Monthly Archives: May 2011

Djokovic may have Gluten-free Diet to Thank for Tennis Wins

Photo from wsj.com / Reuters

If you follow tennis, you may have heard of a fellow by the name of Novak Djokovic.

If not, let me fill you in: Serbian, just turned 24, kind of a big deal breakout tennis superstar.

Djokovic’s been having a record season: 37-0. No one has enjoyed a winning streak like that since 1984. Djokovic’s beaten Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer multiple times, and the Wall Street Journal casually referred to him as the best athlete of 2011.

Clearly he wasn’t a bad tennis player before, but no one expected wins like this. So what could explain the turnaround?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s the tennis pro’s new gluten-free diet.
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UK Sets Gluten-free Rules for Caterers

The UK has us beat in a few respects when it comes to gluten-free awareness and options. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – the world is a small place, information travels, and we’re certainly not in a competition.

So, in the spirit of sharing information, I’m pleased to share this nifty flow chart that Britain’s Food Standards Agency has created. The chart is designed to help caterers, and is linked to a detailed set of standards designed to protect celiacs (or, better said, coeliacs).
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New Study Examines Financial Impact of Celiac Disease in Mediterranean

Celiac on the Mediterranean, still a nice view...

They say that 43% of all statistics are made up (ha). Still, I love me some good data, so I was excited to see the preliminary draft of, “The Burden of Celiac Disease in the Mediterranean Area.”

Celiac.com has a partial overview of the report, and points out that (surprise!) there are more celiacs in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. At this point, that can’t be terribly shocking to anyone who follows celiac news: we’re really everywhere, we celiacs are. But the report went deeper.
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Heinz Convinces US Gov to Overturn Gluten-free Italian Pasta Import Tax

An interesting piece of news flitted across my screen the other day. The US decided to revoke the countervailing duty (CVD) on a certain type of Italian pasta: gluten-free. The change in rules came at the request of Heinz.

Obviously, my first thought was, “pasta!” I’m not actually the biggest fan of pasta, but still. Sometimes a girl’s got an itch that only a big bowl of spirals with tomato sauce and cheese can scratch. And more choices is certainly never a bad thing.

My second thought was, “huh?” Why would Heinz care enough about my access to gluten-free pasta to petition the government on my behalf? I put on my sleuthing hat and found the answer.
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Celiac Around the World: Delhi’s First Gluten-free Restaurant!

Back in March, Caty wrote a post about gluten intolerance in India. Evidence suggests that the rate of celiac disease is increasing, particularly in the north of the country. These increased rates, some doctors speculate, could be thanks to more “modern” strains of wheat being introduced to the local diet.

Causation aside, it seems that India’s celiac population is a fact – and a growing fact at that. How do I know? Simple. Delhi’s got a new gluten-free restaurant.
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Is Celiac Status Affected by Birth Month?

Can Zoltar predict whether or not your child will be celiac? Maybe.

File this one under, “really now?”

A small, preliminary study done at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children suggests that the month in which a child is born may affect their odds of becoming celiac.

Before you go about planning your next child, however, let’s take a closer look at the study. It’s worth noting that the study has not yet been published in a peer-review journal or confirmed by other similar studies, according to doctorslounge.com.

Taken at its highest level, the study indicates that children currently younger than 15 and born in the “light months” of March through August are slightly more likely to be celiac.

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Genius Gluten-Free Bread Set to Land in US and Canada

Remember back in October when the folks behind Genius bread earned the title of “First Gluten-free Product Advertised on (British) Television?”

Maybe you don’t. That’s OK. October was a long time ago.

At the time, I lamented my unfamiliarity with Genius’ gluten-free bread. How could I know whether or not to be happy about the commercial without knowing whether or not the bread was any good?

It seems as though my secret wish has come true.
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Celiac Vaccine Shows Promising Results From Human Trials

A while ago we posted about a promising Australian vaccine for celiac disease. And then about a similar set-up in the US, from Cambridge-based ImmusanT.

When we first wrote, the vaccine’s initial human trials were scheduled to get underway in Australia. For 11 months, 40 brave celiacs agreed to try the vaccine out. Now that those months are over, results are in. And they’re promising.

Did your ears just perk up a little bit? I sure hope so.
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GF Restaurant Guide Update: California Pizza Kitchen

Click here to go to CPK's menu page

Oftentimes, in airports, I cast a sad glance in the direction of California Pizza Kitchen.

I remember the pre-celiac days and delicious, wacky pizza. I remember the post-diagnosis days of wondering why I would go to a pizza place for a salad (answer: I wouldn’t / haven’t. At least not at an airport, and those are the only CPKs I seem to encounter these days).

But: happy news for those of you who live near a CPK and sometimes need a change from making your own pizza (frozen or fresh): they’re getting a gluten-free crust!

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the chain is incorporating a gluten-free crust option as a part of a larger revamping.

The menu is slimming down, both in terms of number of items and health value (expect to see some salads at less than 600 calories each). It’s also getting slightly more expensive — 0.7%, the first reported increase in 2 years. As far as I can tell, the new menu will be in both domestic and international locations, including a handful of new California Pizza Kitchens scheduled to open in Mexico, China, and India.

As your gluten-free restaurant guide will tell you, California Pizza Kitchen already has a gluten-free menu. It’s not much, but at least it highlights the options that should be safe and indicates that staff should already be trained in dealing with gluten-free requests.

Do you have a California Pizza Kitchen near you? If so, have you tried out their existing gluten-free menu? Will you try their new pizzas?

Giveaways and Contests: Gluten-free AND Organic!

Happy Celiac Awareness Month!

We’re a week into May, and there are plenty of great things going on this month in the world of celiac. Today I thought I’d talk about two of them: supercool magazine Gluten-Free Living‘s range of programming, and an unrelated but timely and appropriate slate of contests from Stonyfield (of the organic yogurt notoriety).

First up, Stonyfield. They’ve got a 4-pronged campaign designed to get as many people eating yogurt as possible. One way to get yourself some free yogurt? Blog about the other three ways, and email them your name, email address and the link.
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