Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recent study shows increase in Celiac Disease diagnosis, including in the elderly

A recent CNN article brings to light a recent study which shows that Celiac Disease seems to be doubling every 15 years. Not only that but it seems that the incidences being found in older adults who previously had no symptoms also seems to be rising. The article is short enough that I can post it below for you to view.

The rate of celiac disease is growing and the onset of gluten intolerance can occur in older people, a study in the Annals of Medicine found.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, triggered by eating the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye.  People with celiac disease cannot tolerate foods containing gluten and can experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage and other complications.
Researchers from the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and their colleagues found that the incidence of celiac disease has doubled every 15 years since 1974 in a population sample.
Blood samples from more than 3,500 adults showed that the number of people with blood markers for celiac disease rose from one in 501 in 1974 to one in 219 in 1989, according to the study.
The study detected a rising prevalence in celiac disease as the study participants aged - and two of them developed celiac disease in their late 60s.
"We provide evidence that [celiac disease] autoimmunity may develop at any age, even in the elderly," the authors concluded. "The sharp increase of CD prevalence observed in the US between the time window investigated in this study (1974 – 1989) and current time was apparently related to an increasing number of subjects that, in their adulthood, lost the immunological tolerance to gluten. The reasons for these changes are not clear but should be investigated among the many environmental factors favoring CD."
The findings challenge the frequently held notion that the disorder develops during childhood. “This increase was due to an increasing number of subjects that lost the immunological tolerance to gluten in their adulthood,” researchers wrote.  The cause remains unclear.
The rate of the autoimmune disorder in the United States was estimated in a 2003 study to be  one in 133.
Here is another take and another on the same topic and study! I often wonder if we are seeing an increase in the incidences of diseases such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, Celiac Disease and other Autoimmune diseases not because the disease itself is becoming more common but because we as a society as better able to detect it due to knowledge, standardized testing and improved equipment. One cannot ignore or refute that we are better equipt and knowledgeable than we were years ago so this has to play some part, but it can't be the only component.  The other side of the coin in this case however is the need not to 'jump on the band wagon' and over diagnosis for diagnosis sakes. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Part II: The School system and our children with food concerns - Alienation and Bullying

As I mentioned in an Earlier post I recently started working in a primary and secondary school as part of my internship. The previous post included some general comments that I had after only attending the Secondary school (3rd grade - 5th) and what I saw in their lack of meals for children with food concerns as far as I could tell. It seems a sad story of stress and lack of resources for the family and child but I wasn't aware that I would see some worse actions in my opinion.

Last week I finally worked at the primary school (K-1st) and received some documents to read regarding health concerns of some of the children, such as allergies (I did not see any children with Celiac Disease or Gluten issues on the list), and actions to take to prevent issues arising. I was astonished to find out that the policy at this school was to separate out the children with allergies at lunch time. Depending on their level of allergic reaction kids would either sit at the 'allergy free table' or would stay in their class rooms during lunch. I am not sure exactly but I believe that they also sit at a table the is Labeled specifically as the "allergy free table' since the tables are all labeled by class, however I have not gotten to look at that. This separation, while the easiest and probably safest way to go about it, seems awful to me. To me the emotions of being different, be it from having CD or food allergies, are always there and always playing a part in our lives. It is important to keep them in mind and address them. That being said obviously this will have an affect on children:

1. Firstly you are separating the children out from their class and the friends they have in it, which can be an incredibly lonely and alienating experience for the child.
2. Secondly, you are singling the children with allergies out and being different as we all know can lead to bullying for young children.


This really struck a cord with me and I left the school that day wondering what I could do to help make this easier for the children with Allergies/intolerances. I am going to discuss further options to potentially limit this problem, say through buddy lunches with friends who are asked to bring in meals not including that allergen or maybe a lunch group with me or a few teachers. Who knows, but I have to try to do something!


While I haven't seen any instances of bullying yet it seems that others have as discussed in this article on food allergy bullying. It seems that for those with allergies the likelihood of being bullied increases, although most of the surveys were done by parents and not the children themselves. I suspect that if the children did the surveys, or were helped to do them, the rate would be higher since some children keep bullying from their parents. I'm upset but not surprised to see that this alienation and bullying is common practice.


