Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Five Days Left to Help Participate & Find a Cure for Celiac Disease!

Bring some beautiful light into your life and home…

We’ve also partnered with wonderful Glassybaby and their Power of Giving campaign. Glassybaby is a private company based in Seattle, WA founded by award winning entrepreneur Lee Rhodes. Its primary product is a handmade, gorgeous, one-of-a-kind glass votive also known as a ‘’Glassybaby," produced in more than four hundred colors and sold over the internet and through retail stores in the Seattle area and San Francisco.

Here’s how to become illuminated: 

Visit Glassybaby.com from May 15-31 and enter 'cureceliac' in the giving code box at check out to donate 10% of your purchase towards finding a cure. 

Use the same code, 'cureceliac,' for in-store purchases, as well. 

Thanks so much!! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

National Celiac Awareness Month Kicks Off with Croissants for a Cure!

For the second year in a row, we've partnered with the fantastic Mariposa Baking to promote National Celiac Awareness Month and raise awareness throughout the Bay Area and beyond!! And don't forget to #glutenfreemay with your favorite recipe created with their newest croissant and/or sandwich batard. The chosen winner will receive a gift certificate to Mariposa Baking! 

Prominent Bay Area Gluten-Free Baking Company Teams Up to
Help Find a Cure for Celiac Disease

Mariposa Baking and The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
Celebrate National Celiac Disease Awareness Month in May

Mariposa Baking of Oakland is again partnering with The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center for National Celiac Disease Awareness Month in May. This unique partnership, formed through a strong desire to generate more awareness of celiac disease on the west coast, brings together the Bay Area’s preeminent 100% dedicated gluten-free bakery and a world-renowned leader in celiac disease research.
Throughout the month of May, Mariposa Baking’s retail locations (Oakland and SF) and online shop will offer their customers the opportunity to participate in this fundraiser. A portion of Mariposa’s May sales will go directly towards funding research at The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. Mariposa Baking is highlighting its newest pastry, a delicious butter croissant and newest bread offering, sandwich batard, which can be purchased in their retail locations, online store or by mail order.

“Mariposa is committed to the long-term health of our customers and The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center is doing important research to improve the lives of people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance,” said Patti Furey Crane, founder of Mariposa Baking. “We’re very happy to support the work of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center and to enable our customers to participate in this fundraising effort, while raising awareness in the Bay Area around celiac disease. We look forward to great success.”
May is National Celiac Disease Awareness Month. The focus is to raise awareness about celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCSG). Approximately 3 million Americans have celiac disease. There is no evidence-based data to indicate how many have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

            “We are delighted to be partnering with Mariposa, a company that not only delivers delicious gluten-free products to those who require the diet, but also demonstrates their commitment to the community with substantial efforts to help raise much-needed awareness and funds,” said Carol M. Shilson, executive director at The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. “Our programs and services educate thousands of consumers and medical professionals across the country each year and our research is truly leading the way to a cure.”

Event Details: May 1 – 31, 2014
- Locations: Mariposa’s Bakeshops:
o  Oakland Bakeshop:          5427 Telegraph Ave., D3, Oakland, CA 94609
o   SF Bakeshop:                   1 Ferry Building Plaza, Shop 32, San Francisco, CA 94111
o   Local Pick-Up:                  http://pickup.mariposabaking.com
o   Mail order:                         www.mariposabaking.com    
o   Telephone:                         510-595-0955

For more information about this event, details about this partnership or celiac disease, please visit: www.mariposabaking.com. For information about The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, please visit: www.cureceliacdisease.org.  

About The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center:
The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center seeks to cure celiac disease. It is an international center of excellence providing comprehensive patient and professional education, expert diagnosis and treatment for both children and adults, groundbreaking bench and clinical research, and active leadership in advocacy efforts. The Celiac Disease Center is part of the University of Chicago, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization completely funded by donations.

About Mariposa Baking:
Our start was simple. Patti Furey Crane, Mariposa’s founder, craved high-quality sweets while pregnant with her first child. Finding few options at the time, she set out baking them herself. And so, in 2004, Mariposa was hatched. Mariposa’s mission – create wholesome, hand-crafted food using the finest natural ingredients. Our certified green bakery also houses our first retail bakeshop. We have two storefront locations, our Oakland Bakeshop and our new SF Bakeshop, est. 2012 and located inside the Ferry Building, where we’re able to bring daily bread and hand-crafted sweets to San Francisco’s gluten-free community. We have an online store for customers outside of the Bay Area, distribution to natural foods stores on the West Coast and we service many local restaurants with our artisan breads and pizza crusts. We have a passion for- the baked goods we make, the creative journey we’re on, and the communities we serve.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Blessings and Merry Christmas!

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas...let your heart be light...

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and very blessed New Year!

See you in 2014!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Lovely Gluten Free Inn...

