Sunday, September 30, 2007


Found at Whole Foods Columbus Circle!

Do you miss the paolitos that Puff & Pao served before it went poof? If so, you might want to give Sherrie's Cheese Rolls a try. Made with tapioca flour, cheddar cheese, and eggs, these midsized balls (they don't fit my idea of "rolls") can make a good snack or hors d'oeuvre. They take only minutes to cook in an oven.

I spotted the "Cheese Rolls" about a month ago at the Columbus Circle Whole Foods, during a gluten-free shopping excursion that also introduced me to two other frozen products: Wellshire Kids Uncured Chicken Corn Dogs and Ian's French Toast Sticks. I'd already read about the latter on the international celiac mailing list, where the mention of the product was met with some skepticism, but it's for real, folks—made with bread by Glutino! Just make sure you check the package to make sure it's not one of the wheat products made by Ian's.

Photo: David Marc Fischer

Friday, September 28, 2007


The Staten Island restaurant Tuttoriso (36 Richmond Avenue, 866-801-2240) is now on the roster of the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP)! Thanks to my Staten Island informant Ellen, I've already heard good things about the place, which is conveniently located on the North Shore near the ferry, so I look forward to floating by to give it a try.

Also new on the GFRAP map: Golden Wok, a Chinese restaurant upriver in Ardsley.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


In The Wall Street Journal (September 24, 2007), Beckey Bright's Blog Watch column begins with bird blogs, then segues into blogs having something to do with "Food Allergies." Listed is New York's own Please Don't Pass the Nuts and Vancouver's my kids' allergies as well as Cleveland's Gluten-Free Blog.
This blog by Cleveland-based Mike Eberhart addresses the needs of those who suffer from the digestive disorder called celiac disease and others who just want to maintain a gluten-free diet. Many common foods contain gluten, so those who need to avoid it face many of the same challenges as allergy sufferers.

There are lots of recipes here for gluten-free foods, as well as reviews of gluten-free products and frequent updates on the latest medical news. Mr. Eberhart also encourages readers to share their personal stories and information on products on the blog.
The Gluten-Free Blog recently covered diabetes and blood sugar reduction.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


What would I do without my trusty informants? Today, Myra the Broadway Insidah told me that a couple of gluten-free goodies were available at the Jersey Boys table at the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Flea Market.

And also today, I learned from two vigilant young moviegoing ladies (through their not-quite-as-vigilant Mom) that there's a new movie of some interest to the gluten-free community. The flick in question: Sydney White, a grafting of the Snow White story into a collegiate setting. Now, having just returned from dropping everything to see it immediately, I don't want to give away too much, and I don't want to set expectations too high, so here are some of the basics: This Amanda Bynes movie is pretty much aimed at the tween-teen set (especially the young ladies), I liked it myself (even though I'm decades and a set of genitals away from the target demographic), and, to my knowledge, it represents a modest, perhaps flawed, yet still significant step forward for the gluten-free.

I went into the movie, which was written by Chad Gomez Creasey, without knowing much about it, but if you'd like to see a trailer, here goes....

ADDENDUM Due to popular request (and fear of reader revolt), I'm revealing more in the comments, so look out for spoilers after the jump.

Source (2:15)

Sunday, September 23, 2007


So there you are, IM-ing furiously about your G-L-U-T-E-N - F-R-E-E diet, when you realize your fingers might fall off if you don't find a quicker way to express yourself. Just when you're about to panic, your eyes come to rest on your mousepad—and you find the answer!

Days later, you're talking with a friend who's started dating a terrific celiac chick. Your friend wants to buy her a gift...and you know just the thing for her!

The gluten-free alphabet. Simply indispensible. Available at the Gluten-Free NYC Boutique.

And here's the Patrick Stewart alphabet. Compare and contrast.

Source (1:23)

Design: Debbie Glasserman/Glasserman Design

Friday, September 21, 2007


Plus Sex and the City [spoiler alert]

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, due with her second child in November, recently revealed her cravings to People (September 24, 2007): "Cheese, gluten-free cookies—I have celiac disease—a lot of chocolate and watermelon with salt and lime on it. It's weird but refreshing. You should try it!"

Hm. Watermelon with salt and lime. I wonder whether that culinary combination will be served to Hasselbeck when she is honored at the October benefit for the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Anyway, thanks to Sarah at Celebrity Baby Blog for the lead.

In barely related news, it looks like GFRAP restaurant Lumi is set to appear in the Sex and the City movie (with a preggers-looking Charlotte). Thanks to Jillian of the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group for noticing and sharing!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Last month I mentioned that Seamaiden at Book of Yum was organizing a blogger tribute to the late Bette Hagman. Here it is—an impressive team effort that I'm sure her loved ones will appreciate.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Now that the summer heat has gone down a notch or two, I figure it's time to extol the glories of Shelton's Chicken Corn Chowder.

After spotting a can at the Westerly Natural Market, I purchased it, prepared it, and couldn't believe how good it was. Thick and hearty with some pepper heat, it's worth a try during the cooler months.

