One question celiac patients have is: "how much gluten is too much?” Even though the amount of gluten that can be tolerated by celiac patients is variable, there is yet a definite agreed-upon amount of gluten that is considered to be acceptable among most celiacs.
In general, research suggests that less than 10 milligrams (mg) of gluten daily is unlikely to cause significant damage to the intestines in most celiac people. However these small amounts could still be enough to make a person feel unwell.
How small is 10 mg? A dime weighs about 2,200 mg (2.2 g). Tricia Thompson, RD, a celiac disease authority explains that a one-ounce slice of regular white bread has approximately 3,515 mg of gluten, or 351 times the maximum daily amount that’s safe for celiac patients. That means even a crumb is too much.
This doesn’t mean that you can cut a slice of bread into 350 little crumbs and eat one of them. Even if you’re maintaining a diet that is otherwise gluten-free, chances are good that you’re still getting some gluten daily. Regulations in most parts of the world allow a product to be labeled gluten-free if it contains up to 20 parts per million of gluten, which is equivalent to about 20 mg per kilo.
“Even a slice of gluten-free bread contains a little over 1/2 mg of gluten,” Tricia says. “So sticking to an entirely gluten-free diet is not only the best way, but the only way, to ensure your gluten intake is at a safe level.”
It may seem tough at first to celiac patients to monitor gluten intake, but with time and practice, it will become second nature. The gluten-free road is full of challenges, but with the right information and in enough time these challenges can all be met with satisfaction.
In am engaged in efforts to raise support and awareness on behalf of the celiac community and for the Celiac Disease Center at the Columbia University Medical Center, headed by Dr. Peter Green, MD. Celiac disease (also spelled coeliac) is an autoimmune disease caused by an allergic reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. An estimated 3 million Americans have it and only three percent of them know it, Dr. Green estimates. Not only do I work towards increasing awareness and support for celiac disease, but I also like to help the celiac community, especially celiac children, make the healthy change to a gluten-free diet.
How does Earth Day impact celiac disease, you ask. Earth Day affects every living thing on our planet. Even if you have celiac, you still need the planet to exist, right? Founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970, as an environmental 'teach-in', Earth Day is now acknowledged and celebrated by almost every Country in the World on April 22nd. Earth Day is celebrated by many as a week long event and there are many wonderful Earth Day events open to the public, so there is likely one in your area. To find an Earth Day event in your neighborhood check out the link below:
*Celiac Fact #1: Did you know that you already contribute to the environment by not eating gluten? According to a new study published in the Environmental Science & Technology, it takes 1,400 gallons of water to produce $1.00 worth of consumer grains. So by not eating wheat, rye or barley, you are actually saving billions of gallons of water every year. For a list of 100 other ways you can save water, check out the site below:
Celiac Fact #2: Finding gluten free food can be very costly. Not only is it expensive to purchase gluten-free food, but it is often difficult to find gluten-free food. Sometimes, I find myself driving to 3 or 4 different stores just to find what I need. Gas is not cheap and driving around for gluten-free food ends up being very costly. Cut back on toxic emissions by driving less. Some ways to avoid driving more than necessary are:
- Make a list in advance. That way you don't end up driving all over, and you don't forget anything that will have you driving back to the store unnecessarily.
- Shop online. When you shop online you will spend less time driving from store to store, so you will use less gas, and you will have more time to do things other than trying to find gluten-free food, like taking your kids to an Earth Day event.
- Buy local produce. Try buying your produce from local farm markets, and
health food stores that carry local produce. Buying local is good for
the environment, and actually for people too.
Gluten-Free Spring Rolls
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
- 1 package large dried rice wrappers/paper ( make sure the ingredients do not list wheat)
- 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey, shrimp, baked tofu, sliced or cut into bite-size pieces, and tossed in 2-3 Tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce( I use San J organic soy sauce)
- 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
- 1 cup fresh sweet basil, roughly chopped if leaves are large
- 1/2 large cucumber, sliced into matchstick-like pieces
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1.Set rice wrappers aside.
2.(Optional. You can also use soy sauce as a dip) Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the soy sauce over. Toss to mix.
3.Fill a large bowl with hot water (but not boiling, as you’ll be dipping your fingers into it). Start by submerging one wrapper into the water. It should soften after 30 seconds.
