Dec 23, 2010

Two Post Cereals Labeled Gluten-Free

Another mainstream cereal giant, Post Foods, is officially entering the gluten-free market. Perhaps Post is following the excellent example from General Mills. Soon, Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles will be labeled gluten-free and have less sugar. Previously, the ingredients did not contain gluten. Read the entire press release about gluten-free Pebbles.

"Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, rice-based cereals, will also be certified as Gluten Free, a relatively unique distinction in the cereal category. In response to increased concerns over celiac disease and products containing wheat gluten, the brand went through a rigorous process to achieve Gluten Free status on both Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles products."

As always, check the box and make sure you are buying the new gluten-free one. I hope Kellogg's is paying attention. Remove the barley malt from Rice Krispies, please!

Update - February 2011: These cereals will not be certified gluten-free. For more information, read this blog post by Jules Shepard.

Dec 15, 2010

Finding Gluten-Free Support on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning, and Forums

Whether you or a family member are new to gluten-free life or have been gluten-free for years, social networking sites offer invaluable gluten-free support. You likely already discovered the plethora of gluten-free blogs and websites and may be overwhelmed by too much information.

With gluten-free social networking, it is easiest to start with what you know. For example, if you are on Facebook and using it to connect with former classmates, it will be easy for you to like some gluten-free Facebook pages and add gluten-free friends. If you are already using LinkedIn for professional reasons, you can join gluten-free groups there.

My recommendation is to join at least one national/international celiac forum, a local celiac support group, and Twitter. If you are only joining one forum, I suggest the Celiac Listserv. I belong to the DC Celiac Yahoo group, which is a fantastic local resource that even has an extensive restaurant database.

These articles from my Gluten-Free Social Media Tips blog provide information on social networking as well as many links to help you get started.

10 Reasons to Tweet Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Tweeting 101: Follow These Easy Steps

Top 10 Gluten-Free Facebook Fan Pages

Discover LinkedIn Groups

Ning Makes Gluten-Free Social Networking Easy

Popular Gluten-Free Forums

Unless you are a blogger, gluten-free professional, or social media specialist, don’t go overboard joining everything here. Each one requires time and effort to get the most out of it. No matter how many Facebook pages I like and create, I still find myself on Twitter daily, spending less time on Facebook. If you have a question or need assistance, post a comment below or tweet me @MarylandCeliac.

Dec 7, 2010

Crave Bake Shop Baked Gluten-Free Cupcakes on Cupcake Wars

Tonight, Kyra Bussanich of Crave Bake Shop baked gluten-free cupcakes on Cupcake Wars on Food Network. The beginning of the episode had some terrific information about gluten-free.  Crave Bake Shop is a 100% gluten-free bakery located near Portland, Oregon.

The judges loved the gluten-free cupcake in the first round, which was a holiday cupcake made with cranberries and apple cider. In the second round, the three gluten-free cupcakes were inspired by holiday drinks. The flavors were egg nog, chai spice, and chocolate peppermint. They had beautiful decorations that impressed the judges. This quote from judge Candance Nelson from Sprinkles Cupcakes was amazing.

"I think you guys are like magical gluten-free elves that are working over there in that kitchen because I cannot tell that these are gluten-free cupcakes."

In the third round, Kyra had a display of Christmas trees on a table to hold the cupcakes, while the other finalist had an elegant sleigh display. Kyra added more ginger to the egg nog cupcakes at the request of the judges, but unfortunately she added too much.

While Kyra did not win Cupcake Wars, this was still a huge victory for gluten-free awareness.  This episode called Tree Lighting, the second season premiere, reairs several times this week.

Video: Celiac PSA on CBS

Thanks to a tip from Amy Ratner at Gluten-Free Living, I discovered this good celiac disease PSA that aired on CBS last night as part of CBS Cares. Pauley Perrette from NCIS is in the PSA. For more information, the PSA mentions celiac.org, which is the website for the Celiac Disease Foundation. Watch the video here or click below.

Dec 6, 2010

Is It Just Stress?

How are you? It is a simple question with a common answer – “I am stressed.” Whether you admit it to others or silently think it, you likely experience some degree of stress. Feeling stressed seems to be the norm in our hectic lives, where we struggle for balance in a constant race against time. Potential stressors include work, family, school, finances, health, relationships, housing, and parenting.

When doctors can’t find an answer for something, the catch all answer is “it is just stress.” Like many people, I was told this several times. Each time, I felt angry and determined to find the answer. I found new doctors and searched the Internet endlessly.

I did not find another answer. Doctors continued to think it was stress. Eventually, I started to believe them. I could no longer remember what came first: marital problems, daily headaches, migraines, insomnia, or fatigue. Luckily, I developed new symptoms and found another doctor. This time, the answer was not stress!

We blame stress for many symptoms, including digestive problems, anxiety, depression, pain, migraines, fatigue, and insomnia. Ask yourself how long you have been feeling like this?

If you accept stress as the answer, you may still be experiencing the same problems five years from now. As you stress yourself shopping for that perfect holiday gift, take a break to visit a doctor and demand to be tested for celiac disease. It is the best gift you can give yourself and your family!

Dec 1, 2010

Pre-Order 2011 Gluten-Free Books

Many gluten-free books will be released in 2011 and several are already available for pre-order on Amazon with a price guarantee. From gluten-free cookbooks about cupcakes to vegan and sugar-free, gluten-free consumers have many choices. Here is a sampling of some of the interesting new books. You can also view all the gluten-free books available for pre-order by clicking this link and sorting by publication date.

The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More [Kindle Edition] by Laura B. Russell



Cooking Light The Gluten-Free Cookbook: Simple Food Solutions for Everyday Meals by Editors of Cooking Light Magazine





Gluten-Free in Five Minutes: 100 Rapid Recipes for Breads, Rolls, Cakes, Muffins, and More by Roben Ryberg

BabyCakes Covers the Classics: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles by Erin McKenna

Bisquick to the Rescue: More than 100 Emergency Meals to save the day! – gluten and gluten-free recipes



New from bloggers:

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap by Nicole Hunn

Simply Sugar- and Gluten-Free Meals in 20 Minutes: 120 Easy and Delicious Recipes by Amy Green

Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour by Elana Amsterdam

You may also be interested in these books that will be released on December 8, 2010. Books make a great gift for yourself, friends, and family.