And remember: It's just not nice to make fun of how people say "chowder."

Source (00:30)

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I recently received announcements about upcoming meetings that are not Sunday's gathering of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group.

The Greater New York City Celiac Support Group (CSA/USA, Inc.) will have its next dinner at Bistango (415 Third Avenue at East 29th Street) on Thursday, September 20, at 6:30 pm. (6:15 pm arrivals are encouraged.) Reserve by Tuesday, September 18 by calling Merle at 212-662-2464 or Mary at 212-304-1026.

And, at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, October 2, Dr. Peter Green will offer a lecture and a Q&A appear at a fundraising meeting of the Suffolk County Celiac Group at
West Islip Community Center Auditorium (front entrance)
90 Higbie Lane (between Sunrise Hwy & Montauk Hwy)
West Islip
The $5 admission will be matched by the Suffolk County Celiacs, with the total going to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia Presbyterian University. Seating is limited to the first 150 people.

The Suffolk County Celiac Group also announced that it will host its next Vendor Fair in 2009, not 2008.

And Sunday, October 14, 2007 remains the date for the next Colin Leslie Walk for Celiac Disease, an all-in-one event where funds will be raised, Dr. Green and nutritionist Anne Lee will speak, and a Vendor Fair will take place.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Thanks to the message board of the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group, I just became aware that today is National Celiac Awareness Day, as decreed in a Senate resolution!

Here's a copy of the resolution, courtesy of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Why today? Well, September 13, 1839, was the birthdate of Dr. Samuel Gee (pictured), widely credited with heightening awareness of the "coeliac affection" back in 1887. He didn't get it all right, but golly gee—nobody's perfect!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I just got my gluten-free hands on the September 17, 2007 Newsweek ($4.95 but widely available in libraries) and saw the hard copy version of Anne Underwood's article, "Waiter, Please Hold the Wheat" (pp. 61-62).

In contrast with the online version, there are three Risotteria photos: a shot of the restaurant's famous gluten-free breadsticks and a shot of its bagged flour and brownie mix as well as the shot of gluten-free beer.

Below the photos, there's a list of six celiac resources:
  • (medical resource)
  • (general resource)
  • (product resource)
  • (guide to "celiac-friendly dining")
  • (recipes and cooking tips)
  • (gluten-free groceries with free shipping for orders over $25)
  • Additional information about the article and other gluten-free resources (on the medical and support end of the spectrum) can be found in my previous post and the CeliacChicks blog.

    cover image: PRNewsFoto/NEWSWEEK

    Sunday, September 09, 2007


    Now online: "Waiter, Please Hold the Wheat," a well-researched Newsweek article [September 17, 2007] about celiac sprue.

    Written by Anne Underwood, the piece begins with the story of Alice Bast, founder of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). She suffered fatigue, migraines, depression, weight loss, hair loss, dental problems, GI symptoms, and tingling in the extremities as well as a traumatic failed pregnancy before she received her accurate celiac diagnosis—after seeing nearly two dozen doctors.

    The article refers to Dr. Alessio Fasano's 2003 estimate that about 3 million Americans (1 in 133) have celiac sprue, but notes that the condition "remains vastly underdiagnosed." It mentions that symptoms (such as anemia, osteoporosis and failure to thrive in young children) can go well beyond the digestive tract, and offers an explanation as to why Dr. Peter Green (pictured) would say, "Name the organ, and celiac disease can affect it." Underwood writes that, in response to gluten, the immune system in an affected individual "generates antibodies to an enzyme called tissue transglutaminase. This enzyme is an innocent bystander that acts on gluten in the lining of the intestine. But because the enzyme is also found throughout the body—in the skin, heart, thyroid, bones and nervous system—antibodies that attack it can direct their fire at any of these other organs, too."

    Underwood emphasizes that the longer someone with celiac sprue remains untreated, the more problems are likely to develop, and also makes the point that, among autoimmune conditions, celiac sprue is one of the easiest to treat, as it involves maintaining a diet instead of undergoing surgery or treatments. (See this post for information about people who were diagnosed with celiac sprue and then mistakenly told they could safely eat gluten.)

    The article also asserts that maintaining the diet is easier than ever due to the creation of new products and the rising number of restaurants offering special, gluten-free menus. Mentioned are the Outback and Carrabba's chains, with Risotteria scoring a photograph and Bistango depicted as the site of a lunch between Heidi Collins (pictured) and Celiac Chick Kelly Courson. Each restaurant is part of the nationwide Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP), which, I'm sorry to note, is not recognized in the article.

    The article ends with a mention of honeymooning blogger Shauna James Ahern and a description of her forthcoming book Gluten-Free Girl as "a delightful memoir of learning to eat superbly while remaining gluten-free." According to Amazon, the book will be out on October 5, 2007.