Have you or your children even been bullied or felt alienated due to your Celiac Disease, Allergies or Intolerances? I would love to hear your story and how that made you feel about yourself as well as how you solved the bullying or emotions. Share with me please!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Gluten Free Surprises and Love

I had a lot due last week for graduate school so I didn't have much time to post anything, so sorry! What has been going on is fantastic though and I love my life. Recently Mike has taken up an interest in purchasing us things off Ebay and online, which ultimately is cheaper. It has resulted in a lot of interesting purchases, including a few that improve my gluten free quality of life! They have all been surprises to me and seeing how I've been feeling like I got inadvertently glutened and have not been friends with food the past few days it's nice to see he's trying to get me back on the right track I thought I would share!

Mesquite Meal from Barry Farms

Firstly, One thing we have been doing around the house to give ourselves some extra room and organization is transitioning everything into Pop Top Containers by OXO, Here's an Example. They are great because they come in so many different sizes and are easy to open for me with my Carpel Tunnel since you just click the top. We currently have one full of white rice which Mike and I attempt to keep a constant flux of cooked and in the fridge for quick meals. We want to also start storing bulk flour of some sort for cooking and baking. He searched online and found what I feel may be the Mecca of gluten free flours. Called Barry Farm the place sells a huge amount of products including over 30 flours, the majority of which are gluten free! They some unique, to me anyway, flours that I have never seen anywhere else such as Mesquite Flour/Meal. I posted the photo to the left, any ideas what someone could make with this?

As you can see their prices are also insanely cheap. Their catalog came in the mail yesterday and I have it in my mind to check them out and purchase something. I'll keep you posted and I highly recommend you consider them for your next purchase!

The other this which was a surprise gift was Shauna, Gluten Free Girl's, first book of the same name! I am SO excited to read it, although I haven't had the chance to get started yet because of school! GRR! I'll also be keeping an eye out about her most recent cookbook. I think she and I have remotely similar stories in that she is dating a Chef and I date a Bakery Manager. It's interesting the part that food can play in different peoples lives and how they interact with you.  I can't wait to cuddle up and get reading!

What kinds of gluten free surprises have you gotten lately? What did that mean to you? Please share!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Informative Bread Post & UDI's giveaway over at Gluten Hates Me

Hello everyone! I just wanted to share this post from over at www.glutenhatesme.com! I feel like I am the sharer of giveaways and great information! While Marlow, the blogger, is away on her Honeymoon her Aunt did a guest post comparing some of the gluten free breads in terms of nutritional, Weight Watches and YUM (Love it!) factors. It's very interesting to see the comparisons of such products. The only one I have tried so far is Katz and I don't even see it on the list. Clearly I am missing out!

Anywho, check out the link above and comment to enter a chance to win 2 loafs of Udi's Bread!


I'm excited for whoever wins it, even if it isn't me. The thought of AMAZING gluten free bread far above par really leaves me thrilled and craving sandwiches! Good Luck to those who enter, including myself, and thank you Marlow and Company for the post and give away!

On a final note: What are some things with bread you do other than sandwiches? I've recently learned how to may amazing croutons for example! Nom Nom Nom...

A Local Event: Kicking 4 Celiac

There is a local event that I thought important to share, Kicking 4 Celiac. See below for details:


KICKING 4 CELIAC was born out of the desire to show children and adults alike, that living with Celiac Disease will not shut you down physically.

On Sunday, October 10th, 2010, at Bethpage High School, arena football kicker, Craig Pinto, will be kicking field goals for 12 straight hours, from 730am-730pm, with two goals in mind. First, he will be attempting to set a world record for most field goals kicked within that time frame, by having to make 500 field goals, from 40 yards out, but Craig's main focus is to raise money and awareness for Celiac Disease.

"With something that has affected me for such a long time, and is so close to my heart, it only makes sense to utilize things I love - kicking and football - to raise money and awareness for my other passion," says Craig. "And that is spreading the word and educating people about Celiac Disease. Kicking footballs for this long seems physically challenging, but so is living with Celiac Disease everyday, and both can be done successfully."

All proceeds will benefit the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, the only center in the United States that provides comprehensive medical care, including nutrition, for adult and pediatric patients with Celiac Disease.

