January 2010


General Mills is really making great strides in helping to bring its products to people with celiac disease. The front page of the latest Celiac Sprue Association Lifeline newsletter noted that General Mills created a web site called “Liveglutenfreely.com” that lists all of its gluten free products and also lists a lot of great gluten free recipes.

General Mills now boasts more than 200 gluten free products! Several Progresso Soups are gluten free, including Chicken Cheese Enchilada and New England Clam Chowder. General Mills also has gluten free brownie mixes, devil’s food cake mixes, and yellow cake mixes. Their web site says to “look for the words ‘gluten free'” on the package near the ingredient list as show at the right.

There is also a link to General Mills’ references for health care professionals and food service personnel that contains information on celiac disease and on healthy eating in general.

It is great to see that large corporations are making a commitment to produce so many great gluten free products.

While reading thru the Celiac Sprue Associations Newsletter, Lifeline, I came across a very interesting article on the link between Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease written by Diana Stuber, M.A, R.D., C.D.E.. The author states that six percent of those with Type 1 Diabetes will eventually develop Celiac Disease, per current estimates.  This puts the risk at 4.5% or  at least equal to the risk of a first degree relative of those with celiac.  The association between the two lies in the fact that both are linked to either the HLA DQ-2 gene or the HLA DQ-8 gene.  The research has not narrowed down which areas on these genes are responsible for this predisposition. But, the search continues. Once these loci are determined, we can then ascertain triggers and look toward prevention. 

 Another interesting piece in this newsletter was an article written on celiac disease and  school lunch programs. Celiac disease is considered a disability under the American with Disabilities act. Further, the Individual with Disabilities Education Act of 1997  requires that all students with disabilities be given the same opportunities as other children to receive an education and education-related benefits such as school meals. The article states that as long as there is intensive training and good communications with the food service staff and the parents, children with celiac disease can be provided with nutritious, safe meals in school.

So, I pose a question to anyone/everyone reading this post; would you trust the school to provide a safe meal to your child living with celiac disease? Please vote below. I know how I feel on this subject. However, I am curious about other opinions. I appreciate you taking part in this survey. I will follow this for a week and then post the consensus of opinions.

I want to thank the WGN radio hosts, Steve King and Johnnie Putman (spelled it right this time!) for inviting Bill and me into the studio last night. We had a wonderful discussion about many aspects of celiac disease ranging from diagnosis to treatment to cooking gluten-free. We  shared some personal stories of our journeys both before and after the diagnosis of celiac disease, as well as related illnesses that can affect patients once they have been on a gluten-free diet.  The conversation flowed, the time passed by in a blink, and Bill and I were left feeling so impressed by these two talented individuals fighting a very similar fight to our own.

I hope that those of  you who were able to stay up for the broadcast were able to connect with one or several things discussed. If you were unable to hear the broadcast, it  is being continuously run, via podcast, on Steve and Johnnie’s website. You can find it at Steve and Johnnie’s web site, under the “uncut podcasts” link. Just click on the audio segment of the topic you want to hear.

We hope that last night was the start of a long, collaborative relationship. As I wrote to Steve and Johnnie, we feel as if we have added new members to our extended family. Thank you, once again, for a wonderful experience.

 Would love to invite everyone reading this to listen to Chicago’s WGN radio 720 AM on Monday night, January 11th. I was invited by the night-time DJ’s, Steve and Johnnie,  to come into the studio and have a conversation regarding celiac disease. Steve King and Johnnie Putman are a husband and wife team. Steve actually lives with celiac disease. I, in turn,  invited my husband to speak with me so there would be dual husband and wife teams. We will see if he takes me up on it. The dialogue is to start at around 11:15pm, a bit late but worth the time!

 I hope everyone will make a bit of time to drop by on the AM dial. I will make a great attempt to talk slower than normal!

I want to wish everyone reading this a very Happy, Healthy and( if needed)  Gluten-free New Year. I would love to see this year bring more advances in the area of research for celiac disease. I hope, with proper funding, for the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center to complete their mouse model and present hope for the generations yet to come. I further hope for the breakthrough that will allow us to sneak in some real pizza (notice a theme- I love pizza!). But mainly, I hope for those that remain undiagnosed, to find the knowledge and courage to seek out the help they need. We are still looking for the remaining 97% living with untreated celiac disease. Let’s see how close we can come in 2010!