Celiac Digest

A publication of the Southern Arizona Celiac Support Group (SACS)
online at WWW.SouthernArizonaCeliacSupport.org
vol 6, issue 3
November 2007

DISCLAIMER: This publication is intended as a general information resource for gluten-intolerant individuals. It is NOT intended for use in diagnosis, treatment, or any other medical application. Please consult your physician for professional medical advice and treatment.

In this Issue

Food, fun, fellowship at Potluck Nov. 17

It’s potluck time again, and this year president Cheryl Wilson vowed we would not conflict with the Tour de Tucson bicycle race. But, unfortunately, it was the only date available that would not be too early or too late and one where a facility was available.

So, drag out those cookbooks, whip up your favorite holiday fare, brave the traffic and join SACS at Christ Community Church compound (site of the May Food Faire) on Saturday, Nov. 17th from 11:00 to 1:30. (Please see map page 6 and note that the Potluck will be in a different building)

SACS will provide the drinks and table service, and we always appreciate casseroles, side dishes, veggies and all Thanksgiving-related recipes. And, of course, please remember to list the ingredients of your dish on a 3x5 card (or the ingredient label from a commercial item) as many members are sensitive to more than just gluten.

Door prizes will include lots of GF food donated by vendors at the CSA Conference. We will also have lots and lots of great raffle items.

Besides the food and friendship, we’ll have a full and illustrated report on the CSA conference SACS hosted in September, along with an edited DVD of the SACS TV Interview, featuring Cheryl Wilson, which was aired just before the Conference. Cel-Kids will have a special area with a jumping castle and games, so don’t hesitate to bring the children/ grandchildren along.

Mark your calendar and make it a point to be there! If you don’t feel like cooking, bring an already prepared GF food item. Everyone is welcome.

New MAB member to speak in January


Dr. Priya Ramachandran is the newest member of SACS’ Medical Advisory Board, bringing expertise in diagnosing and treating the dental manifestations of CD, which can be significant in children. She will be our featured speaker for the January 19th general meeting.

Dr. Ramachandran says this of her interest in Celiac Disease: “My pediatric residency further focused my training with special needs patients to that of children. Celiac disease has always been present in the array of medical histories of patients I have treated. My interest in patients with special needs is what leads to my involvement with celiac disease.

To increase awareness of celiac disease the best forum is education. It is by being present at meetings and seminars as a specialist in my arena that I can help in the education of the public with regards to the dental manifestations of celiac disease.”

Dr. Ramachandran is a pediatric dentist who graduated first in her dental class and obtained a Doctorate of Dental Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, TX. She did her General Practice residency in a hospital-based Fresno, CA program that concentrated on special needs patients who had a range of medical problems. . Her education culminated in a specialty residency in pediatric dentistry where she received a certificate from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, TX.

During her years of training, Dr. Ramachandran obtained three research grants from the National Institute of Health and received numerous awards and other recognition for her research. After receiving a score in the top 3% in the nation on her qualifying exams, Dr. Ramachandran will take her final exam for board certification in pediatric dentistry in March of next year.

She’s currently in private practice at 5920 N. La Cholla Blvd. Suite 110 here in Tucson and specializing in pediatric and adolescent dentistry. For appointments call: 520-544-4171.

Celiac Italian

Aside from screening all Italians at age seven for CD, Italian Celiacs are also recognized by their government as having special challenges and allowances are made for them.