Donate online at www.kicking4celiac.com, in person, or via mail.

Checks can be made payable to Trustees of Columbia University, and mailed to:
Kicking 4 Celiac, 117 Roslyn Road, Mineola, NY 11501

I love the idea and the purpose of this event! It's so inspirational and is definitely helping a good cause. While I never attending the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia they helped me out with finding resources on LI when I was first diagnosed. Please consider donating if you are able to and if nothing else spread the word and the awareness! 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Woodchuck Cider's Fall additions: Pumpkin Cider and Fall Cider


 I absolutely LOVE Fall. The weather, the feeling, the cuddling and the ability to cook without being overwhelmed by heat among other things is great! I am trying to arrange time for pumpkin picking, apple picking and wine tasting while still staying on track with my school work and sleep, let me tell you that this is seeming to be a very difficult task. I also LOVE hard ciders. They are perfect for fall.I loved them before I was on a gluten free diet, with Woodchuck and Strongbow  always being my favorite in that order. Woodchuck is all american and readily available which is great!


I was never a big fan of beer, but now that I am Gluten Free Hard Ciders obviously win against beer anytime! My mini fridge is full of various ciders and I tent to sneak them in with me when I go to parties and bars!

I know this is old news but I have been so busy with getting into the swing of graduate school that I am a bit behind. Regardless of my excuses it seems that Woodchuck Hard Ciders has come up with two limited release items and boy do they make my mouth drool just thinking about them!The first is their NEW Private Reserve Pumpkin Ale. It's only a limited release, which makes me sad but also makes me consider a road trip in my future to Connecticut or New Jersey for a pack. The release locations are actually posted on facebook! The second is their Limited Release Fall Cider. This seems to be something that is more readily available and I cannot wait to try it!

The Woodchuck Hard Cider's website has info on both products in their NEWS Section and a locator so you can find the distributer closest to you. What I also found great and humbling was a specific section of their website dedicated to explaining Celiac Disease and their Dedication to making gluten free products! Thank you Woodchuck Cider for spreading awareness and being dedicated to making top notch products!

Happy Fall and Happy Cider Drinking time, alcoholic or not!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The School system and our children with food concerns (Celiac, Allergies, Intolerances etc.)

I recently started working as a social work intern in a local primary and secondary school. It seems like CD and GF lifestyles will be difficult in such a setting, not only for myself but definitely for any children with such issues or even food allergies/sensitivities what so ever. This has brought up many thoughts on having Celiac Disease or Food Allergies/intolerances and the having to deal with the school system:

First off for myself:
Courtesy of Siptemberfest.com
I no longer have an issue lugging a full bag of food around with me to work, school or what ever. In fact, it's much healthier and cheaper at this point. The main issue is just that it is SO TIME CONSUMING. I mostly cook in bulk now and have to be cautious to make foods that will stay fresh regardless of a lack of refrigeration. It's all an experiment and cooking really has become a fun activity and even a good relaxation technique, so much difference in such a short period of time! Infact, Smelling gluten products at this point disgusts me!

The only other issue I have is constantly having to explain myself, as I have had to do over the past few days when I've declined meals provided for us and ate my own food. For some odd reason people automatically assume that I am VEGAN, not that I have a dietary restriction. I am grateful that I amI still haven't found the best means of explaining myself to individuals so I stick with the simple "I can't eat wheat, rye or barley" explanation and if they press for more information I'll give it to them as needed and I feel desirable for the position.

A good thing behind this is that I actually seem to be bringing awareness to the subject of Celiac Disease or GF. So many people have responded to my explanation with almost a light bulb over there head and explanations such as "oh so THAT's why my Aunt/friend/Student X eats what they do and is such a picky eater. It really is important to share your story even if to enlighten someone and even if you are young, which gets us into...


Difficulties for the School Children Themselves:
I accompanied one kid down to the cafeteria to see what the nutritious options were and was floored by the overwhelmingly generic and carbohydrate/gluten packed selection. On this particular day the options were:
1. Whole wheat pizza
2. Grilled ham and cheese sandwich
3. Cream cheese on a bagle

I'm not sure if I am recalling correctly but I remember more HEALTHY options with less gluten involved as a kid...NO Wonder our children are fatter and sicker...Maybe I missed the options for the kids with restrictive diets but I doubt it, There really needs to be more options for children and ones that don't make them feel alienated by needed to specifically request it. This would probably relieve some stress on parents having to constantly pack lunches and I am sure that not all children who can eat gluten would want to eat that everyday!