4.Remove the wrapper and place on a clean, flat surface( I use a plate).
5.Place a heaping tablespoon of roll ingredients toward the bottom of the wrapper. Spread out the ingredients horizontally (in the shape of a fresh roll).
6.Fold the sides of the wrapper over the ingredients, then bring up the bottom. Tuck the bottom around the ingredients and roll to the top of the wrapper.
7.To secure the roll, wet it with a little water on your fingers and press (like sealing an envelope).
8.To serve, place your platter or bowl of rolls on the table along with the dipping sauce. Eat with your fingers and lots of napkins. (If you plan on sharing your rolls, place them on a plate and cover them, and keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them.
*Ingredient Variations: Avocado, lettuce, bell peppers...the sky's the limit. Add your favorite salad ingredients and see what you think. You can also use gluten-free sweet & sour sauce, gluten-free peanut sauce, or gluten free tamari sauce as a dip.
How am I contributing to Earth Day this year? I will be contributing to Earth Day by making everyday Earth Day. I pledge to recycle everything I can, try to take baths instead of showers whenever possible, and I will make sure to continue to turn off lights when not in a room. I also plan to take my doggies to the beach this weekend to celebrate. This time I will bring extra garbage bags and some plastic gloves and I will be cleaning the beach as we walk, something I can do on every beach visit. I will also contribute to Earth Day 2010 by continuing to share valuable information with others. Communities and communication is the key to a better world. Let's all share what we learn and make this world a better place to live.
Happy Earth Day 2010!
I used to eat Campbell's Soups, but they have told me that not a single one of their soups is gluten-free, and despite emails from me encouraging them to convert their soups to gluten-free status (any soup without pasta or barley can be made gluten-free without a significant change in taste or texture), they have refused to do so. Phooey on them, I say!"
General Mills, however, has taken my suggestions to heart. At first it was just a couple of the Progresso soups that were gluten-free. But last week when I was at Giant Food I discovered about 6 or 8 Progresso soups that now have "Gluten Free" on the label! Yeah General Mills! Finally I can have some convenience in my life, and not have to make every soup from scratch.
So, I wrote an email to General Mills, applauding their response. They wrote back telling me that they have launched a new web site: www.liveglutenfreely.com. About this they said, "The website offers a list of over 200 products from General Mills that are gluten free. We also offer a number of gluten free recipes and the opportunity to join our gluten free newsletter. As a member of the newsletter you will be the first to receive information regarding new gluten free products and promotions."
I have been so heartened by General Mills' sympathy toward our dietary needs. Do send them an email thanking them, and encouraging them more on this path! Love it!
There are so many people that have never heard of celiac disease, or if they have heard of it, they do not understand how serious it is. I want to go and tell moms everywhere, please pay attention to these symptoms. I do not want another child to be sick for over two years and have to get really sick for the doctors to take it seriously, and then find out what is wrong. We need support and we need to make people aware. I want to help form a support group with the Family Connection in Columbia SC. I am in the process now. If you know anyone that is looking for a support group please help them get in touch with me by posting a comment below, or call Family Connections in SC they will help you get connected.
We had another successful cookout the next day even with some ungluten free food around. My daughter looked at the dessert table and saw those oh so beautiful pink icing sugar cookies. I said oh, honey you cannot eat anything over there. I brought your dessert. I expected to get a drama cry, but thankfully she said oh, ok, mommy and went off to play with her friends. I count that as a success story for us. She may be starting to get it . I know there will be setbacks but we are ready for them. My daughter has designed some really cute t-shirts. A little girl with a cape. logo says "Super Celiac Girl... fighting gluten everywhere", and then there is a boy says the same but Celiac boy. There other one is a toaster and it says keep your crumbs out of my toaster.
My chronic states of malnutrition and starvation have taken quite a toll on my body. I suffer from chronic pancreatitis, a heart condition that leaves me with dangerously LOW blood pressure and a likeliness of fainting, my adrenal glands are insufficient, my liver damaged and my thyroid underactive. Through it all I have had several extended hospitalizations, depression and hope. So many doctors and non-traditionals have made me promises. However, it is the promise one makes to oneself that is most important. Mine, "Don't lose Hope!" Even during the worst of days when I would not be able to get out of bed and wanted it all to just end, I truly never lost hope! I am here to tell you that it is soooo important you hold on. Because, one day when you're not even looking and hardly paying attention, something will come to you and change your life.