The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free

Gluten Free Food Storage, It's in the Bag

Allergy Free Cookbook for the Family

Special Diets for Special Kids, Volumes 1 and 2 Combined: Over 200 revised gluten-free casein-free recipes, plus research on the positive effects for children ... ADHD, allergies, celiac disease, and more! by Lisa Lewis (This book is still available for pre-order. It was scheduled to release last week, but didn't.)

Nov 18, 2010

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Doctor on QVC

Last night, Anne Byrn was on QVC showing many desserts from her brand new cookbook, The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free. You can watch the entire video on the QVC website and preorder the book at a low price of $11.89.  The books will ship on November 29.

The 80 recipes use a store-bought gluten-free yellow or chocolate cake mix, like Betty Crocker. Every recipe also has a dairy-free option. Anne was inspired to write the book after many requests from her readers. Her gluten Cake Mix Doctor books have been extremely popular. Over 3,000 autographed books were sold during this QVC segment!

Nov 13, 2010

Review: Sensible Foods Crunch Dried Snacks

Sensible Foods crunch dried fruit and vegetable snacks are gluten-free, fat-free, and 100% natural. The company sent me their 14 bag combination box for free to review. The box contained two bags of each of the following flavors: Cherry Berry, Tropical, Orchard, Organic Cherry Berry, Organic Apple Harvest, Organic Sweet Corn, and Organic Roasted Soy Nuts.

All flavors were very good and satisfying, but my favorites were tropical, orchard, corn, and soy nuts. Most of the blends, including Cherry Berry and Organic Cherry Berry, contain a large amount of apple, which is good, but may be different than what you would expect.

The soy nuts have a great roasted flavor. They have 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per serving! One bag of the excellent sweet corn only has 70 calories and is equivalent to eating a ½ cup of fresh corn.

Order online or use the store locator to find a store near you. Some of the many retailers are The Vitamin Shoppe, Weis, Whole Foods, Ralphs, health food stores, and even airports.

Soon Sensible Foods will be introducing new lunch box sized bags in five flavors, including the new strawberry banana. These healthy crunch snacks will likely appeal to everyone in your family, so stock up!

Nov 12, 2010

Video: Kids Making Gluten-Free Granola Bars

I stumbled across the cutest video of two kids making gluten-free granola bars. The video is from the My Kids Make blog. The recipe looks very easy and delicious. 

If you have a gluten-free blog, consider letting your kids do a blog post. They will be so proud to see their work published on your blog! Read my daughter's blog posts and reviews. Leave a comment sharing blog posts from gluten-free kids.
 

Nov 5, 2010

Frozen Gluten-Free Onion Rings

I just read on the Gluten-Free Philly blog that Ian's is launching gluten-free onion rings, and they will be available at Whole Foods, starting in January! They are also free of casein, eggs, soy, and nuts.

As far as I am aware, these are the first gluten-free onion rings to be sold in stores. The only thing that could make me more excited right now would be frozen gluten-free egg rolls. Perhaps Ian's will consider making egg rolls too!

Nov 3, 2010

Important Update: Are Blistex Products Gluten-Free?

In February 2010, I posted an email I received from Blistex stating that all of their products are gluten-free. Today, I almost purchased the new Blistex Five Star Lip Protection, but fortunately I read the label and discovered it contains wheat germ oil! So, clearly all Blistex products are not gluten-free. It is frustrating to see companies adding gluten to products, especially when all of their products used to be gluten-free!

Oct 28, 2010

Video: Dr. Fasano Receives $45 Million

The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research received an astonishing $45 million donation to create a special institute!  The detailed EurekAlert provided information about the donation from "a grateful patient," her husband, and their foundation.
"Forty million dollars of the donation is coming from a private foundation in which the Caffertys are key stakeholders. The remaining $5 million comes to the School of Medicine directly from the Caffertys, and will fund an endowed distinguished professorship that supports a director position in perpetuity for the research enterprise."
Watch this video to hear Dr. Fasano's comments about the donation.  For more details, read this article in The Baltimore Sun.

"Fasano said the money will be used to create a first-of-its-kind institute that could eventually employ up to 200 doctors and researchers. They will not only study the often-misdiagnosed celiac disease but use it as a model to study other related diseases, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis."



Oct 27, 2010

My 200th Blog Post: Looking Back, New Favorite Foods, and an Important Jennie-O Alert

I can’t believe this is my 200th blog post, and it has been almost 2 years since I started blogging in December 2008! It is amazing how much has changed in the gluten-free world in the past two years. If you also count my DC Gluten-Free Examiner articles and my Gluten-Free Social Media Tips blog posts, that adds up to over 360 gluten-free articles! So, what gluten-free news did I blog about in December 2008?

• Chicago Tribune investigation found high amounts of gluten in "gluten-free" Wellshire Farms chicken bites & corn dogs.

• Emeril Green aired three gluten-free episodes in Fall 2008 on Planet Green.

• The regular price of Rice Chex at Target was only $1.67.

• Gluten-Free Fox, the first gluten-free search engine, was launched.

One of my first blog posts was a funny one: My own “You know you have celiac disease if…” list. Some of the items are a little outdated now, but I hope some of them are still funny.

In January 2011, it will be four years since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I definitely have a more positive outlook about gluten-free and life in general than when I first started blogging and a big part of that is the amazing online gluten-free community!

My list of favorite foods that I first posted in December 2008 and last updated in October 2009 is also outdated. Here are some of my new favorite foods.

• Udi’s Gluten-Free whole grain bread

• Udi’s granola

• Deboles corn pasta

• Nature’s Path Sunrise Cereals

• Chobani Greek Yogurt

• Larabar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

KIND Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio plus Antioxidants

• Gluten-Free Café Pasta Primavera

• Food Should Taste Good Cheddar Chips

Sadly, one item that I intended to include on this list was Jennie-O Turkey Meatballs Italian Style, which used be clearly marked on the website with the no gluten icon. When I went to the website today to link to it, I discovered the new red packaging and that the no gluten icon had been removed. I called and it turns out that the new bags have new ingredients that now include oat bran. They aren’t gluten-free and have been removed from the Hormel gluten-free list. I really hope I can still find some of the old bags that are gluten-free.


As some things change over the years in the gluten-free world, some things remain the same. It is essential to always keep reading labels each time you purchase a product!

Oct 26, 2010

Video from Lifetime: Celiac Disease on The Balancing Act

If you missed the celiac disease segment on The Balancing Act yesterday on Lifetime Television, watch this great video. It is almost five minutes long and packed full of good information!  I loved this part. "If you have symptoms you can't explain...ask your doctor about it."

