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!

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Spices & Seasons (Simple Sustainable Indian Flavors) {Cookbook Review}

SpicesandSeasonsIf you are looking to experiment with Indian flavors, this is your book. The author, Rinku Bhattacharya provides the general population with delicious and easy to prepare dishes packed with flavor and sustainable ingredients. In Spices & Seasons each recipe is carefully labeled as vegan/vegetarian and/or gluten-free. The index in the back of the book is also separated as such; gluten-free index, vegan/vegetarian index, vegetarian index, and recipe index! I found this to be extremely helpful when trying to pick my dish to make.

It was very difficult to pick a recipe to make, due to the large selection of recipes included in the book and how many of them were gluten-free. I finally decided on the Saffron Pistachio Rice Pudding on page 333. With a few minor changes/substitutions. I am in the process of packing up my life and putting most of my belongings in storage for a year and I start my next adventure in NYC, so I wanted to use what I had on hand instead of going out to buy things. Bread pudding can be a fairly simple recipe, but this one was packed with flavor! Oh my goodness…it is delicious and I promise you, you will want to make this. Here are my substitutions: instead of half and half, I used unsweetened coconut milk, for the white rice I used short grain brown rice, and I did not have pistachios around (trust me those do not last long around me), so instead I diced up some granny smith apple instead (it added such a delicious, fresh crispness to it), and yes…I do have saffron lying around 🙂

I’ve seen rice pudding be super creamy and I’ve also seen it where there is some creamy liquid remaining…which is how I prefer to enjoy it (as you can see by the picture below…), but if you like more of the liquid, then just cook it a bit less time or simply add additional liquid.

37-Cooks-Saffron-Rice-Pudding-Spices-and-Seasons-Challenge-Jenny-ManseauSaffron and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Adapted from Spices & Seasons Simple Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya page 333

Method of Preparation

  1. In a medium pot add coconut milk, whole cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, rice, and sugar and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered, and stir frequently until it begins to thicken, about 35 minutes.
  3. Remove and discard the whole cardamom pods and cinnamon stick.
  4. Stir in the saffron threads and granny smith apples, cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with sliced of granny smith apple on top – enjoy!

This is a great cookbook to have in your collection, especially if you or someone you know is either gluten-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan! So many delicious recipes and flavors to experiment with.

The cookbook was provided to me from the publisher for this review. All comments and opinions are 100% my own.