- On Friday April 2nd, 2010, Glutino Food Group of Lawrence, Massachusetts recalled their "Raisin Bread" due to undisclosed "egg" in the ingredients.
- Friday April 2nd, 2010, Zatarain's Recalled their, "Original Dirty Rice Mix Package" due to unlabeled wheat and barley ingredients.The package comes in 8 oz size and has a UPC code 7142909535 and a "BEST BY" date of JAN 19 12H.
- April 7th, 2010, McCormick & Company, Incorporated recalled, "McCormick Fajitas Seasoning Mix" due to undeclared "milk & wheat" in the ingredients. McCormick distributes to grocery stores nationally. The product comes in a 1.12-oz pouch labeled with a UPC code 5210002121 and “BEST BY” dates of JAN 16 12 AH and JAN 16
12 CH. The package contains the wrong product. Consumers may call (800)
632-5847 with questions or to request a replacement or full refund.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck has released her book The G Free Diet after her many years of trial and error with her body in her attempt to feel well. Dr. Peter Green helped put her search to an end. She too had celiac disease.
So why is gluten free food popping up in stores everywhere? Why are people requesting gluten free dishes at their local restaurants? These days you will find gluten free products in your stores and will be served a gluten free meal by a well informed chef.
Celiac disease affects approximately one out of every 100 individuals – (1%) in the USA. Often people are treated for an autoimmune condition before ever being diagnosed with celiac disease.
Celiac disease is vastly different than gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. It is not clear how common the latter is but it is known that gluten sensitivity has no immediate effects like celiac and does not damage the villi in the small intestines, as celiac disease does, yet it can cause GI disturbances.
There are specific tests needed to determine if you are celiac or gluten sensitive. If one tests positive for either, a gluten free diet will be required to assist one for improved health. Now we have gene testing to help determine genetic predisposition as well.
I have gone to great lengths to ensure that others are well informed on how to go about getting tested, where to go for help, recipes, and additional resources – see my bio for more info about me.
As a children’s author, researcher and through numerous radio interviews, I hope to help raise awareness of these broad issues: gluten free food, celiac disease and gluten free sensitivity.
But, you know what? Now that I've been gluten-free for 2 years, I pretty much know what's gluten free and what's not at my grocery store. And what I would REALLY like is for the people at Triumph Dining to convert their wonderful "Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide" to an iPod application. I have had that book for 2 years, and I STILL refer to it any time I want to eat out! And it is especially useful when traveling! The few iPod applications currently at iTunes for gluten-free restaurant dining have only a small fraction of the restaurant locations that are in Triumph's book. So I wrote to the people at Triumph Dining asking if/when they plan to convert that one to an iPod/iPhone application.
What they replied was that they certainly will consider it if they get more people writing in requesting it. So here's what I suggest. If you have an iPod or iPhone, and want the Triumph Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide handily available on your nifty device, then write to the kind folks at Triumph Dining and tell them you want such an app. The link to their email is:
I am in the process of learning if the celiac or Lyme Disease was the biggest culprit in damage to my Pancreas. I'll keep you posted if anyone wants to know. My sons have been dianosed with Lyme and with the information on this site I've learned my youngest (16) may also have celiac disease. Why it's taken his whole life for doctors to get it right I will never know but we're here now and gluten free looks to be in his future too.
The article here relating celiac with pancreas issues is very interesting to me and is something I must look into for my son's welfare. Thanks for information about what to look for in juvenile's!
Since my husband is forced to be on a gluten free diet eating out has been a major issue for him. My family does a fair amount of eating out since both my husband and I work full time. At the end of day cooking a meal is the last thing on my mind. The problem for my husband is that most of his favorite restaurants have good amount of gluten dishes that he absolutely loves. Because of this eating out problem, I force myself to cook at home more often than usual and I have to constantly remind myself to not use any gluten. It is a big adjustment but once you get into the habit it is not that bad.
So what is the good and and bad of not being able to eat out?
- Save money - Since you are not paying for restaurant food and service; Often times, even though the restaurant may serve gluten-free items, they tend to be a little bit more expensive because the cost of the ingredients are often more expensive.
- Stay Healthy - By cooking at home, you are more aware of the ingredients that are involved making a dish. Often times, you can't really know what was in the dish even though it might seem gluten-free.
