Gluten Free Watchdog’s Gratitude List for Celiac Disease Awareness Month 2021
In celebration of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, we will be adding to this gratitude list daily.
May 1, 2021
First up… Feeding Gluten-Free, a National Celiac Association initiative. There is no greater work than helping to provide gluten-free food to those in our community experiencing food insecurity. Please help if you can. Thank you. https://nationalceliac.org/giving-gluten-free/
Next up… Gluten-free small businesses. They need community support more than ever. If at all possible, find one to frequent. Third Coast Bakery is my current favorite. Their gluten-free, milk-free, and egg free donuts, cookies, and scones are out of this world good. https://thirdcoastbakery.com/
Next up… purity protocol oats. If it is important to you to have available oats that are produced following steps to control the presence of gluten-containing grain throughout the entire process of growing, harvesting, milling, and processing, then please support the suppliers: Avena Foods, GF Harvest, Montana Gluten-Free Processors, MGM Seed & Grain Purity Protocol Oats and the manufacturers who use purity protocol oats exclusively. List available at https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-produced-under-a-gluten-free-purity-protocol-listing-of-suppliers-and-manufacturers/
Next up… dietitian colleagues. Over the years a small band of dietitians has worked hard to turn data generated by GFWD into articles published in the scientific literature. Huge heartfelt thanks to Amy Keller, Trisha Lyons, Melinda Dennis, Nancee Jaffe, and the late Suzanne Simpson. Together, they helped publish papers on growth media https://tinyurl.com/va9ysmex, gluten cross contact in shared fryers https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.652039/full, allergen advisory statements for wheat on gluten-free food http://rdcu.be/JRM0; http://rdcu.be/kl1j, and gluten levels in labeled gluten-free foods https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2014211. Much love to all.
Next up… transparency & manufacturers who openly state their gluten-free oats are NOT purity protocol. It is easy for manufacturers to be transparent when providing answers they believe consumers want to hear; less so when the answer may be disappointing. We applaud General Mills and Quaker for providing transparent information about their sorting and testing practices. Other manufacturers should follow suit. Transparency allows folks with celiac disease to make informed decisions. For more information on oats see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-are-complicated-updated-position-statement-on-oats-from-gluten-free-watchdog/
Next up… scientists with a focus on gluten and allergen analysis. Do you ever wonder why we can test food for gluten or how best practices for sampling and testing are developed? It is thanks in part to the hard work of folks like the late Enrique Mendez (developed the R5 ELISA), Steve Taylor (FARRP), Thomas Grace (Bia Diagnostics), and Adrian Rogers (Romer Labs). On a personal note, everything I know about testing is based on what these four have taught me. Thank you! If you would like to learn more about testing food for gluten, see the videos at https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/video-testing-foods-gluten/ and https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/video-testing-foods-gluten-part-2/
Next up… Consumers! The only way we find out about misbranded products is through consumers who take the time to report potential issues and send along product photos. This in turn allows us to reach out to manufacturers and post product warnings when necessary. If you come across a misbranded product, please let us know AND file a report with an FDA consumer complaint coordinator https://www.fda.gov/safety/report-problem-fda/consumer-complaint-coordinators. If USDA regulates the food, see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/do-you-know-how-to-report-a-misbranded-gluten-free-product-to-the-usda/. To view a running list of misbranded products, see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/do-you-know-how-to-report-a-misbranded-gluten-free-product-to-the-usda/
Next up… Canadian dietitian Shelley Case. She has devoted her professional life to this community. She is incredibly hard working. And she brings so much thought to everything she says and writes related to the gluten-free diet. On a personal note, our friendship taught me something very important—mutual respect can smooth over even the rockiest of starts.
Next up… Alice Bast, Margaret Clegg, and Lori Welstead for sharing their struggles with infertility. Please see https://blogs.webmd.com/my-experience/20201029/it-took-8-years-and-23-doctors-to-get-the-diagnosis-that-saved-my-life, https://miglutenfreegal.com/2014/05/11/a-different-take-on-mothers-day/, & https://www.glutenfreeandmore.com/issues/celiac-and-pregnant/ A note to all women of childbearing age: If you are experiencing unexplained infertility or repeated miscarriages, please ask your physician to test you for celiac disease. Believe it or not it may be the cause.
Next up… Advocates! There are too many of you to name & it would devastate me to miss someone. You know who are. You work tirelessly to provide evidence-based information and to correct misinformation. Your efforts make a difference.
Next up… Data! After 10 years of running Gluten Free Watchdog, it is awesome to know that most manufacturers are doing it right. The vast majority of the hundreds of foods tested through Gluten Free Watchdog test below 20 ppm with most testing below 5 ppm. To learn more see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/lessons-learned-from-16-years-of-testing-food-for-gluten/
Next up… the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment not only for all they do to support folks with celiac disease but for their incredibly positive and supportive presence on social media. To learn more about the Center, including virtual visits and the CDGEMM study see https://www.massgeneral.org/children/celiac-disease/. Twitter handle @CeliacResearch.
