads who help gluten-free family members (themselves included, of course) maintain healthy diets!

JUST WONDERING Have you helped Heathers?

Friday, June 15, 2007


Earlier this week I spoke with Heather Millstone of the downtown bar Heathers about the community board meeting, scheduled for Monday, where renewal of its liquor license will be considered. (Here's a a New York Times article on the Heathers controversy, which I've been covering in numerous posts.)

Heathers, which carries three gluten-free beers and gluten-free cider on tap, is a bar that is extraordinarily welcoming to people on gluten-free diets. The site of two Happy Hours organized by the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group, it stands out in its community, its city, and its state as a bar that makes life a little better for the gluten-free.

Here are two ways you can help Heathers by helping community board members appreciate the "public benefit" of Heathers.
  • Send civil and supportive emails to District Manager Susan Stetzer (sstetzer @ and to Committee Chair Alexandra Militello (slacommittee @, and cc Heather (heathersbar @ to let her know what you've done.
  • Show your support by attending the Monday evening meeting. The details are
    Community Board 3 Meeting
    State Liquor Authority & Economic Development Committee
    JASA/Green Residence
    200 East 5th Street (between Bowery & 2nd Ave)
    Monday, June 18 at 6:30pm

  • Photo of sign at Heathers: David Marc Fischer

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007


    The current issue of New York offers the 2007 update of its Best Doctors list. As far as search results under the keyword celiac are concerned, this year's area doctors form the same sextet as last year's set--see last year's post for a discussion of the list's reliability.
    Dr. Peter Green
    New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia (Manhattan)

    Dr. Philip Kazlow
    Pediatric Gastroenterologist
    New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital (Manhattan), Valley Hospital (Ridgewood, NJ)

    Dr. Joseph Levy

    Pediatric Gastroenterologist
    NYU Medical Center (Manhattan)

    Dr. Keith Benkov
    Pediatric Gastroenterologist
    Mount Sinai Medical Center (Manhattan), Englewood Hospital & Medical Center (Englewood, NJ)

    Dr. Leonard Newman

    Pediatric Gastroenterologist
    Westchester Medical Center (Valhalla, NY), Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center (Bronx)

    Dr. Michael Pettei
    Pediatric Gastroenterologist
    Schneider Children's Hospital, North Shore University Hospital (Manhasset/New Hyde Park, NY)

    Monday, June 11, 2007


    Hamburgers are one of the most readily available foods in the United States. But a classic burger--a ground beef patty with a bun--is hard to find in the gluten-free variety.

    The ground beef isn't the problem. It's the bun.

    You see, I'm grateful for restaurants that take responsibility when it comes to gluten-free food and clearly state that buns shouldn't be included in a gluten-free "burger" order.

    But I'm extra-grateful for those restaurants that actually provide a gluten-free bun--or at least a bun substitute, like two pieces of toast--with their burgers.

    I'd be even more grateful if I didn't have to pay a surcharge for the gluten-free bread, which has often been my experience.

    I don't think I've yet found any gf hamburger buns that I really like. So far my favorite substitutes are gluten-free English muffins (pictured) from Joan's GF Great Bakes. Or gluten-free toast.

    You know what got me thinking of this? I read that Outback Steakhouses in Clifton Park (NY) as well as Enfield (CT) and West Springfield (MA) are trying out gluten-free bread and hamburger rolls, and that the Outback in Yonkers (NY) plans to introduce the bread this Wednesday! That encouraging news made me realize how much of the ordinary Outback menu I was missing/ignoring.

    The bread is made by Vermont's Walk on Water Gluten Free Bakery--and I sure hope it's good!

    Anyway, thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to read my beef about buns. Here is a (possibly very loud) clip from Sesame Street that shows where buns come from. Warning: These buns are not certified as gluten-free!

    Source (1:15)

    Saturday, June 09, 2007


    Have you been sweltering lately? I've been sweltering lately.

    But I've also been able to chill out with Gaga's Sherbetter--cool gluten-free popsicles [and pints] that come in four flavors. So far I've tried lemon, the original flavor. It's made with zest! The other flavors are raspberry, orange, and chocolate.

    So far Gaga doesn't offer vanilla ice--but you can get that here!

    Source (4:20)

    Thursday, June 07, 2007


    If you've been to Heathers (506 East 13th Street between Avenues A and B), you know it's an unusually welcoming place for people on gluten-free diets. So far it's been the site of two successful Happy Hours organized by the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group. In a city where it is extremely rare for a bar to carry even one gluten-free beer, I am not aware of any other bar that offers gluten-free cider on tap plus three gluten-free beers.

    But, as you might recall from months ago, Heathers has been the target of some noise complaints that have gotten media and community board attention.

    I've already expressed my hope that any problems could be satisfactorily resolved through mediation--you know, neighbors of good will working things out with each other. I think there are groups in New York that specialize in facilitating that kind of thing. I'm sorry to note, however, that I haven't heard of any such resolution, though I've read that owner Heather Millstone has gone to some lengths to address the complaints--well beyond posting the sign pictured below. And now that I see that renewal of the bar's liquor license is scheduled to be considered at the June 18 meeting of Community Board 3, I worry that this gluten-free oasis may be endangered. I expect to learn more soon--and I sure hope there will be good news for everybody.

    In the meantime, you might want to pull out some stationery and keep the evening of June 18 open. And I'll try to figure out if Heathers should be spelled with an apostrophe. (That's been bugging me for a while.)