Tucked away on charming Randolph Street is the #1 Rated Inn in Napa, CA out of 84 inns...and believe it or not, it's entirely gluten free! I had the pleasure of staying at the Inn on Randolph a few weeks ago, during what was a perfect fall weekend in the valley. I'd learned of the Inn earlier in the year while working our booth for The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center at the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in San Francisco this past February and since, had been dying to stay at the Inn and try it out, given that it's so close to home... yet just far enough away to feel like a mini vacation!

I'd done my research about the Inn on Randolph learning that it's owned by Karen and Dan Lynch, Bay Area natives who purchased the historic Inn two years ago and transformed this property into a dreamy escape. As a guest with celiac disease, I can say that staying at the Inn was an amazing experience and such a relief given that this B & B is entirely gluten free, alleviating any and all concerns of cross contamination from the Inn’s beautiful kitchen.

Karen has been gluten free herself for 7 years. After purchasing the Inn in 2011, (they closed it for 10 months to restore), gutting it down to the studs, and transforming this historic 19th century home into a stunning and peaceful modern retreat, she decided that she wanted the Inn on Randolph to be a completely gluten free B & B. At first she was cautious to advertise the Inn as completely gluten free, not wanting to cause non-GF guests to feel unwelcome or with the feeling that the Inn's quality of dining was not top-notch (which it is) given the reputation of some gluten free foods. However, as time has passed and the Inn's ratings have skyrocketed. It's become apparent that the word is out in both gluten free and non-GF communities that the Inn on Randolph is truly the place to go for rest, restoration and delicious food!

That accommodations at the Inn are even better than the food...we were fortunate enough to stay in the "Franklin" guest cottage just across the beautifully designed garden outside the main house. This gorgeous abode offers a romantic fireplace, plush linens (which they sell!) and a super cozy atmosphere. The cottage also has a private patio with a bistro set - the perfect setting for a lazy morning of reading and enjoying an organic cup of tea...along with a delicious gluten free chocolate chip cookie! The Inn consists of five large guest rooms in the main, historic house, along with five guest cottages neatly tucked inside the Inn's nearly half-acre property line. Each room and cottage share a similar design theme of warm, inviting colors, crisp linens and traditional furnishings, yet each room is also purposely designed to encompass its own unique, decorative attributes.

Owners Karen and Dan were kind enough to sit down with me for a an interview that included a complimentary, delicious glass of chardonnay from a favorite winery just "up-valley." Karen, the consummate host, is always checking in on guests who are lounging on the patio or in the beautiful library by the fireplace offering snacks or a glass of wine and great conversation. Both Karen and Dan, along with their staff, were extremely accommodating and genuine making the stay even more special and comfortable. They offered great wine tasting tips to boot, and even booked a tasting for us at one of their favorite wineries in the Valley, Frog's Leap

One of the more interesting things I learned from my interview with Karen and Dan was about the length of time they researched, contemplated and dreamed of finding just the right property to transform and create into their own to share with guests from all over the state and world. Or as Karen's intention stated, "let's build a place that we'd like to hang out in." They definitely got that right.

I particularly enjoyed spending time in their 100% gluten free kitchen discussing how Karen and her staff ensure that all guests with celiac disease or gluten intolerance are treated to delicious, SAFE, gluten free food choices. One of the other treats I discovered in the room was organic, gluten free bath products, (other than the body lotion) by EO, a Marin-based company specializing in natural and organic based body care products. 

The Inn also offers weekend-long, terrific gluten free cooking and baking classes taught by San Francisco allergen free baker, Jeffery Larsen. So after the first weekend of staying at the Inn, I was kindly invited back to attend the holiday baking class the following weekend. I attended one full day of baking, but I would strongly recommend signing up for an entire weekend of baking and wonderful comradery that forms between all of the guests sharing their stories and bonding over good food and creativity. 

The next class offering is the pasta making class, taking place in January 2014 - it's a MUST ATTEND for anyone who is gluten free and wants to learn the art of making pasta at home!!

Be sure to book WAY in advance so you don't miss a chance to stay at this historic, beautiful Inn in the heart of downtown Napa and just a short distance from the famous foodie-haven, the Oxbow Public Market. This great marketplace houses several gluten-free restaurants and a bakery including C-Casa and Cate & Co. And definitely do yourself a favor by not leaving the Inn until you've had their wonderful gluten free breakfast and bowl of their delicious, homemade granola!

Between the lovely accommodations, the wonderful setting and close proximity to some of the world’s best restaurants and wineries, this is a weekend getaway that can’t be missed.   I know I’ll be heading back as soon as I can get a reservation!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, Napa Style!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


It's been some time since I last penned a blog entry. The truth is this...our family has had one hell of a year due to our parents' near-fatal car accident a number of months ago. It's changed everything in ways that none of us could have possibly imagined, and has caused me to grow in ways that I didn't realize were possible.

The gift of course, is that our parents are alive and moving forward. We are immensely blessed because without the miracle they received, truly, they wouldn't be with us this Thanksgiving or at all. We're still shaking our heads as to how they did survive, but trust me, we're not going to ask too many questions but rather, love the heck out of our parents even more now, and with all of our hearts.