Next up… Certificate of Training for Gluten Related Disorders from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics https://www.eatrightstore.org/cpe-opportunities/certificates-of-training. If you are a dietitian working with folks with celiac disease, please take advantage of this COT. The Celiac Disease Foundation offers a reimbursement grant (see https://tinyurl.com/5xvnkvef) and the Society for the Study of Celiac Disease offers a discount on membership (see https://tinyurl.com/ynwtzx8j).
Next up… Willem-Karel Dicke, Dutch pediatrician and early advocate of the gluten-free diet for the treatment of celiac disease. If you do not know the early history of the gluten-free diet, you may find it fascinating. “We have learnt in the course of many years’ experience in the treatment of celiac disease that it makes a great difference to the patient what kind of starch-containing foodstuffs are included in the diet; in particular whether or not wheat is used.” To learn more, see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/the-gluten-free-diet-is-born-thank-you-dr-dicke/
Next up… Shine a Light on Celiac Disease. Tomorrow, May 16th, various landmarks are lighting up green for International Celiac Disease Day. In Boston we are lucky to have 5 landmarks participating. Thank you to all the organizations involved in this effort. For more information see https://shinealightonceliac.org/
Next up… International Celiac Awareness Day. Thank you to so many organizations around the globe who work so hard on behalf of this community. To name a very few… Coeliac UK, Canadian Celiac Association, Coeliac Australia, National Celiac Association, Beyond Celiac, Gluten Intolerance Group, & Celiac Disease Foundation.
Action Alert! Next up… Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2021 (S. 1536/H.R. 3108). This act was recently introduced by Senators Susan Collins (Maine) and Gary Peters (Mich.) and Representatives Robin Kelly (Ill.) and Fred Upton (Mich.). It expands coverage of medical nutrition therapy in Medicare Part B to include celiac disease! Please contact your members of Congress. For an easy way to do this see https://www.votervoice.net/EATRIGHT/1/Campaigns/85059/Respond.
Action Alert! Next up… Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act of 2021. Please reach out to your members of Congress urging them to cosponsor this bill. For a list of sponsors to date see https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2435/cosponsors?searchResultViewType=expanded. For more information see https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/gluten-in-medicine-disclosure-act-of-2021/.
New manufacturer added to the listing of purity protocol oats! Next up… Bobo’s. Thank you for your willingness to not only name your oat supplier but provide a statement from them. Manufacturers, please be transparent about your source of oats so you too can be added to the listing https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/news/oats-produced-under-a-gluten-free-purity-protocol-listing-of-suppliers-and-manufacturers/
This is the best news story I’ve seen in a long time. Please watch. Next up on Gluten Free Watchdog’s Gratitude List for Celiac Disease Awareness Month… Children because they are THE best advocates. Children across the country share experiences with celiac disease https://abcnews.go.com/US/children-country-share-experiences-celiac-disease/story?id=77791565
Next up … ALL dietitians who work in this space. There are too many of you to name but you know who you are. You work in celiac disease centers, hospitals, private practices, supermarkets, corporations … You counsel patients, write books, publish research, develop protocols, … and many of you volunteer countless hours of your time. Thank you
Next up on Gluten Free Watchdog’s Gratitude List for Celiac Disease Awareness Month… Gluten-free manufacturers who respond to email queries in a timely manner. The latest batch includes, Nature Nate’s LLC, Keogh’s, Vitargo, and General Mills. Thank you! Those who could do better–Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Walgreen’s & Morton Williams.
Getting personal in today’s GFWD gratitude entry for Celiac Disease Awareness Month. As most of you know I am a dietitian. To become a dietitian I had to do an internship. As some of you may also know I live with chronic pain, including in my back and have since my early 20s. In my first internship rotation, my back “gave out” (it is tough for me to be on my feet & stand for long periods of time). Another intern befriended me and in those early days pushed me around in a wheel chair “borrowed” from the hospital. If it hadn’t been for my wonderful friend Cyd Champagne Collins, I would not have made it through the program (she also pushed me in a wheelchair through graduation) and I would not be running Gluten Free Watchdog today. Sending her much love.
Next up … alternative grains & the manufacturers who use them. When my colleagues and I published research on the nutritional quality of the gluten-free diet in 2005, there was very little use of grains other than rice and corn Today, so many packaged foods contain alternative grains and pseudocereals, including may favorite—quinoa. Thank you to the manufacturers using these grains. The photo is of Andean Dream quinoa cookies—a favorite of mine for travel because they are individually packaged.
Whelp… At the end of the day I realized I hadn’t posted. So let’s just say my gratitude list includes grace–for myself and others.
Next up on Gluten Free Watchdog’s Gratitude List for Celiac Disease Awareness Month… allergy awareness week. Some folks with celiac disease also live with food allergies. Learn more about the psychological impact of food allergies at https://www.foodallergyawareness.org/food-allergy-and-anaphylaxis/psychological-impacts/ and watch this short video https://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories-50867137.