    Photo: David Marc Fischer

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007


    I strongly recommend reading this recently published report--on a survey of Canadians with celiac disease (via PDF)--that appeared in the April 2007 issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences. Surveyed were members of the Canadian Celiac Association who responded to a questionnaire reviewed by Dr. Peter Green, among others.

    The report offers a detailed overview of people with celiac disease in north North America and concludes with remarks that seem applicable to people with celiac disease everywhere:
    The results of this study emphasize the need for early diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of celiac disease. Despite the availability of excellent antibody screening tests, delays in diagnosis of celiac disease remain a key issue. This needs to be addressed given the current prevalence estimates of 1 in 133 having celiac disease in North America. Better awareness among family physicians, dietitians and other health professionals about the variety of clinical presentations, especially anemia, osteoporosis, reproductive problems and autoimmune disorders is essential. Utilization of antibody testing for screening at-risk groups, especially first-degree relatives, would be potential strategies to reduce delays in diagnosis.

    Having to follow a strict gluten-free diet for life has a major impact on the quality of life of individuals with celiac disease. Given the difficulty in determining the gluten-free nature of foods, there is a need for food manufacturers to ensure complete and accurate labeling of gluten sources and for food service establishments to provide accurate information on the gluten content of food served. Comprehensive education of newly diagnosed patients, by dietitians and physicians with expertise with expertise in celiac disease, will help optimize compliance, improve quality of life and reduce the risk the numerous complications associated with this common disease. [sic]
    Also highly recommended: Rosie Schwartz's "Gluten Be Gone!"--a related article from Canada's National Post (June 5, 2007).

    Thanks to dietitian Shelley Case for spreading the word about the article and this thorough survey, on which she played a leading role.

    Sunday, June 03, 2007


    The current issue of People--dated June 11, 2007, it asks "What Happened to Lindsay Lohan?" on the cover--includes a two-page article devoted to celiac disease. The issue is unlikely to appear on the magazine's website, but it should be readily available at newsstands, libraries, and waiting rooms. More on the waiting rooms later.

    Sharon Cotliar's article "No Wheat, No Worries" combines facts about celiac disease with short profiles of two California moms with kids diagnosed with the condition. The medical experts quoted in the article are New York's own Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University and co-author of Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic, and Atlanta's Dr. Cynthia Rudert, medical advisor for the Celiac Disease Foundation. The two moms are Sarah Givens and Danna Korn. Danna, the founder of Raising Our Celiac Kids (ROCK), is also author of Kids With Celiac Disease, Wheat-Free, Worry-Free, and Living Gluten-Free For Dummies.

    The article defines celiac disease as "an autoimmune ailment, triggered by gluten, that damages the lining of the small intestine." Opening with a classic-sounding case of celiac disease in a three-year-old whose symptoms included severe anemia and belly distension, it covers the challenge of switching to a gluten-free medical diet as well as recent improvements in labeling and product availability that make the adjustment easier.

    From a medical perspective, the article states that celiac disease "may affect as many as 1 percent of Americans...although many may be misdiagnosed and some suffer from only minor symptoms." It refers to Dr. Green (pictured) as saying that the time between onset and accurate diagnosis averages 11 years. It also mentions that women are twice as likely to have celiac disease and lists some of the manifestations: fatigue, anemia, infertility, osteoporosis, some cancers, vitamin deficiencies, abdominal bloating and pain, both diarrhea and constipation, and even irritability.

    The story also includes a photo of Danna and her family with a toaster (marked GLUTEN-FREE...Good for me!), another shot of Danna with Sarah Givens and her daughter, and a funny sidebar image showing gluten-containing foods marked with yellow CAUTION tape.

    The article ends with Dr. Rudert advising people who suspect that they have celiac disease to get a complete blood tests, and notes that diagnosis is confirmed with biopsies of the small intestine. It refers readers seeking more information to the National Institute of Health and Danna Korn's Gluten Freedom.

    So what's to be done now that People has covered celiac disease? Michael Thorn of Suffolk County Celiacs suggests emailing the magazine "to thank them for the article, share a brief personal story and/or encourage them to cover adults with CD. Praise them for covering this very common disease and ask they they do more."

    And here's something else you can do: When you're in a doctor's waiting room, look for the copy of People and leave it open to page 143, where the article starts. Better yet, find out if the article can be kept in the waiting room and otherwise made available for other patients to read.

    Dr. Green has talked about raising awareness of celiac disease in doctor's offices. This People article could be very useful in achieving that goal.

    PS The April 9, 2007, People briefly referred to celiac disease in an item on Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

    Friday, June 01, 2007


    Maybe I'm wrong about this...but is the Dietz and Watson spot that's been running on NY1 the very first NYC/NY/USA commercial to tout gluten-free goodies?

    If you get NY1, watch for a while and check it out. (Personally, I'm a fan of In the Papers and On Stage, even though neither has been good about covering celiac disease.)

    You may ask, "Who's Dietz? Who's Watson? Who's Dietz and Watson?" Well, they're purveyors of "World’s Best Meat Delicacies and Artisan Cheeses." And scrapple--but that's off-limits, as you shall see.

    According to the Dietz and Watson FAQ, "Nearly all Dietz & Watson Meats are gluten free except: Rotisserie Style Chicken, Scrapple, Bockwurst, Fat Free Beef Franks, Gourmet Lite Franks, Gourmet Lite Beef Franks, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken Florentine and Chicken Portabella. All the rest of our meats are free of wheat, rye, barley and oat proteins."

    The following is not the ad. But it's got some potential....

    Source (1:04)