  • of 58 million people in Italy there are approximately 55,000 diagnosed celiacs, which means that one in ten is diagnosed instead of the one in 97 in this country.
  • Celiacs cannot join the Italian army due to dietary restrictions
  • A celiac may not become a priest.
  • All GF food is free – and found in pharmacies.
  • Additional financial supplements are provided to celiacs.
  • Celiacs get 24 days off per year or two days per month for doctor appointments and shopping for or preparing GF food, etc.
  • Celiac tests for family members are free.
  • There is only one support group in Italy
  • A new Italian law 104 has made Celiac a societal disease, meaning all schools, hospitals, and cafeterias must accommodate the GF diet and take it into account when planning an activity.
  • They have great control of the gluten content in products - approximately10 ppm in Italy versus a much higher allowed in the rest of Europe.
  • Companies that prepare and sell GF foods must be checked for compliance by the government
  • Stickers can be put in restaurants to make it known they have GF foods. They must take a course to be able to get the stickers.
  • There are 18 celiac centers. A follow up at three months is with a physician, dietitian and psychologist, checking bone density, thyroid, etc. and it is free of charge.

Because they have government (socialized) medicine, no doubt the Italian government realizes they will save a great deal of money in the future if CD is diagnosed early and the diet is easier to follow. There is no financial incentive in the US to diagnose or treat this disease.

Lunch Bunch Schedule

  • November 9th Buddy's Grill (CrossRoads at Grant & Swan)
  • December 14th Lotus Garden Chinese Restaurant (5975 E. Speedway)
  • January 11th Opa Greek Cuisine & Fun (2900 N. Campberr) an new restaurant in town
  • February 8th Old Pueblo Grille (Alvernon N. of Broadway)
  • March 14th Casa Blanca 218 N. Stone at Franklin - the old MO club - now more of a dance club)

(as always, call Eilene Ealy at 888-2935 to confirm you are coming)

Chapter 15 Notes

  • Stagg Steakhouse No Bean Chili is still gluten-free even though some labels do not state that. They are using up old labels, but the new ones will say it’s GF.
  • Trader Joe's product, Salmon Filets with Mojito Sauce in the frozen section, has fermented wheat protein buried in the ingredient list even though only ‘soy’ and ‘seafood’ are listed as allergens.
  • Marie's Dressings are said to be gluten free and preservative free but the Blue Cheese dressing does contain wheat. Most Blue Cheese is ‘started’ on bread mold. Contact the company and do research before consuming anything with Blue Cheese.
  • Caltrate Calcium manufactured by Wyeth is no longer labeled Gluten free. It may still be GF, but the manufacturing has shifted to Canada.
  • Rolo Chocolate Caramels by Nestlé may contain glucosefructose (from wheat and/or corn). It’s another imported food question. If the Rolos are made in the USA under contract with Hershey Chocolates, they are safe to eat. If they are imported from Europe or Canada, they ‘may’ contain sugars derived from wheat. Read all of the label all of the time.
  • Starbucks is ‘investigating’ the possibility of offering GF pastries and has done some pilot studies in NYC. If you frequent Starbucks, express an interest to the manager in regard to GF offerings.
  • CSA/USA: 877-272-4272, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Time. Their URL is: www.csaCeliacs.org.
  • Membership changes? Notify us via the website or call 742-4813.

The perils of potluck


I am invited to a potluck at least once a month. Once I realized that my health problems stemmed from eating gluten, I considered not going, but then I would have missed the meeting of friends, their fellowship, and my friends would think I was avoiding them.

Unfortunately, when I was first diagnosed, I would take the pizza top off the crust and eat it, or take the chicken coating off the chicken, not realizing how contaminated with gluten that the food was. And I would get sick! That's when I started going to our Southern Arizona Celiac Group meetings for help.

So, when I was subsequently invited to a potluck, I started bringing my own dish and eating only from it. I was careful to make sure I was first in line, so that a spoon wouldn't be moved from my dish to another. But gradually, my friends noticed and would make a comment before the meal about their dish.

"I brought a rice dish with only Chinese vegetables. I didn't put in any flour at all." I then politely asked if she used soy sauce. She did. Another woman mentioned her rice casserole, and I remember eating it in the past, before I knew about my celiac disease. "Did you use a canned cream-of soup in it?" I asked. Unfortunately, only one of these women has tried again to make a gluten-free meal again and then in close consultation with me.