Oct 22, 2010

Watch the Celiac Disease Foundation on Lifetime Television

On Monday, October 25 at 7 am ET/PT (6 am CT/MT), watch The Balancing Act on Lifetime. The show will feature Phyllis Kessler, President of the Celiac Disease Foundation South Florida Chapter and a doctor. They will discuss awareness efforts and celiac resources.

Read the press release and watch the preview video. If you miss the celiac segment, it will probably be added to their YouTube channel next week.

Oct 15, 2010

Top 10 Gluten-Free Blogs for News

There is so much gluten-free and celiac disease news each week that it is hard for any one blogger to keep up with it all. While I hope you will continue to rely on the Gluten-Free Optimist for gluten-free news as well as my tweets, these blogs do a fantastic job of covering news, including information about new products.

1. The Savvy Celiac

2. Celiac-Disease.com

3. Gluten-Free Living blog

4. About.com Celiac Disease

5. Celiac Princess

6. Gluten-Free Is Life

7. Gluten-Free Works

8. Gluten-Free Fun

9. Sure Foods Living

10.  Gluten-Free Philly

With hundreds of gluten-free blogs, I am sure there are some blogs that I missed that do a great job blogging about news. Thanks to the above blogs, gluten-free Examiners, and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness for keeping us informed of the latest gluten-free news.

Oct 6, 2010

View the Transcript for the Celiac Episode to Air on Second Opinion

Recently, I blogged about the Celiac Disease Episode to Air on Public Television on October 15 or 16.  The transcript can now be viewed online. This great episode includes Alice Bast from NFCA and Dr. Daniel Leffler.  The patient, a 42-year-old man, presents with swelling in his hands, joint pain, and lactose intolerance. Later, he develops GI symptoms.

This episode is truly amazing awareness! One of my favorite parts is this quote from Alice.

"Yeah, malignancies, and I ended up seeing twenty-two doctors before I was diagnosed, but in my case I also had reproductive health issues.  So when you say how can it affect you, I had a full-term stillborn child, I had three miscarriages, and my youngest daughter was two pounds when she was born.  So she fit into the palm of my hand.  I’m five foot nine and I weighed a hundred and thirty pounds now.  I was down to about a hundred pounds. My hair was falling out, my teeth were breaking, and the doctors were telling me that I had postpartum depression and telling me I had psychiatric problems, you name it, anemia, so a lot of this — I had, you know, swelling in my joints.  I had such diarrhea that I couldn’t even go to work."
All aspects of celiac disease are discussed, including testing, related conditions, complications, and the gluten-free diet. Celiac is even referred to as "a multi-symptom chameleon disease." 

Oct 1, 2010

A Great Katz Gluten-Free Coupon

Visit healthesavers.com to print this great Katz coupon.  The coupon expires on December 30, 2010, and you save $2 on any one item! Check the box next to the coupon, enter your email address, and the coupon will be sent to you to print. Read my review of two Katz Gluten-Free products.

For more gluten-free coupons, register for Mambo Sprouts, the Live Gluten Freely newsletter, and BeFreeforMe. Also, read Money Saving Tip: Coupons at Whole Foods. Visit my Gluten-Free Social Media Tips blog to read Locate Discount Codes in Two Clicks.

Sep 30, 2010

Celiac Disease Symptoms and Treatment: An Excellent Video

Watch this excellent video of Dr. Daniel Leffler, Director of Clinical Research at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Melinda Dennis, a registered dietician, discussing celiac disease and their new book.  The video aired this week on the Fox morning news in Boston.  Visit their website for more information about their new book, Real Life with Celiac Disease.

Money Saving Tip: Coupons at Whole Foods

The coupon book at the Whole Foods always has many gluten-free coupons. Print out several copies of the coupons online or pick up The Whole Deal at the store. While there is a limit of “one coupon per purchase of specified product,” the coupons are usually good for three months. In the August/September issue which may still be available in stores, there is a fantastic Larabar coupon for a $1.25 off two, which basically means one free Larabar! I have used this coupon at least four times already and it expires the end of October. 

The October/November issue of The Whole Deal is now available. Most of the coupons can be printed online and they expire December 31, 2010. Some of the new gluten-free coupons are:

• $1 off one Lundberg 2 lb. bag rice

• 75 cents off one Siggi’s yogurt

• 75 cents off one Thai Kitchen product

• 50 cents off one ThinkThin Bar

• $1 off one half gallon or quart of So Delicious Coconut Milk vanilla, original, or unsweetened beverage

• $1 off one Earth Balance Organic Soy Milk

• $1 off two Deboles pastas

• $1 off two Imagine soups or broths

• $1 off two Gluten Free Café frozen entrees

Be sure to also pickup The Whole Deal book in stores for this great coupon: $1 off one Gluten-Free Bakehouse Pumpkin Pie. Even without coupons or sales, there are some good prices that can be found at Whole Foods, including 365 milk and water and EnviroKidz cereal.  Some 365 Every Day Value products are gluten-free and are listed on the Whole Foods' gluten-free list.

Sep 28, 2010

Book Review: Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?


Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? A look at the sunny side of being gluten-free is a new picture book for kids. Katie Chalmers sent me the book for free for me to review. I am 9-years-old, and I feel a bit too old for this book partly because they say Mommy instead of Mom. Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? is a conversation, not really a story. The mom and the child take turns speaking about the child’s new diet and celiac disease. The book is all facts about celiac, but does not talk about getting diagnosed or cross-contamination, which is an issue.

I would recommend the book for ages 4-8. You can read the book to your child, and they will probably know about celiac disease. The book’s setting is in the park. To explain what they are going to do when they go home, they make connections about what she is doing at the park like “we can spread the word just like you are blowing that dandelion fluff around.” I think that your child will love the book, and have a positive attitude about eating gluten-free.

Comment from the author, Katie Chalmers:
"This is really meant to introduce the child to celiac disease and get them thinking positively about it from the get-go. The book's website does talk a lot about cross-contamination issues, so hopefully when both resources are put together, everything is covered."

Sep 26, 2010

Celiac Disease Episode to Air on Public Television

The seventh season of Second Opinion will feature an episode about celiac disease. Episode 702 is called celiac disease, and will air on October 15 or 16, depending on the public television stations in your viewing area. In the DC area, Second Opinion airs on Saturdays at 9:30 am on WHUT channel 32.