Anyway, so far I've met several kids with food intolerances, allergies etc. You would assume that they would stay on a strict diet but some of them STILL eat the things that make them sick. I've only met them once but I would assume this is a result of:
1. Unaware Doctors and School personnel who allow the children to continue eating those items.
2. Overstressed parents who are not able to make, pack or afford lunches that cater to their child's need or are just unaware of the consequences of still eating those items.

I think that patients at any age, at least those who are cognitively aware, should know what they need to know about their 'condition' to stay healthy even if that means the kid needs to tell their parents they don't want to eat the items that make them sick or need to help their parent's out in shopping or cooking, it could be a fun bonding experience. There is one girl I met who is incredibly bright and has Oral Allergy Syndrome who stated that she 'eats apples because they don't make her feel that horrible but she doesn't eat celery because it makes her feel like she can't breath'. It's definitely a first step but kids need to be fully educated on what they need to do when they have CD, food allergies or intolerances.

Beyond that however we need to make the parents INCREDIBLY aware of what is needed/cannot be eaten.  We should link them to such things as Raising Our Celiac Kids etc for support and resources. It cannot stop there, we must also alert the school staff. There is much debate about how to do this. One of the options that has been mulled over is required reporting of the school of Food intolerances, allergies and related diseases to schools... this seems like an OBVIOUS TO ME, Don't you think?

For Celiac Disease specifically it's been  suggested that a 504 Plan, usually written for children with emotional/behavioural issues or disorders, be written for children outlining their specific dietary needs. Since Celiac Disease does fall under the defintion of  Physical Disability as far as the Department of Education this does make sense.  However, as with implementing any 504 Plan consideration must be taken when thinking about implementing one as they will follow the student throughout their school years. Is this something that should be taken care of  by the school or is it something the parent and child can deal with on a case by case basis? Which is better in such a situation?  What do the parent and the child think is a better course of action. I am not quite sure myself how I feel about this 504 plan option or if it's considered for other food issues but it's a good way for all involved with the student to be aware. I'm sure I'll touch base on this in the future again once I get a better idea of my opinions, for now here is some further information.

Does anyone have any knowledge in this area or any comments? I would love to have more information on the topic so I can educate myself further! I am always open to that so leave me comments etc!

In conclusion, I would love to start a support group for children with Celiac Disease or other Food Allergies/intolerances, one that teaches them how to be empowered, not embarrassed by their differences, how to make healthy choices and to have an active role in their intake of food and life in general. There doesn't seem to be support groups specifically for children. There are SO Many resources out there, Livestrong's gluten free cooking for kids page is a brief but limited example that has other resources and there are also books such as Eating Gluten-Free with Emily (image to the left) but none that are readily shared with anyone! There are so many prospects!

We could have an entire generation of people to spread awareness and be self-empowered and aware if we start earlier! I'm all for it but I'm still so limited in knowledge, Think it's too soon?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy National Celiac Disease Awareness day!

It's the first National Celiac Disease Awareness day, and Dr. Gee's (The Doctor responsible for finding the link between CD and Diet) Birthday. Thanks Dr. Gee!

I searched the news earlier for a good article to post but unfortunately wasn't able to find out. It's really important that Awareness is spread about CD, The statistics are almost the same statistics as that of Autism yet hardly anyone has a clue! According to The Gluten Free Bible, almost 1/133 people are diagnosed with CD but most likely 1/100 actually have the disease. It's startling to think what an impact diagnosis and awareness could make on American Society and Health.

Make sure to spread awareness anyway you can, even the smallest acknowledgement and effort can make a difference! I for one am working today and need to do homework when I do get off but I hope to end the day with some gluten free cooking and food with the boy.

Enjoy your day everyone!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A good giveaway for you to check out

I figured I would share this with any fellow readers out there. I love coming across bloggers who have a great style of writing, seem like they would be really fun people in person and have creative recipes to share. One such blogger is Ricki at http://www.dietdessertndogs.com/.