I have found that roast beef is often taken to these potlucks, and I have learned to know which cooks use the packaged onion soup in it for flavor and then I could avoid this dish. I know of others, who, when they bring the roast beef, will use only real onions and keep the gravy totally separate. I learn which taco dish I can eat, and to avoid the enchiladas because of the number of enchilada sauces that contain wheat. Sometimes I will see a plate of vegetables or beans that look promising. I do try to find the person who brought it to make sure nothing with gluten has been added.

I did find one person at the potluck I could consistently trust to make a gluten-free dish and that is because she tried the diet to see if it would help her own medical symptoms but it did not. She is very good about telling me in advance what dish is hers. I still go to the front of the line because I see how spoons are carried across one dish to reach another and see the occasional particles of food drop off the spoon.

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I have found the tossed salads to be generally safe, if croutons and dressings have not been added, and if the same tongs aren’t used for the rolls. Having worked in the kitchen myself, I see the bag of greens opened and poured into a clean bowl. Most of the time, the dressings are in their original bottles, so I can read the ingredients. I try to talk to the cook if a Jell- O dish or Five-Bean salad looks promising or if a fruit dessert looks as if it is free of any dough. Fresh vegetables but not the dip may be OK. If the dip is desired, checking the label is better than asking the cook. Also, most dips have too many ingredients for a cook to remember if it has been made from scratch.

Once, when at a strange place for a Thanksgiving meal, I was able to speak to someone in advance about my dietary needs and they were able to label which turkey was organic and sauce-free. I was able to request that someone bring plain beans and simple baked, non-candied yams. They were able to comply well, recognizing that others in the larger group had similar dietary restrictions to mine.

I am aware that their kitchens are not gluten free, but I have not had any serious reactions. I feel that researching these potlucks carefully has a similar risk to eating at a restaurant. I have my bottle of Gluten-Ease handy for the trace amount of gluten I might consume. I am very sensitive to trace amount of gluten and have a very quick reaction within a 5-10 minute period after a meal, so I can take the capsule in time for help. I have used the capsule after eating out only rarely and found it really helped to subdue the reaction, but only for trace amounts of gluten.

Now I enjoy the potlucks and the friendship, but mostly I rely on my own food. My friends understand, and I don't expect them to make me anything. I tell them that it took me a long time to get truly gluten-free and that they don't have to feel guilty. I carefully label any food I take with my name, and inform those who serve to set it apart for me. It has worked.

Shop for the holidays and also help SACS

Shop at Amazon.com through our website at www.SouthernArizonaCelia cSupport.org . Go to our website and follow the links so SACS can get a percentage of purchases you make from whatever you buy from Amazon.com.

CSA 2007 Conference

Click any of the thumbnail images to view a larger image.

Our Gluten-Free Buffet
NANCY SCHULLER—SACS member and conference presenter—speaking on Saturday
Our Gluten-Free Buffet
BRENDA BRYSON and DR. WATARU TAMURA (in SACS apron) share a moment of fun at an evening banquet.
Our Gluten-Free Buffet
SACS President CHERYL WILSON makes an announcement at the Saturday evening banquet.
Our Gluten-Free Buffet
From left, LAURA WEINREB and LINDSEY DICKERSON-CUSHMAN, both participants in the Cel-Kids program, have a good time at lunch.
Our Gluten-Free Buffet
At the Fiesta! our own MARY LOUISE CATURA, who flew in from her new home in Wisconsin, enjoys the buffet.
Our Gluten-Free Buffet
View of the Pavilion tent where participants are enjoying lunch. Can you spot SACS members?

You can see many more Conference photos on our website at www.SouthernArizonaCeliacSupport.org. Or they can be viewed at the Potluck on Nov. 17th.