Here is the description of this episode, which will likely include Dr. Daniel Leffler, Director of Clinical Research at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


"Nearly three million Americans suffer from Celiac Disease, a hereditary, autoimmune digestive disorder which is difficult to diagnose. Discover how a gluten-free diet (no wheat, rye, or barley) results in greatly improved health for those suffering from this disease."

If you aren’t familiar with Second Opinion, read the description of this unique series.

"The long-running, Telly award-winning series engages a panel of medical professionals and lay people in honest, in-depth discussions about complex medical issues. Host Dr. Peter Salgo presents intriguing, real-life medical cases to professionals representing a variety of specialties. As the experts grapple with the diagnosis and treatment options, viewers gain an understanding of doctors' decision-making process."

In episode 413 called inflammation, there was information about celiac disease and eating gluten-free. Joseph Mercogliano, a plumber in Long Island, shared his celiac diagnosis story on the show. It took two years for doctors to diagnose his weight gain, swollen lymph nodes, and chest pain as celiac disease.

Additionally, you may be interested in watching episode 701 about Vitamin D. Watch this new Second Opinion Stat! podcast featuring Alice Bast explaining celiac disease.

Sep 24, 2010

Book Review: Cilie Yack is Under Attack


Cilie Yack is Under Attack is a new fiction chapter book for kids ages 5-11. I am 9-years-old and do not have celiac disease, but I know a lot about it because my mom does. Caryn Talty sent me the book for free to review. It is a very funny book about a 9-year-old boy named Cilie Yack who gets diagnosed with celiac disease and does not want to give up cake and other foods. He is worried about not being able to eat some foods he loves. Cilie comes up with a way to be able to eat what he wants.

The book’s narrator is Cilie. He is a troublemaker in some of the book. It does have some Irish words in it because the setting is in Ireland. The Irish words make it a bit harder to understand, but the author does try to explain what they mean. Cilie Yack is Under Attack has some true facts about celiac disease.  It is fun to have a book that has both fiction and facts.  I think that you don’t have to have celiac disease to love the book like I did! Be careful - you won't be able to put the book down once you start it!

Review: New Biochem 100 Calorie Protein Bars

Biochem, the well known maker of whey protein, has new protein bars that are 100 calories and certified gluten-free. They are available in three flavors: berry yogurt, caramel nougat, and chocolate truffle. I purchased the caramel nougat and chocolate truffle flavors at Whole Foods today for $1.29 each. The caramel nougat truly tastes like a Milky Way candy bar! This great chewy bar is small (.88 ounces), but satisfying. 

You can view the ingredients and allergens at VitaCost. They contain milk, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. With 6 grams of protein, 7 grams of sugar, 13 grams of carbs, and only 3 grams of fat, the Biochem caramel nougat bar is a fantastic quick and healthy snack option!

Sep 21, 2010

Buy Unique Celiac Awareness Items at CafePress and Support Celiac Research

I am pleased to introduce the new Gluten-Free Optimist CafePress Shop. Keep reading because you won’t find any items in the shop that promote my blog. The goal is to increase celiac disease awareness and promote positive gluten-free thoughts with fun and unique items. For all purchases made in my shop between now and October 31, 2010, a minimum of $2 per item, except individual buttons and cards, will be donated to the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research.

The donation for an individual button or card will be 50 cents. The highest donation is for this awesome 10 pack of mini buttons, which are perfect for both kids and adults to wear in October. For each pack of mini buttons purchased, $5 will be donated!

This tote bag is my favorite item. This design is also available on shirts and as an individual greeting card, which would be perfect to send to a friend or family member who resists being tested for celiac disease.

My daughter designed this awesome T-shirt. Also, look at the gluten-free tastes so good design, which is available on many items, including aprons, postcards, and shirts. 

Looking for an item without any cute graphics? Then, there is this T-shirt and button. Want to give a gluten-free kid a special reward for a job well-done? This bear would be perfect!


Here is some information about shipping, returns, and  discount codes.

• Use coupon code 15OFFTEES through September 23, 2010, to receive 15% off the T-shirts. Great new discount codes will appear in a banner at the top of the shop page.

• Economy shipping is $5.25 for any item, and 50 cents extra for each additional item. One exception to this is if you are buying only one button or greeting card, then shipping is only $1.25, and 30 cents extra for each additional.

• "No sales tax when shipping outside CA, KY, NV, NC or WA."

• "100% satisfaction guaranteed. Rest assured, we'll take it back (no questions asked). With our money-back guarantee, whether it's too small, too big, too orange or too (fill in the blank), simply contact Customer Support within 30 days for a full refund or exchange."

Check back often for new products. Leave a comment with any product requests. Wearing a celiac awareness button, shirt, or tote bag is a fantastic way to spread awareness and get people talking about celiac disease!

Sep 20, 2010

Kicking for Celiac and a Guinness Record

Craig Pinto will hold a unique fundraiser for celiac disease while attempting to break the Guinness record. The professional arena football player will kick field goals for 12 straight hours. To break the worldwide record, he will need to make 500 field goals! The event will take place on October 10, 2010, at Bethpage High School in Long Island, New York. Here is a quote from Craig, who is passionate about raising celiac awareness.

"Kicking footballs for this long seems physically challenging, but so is living with Celiac Disease everyday, and both can be done successfully."

To make a donation, visit the Kicking 4 Celiac website. All proceeds will go to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

Sep 13, 2010

Ibuprofen: Cheap, Generic, and Gluten-Free

Look what I found today! The regular price is only $1.77 for 50 tablets, and it is now labeled gluten-free!





After making this discovery at Target, I quickly checked other up & up (Target brand) over-the-counter products for gluten-free labels. While I couldn’t find any other products for adults labeled gluten-free, not even the up & up ibuprofen soft gels, I did find children’s oral suspensions in both ibuprofen and acetaminophen that were clearly labeled gluten-free in large letters on the side that match the colors on the packaging.

Keep checking over-the-counter generic drugs for gluten-free labels. Soon more will be labeled gluten-free, thanks to Perrigo. I am so happy that I never again need to pay substantially more to buy Advil! This is a great discovery to make today on National Celiac Awareness Day.

Sep 10, 2010

Who Do You Want to See Oprah Interview?

Since it is the farewell season of The Oprah Show, the show is asking for viewer ideas on who Oprah should interview. Submit your request to The Oprah Show for a show about celiac disease. Here is my submission to give you some ideas. There is a limit of 2,000 characters. Now is our chance to finally see celiac disease on The Oprah Show!

