Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Gluten-free food entrepreneur Vanessa Tayler Phillips and Celiac Chick Kelly Courson recently teamed up to organize an all-you-can-eat BBQ fundraiser to be held in Sunnyside (some say Astoria) from 3pm to 7pm on Saturday, August 9, 2008.

Foodwise, we're talking hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ chicken, mac 'n' cheese, potato salad, cole slaw, and watermelon. The buns will be from the Grainless Baker. In addition, you can expect desserts from gluten-free bakeries and goodie bags including samples from Mary's Gone Crackers as well as a 15%-off coupon for Friedman's Delicatessen, the Chelsea Market eaterie where Vanessa has been working to accommodate gluten-free noshers.

As for drinks, there will be a full pay-as-you-go bar including Redbridge beer. In fact, the location is a bar, Mickey John's, where a grill will be set up for this occasion. Kids will be welcome until 7pm.

Admission is $30 for the event, which will benefit the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University (CDCCU). RSVPs are required by Saturday, August 3. For more information, go to this CeliacChicks post.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Not As Creepy As It Sounds

Celiac disease does not disqualify people from donating blood. If you don't believe me, check out the FAQs at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research (UMCCR) and Nancy Lapid of

This Wednesday from 10am to 5pm you can give blood at the Diamond Club of Shea Stadium and get something in return: two tickets to a Mets game in August!
The New York Mets and the New York Blood Center will host their annual in-season Blood Drive on Wednesday, July 30, in the Diamond Club of Shea Stadium from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Each donor will receive a pair of tickets to a select Mets 2008 home game in August, the Mets final season at Shea.
As Nancy suggests, bring your own drink and snack—just to be on the safe side.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I don't think I've seen this much enthusiasm for a gluten-free product (in this case, Gorilla Munch) since those guys cheered Cietz and Watson. Anyway, look out for potentially offensive language.

Source (2:17)

In other strange news, the edgy column "Ask a Mexican" asked readers to choose between corn tortillas and wheat tortillas and got this answer from Eugene, Oregon: "I am gluten intolerant. Corn tortillas do not make my ass bleed. Also, they don’t taste like that paste stuff kids use in elementary school." What's also strange is that this answer showed up in papers such as San Diego's La Prensa but not in New York City's Village Voice!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Addendum: A related article appeared on Science Daily (July 25, 2008) soon after most of the following was originally posted. Note, however, that the claim that "It is widely known that among adults [with celiac disease] gluten-free diet alone is not sufficient make the bone damage regress" is something of an overstatement, as a calcium rich gluten-free diet can result in at least some improvement.

Celiac disease is a risk factor for osteoporosis, including male osteoporosis, as noted in Dawn Klingensmith's Philadelphia Inquirer article "Tough Men, Brittle Bones" (July 28, 2008).

As described in Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic, osteoporosis or some other form of bone disease is actually common among people with undiagnosed celiac disease, with the men tending to have the lower bone density.
Approximately 75 percent of newly diagnosed patients with celiac disease have some degree of bone loss. Recent studies show that up to 35 percent of adults who are newly diagnosed with celiac disease have established osteoporosis. While both osteoporosis and celiac disease are more common in women, low bone density is an equal-opportunity complication in the celiac community. And men with celiac disease tend to have more severe osteoporosis.
So doctors and patients should be alert to the possibility that men can have osteoporosis, and that celiac disease is a risk factor. A man (or woman) who tests positive for celiac disease should be considered as also being at risk for osteoporosis—even when a CBC doesn't send up any red flags, the celiac diagnosis is in itself a red flag. Likewise a patient who tests positive for osteoporosis or osteopenia should be considered as possibly having untreated celiac disease—especially if a cause of the condition seems hard to determine. [See related article.]

Many medical professionals may recommend testing for osteoporosis for patients at an advanced or after a fracture. However, in this layperson's opinion, an early baseline test is worth serious consideration.

As noted elsewhere in this blog, current drug therapies for osteoporosis seem to yield encouraging results, but there may be significant negative side effects from, say, taking oral bisphosphonates for more than five consecutive years, or from taking intravenous treatment if a patient is not properly vetted for dental and other issues.

If early testing (say, between 20 and 40) reveals a bone density problem, the condition may be largely or entirely treatable with diet and exercise, even if the patient has just started a gluten-free diet after being newly diagnosed with celiac disease. Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic puts it this way: "The overwhelming evidence and statistics that connect celiac disease to osteopenia and osteoporosis make a compelling case for prevention as well as early screening for the conditions. Early diagnosis and therapy are critical to permit patients with celiac disease to achieve normal peak bone mass and then maintain it."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Living
, a booklet (the size of a memo pad) published by the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University (CDCCU), is available free to those who respond to an offer before this Friday, July 25, 2008.