Check out this Post and Giveaway which is a review of Xagave Nectar, one of the better natural sweeteners out there, and a give away of some of there products! The recipe sounds delicious and my mouth is just watering thinking about Xagave!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vending Machine Wonders- A quick Bite to eat Courtesy of Deep River Snacks

There is an organic cafe at the hospital research center where I work one day a week. Typically I bring my own food but recently they've changed the lay out of the building so there is no longer an employee lounge with a giant fridge, instead there is a smaller fridge hidden away which we can use. I've cut down on what I bring to work with me because of this so typically I need an additional snack towards the end of the day. I spoke to the manager of the cafe on a day when I needed such a snack only to find out that while they sell gluten free items at their community cafe they do not bring any of those items to this cafe due to a lack of need. I expressed my need and inquired how I could request a change. I'll email the manager and see how that goes.

Out of this disappointment however came a shining gluten free hero in a bag, Deep River Snacks Chips. I have always been one for tons of flavor and a flavorful chip, although that may not be too healthy, so these are wonderful. They are FULL of flavor and contain no trans fats. Not only that but the company itself prides itself on it's sustainable efforts (less packaging, renewable recyclable products, use of solar and wind power etc.). What could be wrong with a product like that. They are in the vending machine at the cafe in one rung of items so my choices are limited but So far I've tried:

Rosemary and Olive Oil
These were my first try and they were amazing. I raved about them that entire day and claimed that they are probably the best chip ever. Typically I've kept away from chips that are seasoned with olive oil because they usually end up being too oily but the ratio of rosemary to olive oil was perfect. You could taste a hint of the typical oil taste and your mouth was full of the rosemary taste, which is an excellent combo and not too overbearing. I would compare it too a great bread dipping oil but would pick them over the dipping oil and bread combo any day, not just because of the GF aspect but the taste iteself. So good!


Sweet Maui Onion
This was my second choice. They were just as flavorful although for me it wasn't the flavor I was looking for on that day. This flavor tasted sweeter than I would have expected with only a hint of Onion. However, I have never really enjoyed chips that were onion flavored and with that being said these are at the top of my list of such chips. They did hit the spot in filling my bored midday mouth with flavor and were still good so if the chance arose I would try them again with more of an eye on figuring out what I like and don't like about the flavor.

Mesquite BBQ
This was my third and most recent choice. Boy where they good! Ever since a trip to Arizona where they flavor everything with Mesquite, including soft serve ice cream, I have loved the flavor. These chips were a bit more messy than the other two but well worth that mess. I would compare the flavor to that of a mesquite dry rub with a hint of oil, something I would definitely love on meat or real potato but works perfectly on a tasty chip.

The only downside to these chips is the mess made when trying to eat every last crumb! They definitely make my day a bit better. I only wish that:

1. I could try every flavor at my choosing, not have to wait for them to be the next bag in the vending machine
2. They were sold in local grocery stores in larger bags, I know they would be a hit with my friends!

If you ever have the chance to try them, try them!

In the mean time, are there any GF snacks that make your day or fulfill your cravings? I would love to hear some suggestions!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Globally gluten free: Australian wins award for gluten free dough

An Australian, Terry Hunter, won his communities Inventor of the year awared for his new gluten free dough recipe, I just thought this was very interesting! Go Terry! You can read the article here, although it it's very detailed.

I wonder what his reason was behind developing the dough in the first place? Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance does have a high prevelance in Australia due to the large Irish and English heritage of the individuals there so that may have something to do with it!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

CNN'S Recent Report on Celiac Disease!

Share this with friends and family who may not know what your Gluten Free Life Style is all about.

This report is great and very informative in a very short period of time. It also give a new face to CD, CNN'S Heidi Collins!

I find it so crazy that we don't screen more frequently nor do we put research money into CD. It seems that the 'market' is more interested in the money it can get out of those undiagnosed/not adhering to the diet (via medical costs) and those who adhere to the diet (via the high costs of gluten free alternative foods) than the health and happiness of those involved.  Despite the number of people who have celiac symptoms and the number of comorbid diseases that can lead to mortality in the CD population at the higher rate not much is being done!

