May is Celiac Awareness Month

The gluten-free diet has quickly become one of the fastest growing nutritional movements in America. Nearly 21 million people have celiac disease or some form of sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in all foods and products containing wheat, barley and rye.

Fast Facts
  • Celiac Disease affects as many as three million people in the United States. The only treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet.
  • 15-25% of U.S. consumers report looking for gluten-free products. (US News & World Report, 2009)
  • The National Restaurant Association’s annual “What’s Hot” Top 20 Trends for 2012 ranks gluten-free 7th among the top food industry developments for the coming year. 
  • According to Technomic food service industry facts and insights, gluten-free menu items grew 61% between 2010-2011, reflecting greater consumer demand.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is a leading resource for information on celiac disease and gluten-related disorders. NFCA’s website offers free, comprehensive information and support materials for celiac patients, their families and health care providers, accredited training for healthcare and food industry professionals and the latest news, recipes, videos and blogs to promote quality of life without compromise.

The NFCA Online Celiac Symptoms Checklist is a popular resource for anyone who thinks they or a loved one could be suffering from Celiac Disease. 

The NFCA also offers a Getting Started Guide for individuals just diagnosed with celiac disease or anyone beginning a gluten-free diet, as well as a wonderful resource dedicated to the subject of Women & Celiac Disease. According to the NFCA, women are diagnosed with celiac disease 2-3 times more often than men. Learn about the unique impact celiac disease has on women’s health and get tips for maximizing nutrition during pregnancy.

Both the Getting Started Guide and Celiac Disease & Women’s Health Resource are available for download under the Resources section of the NFCA site at

A gluten-free diet is by no means a cure all. Even a small percentage of people with celiac disease may still experience symptoms after going gluten-free. Most importantly, a gluten-free diet cannot replace a formal consultation, diagnosis, or recommendation from a physician or trained health professional.

Adhering to a gluten-free diet can be tough. But with a little education and an optimistic approach, individuals and their families can learn to live – and LOVE – the gluten free lifestyle!

To learn more about celiac disease and the gluten-free movement visit

Grandma Garcie’s Gluten-Free Fig Cake
A recipe from Alice Bast, President and Founder, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups Gluten Free Flour 
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. xantham gum
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 pint canned figs*
Beat eggs.  Add sugar and whip.  Add butter and beat.  Add flour and xantham gum a little at a time.  Mix baking soda into buttermilk.  Add this mixture to the flour mixture slowly.   Add the remaining ingredients.  Pour into a greased bundt pan and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 20 min.

*If you don’t have canned figs, use fresh figs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Measure one part sugar to two parts fresh figs.  Put sugar into a thick walled pot. Add just enough water to dissolve the sugar (water should be about 1/4 of the volume of the sugar). Boil sugar and water for a couple of minutes until almost clear.  Add cubed figs.  Cook over low heat to maintain a slow boil for 2-3 hours. Stir to make sure they don’t burn. They should be syrupy and the figs light brown.  It is easier than it sounds, and worth it!

GREAT Gluten-Free Kitchens
NFCA’s Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (GREAT) Kitchens is an in-demand training program that equips chefs, restaurants and cafeterias with the knowledge and tools to safely provide customers with gluten-free meal options. The program teaches the ABCs of:
  • Gluten-free awareness
  • Supplies and ingredients
  • Cross-contamination and prevention
  • Protocol applicable to any kitchen or gluten-free meal plan
GREAT Kitchens are ready and able to deliver a gluten-free meal to your satisfaction. Ask about their gluten-free offerings today!

Local GREAT Locations:
  • La Campagne - Cherry Hill
  • Mirabella Cafe - Cherry Hill
  • Paola Balsamo Catering LLC - Mt. Laurel
  • Pasta Pomodoro - Voorhees 
Note: Due to possible changes in staff and/or management, it is recommended that you contact the restaurant to confirm that gluten-free protocols are still in place.

As seen in: Camden County Woman and Burlington County Woman (Spring 2012)


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