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


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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


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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.