My Oprah Submission:

Over the years, the show has covered many health topics, but one that has never been discussed is celiac disease. Heidi Collins, former CNN news anchor, has celiac disease and would be a fantastic guest to have along with Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Disease Research. Alice Bast, founder of the National Foundation for Celiac Disease Awareness (NFCA), would also be an excellent guest to have on this celiac disease show. Both Alice and Heidi suffered through devastating miscarriages and other health problems for years before finally being diagnosed with celiac disease. In fact, it took 22 doctors to diagnose Alice!

As a gluten-free blogger and freelance writer living with celiac disease, I am passionate about increasing celiac disease awareness and spreading accurate information. Unfortunately, there is so much inaccurate information about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, making it difficult to even get a safe meal in some restaurants. 

Oprah, you have the unique power and ability to help the millions of Americans living undiagnosed with celiac disease and prevent them from experiencing the dangerous complications of untreated celiac disease. Please take a moment to read these startling stats about celiac disease. A show about celiac disease could save lives!  

Sep 1, 2010

When a Family Member Refuses to be Tested for Celiac Disease

It is frustrating to hear about people who refuse to be tested for celiac disease. Fortunately, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007, all of my family members were willing to be tested.

I often hear on Twitter and in celiac groups about family members who refuse to be tested for celiac disease. Perhaps their refusal is based on fear, denial, or inaccurate information. Here are some of my thoughts on how to help them.

Share the facts.

While there are many good gluten-free blogs and YouTube videos, sharing information directly from a medical source is important. This information from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center is excellent in concisely explaining the symptoms of celiac disease and who needs to be tested. Complications of untreated celiac disease are described at the end of this fact sheet from the American College of Gastroenterology.

Focus on the positive.

Many people mistakenly think that gluten-free food doesn’t taste as good as gluten. While that was the case in the past, there are now so many great tasting gluten-free products, including Udi’s gluten-free bread. In fact, the Betty Crocker gluten-free brownies were rated number one in the Epicurious blind taste test of 21 gluten and gluten-free brownies.

Gluten-free products are also more readily available to consumers, and many mainstream products are very affordable. General Mills and Hain Celestial each make over 200 gluten-free products. Purchasing a gluten-free grocery guide, which lists thousands of gluten-free products available in many regular grocery stores, can be useful in locating products.

For eating out, there are numerous options, including chains like PF Chang’s, Bonefish Grill, Outback, ZPizza, and Uno Chicago Grill. For those who enjoy baking, there are terrific gluten-free all purpose flours as well as the new gluten-free Bisquick. 

Explain that planning makes it possible.

With some extra planning, anything is possible while eating gluten-free. The Gluten-Free Travel Site has reviews of restaurants, grocery stores, and hotels throughout the world. Many people with celiac disease are successfully traveling internationally, enjoying cruises, and camping.

If you were diagnosed with celiac disease years ago and family members are still refusing to be tested, be sure to share with them what gluten-free life is like today and how much it has improved. They may be remembering your bread that tasted like cardboard or your difficulty finding a restaurant. With your continued efforts, a family member may eventually surprise you and decide to be tested!

Aug 22, 2010

Gluten-Free Bisquick: Reviews and Tips

The new gluten-free Bisquick is showing up in stores and several bloggers have posted reviews. Surprisingly, the box is very small and only contains 16 ounces.

According to some reviews, making pancakes following the recipe on the box does not yield good pancakes. Read this review from Jennifer Harris, the Gwinnett Gluten-Free Food Examiner, who prefers Pamela’s Pancake and Baking Mix.

Heidi Kelly posted wonderful recipe tips for gluten-free Bisquick on her blog, Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom. She discovered that the secret is not to use the recipe on the box. Kim Bouldin, Gluten-Free is Life, enjoyed blueberry scones she made with gluten-free Bisquick.  For tips on making pancakes, waffles, and biscuits, read these FAQs from Bisquick.

Aug 17, 2010

New Gluten-Free Mini Dessert at P.F. Chang’s

When I ordered the irresistible gluten-free Chocolate Dome at P.F. Chang’s tonight, the waiter informed me that they now have another gluten-free dessert. It is a mini Triple Chocolate Mousse served in a shotglass and the bottom layer is a flourless cake. The price is only $2.00. I didn’t try it, but it looked delicious.

I spoke with the manager for more details and to confirm that it is gluten-free. She said it took them many tries to perfect this dessert, and they wanted to add another gluten-free dessert for a long time. She said it may not be available nationwide yet. The best part is that now people who order P.F. Chang’s For Two, a four-course menu which has some gluten-free items, can have a gluten-free dessert, since it includes two mini desserts.

Looking to reduce your sodium intake at P.F. Chang’s? I recently began requesting that they cook my Moo Goo Gai Pan in less sauce than usual because I want reduced sodium. The result is still an awesome taste, but very little sauce, and I no longer find myself thirsty all evening after eating it!

Don’t forget to register for a Warrior card to save 10% each time you go to P.F. Chang’s. View the gluten-free menu here.

Update: August 26, 2010 - I tried the new gluten-free mini dessert.  Yes, I ate at P.F. Chang's two weeks in a row after not going all summer.  Shockingly, before my daughter and I ordered, the waiter correctly recited our orders from last week.  That is an impressive memory!

The top layer is like the Chocolate Dome, the middle is mousse, and the bottom is a thin cake.  The top two layers are great, but the bottom layer wasn't as good.  With the small spoon provided, it took several bites to finish and it was satisfying. However, I prefer the Chocolate Dome.

A note of caution: P.F. Chang's has two mini chocolate desserts that look very similar on the top, but only one is gluten-free. The Great Wall cake mini dessert is not gluten-free and it has chocolate chips on top. The gluten-free mini has chocolate shavings on top, but not chocolate chips.

Aug 16, 2010

Dr. Vikki Petersen Responds to the Today Show Gluten-Free Segment

A recent segment on the Today Show called, “Gluten-free: Diet fad or healthy option?” stirred up a lot of emotions in the gluten-free community. You can watch the segment here, but the better and more informative video to watch is this one from Dr. Vikki. Does a gluten-free diet cause weight loss or weight gain? Dr. Vikki has the answer.

Aug 7, 2010

Bill Clinton is Allergic to Wheat and Dairy

Apparently, back in 2007, Bill Clinton's allergies were discussed on some television shows, including the Rachael Ray Show and The Today Show.  After a lot of Googling, I found an article in the USA Today from 2007 which confirms his allergies. 