    ADDENDUM People seeking more information about celiac sprue may find the following links useful:
    Celiac Disease Foundation
    Gluten Intolerance Group
    The Mayo Clinic
    Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Celiac Center
    University of Chicago Medical Center Celiac Disease Center
    University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research
    NIH Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign

    Newsweek cover image: PRNewsFoto/NEWSWEEK

    Saturday, September 08, 2007


    Most Americans with celiac sprue have not yet been diagnosed. They're out there among us—possibly experiencing any number or combination of symptoms such as fatigue, anemia, heartburn, osteoporosis, skin conditions, and gastrointestinal problems—perhaps not even suspecting that their health could improve dramatically on a gluten-free diet.

    The good news is that, the more that people are aware of the condition, the more likely doctors will be to suspect it, test for it, and treat it.

    Also out there is a subset of people who have been diagnosed and successfully put on a gluten-free diet but later told by a physician that they could then eat gluten safely. It seems that this was a trend among doctors who mistakenly thought that celiac sprue was an "infant disease" that permanently subsided after the patient went on a gluten-free diet. Regardless of how healthy they feel today, those misinformed people should consult with an informed physician who can investigate the validity of the original diagnosis, because celiac sprue remains a lifetime condition, whether or not symptoms are apparent.

    I've put together a nifty video on the subject—with Bob Dylan's help! Check it out—if you experience technical difficulties, just try again later.

    Thursday, September 06, 2007


    The key thing to know about eating gluten-free at the 2007 US Open is that people on medical diets are allowed to bring their own victuals. According to the security guidelines, food is allowed "in limited quantities, or for medical, dietary or infant purposes" as long as it is carried into the tennis complex in an appropriate manner. (Backpacks are forbidden, but one single compartment bag not larger than 12"Wx12"Hx16"L is permitted.)

    As for getting food from the vendors, you could probably manage to scrape something together. I brought my own edibles when I went to the Open on Tuesday night, and I didn't look very intensely for gluten-free goodies, but I did spot the Sushi Court, which seemed to offer one promising item—the Cucumber Avocado Roll, which I managed to shoot in focus off the posted menu.

    As for the main matches I attended, check out my other blog (where, I realize, I neglected to mention Rafael Nadal's kooky slices).

    Photo: David Marc Fischer

    Tuesday, September 04, 2007


    On Long Island, the A La Carte Cooking School (32 Atlantic Avenue, Lynbrook) offers a $79.00 class in Kid-Friendly Gluten-Free Cooking on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 from 6:00-8:30 pm: "More and more children are being diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten allergies. In this class you will learn a variety of favorites the whole family is sure to love. We make pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken Parmesan, salad dressing, chocolate chip cookies and more. We'll also help you prepare the perfect gluten-free lunch box. You don't have to be a kid to love this menu!"

    And in Manhattan, as per Erin at the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group, the Natural Gourmet Institute (48 W. 21st St., 2nd floor) offers a $150 day-long seminar on pizzas, breads, quiches, and pies (Sunday, October 28, 2007) as well as $90 seminars on gluten-free American Southern (Sunday, October 7, 2007 from 1:00-4:30 pm), Asian (Tuesday, December 4, 2007 from 6:30-10:00 pm), and Indian (Sunday, March 30, 2008 from 1:00-4:30 pm) cuisines.

    Sunday, September 02, 2007


    There's a persistent idea that McCann's Oats are safe for people with celiac sprue, but McCann's itself doesn't make any guarantee. Its website currently states
    All McCann’s oat products are processed in a dedicated oatmeal mill that handles only oatmeal. In the supply chain between farm and mill, there is a possible cross contamination with other grains, such as wheat and barley but we reckon that the level of non-oat grains to be less than 0.05%. Cleaning equipment within the milling process would remove the vast majority of these grains along with other elements such as stones, straw etc.

    But we cannot guarantee that McCann’s oats are totally gluten free and we recommend that consumers use their own judgement as to whether they wish to use our oatmeal or not. Many celiacs can tolerate our oatmeal products without any adverse effect but they may not suit those who are particularly sensitive.
    A study by Tricia Thompson, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004, actually tested samples of McCann's as well as Quaker and Country Choice, finding that each brand had levels of gluten above 200 ppm. In fact, as noted at, Country Choice—not McCann's—was the best of the three in this very limited sampling. The Country Choice website states
    Some of our products do not contain wheat. However, all of our products are processed on shared equipment that uses wheat. Please read the ingredient list carefully before purchasing.
    In recent years, some pure oats vendors finally emerged. They include Gluten Free Oats, Gifts of Nature, and Cream Hill Estates, which offers this overview of the issues.

    While research has indicated that many people with celiac sprue appear able to eat oats safely, it has not excluded the possibility that some people may have a serious adverse reaction to oats. More studies should be done on this subject, to clarify the situation. In the meantime, if you are on a medical gluten-free diet and you want to try oats, it is a good idea to heed the advice of the Gluten-Free Indy Celiac Support Group and wait until your blood tests indicate that you have successfully gone gluten-free, stick with pure oats, introduce them slowly into your diet, restrict the quantity you eat, and do so in coordination with your celiac sprue specialist and, perhaps, a nutritionist. The monitoring of your serum levels and your digestive health can help you and your medical team determine whether pure oats are appropriate for your particular diet.

    Thanks to members of the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group for providing information used in this post.