You can find out more about the offer at Nancy Lapid's Celiac Disease Blog.

For a more extensive source about celiac disease, check out Celiac Diseae: A Hidden Epidemic by Dr. Peter Green of the CDCCU and science writer/film producer Rory Jones of the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group (WCSSG).

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Back in May, Peter Bronski wrote a good article for Long Island Pulse called "Hold the Wheat: A Guide to Going Gluten-Free." In the article, Bronski noted that "An estimated two million Americans—1 in 133—have Celiac Disease, whether they know it or not (most, like me, live with years of pain and discomfort, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed). That means that in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, where there are some 2.85 million residents, statistically more than 21,400 people are living with CD—that’s enough folks to fill 1.2 Nassau Coliseums." Accompanying the article was a short list of gluten-free dining and shopping options.

Today, The New York Times offers Carolyn Nardiello's take on "Restaurants Offering Gluten-Free Options" on Long Island. The article mentions most of the area restaurants on the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP): Emerson's in Babylon, Mama's Italian Restaurant in Oakdale, and Caffe Baldo in Wantagh as the Outback Steakhouse chain [PDF]. Nardiello seems to have a good feel for the specialties of each restaurant: rib-eye au poivre and flourless chocolate cake at Emerson's, cannoli at Mama's, garlic knots at Caffe Baldo.

The article also notes a promising development: "Fran Watins, 57, of Commack, who is on the board of the Suffolk County Celiacs Support and Awareness Group (SCC), said that next month the organization, which has 400 to 500 members, will meet for the first time with restaurant owners on Long Island who may be interested in offering gluten-free menus." Let's hope this leads to many more options, especially under the aegis of a third-party organization such as GFRAP.

Also note: The site of the April 26, 2009 Long Island Vendor Fair will be IBEW Local 25, 370 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Okay, I admit that this episode of Mystery Diagnosis is probably not much of a mystery here—especially if you recall the Murphy family. Still, there are some fascinating twists and turns in this tale, which offers lessons about developmental problems as well as family testing. Plus, there's an appearance from Dr. Peter Green and a reference to the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group (WCSSG).

PART ONE (6:05)

PART TWO (8:00)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Gluten-free (and Kosher) Kozy Shack pudding is the official pudding of Shea Stadium, which makes it a somewhat unusual stadium food option of interest to many gluten-free/wheat-free baseball fans. At a recent rainout, Kozy Shack pudding was available but not as easy to discern as more prominently displayed non-gf items such as Nathan's hot dogs (see top). Whether or not Kozy Shack is now easier to spot, consider yourself informed!

You can score free Kozy Shack samples outside Shea at the following Friday games:
July 25 St. Louis Cardinals
August 22 Houston Astros
September 5 Philadelphia Phillies

And here's how the Texas Rangers won over Mets fans in the pouring rain.

Source (1:11)

Shea photo: David Marc Fischer

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Want to beat inflation? CafePress, which hosts the Gluten-Free NYC Boutique as well as many other purveyors of products for the gluten-free, recently announced that it would be raising prices on some goods on July 28, 2008. The soon-to-be-inflated items include caps, stickers, magnets, and buttons offered by The Gluten-Free NYC Boutique, as well as the glutenfreemom White T-Shirt and GF Alphabet women's t-shirt (right), which will go up by $1 each.

To many of you the base price increases (up to $2 on some Gluten-Free NYC Boutique items but less than $1 on others) might be negligible, but I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know of the change in case you want—to use a phrase from the '70s—to Whip Inflation Now. Which reminds me....

Source (2:43)

Special Designs by Debbie Glasserman Design

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Canadian videoblogger Jordan (aka solidgold451) of Project: Awesome is something of a kidder, but I think he's serious about being diagnosed with celiac disease. He takes this opportunity to say goodbye to a bunch of foods, but his outlook is a little too bleak (although it's also funny). It's true that he's got to "check the fucking label" from now on, but there are gluten-free versions of many of the forbidden foods he mentions.

Source (2:27)

Friday, July 11, 2008


Michael Thorn of the Suffolk County Celiacs recently announced the date of the third Long Island Vendor Fair: Sunday, April 16, 2009! The first and second editions were great, so mark those calendars, okay?

In the meantime, please be advised that veteran vendor Joan of Joan's GF Great Bakes (JGFGB) is slotted to appear at the Health Nuts in Bayside (211-35 26th Avenue) this Sunday, July 13, 2008 [from about Noon 'til 5].