"Cooking for Clinton was often a challenge because he had allergies to chocolate, dairy and wheat flour, the chef says. But Clinton could be voracious when it came to desserts."

Chelsea's wedding cake contained both butter and chocolate, so it is unlikely that Bill Clinton was able to enjoy a slice.  For more details about Chelsea's gluten-free wedding cake, view the cake photos, and watch these Access Hollywood videos

Aug 6, 2010

View Photos of Chelsea Clinton's Wedding Cake

Entertainment Tonight has several photos of Chelsea's enormous and elegant wedding cake.  The cake was indeed gluten-free, but it was not vegan!  That is very unfortunate considering that there are bakeries in New York, like Babycakes, that can make a yummy cake that is both gluten-free and vegan.  Is it a new wedding trend to match the cake to the dress?

"The sweet treat was reported to have sat four feet tall and was made with 360 organic eggs, 50 pounds of sugar, 45 pounds of gluten-free flour, 30 pounds of butter and bittersweet chocolate, and was decorated with about 1000 sugar flowers!"

Aug 5, 2010

Gluten-Free Junior Olympian Wins Gold Medals

You may remember my blog post several months ago called, “Fourth Grader with Diabetes and Celiac Disease Qualifies for the Junior Olympics.” Well, this amazing young athlete, Sage Donnelly, won five gold medals in kayaking in the Junior Olympics recently held in North Carolina. She lives in Carson City, Nevada. Read all the details here.

For the past two months, Sage and her parents have been on the road, living with their four dogs and a cat in the family van to compete in kayak competitions throughout the West. This was the first year they traveled back East to compete.

Sage is only ten-years-old, but she has already accomplished a lot. Hopefully, we will see her in the Olympics when she is older! Here is some advice from Sage.

If you have a disease or anything, you should not give up your dreams.

This is an impressive video from May 2010 of Sage practicing.

Aug 3, 2010

Access Hollywood Videos: Bill Clinton’s Gluten-Free Lunch and Inside La Tulipe Desserts

Bill Clinton had lunch on Friday, July 30 at Gigi Trattoria, where he enjoyed a flavorful gluten-free buckwheat gnocchetti pasta. The pasta dish is shown at the end of this Access Hollywood video.

Bill Clinton reportedly lost 30 pounds and it is not clear whether his diet included gluten-free items. However, a gluten-free diet is not a weight loss diet or a trend. It is the only treatment for celiac disease, an autoimmune disease.





Watch this video about the making of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cake. Although a photo of the cake isn’t in the video, La Tulipe Desserts shares more details about the all-natural gluten-free cake that was nine tiers and four feet tall! In an article in The New York Times, the wedding planner talked about the other gluten-free items, but didn't mention who made them.

"The wedding cake was gluten-free, as was the bread. So were the chocolate-chip cookies in the straw welcome bags in the guests’ hotel rooms."

Update from People on August 4, 2010: 

"As for the food, the cake was a four-foot, nine-tier masterpiece of vanilla sponge cake, layered with dark chocolate mousse. It was gluten free, and the chefs Maarten and Frances Steenman, owners of La Tulipe Desserts, gave PEOPLE an exclusive look of their creation.
For many more inside details of Chelsea Clinton's lavish wedding, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday"


Aug 1, 2010

Who Made Chelsea Clinton's Gluten-Free Wedding Cake?

The media has been buzzing about Chelsea Clinton's vegan gluten-free wedding cake, which is estimated to be $11,000.  She has a "gluten allergy" and has been vegan since she was a teen. According to The New York Times, La Tulipe Desserts in Mount Kisco, New York, made Chelsea's gluten-free wedding cake.  The reception was catered by St. Regis Hotel and included vegan and gluten-free items. 

La Tulipe Desserts, a European patisserie, is not a dedicated gluten-free bakery, but they do sell some gluten-free products, including award-winning macaroons. Here is some information from their website.


"We can create any custom size, flavors, and style for your special day. Anything is possible. Imagine it and it is yours..."

"Our flavorful ingredients are almost all organic and come directly from original sources around the world — vanilla beans from Haiti, pure lemon and orange essences from Italy, Marcona almonds from Spain, chocolate from France, Lubecker marzipan from Germany.


And that’s just what we import. We buy fresh, seasonal organic produce and honey from local farmers, and we choose it ourselves. Those fruits in your dessert taste fresh – picked because they are fresh – picked.


From start to finish, every creation at La Tulipe Desserts is an individual work of art. No mass production, no prepackaging, no artificial anything. Just premium, hand-selected ingredients prepared by artisans. We invite you to taste the difference."

A photo of Chelsea's cake hasn't been released yet, but some photos from the wedding can be viewed here and in this AP video, which mentions the vegan gluten-free wedding cake. She was a beautiful bride in her Vera Wang dress!


Jul 22, 2010

Recall: Deboles Kids Only Gluten-Free Pasta

This recall is for a new gluten-free pasta, DeBoles Kids Only! Gluten Free Tubettini Corn Pasta, which I just purchased at Whole Foods this week. The box I purchased is not part of the recall.

The recalled lot code is 30JUN11D1 and was sold in stores nationwide and online.  It may have undeclared whole wheat alphabet pasta, which is noticeably different from the yellow tube shaped pasta.  No other lots are affected. For more information, read this press release.

Jul 21, 2010

Scientists Discover Molecular Triggers of Celiac Disease

The results of a celiac disease study conducted in Australia are published in Science Translational Medicine (July 21, 2010 issue). The researchers collected blood samples from over 200 celiac patients after they ate gluten. They found three peptides, protein fragments, that appear to be causing the immune response to gluten in people with a genetic predisposition to celiac disease.  The T cell was also found to be the primary cell involved in the immune response.

Here is a quote from Dr. Fasano, which was found in the U.S. News and World Report article about this study.

"According to Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, the evidence is indeed strong that these three protein fragments trigger the celiac immune response, but 'I'm not sure that it's the end of the story,' he added. It remains possible that the screen didn't catch all the gluten components involved in the immune response, Fasano said."
In a few months, the Australian scientists expect to have results of the "phase I clinical trials on a drug based on the three gluten protein fragments they identified. The aim of the drug is to desensitize celiac patients to the offending proteins by presenting them in very controlled amounts."