 Enjoy and think critically!

Heidi Collins' CNN News Report on Celiac Disease

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wisconsin Bakery promotes smiles and less tears

I don't even live remotely close to Wisconsin but this article makes me happy. The article not only touches on and explains all aspects of a gf life style (negative emotions, costs of food, struggles, feelings of 'loss', lack of awareness about the disease etc.) but also shows the positive impact that a single store can have on those who are Gluten Free. I hope more stores will realize that they can turn tears to smiles!

Nothing compares to walking into a store that has unexpected gluten free treats, especially baked goods, so I couldn't imagine stepping into an entirely GF bakery where there are no limitations!


‘Treat’ing Silly Yak disease

Madison bakery bakes up gluten-free good time

“It makes me cry,” she said, her eyes betraying her composure and filling with nearly transparent tears.

Surrounded by racks of fresh bread loaves, a cozy confectionary perfume and heavy metal rock playing loudly as the soundtrack, Holly Beach, owner and founder of the Silly Yak Bakery, is dedicated to the science and responsibility of gluten-free baking.

But it’s not the baking itself that truly makes her emotional, or the fact that on Tuesdays her day begins at midnight and ends at 9 a.m., it’s the reactions she witnesses whenever people discover the bakery, a haven of gluten-free goodies.

Beach previously owned the adjacent Bread Barn and began experimenting with gluten-free baking in 2002 after realizing how hard it was for those burdened by Celiac Disease (say it with us, “silly-yak”) to enjoy gluten-free baked goods, or food at all. Since opening Silly Yak and building her own gluten-free certified kitchen in 2009, Beach has encountered the candid emotion of CD.

“When I see little kids come in [to the bakery] and cry when they see the cupcakes they’ve never been able to eat, that always makes me emotional,” Beach said.

But why all the tears?

CD is a genetically inherited disorder that causes irregularity in the digestive system. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, when people with CD eat anything containing gluten, the body releases an autoimmune toxin causing damage to the small intestine and preventing gluten from being absorbed within the body. It is a type of condition not ever truly “healed” in a patient’s lifetime, but if a controlled gluten-free diet is followed, the intestinal lining will repair and symptoms can be almost entirely normalized.

The ingestion of gluten can result in an astounding array of possible symptoms, of which a victim of the disease might have all or just one, depending on the individual. These range from abdominal pain, constipation and vomiting, to short stature, unexplained weight loss, tooth discoloration and depression, according to Google Health.

While CD is not ordinarily fatal if diagnosed early and treated properly, it is a life-altering and undoubtedly discouraging condition — there are even celiac support groups so those with the disease may battle dietary obstacles together.

Part of the trouble with CD resides in its inconspicuous nature. Until a number of medical studies from within this past decade were published, Celiac Disease had been severely under-diagnosed. This meant that many victims — who continually puzzled doctors with their broad spectrum of seemingly unrelated symptoms — were untreated and unaware that their illness could be improved solely by removing certain foods from their diet.

Most unfortunate for those with CD, the lack of notoriety of their condition makes safe gluten-free food harder to come by and more costly. And in recent years, eating gluten-free has transformed into somewhat of a desperate diet craze, something that is both erroneous and exasperating to those coping with CD.

“I want people to realize this is not a diet fad,” Beach says. “It frustrates me when people see eating gluten-free as a way to lose weight.”

What some dieters don’t realize is that removing the gluten from foods simply removes the protein found in wheat, barley and rye, not the fat or calories.

Along with the misconceptions associated with CD, the cost of purchasing gluten-free ingredients and complying with the annual rigmarole of the certification process, for Beach baking involves so much more than simply kneading yeast.

The process of obtaining the seal of approval from the Gluten-Free Certification Organization alone is several thousand dollars — a hefty expense for Beach. But the constant cleaning of blades, random loaf tests for traces of gluten and the need to build a completely separate wheat-free facility is exactly the kind of lengths Beach would go to for her Silly Yak faithful.

“I’m proud to offer people safe gluten-free food that they can enjoy without having to worry about whether it’s been contaminated,” Beach says. “I’m allowing them a peace of mind.”

But it’s not only her devoted customers who she strives to help — on the second Thursday of every month the bakery donates a portion of that day’s sales to a local charity.