What's astonishing to me is that when trauma hits, we all (as humans) react and respond so differently, don't we? Everyone steps up or is forced to push themselves beyond what they dreamed was possible when the Universe asks us to. I'll say this...through the long dark days of fear and then recovery, I'd never felt such a state of calm and the knowing that something much greater than I was feeding me energy and substance. It's hard to put into words, but it was real. As real as sitting here writing these words.

As time has moved on, our family has found great comfort in remembering and using the gift of humor we all seem to have been given. Even in the toughest moments, we leaned in and laughed with one another. I imagine that as the years pass and our family reflects back on the accident and it's meaning or significance to each of us, what we'll remember the most is the profound love we have for one another and our gift of humor.

Now, even the fall light looks different to me this year...I continue snapping photos of precious moments when the suns' rays reflect abundantly upon vibrant red tree leaves. I'm stopped in my tracks during long runs through my neighborhood and can't help but try to capture the beauty before it's gone.

In spite of the accident, life's abundance has continued to arrive and I've had some terrific experiences related to my work as a freelance food writer, along with the joys that come from an expanded network of celiac advocacy work...which I'll be writing about this month and beyond. Life truly does "bloom" where you're planted if you recognize it and say "yes" to all that shows up.

When we sit down at the table this coming week for Thanksgiving, our focus will be on the tremendous thanks we share as a family that is still intact, and mostly for the monumental blessing of our parents' lives.

What they say in song is really true, in the end, it really does all come down to love.

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, August 2, 2013

FDA Publishes the Gluten Free Labeling Rules ~ Finally!


Celiacs have some big news to celebrate and share today! Today, after nearly 10 years of debate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released final rules for gluten-free labeling, stating that products containing fewer than 20 parts per million will be allowed to carry a "gluten-free" designation.

Here's today's latest news from Jennifer Iscol, President of the Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California discussing not only the overall importance of this ruling, but how it will also affect those of us celiacs living and eating in the Bay Area.



Long-Awaited Regulation Will Make It Easier for Americans to 
Follow a Gluten-Free Diet

Healdsburg, CA – August 2, 2013 - The Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California, a nonprofit organization serving the greater Bay Area and Sacramento region, today commended the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for establishing a federal standard for gluten-free labeling. The long-awaited regulation will help to ensure that individuals with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity have the basic information necessary to manage their health.

The rule will impact dozens of gluten-free food manufacturers in the Bay Area, who must comply with the new regulation by August 2, 2014, and thousands of local residents, who will find it easier to follow a medically prescribed gluten-free diet.

To comply with the new rule, products labeled gluten-free must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten. Until now, there has been no federal regulation of the term “gluten-free” on packaged foods. Gluten is the common name for the protein found in wheat, rye and barley, and it is harmful to people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. The only treatment for celiac disease, an inherited autoimmune condition, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity is to follow a strict gluten-free diet.

Last fall, the president of the Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California (CCFNC), Jennifer Iscol, created a White House petition calling for the finalization of the long-overdue rule. The petition reached the required signature threshold for a response from the administration, which is expected soon, and its success renewed calls for action on the rule.

 “The new regulation will make it far easier for people on a gluten-free diet to make safe choices at the grocery store,” Ms. Iscol stated. “This is huge news for people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, who can become very ill by consuming just a microscopic speck of gluten. Having to analyze gluten-free ingredient labels in the absence of federal regulation has been very difficult for consumers. It’s a huge relief to move forward.”

“Patients need accurate labeling to safely manage their diets,” said Amy Burkhart, MD, RD, who specializes in celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity and serves on the board of the CCFNC. “For this patient population, ongoing exposure to gluten, even in small quantities, can cause major health problems. The FDA’s work is a significant contribution to their health.”

The gluten-free labeling rule is the result of a decade-long effort led by the American Celiac Disease Alliance, the national advocacy organization for celiac disease, working together with the FDA, patient support groups, medical experts, scientists and food manufacturers.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to set labeling standards by August of 2008 to aid the estimated three million Americans with celiac disease. It has taken the FDA an additional five years to establish the definition for gluten-free. “It has been a long wait, but in the end, we feel that the FDA based its work on an incredibly thorough, science-based assessment that serves the needs of both consumers and manufacturers,” Ms. Iscol said.

The year FALCPA was signed into law, sales of gluten-free products were $560 million, and they rose to $4.2 billion last year. By 2017, the sales of gluten-free foods and beverages are expected to exceed $6.6 billion. The skyrocketing growth in the market increased the need for FDA’s action to set a national gluten-free standard.

About the Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California
The Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California provides evidence-based support to those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity in the greater San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento region. We carry out this mission by heightening awareness; educating the medical community, food purveyors and the general public; administering Camp Celiac in partnership with The Taylor Family Foundation; and by offering group and individual support.