Volunteer for a Celiac study in Chicago!

The Rush University Medical Center’s Section of Gastroenterology and Nutrition is currently seeking volunteers for two separate studies related to celiac disease. If you live in Chicago, you could volunteer for these trials and make a difference for future people diagnosed with celiac disease.

The first clinical trial, run by Dr. Sunana Sohi,  is Celiac Disease and Mind/ Body Medicine. According to the Center:

The purpose of this study is to determine whether participation in one of two mind/body courses has an impact on adherence to a gluten-free diet in patients with celiac disease.

You are eligible for this trial if:

  • Have received a diagnosis of celiac disease in the past four weeks or within two weeks of starting a gluten-free diet
  • Are over 18 years of age
  • Have not previously attempted a gluten-free diet

For more information or to sign up, call (312) 942-1559 and ask to speak with Dr. Suhail Salem.

The second trial, Economic Impact of Celiac Disease, is run by Dr. Ece Mutlu. According to the Center:

The purpose of this study is to find out more information about the total costs of celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue or gluten enteropathy… We are inviting people with celiac disease and people without celiac disease to participate in this research study. This project will last for approximately four weeks. If you agree to participate, you will need to come to the hospital once. The study will require you to fill out a questionnaire and keep a food diary and collect receipts for food items that you purchased and ate over a period of four weeks.

To participate in this trial, you must:

  • Be a single patient buying groceries only for yourself or are willing to separate out  food bills from others living in the same household
  • Have no symptoms frequently associated with celiac disease such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas or bloating, weight loss, constipation or any other gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Have no medical history of celiac disease-associated disorders such as type 1 diabetes mellitus, Down syndrome or autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Have no past medical history that includes a disease needing a specific diet such as diabetes, end-stage renal disease or congestive heart failure

For more information or to sign up, contact GI Clinical Trials at (312) 942-3466.

Snack Attack: Snikiddy Pizza Puffs

When grazing gluten-free, sometimes you crave what the Gluties eat without thinking about it. You want neither the haute-cuisine of money-burning gourmets nor mother’s home cookin’. But you’d say yes to the vending machine snack a doctor snags in between patients and the powder-yellow puffballs teenagers wolf down after school. You want junk.

You are having a Snack Attack.

If you miss cheese-flavored snacks, you’re in luck. Because Snikiddy Pizza Puffs have the texture of Cheetos and the gluten of an apple. They have a mild, cheesey flavor with a gentle aftertaste of pizza sauce. One taste tester thought they were better than Cheetos, but like Cheetos that cheese stuff gets all over your hands for an authentic junk food experience.  Luckily you don’t have to worry about trans fat, cholesterol, or hydrogenated oils. A serving is a generous fourth of the bag.

A 4 ounce bag cost $3.00 at my local Stop and Shop so check them out and tell us what you think. Can they compete with your favorite GF snack?

Fancy Dinner in Chicago for You!

Mark your calenders, everyone! Thanks to Safe and Sound Dinners, June 29th you (and your special someone) can safely and luxuriously dine out at Carnivale in Chicago. For $50 per person, you will be treated to appetizers, entrées, and dessert that are completely free of of gluten, eggs, soy, shellfish, dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts. Carnivale revels in “Authentic Nuevo Latino cuisine” so your menu will be bursting with flavor:

  • Appetizers—Guacamole and chips, Ropa Vieja (sweet plaintains, braised beef, spicy mayo)
  • Entrees—Arrachera (grilled marinated skirt steak, black beans and rice, sweet onions, chimichurri), Pollo (Guatemalan-style chicken, jalapeno-parsley mojo, potatoes, olives, green beans), or Pernil (rum glazed pork shoulder, Puerto Rican rice and beans, fried plantains)
  • Dessert—by Swirlz cupcakes

Carnivale has garnered glowing reviews from Bon Apétit, Chicago, and many other culinary magazines. But at Safe and Sound dinners, you can do more than scarf down delicious food; according to Lisa Williams of LisaCooksAllergenFree.com:

The Safe and Sound Dinner series was designed to be a town square for Chicago’s food allergy community. Members gather at Chicagoland’s hottest restaurant and sample the finest in allergen-free dining. We’ll also discover how to safely cook, dine and shop.

Each Safe and Sound Dinner guest will enjoy:

  • A family-style menu that gives diners the opportunity to savor allergen-free fare from some of Chicago’s most popular restaurants, like Carnivale and Da Luciano;
  • An opportunity to meet the restaurant’s chef and learn how a kitchen can be transformed into a  successful allergen-free operation;
  • A gift bag stuffed with tasty, allergen-free treats from the finest names in the business, such as Whole Foods, Peanut Free Planet, and Breads from Anna.

So go here and register, or call (773) 665-0430.

NPR's Morning Edition Reports on Gluten-Free

On June 15, NPR’s Morning Edition did a story about thirteen-year-old Jacob Rosenblum and his bout with celiac. It details the changes in his diet and family life and also delves into some of the finer specifics of the disease. We certainly feel many families can relate to this story, and we’re glad to see a major news outlet like NPR help get the word out!

Click here for the full story plus audio.

New Gluten Guidelines in Europe

This is very welcome news for celiacs in Europe. According to the European Union’s Food Standards Agency (FSA):

Under the new European Union regulations, only foods that contain less than 20 parts of gluten in a million will be allowed to use the term ‘gluten-free’ on their packaging. Recent evidence has shown that this extremely low level offers better protection for people with an intolerance to gluten. Previously, a food labelled ‘gluten free’ could have contained up to ten times more than this.

In addition, some foods made using cereals that have been specially processed to remove most of the gluten, but which contain less than 100 parts of gluten in a million, will be able to make the claim ‘very low gluten’ on the packaging. These include substitutes of certain staple foods such as bread.

These new guidelines do not go into effect until January 1st, 2012. To read the FSA’s web pages on coeliac disease, go here and here.