Jul 14, 2010

Gluten-Free Videos: Fox News Strategy Room

Here are some good gluten-free video segments that recently aired on FoxNews.com on The Strategy Room, "the web's most talked about live show."  Marlisa Brown, author of Gluten-Free, Hassle Free, is one of the panelists in the videos.

If all the videos do not properly load on this page, click refresh or the play buttons at the bottom to watch them.














Click here to watch the fourth video segment, Gluten Alternatives.

Below is one more video I found on YouTube, which looks like it aired recently on the Fox News television channel.



Jul 10, 2010

Gluten-Free Baker Wins Cupcake Wars on the Food Network

Lisa Cowden, a baker at Gluten-Free Creations (GFC) bakery and LuLu's Cupcakes in Scottsdale, Arizona, won Cupcake Wars on the Food Network.  The episode called "Survival of the Fittest" airs on Sunday, July 11 at 5 pm and 11 pm ET/PT.  Here is a quote from Lisa.
"They're very natural, very good for you and I think that's one of the things that really came across with the judging. Our competitors are really tending to go less natural, a lot of artificial ingredients, and I think it counted against them in the end."
For more details, watch this video and read this article

Update:  The show did not mention gluten-free, so I contacted Gluten-Free Creations to find out if the cupcakes on the show were gluten-free. Here is their response.
"The cupcakes on the show were not made gluten-free. However, the same recipe works using our Gluten-free sweet Baking Mix."



Update December 2010: Read about gluten-free Crave Bake Shop on Cupcake Wars and gluten-free and vegan Sweet Freedom Bakery.

Update December 2011: Gluten-free cupcakes finally won Cupcake Wars when Crave Bake Shop returned to the show.

Jul 9, 2010

The Gluten-Free Guide to College

The Gluten-Free Guide to College is the result of a nationwide research study.  It is based on responses from over 70 gluten-free college students and ten anonymous interviews with dining services directors. Rebecca Panzer, a registered dietitian, shares professional advice in three areas: First Steps, Living On and Off Campus, and New Friends.  Click here to download the 12-page guide.  

"The research projected was conducted as the capstone to Rebecca Panzer, Ma, RD, LD’s master’s degree in Health Communication from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. It was completed in educational collaboration with the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The survey component of the study will be started again in late July through the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medication Center. Interested participants should contact celiac@bidmc.harvard.edu for more information."

Jun 27, 2010

Review: New Rudi's Gluten-Free Breads

Rudi's sent me free loaves of their new gluten-free breads.  In July or August, the frozen loaves will be available for purchase in many stores.  If you recognize the name Rudi's, that is because Rudi's has been baking organic gluten breads since 1976.

Rudi's gluten-free breads are certified gluten-free and made with all natural ingredients, including some organic ingredients. The breads thaw during shipping. They should be stored in the freezer for up to six months or kept at room temperature for up to four days.  The breads contain eggs and are free of dairy, soy, and tree nuts.  All three breads are made from a blend of rice, potato, and sorghum.

Multigrain Sandwich

The multigrain bread was very soft and the softness remained the same after three days on the counter in a Ziploc bag. I froze most of the loaf when it arrived. When I thawed some later, it was just as soft as when the bread arrived.  The multigrain tasted good, but sandwiches fell apart slightly while eating it.

The seeds create an occasional crunch, which may not appeal to everyone. If you look closely at the photo, you can see the little yellow pieces, which are millet. Unfortunately, they made a crunch that was a bit gritty. The other seeds are flaxseeds and sunflower seeds.


Cinnamon Raisin

When I opened my UPS package, this was the bread that I smelled. It had a wonderful aroma.  It was great toasted and had lots of plump raisins with a hint of cinnamon.  You can also eat it without toasting, but isn't all cinnamon raisin bread best enjoyed warm?



Original Sandwich

The original sandwich bread is very dry and the taste is a bit off. I think it needs a touch of sweetness to improve the taste and definitely moisture.  It was difficult to finish a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on it. However, it did toast well, and I enjoyed it with butter and cinnamon sugar.




Udi's vs. Rudi's

Both Udi's and Rudi's are located in Colorado. Udi's gluten-free breads are slightly cheaper than Rudi's (MSRP $5.99).  You can order individual loaves of Udi's bread, but Rudi's only sells their gluten-free breads online in a case of 8 loaves.

A slice of Rudi's bread is a little larger than Udi's and is a bit denser and thicker.  Rudi's slices are larger than other gluten-free breads, but still smaller than gluten bread.  Rudi's multigrain is as soft as Udi's, but the other two Rudi's varieties aren't as soft. Udi's does stay fresh for a longer period at room temperature - five to seven days.  Of course, that is to be expected given that Rudi's is made from all natural ingredients.

So, what is the verdict?  My daughter and I prefer Udi's over Rudi's for sandwich bread. Rudi's multigrain is a close second for me, but not my daughter. Rudi's original sandwich bread needs improvement.  Udi's white is much better. We will definitely be purchasing Rudi's cinnamon raisin bread regularly!

Jun 18, 2010

Discover New Products in Gluten-Free Living



I am now writing New for You in every issue of Gluten-Free Living. In this issue, there are ten companies with new gluten-free foods and a new gluten-free App. Read a detailed description about each new product, including interesting information about the company. Ann Whelan, Gluten-Free Living Editor, will continue to write about new gluten-free books. There are so many new gluten-free products for each issue that you will find several that are not mentioned on this blog. If you are trying to support someone who is new to gluten-free life, be sure to read my article on page 53.

As usual, this issue is packed with great information. I am amazed that I always learn several things from each issue. The article, “Should you worry about gluten in drugs?”, was very educational. Pick up a copy of Gluten-Free Living at select Borders, Barnes and Nobles, Wegman’s, Whole Foods, and health food stores, or subscribe so you never miss any new gluten-free information!

Jun 17, 2010

Vote for Gluten-Free Girl to Have Her Own Show on Oprah's New Network

Oprah is accepting auditions online for a chance to have Your OWN Show on Oprah's new network. On Twitter, I saw a few gluten-free auditions this week, but this audition from Shauna Ahern aka Gluten-Free Girl is the one that I hope the gluten-free community will unite behind.

Watch the audition video and vote now for Shauna! Ask everyone you know to do the same! The angle of her show, joyous cooking and naturally gluten-free, will appeal to many outside of the gluten-free community. Shauna needs your votes since only the five auditions with the highest votes will become finalists. Voting ends on July 3, 2010, and "you can vote as often as you like."

