Ms. Beth Hillson of Glastonbury – a food editor, author and national advocate for those living with celiac disease – joined Eastern Connecticut Health Network’s (ECHN) Executive Chef Roland D. Glover for a demonstration on gluten-free cooking at the health system’s latest community benefit program titled “Living Gluten-Free in the Real World” that took place on Wednesday, March 21, in the cafeteria at Manchester Memorial Hospital (MMH).
Hillson and Chef Glover demonstrated how to create delicious and healthy food courses for people who cannot have wheat in their diet due to celiac disease. Celiac disease is a lifelong intolerance to the gliadin fraction of wheat protein, which is also found in rye and barley.
Over 90 people attend the cooking demonstration hosted by ECHN.
“I want to thank ECHN for hosting this delicious event,” said Hillson. “I was honored and excited about working with Chef Glover to create four recipes to teach and taste. I was also grateful for the opportunity to heighten awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Both are so under-diagnosed that people suffer needlessly for many years.”
“It was a pleasure to work with Beth Hillson,” said Chef Glover. “There is a great need for people like her in this industry who bring food-related diseases and sensitivities to the forefront which aid in healthier living. Celiacs and gluten sensitivity require much focus and careful consideration. However, by substituting some ingredients with gluten-free ones, people can enjoy a healthy cuisine without giving up good tasting food or their favorites.”
Hillson, who was diagnosed with celiac disease more than 30 years ago, is the author of Gluten-Free Makeovers, a book of 175 wheat-free recipes (www.glutenfreemakeovers.com). She founded the Gluten-Free Pantry in 1993, serves as the food editor of Living Without magazine and is the creator of a weekly e-newsletter for www.glutenfree.com.
She is also nationally known for her role as president of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, a volunteer advocacy group that works on celiac causes such as the FDA gluten-free labeling regulations.
Chef Glover earned an Associate of Science Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson Wales College. As the Executive Chef for ECHN, he manages food production and procurement for the health system – primarily for Manchester Memorial Hospital and Rockville General Hospital. He has been at MMH for the past five years and works for the hospital’s food service contractor, Sodexo.
As many as one in 133 Americans have celiac disease and an estimated 18 to 20 million people have gluten sensitivity. Ninety-five percent of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders, including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers and other autoimmune diseases.
ECHN dedicates millions of dollars and thousands of staff hours to community benefit activities that enhance the overall health and wellness of our communities with special focus on the unmet needs of financially disadvantaged and underserved populations.
ECHN's Executive Chef Roland D. Glover and Ms. Beth Hillson of Glastonbury, a food editor, author and national advocate for those living with celiac disease.