- Be a better Cook - I have been doing a lot of research on gluten-free cooking and exploring and experimenting different recipes. By doing that, I am actually learning to be a better cook and learn to cook more variety. It's always a good thing.
- Cost/Money - I know I mentioned above that 'Save Money' is a good thing. But the initial phase of getting the gluten-free ingredients does cost quite a bit of money. Imagine spends $20 on a bag of Xantham gum or buying different type of flours for example. The ingredient cost quite a bit, but they do last awhile.
- Time Consuming - Even though I enjoy cooking now, however, it is time consuming especially after a long day of work and need to prepare a meal that is not so much 'Out of the pantry'.
- Shopping Takes Longer - Often times you will need to go to health food store to get the gluten-free ingredients. Luckily, most of the larger supermarkets carry gluten-free items now. If you are not shopping in the gluten-free aisle, you will have to read every single label and make sure that there is no known and/or hidden gluten in it. That will cost some time.
- Bye Bye Corona - This is extremely hard for my husband because he loves beer and Corona is his favorite. He is not a wine drinker so it's not easy for him to just switch. It was like the end of world when he found out that he could not have beer. He tried some gluten-free beer, it is just not the same. All beers are not created equal, after all.
Sometimes it is the idea of not being able to just simply go out and have a meal that is difficult for a lot of people who have celiac disease. But I think as long as you are aware and smart about what you order in a restaurant, it will get easier.
Though I know it sounds like I'm complaining, I just wonder how do you go about repeatedly telling a person what you can and cannot eat with out getting so frustrated every time? The worst is when you have to go through a fast food place and they look at you like your crazy because you say "Sorry there is nothing for me to eat here!." I guess Celiac disease has more to it then not only being able to eat much! Frustration...
- By Amy Leger
- Published 12/28/2009
It has been a busy decade for celiac disease. I even think non-celiacs would agree we heard more about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet in the last 10 years than ever before! Including me. We had it in our family for 40 years before I had any idea this disease even existed – with my daughter Emma’s diagnosis in 2000.
With the end of the decade now just days away, I got to wondering what were some of the more significant moments that had an impact on celiac disease. While I certainly have my own thoughts on this, I felt like this needed responses from the greater celiac community.
And you delivered! Starting on December 16th, I opened the unscientific survey asking “What do you think has had the greatest impact on the celiac community in the last ten years?” 94 people responded with their top three answers to my survey which closed on December 27th. Your answers and comments are very interesting. So here are two of the top three vote-getters…
3rd choice for top impact on the celiac community in the last decade: More selection at restaurants
61 percent of respondents chose dining out as their third choice in this survey. It is true. This boom has made eating out with celiac disease so much easier! Really with the exception of Outback Steakhouse’s nationwide gluten-free menu (it’s had the gluten-free menu for as long as I can remember), most other restaurants didn’t even venture into the gluten-free options until about 2006.
Then with the advent of the websites like glutenfreeregistry.com, celiachandbook.com, glutenfreeonthego.com and glutenfreetravelsite.com we all are now able to go on long-distance trips (or even just a local date-night) and have a starting point with which to find a gluten-free meal at a restaurant. One respondent commented, “Awareness at restaurants and with chefs has grown quite a bit. Gluten-free menus are a great way to start a conversation at the table and show others that it can be easy to fulfill a ‘special needs’ diet.” A parent reflected on the change in the last ten years…including finding a place “where we can go to eat out and eat safely.”
Admittedly, there is work to be done. While some restaurants really have a solid understanding of the diet and cross contamination issues, others do not. But in an interview I did with Sheila Weiss the National Restaurant Association consultant on food and nutrition policy earlier this year, she mentioned the interest restaurateurs and chefs have in pleasing patrons with special requests. “We strongly encourage customers to explain their food intolerances to their server so that the appropriate staff member can be notified in order to accommodate the special requests. Restaurants are happy to work with the customer to find menu items that work for a gluten-intolerant guest,” Weiss said. “The lines of communication are very important so that a restaurant can ensure a safe meal for their food-intolerant guest from start to finish. This personalized attention is of utmost importance to all parties involved.”
2nd choice for top impact on the celiac community in the last decade:
A tie: celebrities with ties to celiac and blogging/social networking
Respondents chose these two categories for their #2 selection 50% of the time in the survey.