Jun 12, 2010

Young Camp Counselor Opens Gluten-Free Bakery

A new dedicated gluten-free bakery just opened in Danville, California. The owner, Katie Alin, is 22-years-old! Her mother has celiac disease. After being a camp counselor at the celiac camp run by her family's foundation (Taylor Family Foundation), she was inspired to open her own bakery called Miglet's Cupcake Shop.


Jun 9, 2010

Choosing a College Based on Gluten-Free Accommodations

An article in Food Management Magazine called Thinking Outside the Bread Box begins with a statement that unfortunately is a reality for some high school students. "High-school seniors are choosing colleges based on whether or not they can safely eat there."

The article talks about positive gluten-free accommodations at the University of Nebraska and the University of California Berkeley. It also explains that it may be easier to provide foods that are naturally gluten-free, like a quick stir fry or serving eggs for dinner. Cross-contamination is described and how purchasing pre-made gluten-free breads and pizza crusts can be helpful.

The article also mentions gluten-free menus at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA, and the Cancer Treatment Centers in Philadelphia, PA. Most importantly, the GREAT (Gluten-free Resource Education Awareness Training) program from NFCA is mentioned.

With informative articles like this one, we can look forward to the day when students with celiac disease can choose a college based on its academic merits, not a dietary restriction!

Jun 1, 2010

New Gluten-Free Asian Helper Chicken Fried Rice: Box Photos and Ingredients

I found the new gluten-free Asian Helper Chicken Fried Rice at Safeway today for $2. One box makes five servings, and one serving has 520 mg of sodium. Here are the ingredients, allergens, and directions. Click on the photo of the directions to read it. The other two gluten-free Hamburger Helper varieties will be in stores later this summer.

















May 28, 2010

Video: Vendor Fair at the Celiac Disease Foundation Conference

Mondays Celiac just posted a terrific video of the many vendors at the 2010 Celiac Disease Foundation Conference. When you watch the video, you will certainly discover some new gluten-free products you haven't seen before. To view a video of the new gluten-free Bisquick, visit my Gluten-Free Social Media Tips blog.

The new gluten-free Asian Chicken Helper chicken fried rice is starting to pop up in stores, while the other two varieties of Hamburger Helper and gluten-free Bisquick will be available later this summer. Visit my DC Gluten-Free Examiner page for a review of Udi's Gluten Free cinnamon rolls.

May 23, 2010

New Gluten-Free Products from Hain Celestial and a Coupon

Hain Celestial makes over 200 gluten-free products, which are listed on their website called Gluten-Free Choices. They make my favorite gluten-free pasta - Deboles corn pasta.

I just received this email from Mambo Sprouts announcing their new products and offering a $1 printable coupon good on any gluten-free Hain Celestial product. All Hain Celestial products that are labeled gluten-free are tested to ensure they contain 10 ppm of gluten or less. Here is a list of the new products.
  • Almond Dream Non-Dairy Beverage

  • Arrowhead Mills Bake with Me Gluten-Free Cupcake Mixes for kids - chocolate and vanilla

  • Chocolate Dream Baking Chips - Dairy-Free

  • Deboles Gluten-Free Multi-Grain Spaghetti and Penne

  • Gluten-Free Cafe Canned Soup - Chicken Noodle, Veggie Noodle, Black Bean, and Cream of Mushroom

  • Gluten-Free Cafe Homestyle Chicken and Vegetables and Savory Chicken Pilaf

For an updated list of more new gluten-free products, checkout the gluten-free news page now found at the top of my blog. For more gluten-free coupons, register for Mambo Sprouts, which is partnering with NFCA to support Celiac Awareness Month.

May 20, 2010

How to Talk to Strangers to Increase Celiac Disease Awareness

One of the best ways to increase celiac disease awareness is simply by talking to other people. However, for some people, having a conversation with a stranger is not simple. First, we need to let go of what we were taught as children – do not talk to strangers. Furthermore, we need to explain to our children who will see us talking to strangers why it is okay for an adult to do so. I forgot to do this and my daughter said, “Mommy, you shouldn’t talk to strangers!” She also said, “Mommy, mind your own business. You are being rude!” (Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have gotten up to talk to someone at Bonefish when I heard him ordering off the gluten-free menu.)

Next, free yourself from worrying about how others will perceive you. Yes, people might think you are silly to be so excited about a new gluten-free product being carried in a store or they might not be interested in what you have to say, but who cares. Finally, keep the following tips in mind as you engage in conversations with strangers. Whether you are making small talk at a party or in the grocery store, remember you can possibly change a person’s life.

1. Keep it positive. The goal is to motivate someone to learn more about celiac disease, be tested, and for them to share it with others. This is not the time to complain about gluten-free life. Here are some options for what to say.
-“The gluten-free brownie mix from Betty Crocker is great, and people with celiac disease are very happy that soon gluten-free Bisquick will be in stores.”
-“I am excited to try the new gluten-free menu at the Melting Pot.”
-“My health is so much better after finally being diagnosed with celiac disease.
-When the cashier asks, “Did you find everything you were looking for today?”, you could say the following. “Yes, since I have to eat gluten-free, I am always happy when this bread is in stock.
2. Hang out in the over-the-counter medicine aisle. Don’t ask people why they are buying medicine, but you could say something like “Since I found out I have celiac disease and have been eating totally gluten-free, my migraines are gone.
3. Talk to strangers when standing in a line or in a waiting room. Not only will the person who you are talking to learn about celiac disease, but other people will overhear. This is easiest at the grocery store where you can start by talking about an item in your cart.
4. Provide a source for getting more information. If they seem interested, give them your email or refer them to a blog or website, like www.celiaccentral.org.
5. Be appreciative. Thank customer service departments for carrying a certain product or speak to the manager about a great waiter. They interact with many people in a day, but may not understand about celiac disease.
6. Talk to others in the gluten-free section. Don’t assume because someone is debating about buying a gluten-free product that he or she eats gluten-free or is informed about celiac. I always ask, “Do you or a family member eat gluten-free?” If the response is yes, then I proceed to find out if the person is newly diagnosed and needs any assistance. Often, they aren’t gluten-free and are just trying a product.
7. Use a friendly and humorous tone when appropriate. This may be a challenge for some people, and the tone is the key to not sounding rude and making your statement memorable. When the waiter brings me a fortune cookie at P.F. Chang’s, I say, “Fortune cookies aren’t gluten-free (chuckle), and I do tip higher when I’m not given one.”