Celiac Awareness Month {giveaway}

Happy Celiac Awareness Month!! (CAM)

I’ve been writing Creative Cooking Gluten Free for 8 years as of next month, I can’t even believe it has been that long since I was diagnosed. I was 26 and looking back on my medical history and general health in those 26 years, it still amazes me that no one thought of Celiac Disease before that. I was one of the 83% of individuals living with Celiac Disease that was misdiagnosed for many years.

Lets talk some numbers and facts for a bit…

  • Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease, NOT a food allergy
  • It is estimated that 1 in 133 Americans have Celiac Disease, that is about 1% of the population.
  • There are over 300 signs and symptoms of Celiac Disease – not everyone has the same symptoms
  • Many individuals with Celiac Disease are asymptomatic, which means they do not show or experience any signs and symptoms
  • Undiagnosed Celiac Disease can lead to a whole host of other medical complications including other autoimmune disease and even certain cancers

Do you have a relative with Celiac Disease? If so you might want to get tested…a great place to start is having a genetic test. According to Beyond Celiac “About 95% of people with celiac disease have the HLA-DQ2 gene and most of the remaining 5% have the HLA-DQ8 gene. Genetic testing can determine if you have one or both of these genes.” Having these genes means that you are at risk for Celiac Disease, it does not mean you will automatically have it. Now keep in mind, if you do not have these genes…you will never have Celiac Disease.

The ONLY treatment for Celiac Disease is a strict 100% Gluten-Free diet. Gluten-free meas NO wheat, rye, or barley. Oats, depending on how they are process can also cause some issues for individuals with Celiac Disease. I look for certified gluten-free products, oats, etc.  Wheat Free does not mean gluten-free; as some products can still contain rye or barley!

I HIGHLY recommend seeing a DIETITIAN (not just because I am one), to help after your diagnosis. One of the main reasons I pursued the field of dietetics was to help those, who were like me, diagnosed with no information or resources available.  I didn’t have a dietitian, or the option to see one, and I wanted to change that for others. I know there are a million and one hits when you google Celiac Disease or Gluten Free, but having a dietitian is extremely helpful, and our experience is backed by science. Look for a dietitian, like myself who specialize is Celiac Disease. Coming soon (I promise), will be my new website called The Creative RD.

There are so many amazing gluten-free companies out there that we love, and love working with. This would be an extremely long post if I attempted to post them all here, but today I want to highlight two of them for you, two that you have have not heard of just yet.  And there is a giveaway below as well 😉

Gratify Gluten Free Foods

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They kindly sent me a box of all of their goodies to sample…yum yum yum! I even shared with some of my new co-workers and Bryan of course. They offer covered pretzels, crackers, pretzel crackers, and cracker bites. We were both really impressed with the selections they offered. Read more about Gratify Gluten Free Foods here.

My favorites were the dark chocolate covered pretzels (also dairy free!!)…so good. Also the peanut butter and chocolate covered pretzels, seriously the best combination, sweet, salty, crunchy goodness. What could you not like about that?

IMG_0983As for the crackers, oooh boy. These are good on their own, topped with cheese (or cheeze), tuna salad, etc. I LOVE the Tuscan herb so much that those did not get shared with anyone!

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Click here to see where you can buy these awesome products! Thank you Gratify Gluten Free Foods for the delicious samples and opportunity to try your products. You’ve got two more fans.

The next company is The Real Company {giveaway!!}

Real Co Logo

The Real Co. is the first single origin global food company, and believes that “good comes from good.” As a pioneer in 100% single origin food products, The Real Co currently has three products hitting market nationally online and in stores – Basmati Rice, Himalayan Pink Rock Salt and Organic Raw Cane Sugar. All of these are sustainably harvested from either a single farm or family with products that can be traced back to their exact origins.

The model is to help the farms, offer them distribution they could never have achieved and eliminate the middle man thus offering these organic and non-GMO certified foods at a fraction of the cost from other products. I love all of their products, great quality and flavor. The Real Company, Jarlsberg, and Garden Lites have offered an awesome giveaway for three lucky CCGF Readers…three winners will each receive a reusable bag filled with Pink Himalayan Rock Salt, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Bastmati Rice (all full size!), and coupons for Jarlsberg Cheese and Garden Lites (see below!).

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Giveaway is open to all those in the continental United States – the giveaway will end on Tuesday May 31st at 11:59pm EST.

All you have to do is comment below – tell me a story. tell me about your diagnosis. tell me how you celebrated CAM. your favorite gluten-free product. etc.

Winners will be chosen randomly via random.org and must respond by e-mail within 48 hours. If the winner(s) do not respond, another winner will be chosen. Good luck and Happy Celiac Awareness Month!!

Celiac Awareness Month Round-up {Awareness, NFCA PSA, and New Product Spotlight}

Celiac Awareness Month Round-up

I apologize now for an extremely long post but I wanted to make sure I covered all my bases for this round-up including spreading awareness to current and future dietitians, PSA from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, and new gluten-free products.