“After the first few years of being in the red and finally turning over a profit, that’s when we realized we needed to give back to the community that supported us from the beginning,” Beach says. “It’s a way of saying ‘thank you’ for welcoming us and helping us stay here.”

It might be shocking to think that people as far as Chicago and even California have Silly Yak’s baked goods and dry mixes shipped to their homes, but the reality is that gluten-free edibles are not always available. Even in places where gluten-free items can sometimes be found in health food stores, high cost and low flavor are common plagues of the gluten-free diet.

Testimonials on Silly Yak’s website report that many had all but given up on the hope of eating bread or cake again, or had stopped enjoying food at all.

One person says, “I have been suffering pangs of hunger for four years (diagnosed with celiac disease) and passing a bakery shop was sheer torture since then. I have YOU to thank for my freedom.”

Others dub themselves as “broken people” since being diagnosed with the disease, and report since their first encounter with Silly Yak, their outlook on CD has received a jolt of optimism, depicting the experience of enjoying bread again as “heaven.”

This is where Silly Yak ceases to be just a bakery, but serves as a beacon for those who would otherwise face a bland menu of rice cakes, cornmeal pizza crusts and bun-less burgers.

“I’m just very grateful to be a part of my customers’ lives,” Beach says, a hint of emotion still lingering on her face, but this time with a genuine glowing grin that seems to capture her tears and drain them of all their sadness. 


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Social Networking and the New Age Celiac

As I mentioned in an Earlier Post I recently joined GlutenFreeFaces. I joined made some connects on there since then, including several bloggers and one individual who has been incredibly helpful and enthusiastic about the cause. You can check out this person's blog, Gluten-Free Social Media Tips at http://gfsocialmedia.blogspot.com/.

Several suggestions were made that went with the theme that social networking is incredibly important for a successful blog. This was of course something I knew, but the modes of my doing so in the past (facebook groups, postings on message blogs) hadn't been too successful. Over the past few days I took these suggestions to heart and have expanded my networking and made some modifications including:

1. Creating a Twitter account for my blog. You can follow me by clicking the button in the top left corner of the blog or clicking here. So far so good!
2. Joining gluten free groups on Linked In, there are quite a few! I will most likely start a LI Gluten Free one in the future.
3. Joining Gluten Free Bloggers.Com which I came across on Twitter. There is a button on the top right of my blog which will take you to their site. Their mission, on the first page, is fantastic and their creator Jenna Drew seems like a really positive person! Her blog, among other sites, can be viewed at http://www.glutenfreejenna.com/

For any new bloggers, GF related or other, social networking and getting your face/blog out there is not only important to promote your own blog but also REALLY Helps with seeing the positivity and enthusiasm that is out there. I think if it weren't for individuals like those at GF Social Media, GlutenFreeFaces and GlutenFreeBloggers there would be little 'real people' as opposed to professionals out there on the internet to promote awareness, provide support and ensure that we can continue with a positive quality of life. Social Networking is definitely a good support system in the internet era and one I am happy to be a part of. 

Thank you everyone for all of your efforts! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Glorious deliveries and unexpectedly gluten free restaurants

Happy September Everyone! As a great 'fall welcoming surprise' I received my Katz Sampler Package in the mail today! I haven't had the chance yet to try anything as the instructions said to freeze before trying but I am very excited! Everything looks excellent and I have No idea what I'll try first, I'll keep you posted!

In other news: The annoying wonders of specific ads that pop up on facebook brought my attention to one unexpected restaurant that seems to be catering to gluten free individuals, that restaurant being Uno Chicago Grill. I took a look at their Gluten Free Menu (located at this link under 'Dietary Category') and not only does it provide a list of their items which are naturally GF or easy to modify to be such but they also have gluten free alternatives such as GF PIZZA and.... Drum roll please.... REDBRIDGE BEER! While they do have all the legal jargon that they cannot guarantee the quality all the time and you should ask when you go it seems like it may be worth the effort to go out and attempt to enjoy a meal with family/friends complete with a beer! Not many places offer that option for us gluten free goers who like to go out so I think it is definitely a plus! I am not even sure if there is an UNOS near by but if so I'll be checking it out!
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