CSA Conference full of ‘Firsts’

The Lotus Garden  Fine Cantonese & Szechuan Cuisine  Gluten-Free by request  5975 E Speedway  Ph: 520.298.3351

Not that we’re bragging, but the 2007 CSA Conference was the first time:

  • the Conference was held in Arizona
  • there was a ‘dining pavilion’ used at a Conference
  • there were so many MDs in attendance at a CSA conference (approximately 15 including presenters)
  • a CSA Conference was held in a resort setting.
  • for a silent auction fundraising efforts.
  • CSA plans to include a CD of digital photos in a post-Conference media mailing
  • CSA had such a large pre-Conference event (two events: the Tour with 86 registered participants and the Fiesta with 198 participants had record attendance)
  • that a National Institutes of Health representative (Frank Hamilton, MD) attended the entire conference
  • the Capsule Endosocopy was a featured topic in a CSA Conference lecture
  • a Pediatric Dentist spoke at a CSA conference (Dr. Laila B. Hishaw, ex-MAB)
  • for a Four Diamond restaurant to offer a gluten- free menu during a CSA Conference.
  • the full CSA national staff members traveled to a Conference to assist

Another notable ‘first’ was the announcement that CSA is planning a joint Conference with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) sometime in 2010.

Note: Dr. Shelli Hank’s summary of new medical research and discoveries presented at the CSA Conference will either be published in the next newsletter or presented at the Nov. 17 Potluck/general meeting. Look for other articles about Conference presentations in coming issues.
Map for potluck location

Click on the map for a larger image.

No Roundtable in Nov. or Dec.

GF host family needed for exchange student

Sixteen-year-old Rob van der Hoorn, from Holland, contacted SACS last month expressing his desire to spend a year in the USA as an exchange student. Rob has been told by some of the Exchange Student organizations in Holland that he would be difficult to place because of his celiac disease. He took it upon himself to contact us to explain his dilemma.

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Rob’s letters have been forwarded to CSA President Gary Powers and Pres. Elect Bill Eyl, who have also been forwarding them around the country. We know of some CSA chapters who will be publishing Rob’s needs in their newsletter, not the least of which is SACS.

At the end of this article are some excerpts taken from some emails sent by Rob. Please keep in mind that he is 16 and is still learning to express himself in written English.

If you have room in your home, heart and GF kitchen for this boy, please let Cheryl Wilson know and she can put you in touch with him. The best placement would be in a home with teenagers who will help him integrate into the school he attends, but that is not an essential requirement.

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We have a special gluten-free menu  
Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner  
Served in a gracious atmosphere  
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(520) 325-7766  www.LovinSpoonfuls.com  
Pancakes Waffles Scrambles Homemade Soups Sandwiches Burgers  
Fresh Salacs Pasta Dishes Rice Dishes Desserts Shakes Smoothies

Thank you for your mail. The organizations here in Holland are afraid that they can’t help me to find a host-family, because all these organizations have no experience with celiac patients. One of the organizations here in Holland called me yesterday that it is very difficult. Normally it isn't a problem, but for celiac patients it does. So I try another organization here in Holland….

I want to come to America, because I want to learn your language very well. My dream is to become a air-pilot. I don't know if I can make my dreams come true, but I will try. But the tests are very difficult and not many persons will succeed. To speak your language is necessary. I'm not so good in English lessons on school

I want to let you know, if I (by any chance) could stay by a host-family, it doesn't matter where the hostfamily lives, in which city or state. I hope of course in a beautiful area :), but the mean thing is, if I get the change to come, I only hope that it is a warm and kind family.

Mark your calendar

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  • Nov. 17 — SACS Annual Potluck; 11:30-1:30, Christ Community Church (7801 E Kenyon Dr) Kenyon and Pantano— Family Life Center (front of property – different building than Food Faire) See map page 6.


  • Jan. 19 — 9:00 a.m.: General Meeting, Dr. Priya Ramachandran, pediatric dentistry and CD. Location TBA
  • March 29 — 9:00 a.m.: General Meeting, Dr. Wataru Tamura. Location TBA
  • April 17-27 - SACS booth at the 2008 Pima County Fair
  • May 10 — 9:00 a.m.: Annual GF Food Faire – bigger ‘n better than ever!

Roundtable is suspended for November and December

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