A tip if you go to Bayside: Make sure you have the address! Don't do what I did on the day of the JGFGB grand opening in Bellmore: I drove there without the address and desperately prowled the streets of Bellmore until blogger, New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group (NYCCDMG) organizer, and homegirl Erin phoned and navigated me in.

Here she is with Joan's son Howie. In Howie's other hand is one of Joan's gluten-free faux flying saucers, made especially for this fun occasion.

Here's Howie with Joan herself!

Here's a cookie platter featuring Joan's gluten-free graham and chocolate chip and cow cookies. Don't be deceived by the looks of those sweet bovine bites: The cow cookies are dairy-free too!

Not shown: Joan's bountiful bagel buffet, Joan's onion rolls, Joan's pizza, etc., etc. Everything was delicious—and it was good to see the turnout, including such luminaries as NYCCDMG assistant organizers Ben and Liz, celiac awareness pin creator Aileen Markowsky, Nassau support group leader Jim Blank of the CSA's Long Island Chapter (which is having a July 18 meeting that will also feature Joan), and Erin's mom—another homegirl! More photos can be found here.

Photos: David Marc Fischer

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


A little while ago, I saw a meetup group message reporting that the GFRAP restaurant Bistango had finally reopened. Then I called the restaurant and confirmed the news!

Sigh of relief—because restaurants that close for renovation sometimes never open again!

So welcome back, Bistango! I look forward to visiting soon. In the meantime, this tango's for you!

Updates will be forthcoming at the map and the restaurant page.

Source (2:39)

Monday, July 07, 2008


"Codex Alimentarius" sounds like it could be a product meant only for women, but it's actually an international "food code" developed by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) and WHO (World Health Organization).

The Codex Alimentarius Commission recently issued a new set of guidelines for defining gluten-free. "The new benchmark dictates that food labeled gluten-free may not contain wheat, rye, barley or oats, and its gluten level may not exceed 20 milligrams per kilogram," states a July 1, 2008 Reuters item.

This represents a significantly more stringent standard for many countries, according to Nancy Lapid, celiac disease specialist at and recent table companion of mine at a dinner hosted by Mary Waldner and Dale Rodrigues of Mary's Gone Crackers.

It is up to individual countries to come up with their official standards, but there is probably good reason to think that many of them will comply with this stricter definition.

Dietitian Tricia Thompson commented on the draft of the revision here.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Gluten-Free NYC does not endorse eating any commercial sunscreen. However, should you wish the sunscreen that you smear on yourself and/or your loved ones to be gluten-free, please be informed that all Blue Lizard sunscreens are gluten-free. This info comes straight from one Nancy Tate, Customer Service Manager of Del-Ray Dermatologicals, which makes the product.

I haven't used Blue Lizard myself, but I noticed that Blue Lizard sunscreens without oxybenzone were the top picks in a recent sunscreen study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). So this product is apparently good for humans as well as blue lizards.

This information will be good to keep in mind should the sun ever come out again in the NYC area. It can also be very useful for gluten-free nudist colony activity coordinators.

Source (1:01)

Thursday, July 03, 2008


For weeks, Maggie at Lilli and Loo has been telling me that its sister restaurant Lili's 57 would be going on the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP)—and now I see that it is so!

I haven't yet been to Lili's 57, but the gluten-free offerings seem to be about the same as those at Lilli and Loo, which suits me just fine. And talk about location! It's on 7th Avenue, just south of 57th Avenue—right across the avenue from Carnegie Hall! So it's near Central Park and some Broadway shows as well as City Center, the Ziegfeld Theatre, and the Time Warner Building (home of a Whole Foods). And, now that I think about it, it's also close to the excellent Westerly Natural Market health food store. And have I mentioned that it's also not far from MOMA, the American Folk Art Museum, and the present and future sites of the Museum of Art and Design? And it's the first GFRAP restaurant in midtown west??

Anyway, just wanted to share the news as soon as possible. And thank the Phillips family and Maggie and Alfred—as well as the restaurant staffs—for making this commitment.

NOTE Both Lily's 57 and Lilli and Loo have added gluten-free dumplings and satay chicken to their menus. I haven't tried them yet, either, but of course it's great to see the options increasing so often. I can picture the gluten-free menus winding up as thick as phone books!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Summer Hours
Risotteria recently posted its summer hours: The popular GFRAP restaurant will be closed on July 4 as well as August 11 through August 18, 2008.

Shipping Risotteria now ships some of its foods and mixes, including its Black & White Cookies ($4.50 each at the time of this post). For more information, you can phone Risotteria at 212-924-6664 during the afternoon (EST).

Breadstick Recipe Out of the GFNYC archives, here's info on the recipe for Risotteria's beloved gluten-free breadsticks.

Photo: David Marc Fischer