Raising Awareness

For the last several years I have celebrated Celiac Awareness Month and raising awareness of Celiac Disease by hosting giveaways on this site. This year however, I wanted to do something different. While giveaways are awesome, fun, and it gets people involved I wanted to focus more on the awareness aspect of this month and help educate those around me. As many of you know I am currently pursuing my dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian and am honored to be completing my internship at NewYork-Presbyterian. In case you didn’t know, NYP is one of top six hospitals in the country and number one in New York. NYP is connected to two incredible medical colleges; Columbia University and Cornell University. Columbia is also home of one of the best Celiac Research Centers in this country, Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. While my awareness event has no direct connection to the center, it is amazing to be in connection with them through the hospital.

I debated on offering giveaways for quite a while leading up to this month and finally decided that I think it would be more beneficial to spread awareness and knowledge to those around me…current and future dietitians. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t have a dietitian available to me and my doctor wasn’t the most knowledgeable in the area of celiac – she saw my results, said what I had, and said no more pasta or bread. That was all. Everything I learned, I learned on my own by way of Google, books, and some amazing bloggers out there. They were the ones that kick started my desire to start Creative Cooking Gluten Free and then to pursue the filed of Dietetics. I wanted to help people understand they can have these items, just more creatively. I also have the desire to help not only those with celiac but with other gastrointestinal disorders, food allergies, etc. I love the challenge of creating meal plans and recipes for those with multiple food allergies. My degrees in Culinary Arts and Culinary Nutrition go hand in hand with my studies in Dietetics…you can’t have one with out the other (at least that is my philosophy). I wanted to share with those pursing this field and also have a desire and passion for helping people gluten-free resources including educational materials and samples for them to try and be able to give a 100% honest feed back to a patient when they ask “do you have any suggestions on products?” “what is the best gluten-free…on the market”. We need to know these things because despite what some say, celiac disease is real, not a fad, and not going away.

Each month in our internship we have a Class Day, where all 32 of the interns come together and we have various sessions on topics in dietetics. May being celiac awareness month was the perfect month for me to share with this captive audience. I reached out to about 50 gluten-free companies, explaining what I wanted to do and who my targeted audience was, and asked if they would be willing to send some samples to be included in the “swag bags” that would be given to the current and future dietitians. Several responded that they had received too many requests, which is no surprise being that it was celiac awareness month, however the responses I received were overwhelmingly generous! I received samples, full sized products, educational materials, coupons, and more. This celiac community and their desire to help educate and raise awareness continually blow me away.

I recruited some help from a few of the other interns to help me put the “swag bags” together – we made a total of fifty to share with the current interns, our directors, and current dietitians at the hospital. The response was overwhelmingly positive and many great conversations were started because of this.

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(Celiac Awareness Month Swag Bags – ready to be handed out to current and future RD’s)

IMG_5777(NYP’s 90th & 91st Class of Dietetic Interns)

Thank you to all who helped make this event possible – I couldn’t have done this with out you and your extreme generosity.

Check out these mail deliveries I received! I seriously couldn’t even sleep in my room after the last shipment arrived.

It is always a pleasure to work with all of you on my blog over these last several years and I love that I have had the privilege to meet many of you at the last two Gluten Free and Allergy Free Expos in Secaucus, NJ. Looking forward to working with all of you again, and hopefully seeing you soon. Without you, none of this is possible!

Seriously, Celiac Disease – PSA from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

Celiac Disease is serious…seriously it is! It is an Autoimmune Disease, not just a diet. It is not a fad diet created by Hollywood to make you lose weight. The gluten-free diet is the ONLY treatment for those with Celiac Disease. There is not cure. There is no magic pill to take. This is real life.

Do you have celiac disease and trying to figure out how to talk to your family members about being tested? Head on over to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ site for important information, tips, and talking points and watch their PSA called Seriously, Celiac Disease HERE.

talk. tell. test.

New Gluten Free Product Spotlight

Here are some new gluten-free items worth checking out:

New from I Heart Keenwah: Quinoa Puffs (featured below, Aged Cheddar and Sweet Chili) – delicious little bits of goodness and loaded with 5 grams of protein per serving.

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Snyder’s of Berlin: Variety of Gluten-Free Chips – great for all the summer BBQ’s that are coming up.

Walkers – Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies. I remember this brand of shortbread cookies from when I was little. Learning a few months ago that they had come out with a gluten-free line of them, I was rather excited as it brought back some childhood memories of a hot cup of tea and shortbread cookies with my grandmother. The gluten-free line comes in three flavors: Chocolate Chip, Ginger & Lemon (sounds amazing to me!), and Pure Butter (below).

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Luna & Clif Bars – in case you missed it ALL Luna bars are now Gluten-Free!! Check out the new offerings from both companies below…the dark chocolate almond from Clif is so delicious and perfectly fits in my lab coat pocket!