Celebrities with ties to celiac disease started with Rich Gannon who was an NFL quarterback when his daughter Danielle was diagnosed with celiac disease. He and his wife Shelley have been very active in raising awareness over the last decade. Most recently the additions of Heidi Collins (CNN anchor) and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (The View co-host and author of The G-Free Diet) have really added to the awareness. In some cases it seems too bad that it takes a public figure to get people interested in a cause, but it has helped here. I am thankful that they’ve used their celebrity to bring awareness to this cause.
Blogging and social networking about celiac disease seems to be the current equivalent to a support group. It is so easy to throw a question on Twitter and get several responses within a few hours (or even minutes). I believe bloggers have made people with this disease not feel so isolated not just because there are many out there, but many of the stories they are telling are very relatable.
One respondent acknowledged the importance of bloggers and social networking, but that person worries that most of the impact has been negative. “[Blogs] allow all the kooks and nutcases free rein to promulgate their belief systems as if they were backed by solid scientific research.” This is an area in which readers need to be careful. I hope that when people start searching for celiac-related blogs, they can eventually deduce which ones are right for them. Some blogs only focus on gluten-free cooking, others are more about the celiac lifestyle. This blog, thesavvyceliac.com, is about education, research and lifestyle. Either way there must be hundreds of us out there…I would like to think that we are all trying to achieve one goal – raising awareness as accurately and honestly as we can.
The top spot will be posted on Tuesday!
- By Amy Leger
- Published 12/8/2009
For years I’ve only purchased big brand names of ibuprofen and cough/cold medicine for my gluten-free daughter, because I couldn’t guarantee the generic, store brand version sitting right next to the big name brand (and about a third less in cost) was gluten-free. Now it appears that’s about to change — in a bold way.
In a news release Monday, the Perrigo company says it will begin labeling gluten-free products appropriately beginning in January of 2010! Wow! Those Sunday 2:00 a.m. trips to my local 24-hour drug or grocery store looking for a pain reliever for my feverish child may not be so bad. Now I’ll actually be able to find out a medicine’s gluten-free status — right there in aisle 9! “Now, consumers will be able to identify whether a Perrigo-supplied product is “gluten-free” simply by reading the product label,” the Perrigo news release said.
Perrigo is the “world’s largest manufacturer of OTC [over-the-counter] pharmaceutical products for the store brand market.” It certainly is showing it’s progressive side by not only adding the gluten-free label, but also putting together a plan to ensure gluten-free claim on the medicines is true; which is a bit reassuring:
“To support the gluten-free labeling initiative, Perrigo has instituted a gluten-free assurance program. Perrigo’s program is based on the acceptable thresholds of gluten (less than 20 parts per million) identified by the FDA for the food industry. It is comprised of a gluten testing methodology for raw materials and products, as well as ongoing quality assurance for ingredient and formula changes.”
The Perrigo website doesn’t list which companies it prepares store-brand OTC medicines for, but it did briefly make mention of WalMart, Walgreens and Kroger as big name examples on one of the company’s web pages. So you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled at your local store.
But in the meantime, this appears to be the list of generics they create. I can’t wait to check them out!
Here's the letter I got back from them:
Hallie, thanks for your note. Our QC folks followed up with our flavorings supplier, and our flavorings do not contain rye, barley or any of their derivatives.
Thanks for contacting us.
Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc.
Corner of Cucumber & Vine
One Cucumber Boulevard / P.O. Box 609
Mount Olive, NC 28365
800.672.5041, ext. 3628
So I will continue enjoying the Mt. Olive Pickles!
- By Scott Adams
- Published 11/16/2009
Apparently the lawsuit was dismissed after Hassett’s attorney, Richard Cunha, failed to file certain paperwork in a timely manner.
According to Bostonherald.com:
"It’s unclear why Hassett didn’t pursue the case. Her lawyer, Richard Cunha of Swansea, yesterday told the Herald, 'I can talk about that,' then hung up the phone."Just for the record I never received a response from Hassett (I emailed her directly) regarding her book's use of my site's Safe & Forbidden Lists page from May 30, 1997. She used an almost identical copy of my copyrighted list without permission or proper citation. I asked that she correct this in future editions of her book, but she has ignored my request.
Judge tosses plagiarism suit vs. “View” star Elisabeth Hasselbeck