Gluten Free Celebrities

I spent the last 4 days in the presence of greatness. True gluten free celebrities!

The American Dietitian Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Denver was huge. It had over 10,000 attendees and about 400 vendors. The conference covered many areas of food and nutrition, including gluten free.


There were many gluten free celebrities at the conference. I wish I had more time and had been able to speak with many more.

Please let me introduce you to 10 of the super stars I met.

Nancy Baker, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Director of Education, and my roommate at the hotel. Nancy is doing truly amazing work, educating food manufacturers and food service facilities of all stripes how to produce gluten free items.

Anne Roland Lee, Director of Nutritional Services for Dr. Schar. Before joining Schar, Anne worked at Columbia in the Celiac Disease Center with Dr. Peter Green. Anne presented at the conference on “Treating Your Patients with Celiac.” I think it should have been called “Caring for Your Patients with Celiac.” Anne’s thoughtfulness, experience, and understanding showed through her session. 

Melinda Dennis, Nutrition Coordinator of the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess. She does research too. Melinda also owns Delete the Wheat, offering classes, coaching, supermarket tours, even mountain retreats. Melinda ably presented case studies at the conference. She is charming, smart, fun, and very tall.

Marlisa Brown, owner of Total Wellness. Marlisa is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and a chef. She created Gluten Free Easy blog. She is a bundle of energy and her new book Gluten-Free Hassle Free will be released soon.

Tricia Thompson, the Gluten Free Dietitian, is a consultant, researcher, and author. I refer to her Living Gluten-Free blog on often. Tricia is the go to gal for accurate and current information on labeling and ingredients. 

Jim Garsow, TH Foods, manufacturer of Mr. Krispers and Crunchmaster multi grain and multi seed crackers. Mr. Krispers are available in my local store. Crunchmaster crackers are at Sam’s Clubs. Both crackers have useful online store locators. Both are also delicious, you will not hesitate to offer to everyone.

I met Jim before the conference. The crackers are made in a plant about a half hour from my house. I already knew I like them, all of them.

Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry. Many of you know this, but I must say it again. She is so sweet. Elana was signing her beautiful new cookbook The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

I was fortunate to also get the last chocolate chip cookie from the cookbook. Awesome! It was soft and slightly chewy, not a bit crumbly. Sweet, not too sweet. I’ll definitely make them, and can’t wait to try more recipes from the book.

Rhonda Kane, Consumer Safety Officer at the FDA. Rhonda is part of the team working on the gluten free definition that we are (im)patiently waiting for. Rhonda calmly, and in as much detail as we wanted, answered all of our questions.

Margaret Masiello, clinical coordinator for the Kogan Celiac Center at Saint Barnabas Health Care System in NJ. With the help of NFCA, Margaret instituted gluten free information and offerings into the whole Saint Barnabas System. Having worked in health care systems, I am in awe of her accomplishments.

Udi’s, people are talking, “Udi’s bread is just like regular bread.” Folks are ordering cases shipped to their homes. Now I can see why. It is true! I tried thin pizza crust too, it was mighty fine.

So these are some of the folks I consider celebrities of the gluten free world, the true super stars. The ones who are truly making a difference.

Collectively they counsel, research, educate, write, create recipes, manufacture, and distribute to the gluten free world.

They are also are smart, creative, effective, helpful, and caring. I am so fortunate to have met them.xanthan

xanthan stars photo by vsimon

Full disclosure: I am grateful to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Schar, who funded most of my costs to attend the American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo 2009.

Schar is the European market leader in gluten free foods and is new to the US market. My local grocery store carries Schar products now, and I am so glad they do. Schar offers pasta, breads, crackers, and cookies. My favorites are the hazelnut wafers, the crisp bread, and the super thin cracker.

I was also pleased to meet Schar representative Katrhin Vantsch from Italy. Katrhin is the Italian equivalent of our dietitian. I enjoy learning other countries perspectives on gluten free foods and intolerance.

Who are your gluten free celebrities?