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 CafĂ© 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!