AMBLER, Penn. (Newswise) — Alice Bast, the Founder and President of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), has issued a call to action. In recognition of National Celiac Awareness Month in May, her goal is to get consumers to empower themselves with information about celiac disease, log onto the foundation’s dedicated web site (celiaccentral.org), learn more about celiac disease through its comprehensive archived library of articles and webinars, and complete the Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist (doihaveceliac.org).
Bast is passionate about educating Americans on celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which has gained more widespread attention in the last several years. According to Bast, more education is needed on the lesser known signs of celiac disease and gluten-related disorders, including depression, migraines and fatigue. The disease, which affects one in every 133 Americans, has increased fourfold since the 1950s; however, 95% of those affected by celiac are undiagnosed. Since 2003, Bast has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about this disease and educate consumers, the healthcare community and food service industry to increase diagnoses and improve the quality of life for those on a life-long gluten-free diet.
During May, NFCA is introducing a variety of initiatives, including a “Gluten-Free Pantry Raid.” This promotion is designed to help to ease the transition for newly diagnosed families who often struggle to adapt to the gluten-free lifestyle. The goal is to raise money for the Foundation’s important programs/services and produce an educational video that will assist in the transition to a gluten-free diet. Anyone making a donation of $20 or more to support the NFCA during Celiac Awareness Month will automatically be entered to win (eligibility rules may be found atCeliacCentral.org/pantryraid.) The sweepstakes, which kicks off May 1 and runs through the end of the month, will award the first place winner a one-day pantry makeover with a personal visit by Alice Bast and a registered dietitian.
Together with the winner, they will shop for gluten-free food, organize a safe and efficient gluten-free pantry, discuss tips on menu planning for a gluten-free lifestyle and advise on family friendly ways to avoid cross-contamination. (The total value is $2,500.)
The second prize in the “Gluten-Free Pantry Raid” is a one-hour Skype cooking consultation with Dan Kohler, star of NFCA’s Alternative Appetites cooking series and a food aficionado who specializes in delicious gluten-free meals. During this private tutorial, Kohler will discuss menu options for a party of six. A gift basket (valued at $250) filled with a myriad of gluten-free goodies will be awarded to the 3rd and 4th place winners. Winners will be randomly selected from the pool of participants.
- State of the Union: Live Chat with Experts on Gluten-Related Disorders (May 3 at 2 pm EST): Top experts, including Alessio Fasano, MD and Stefano Guandalini, MD, will break down the latest research into simple terms and need-to-know pointers. This one-hour live teleseminar will be moderated by Alice Bast.
- Keep It Simple and Safe (KISS): During the month of May, NFCA will also host a Blogger Campaign offering ways to “Keep it Simple and Safe” when living gluten-free. The gluten-free community relies heavily on bloggers and other online resources to enable them to connect with others who understand the gluten-free lifestyle. Over 20 bloggers will share their tips for every stage of a person’s gluten-free journey, from those who are newly diagnosed to those who are veterans of the gluten-free lifestyle. The blogs will be posted on Celiac Central: Bits & Bites (celiaccentral.wordpress.com.)
- Gluten-Free Pasta Party with Deboles. Also on May 3, NFCA will be launching the month-long Gluten-Free Pasta party on the organization’s Facebook page, with a cooking video with Chef Dan Kohler of Renegade Kitchen, four featured recipes and a pasta party giveaway!
- The “Gluten-Free Pantry Raid” is designed to help to ease the transition for newly diagnosed families who often struggle to adapt to the gluten-free lifestyle. The goal is to raise money for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness' programs and services and to produce an educational video that will assist in the transition to a gluten-free diet. GREAT U: NFCA’s new online resource for gluten-free life at college is a 32-page e-magazine that includes recipes, tips and profiles of gluten-free college students that have made an impact on their campuses.
“NFCA’s Celiac Awareness Month initiatives are an excellent way for consumers to learn more about celiac disease and take action,” says Bast. “We provide a wide variety of informative, educational and fun ways to get the most up-to-date healthcare information and to learn more about the gluten-free diet. I also encourage parents to visit NFCA’s Kids Central at CeliacCentral.org/kids for recipes and resources for gluten-free families.”
Through empowerment, education and advocacy, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) drives diagnoses of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders and improves the quality of life for those on a lifelong gluten-free diet.